Spotlight On: DJ Swykert, Author of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude

Welcome to today’s guest author, DJ Swykert. Be sure to check out the excerpt from The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, below!

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Like my character, Jack, I have always been attracted to the great mysteries of life. While Quantum Mechanics continues to search for a Theory of Everything, so have I. And I can write with authority about addiction, rehabilitation and jail. If you add the desire for a real and loving relationship into the equation you come up with the story of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. Though it is fiction, it’s perhaps the most cathartic piece of writing I have ever produced. Not only does Jack discover anomalies to the large physical world we exist in, but also poignant truths about his own personal little universe.

In his search for the God particle Jack Joseph has lost control of the most important particle of existence, himself. Jack’s intellect may have expanded at the speed of light, but his emotional development is mired in the darkness of addiction. Without change Jack is accelerating towards a personal collision that would render his interest in the cosmic one irrelevant.

Jack is a drop-out physicist cleaning swimming pools to support a lifestyle of addiction and detachment. He has a wife divorcing him, a wealthy woman seducing him and the justice system convicting him. Jack’s personal cosmos is spiraling out of control. When he met Sarah his universe further expanded. The Gravitational Constant he studied at university lacked the velocity with which their galaxies rushed toward one another. It was a life-changing Big Bang. A new and brighter Jack was created and he found his supreme happiness. But there was a lot of space junk in the form of addiction and legal consequences standing in the way of his pool-boy quest toward bliss.

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Pool Boy

Excerpt

I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time.

And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

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The Pool Boy’s Beatitude can be ordered at bookstores or purchased directly from:
http://rebelepublishers.com/
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.magicmasterminds.com

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About the Author

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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: http://www.magicmasterminds.com. He is a wolf expert.

Guest Author: Marie Lavender

Are Your Characters Fleshy?

This may come as a shocker, but a lot of beginning writers don’t know how to make good characters. And I’m sure some tenured authors make the same mistake occasionally. It’s not enough to say, “Hey, Mr. Character, you have dark hair and blue eyes. Now start talking.” Dialogue is one aspect of a character. So is appearance. But, what is inside is what counts. What is inside of a character is what makes us keep reading.

Take the time to fill out the finer details of a character. For example, what do they like to eat for breakfast? Maybe they don’t eat breakfast. Some people don’t. What is their religious affiliation? Where did they go to school? What kind of home life did that person have? Notice I said “person”.

People are complicated. We are complicated. If we were all pretty typical, would life be any fun? Probably not. Not everyone is easy to get along with, but sometimes getting into the heart of a person and learning more about them is rewarding. So do the same with your characters.

Most likely, if you’re any kind of fiction writer, you will have a plan for your story or book. You’ll have the plot mapped out. That is great! But, have you mapped out your character? Characters are not just plastic dolls. They should be so real you can practically touch them. Do you sketch? Sketch them if you have to. But, make notes of who that character is. What really makes them tick? Most importantly, what does he want out of life? And how does he plan to get it? What “secrets” do you know about your character that the reader may or may not know on the page? Trust me. All of these things will help you understand your character better.

In the writing of the sequel to my current release, I was arrogant. Okay, not arrogant. I was under the impression that I knew everything I could about the hero and heroine because I wrote a bunch of scenes. But, then, I thought, “Hold on. Why does so-and-so act that way? What makes her who she is?” So, I unearthed this worksheet full of character questions to help me identity not only the aspects of the heroine I already knew, but the stuff that I hadn’t thought of as well. Well, did that end up helping? Did it “flesh” her out? You bet. I finally knew why she had carried out certain actions. She made sense to me as a character. I wouldn’t have known she wasn’t three dimensional unless I had done that.

I also did the same for the hero, and I found out some interesting quirks. I also discovered he was completely human, not otherworldly like we want heroes to be. I think that makes a good character.

So, do what you can to find out everything you can about your characters. Make them flesh and bone, not plastic. Make them as real as possible with eccentricities and flaws and “secrets”, just like normal people. Make them…well, human. As human as you possibly can. You will look at that finished product and believe in it so much more.

~Marie Lavender

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About the Author
Marie Lavender’s most recent release is Upon Your Return.

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She lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published sixteen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names includes:
Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return
Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom
Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

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http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Upon-Your-Return/221212331354873
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
http://store.solsticepublishing.com/upon-your-return/
https://www.createspace.com/4284739

Guest Author: “Leaping Lanny Poffo”

Welcome today to “Leaping Lanny Poffo”–have a glimpse into the poetic soul of “The Genius” of the World Wrestling Federation, from his new book Wrestling with Rhyme!

Cover Leaping Lanny Poffo

Available from Amazon

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Autograph

When I was just a little “Leap”

I’d try to get an autograph

Of all the greatest wrestlers of the time

Well, some of them weren’t all that bad

But some were too important

And I knew right then and there, that was a crime

Fame is just a fleeting thing

And if you let it swell your head

Life has a way to take you down a notch

So many times I’ve seen a bum

Who used to live in glory

It’s been that way since Hackenschmidt lost to Gotch*

It really doesn’t take too much time

To sign a piece of paper

And time is never wasted on a youth

We’re equal in the eyes of God

In spite of our publicity

(I’ll bet He’s not impressed, to tell the truth)

*First recognized World Heavyweight Wrestling match

Cover Reveal: UnReap My Heart by Kate Evangelista

UnReap My Heart
Book Two of The Reaper Series by Kate Evangelista

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Only a villain can save the day.

During his thousand year banishment in the Nethers, Balthazar thought of nothing but taking over the Crossroads from Death.

On the day he puts his plans into action, Balthazar finds the Crossroads on lockdown. Death has been stabbed by Brianne’s Bitterness, a blade that slowly leaches him of his powers. In order to challenge Death for his seat and prevent utter chaos, Balthazar is forced into a mission to find the Redeemer, the only being capable of pulling out the blade from Death’s chest. The only person who can identify the Redeemer is a human girl in the Crossroads whose soul is still attached to her body.

Meeting Arianne Wilson pushes Balthazar’s patience to the limit. In a deal he makes with Death, he must protect Arianne during their journey through the Underverse using all the resources available to him. He soon realizes the one he needs to protect is himself. For as much harm as it inflicts on Balthazar’s body, trekking through the Underverse with Arianne is proving more dangerous for his heart and soul.

Can the villain remain a villain when love gets in the way?

http://www.kateevangelista.com/


Don’t forget Book One of the Reaper Series!

Reaping Me Softly

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Win one of ten free digital copies of Reaping Me Softly:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?

Amazon

Goodreads

Book Trailer

Fan-Made Book Trailer

Guest Author: Amalia Dillin

Thor and Loki

In Norse Mythology, Thor and Loki have a very complex relationship. Loki, as Odin’s blood brother, has been a part of Thor’s life for an eternity and while he often led Thor into trouble, Loki usually guided him back out of it, too.

Reading the myths, it’s easy to see Loki as something of an indulgent and wild uncle, and if they were living in the modern world, I can easily imagine Loki as the person who buys the underage Thor beer so he can party with his friends, or takes him to the strip club for his 18th birthday, while Loki himself did some questionable business in a backroom.

In the myths, they go to Jotunheim to pick fights with the giants, traveling together like adventurers, and we see as the stories in the Eddas unfold, that Loki’s reasons for traveling with Thor are maybe not just the interests of “the cool uncle.” We start to see that Loki has ulterior motives, that he might be deliberately putting Thor in harm’s way, hoping for his destruction. Even in the myths, Thor, as trusting as he is, begins to realize that Loki’s tricks are turning malicious.

It’s after Thor has come to this understanding of Loki’s character (with a little help from a giantess), that the FATE OF THE GODS series takes place – and Loki had better watch out, because, as we see in this excerpt from FORGED BY FATE, Thor is getting tired of his uncle’s mischief!

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“So sullen, Thor,” Loki said, seating himself across the table in Odin’s hall. “Surely you cannot still be angry about that mischief with your wife.”

Thor curled his lip, hiding the expression behind his mug.

“I see,” Loki said, when Thor had not responded with anything more than a long drink and a glower. “A shame, really. I thought I might travel East, and as often as Sif has been away, it seemed to me you might wish for an excuse to do the same. I have heard wondrous things about the Olympian goddesses.” His green eyes glittered, feral in the firelight. “Perhaps I should ask Magni and Modi to accompany me, instead. I’m certain they would enjoy themselves immensely.”

Thor growled. “My sons have better taste than to choose you as their companion.”

Loki laughed. “There was a time you did not find me so contemptible, Thor. Or do you forget that once you called me uncle?”

“An error in judgment, corrected by Jarnsaxa’s grace.” To his younger eyes, Loki had seemed so much wiser. Brilliant and daring and, even better, always willing to embark on some adventure or another, taking time for Thor while Odin had been too busy with his own affairs.

But that had been before Thor had recognized the malice behind the Trickster’s “mischief.” Before he had met Jarnsaxa, who had borne his sons while he had still believed Sif would never have him. Jarnsaxa had died in the wars on Jotunheim, the world where Thor had been raised, where they had fled with his mother’s aid after Surt had destroyed their own lands. But Jarnsaxa had not died before she had told him all she knew of the Trickster and his role in what had come to pass, fearing for her sons. Even so, Thor had not believed Loki would go so far as to meddle with Sif, and he was not certain which stung him more: that Sif had been taken in by his silver-tongue, or that Loki had betrayed him so completely. Sif, at least, might have been fooled. Loki had known precisely what he was doing.

“Just as well,” Loki said, smiling slowly. “Sif would never forgive you if she learned you’d gone off in search of Elohim’s daughter, though it is not only I who finds it strange you did not mention such a goddess in all your reports. Surely you had heard of her.”

Thor said nothing, his jaw tense with the need to keep his silence.

“I can only imagine you had some reason for keeping her a secret,” Loki said, reaching casually across the table to take a piece of bread from Thor’s meal. “A lovechild, perhaps? It would not be your first.”

“Magni and Modi were born long before I married Sif,” he growled, catching Loki’s arm by the wrist before he touched his plate. Thor threw his hand away, his eyes burning with lightning. The color had already leached from Loki’s face and the warm yellow of the wooden table had turned gray. “Nor have I fathered any godchild since, but for Thrud.”

“And then there is that pesky business with Ullr,” Loki mused, grinning now. “Did finding Sif in my arms not make you wonder in the slightest? Sif is as much a warrior as any of us, to be forced—”

“Freyja bore witness,” he said, grinding his teeth on the words. And Sif had loved him then, as he had her. She would never have betrayed him. Not so soon after their marriage, and not while they warred against the Vanir. She was not Aphrodite to take lovers among their enemies.

“And Freyja is so reliable when it comes to these things.” Loki rolled his eyes. “Poor Jarnsaxa. She tried and she tried, and all her efforts came to nothing. You’re still as thick as you ever were.”

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You can learn more about the FATE OF THE GODS series and FORGED BY FATE, as well as my new e-novella tie-in, TEMPTING FATE on my website, http://www.amaliadillin.com and at World Weaver Press. You can also pick up a copy on Amazon or B&N, or add them on Goodreads!

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~Amalia Dillin

Spotlight On: John Smith – Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars, by Roland Hughes

John Smith -Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars
by Roland Hughes

John Smith Last Known cover

Dystopian – SyFy

Synopsis:

What if the Mayans got the start of the end correct because they had survived it once before? What if our written history was just as accurate as the old tale about three blind men describing an elephant? What if classic science fiction writing and television shows each got a piece of it correct, would you know which ones? If your eyes can only see a tiny portion of a collage do you know it is a collage?

Fans of Babylon 5, Star Trek TNG, Battle Star Galactica (the new one) and classic science fiction writing will enjoy the bountiful Easter Egg hunt contained within. When you were a child you learned to connect paper clips or thread beads together to make a necklace. Sit back and watch the beads you’ve had all your life form the picture you could not see. Consider for one second the possibility of the story, then hang onto your mind with both hands while you take the ride.

Roland Hughes’ Author Bio:
Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in VMS platforms. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems originally created by Digital Equipment Corporation (now owned by Hewlett-Packard).

With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author’s experience is focused on OpenVMS systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author’s unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of OpenVMS in industry.

To read Roland’s non-fiction books, please visit http://www.TheMinimumYouNeedtoKnow.com

To read Roland’s blog, please visit http://www.logikalblog.com

Website: http://johnsmith-book.com/

Author Profile: KateMarie Collins

Meet KateMarie Collins!

Biography
Born in the late 60’s, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she’s always been creative, she didn’t turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she’s not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as “Seattle Suburbia”.

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Works

Daughter of Hauk (Book 1 of the Raven Chronicles)

What would you do, if you found out your life was a lie?

After you were dead?

Arwenna Shalian spent her life in loyal service to a God she was never meant to serve. Tricked by her fellow priests, she betrayed a man she thought she loved by binding a demon to him. One that would send him to the brink of madness.
Can she find a way to forgive herself? And what of Hauk, the God she was Marked to serve? Will He find her and give her the chance to undo what she’s done, or leave her at the mercy of the creatures that torture her soul?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image20384855

Available:
Kindle
Paperback
Audiobook

Son of Corse (Book 2 of the Raven Chronicles)

It’s been almost two years since Arwenna banished the Demon Corse from her world. Life has been good. Idyllic, almost.

The illusion is shattered in a heartbeat during her sister’s wedding. Not only are once-dead enemies back, but they’ve stolen Arwenna’s only child, Sera.

The price Arwenna will have to pay to save her daughter is high. Can she muster the strength to make a pact that jeopardizes not just her own soul, but that of an entire world?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image11999031

Available:
Kindle

Mark of the Successor
Dominated and controlled by an abusive mother, Lily does what she can to enjoy fleeting moments of normality. When a break from school only provides the opportunity for more abuse at home, the sudden appearance of a stranger turns her world even bleaker. Disappearing without a trace, he has left a lingering fear in Lily. His parting words to her mother, “Have her ready to travel tomorrow,” is something her mind refuses to accept.

Running away is the only answer. But before Lily can execute her plan, a shimmering portal appears in her room. Along with two strangers who promise to help keep her safe. With time running out, she accepts their offer for escape and accompanies them into a brand new world. A world in which she is the kidnapped daughter of a Queen, and the heir to the throne of Tiadar.

Can she find her own strength to overcome both an abusive past and avoid those who would use her as a means to power?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21993578

Available:
Kindle
Paperback

Kick the Can
Dave Smith and his wife, Jocelyn, had waited a long time to have children. And then they were blessed with twins!

The man in the suit that greeted Dave as he saw his children for the first time gave him chills. Dave needed to spend the next twelve years preparing to play a game that would change their lives forever.

Because playing this game could kill you.

Kick the can

Available:
Kindle

Contact

Twitter: @DaughterHauk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492

Blog: http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress.com