A sneak peak!

MTICS final cover image

More Than I Can Say is at the proofreader, which means we are in the final stages before it’s release in e-book and print versions from Solstice Publishing!

In anticipation of that upcoming release, I thought I’d post a little bit of the prologue…

 

Prologue

Dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, Jackson started up the trail. The trail was 5.8 miles to the summit and he was looking forward to starting his training outdoors for the Spartan Race, instead of in city gyms.

At almost a mile in, he paused and adjusted his pack before beginning to jog again, happy that no one else seemed to be out this early on a Sunday morning. As he picked up his pace, he heard a noise behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and saw a small blonde woman rapidly approaching. As she caught up, she shouted. “Stay left!”

“Huh?”

She pointed to the greenery on the right without breaking stride. “Nettles. You’re in shorts, you’ll get stung.”

He swerved left. “Thanks.”

As she ran past him, Jack got a view of her very shapely backside framed in running tights, her fitted tank top highlighting her curves, and a very distinctive tattoo of a star on her left shoulder.

In less than a minute, she was out of sight. He picked up his pace, trying to catch up.

As Jackson reached the wooden steps just below the summit, he heard her voice again. “Careful. Last step is cracked.”

He adjusted his stride as his foot was about to come down, then slowed as he came into the clearing at the top of the mountain. There she was, standing on a large flat rock, water bottle in her hand.

Now you’ll have to wait for the release to find out what happens next!

 

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Welcome CJ Warrant!

Today I’d like to welcome author CJ Warrant!

First and foremost, thanks for having me. It’s a great pleasure being here.

Just a little bit about myself. My name is CJ Warrant and I write dark romantic thrillers, suspense and contemporary romance.

I currently reside in the Midwest with my wonderful husband and two of three kids. I worked in the beauty industry for many years before I shifted my talents to words and began writing full time.

As an Army brat in my youth, I had the privilege to travel with my family, got to meet so many people and saw different parts of the world. I take my knowledge from the places I’ve been, to the people I’ve met and use it in my books…mostly.

Phew! Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

One of the biggest question people have asked me, “Why do you write so dark?” For example my new release, Mirror Image is a dark romantic thriller, which you get an inside view of the female serial killer’s head. Yes, some of the scenes can get dark, but without those characters—knowing what goes through their heads and their actions, I feel there isn’t a full story to tell without them.

I also feel there should be a balance between the hero and heroine’s journey. In order to heal from what is broken inside, they need to discover and experience each other in a fast pace—sometimes in harrowing moments that brings two people together. Jazz and Michael did just that in Mirror Image. Two different people, with real issues, dealing with murders, revenge and twisted lies that pulled a family a part. What’s not to like when you have to hang on for deal life and fall madly in love at the same time.

Anyway, writing dark, light, sweet or erotic, my characters are the ones who speaks to me and tells me what their life story is all about…even the villains, which makes for an interesting story to tell.

If you like to know more about me, what I’m writing next, and where you can find me, sign up for my newsletter. http://www.cjwarrant.com/contact-cj.html

You also can find me at:

www.cjwarrant.com

www.facebook.com/cjwarrantauthor/

www.twitter.com/cjwarrant

www.instagram.com/cjwarrant/

www.pinterest.com/cjwarrant/

Guest Blogger — Brian Harrison

Today I would like to welcome Brian Harrison, who has a new novel coming out in March!

The Vault

Why would a multibillionaire create a customized vault that is controlled by watch mechanics inside and have a self-destruct mechanism inside to destroy the billion dollars worth of artifacts inside?

Simple, because he can.

On paper, Sam Montgomery is your typical eccentric philanthropic pharmaceutical billionaire whom has literally mailed five dollars to everyone in the US so they can “pay it forward.” But what people didn’t know when made a rare public appearance was that he was announcing he had leukemia. And more shocking was that when he said, “I’d rather die than give my sister the opportunity to save my life,” no one even knew he had a sister.

Elena Diamante nailed the sit down interview – at his small home on the tiny island of Antikythera in Greece. She was only planning on getting the scoop about Sam and his apparently estranged sister but she was also going to be the first journalist to see inside Sam’s custom made vault. It was built using watch mechanics, so it was completely self-sustained, and only opened once a year. It was even rumored that if it were ever tampered with, everything inside would be destroyed in a custom acid.

Come to find out for Elena, there would be one item inside Sam’s vault that could save his life, or end it even quicker, it was just a matter of whether or not the vault would open in time.

The vault explores Sam’s family dynamics and how they inspired him to become the successful man he is. The story is also told using Sam’s own family photos growing up, as well as text messages and Facebook/Twitter. There are even hyperlinks within the novel as “Easter Eggs” for those readers that want to explore even more of Sam’s personal life, further blurring the lines of fact/fiction.

Living a Local Life

As we are still in the throes of winter in Vermont, I can begin to see signs that spring is coming. The Boston Red Sox are in Florida for Spring Training, the buckets are up on the maple trees, and our seedlings for the vegetable garden (the first group) have been planted.

Some of you know, we have a little family farm. Years ago, we made a family decision to try to produce as much of our own food as we could, and to try to locally source what we can’t produce. Now, we recognize that some things are hard to get locally — for example, it’s really hard to get local Vermont shrimp. But we are so fortunate to live in an area where we can either produce or buy most of our food needs from known entities. Currently, we produce our own maple syrup and honey. We shear our alpacas yearly, and I spin yarn from their fiber for knitting. We have laying hens who produce more than enough eggs for us and our extended family. We grow “non-laying” chickens for meat each year. In our vegetable and herb gardens, we grow potatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, beets, carrots, celery, cilantro (and therefore coriander), dill, tomatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers, basil, sage, rosemary, lavender, mint, green and yellow beans, kidney and black beans, garlic, onions, leeks, summer and winter squashes, kale and chard. Our fruit trees and bushes produce blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, gooseberries and currants. Hopefully this year we will add a couple peach trees. We also have one lone black walnut tree growing as well, but that will take a long time to produce walnuts for us. When the weather permits, we also have shiitake mushrooms growing. All in all, it’s a busy place year-round.

Here are a couple pictures, one of the layers investigating a pile outside of the big animal barn, the other of two of the alpacas waiting for a treat.

 

Guest Blogger — Clayton Graham

I’d like to welcome guest blogger Clayton Graham!

silently the night

SILENTLY IN THE NIGHT

A collection of tantalizing tales with more twists than braided hair:

Here you will find mystery, murder and mayhem – plus a moment of romance. All the stories will make you stop and think, even question your role in the world and the universe. Just what are we doing here, and where are we going? Easy questions with problematic answers.

This anthology of sixteen short and thrilling tales of unusual, extraterrestrial and conspiratorial stories is the latest compilation from Clayton Graham, the author of science fiction novels Milijun and the soon to come Saving Paludis. The characters in this eclectic collection are mostly ordinary people whose reactions to their fears and to unexpected events will have you guessing at every turn of the page.

This collection is intriguing reading which, among many other things, encourages the reader to:

Sympathize with a doomed husband and connect with an altruistic robot. Explore an isolated Scottish isle and touch down on a far-flung asteroid.

From the light-hearted to the darkest depths of the human psyche you would be hard pressed not to find something to like about Silently in the Night.

Many different visions of the future are within these pages. And as a bonus, there is an excerpt from the soon to be published Saving Paludis, which introduces the reader to two of the principal protagonists in this tale from the edge of mankind’s known universe in the year 3898AD.

If you love mystery with a hint of the paranormal, and the interplay of human foibles, grab this smorgasbord of short stories then get yourself a copy of Milijun, the mind-bending sci-fi novel by Clayton Graham.

 

 

And the winter weather continues…

As we awoke this morning, the weather was cold, gray, and windy. Mixed precipitation is predicted for tonight, with rain and sleet over the weekend. I would like to be cheerful about it, but I have to admit that I would love to have warm and sunny weather. Oh well, at least it should be relatively comfortable as we finish tapping trees this weekend. After our outdoor chores are done this weekend, we will take some time to read, plant more seedlings, spend time with our children and grandchildren, and maybe see a movie.

Guest blogger — James Stanley

I am thrilled to welcome fellow Solstice Publishing author James Stanley to my site!

1) What’s the name of your book?
Pursuit by James Stanley.
2) What is it about?
I’d say the most interesting part about the novel is that it involves a man that becomes a spy for an authoritarian state. It’s a thriller, and involves a lot of action. It’s all about positioning, and pivoting; how the character manages to cope with changing circumstances and scenarios that no human being-in an authoritarian state or not-knows how to deal with.
It’s about authoritarianism and North Korea in particular. Charles Bates, the protagonist, is on the run. And he may not make it. Both the Free State and the Great State hold a number of tricky traps for insurgents, spies, and also runaways. The herculean size of the government may use even the average homeless man to be on the watch for Bates.
In fact, for a man who dislikes the military, he’s actually quite knowledgeable and street savvy. Fascinatingly so, the world seems to have turned on its head-resulting in severely strained relationships between the Free and Great State.
3) What type of book is it?
It’s a speculative fiction, urban-fantasy/dystopia novel. Fascinating in content and intriguing in detail, it describes a lot of parallels you can find in North Korea today. Charles Bates, the protagonist, is a uniquely self-reliant character that pursues life in a different country. Though as plucky as he is, he fails to recognize the intensity of the State Department’s pursuit, and the sheer magnitude of the Great State government.
4) What makes the book stand out?
Well, it’s timely and relevant to today’s geopolitical issues-North Korea’s leader may be “a little rocket man” to Donald Trump, but upon further evaluations, one may see that tensions have risen to unprecedented levels. Whether he lobs a nuclear weapon or simply makes idle threats via twitter, the leader of North Korea is more than a threat. He’s established a position in the international arena that threatens both the US and its allies (Japan, South Korea, and China to a lesser extent).
5) Do you have anyone to thank for this book?
My family for educating me, friends for the political conversations, and Kris for putting it on her blog! The link to it online is:

Hurry Up and Wait, Again.

The weather in Vermont has been even more unsettled than usual. Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees and sunny out, today it is back in the 20s and everything that was mud yesterday is frozen again. The only up side to that is that the chickens are so happy to have the snow gone, they are out roaming all over the yard. When we had the windows open yesterday, you could hear them talking to each other as they looked for yummy tidbits.

After a couple weeks of keeping a pretty high-energy schedule going to make sure I had my editing on More Than I Can Say done in a timely fashion, now it has gone to the proofreader. Of all the parts of the writing/publishing process, this is the one I find the most challenging. After days of hurrying, now I have to wait until it comes back to me again, and then we start the painstaking process of looking at every single word and punctuation mark, spacing and section break. Patience is not one of my virtues, and waiting for it to come back makes me crazy with impatience.

Oh well, I guess all of this helps me learn to be more patient, and I certainly appreciate the time, effort and concern the proofreader shows!

Enough with the snow!

Yesterday was filled with errands, some writing, cleaning the house, laundry and cooking. So it wasn’t surprising that I didn’t look at the weather forecast for the next few days. Then, after watching the Olympics for a bit last night, I almost fell out of bed when I heard that we might get 3-6 inches of snow before morning.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a Vermonter through and through. I love the four distinct seasons in Vermont. I love the cold and snow of winter, I really do. I hate ice, but I do love snow. But enough already!

Just before the alarm went off this morning, I heard the very distinctive sound of the town plow going down our dirt road. And I knew then that we had enough snow that we were going to need to plow and shovel today. With a grumble,  I got out of bed and looked out the window, and yes, we had more than 4 inches of fresh snow.

Having looked at the forecast for the week, rain and warmer temperatures are expected. It may even get to 60 degrees on Wednesday. So I know the snow will melt quickly, plunging us into the dreaded mud season. Then, the temperature will drop again, everything will free, and we will do it all over again.

But, even with my grumbling this morning, it was gorgeous outside. Here is a picture of our old apple tree as I walked the dog before breakfast.

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So now we have finished plowing and shoveling, and we can sit and admire the beauty.

 

Update!

At the end of December, 2017, I posted the following writing resolutions/goals for 2018:

As I look toward 2018, I am setting the following goals for my writing:

  • More Than I Can Say (book 3) — to have it published by mid-July 2018.
  • Book 4 (still untitled):
    • First draft completed by July 1st, 2018.
    • Second draft completed by August 1st, 2018.
    • Professionally edited by October 1st, 2018.
    • Submitted for consideration for publication by November 1, 2018.
  • Of Grief, Gratitude and Garlic:
    • First draft completed by July 30, 2018.
    • Second draft completed by September 1, 2018.
    • Professionally edited by November 1, 2018.
    • Submitted for consideration for publication by December 1, 2018.

 

Now, we are at the mid-point of February, and I have made some progress…

  • More Than I Can Say — final round of editing complete, now in the hands of the proofreader. In the past, I gone through three rounds of proof-reading, but certainly am on schedule for my mid-July publication date. Hopefully it will be ready to release way sooner than July!
  • Book 4 — still untitled, first draft almost 3/4 done (based upon my plot outline).
  • Of Grief, Gratitude and Garlic — first draft in progress, professional editor lined up to do the editing when I am ready, first draft of my query letter done.

All in all, I’m pleased with the progress.  Now if I could just decide on the boys’ names for book 4.