@Ted_Tayler Takes Us Back to Colin’s World in UNFINISHED BUSINESS #Thriller

After a brisk ten minute walk Colin was stood on the pavement opposite the Aberdeen Music Hall, the venue for the first gig on Maiden’s Hair’s mini tour of the United Kingdom. He gazed at the magnificent pillared façade of the former Assembly Rooms and reckoned it was an appropriate setting for its band members who were paying tribute to legends of the heavy metal music genre that he had always enjoyed.

He crossed the road and searched out the poster advertising that night’s performance. There were no surprises; every detail on the billboard was exactly as Colin had included in his laptop file. There were six group members, all Canadian born and bred. Although the original members of the real Iron Maiden were now in their mid fifties, these young men were in their early thirties, with toned muscular bodies and a full head of hair nestling on their shoulders. Each one was every inch the rock god that they were imitating from the original band as they looked out from the billboard dressed in their ubiquitous denim and leather uniform.

Gabriel Anderson the dark haired lead singer with a pilot’s cap under his arm; Vincent Gagnon, Jordan Campbell and Nick Williams who provided the three guitar identity of the legends they were paying homage to. Jordan’s twin brother John was eerily like Nicko, Maiden’s drummer and Brandon Taylor completed the line up on bass as he mimicked Steve Harris, Maiden’s founder member. Colin was mesmerised. He couldn’t wait to hear them play tonight; if only it could have been Iron Maiden themselves! Still, he had to admit that the playlist was everything it should be, all the early favourites and a few of the newer tracks as well.

Colin’s stomach was telling him he had missed breakfast. He checked around the sides and back of the imposing Music Hall building to make certain everything was where he thought and then he walked down Union Street to find somewhere to eat. When he was fed and watered he made his way the short distance to the public library, where he spent several hours whiling away the time until he had calculated that the Maiden’s Hair entourage would arrive, ready to prepare for tonight’s gig.

Around three o’clock in the afternoon, Colin wandered back in the drizzly rain and sure enough a large Mercedes truck was parked up by the stage doors of the Music Hall. There were two roadies and it was evident to Colin that they had only just started unloading gear from the back of the truck. A couple of young lads were fetching and carrying smaller items, such as boxes of microphones, metre upon metre of leads, microphone stands, plus all the paraphernalia a drum kit comprises, all enclosed in battered old covers. The heavy lifting and manoeuvring of amplifiers, speakers, PA systems and lighting rigs was best left to the professionals!

Colin approached the older roadie and asked ‘Frankie?’

‘Yes mate. What can I do you for?’ Frankie replied in an accent not from Montreal or Ottawa but straight from London’s East End.

‘The tour management sent me up to give you a hand. I’ve just got back from several years abroad and I need to get some time in driving on the left hand side of the road again! I guess the extra pair of hands will be useful setting up too?’ Colin said.

‘Brilliant!’ said Frankie ‘Billy’s inside with a couple of staff from this place and I’m just going to start offloading the heavy stuff. If you want to pitch in you’re more than welcome mate!’

Colin took hold of the speaker cabinet Frankie shoved towards him, hoisted it easily onto his chest and walked into the building. As he walked towards the stage he had a brief smile at the corner of his mouth. One phone call to a dim young girl in London at the tour management company’s offices and he had discovered the lead roadie’s name; it was like taking candy from a baby! Neither Frankie nor Billy was going to check up on him. They would be only too happy that there was an extra pair of hands around to help with all the grafting and driving that they had to do; when you’re pretty much on minimum wage why sweat it?

The next couple of hours were spent getting the kit onto the stage and setting it up. Colin had seen it done hundreds of times on a smaller scale in The Crown and had studied footage on ‘how to’ online, so he coped well enough on the stuff he was comfortable with and steered clear of anything that was foreign to him. He watched Frankie and Billy in action and made mental notes of the various steps he needed to go through on later gigs on the lighting rigs for instance, to stop anyone asking exactly where and what he was doing when he was overseas. Life on the road as a road manager is one helluva lot tougher than lounging about with a cocktail in your hand on the veranda of a luxury villa, but Colin was pretty fit for a guy in his early forties and he had his eyes on the main prize. Travelling with Maiden’s Hair and listening to them play virtually each night was a bonus. Each gig was taking him closer and closer to his first task; to avenge the death of his precious daughter.


The sequel to the award winning ‘The Final Straw’ sees Colin Bailey return to the UK after almost a decade abroad. With a new name and a new face he still has scores to settle. His meticulous planning takes him ingeniously across Scotland and the North of England ticking names off his list with the police completely baffled. 

DCI Phil Hounsell pitted his wits against Colin before and so he is sent to Durham where he teams up with super intelligent young DS Zara Wheeler; together they track their man to Manchester and then eventually south to Bath. 

The final scenes take place on the streets of the Roman city; Phil Hounsell’s family is threatened and in a dramatic conclusion reminiscent of Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, the two men struggle above the foaming waters of the historic Pulteney weir. 

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with Ted Tayler on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://tedtayler.co.uk/


@WillNorthAuthor Shares an #Excerpt from SEASONS’ END #Women #Fiction

Pete arrived a month after Colin and Tyler had met and moved into their London flat in Chelsea. They were both in college in the fall of 1984, Tyler at Oxford and Colin at vet school.

Early one Saturday morning in October, as the hand-sized, yellowing leaves of the plane trees outside his window began carpeting the cobbled pavement below, Colin was awakened by the downstairs doorbell. He assumed it was Strong, too hammered, as usual, to find his keys. He struggled into a shirt, padded downstairs in his undershorts, threw open the door, and was already turning back toward the stairs when it registered that the person at the door wasn’t, in fact, Tyler, but a wisp of a girl standing beside a massive knapsack. Her face, delicate and angular, was slightly elongated, as if it had been shaped by Modigliani. Her eyes were the color of seawater, shifting between blue and green in the morning light as if tidal and flecked with gold like sunshine on wavelets.

“Hi, I’m Pete!”

Colin stared. He wasn’t actually awake yet.

“I’m Tyler’s girlfriend? From Seattle?”

“Oh. Right…” he said, though he hadn’t a clue why. Tyler hadn’t mentioned a girlfriend in Seattle. “Um, I think he’s still up at Oxford.”

He’d just realized he was standing at the open door, in front of a luminously beautiful young woman, without his trousers. This did not seem to faze the girl in the least.

“May I come in?” the sylph asked.

“Jeez, I’m sorry! Of course you can; I’m a little slow in the morning.” This was an understatement; Colin barely had a pulse in the morning, at least until he’d had his second cup of very strong tea.

“Let me take your backpack; we’re just up the stairs.”

He groaned as he lifted the pack, wondering what in heaven’s name she had in it and how so small a woman, only a couple of inches over five feet, had ever managed to get it here from Heathrow.

“I’m sorry to be so early,” Pete chirped as she closed the door. The apartment was above a space that once had stabled horses and now cosseted a perfectly restored red MG-TC roadster, complete with wire wheels which belonged to their very rich, very spoiled landlord, a lesser Saudi prince.

“It’s just that the overnight flights from the States get in practically at dawn and I didn’t know what else to do.”

Colin’s attention, at this moment, was fixed upon the rear elevation of the perfectly proportioned, almost doll-like woman climbing the stairs ahead of him. She was wearing a nearly ankle-length skirt with a small floral print on a straw-yellow background, a waist-length cotton cardigan the color of French vanilla ice cream, and saddle-tan flats. As she ascended, there was a very slight hitch in her right hip, an asymmetry that gave her a delightful bounce. Long blond hair, almost as pale as the cardigan and parted in the middle, shimmered like a shaft of sunlight between her shoulder blades. Why hadn’t Tyler told him this lovely creature—this “girlfriend”—was coming to visit?

Colin stashed Pete’s pack in a corner of Tyler’s room and settled her on the sofa in the bay window that overlooked their shady cul-de-sac—a “mews” was what the English called it. After he’d pulled on a pair of jeans, he put on some music and went to the kitchen to make tea. When he returned with their mugs the girl was fast asleep, curled like a ginger cat among the worn cushions of the couch. He watched her sparrow-like chest gently rise and fall, her porcelain face childlike in repose. There were the faintest freckles scattered across the bridge of her nose. Her right hand cradled her cheek and the slender fingers of her left hand, the nails neatly manicured but unpainted, draped limply over the seat cushion like tassels. He had never seen anything or anyone so perfect in his life.

He knelt and touched her arm. She jerked awake.

“Oops,” she said, rubbing her eyes and smiling sheepishly. “Jet lag.”

He stood, then handed her a mug of tea.

She peered into the cup and sniffed. “No coffee?”

“Um, no; you’re in England now. The choice is very bad coffee or very good tea. Go for the tea every time; no use trying to resist.”

She smiled. “And it cures jet lag?”

“Actually, no. There is only one known cure.”

“A nap?”

“Wrong. A walk. Daylight affects the melatonin in your brain, which in turn tells you when to be awake or asleep. Your melatonin is someplace over the mid-Atlantic, where it’s still dark. You need to let it catch up.

“With a nap,” she repeated, snuggling into the pillows again and giggling.

“With a walk and lots of sunshine which, uncharacteristically for October, seems today to be in ample supply, though I doubt they call it ‘Indian Summer’ over here. A nap, you see, would only worsen your jet lag.”

“What are you, a doctor?”

“Sort of. But the science is very clear on this.” What’s more, I should very much like to spend the rest of the day while you’re in a conscious state, Colin thought to himself.

“So I have a modest proposal,” he continued.

“Didn’t Jonathan Swift have one of those?” the girl said, giggling again. Her laughter reminded him of sleigh bells.

“That was several centuries ago, and I’m not Swift.”

“Oh, I don’t know; you’re doing okay so far…”

Colin was caught off guard.

“And your proposal was…?” she prompted.

He collected himself. “I propose we head out and see what London has to offer us this fine day, while we await Tyler’s return.” He listened to his own words and heard how formal his address had become after a few years in London, how incongruously thick his New York accent still remained, and it flustered him even more.

But the girl sat up and grinned as if it were Christmas. Then her look turned serious.

“May I just ask you a question?”


“Who are you?”


“I mean, you know. Who are you? What’s your name? What are you doing in Tyler’s apartment?”

He had no idea why his roommate had never mentioned him to his girlfriend—any more than he knew why he’d never mentioned the girlfriend. Or that she would be visiting. Or that he wouldn’t be here when she arrived. And yet it didn’t entirely surprise him, either. He’d learned that Tyler Strong, while affable and generous, was chronically unreliable. It often seemed to Colin as if Tyler was perpetually distracted by a narrative that was running parallel with the one in which he appeared to live but attended to only fitfully. Often it was amusing…when it wasn’t annoying. Today, it was annoying.

Colin shook his head, smiled, and introduced himself. They had their tea. And after Pete freshened up in the bathroom, they stepped out into the crisp autumn streets, strolled through Chelsea, and played boulevardiers as they passed the designer shops along Fulham and Brompton roads, until they reached Knightsbridge. Colin guided Pete into that vast brick-red terra cotta palace of luxury, Harrods, and bought them a picnic lunch in the department store’s sprawling ground floor Food Halls, with its acres of cheeses and fish and game and meats and fruits and vegetables and breads, all presented so artfully you’d think the same people who merchandised the designer clothing upstairs did the food floor as well. They ate on a Hyde Park bench beside the long, gently curved lake called the Serpentine.

“How long have you and Tyler been dating?” Colin finally asked.

Pete looked at him and, to his surprise, just shrugged.

He squinted. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

She watched the swans which, like icebreakers plowing through floes, cut wedges of open water through the fallen leaves papering the lake’s surface.

“It means I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“No, not really. The thing is, we’ve just always been together, since childhood. I really don’t know when the ‘dating’ began. You know what I mean?”

Colin didn’t, but said he did.

“He was always there; I was always there. We were always an ‘us.’”

“And you never had a second thought?”

She turned from the swans and looked at him. “No. Not till now.”

He had a momentary rush of hope before she added, “Why’s he not here?”


Every summer for generations, three families intertwined by history, marriage, and career have spent “the season” at their beach cottage compounds on an island in Puget Sound. Today, Martha “Pete” Petersen, married to Tyler Strong, is the lynchpin of the “summer people.” In childhood, she was the tomboy every girl wanted to emulate and is now the mother everyone admires.
Colin Ryan, family friend and the island’s veterinarian, met Pete first in London, years earlier, when she visited his roommate, Tyler. He’s loved her, privately, ever since. Born in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, son of a bar owner, he’s always been dazzled by what he sees of the sun-kissed lives of the summer people.

But this summer, currents strong as the tides roil: jealousies grow, tempers flare, passions clash. Then, on the last day of the season, a series of betrayals alters the combined histories of these families forever.

As in previous novels, The Long Walk Home and Water, Stone, Heart, with Seasons’ End, Will North weaves vivid settings and memorable characters into a compelling tale of romance and suspense.

Buy Now@ Amazon

Genre – Women’s Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Will North on Facebook & Twitter

Website willnorthonline.com

Is Your Chair Killing You? by @KentBurden #AmWriting #Health #NonFiction

You may not want to sit down, because what I’m about to tell you will shock you. In fact, what I’m about to tell you may rock you to your very core. But whatever you do, don’t sit down. The truth is:  most of us sit way too much, and all that sitting may be killing you. That’s right, killing you! I know what you’re thinking: “This guy is a being dramatic.” But according to some groundbreaking new research, this statement isn’t hyperbole at all. Sitting for long periods of time may be just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, you probably know that sitting on the couch all day isn’t going to make you a healthy person. But what if I told you that even if you adhere to the government’s guidelines for daily exercise and work out for thirty to sixty minutes per day three to five days per week, you still may not be doing enough to counteract the damage that sitting for extended periods does to your health? That’s a shocking statement for most of us! Don’t sit down.

For years doctors, exercise physiologists, personal trainers (like myself), and the government have been telling you that if you eat sensibly, don’t smoke or drink to excess and exercise, you could significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, metabolic syndrome and a variety of other lifestyle diseases that currently plagues our society. However, new research suggests that although 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day can help improve lung capacity, strengthen the heart muscle, improve circulation, burn calories, strengthen muscle fibers and connective tissue, lower stress hormones and improve brain function, sitting for long periods of time may be a health risk unto itself, much like smoking tobacco.

The unavoidable truth is that most of us spend the vast majority of our day seated. What I explain in this book is why extended periods of sitting are  detrimental to your health, and why you must get up and move regularly, even if only for a minute or two each hour. And what I will show you is how simple it is to fit regular, daily movement into your modern life at work and at home.

I am going to use my wife as an example. My wife is the director of marketing for an architectural millwork company. Her typical day goes something like this: She gets up at about 6:00 a.m. and does twenty minutes of yoga; she showers, gets dressed and gets ready for work. She usually has a couple of cups of coffee and a fruit smoothie for breakfast then drives about seven minutes to work (she is on the low side of commute time, as the average American commute is twenty-three minutes one way to work). She gets into the office at nine o’clock and goes directly to her desk where she proceeds to spend most of the morning working at her computer. About one o’clock she stops and has lunch. Most days she brown bags it, bringing something like tomato soup and a sandwich, or leftovers from dinner the night before, other days she runs out and gets something from a local drive through and takes it back to her desk. The afternoon tends to be more of the same unless she has a meeting. If she has a meeting she might drive to someone else’s office and have a seat for that meeting. She usually leaves the office for home at around 6:45. When she gets home she takes the dog for a brisk thirty-minute walk, then we sit down for dinner. After dinner we sit down together on the couch and talk and watch a little television, then toddle off to bed at around eleven.

Does my wife’s day sound familiar? It should, because that’s pretty typical for most of us. In fact, most of us don’t even get in the fifty minutes of exercise my wife fits in. After looking at her typical day, we found that she spent an astounding twelve hours in the seated position each day. With this schedule my wife would be considered to have what the government, medical professionals and personal trainers classify as an active life style. Her fifty minutes of exercise (twenty minutes of yoga and a brisk thirty minutes of walking five days a week) makes her “active,” which means she is the poster child for what all of us should be aiming for. But what about all that time that she does nothing but sit? Can those fifty minutes really make up for those other twelve hours? According to several new studies the answer may be no.

The desk job has become the norm in America and across most of the Western world. Many of us are virtually chained to our desks, working on our computers, answering emails, teleconferencing and doing Skype meetings. For most, the only reason to get up out of our chairs is to take a quick bathroom break, and then it’s back to the desk to type up that report or send out that follow-up e-mail. According to a poll of 6,300 people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Americans spend an average of 56 hours each week just sitting. That’s up by eight percent in the last twenty years. We are also contending with longer commutes to work, leaving us sitting in our car fighting traffic for longer periods of time each day, and causing us to be more sedentary than ever before.  But it’s not just our jobs that encourage all this sedentary behavior; it’s also what we do when we are off work.


Sitting for extended periods of time is as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes. And exercising for 30-60 minutes a day isn’t enough to undo the damage from extended periods of sitting. Is Your Chair Killing You reveals shocking new research showing that sitting for long periods greatly increases your risk of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Our bodies were designed to move constantly over the course of the day, but most of us sit for hours a day at work and at home! Fitness and wellness expert and award-winning author Kent Burden has created brief, simple movements you can incorporate into your daily life to combat the damaging effects of sitting. These simple movements, done standing for 1-5 minutes each hour will burn calories, energize and refresh you, and you won’t even break a sweat; you’ll even improve your back pain. This book is a how-to for weight loss and disease prevention. Read this book–you’ll be healthier in as little as 8 minutes a day.

Nominated for the Dan Poynter Global Ebook Awards and won honorable mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Non-Fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Kent Burden on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.kentburden.com

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Roland Hughes Asks Do You Know Me? #Dystopian #BookClub #Fiction

Despite what you have heard, that question is foremost in the mind of every writer who hasn’t become fabulously wealthy.  I have heard many deny it, yet they go out and promote their books.  You will hear many claim they “need to write and don’t care if anybody buys it.”  Well, the first part was probably true, but if they didn’t care about people buying it they wouldn’t keep putting it up for temporary free download.  Not just a chapter or two mind you, the entire book. The on-line world has put in place systems to feed this need for recognition and/or discovery.

The on-line world has answered with hundreds of places to download books for free.  Even Amazon has various “free download” promotional programs.  Many of the “free” eBook sites allow authors to post just a few chapters so readers can decide if they like the work before purchasing it.  There was a time when that actually worked for all involved.  Most of the services handing out an author’s work for free allow them access to some kind of dashboard or report which shows them the number of downloads to feed the fantasy of having been discovered.  It really is just a fantasy for 99.99%.  True, when eBooks and eReaders were first entering the market such free downloads generated buzz and sold additional units.  Today the only buzz they seem to generate is in the file hoarder community and they are only looking for free stuff.

Currently there are a growing number of people with the addiction.  There has been a slogan attached to drug dealers, at least in the writing world if not real life, “first hit is free.”  Now anyone can upload an unedited work to one or more of these on-line markets and watch the download counter climb.  The rush feeds the fantasy they will be “discovered” and offered a book contract with a rich and famous sized advance.  When the rush wears off they either begin spending their own money promoting or quickly create another work to post for free so they can feel the rush again.

You’ve all seen the news of formerly famous people and their downward spiral out of this world.  Addiction is a brutal thing.  Many of you have heard or seen news reports where some member of law enforcement comes on the screen and states “the new form of drug Y isn’t the same as it was in the 60s and 70s, it is N times deadlier.”  The same has become true of the free book market.  There has been a culture shift on a global scale.  A growing percentage of the world population now believe they should be able to download anything they want without having to pay for it.  The people making the money from this new addiction are the people selling the paraphernalia which would be the devices required to consume and or obtain the free stuff.  Many vendors of such devices pitch the size of the free library you will have access to with their device.

On the other side of that ether from whence the free stuff comes is a writer who is driven to write asking “Do you know me?”


“John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between “John Smith” (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.

Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N

Genre – Dystopian Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Website http://johnsmith-book.com/

@CarinKilbyClark Dissects the Importance of Book Covers #NonFiction #AmWriting

We’ve all heard the quote, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But the reality is, just about every book is judged by its cover. And how could it not be – it’s the first thing you see and it’s what peaks your interest to look at additional details and determine if you want to buy or read the book.

Many times, the cover alone is what prompts a reader to purchase the book. No matter how you look at it, book covers matter. There’s tons of research to support buyers’ decisions to purchase a book based solely on the cover. There’s also a link between the cover, and the expectations readers form based on  the cover image(s).

Your cover sets the stage for what the reader can expect and is a major part of the book buying decision. It’s something that you absolutely must put effort into to make sure it’s an accurate and attractive representation of your writing.

Here are three reasons why book covers are so important:

1) Book covers help readers make an informed decision. If your book cover is truly representative of the contents of your writing, then the book cover can be beneficial in helping the reader decide if the book will be worthwhile. Making sure your cover is related to the story, and is attractive to potential buyers, who are interested in that genre, is key.

2) Book covers are part of the readers’ overall impression of the book. You could write the most outstanding book ever, but if it’s cover is subpar, the book won’t be remembered for its stellar content. Instead, readers will recall the lackluster cover instead of your brilliant writing. Do your research and find out what readers are interested in, and design the most appealing cover you can dream up.

3) Book covers are your book’s first impression. We all know how important first impressions are. The book cover is your book’s first impression. You need to make sure that positive impact is made right up front. If your book cover does its job, you will certainly sell more books; and you’ll have many happy readers promoting your book through word-of-mouth.

Carin Kilby Clark is the author of the ebook, Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms: 5 Simple Tips on How to Control Your Time and Get Things Done (April 2014, Clue Consulting, LLC). If you want to learn how to finally put time on your side, then this book has the goods that you need – and for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Buy your copy today!

COVER 5 (3).jpg

Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

I’m just too busy

I have too much on my plate

There’s never enough time

I have to do it all

I don’t know how to manage it all

If you answered yes, then prepare to put an end to the overwhelm once and for all. In Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms, Carin Kilby Clark shares five simple tips that moms can implement right away to improve how they control their time and get things done.

Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms offers insight into the one major block that prevents us from maximizing our time, gives readers practical information that is easily applied to everyday life, and helps you along the path to your “aha” moments about how and why you’ve been ineffective in managing your time; and how to to finally put time in its rightful place {on your side, of course!}.

As the mother of three very active children who also works full-time, runs a business in her “spare” time, publishes a lifestyle & parenting site, manages a growing motherhood community, and regularly contributes parenting advice to many popular sites in the parenting/family life niche, Carin’s advice is solid; based on methods that she has successfully implemented in controlling her time and getting things done.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Parenting, Relationships

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Carin Kilby Clark on Facebook & Twitter

INCITEMENT by David Graham @davidangraham #Thriller #JohnMurray

Chapter 2

Early next morning, a tired Diane Mesi looked around Campas’s cramped hotel room. Pairs of bleary, sleep-deprived eyes belonging to the other team members stared back. Everyone had worked through the night, trying to reconstruct the attack. The meeting was so they could share findings and decide the next steps. Through local intelligence they’d known for months that the Madrigal-Zaragosa Alliance maintained a significant heroin refinery in the region but had never managed to locate it. When they’d received news of the explosion there had been no doubt of the target. Before they arrived there had been conjecture that some opportunist, drawn by the large quantities of drugs, had carried out the raid. But once on site, questions started to crop up. Campas had remarked to Mesi that they could be looking at something new. The way he had said it left no doubt that he considered anything “new” in their business to be distinctly unwelcome.

Once the last team members had filed in, Campas stood up. He was not a physically imposing man–small, with thinning hair and a hawkish nose–but everyone’s attention was immediately focused on him.

“Antonio, the perimeter guards?” the enquiry was directed at a tall man leaning against the wardrobe.

“Both killed by shots to the head,” said Antonio Guzman, a pathologist attached to the team. “We’re doing some further work on the shell fragments, but I’d say we’re dealing with subsonic rounds fired over distance. Cause of death would have been a complete shut-down of the nervous system, almost certainly instantaneous.”

“The nearest suitable cover to the compound is at least eighty meters, so we’re dealing with a reasonably skilled sniper,” somebody said.

“Snipers,” interjected Ruben, a SWAT officer newly assigned to Campas’s team.

“Why more than one?” asked Mesi. Although she was there as a courtesy, Campas had encouraged her to participate.

Ruben turned to a plan of the compound that had been stuck on the wall and indicated locations on opposite sides of the area. “Both guards were shot while they were the maximum distance apart. For one man to do this, he’d have had to kill the first guard, then move at least two to three hundred meters across the hill behind to get into position for the second shot. It doesn’t seem that the building guards raised the alarm or left their posts, which indicates the attackers using rifles equipped with suppressors, consistent with the subsonic rounds mentioned. To be confident of a headshot with a suppressor, an experienced shooter would have preferred to be within a certain minimum distance. Stealth appears to have been a main objective of the initial phase of the attack, so I’m assuming speed was also important. The time between the first and last exterior guard being killed would ideally have been as brief as possible.”

“Makes sense: the longer they took, the more chance of detection,” Campas said.

“Yes and why take the risk of one man moving at speed across the hill to take the second shot?” Ruben asked. “It’s not an easy thing to do: shoot, run over uneven terrain, and then quickly shoot again with confidence. Also, while he’s moving there’s a chance he’d attract attention.”

“I’ll go with that,” said Campas, nodding. “So, two snipers killing at a synchronized time?”

“Or at a signal, perhaps from a third party. Good shooting regardless: a head shot downhill from at least eighty meters with a suppressor.”

Mesi sensed some uneasiness creeping into the room.

“It strikes me detailed reconnaissance would’ve been required for this kind of attack,” Campas said, looking at the plan of the compound. “Familiarity with the workings of the guards could only have come from time spent observing the site, possibly over a number of days. Ruben, when we’re finished here start scouting the surrounding area to see if you can find any evidence of their presence. There’s a lot of ground to cover. Will you need me to draft in more manpower?”

“I’d prefer to limit the number, at least initially, to minimize the chance of destroying evidence. If we could spare two or three people, I can give them a quick run-through on how to proceed.”

“Okay. Oscar, Carlos, and …,” Campas turned to look at Mesi, smiling. “How about it Diane? Would you be willing to help Ruben with what’s likely to be pain-in-the-ass drudge work?”

“Absolutely,” she answered.

“Great, now what about the guards killed closer to the building?”

“One shot through the head at close range with a 9 mm,” Guzman resumed. “The other had his throat cut. The killer struck him with tremendous force just above the clavicle using a heavy blade. The blow went through the carotid artery and was so severe that the spinal cord between the C5 and C6 vertebrae at the rear of his neck was severed. No defence wounds or signs of struggle. Total surprise, I’d say.”

“Combined with what we know about the attacks on the exterior guards, anyone want to say out loud what I’m guessing we’re thinking?” Campas asked the room.

“Military training. I know the cartels have used mercenaries in the past, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one of the older team members.

“I’m sorry, this may be a stupid question,” Mesi said, “but what do we think was the motive? Robbery? How much heroin could they have taken with them?”

“We hear of soldiers carrying twenty to fifty kilo packs while force-marching over long distances,” Guzman offered. “Even with only three or four men, twenty kilos a man is a substantial haul. Most likely they had transport standing close by, ready for an all-clear once they’d executed the attack.”

“True, but if you have this capability in planning and firepower, is this the obvious place to strike? Once you have the heroin, you still have the risks associated with transporting it,” said Mesi.

“Maybe they only had intelligence about this location, or perhaps the fact that it is an unlikely target was why they picked it,” Guzman countered.

“Perhaps, but I have to admit that, like Diane, I have some misgivings,” Campas said. “The tactics and professionalism involved here are without precedent. There was only one notable thing about the refinery: the amount of heroin on site at any one time, both raw and refined. We’re guessing at least 2,000 kilos. To execute the attack and remove that much heroin would’ve taken time. It’s very risky. So we can probably assume some of the heroin may have been destroyed, and if that’s the case, then outlandish as it seems: why not all of it?”

It was clear to Diane that while some of the agents had considered this already, others hadn’t. From the disbelieving expressions on some faces, it was not difficult to distinguish the two.

“So,” Campas concluded. “We need to pursue both robbery and destruction as motives.”

“Sal, do you think we might be dealing with a state-sponsored action here?” one of the younger agents asked.

“You mean, has the U.S. initiated something along the lines of Plan Coca without telling us?”

Plan Coca was a recently launched, joint Colombian-U.S. initiative to bring the drug war to the doorstep of the main producers in Colombia. The strategy involved applying military resources, in the form of fumigation runs from the air and troop movements on the ground, to forcibly eject the growers from their territorial strongholds. Unsurprisingly, it had no shortage of opponents, including some of Colombia’s neighbors, who had complained that the Plan would push the struggle into their territories.

The agent glanced at Mesi momentarily before nodding.

“I very much doubt it. Plan Coca’s a highly politicized operation in a welcoming sovereign state. What do you think, Diane?” asked Campas.

“No, there’s absolutely no way military action in Mexico would ever be countenanced, not even a covert attack like this,” she said. “We’ve supported Colombia with military aid for years, so our involvement’s in the public domain. No one would even dream of risking the blowback of unsanctioned action in Mexico.”

“Until we know more, let’s hold off with further speculation on motive; we need to concentrate on the work we have in front of us.” Campas checked his notes. “I think we’ve covered everything; here’s how I suggest we proceed.”



A brutal conflict unleashed.

Who stands to win?

A bloody massacre at a Mexican heroin refinery; a Miami-bound freight ship hijacked for its cargo of illegal narcotics; the ruthless assassination of a Kosovar drug lord – a war has erupted between two drugs superpowers.

As DEA Agent Diane Mesi investigates she becomes convinced that the conflict is being orchestrated by an unknown third party. But she is marginalised by her colleagues and her judgement is challenged at every turn. Only if she can expose the truth will she be able to stop the violence and save her career.

Michael Larsen is an ex-soldier and hired mercenary who has been contracted to fuel the conflict at every opportunity until it destroys both sides. As he battles his own demons, he hopes that by directing the violence he will attain some measure of redemption.

But neither Mesi nor Larsen know the full extent of the forces at play or of what is truly at stake. As they each pursue their own resolution, the violence escalates and they become increasingly vulnerable to the dangers that stalk them.

Incitement won the John Murray Show / RTE Guide / Kazoo Competition from over 500 entries.

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Genre – Thriller

Rating – R

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Connect with David Graham on Facebook & Twitter

Website www.davidgrahambooks.com

Rising Tide: Dark Innocence by Claudette Melanson @Bella623 #YA #PNR

Caelyn was in the kitchen, pouring coffee into a travel mug to take to the office.  Her eyes popped wide when she saw me bound around the corner.  “Maura? Your hair is up?”

I rolled my eyes, but to be honest, her surprise was justified.  This really was a first.  I tried to smile nonchalantly, and shrugged.  “I wanted to try it out.”

“Weird…but ok…”  She shrugged as well and turned back to the counter.  I was on my way to the cabinet to dig out my favorite honey-flavored cereal, when my mom’s arm came across my path to block me.  In her hand was a plateful of scrambled eggs.

“Here, Maura, why don’t you eat this?” my look of disappointment caused her to use an infallible tactic—guilt.  “I got up early to make them for you.”

“And…what’s wrong with cereal?”  I took the plate obligingly.

She tried to sound indifferent, but I noticed the nervous tremble, underlying, in her voice.  “It’s time you put more protein into your diet.”

“Mom, I’m almost seventeen, and you pick now to become more concerned with my diet.”

“You’re right, I should have done that a long time ago.”  She patted my head affectionately, and of course with that, the battle was over for me.  I was now resigned to the eggs, my sugary, morning fix lost to me.

I took a whiff.  A cook Caelyn was not…that was another reason I took on kitchen duty, but they smelled mouthwatering.  “Mmmmm,” I surprised myself by scooping a wad of them up with my fingers, not bothering to grab a fork.  I wolfed half the plateful down in this manner before I noticed my mother staring at me open-mouthed.

I laughed nervously, blushing profusely.  “Hey!  You’re right, protein is good.”  I didn’t want to, but forced myself to take the time to fetch silverware and went to sit at the dining room table.




Rising Tide will sink it’s teeth into you, keeping you awake into the wee hours of the night

Maura’s life just can’t get any worse…or can it?

Isolated and sheltered by her lonely mother, Maura’s never been the best at making friends. Unusually pale with a disease-like aversion to the sun, she seems to drive her classmates away, but why?

Even her own father deserted her, and her mother, before Maura was born. Bizarre physical changes her mother seems hell bent on ignoring, drive Maura to fear for her own life. And her luck just seems to get worse.

Life is about to become even more bewildering when her mother’s abrupt…and unexplained…decision to move a country away sets off a chain of events that will change Maura forever. A cruel prank turned deadly, the discovery of love and friendship….and its loss, as well as a web of her own mother’s lies, become obstacles in Maura’s desperate search for a truth she was never prepared to uncover.

Featured on one of the most popular health blogs on the internet as a giveaway!

Be sure to check out the blog on Maria Mind Body Health to win a free copy today! Go to Mariamindbodyhealth.com and check out the blog Chicken “Wild Rice” Soup for your chance to win!

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Head over to Goodreads for a chance to score a free copy today!

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Genre – YA Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG

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Website http://claudettemelanson.wix.com/author

A Life Less Ordinary by Victoria Bernadine @VicBernadine #ChickLit #Excerpt

“And that’s when I did it.”

Rebecca and Daisy sat at the bar on either side of Manny as she sipped a beer. They were listening intently to her story of the staff meeting.

“Did…what?” Rebecca asked cautiously.

“I quit.”


Manny winced at both the volume of the screech and the fact that it was in stereo, directly in her ears.

She shook her head. “My God–another fifteen years? I can’t even–not another day!”

“You didn’t just walk off the job, did you?” Daisy asked incredulously.

“I offered two weeks’ notice. Steph told me I could leave today.” Manny shrugged. “So I did.”

“I take it she wasn’t impressed,” Rebecca said drily.

“Hah! That’s putting it mildly! On the other hand, I’m not sure she actually cares all that much. It just looks really, really bad for somebody to quit on her first full day on the job. I think she just wanted to have the problem…well, not solved, but out of sight as quickly as possible.” Manny shrugged again. “In two weeks, it’ll be like I was never even there.”

Daisy frowned at the trace of bitterness in Manny’s voice even as she asked, “So what are you going to do now?”

“I’ve already done it,” Manny replied calmly.

“What have you done?” Daisy asked.

“I’m cashing out my pension. Rebecca, you can sell my house. I’ve decided I’m going to have a mid-life crisis, and by God, I’m going to have it like a man!”

“What the hell–?” Rebecca asked, at a loss.

“I’m going on a road trip. Hopefully with a young man in a hot red convertible–but I’ll take whoever shows up.”

Daisy stared at her, stunned. All she could think to say was, “Huh?”

“I put the personal ad online today,” Manny continued.

Manny handed Daisy a slip of paper covered with her familiar scrawl.

Daisy read it out loud for Rebecca’s benefit. “SWF, 45, having mid-life crisis, seeks travelling companion with own money for six-month road trip to destinations unknown. Don’t worry–no sex wanted or offered. Young men preferred but really don’t give a damn. You have a month to respond then I’m leaving with or without you. Hot red convertible will be considered an asset. ROSE!”

“Now I know you’re pissed if you’re calling me Rose,” Manny said ruefully.

“I’m your sister–I’ll call you whatever the hell I want!” Daisy snarled.

Rebecca finally found her voice again. “Have you lost your ever-loving mind?”

“No,” Manny said seriously. “I think I’ve finally found it.”


For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.

After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.

Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

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Genre – ChickLit, Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Blog victoriabernadine.wordpress.com

@MargaretWestlie Says Radio Stage Fright No More #Historical #Mystery

I have always been rather silent in company.  I dreaded any kind of personal exposure where I’d have to speak.  Then I had the opportunity to take part in a workshop as part of another course I was taking that dealt with this very issue.  The name of the program was Speaking Circles.  It was a milder form of Toastmasters and ran for six weeks.

One of the exercises we had to do was to sit with a partner, someone whom we had never met and look steadily at them for a period of time taking in their features and demeanour.  We were to hold their gaze for at least a minute and then switch.  The partner did the looking.  I think the time each gazed was at least a minute and when you were the one being gazed at it got mighty uncomfortable, but if you broke the gaze you had to start all over again.  You weren’t aloud to talk.  If you have done your best to be invisible most of your life it was a very difficult thing to do but it taught you how to be comfortable being looked at.

The second part of the program was extemporaneous speaking.  We started with a three minute talk on a subject of our choosing then as the weeks rolled by we worked up to 15 minutes.    We learned to pause, smile and make eye contact with the audience.  It makes friends of each one, and friends only want the best for us.  We had to speak coherently without pause or conversational fillers like ums or ers.  At the end of our speech we had to stand there and be verbally appreciated and applauded.  We had to respond to the appreciation which would go like this:  “Thank you, Margaret, you have a very clear way of presenting your ideas.”  My response would be:  “Thank you, ‘Betty’, I have a very clear way of expressing my ideas.”  This would go round to every individual in the audience then I would have to stand there to receive their applause.  If I started to leave the stage before the applause was finished, I’d be called back to do the applause all over again.  It is a difficult thing to accept applause and the introvert’s instinct is to run and hide.

The result of this course is that now I can separate my public speaking self from my private “want to hide behind the nearest chair” self and give a relaxed, reasonable speech.  The techniques that I learned are transferable.  I can speak extemporaneously at book launches, read scripture with expression in church, and talk to the host of a radio show.  I was interviewed for the Main Street program on CBC last year.  I was then that I realized that I wasn’t talking to the microphone, I was talking to the host.  And that’s the secret to it all.  Pause, smile and make eye contact with your audience, be it one radio host or a roomful of people.  Don’t talk to the microphone, it’s only a tool.  People want to hear what you have to say, so say it with conviction.  And never forget to smile and make eye contact.


Anna Gillis, the midwife and neighbour in Mattie’s Story, has been found killed. The close-knit community is deeply shaken by this eruption of violence, and neighbours come together to help one another and to discover the perpetrator. But the answer lies Anna’s secret, long guarded by Old Annie, the last of the original Selkirk Settlers, and the protagonist of An Irregular Marriage. Join the community! Read Anna’s Secret and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie.

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Genre – Fiction, mystery, historical

Rating – G

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Website http://www.margaretwestlie.com


The Other Side of the Ice by @TheobaldSprague #AmReading #Memoir

The Other Side of the Ice:

One Family’s Treacherous Journey Negotiating the Northwest Passage

Four people, my three children and myself, who were separated more than a decade and a half ago were now being given the rare opportunity to reconnect and perhaps start anew. June 16, 2009, dawned with a deep blue New England sky. A fresh, morning breeze out of the northwest played about Bagan and gently bumped her up against what might be one of her last secure resting places for the next five months. Her tired crew quietly stowed last-minute items and double- checked deck lashings and safety devices for events and places no one could predict or, as of yet, imagine. As the small crew scurried about silently, an invisible transition was occurring. After waiting for two years, Bagan was now ready to lead the way into a vast and deadly unknown.

The docks at Goat Island were virtually empty. Those few who did saunter by took little notice of Bagan or her crew. At 11:00 a.m., 103 years to the day after Amundsen’s ship Gjoa left Oslo, Bagan’s 325-horsepower Lugger diesel engine was fired up in earnest and, with little fanfare, she slipped her lines.

As we slowly powered through Newport’s inner harbor, I picked up my cell phone and called Pierre Irving, a very dear sailing friend in Newport. Pierre and I had shared many hard-fought miles together, The Two Man Transatlantic Race in particular being some of our toughest. I wanted to call and simply say good-bye to him and his wife, Kathy.

Bagan made her way out of the harbor entrance, past Ft. Adams and Goat Island landmarks that I’d known and honored for years, landmarks that I was starting to realize I may never see again.

Not near his phone, Pierre’s outgoing voicemail message played. As it did, the enormity of what lay ahead of us hit me—8,500 miles through some of the world’s harshest maritime environment. The concept of navigating un- charted waters and as yet unknown perils to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific swept over me and I couldn’t speak.

As Pierre’s voicemail beeped, my tears kept me from leaving the simplest of messages. I merely wanted to say that I’d see them in five months and wanted to wish them a wonderful summer.

I couldn’t.

The overwhelming thought of what my summer and fall held choked off any words. I wasn’t ready for it but unintentionally I’d severed the last connection to home and could only pray that we were ready for what lay ahead.


TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 

A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.

Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

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Genre – Memoir, Adventure, Family, Climate

Rating – PG

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Website www.spraguetheobald.com