Category Archives: Novels

Life Is for Enjoying

Guest post by Coleen Patrick

The fragility and courage of young men–why are these qualities so heart-breaking to me? Is it because men are supposed to be stronger than women? Or is it more personal than that, since my son survived cancer when he was a teen?

When I first read Coleen’s post, I knew her brother’s face would remain in my memory for a long time. That’s why I’m honored to have this as my guest post for today. Thank you, Coleen.

November 1st was the start of National Novel Writing Month–NaNoWriMo.  This year I am participating and writing in honor of my brother.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo five years ago, and used the general principles to write my first middle grade story.  I’d been filling notebooks with stories for years, but I did it strictly for the fun of it.  Suddenly I wanted to do more and NaNo seemed like the perfect way to launch that spark.  So I started writing with more of a purpose.  The only person I told at the time (other than my husband) was my brother.  I remember him being fascinated by the idea of writing a thousand plus words a day.  He was a creative type–he drew, wrote, cooked (even went to culinary school), so he was the perfect person to understand the need to do a writing marathon in a month.

When I finished that first draft, I put it away to read it at a later date with fresh eyes.  Then, when the time came to go back to it, I decided I didn’t really want to write.  So I went out and got a job, leaving the story behind.

I was afraid.  Afraid to read the rough draft.  Afraid of what it would mean to move forward with my writing.  So I went about life and work without it.

And then a couple of months later, my brother died.

It was sudden–a brain aneurysm.  He was 31.

My brother was so funny.  He did the best Chewbacca impression ever.  He was also incredibly kind.  Maybe it’s the sharp finality of death that smooths away the rough edges of a life, but I truly can’t remember him ever being anything but nice to me.

But I think he was hard on himself.  He had unrealized dreams.  He had physical obstacles, like when he stopped working in restaurants because he couldn’t be on his feet for that many hours (he battled Type 1 diabetes starting from the age of 11).  But I think maybe some of his biggest struggles were more internal.  He got bogged down by dark moments, the kind that show up to shadow your plans and leave you filled with self-doubt and fear.

I know that fear.

I have one of my brother’s journals.  In it there’s the beginnings of a story, some sketches and some personal notes he wrote to himself.  One of those notes sticks with me:

“Write damn you! Write! Anything, something, Please!”

My first instinct is to feel sad at that personal plea to his self, but then I realize that goes against what he wrote.  Because he didn’t want to get stuck in those paralyzing fears.

In fact the first line in the journal he wrote is: “Life is for enjoying.”

I remember my aunt said at his funeral that she was sad because she couldn’t learn anything more from him and I get that because I would love to know what he would have thought of the LOST finale (our last conversation happened to be about the beginning episodes of season three and the oh so random subject of peanut butter).  I also am curious what his thoughts would be regarding Twitter, the Kindle or his take on the whole new world of publishing.  I would love to hear his opinion on all of this crazy writing stuff I’ve been pursuing. Plus I wonder if he too would be blogging, putting his writing and drawings out there. Tweeting.

But then again I know now, five years later, that I am still learning from him.

I am learning not to be afraid.  I am learning not to worry about regret.

And I am learning to enjoy my life, from random peanut butter moments to marathon writing months.

 What are you looking forward to?

This post first appeared here on October 24, 2011.

Thanks, Coleen!

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Crowther and Warren

Debt collector Matt Spears isn’t having a good day. He’s being framed by the cops over an alleged assault and has inexplicably found himself indebted to the blind but ruthless gangster, Vincent Barbour. When Barbour’s supposedly dead niece, Emma, surfaces in a graphic sexual video on a porn site, he asks Matt to find her in exchange for wiping the slate clean. Within a matter of hours, Matt is plunged into a world of sex, blackmail and murder. Trying to unravel the mysteries of a troubled young girl’s disappearance, he discovers the dark side of the porn industry, complicated family secrets, government corruption, sadistic gangsters, and narcissistic celebrities who all come together to find a girl who is simply … missing.

Novella also available

A Matt Spears Mystery/Amazon 5 stars

Barry Crowther makes his home in San Clemente, Southern California. Originally he’s from Manchester, England. He has had short stories published and this is his first novel on the eBook platform. He continues to work and write on the follow-up novel in the San Clemente sun with his three daughters, wife and chocolate Lab, Coney.

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The queen is dead. The dragons are finally free. But was the cost too high? While the Council of Man and Beast struggles to gain control over a land fractured by war, a young woman wages her own struggle against the ghosts of her past.

Winds From the North is the sequel to Blood of the Dragon.

Samantha Warren is an indie fantasy and science fiction author who spends her days immersed in dragons, space ships, and vampires. Her best selling books are Blood of the Dragon (Book #1), a full-length epic fantasy novel, and her urban fantasy novella series, Jane. She is currently writing the sequel to Blood of the Dragon, along with an as-yet-unnamed science fiction novel.

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Anderson and Owen

DEATH. It’s the one experience everyone will share–except for Jak Hamelton. Three words whirl Jak to a garden paradise where a treacherous interaction ushers death and evil into the world. When a mysterious benefactor offers Jak the opportunity to bring the dead back to life and live forever, it sounds impossible But after Jak’s grandfather unexpectedly begins aging backwards, it appears the dream just might be reality.

Jak and the Scarlet Thread is the first of a series of young  adult/tween Biblical fantasy adventure books that will take readers through the entire Bible, starting with the tumultuous first nine chapters of Genesis.

Nathan J. Anderson is a writer, speaker, radio host, teacher and musician intent on teaching families the Bible in ways that grab their souls and set them on fire to know God. He graduated from Bethel Seminary with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and spent ten years pastoring in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in July 2010, he spends plenty of time thinking about this life and the next, and trying to live with one foot in both places.

Paperback/460 pages   Kindle Edition   ISBN-13: 978-1456477110, ISBN-10: 1456477110, LCCN: 2010919196, BISAC: Fiction/Christian/Fantasy

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Kate is a singer/songwriter pursuing a relationship with computer game designer Phillip. After her grandfather’s sudden death from injuries sustained in a suspicious car crash, Kate is forced to choose whether to focus on Phillip and her music career, or move back to Brands Crossing and honor the promise she made to her grandfather to investigate the mystery surrounding his death.

Thicker Than Water is the first in a series of novels set in Brands Crossing, Texas, centering on a mystery that extends back to the young Texas Republic.

Sharon K Owen is working on the second book in the Brands Crossing Series. Her short stories and poetry appeared in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer’s Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories. She teaches university classes in English literature, composition and communications, and on-line classes in creative writing. She lives in North Texas.

Available in paperback and Ebook editions at amazon.com and barnesndnoble.com

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Prudence MacLeod and Diane Capri

Calan MacLeod is a woman who has overcome every challenge she has faced. Now comes the hardest test of all, healing the wounds of her past. Can young Angela help her or is she going to be a further complication?

“You can’t help loving these characters and feeling their fears, hopes, dreams, and above all, love. It thrills me that this is just the first book in a series of five.” Reviewer: Justin Mitchell

Prudence MacLeod is a spiritual seeker, dog trainer, official Reiki Master and interior designer who has turned her hand to writing. “I have roamed far and wide for over sixty years in this realm, and I have seen much; some I wish I had not, and a great deal that I would love to see again. Some days I feel like Bilbo Baggins, for I have been there and come back again.”

Buy the book on Smashwords

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When a famous plastic surgeon’s decomposed body surfaces in Tampa Bay with a bullet in its head, Federal Judge Willa Carson’s little sister is caught in a high-stakes game of greedy lawyers, blackmail and deceit. Carly Austin knew the victim too well. Does she know too much about the killer, too? Can Willa save Carly from herself and the murderous conspiracy? Or have they killed Carly, too? Judge Willa debuts in this fast-paced mystery filled with great characters, humor and suspense.

“Beneath this Judge’s robes is a riveting character – she’s quick, witty and stubborn. Willa Carson finds out the rich are different, and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride that leaves you wanting more!” Tampa Tribune

Diane Capri is a recovering lawyer. She’s a snowbird who divides her time between Florida and Michigan. An active member of Mystery Writers of America, Author’s Guild, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, she loves to hear from readers and is hard at work on her next novel.

Buy the Book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords

Two for Wednesday: Books by Eve and Powell

Later Bloomers, Book One: 35 Folks Over Age 35 Who Found Their Passion and Purpose—the first of four volumes that will cover 140 inspiring individuals. It’ll soon be available on Kindle and Nook, but by joining Debra Eve’s mailing list you can get the PDF **free until Saturday, November 5, 2011** .

LaterBloomer.com seeks to provide late-blooming adults with inspiration to pursue their passions and talents through stories, biographies, book reviews and more. In particular, LaterBloomer.com focuses on those who’ve wearied of the corporate treadmill and crave a more creative, intellectual — artier, smartier – life.”

Late Bloomer Debra Eve left the corporate world to become an archaeologist at age 32. She learned sword fighting at 41 and became a martial arts instructor at 42. At 46, she found the love of her life and got married! Now she writes about fellow late bloomers while plotting her next grand adventure.

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Lured to Ireland, Mae finds herself in a hidden world she never knew existed and falling head over heels for Beck, the man who tricked her into coming there. His deception is complicated by his feelings for the one person who holds the key to merging the ancient races that once ruled the ancient world. In this underground world of witches and vampires–half-breeds of aliens long gone–Mae learns about her parentage and powers. While Beck and Helen’s love for each other spans a millennium, some of the underworld creatures seek to destroy her. Will the knowledge of her existence cause a race war when the true power of her blood is discovered? Or will love become her ultimate downfall?

C.G. Powell has traveled everywhere–thanks to her innate curiosity about the world and the Navy. She has learned aviation electronics, CCNA networking, Gemology and how to get bloodstains out of the carpet (you never know when you might need that). Her latest, all-consuming endeavor is storytelling. When asked why, her response was “I live to challenge myself; I like to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and writing is one of those things that pushes my boundaries.” C.G. Powell lives in Virginia with her husband and children.

Amazon 4 1/2 stars   Createspace Paperback   Amazon Paperback   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Miller and Esposito

Darwin Winters, reluctant pet physic, is determined to shed her family’s stigma in Savannah, so she strikes out on her own and opens a pet boutique in St. Pete. When a local homeless man she befriends is found dead, Darwin uses her gift to help collar the killer. She adopts the dead man’s grieving mastiff, Karma, and with the dog’s help pieces together the events of that fatal night. Accepting visions is one thing, but can she succeed without revealing her powers to the jaded yet drool-worthy detective in charge of the case?

Shannon Esposito is a Florida science and mystery writer. Her two speculative fiction novels are STRANGE NEW FEET and SAHARA’S SONG. In between her day job of wrangling toddlers, she is working on a paranormal murder mystery, THE MONARCH. Exploring the unknown through writing fiction is her idea of magic. Her novels are sometimes steeped in science and sometimes wrapped in the paranormal but, as in real life, the heart of all stories is the mystery.

Soon available on Amazon and in every other format on Smashwords.com

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Frank Potter, a young, divinely inspired black man, and Samson Boudreaux, a white man of great power and greater weakness, live in a house of haunted women.  And when the possibilities of miracle surrounding Frank become all too real, a tragedy of Christ and consequence unfolds in the American Deep South during the years of the Great Depression.

“Heroic morality, supernatural insight, and a unique authorial voice that will please any lover of quality American literature. Readers will also recognize and appreciate the novel’s historical authenticity… winner of the Oklahoma Writers’ competition for best mainstream novel, a Deep South Writers Prize from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and an Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award.” Reviewer: A.M. Stickel, The Pedestal Magazine

M.G. Miller is a Southern Gothic novelist and former fiction editor for a national horror magazine.

Available on Kindle Christmas 2011 from Southern Exposures Press