Book Excerpt Between Heaven & Hell

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Book Excerpt

The wan light of the full moon was blocked by the canyon and although I’d never been afraid of the darkness, fear was clawing its way around my ribs. I found myself jogging instead of walking, urging myself to the desert on the other side of the long tunnel. It seemed like a far longer stretch than it had when the sun was up. The scarlet and gold of the rock had been leeched away, and now was the deepest shades of indigo and blue and slate gray. When I finally escaped the darkness I’d been hidden in, I was relieved to see the face of the moon, slightly smaller now that it had risen from the desert floor. Not sure of how far it was to Enoch’s cabin, I kept jogging, turning around every few yards, to look back and see how far I’d come, expecting the house to be there before me every time I turned back. But it never showed up. I was certain I had run farther than before, and yet the house was still nowhere in sight. How long did I keep running, the spirits dogging my steps, before I gave up?

            Afraid I would lose sight of the canyon and find myself lost in the desert, I made the hard decision to give up. Once more, I turned around and stared at the dark opening of the tunnel, so far off that it was only a pinprick of black in the shifting shadows of the rock around it. My feet were heavy to lift, weighted by the fear that I’d never find my family, the worry that something had happened to them while I was gone. I couldn’t run this time, there was nothing to run back to. There was only the moon, the crickets, the spirits, and the rock monuments that stretched toward the desert sky. My heart was torn between fear and rage and I didn’t have any idea which emotion to feel.

About the Book

BetweenHeavenandHellEbookTitle: Between Heaven & Hell

Author: Astrid V. Tallaksen

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

Being a fallen angel used to be easy. A quiet life with the people she loves is all Sara ever asked for. Unfortunately, the apocalypse didn’t get the message. After nearly losing everything, she’s managed to put her life back together and start living what she hoped was happily ever after with her small family. Now she wants nothing more than to hide away and pretend the end of the world is a distant rumor. Her life has already been torn apart once. Doesn’t she deserve a break?

                The apocalypse finds its way back to her doorstep when a letter arrives. Is it a friendly warning, a dire threat, or a simple reminder that she can’t run away from what’s to come? Sara refuses to take heed and pays dearly for her avoidance. With her family in danger and the preservation of free will hanging in the balance, she finds herself with no other choice. Sara must follow the path forged for her, a path that may take away everything she holds dear and leave her in pieces at the end. She’s caught between Heaven and Hell, and the last person she’d ever have considered trusting might just be her greatest ally.

Author Bio

AstridTallaksenphotoAstrid V. Tallaksen grew up with a heart for stories of creatures and places outside of this world. Her love of reading quickly became a love of writing. She spent several years creating content and helping writers to improve their craft on the online world of Althanas, a creative writing workshop in the guise of a roleplaying forum. A self-avowed nerd, Astrid loves science fiction, comic books, and eighties fantasy movies in the vein of The Princess Bride and Labyrinth. Her geekiness extends to annual volunteer work at the massive sci-fi convention known as Dragon*con every year in Atlanta, Georgia. In the odd times that she’s not immersed in geekdom or writing, Astrid loves to sing karaoke, crochet, and spend time with her family and pets.

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Guest Post Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist

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Today I’m hosting a guest post by Jennifer Ellis, author of romantic comedy “Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist”. Welcome, Jennifer, and thanks for guest blogging on Bedazzled Reading!

Why I Write

I love writing, but a question that I often ask myself is why? Why do I write? Why do I keep writing? What is it that I like about writing?

It is certainly not for the money, at least not in the short term. I hope to make a living from my writing some day. But with the average annual income for fiction writers in Canada (both traditionally published and self-published) hovering around the $500/year mark, I have my work cut out for me on that front!

In a 1946 essay, George Orwell claimed that there are four basic motives for writing: sheer egoism (fairly self-explanatory), aesthetic enthusiasm (you love beautiful language and a perfect plot), historical impulse (you want to record history for posterity’s sake), and political impulse (you have a message to share).

Ego fulfillment is a curious motivation for writing. While the highs of positive reviews and sales associated with writing are great, there are too many difficult days of sitting alone in my sweatpants pushing cats out of the way of the computer screen for egoism to be a primary driver for me.

I definitely write because I love complex and perfectly interwoven plots and unique and fresh language, so I guess I am in part driven by aesthetic appreciation. American writer, Edmund White, likened writing to building a sandcastle or a Lego tower. And that is how I feel when constructing a novel, trying to find just the right piece to fit in each part, creating cool and complex characters, and hoping that the whole thing doesn’t collapse at the end. It’s an intense process and I often think of Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery” as I write (although in reality sometimes it’s more mess than mystery in the initial stages).

I also have some political impulses. I don’t feel very comfortable expressing my opinions in an actual political forum (or even on Facebook), so I write them in my fiction. My middle-grade series, which starts with the novel, A Pair of Docks, is about a fourteen-year-old girl who is a genius, and has a particular interest in physics and chemistry. When I was in high school, I was at top of my class in physics and chemistry and won a four-year science scholarship. I planned to become a physicist. But, in case you hadn’t already guessed, I didn’t become a physicist. University science proved harder than I thought it would be and being constantly surrounded by hundreds of scientifically inclined men (some of whom looked down on women) was less fun than you might think. I also didn’t understand that many perfectly good physicists got B’s in university. I wish I had stuck it out, but I didn’t. A Pair of Docks is not intended to convince girls to study chemistry and physics, but to try to make it cool and exciting if they decide they want to.

Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist is a bit politically motivated too, although it is also lots of fun with romance and a crazy cast of characters. These days there are lots of somber non-fiction books about the environment, and there are also lots of very dark post-apocalyptic tales like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood that explore what might happen if we don’t change our environmental ways (although the precise reason for the apocalypse in The Road is left unsaid). I wanted to take a different approach and look at where a lot of us are with respect to the environment right now: trying to do our best, but often failing at least somewhat along the way, and some of the funny situations that arise as a result. It takes a more satirical look at eco-hypocrisy (like the Simpsons Movie), but still features a strong environmental theme and tries to look at all sides of the environmental debate.

But in the end it is probably about wanting to tell a story that makes people fall in love with my characters, makes them laugh and think, and keeps them turning pages late at night. I’m not sure where that falls in Orwell’s schema, but that for me is where the real joy of and motivation for writing lies.

About the Book

dfw-je-coafe-cover-largeTitle: Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist

Author: Jennifer Ellis

Genre: Romantic Comedy / Women’s Fiction

Alana Matheson always tries to do the right thing for the environment, even when it means boycotting school meatball day, forgoing the use of makeup, or getting entangled in a bet with her non-chicken-loving ex-husband over which of them can be the most environmentally conscious.

So when a mining company proposes developing a mine right in the middle of the community watershed, well, of course Alana is going to be on the front lines opposing the development.

Except she isn’t. To her own shock and dismay, she finds herself taking a job… with the mining company. Worse, she finds herself drawn to her attractive and mysterious boss, Nate: a capitalist mining executive. The enemy.

Alana struggles to do right by the community, deal with her feelings for Nate, and maintain her own environmental morals. But as the conflict over the mine heats up, it gets increasingly difficult to be on the “wrong side,” and both Nate and Alana are cracking under the pressure.

Part satire, part serious, Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist is about the cast of characters who seem to pop up in all environmental disputes, and how all of us fail sometimes to do the right thing for the environment, in both big and small ways.

Author Bio

Jennifer lives in the mountains of British Columbia where she can be found writing, hiking, skiing, borrowing dogs, and evading bears. She also works occasionally as an environmental researcher.

Jennifer writes science fiction, romance and dystopian fiction for children and adults, including Apocalypse Weird: Reversal in Wonderment Media’s Apocalypse Weird world and A Pair of Docks, which was a bestseller in children’s time travel fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies, most notably Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which hit #16 in the Kindle Store.

She may or may not have a Ph.D. and dabble in tarot card reading and cat sitting.

You can subscribe to her blog for the latest book news and industry insights at http://www.jenniferellis.ca. She tweets about writing, cats and teenagers at @jenniferlellis.

Links

Amazon.com: http://amzn.com/B00Z9BPCSU
Amazon.ca:  http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00Z9BPCSU
Website: www.jenniferellis.ca
Twitter: @jenniferlellis
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.ellis.756859

Book Excerpt At Death’s Door

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Book Excerpt

He didn’t say anything as I turned and walked downstairs. I kept expecting him to call out to me, or come grab me again. Part of me wished he would, I guess, but he didn’t so it was irrelevant. The front door was bolted four times, but I got it open and walked out. It was night now, or mostly night—the sky wasn’t black yet, or the orangish tint the sky gets in the city at night, but was instead the indigo glow that comes just after sunset. The air was warm and muggy, and June bugs buzzed around the street light at the corner. It was dark here, though, and I walked a few yards down the cracked and busted sidewalk before sitting down on the curb between Daniel’s house and the next. Other than the brief time today between car and building, it had been a long time since I sat outside in complete freedom. Daniel had said he wouldn’t let me go, but I knew if I decided to walk away and leave he wouldn’t stop me. It was in the way he looked at me, that constant sad apology in his eyes since the day I met him. I reached down and started picking dandelion leaves out of a crack in the curb, tearing one up and then picking another, like I was playing ‘he loves me, he loves me not’, although without petals and without romance. It was more like ‘she walks away, she walks away not’. I turned and looked back at the crumbling old house behind me; Daniel was standing upstairs by one of the windows. He must have been looking out at me, but now he just leaned with his forehead against it, looking downward. I was so angry at everything that was happening, had happened, I couldn’t think of anything else but leaving. But every time I started formulating a plan to get out of here, thought of looking into those amber-hued eyes and telling Daniel to fuck off and leave me alone for good, my heart clenched up and the lump in my throat returned. I had named my son, our son, after him and I didn’t even remember him or know who he was. My feelings for him must have been pretty substantial once. Even in the life I remembered I couldn’t recall ever having felt something so earth-moving. I pulled my knees in toward my chest and wrapped my arms around my legs, resting my forehead on my kneecaps. I wasn’t going to be able to make myself leave.

About the Book

AtDeathsDoorEbookTitle: At Death’s Door

Author: Astrid V. Tallaksen

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

The world is a pretty straightforward place. Even for medium Sara Stone things seem pretty simple, aside from the whole talking to spirits bit. But when the spirits get too hard to handle and Sara ends up admitted to a mental hospital, the world starts to seem a lot less straightforward. First her family disappears, including her four year old son. Then she gets the sneaking suspicion that not only are the staff at the mental hospital somehow connected, but they also have no intention of ever letting her leave the hospital.

                Everything changes when Sara has her first visitor in three months. Daniel is handsome, friendly, and a complete stranger. When he promises to spring her from the hospital and swears that everything she’s experienced is completely real, Sara has no choice but to believe him. But once she reaches a run-down Victorian house in the tiny Alabama town her rescuer calls home, the last thing she expects to discover is that every memory she has is a lie.

                Daniel reveals a world filled with angels, demons, and an impending war humans know nothing about. Sara wants to ignore her role in the whole mess – all that matters is solving the mystery of where her son has gone. But the forces of Heaven, Hell, and the Heart have other plans for her. Can she find her child before the world comes crashing down?

 

Author Bio

AstridTallaksenphotoAstrid V. Tallaksen grew up with a heart for stories of creatures and places outside of this world. Her love of reading quickly became a love of writing. She spent several years creating content and helping writers to improve their craft on the online world of Althanas, a creative writing workshop in the guise of a roleplaying forum. A self-avowed nerd, Astrid loves science fiction, comic books, and eighties fantasy movies in the vein of The Princess Bride and Labyrinth. Her geekiness extends to annual volunteer work at the massive sci-fi convention known as Dragon*con every year in Atlanta, Georgia. In the odd times that she’s not immersed in geekdom or writing, Astrid loves to sing karaoke, crochet, and spend time with her family and pets.

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Guest Post Song of a Dead Star

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Today’s guest blogger is Zamil Akhtar, author of science-fiction / fantasy “Song of a Dead Star”. Please welcome the author to this blog.

Why I Write

There was a point in my life when I knew I wanted to be a storyteller. I had been so enthralled by the emotions of my favorite stories and realized that my life’s purpose would be to make others feel the same strong emotions through storytelling. I wanted to become the best storyteller I could. I analyzed every story I watched, read, or played from then on to determine what made them good, bad, or mediocre.

I would also dream up worlds effortlessly, and I would fill these worlds with characters and stories. At the time, I wondered what medium would be best to tell these stories. I imagined them as videogames, anime, movies, or TV shows. But in the end, I concluded that the most accessible and powerful form of storytelling was the written word.

After having written a novel, I am now sure that my choice was right. Writing allows one to communicate emotions more deeply and powerfully than any other medium. I know that I am not a master of this art yet, but having witnessed the masters, I am determined to become as good as them by writing more. When you’ve managed to make your readers feel the powerful emotions that your characters are feeling, you’ve succeeded as a writer, and there is no better reward.

Fiction also allows you to communicate powerful themes and messages that hundreds of pages of exposition would fail to make clear. My writing teacher once remarked that fiction is “lies that are true.” Through fiction, I want to expose the truth about the human condition with all its struggles and triumphs. Through that process, I think I’ll learn more about what it means to be human.

When I sit down to write, I often close my eyes and forget the real world. I imagine myself as the character I am writing about, and try to feel what she is feeling and tune all my five senses to what she is experiencing in her world. I often forget myself and become absorbed in the emotions of my character. Sometimes when I open my eyes, I am in tears. Being totally enraptured in my character makes the words I write all the more authentic. Though I haven’t experienced most of things I write about, I have experienced the emotions those experiences generate, and I try to convey that as best I can.

At the end of the day, I hope I succeed in making my readers feel. I will continue to analyze the stories and authors that do it best, and try to be as good. Perhaps someday I will achieve by goal. That is why I write.

About the Book

Song of a Dead Star CoverTitle: Song of a Dead Star

Author: Zamil Akhtar

Genre: Science-Fiction / Fantasy

When Kav sleeps, a firefly whispers in his ear that his wife is not dead. But to find her he has to kill the three Magi that protect the land of Eden.

The same Magi destroyed Kav’s hometown four years ago to crush a rebellion, and he hasn’t seen his wife since.

As Kav plots to kill the Magi, a flying armada bent on conquest and destruction invades Eden. Only the Magi and their ability to turn sunshine into magical energy can stop them.

Granted the same power by the firefly, Kav must either kill the Magi to reunite with his wife, or let go of his longing for the sake of Eden and its people.

Author Bio

Zamil Akhtar is an indie science fantasy author and blogger living a location-free lifestyle. He can be found in Boston, Dubai, or Manila depending on the time of year. Of Pakistani-heritage, he grew up in the Middle East and moved to Western Massachusetts when he was thirteen, and his varied upbringing colors his fiction. He has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University. His loves are videogames, science-fiction and fantasy novels, HBO dramas, and Southeast Asia.

Links

http://zamilakhtar.com

Twitter: @zamakhtar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zamil-Akhtar/166211690075437?ref=hl

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Book Review Tales

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Tales_CoverTitle: Tales

Author: Charles Todd

Genre: Mystery & Detective

Rating: A

Buy: Amazon

TALES is a collection of Bess Crawford and Ian Rutledge short stories published together for the first time from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.  Now published together for the first time: Charles Todd’s beloved short stories-”The Kidnapping,” “The Girl on the Beach,” “Cold Comfort,” and “The Maharani’s Pearls”-about intrepid Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge and dutiful battlefield nurse Bess Crawford.   The vibrant tales transport readers from the homefront in Great Britain where the ominous clouds of war were ever-present during World War I to the bomb riddled the frontlines as soldiers desperately sought to gain ground again Germany with Lieutenant Ian Rutledge and finally to the exotic, dangerous India of Bess Crawford’s youth. Together they create an extraordinary glimpse into the treasured worlds of some of mystery’s most cherished characters.

I wanted to read this book because it’s written by a mother-son writing team, and that sounds awesome. I’m not familiar with the books of this author team, nor its characters, but this short story collection serves as a great introduction. Two stories focus on Ian Rutlegde and two on Bess Crawford. I liked the stories focusing on Ian Rutledge the most – the characters worked great, I liked the setting, and the stories were very suspenseful.

This is an excellent introduction and now I’ve read it, I want to take up the Ian Rutledge series and read it.

Cover Reveal: In Shadows Waiting

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About The Book

in-shadows-waiting-by-stewart-bint

Title: In Shadows Waiting

Author: Stewart Bint

Genre: Paranormal, Horror

Young Simon Reynolds lives a bucolic life at his family home, White Pastures, surrounded by a loving family and a charming community. Simon finishes his A levels and looks forward to unwinding while his sisters work on their tans.

Meanwhile the tiny community of Meriton has been plagued by a spate of burglaries, and White Pastures seems to be next. A shadowy figure stalks the house, but the police can find no signs of an intruder.

Inspired by the author’s real-life experience with the supernatural, In Shadows Waiting recounts a summer that changes the Reynolds’ lives forever. As the summer progresses, the shadows take on an altogether more sinister implication, and White Pastures begins to reveal a terrifying secret.

The epicenter of an event that has scarred an entire community, White Pastures grows more and more dark, possessed by a shadow that yearns, a shadow that will not be denied. At White Pastures, someone will die — but love never will.

Author Bio

Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife Sue in Leicestershire in the UK, and has two children, Christopher and Charlotte. As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking barefoot on woodland trails.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorsjb

Website: http://stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StewartBintAuthor?fref=ts

Book Excerpt Between Two Worlds

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Book Excerpt

This night I dream just like the night before. Once again, I see myself in a hospital bed. The traction is present, and so is the swelling, but this time I notice it is down. My mom sits nearby in a chair with Pastor Tommy sitting next to her. I can tell mom is quite upset but her tone of voice is surprisingly controlled as she speaks with the Pastor.

“I know it was an accident. The young man was preoccupied when he exited the dorm house, but I wish he had chosen to look up to see if he was alone. He knew there was a party on the other side of the house, and people would be coming and going. Knowing this, how could he not have checked? It wouldn’t have taken much time – mere seconds to see Rebecca was on the stairs,” my mom says angrily.

“Yes, it wouldn’t have taken long, but in hindsight, many of us don’t consider looking ahead as we head out the door. This time this act led to an unfortunate accident. Rebecca got lucky he immediately called for help,” says Pastor Tommy in his comforting Georgian drawl.

“At least she is alive, thank goodness.” My mom pauses several moments before saying, “There is so much swelling, and her neck bones – who knows if she will keep the movement in her legs. The surgeon told me the swelling has to go down before he can do surgery. For days it has been waiting and more waiting!” New tears form and drop from her eyes. Seconds later the hospital room fades, and I awake to the alarm clock going off.

About the Book

Between Two Worlds KindleTitle: Beween Two Worlds

Author: Christy Santo

Genre: Time Travel

Rebecca dreams her present time and lives her past.

It is 2006 and Indiana University graduate student Rebecca Harrison attends a Halloween party. Unknown to her she will have her world turned upside down when she leaves it. An unexpected accident rips her from 2006 Indiana and abandons her in 1983 Fanwood, New Jersey her hometown. She struggles to relive the past and exist as another woman with the same name and birthday as her. Can she find a way to return to her present time or will her past become her future?

Author Bio

Christy Santo was born and raised in Fanwood, New Jersey.  She has lived in Bloomington, IN since 2002 and runs her family’s Internet retail business. Between Two Worlds, is her second book and she is currently working on a third book.

Links

Website: www.statictvblog.com

Twitter: @CJSTheWrite

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