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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Soul Thing by Lana Pecherczyk



Soul Thing
The Game of Gods
Book One
Lana Pecherczyk

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Prism Press

Date of Publication: 20th February 2018

ASIN: B079FM8BF3

Number of pages: 379
Word Count: 101,989

Cover Artist: Lana Pecherczyk

Tagline: Evolution is the Game, Witches are the Glitch

Book Description:

After a decade long war, witches have been obliterated, or so the world thinks. A precarious peace settles and, for the small town of Margaret River, life returns to normal, but for Roo, the hard work is just beginning.

Roo works at the local bar, is a little facetious and can’t wait to high-tail it out of there to keep her powers secret. She’s not certain where they came from but the last thing she wants is to be burned at the stake. Hiding in plain sight seems to work until Cash, a darkly handsome hunter, arrives with disaster in his wake. Witches aren’t defeated, only hidden, and there’s one gunning for Roo and her family. The recent war only touched the surface of the preternatural world and with Cash’s help, Roo learns there are worse things that go bump in the night... and she might be one of them.

Soon she must make a choice—risk exposure to save her loved ones, or remain hidden and safe. But sometimes safe isn’t an option. Sometimes safe is a never-ending game.



Excerpt # 2 (995 Words) From Chapter 4

I surveyed the bar to see if I had time to get away and speak to my friend. The customers were happy, the kitchen crew had either gone home or were enjoying themselves on the dance floor, and Alvin swept up a broken bottle under a restaurant table. The back room would be empty. I pushed past the swinging doors to join Kitty, but almost smacked into her. Her full ice bucket connected with my shin. Ouch!
I opened my mouth to curse, but stopped when I noticed her face. She stared at something past my shoulder and momentarily lost her careful composure and seductress persona. “Hubba hubba. I think I need to go to confession,” she said.
“Why?” I tried to turn around, but she held me back.
“Don’t look,” she squeaked, then coughed delicately and lowered her voice to a raspy husk. “Because I’m having sinful thoughts about melting this ice over that devilishly hot body. He’s certainly not from around here.” She shoved the bucket into my hands and pushed me backwards so she had room to stumble past. Recovering with a sashay and a saunter, she made her way to the counter where a tall, tanned man stood.
I wouldn’t exactly call him devilish. He was blonde—are devils blonde? His short hair was impeccably groomed and styled at the top, the kind of way that took hours to make it look like it took minutes. His stubble was perfectly trimmed—a designer five o’clock shadow. The only devilish thing about him was the full arm tattoo peeking out from under his crisp, white shirt sleeve on one side. It also showed slightly higher up over his collared neck. Everything about him screamed money, control and influence. Except the ink. That screamed something else.
His lips twitched at the corner, and I narrowed my eyes. What was he smiling at? Had he heard Kitty’s words through the haze of sound?
“Oh, give me a break,” I mumbled and went cross-eyed. Kitty had found another conquest, and that left me lugging the heavy load. She was a predator, that woman, I swear. I stumbled over to the ice trough, dropped half the ice on the floor and almost slipped to land on my butt. “Seriously?” I hissed to the ice.
I glanced over my shoulder and spotted Kitty heading back in my direction. Her face was contorted into an expression I could only describe as horrified or mortified, or maybe constipated. I smirked, then caught myself, breathed in deeply and tried again. I gave her my best sincere smile.
“He called me Ma’am,” she said, and took the empty bucket from my hands. “How dare he? I am not a Ma’am. I’m a sexy, young, successful, independent woman who—” She stopped mid-sentence and looked at me, green eyes blazing. “Well, he asked for you, didn’t he?”
“What? I don’t know him.” I snatched the bucket back.
“He asked for you by name. Don’t be shy, your rudeness is keeping the customer waiting.” She pushed me in the direction of the blue-eyed stranger, making an embarrassing show of my reluctance. “I have to perform soon anyway,” she said as if she had better things to do. “Just keep an eye on the bar while I put my game face on.”
She gave me one last shove and sauntered out back.
Her push sent me flying, and I tripped over my feet to land in front of the stranger with a humph. To make matters worse, the music paused between songs and I yelled, “Can I help you?”
Heat rose to my cheeks in the silence and I imagined my whole face painted red. The music started, and I looked down at my feet, took a deep breath and started again. When I caught his eyes, words fled. They were different—one as clear as the deep blue ocean, the other also blue, but spliced with muddy clouds in the turbulent water. It was as though each eye belonged to a different person. I almost sighed like a school girl. They were amazing. Simply amazing and his dark lashes were full and framed the masterpiece within perfectly. Hang on. I squinted, they looked vaguely familiar.
“La Roux?” He pronounced my name correctly. Maybe he was French, like my name.
I cleared my throat. “Yes, do I know you?”
“No, but you know my brother, Tommy. He told me to look you up when I arrived.” His voice was smooth and hypnotic—a dangerous combination with those eyes.
Wowsers, this was Cash? His neat and trim exterior wasn’t at all what I expected for a beach bum, although his well-toned physique was. I stared like a loser for a minute. Something didn’t add up, and it wasn’t the fact he wore fancy leather loafers in country Western Australia. No, it was because he used my full name. Nobody did that. I’d worked hard for people to forget who I’d been in the city—the girl feared and hated for almost being a witch. My hand fluttered to my collar in a nervous reaction and his gaze flicked down too.
“How did you know my full name?” I asked. The mild panic must have crept into my eyes because he took a step backwards. “Everyone here calls me Roo.”
He scrubbed the back of his neck and then scanned the room like he had somewhere welled to be. “Tommy told me. Look, can I get a drink? Whisky, if it’s not too much to ask?”
Jeez, I was just asking, no need to get grumpy. I glared at him while I pulled a glass from the drying rack and placed it on the counter. He was full of inconsistencies—his accent, for one. It was almost non-existent and, apart from saying my name like he was French, his language was without a pattern or distinguishing lilt that pointed to his origin. He could’ve hailed from anywhere.

6 Chapter Excerpt Available from Instafreebie until March 3rd 2018


About the Author:

Lana Pecherczyk is a freckle-faced writer from Perth, Western Australia. She’s a fan of 'pro-caffeinating' and writes in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Basically if it’s got sexy heroes, thrilling action and a kick-ass heroine, you know she’ll write it because she loves reading it.

When she’s not writing the next great novel, or wrangling the rug rats, or rescuing GI Joe from the jaws of her Kelpie, she fights evil by moonlight, wins love by daylight and never runs from a real fight.

You can find her books on Amazon and other good online retailers.






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Monday, February 19, 2018

Casey Wyatt's Creative Pursuits


One of the things that delighted me when I joined my local RWA chapter (Connecticut Romance Writers of America) is how many fellow crafters were in the group. Most writers don’t just write books. We seem to share a universal need to create.

From needlecraft, to jewelry making, to painting, even chocolate making, I’m lucky to be part of such a talented group of people. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in my crazy obsession.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am always working on a project of some kind. My house is loaded with coloring supplies (we’ve been “adult” coloring for years before it became a thing), a ton of yarn, and enough books to start my own library. I prowl cookbooks or the internet looking for new recipes to try. 

If it involves creating something from nothing, I’m in. 

Some examples:


Knitted mitts



Blueberry cake/frosting from scratch



Manga drawing practice



My latest work in progress – Chase’s Fire.

I can track the progress of my books based on the type of craft project. If I want to avoid writing, I make socks. If I’m plotting a new book, I’ll crochet something fun or knit mitts with all that sock yarn I have stashed away. When I am just chillin’, I practice manga drawing.

And, please don’t say, “But Casey, I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” because I’ll say, “That’s not true.” Creativity takes on many forms like creating web sites, taking selfies, solving problems, telling jokes. Don’t sell yourself short!

For my fellow writers when you find yourself in a creative drought, if you don’t craft, maybe consider learning one. It’s a great way to free up the mind for those creative thoughts that brew behind the scenes waiting to surface. And, side bonus, when your project is done you have something tangible to show success.

Challenge your mind and it will reward you!

Since I’m always looking for new things to try, feel free to share your favorite craft or creative outlet in the comments! Better yet, if you have photos, do share!

Thanks so much Write at Home Mom for hosting me today. 

Dead Girls Don’t Sing
The Undead Space Initiative
Book Two
Casey Wyatt

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Time Travel

Publisher: Casey Wyatt

Date of Publication: 12/18/17

ISBN: 978-1979982078
ASIN: B07846RFWP

Number of pages: 338
Word Count: 93,000

Cover Artist: Kim Killion Designs

Tagline: Time will have its way

Book Description:

When former vampire stripper Cherry Cordial settled on Mars with her undead family, she thought she’d left her chaotic past behind her. After finding her mate and becoming the first vampire to give birth, she’s hoping to lead a drama-free life.

Naturally, the universe has a different plan. When mysterious undead space travelers arrive, an ancient Martian plague is released, infecting the undead. To find the cure she must return to Earth. All she needs to do is travel into the past, confront her own tangled history, and not break the space-time continuum. But if Cherry’s learned anything, it’s that her life is never that easy.

Amazon      BN      iBooks      Kobo      Books2Read

Excerpt:

Tiny pokers stabbed my eyes.
Another body, warm and hard, spooned against my backside.
Ian always felt so good, comforting and real.
His hand wrapped around my waist, cupping the underside of my breast. A cool sheet slid off my bare shoulder.
I was naked and in bed. A snippet of memory interrupted my appreciation of my husband’s hand.
Wasn’t I running from something . . .?
Fingers trailed along my spine, heading south. The touch was wrong, unfamiliar and rough.
Hold on. That wasn’t Ian. I shouldn’t feel the warmth of sun against my skin either. We lived on Mars, where it was colder than a witch’s tit.
If not Ian, then who was touching my inner thigh?
My eyelids snapped open like a shade on a spring. Bolting upright, I bared my fangs and grabbed the man’s wrist.
Oh, holy hell. I was in bed with another man. I rolled away and slammed into a different body. Shit, make that two other men. Two eye-poppingly gorgeous men.
Hey, I might be dead, but I’m not dead dead.
“Mistress? Have I displeased you?” said the man whose wrist I was about to shatter. Stunning blue-gray eyes. Dark stubble lined his chiseled jawline. His dark hair was mussed and complimented his swarthy skin tone. Dried blood smeared his neck. A red trail led to puncture marks.
The other man’s brown muscled chest rose and fell in rhythmic sleep. His body was fully exposed on the white sheet. Puncture marks lined his neck, his groin and his very erect penis.
My cheeks heated like a furnace. Clearly, we’d had a good time.
“No. Leave me. Both of you go to your rooms.” I dropped his wrist. The man woke his drowsing companion, and they left as I’d commanded.
Damn. I wished I could get the other men in my life to be so compliant.
Other men? There were other people important to me. Why couldn’t I remember them?
I’d kill Jonathan if he was messing with my mind again.
But yet... that idea didn’t feel right.
Somewhere in a dead corner of my memory, this moment seemed familiar. Jonathan, sensing my unhappiness with our “arrangement,” had spent the early years of our relationship attempting to please me.
This must have been my slut phase, where we’d bring home gorgeous men and I would feast and fuck while he watched. I enjoyed knowing it bothered him that I wouldn’t sleep with him. Only the mortals that we found in gaming dens, brothels, even at society events. The only other thing I would take from Jonathan besides his money was his blood, and only out of necessity.
Fucking hell. Ian’s go-to phrase—I remembered him now—helped resurface the reason why I was reliving this not-so-proud moment in my past.
The plague. The Lost Ship. The time stream. My daughter.
Oh, dear God. I hoped she was safe.
“Good morning, my pet.” Jonathan read a page of the morning newspaper while sipping tea from a dainty cup. He sat on the balcony situated outside my bedroom. From his vantage point, he could view the bed and my doings in Technicolor glory.
My heart lurched at the sight of his arrogant beauty. I had forgotten how full of life he’d been, especially in this time period. And, oh, how handsome he was. His raven hair glossy with blue highlights sparkled in the early morning sunshine. The strong line of his jaw and perfect Roman nose coupled with full lips made it hard not to stare at him. He hadn’t yet acquired the weariness that having a Family would place on him.
In later years, after much bitterness between us, I no longer saw him anymore. The beauty was tarnished, and we became as passionate as two coworkers passing the time until their shift ended. He had become someone I had to endure rather than enjoy. Not that I ever really “enjoyed” him because of the circumstances surrounding our sham marriage.
The horrid image of his death, when he’d knelt, offering Thalia his head, shattered the peaceful moment. With a plaintive look, he commanded that I accept his fate and mine. We both knew that Thalia, the dead queen’s heir apparent, was a vindictive bitch. She blamed me for her mother’s death and Jonathan refused to bow down to her. So, he did what he always did. He protected his Family by sacrificing himself so we could escape. In his last moments, regret had filled his eyes. The wish that we could have been different together had been silenced forever.
Seeing Jonathan again and remembering was worse than reopening a wound and rubbing salt in it with a lemon juice chaser. If only I could apologize to him for how awful I’d been. I hadn’t been blameless in wrecking our relationship. I could have tried harder to accept my fate instead of punishing him at every turn.
The temptation to blurt out the truth bubbled inside, until I had to force myself to look away from him. Would this Jonathan be willing to help me? Or would he use my current predicament to his advantage?
No. I couldn’t, wouldn’t chance it. Not with the entire colony’s lives hanging in the balance.
Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve. Sew it on a patch and you’d have my life’s motto.
Yup. Regrets sucked.
Jonathan placed the teacup down and smiled. “Did you enjoy yourself? You seemed a bit surprised when you awoke.”
Surprise didn’t cover how I felt. That word was too puny, too inadequate. After a few seconds, I found my voice again.
“Yes, we had a good time. Thank you.” It sure looked that way.
He acted like finding his wife in bed with other men was no big deal. It wasn’t like I would keep them. To him they were more like pets or meals with legs.

But now, with a century of wisdom tucked under my belt, instead of relishing in his annoyance, I realized something. He was sad. With himself or me, I wasn’t sure. And it didn’t matter. I had a mission to accomplish. A future to save.

About the Author:

Casey Wyatt grew up in a mid-size Connecticut town where nothing exciting ever happened. To stem the boredom, she read fantasy and sci-fi stories, imagining her own adventures in her head. Not much has changed since she’s grown up, only now she's a multi-published author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels. In her spare time, she loves all things geeky, hangs out in museums, and collects stray cats.

Visit Casey on the web: www.caseywyatt.com. You can also find Casey on Facebook and Twitter (@CaseyWyatt1).

To receive advance notice about new releases and special sales, subscribe to Casey's Newsletter at www.caseywyatt.com

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Twitter: @CaseyWyatt1




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The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen



The Nightmare Room
The Messy Man Series
Book One
Chris Sorensen
         
Genre: Paranormal Fiction

Publisher: Harmful Monkey Press

Date of Publication: 1/25/2018

ISBN: 978-0998342412
ASIN: B07943P5S8

Number of pages: 273
Word Count: 45,000

Tagline: The past is always present in the Nightmare Room.

Book Description:

A boy in a basement, a man in a booth and a darkness that threatens to swallow them both...

New York audiobook narrator Peter Larson and his wife Hannah head to his hometown of Maple City to help Peter's ailing father and to put a recent tragedy behind them. Though the small, Midwestern town seems the idyllic place to start afresh, Peter and Hannah will soon learn that evil currents flow beneath its surface.

They move into an old farmhouse on the outskirts of town—a house purchased by Peter's father at auction and kept secret until now—and start to settle into their new life.

But as Peter sets up his recording studio in a small basement room, disturbing things begin to occur—mysterious voices haunt audio tracks, malevolent shadows creep about the house. And when an insidious presence emerges from the woodwork, Peter must face old demons in order to save his family and himself.


Excerpt:
The man threw open the basement door. A rush of mildewed air rose up from the darkness, like the hideous breath of some subterranean thing. He flicked on the light, and the cascade of descending stairs came into view. Among their number was the treacherous one midway down, the one that bent like a bow at the slightest weight.
“Are you going down on your own or do I have to make you?”
The boy looked up at his father. The anger that had fueled him thus far was fading, seemingly sapped by the trip from the boy’s bedroom. Instead, his father looked pained. If he didn’t know better, he might think the Old Man was about to cry. But his father had said he was tired. Dead tired. And perhaps it was as simple as that.
"I'll go," the boy whispered, and he took the first tentative step down.
The change in temperature was immediate; it was like diving into a cold pool. He took another step down, and another.
He paused on the third step and looked back at his father. The bare bulb above paled the man’s countenance. The grey circles under his eyes made him look like he’d been bludgeoned.
“Git!” the Old Man snarled. The boy went. When he reached the sagging step, he stopped, took a breath and leaped over it. His heel hit the lip of the next step, but the wood was damp, and the boy came down hard on his butt.
“Get some sleep. And no more dreams.”
As if he could help it.
His father closed the door, and the lock clicked. It would not open again until morning.
The boy descended the final few stairs and stepped onto the floor. Ice-cold cement sucked heat from his soles. He squinted, trying to adjust to the dark.
The usefulness of the light bulb ended a few feet into the basement. And there was no more source of light until he reached the…
The gears in his head ground to a halt, stopping short of allowing the dreaded name to be uttered.
He started picking out objects around him. The solemn metal face of the furnace, a stack of water softener salt bags, the frame of an old bicycle.
Straight ahead lay a distance of twenty or so feet before he'd come to a door. Three-quarters of that stretch was in pitch black. To get to the door, to get to the room, he had to dash through the darkness until his hand found the doorknob. Then, he would throw the door open, reach to his right, flip the wall switch and presto. An island of light in an ocean of black.
He girded himself for the sprint.
“One…two…”
He hesitated…but why? He’d already made this run two times this week. Both Monday and Thursday, he’d awakened screaming, bringing down the Old Man’s wrath, and sending him here. To the penalty box. To time out. To the Night—
“Three!”
The boy startled at the sound of his own voice, and he lurched into motion. He hurtled into the darkness, his feet slapping the floor, echoing off the walls in hollow applause.
He bumped into something and spun, temporarily throwing himself and his inner compass off balance. He skidded across the floor and came to a stop.
Heart pounding in his chest, he quickly located the lit stairs off to his left. He made a rapid calculation and turned to face the invisible pathway to the room. He bolted, coming to a halt only when he slammed head-on into the door.
His hand floundered before finding the knob. He launched into his practiced routine. Open door, flip switch, step inside.
In seconds, the boy slipped into the room and slammed the door shut. A pink light overhead bathed him in imaginary warmth—he had made it.
He stepped back and sank into the waiting beanbag chair, facing the door. The small room with its mint green walls and rollaway bed felt almost welcoming, an odd feeling for a place that was meant as a punishment.
The boy pulled a quilt from the bed and wrapped it around him tight. For the first time in his life, he felt safe here in this room—in the Nightmare Room.
Because he hadn’t bumped into something out there in the dark. He had bumped into someone.
He was almost certain of it.
He kept one eye on the door as the minutes hummed past on the illuminated clock on the nightstand. He busied himself with crayon and paper, doodling to keep his mind quiet. Soon, his vision began to flutter; the room began to strobe. And, in the space between two breaths, the boy sank into his beanbag chair and fell into a fitful sleep.
The doorknob twitched.
The boy bolted upright. He pressed back into the chair. His whole body started shivering, and he feared he would wet himself for the second time that night.
A thought…no, a voice crept into his head.
Coming in.
The door quivered as if someone was leaning against it, trying to stifle a laugh. Nails scratched against the wood.
“Dad?” the boy whispered.
The door shuddered.
“Is that you?” Knowing it was not.
Coming…
“Please don’t.”
Coming…
“No.”
Coming…
“No!”
In.





About the Author:

Chris Sorensen spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including the award-winning The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix) and the recipient of three AudioFile Earphone Awards. Over the past fifteen years, the Butte Theater and Thin Air Theatre Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado have produced dozens of his plays including Dr. Jekyll’s Medicine Show, Werewolves of Poverty Gulch and The Vampire of Cripple Creek. He is the author of the middle grade book The Mad Scientists of New Jersey and has written numerous screenplay including Suckerville, Bee Tornado and The Roswell Project.



Mailing List Sign Up: http://www.casorensen.com/



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February 21st, 22nd  and 23rd




Freaky Franky by William Blackwell







Freaky Franky
William Blackwell

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Telemachus Press

Date of Publication: December 3, 2017

ISBN: ISBN-10: 1945330945
ISBN-13: 978-1945330940
ASIN: B077X41V9J

Number of pages: 326
Word Count: 66323

Cover Artist: Johnny Breeze

Tagline: Santa Muerte followers discover the horrifying consequences of worshipping with evil intentions.

Book Description:

When an enigmatic town doctor saves the life of Anisa Worthington’s dying son, she abandons Christianity in favor of devotion to the cult of Santa Muerte or Saint Death. Some believe the mysterious skeleton saint will protect your loved ones; help in matters of the heart; provide abundant happiness, health, wealth and justice. But others, including the Catholic Church, call it blasphemous, evil and satanic.

Anisa introduces Saint Death to troubled Catholic friend Helen Randon and strange things begin happening. One of Helen’s enemies is brutally murdered and residents of Montague, a peaceful little town in Prince Edward Island, begin plotting to rid the Bible belt of apostates.

Anisa suspects Helen is perverting the good tenets of Santa Muerte but, before she can act, a terrible nightmare propels her to the Dominican Republic in search of Freaky Franky, her long-lost and unstable brother, who mysteriously disappeared without a trace twenty years ago.

To her horror, Anisa learns Freaky Franky is also worshiping Santa Muerte with evil intentions. As a fanatical and hell-bent lynch mob tightens the noose, mysterious murders begin occurring all around Anisa. Unsure about who’s an enemy and who’s an ally, she’s thrust into a violent battle to save her life as well as the lives of her unpredictable friends and brother.

Amazon     Amazon.ca     BN      Author Website


About the Author:

William Blackwell studied journalism at Calgary’s Mount Royal University and English literature at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia. He worked as a print journalist for many years before becoming an author. He has written over seventeen novels, mainly in the horror genre. Currently living on an acreage in Prince Edward Island, Blackwell loves to travel and write dark fiction.


Twitter: @wblackwell333



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Friday, February 16, 2018

Guest Blog- Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage by Emily Kemme



Thanks, Wenona, for inviting me to post a guest blog today, and also feature my award-winning Chick Lit novel, “Drinking the Knock Water.”

People ask me all the time how I write a book. They’ll say, “I want to write this book, I’ve been thinking about doing it for a long time. But I don’t know how to get started.”

I’m all for writing that book because it gives you a chance to pour your heart out, do some cleansing — spiritual and brain-cleaning — is what I like to call it, and getting your thoughts out on a page will make room for more thoughts and more creativity. Writing may even become a career!

I used to think you just plunked yourself down in front of the computer and let it out — type away! The good stuff will happen. And while it’s totally true that there will be good stuff that tumbles out of your mind, before you start, you need to have a story structure. I can give some guidelines on that.

 The writing process has many different options. All are essential.

     But I believe there are three options: Vertical, Horizontal and Circling the Wagons.
    Vertical is useful for research presentations. You begin with a hypothesis or theme, lay out your argument in support, itemize facts and data and then write a conclusion or recommendations.
    Writing a novel will begin vertically as you try to establish the theme and ultimate message, but then you layer it with characters who must interact with each other, and each has their own journey in the story. This is the horizontal, or timeline aspect of writing.
    At some point, or this is how my mind works, the linear becomes the circular, with offshoots of ideas and tangential storylines.

START WITH STRUCTURE

Storytelling, or myths, are culled from a common pool of memory and thought. They come from religion, philosophy, the arts, social forms of primitive and historic man, scientific discoveries and from the darkest of our nightly dreams.

You’ll need a hero, one that is as ordinary as you and me, or a Prince or a dog. A hero needs the resilience to submit to a process of spiritual rebirth or regeneration. He is someone who has done something beyond the normal range of experience and is willing to give something of himself in the process. Your hero will undertake a journey of your own creation. Based on Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero’s Journey” you will plot out the steps he or she will take, ultimately communicating a message to the world.

So before you begin writing, you’ll need to figure out what that message is you’d like to convey. This is your vertical structure.

This Isn’t Enough For A Good Story

To make a story worth reading, there has to be drama, humor, entertainment and an understanding of human psychology. The story will be told along the timeline of the steps your hero takes on their journey.

Next, find your hero and define their characteristics: how do they act when they’re around others? What are their thoughts and what do they say when they talk to themselves? And finally, what is in their dreams, what do they fear, what will they not say aloud but communicate by their actions? This fleshes out the horizontal story structure and you’ll also people it with characters whom your hero deals with in taking the journey.

Finally, you get to start writing. It’s fine to follow your planned storyline, but you should allow yourself to go off on a tangent, too. I call this “Circling the Wagons.” Keep track of your thoughts, notes, texts, emails and article links as you juice your ideas. Continue to plug these in to the horizontal timeline, but sometimes you’ll have a horse that bolts and heads toward a cliff. Let the horse (and wagon, if he’s pulling one) take the leap. It might lead to a dead end; it might take you over the edge. Or it might only lead to the next trail, one you hadn’t thought of if you only stick with the horizontal structure.

And while you’re at it, let your characters talk, whatever time of day or night that might be. They often talk to me while I’m sleeping, unfortunately. It can happen during the day, too. I always lay down and meditate for half an hour or so before I start writing; it’s a method to open your mind and relax. Writing can only happen when you’re relaxed.

A final recommendation about panic: If you’re committed to getting 500 words on a page a day, that’s all you’re going to get. There may be 500 words, but are they worthwhile? Do they tell a story with meaning? I have days where I can only write three sentences. Other days are 2,000 words. And some are nothing. I’m drawing blanks, becoming drained and frustrated. That means it’s not a writing day.

Most of all, writing is fun. You’re using your brain creatively. What gets any better than that?

© 2018, Emily Kemme, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.




Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage
Emily Kemme

Genre: Chick Lit

Publisher: Arrowhead Publishing

Date of Publication: January 27, 2017

ISBN: 0983740127
978-0983740124
ASIN: B01MTE7QGJ

Number of pages: 288
Word Count: 107,532

Cover Artist: Mia Kemme

Tagline: “We all live with ghosts. . . Some are those of people who’ve never been born.”

Book Description:

“We all live with ghosts. . . Some are those of people who’ve never been born.”

So begins Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage, the second novel by award-winning Greeley, Colorado author Emily Kemme.

Loosely based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the novel takes on life itself as a pilgrimage. One of life’s biggest struggles is fitting in with the rest of the human race, and an aspect of that is having children. It’s not meant for everyone and yet, true to Darwinian forces, it’s almost expected. Giving birth and then raising a child to maturity is one of the bravest tasks we take on. 

On what was supposed to be a day to celebrate, another cruel outburst from Holly Thomas’ sister-in-law begins a spiral of events that would leave Holly questioning every choice she’d ever made and every belief she held as truth.

Had she done the right thing by her unborn child? Had she given enough, or too much, freedom of choice to her son? Did she truly, deeply know her husband and clinic partner, Roger? And what right had she to counsel infertile couples after her own pregnancies?

With the Fertility Tour only weeks away, a group of unlikely and disparate pilgrims look to her for guidance. But Holly’s life has unraveled in ways she could not have imagined, including a restraining order against her. Will she be able to find her footing and make peace with her choices and herself? Will visiting the religious and sacred feminine sites in England help her regain control or only tear her further apart?


Reviews

"Today exists for you to let your mind wander, let it free, all week long. This is the time for reflection and evaluation."

Deeply traumatized after her daughter, Arella, is born dead, fertility counselor Holly Thomas struggles to achieve inner peace. Roger—Holly's supportive husband and a prominent fertility doctor—accepts her grief-induced eccentricities, but his intolerant Christian family resents her and her Jewish roots. When Edward, Roger's brother, openly belittles the Bar Mitzvah of Daniel, Holly's son, tensions escalate, and her whole world threatens to fall apart. To overcome heartbreak and reflect on self-discovery and relationships, Holly and Roger take a group of patients from their clinic on a fertility tour. This tour becomes a spiritual pilgrimage for unrealized truths.

Kemme elegantly examines the complicated aspects of life and relationships. Using Holly's experiences with a failed pregnancy, her in-laws, and Roger, Kemme focuses on how pain can shape and enlighten us. That religious intolerance can inflict significant emotional damage is depicted through Roger's family members who weaponize words to hurt Holly. This, along with Holly's emotional fragility, causes strain in her marriage. However, Roger's unwavering love helps Holly stay somewhat balanced, letting her emotionally heal many patients who cannot conceive. Some of these couples include Leah and Rachel, the Rhanjhas, the Chandlers, Burbages, and Jane Brown and her mother. As Holly and Roger take their chosen couples on a fertility tour to England, various colliding elements within the patients' lives emerge, thereby projecting how relationships bless or burden us. Pain becomes a recurrent theme in the novel, neutralized by the healing touch of water as a metaphor. Arella's grave is near water, and the visit to the sacred sites of England serves as ritual cleansing for the characters. Artistically nuanced language and the sincere, soothing tone bring out the true beauty of this literary novel. This is an introspective, gentle novel that illuminates and rejuvenates in the same breath.

RECOMMENDED by The US Review of Books


Fertility doctors confront the lingering effects of personal and cultural emotional trauma. Holly and Roger Thomas have a stable marriage, fulfilling careers, and a son practicing for his bar mitzvah. Holly insists on throwing a birthday party each year complete with gifts for their stillborn daughter, but Roger doesn't complain. His Catholic brother and sister-in-law, however, find fault with Holly, primarily because she's Jewish. Her religion haunts her, almost as much as the death of her daughter. . .
. . . the author often beautifully depicts Holly s self-doubt as she explores different aspects of overcoming trauma. . . [in a] positive tale of moving forward through unexpected circumstances.

-- Kirkus Reviews

Dr. Roger and Holly Thomas run a successful fertility clinic in New York City. Roger tends to the patients' physical needs while Holly ministers to their emotional and psychological ones. The couple cherish the routines of their partnership and their happy marriage as they struggle with the pain of a lost child. Holly continues to throw their daughter birthday parties long after the child's been buried. This painful ritual causes her in-laws to question her sanity and is a source of annual familial strife.
Then the Thomas's son, Daniel, decides to complete his Bar Mitzvah. While Holly was born Jewish and Roger was born Catholic, neither parent practices his or her childhood religion. They've exposed Daniel to both religions for the sake of their families, but neither of them expected him to take it this far. Roger's devoutly Catholic family cannot accept Daniel's sincerity, and harsh words are said at his birthday party. Holly and Roger's resulting fight has surprising and unintended consequences.
All this turmoil takes its toll on the workings of the clinic. The Thomases have hosted something they call the Fertility Tour for over a decade. It's an opportunity for their clients to connect to one another outside of their familiar surroundings. Holly conducts the tour; she chooses the participants, orchestrates ice-breakers, and mediates conflicts. Normally she's a skillful operator, but she's lost her confidence. This year's tour is populated by an odd and ill-matched assortment of individuals. Needless to say, this tour does not run smoothly. Roger and Holly must find a way to reconnect with one another in order to salvage the retreat.

The Thomases deal with people at their most vulnerable. Fertility is closely tied to an individual's identity, and both men and women find it difficult to process the inability to have a child. While Holly and Roger have never encountered problems with conceiving, they have suffered a loss and are sympathetic to thwarted expectations. This closeness to struggle and their ongoing religious turmoil provide the pair with a lot of philosophical ground to cover. Is religion necessary to cope with the vicissitudes of life? Is God responsible?

Drinking the Knock Water is at heart an exploration of the role religion plays in the life of an individual. Faith in a god can both connect a soul to others and sow discord. In the end, it's up to the reader to decide if faith is essential or composed of empty rituals.

-- Manhattan Book Review

Excerpt: CHAPTER 1: Circumnavigating Sanity

          In a town famous for its ghosts, it was easy to imagine there was one lurking behind every tree. And while Holly knew most visitors to Sleepy Hollow expected movie-inspired visions of the headless horseman, in truth the densely wooded surroundings allowed a more peaceful somnolence. In spite of its thirty-mile proximity to the most populated city in the country, what with New York’s electric hubbub of restless, cosmopolitan energy, there was never a feeling of urgency in the little hamlet, merely a sleepy torpor, a sensing that the world stopped in this hollow of quiet dead.
            Whether the town cultivated any sensational image was another question altogether. Holly suspected it did not, at least not year round. Of course, there were the Halloween weekends, prompting arrival of thrill seekers by the thousands, but that was just theatrics. No real ghosts shared the stage.
            If there was any spectral unrest, it existed only in the minds of the towns' inhabitants.
            Even by the light of early evening in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where saturated gray skies released rain to drip from the trees, dotted here and there with planted shrubs and summer flowers in fresh bloom, there was a lovely serenity, enhanced further by the rain’s sudden cease. Here, there was nothing to fear.
            Holly entered the cemetery through scrolled iron gates wedged between gray quarried stone, which made up the wall bordering the grounds. She jogged up Forest Avenue, turned left on Transit, making her way up Hill Side, and then down onto Cascade, where she left the well-marked gravel path. From there she strode through wet grass crowded with lichened grave stones, some weatherworn and leaning askew, others newly polished with crisp lettering, until she reached the pale little stone marking the grave. At the baby’s feet, a short drop off past the main road, the Pocantico River burbled as it shot over rocky masses. Holly’s one request of Roger and the cemetery’s caretaker was that the site be near water, the giver of life, bringer of tranquility. Knowing how nearly Holly brinked insanity in those days, Roger swiftly supported her wishes; they were lucky to find a small plot in a relatively unpopulated section.
            Holly sat next to the grave, nestled the spray into the humped grass covering it, and leaned her cheek against the smooth stone. It was simple and austere, with only a slight scallop of embellishment at the top, befitting a little one who had never breathed air. She closed her eyes, inhaling deeply to catch her breath from the run, collecting her thoughts. Above her head, squirrels batted sticks together, hidden away in the leafy trees, a reminder of the unseen life they shared.
            Marit always managed to rattle her, either poking fun at Holly’s whims, or sometimes with outright malice, which Holly knew all too well stemmed from their differences in religious outlook. The fact that Arella’s birthday fell on St. John’s Eve didn’t help. For someone as devotedly Catholic as her sister-in-law, celebrating a baby’s life who had never been born, was sacrilege. The saint’s day was meant to celebrate a birth, Marit insisted, and certainly had nothing to do with a baby born dead.
            But it wasn’t a topic Holly was willing to think about today, not on Arella’s birthday. Instead, she catalogued her daughter’s gifts:  an enormous stuffed pony for her bed, and a cellphone. She chuckled at that one, recalling Roger’s perplexity.
            “Why do you have to get the baby a phone?” he’d asked her the week before when she walked into the house, arms loaded with shopping bags. Holly had exclaimed that Arella wasn’t a baby anymore, she was turning eleven, and every preteen needed a cellphone.
            Roger chewed his upper lip for a while, before asking, “Is this along the lines of ‘ET phone home?’”  He had laughed, and so had she. Gifts for Arella were an annual practice in their household, and long gone were the days where Roger made much of a fuss over it. Keeping Holly happy was his primary goal in life, even if that meant some particularly nutsy charges on their credit card every June. His wife’s frenzied activities subsided within a week or so after the birthday celebration, allowing her to settle back into reality, recharged and reaffirmed with the notion that she was doing the right thing by Arella.
            She felt warm pressure on her right shoulder, and opening her eyes saw that Millie’s husband, Josiah, knelt at her side on one corduroyed knee, his gnarled hand grasping her shoulder lightly, holding her steadfast. Holly looked up into the old man’s deep blue eyes, shot through with red veins, but firm and gentle in their gaze, and nodded. He stood up slowly and she extended a hand for him to pull, which he did.
            “Almost everybody’s there at the cottage,” he said. “Except Edward, but you knew that.” They were both aware that there was no need to explain further; of all the friends and relatives, Roger’s brother had never attended these parties, whether he was in town or off somewhere in the world. For some reason, Josiah enjoyed pointing out this fact to her, a reminder perhaps of which of the two older men in her life she could count on more.
            Holly stood immobile, gazing into the tangle of trees rambling up the hillside away from the brook.
            He looked at her closely. “We all live with ghosts.”
            The motion of her head was barely noticeable. “Yes,” she agreed. “Some are those of people who’ve never been born.”

            She looked down at the grave. “I have to leave now, Arella. Your party is starting.” She swept her index finger over the top of the stone, letting it linger on the upward swooping scallop, and then turned to walk with Josiah back up the hill.

About the Author:

As the award-winning author for her novels, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage and In Search of Sushi Tora, and on her lifestyle blog, “Feeding the Famished”, Emily Kemme tends to look at the world in all its rawness. She writes about human nature, and on her blog shares recipes and food for thought along with insights about daily life. She is a recipe creator but winces when labeled a foodie. She is the Food and Lifestyle Contributor for the Greeley Tribune’s Dining column and also writes features for the newspaper and its magazine, #Greality.

"I write about what I ate for lunch only if it's meaningful," Emily says. "Mostly, I'm just hungry.”

Emily also writes because her degrees in American and English History, followed by a law degree from the University of Colorado, left her searching for her voice. She also suffered from chronic insomnia.

“Writing helps clarify my mind, erasing clutter, and makes room for more impressions. My thoughts can seem random and disconnected, but once they flow onto paper, a coherency and purpose emerges, directing patterns into story. I sleep much better, too.”

As an author who lives in Greeley, Colorado, she celebrates people’s differences, noting that the biggest problem with being different is when it’s deemed a problem. Emily often identifies with the underdog, focusing on humanizing the outsider, showing there is not only one right way to be or to live. Through her writing she hopes her audience will be open to new ideas, the acceptance of others, and will recognize the universalities of human experience in a non-judgmental way as they meet her characters and follow their stories.

Her first novel, In Search of Sushi Tora, was awarded as Finalist for First Novel in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and her second novel, Drinking the Knock Water, was awarded as a Finalist in Chick Lit in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received two CIPA EVVY awards.  Emily is currently working on a children’s book series, Moro and The Cone of Shame, a collaborative project with her daughter-in-law, Mia. She is also writing her third novel, The Man With the Wonky Spleen, a story about human idiosyncrasies.

Professional Memberships: PEN America






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