Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kirsten Mortensen on the Best #Novel She Has Written So Far @KirstenWriter #AmWriting #Suspense

Under Their Skin. When Characters Become Real
By Kirsten Mortensen

I became a novelist so, so slowly!

It’s not that I didn’t want to devote myself to fiction. I did. I’ve wanted to spin stories for peoples’ enjoyment ever since I was about five years old.

But when I became an adult, I was deeply confused about how to go about it. Throughout my 20s and 30s, I started novels many times. But the process always felt forced. I understand, now, what I was doing wrong. I was working from my head, not my heart—not my imagination. But at the time, all I knew was that I felt lost, writing fiction. And when I read other authors saying things about how their characters would “come alive” or “take on lives of their own” I thought they were either telling white lies, or speaking figuratively.

That changed when someone I respected very much said something to me that, on the surface, was very hard. Cruel, even.

I was talking about how much I wished I could make a living as a novelist, and he looked at me and said: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe really want to write a novel.”

It sounds mean, doesn’t it? It sounds like he was snatching my most precious dream, throwing it down onto the pavement and crushing it with his foot.

But that’s not what he was doing—and I knew it, even as he spoke.

He was challenging me to follow through on my so-called dream. He was challenging me to do more than just start a novel—he was challenging me to finish one.

So I did.

I’ve long since thrown that manuscript away—it was a typical first novel, so full of mistakes that newbie writers make!

But even though it wasn’t publishable, it served its purpose. It gave me the experience of practicing writing novels.

And the more I practice, the better I get.

And then, during novel #3, it happened.

My characters came alive.

Because it’s true. It really happens.

They begin to assert themselves. They do things you don’t expect. They stop you from forcing them into decisions that don’t suit them.

When I wrote that first novel, my characters were like puppets. I fashioned them, using words. I gave them physical characteristics. I picked out their clothes. I came up with plot twists and wrote how my characters reacted to them.

Today, when I write, my characters are no longer puppets. They’re more like entities you meet in dreams—demigods of my imagination. They awe me, they surprise me. I’m no longer their master—I’m more an observer, doing my best to transcribe what they see, think, feel, and do.

I’d be the last person to call myself a “great” writer. Ha. In my dreams.

But I do think that in my latest novel, Dark Chemistry, is the best I’ve written so far—and one major reason for that is that as I wrote it, my characters came alive. And judging on how readers are reacting to the novel, the characters seem alive to them!

If you’re a writer, have you noticed this happening while you write?

As a reader, do you notice when characters in novels seem real to you?


A woman's worst nightmare

Drugged by something...that makes her think she's fallen in love.

All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.

But now her father is dead.

And if she wants to inherit her father's fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California
for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar
chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well.

Keep RMB on track, and she'll be rich. Grow it, and she'll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.

Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?

He's RMB's head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he's smitten.
Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley's father. He can see the man's better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley's father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.

Donavon has demons of his own.
He's reeling from a heartbreak that's taking far too long to heal. But he's captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty. It's chemistry. They're right for each other. But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell. Gerad's spell.

A web of evil.

Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley's father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he's in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn't want Haley to know.

And he must control her. Any way he can.

Romantic suspense for your Kindle

Will Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
Will the two of them uncover Gerad's plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
And even if they do – can they stop it?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Romantic suspense
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kirsten Mortensen through Facebook Twitter

Friday, February 6, 2015

THE GIRL WHO CAME BACK TO LIFE by Craig Staufenberg @YouMakeArtDumb #Excerpt #MGLit

Sophie woke at the table the next day before the sun rose and let habit and obligation drag her from her seat and pull her to the bakery. Setting her body in front of the floured marble table and searching her chest, she found a hole where her heart used to beat, and when she dove into this abyss she felt something close to cold, but far from feeling itself.

That morning her dough would barely budge when she touched it and the loaves she handled wouldn’t rise an inch and the bread she placed in the oven left their fires cold and flat and dead no matter how long they spent among the flames.

The baker saw this and responded to her as if she were a stubborn slab of dough. She pressed patiently and consistently and with constant motion, asking Sophie this and that, pushing and pulling at her, all without mentioning her failures, without forcing a point, yet unrelenting and unwilling to toss her to the side.

Yet despite this care, by the end of the morning, Sophie’s failures at the simple, mundane tasks built up and tore through her. Her frustration broke as she pulled a final frozen lump from the fired oven and a small tear arrived in her eye as she held the uncooked dough in front of her chest.

The baker stepped over to her and took the dough from Sophie and placed it on the table with a thud. She admonished Sophie, without any hint of anger or malice, “Cry if you need to, but don’t cry into the bread.”

Sophie stood there, that single tear still caught within her eye, her arms and hands still held up in front of her. The baker took each of Sophie’s raised, empty arms, one at a time, and placed them down at her sides. She took one of her own weathered hands and guided Sophie to the table and pulled up a stool and motioned to Sophie to sit. Sophie set her elbows down on the floured marble table and leaned across its surface.

The tear finally fell from her eye and dropped down onto the table, creating a little wet crater in the flour that lay sifted across the top of the marble table. The baker reached out a thumb and smudged the crater across and smiled to herself, then went to the front of the shop and picked up a small olive loaf from the day-old bin. She held it in one of her hands and opened the oven door with the other and let a whiff of the blasting hot air spill out and wash over Sophie. The baker commanded her, “Take out some butter, if you would.”

The baker reached her hand into the oven and held the loaf above the flames for a moment as Sophie walked to the side counter and pulled out the pan of thick yellow butter that sat there. She brought it to the table and returned to her seat.

The baker left the oven door open, warming the room. She pulled up another stool and sat next to her and placed the now-steaming loaf down. The woman tore off a chunk and slathered it with the rich butter, which melted on contact and found its way into the bread’s hidden corners. She handed the bread to Sophie, then she tore off and buttered a second hunk for herself.

Sophie took a bite of the bread, and that bite sank into her. The half-stale loaf crunched in her mouth and the butter pressed through her body as surely as it soaked through the bread.

As they ate for a moment in silence, the baker continued to pull off pieces of the bread and butter them, handing one to Sophie first then taking one for herself. She ate in silence as the dry heat of the oven filled the back of the shop, until Sophie broke the quiet and spoke first. She apologized for her shoddy work.

The baker nodded her response. “It’s alright. I had a lot of bad days too when my parents died.”

Sophie looked over at the sturdy woman with surprised eyes and asked when the woman’s parents had passed.

The baker replied with a soft smile, “Some time ago. I was a little older than you but I was baking by that point… and for a long time my bread wouldn’t rise either.”

The baker deepened her smile as she lifted her hunk of bread into the air and inspected it for a moment, then took a bite and continued as she swallowed, “Clearly it was a temporary problem.”

Sophie couldn’t stop herself from laughing. She asked the woman what fixed her troubles.

The baker thought for a moment. “Time.” She placed her elbow on the table and scratched at her cheek. “As the days passed I found myself again.” She paused, her finger rested against her cheek. “But my bread wasn’t this good again until I went north and Sent them.”

Sophie looked over and was about to speak but the baker stood up and cut her off firmly. “Come. We need to open the shop.”

The baker gathered the few loaves she managed to salvage from Sophie’s empty heart and sighed out loud, “Here’s hoping for a slow day…”

She smiled then pushed her to clean the oven, as she always did, and from there the afternoon proceeded as it always had. Sophie took on her chosen chores, straightening the shop, cleaning, organizing and restoring order as the baker took her seat at the counter where her customers purchased their bread. When her grandmother arrived, Sophie avoided her gaze. Aside from a lingering moment when the baker stepped to the desk and spoke for a moment longer than usual to the old woman, the day proceeded as it always had, right until the sun began to set and the baker asked Sophie and her grandmother to come to the counter to receive their day’s wages.

The old woman placed her payment in her purse, and as she stood for a moment to wait for her granddaughter to receive hers, the baker told the wrinkled woman, “I need to speak with Sophie for a minute longer, you don’t need to wait for her.”

The old woman nodded and said goodbye and left through the shop’s swinging doors as the baker asked Sophie to stand there for a moment. She held still and watched as the woman came out from behind her counter and walked through the shop, examining the little touches Sophie added to it throughout the afternoon. The baker inspected the organized loaves and gave a small approving nod, then examined the swept floor and made a minor appreciative grunt, then noted the neatly stacked bags of flour with a lingering look, before she returned to the counter and opened her drawer and began to count out Sophie’s wages. As she did, the woman spoke to herself, loud enough for Sophie to hear, “Let’s see…”

The baker set down Sophie’s usual wages. Sophie thanked her and reached for the bills lying there. The baker stopped her hand and spoke, without looking up, “The shop looks better than ever lately.”

She turned her eyes to Sophie. “You’ve been working a little later than necessary for some time now.”

Sophie looked at her feet, embarrassed, as the baker pulled some paper and a pencil from beneath the counter and set them down and continued, “I used to hire someone to tidy up the shop as you’ve been doing. I can’t quite remember what I used to pay them.”

The baker marked a few calculations onto the paper and reached into the cash drawer and placed a few extra bills on top of Sophie’s normal wages and looked down at her paper.

“That doesn’t seem right. You’ve been working late every single day for some time now… Let me check the math again. Oh, I shouldn’t have let your grandmother off, she’s better with the numbers than I am.”

The baker made a few more marks on the paper, performing some simple math, adding up the days and Sophie’s extra wages, reaching into the drawer and pulling out more money and placing it on the counter, before checking her math again and pulling out more and adding it to the growing pile, speaking loudly and absent-mindedly the whole time.

“This afternoon your grandmother told me she plans on heading north soon, and that she’ll be gone for some time.”

The baker looked casually at Sophie. “It’s to be expected, of course. She never said so but she adored that man.” The baker looked back down. “Though now I’ll have to find someone else to take care of the books for me.”

She placed more money on the counter. “As I said, I’m not very good at math.”

She returned to her paper, then scanned the neatly ordered shop, then added even more money to Sophie’s thick pile. The woman looked back down and spoke some more to herself.

“I’ll have to find someone to help me with the oven and the store too, while you are traveling with her.”

Sophie’s heart returned to her chest for a moment, before rising and getting caught in her throat as she looked at the thick stack of money on the counter.

The baker rolled her eyes up at Sophie with lightly arched eyebrows. “Though only temporary help, of course… as you’ll resume working here when you return…”

Sophie nodded yes, yes, yes. The baker sat back in her chair and pushed the money towards her.

“And I’m sure if my math was wrong and I’ve overpaid you now, then you’ll work the remainder off when you return.” Sophie pressed her heart down her throat and back into her chest and released a soft, “Of course.”

The Girl Who Came Back to Life

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says "Goodbye," and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Middle Grade
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Craig Staufenberg through Facebook and Twitter

Saturday, December 27, 2014

10 Things You Need to Know About James Rada, Jr. @JimRada #CivilWar #HistFic #AmReading

10 Things You Didn’t Know About James Rada, Jr.

I was asked to give you a little insight on me by telling you 10 things that you might not realize about me from author biographies that you see in the back of my books.
  1. My first short stories were published while I was in high school. I was a senior in high school when I had short stories accepted for publication in the National Vietnam Veterans Review. I wasn’t paid for them, but I still count them as my first publishing credits.
  2. My first professional publishing writing credit was in 1988. The first time that I got paid for something I wrote was when I was still in college. I competed in a competition to develop a marketing and advertising campaign for a new business. I put together an entire campaign with ads, press releases, etc. and won the competition.  What I was particularly pleased with was that I was competing against teams of other college students, and yet, I won by doing it all by myself.
  3. I have won more than two dozen journalism and advertising awards. I have won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Associated Press, Maryland State Teachers Association, CNHI, Utah Ad Federation and American Advertising Federation of Greater Frederick. I figure it is only a matter of time before my books start winning awards. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
  4. My family is not interested in writing. You would figure that at least someone in my family would also be interested in writing since it’s my work. They’re not. In fact, only my youngest son is the only regular reader in the family and my wife admits the only book of mine that she has read was my first historical novel published in 2000.
  5. Both of my sons are adopted. My wife and I have two sons. They are both adopted; one from Kentucky and one from Russia.
  6. I love to bicycle. I can’t say that I’m particularly fast on my bike. I average about 13.5 mph, but I do bike about 100 miles a week. I tend to meander along the back roads in the county where I live. I love the scenery, but sometimes the hills kill me. I will even ride my bike if I have to run errands in Gettysburg.
  7. I own a dinosaur egg. I have a small collection of interesting fossils, rocks and minerals that I’ve accumulated over the years. At a festival I attend annually to sign books, there’s another gentlemen who sells rocks and minerals. I always check out his items. Last year, he had a fossilized hadrosaur egg from China. It’s about the size of two softballs. It was a splurge purchase.
  8. I have had articles published in more than 110 publications. I like to write and I try to get in a wide variety of publications as well as getting published multiple times in the ones I like. I do this rather than focusing on a few magazines because I have had magazines that I write for go out of business. I have been published in magazines, newspapers, web sites, newsletters and newspapers that cover a lot of different markets and subjects. One of the reasons for the variety is that I usually come up with an idea first and then try to find the market for it.
  9. I started out as a business major in college. I did this because my grandfather kept telling me that I needed a major that I could get a job with. I figured out that when I get falling asleep in class, though, that I might want to find a major that better suited me. With my grandfather’s advice in my head and my interest in writing, I settled on advertising copywriting, which was an enjoyable major.
  10. I am a big Jimmy Stewart fan. Forget modern actors. My favorite actor is Jimmy Stewart. I’ve enjoyed his movies since I first watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington while I was in college. I think I have seen all of his movies and most of his television roles. I have even listened to his old-time radio series and guest appearances.
So there you have it. That’s 10 things I bet you didn’t know about me. Does it make me seem geekier? Oh well, it’s me.
The Civil War split the United States and now it has split the Fitzgerald Family. Although George Fitzgerald has returned from the war, his sister Elizabeth Fitzgerald has chosen to remain in Washington to volunteer as a nurse. The ex-Confederate spy, David Windover, has given up on his dream of being with Alice Fitzgerald and is trying to move on with his life in Cumberland, Md. Alice and her sons continue to haul coal along the 184.5-mile-long C&O Canal. 

It is dangerous work, though, during war time because the canal runs along the Potomac River and between the North and South. Having had to endured death and loss already, Alice wonders whether remaining on the canal is worth the cost. She wants her family reunited and safe, but she can’t reconcile her feelings between David and her dead husband. Her adopted son, Tony, has his own questions that he is trying to answer. 

He wants to know who he is and if his birth mother ever loved him. As he tries to find out more about his birth mother and father, he stumbles onto a plan by Confederate sympathizers to sabotage the canal and burn dozens of canal boats. He enlists David’s help to try and disrupt the plot before it endangers his new family, but first they will have find out who is behind the plot.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with James Rada Jr. on Facebook & Twitter
Website jamesrada.com

Saturday, December 20, 2014

#Excerpt from DOUBT - INSIDE/OUTSIDE by Jenny Hayworth @JennyHayworth1 #SexualAbuse #Memoir

Imagine that someone you love dies. You no longer can see them, speak to them, or touch them or have any literal experience with them except within your mind and heart. This is what being disfellowshipped or disassociated from the Jehovah’s Witnesses means to those who are cut off. They are treated as if they are dead to those remaining in it.
When I was an active member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and believed a hundred percent in it, I had always believed what had been taught to us from the platform by the elders and in The Watchtower magazine (published twice a month by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society).
I believed that when baptised Jehovah’s Witnesses decided (because they had bad hearts) that they no longer wished to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, they would say to the elders that they no longer wished to be known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was a totally voluntary process, I was taught, and it occurred because these people wanted to do things that were condemned by Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Bible and so no longer wanted to continue being known as one. It was a voluntary separation on their part from the organisation even though they would realise it would cause enormous pain for their families.
Since these people knew that by choosing a lifestyle contrary to one Jehovah God wanted them to lead (as set forth by The Watchtower Society), they knew their families would have to cut them off in obedience to the scriptural direction given by the Apostle James on how to treat those who left the fold. This was to treat them as if they were “dog[s] returning to [their] vomit” as the scriptures put it.
The families would not be allowed to speak to them, eat with them, or greet them. In fact they were instructed to treat them as if they were no longer living. If their families did associate with them and didn’t repent for it after being given the opportunity to do so by loving elders who would try to turn their hearts back to obedience to God’s way, they also would be disfellowshipped.
The elders saw disassociation as a choice made by a baptised person even though both—disassociation and disfellowshipping—were treated in exactly the same way. Disfellowshipped ones might have just made a mistake and need to be punished for the behaviour in which they had engaged. So they were often seen as not having badhearts but as having been led astray or needing to be shocked into realising the seriousness of their actions. People could, however, commit any disfellowshipping sins, and if they were expressing enough remorse or contrition they might not be disfellowshipped.
Talks were constantly being given from the platform about all the things one could be disfellowshipped for including fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and any sexual conduct considered “Unclean” or classified as “pornea.” Also idolatry and celebrating worldly holidays (birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween) were considered disfellowshipping offences, as they were all pagan in origin.
However, when I asked the elders why witnesses like myself could wear white wedding dresses and wedding rings, both of which were pagan in origin, and asked who picked which historical customs were allowed to be practised and which weren’t, they could not give me an adequate answer.
We just had to be obedient to the direction of The Watchtower, and if they changed their understanding because of a “light” from God in the future, we would be told. But in the meantime, we had to be patient, be obedient, and wait.
My major doubts had surfaced while being reprimanded in New Zealand about going to worldly counsellors for my children when they disclosed their sexual abuse. I had not received counselling from anyone, and this had not helped me. I knew deep inside myself that I had to get help for my children other than just what the elders would provide. I didn’t want my beautiful children to experience the extreme guilt and fear I had experienced because of the abuse by Pop and all that flowed from it.
I could not see how elders who were not trained as counsellors in any way, shape, or form and had no formal education on sexual abuse victims and how to counsel or treat them could have been better than trained professionals. Also I could not see how, if someone broke the law of the land by sexually abusing a child, only the elders and not the judicial system should have dealt with him or her. I had scriptures quoted at me at the time saying God appoints elders, so they are his representatives on earth and not some worldly judging system that does not understand the ways of God’s people.
Again I could not see how, if police were not involved, the guilty person’s just saying sorry to the elders would stop it from happening again or to someone else. Who was accountable? If a member of the congregation murdered someone, he or she had to go to the police and to court. Why not those who committed sexual abuse and rape? Why were these lesser crimes? Why did they not warrant criminal inquires?
When in Wellington, New Zealand, and taking the children to see the counsellor, I had been disturbed by what I had seen happening in our own congregation, where Leonard was involved as one of the elders. A young girl disclosed past sexual abuse that had happened to her, committed by a witness male friend who had worked for her father. She had stated he had come into her room and raped her a few years previously, when she had been about thirteen years old. Now that she was sixteen years old, she had disclosed it.
The accused had previously been married and had two daughters. The daughters had disclosed sexual abuse, but they were still young, only five or six years old. The ex-wife had gone to the police and was taking the children to see the same sexual-abuse counsellor I was taking my children to.
She didn’t know me, but I knew her as the two children had been at the meetings with their abuser on access visits up until the disclosures had been made. His ex-wife had been disfellowshipped, and he had remarried, and his new wife was only seventeen years old and pregnant with their first child. He had apparently written a letter of confession to the elders. The police had requested to interview the head elder, known as the Presiding Overseer of the congregation the accused attended. The Presiding Overseer had come to our house to have an urgent meeting with Leonard, who was then the Secretary of the congregation, and the Treasurer. These were the three main elders in each congregation who dealt with these matters.
As the Presiding Overseer was leaving the house, he said the letter had to be destroyed at all costs, as he had spoken to a solicitor and it was up to the prosecution to prove guilt—he did not have to supply evidence that would incriminate the accused. He also spoke about how he believed that the confidentiality of a confession to elders should be considered the same as the Catholic Church did it, and no elder should therefore have been forced to tell a policeman or court what had been disclosed by a member of the flock to him.
He was saying if the letter was found, the brother would most certainly be found guilty (he had pled not guilty in court) and would spend a long time in prison. As he was very repentant and had promised not to do it again, and had responded to the counselling of the elders, they needed to protect their flock.
It sickened me to listen to them talk. I instinctively thought, but what about protecting his children and his unborn child?  What about the children from the congregation who went to his house? The young girl had been counselled by the elders not to say anything to anyone. She came in distress to see me one day after arguing with her witness mother, with whom she had a volatile relationship, and said he had been made to apologise to her, so it was all meant to be okay now.
I knew from my own experience as an elder’s wife and from visiting other elders and their wives that rarely was anything kept as confidential as the congregation was repeatedly told it was. I knew that within a few days, every one of the elders and their wives would know what had been said and discussed, and all who were close to them as friends would be told. There was no confidentiality, in my experience. I didn’t want what had happened to my children and any disclosures I made to be dinner talk around people’s tables. I couldn’t bear for that to happen. So I just knew I had to go outside the congregation.
The most important reason, though, stemmed back to my childhood fear and memories. Hearing the talk given from the platform when I was a child about the scriptures in the Old Testament that said if a woman was raped in the field and didn’t cry out, she was guilty of adultery and was to be stoned to death, frightened me enormously. I had frozen when Pop abused me. I had been unable to move due to fear at times when I was in the bath, in the cupboard, or under the bed. During what had happened on the tennis court, the leadenness in my legs prevented me from moving, and the fear up tight in my throat and chest meant I was unable to scream or make a sound; I had a total inability to fight back as I was immobilised by fear.
I had spoken to Amy and Ben’s counsellor, and she had been quite forthcoming in explaining that children can fight, flight, or freeze. And abusers often picked those they felt would not fight back but would freeze or comply for many varying reasons, but it certainly did not mean the children wished it to happen.
At the time of Benjamin and Amy’s being abused, there was a case getting media coverage involving a woman in the United States, where a man had been found not guilty of rape due to the fact she had made him use a condom in the middle of raping her. Some of the local elders said this showed willingness and compliance. The woman had awoken to find a man on top of her, who she did not know, with a knife held to her throat. She had condoms in her drawer. When she realised he was going to rape her, she begged him to put on a condom as she was so frightened of getting HIV or another venereal disease. He put it on. Then he left afterward. She went to the police, and it had gone all the way through to trial. He was found not guilty because of the condom use. I was outraged.
I thought, here was a woman having enough wits about her to protect herself in any small way she could, even in the process of being violated by a stranger with a knife, and because she didn’t fight him, as she wished to survive, and he complied and wore a condom, it was taken as consensual? I was horrified. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses I associated with agreed with the court finding as it concurred with the biblical teaching we’d had drummed into us.
Another case was also in the media of a woman who did not scream or resist as the man had broken in and had a knife, but she had a young daughter asleep in the bed next to her. So she lay quietly and did what he said, as she was terrified if her daughter woke up she also would be assaulted or otherwise hurt. The man left, and because the woman had not screamed, the issue of consent arose. I argued vehemently with the elders that surviving was the most important thing, and no one in their right mind could think she gave consent when it was a stranger with a knife held to her. They kept parroting the scripture, though, as if they were unable to think outside the box.
Even when discussing this same issue with my friends, Lisa and Matthew, I would get frustrated. Matthew said if someone broke into his house, and his wife didn’t scream, he would wonder why. Lisa replied instantly that of course she would scream. I put to her that if she were so terrified she couldn’t run or make any noise, would that mean she consented? She couldn’t give an answer except to say she would scream, and it wouldn’t happen that she wouldn’t. And then they said God wouldn’t have put that in the Bible if it were not reasonable.
I was upset and angry, to say the least. I could not believe that, as scientific evidence clearly showed, a person has no control over his or her physical reaction to fear. So why would God punish people for that? I repeatedly said to the elders that I didn’t believe in a God that treated people like that, and that The Watchtower’s interpretation of those scriptures must have been wrong.
One day an elder came to the house and lent me a few books and magazines he had in regard to biblical questions I had raised. I read them, but they gave me no new answers that satisfied me—nothing besides what I had already found out through studying the society’s literature myself. I had them for a while and then one day put them in Leonard’s briefcase for him to give to the elder at the next meeting. I rang the elder to let him know Leonard would be giving them back, as I was not attending many meetings at that stage. I felt like I would be a hypocrite if I continued to go door to door, trying to convert people to a faith with some doctrines I no longer accepted. I also was spending my time trying to cope with my marriage issues and my own emotional state.
The elder asked me if I had found the magazines useful, and when I thanked him for giving them to me but stated they had not answered my queries, he enquired if he would see me at the field service group that Saturday. I said no and said that as I no longer went witnessing, I no longer considered myself to be a witness. He went quiet and asked me to repeat that statement. As we were repeatedly told from the platform, if we did not go door to door then we were not witnesses for Jehovah. I again stated to the elder that as it had been months since I had been in field service, I did not consider myself a witness anymore.
The conversation ended pleasantly enough, and I thought no more of it. At the time I didn’t realise this innocent phone conversation, which had taken only two minutes, would alter the course of my whole life.
If I had known, I might have paid more attention.

***Award winning book (finalist) in 2014 Beverley Hills International Book Awards***
Jenny Hayworth grew up within the construct of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which she describes as a fundamentalist cult-like religion. She devoted her life to it for over thirty years. Then she left it. The church “unfellowshipped” her-rendering her dead to those family and friends still committed to the church.Hayworth is a sexual abuse survivor. The trauma changed her self-perception, emotional development, trust, and every interaction with the world.
Inside/Outside is her exploration of sexual abuse, religious fundamentalism, and recovery. Her childhood circumstances and tragedies forced her to live “inside.” This memoir chronicles her journey from experiencing comfort and emotional satisfaction only within her fantasy world to developing the ability to feel and express real life emotion on the “outside.”
It is a story that begins with tragic multigenerational abuse, within an oppressive society, and ends with hope and rebirth into a life where she experiences real connections and satisfaction with the outside world.
Those who have ever felt trapped by trauma or circumstances will find Inside/Outside a dramatic reassurance that they are not alone in the world, and they have the ability to have a fulfilling life, both inside and out.
Foreward Clarion Review – “What keeps the pages of Hayworth’s life story turning is her honesty, tenacity, and sheer will to survive through an astounding number of setbacks. Inside/Outside proves the resilience of the human spirit and shows that the cycle of abuse can indeed be broken”
Kirkus Review – “A harrowing memoir of one woman’s struggle to cope with sexual abuse and depression while living in – and eventually leaving – the Jehovah’s Witnesses”
Readers Favourite 5 Star Review – “The book is an inspiring story for those who are going through traumatic times…”
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Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
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Scott Moon on the Difficulty of Writing Sex Scenes in #SciFi @ScottMoonWriter #SelfPub #PubTip

The Best Advice
At the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., 2013, Patrick Rothfuss (bestselling author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear) suggested writing sex scenes can be difficult. Someone asked, “How do you know when a scene is too much.”
Rothfuss said when the reader can tell the author was touching himself or herself while creating the scene, it’s probably too much.
If I remember correctly, this was something he had heard before, so I don’t know if I can quote him, but the point remains valid. In science fiction, the expectations differ from that of a romance or erotic novel. Breaking the rules can alienate or even offend readers. Ultimately, each scene must do a job. If a dash of something beyond the genre-wall is needed, then it must go in.
A Humble Example
To date, I have not attempted to write erotica, but some of my stories have moments, ahem, that are more adult than others. To compound the risks I took in this novel, one of the genre-testers comes on page one. Here is the opening line from an early draft of Enemy of Man:
KIN ROLAND left Laura’s house hung-over, well sexed, and feeling dirty. He was bound by few rules on this planet, but the most important was to avoid drinking with Laura Keen.
An Editor Put on the Brakes
My editor thought this risked giving the reader the wrong idea. Unable to completely abandon the scene I envisioned, I rewrote page one many times. Here is the result:
HEROES weren’t sealed in space caskets and launched into the void—not while they were still breathing. Kin shuddered. Memories came at night; they came with regrets, fears, and nightmares only a man buried alive could understand. Heroes destroyed the enemy. Heroes saved the day and died before they could wear medals or explain what it was like to shed the blood of millions.
This room is too dark.
Kin needed to go outside and look at the sky, but the wormhole song, the distant groaning of a universe unraveling, reminded him of Hellsbreach—gunfire, plasma bolts, and nuclear explosions on the horizon. Better to dream of Becca, though she was the reason he volunteered for the campaign.
“Stop thinking of her,” Laura said.
Kin sat up in bed, dropped his feet to the floor, and watched her drift back to sleep. Her chest rose and fell, a silk sheet accentuating her curves. Her eyes began to move under her eyelids.
“You don’t even know who she is.” He ran a finger behind Laura’s ear and down her neck until she giggled in her sleep. He smiled. “I can share anything with you in moments like these.” He slowly pulled the sheet lower and she didn’t stir.
Laura would like the game—exposing her skin to the night air and staring until she sensed his attention and awoke, but he stopped, reaching to cup the side of her face instead. Lust didn’t mix well with the darkness still in his mind.
“I’d fail again, given the same choice. Could you commit genocide, Laura?” he asked.
“Hmm?” She struggled to open her eyes, it seemed, but pushed him clumsily away with one hand as she rolled onto her stomach, twisting the sheets as she moved.
“I still love her. You know that, right?” Kin said.
Motionless on the bed, Laura seemed not to breathe. The wormhole that dipped into the atmosphere quieted. Silence spread across the planet. Sea birds called to each other and waves gently touched the beach.
Let’s Talk about
This may not be a classic love scene, but is an example of something different from most science fiction I’ve read. The boundaries between genres seem to fade with each passing year. It’s a good thing. Like most writers, I read far and wide, and hope some of it finds its way into my stories.
I’d love to hear comments and discussion on breaking genre boundaries. Please recommend books I may not have considered, but might like to read. And, as always, I’m active on twitter at https://twitter.com/Scottmoonwriter.

Lost Hero

Changed by captivity and torture, hunted by the Reapers of Hellsbreach and wanted by Earth Fleet, Kin Roland hides on a lost planet near an unstable wormhole.

When a distant space battle propels a ravaged Earth Fleet Armada through the same wormhole, a Reaper follows, hunting for the man who burned his home world. Kin fights to save a mysterious native of Crashdown from the Reaper and learns there are worse things in the galaxy than the nightmare hunting him. The end is coming and he is about to pay for a sin that will change the galaxy forever. 


Enemy of Man: Book One in the Chronicles of Kin Roland was written for fans of military science fiction and science fiction adventure. Readers who enjoyed Starship Troopers or Space Marines will appreciate this genre variation. Powered armor only gets a soldier so far. Battlefield experience, guts, and loyal friends make Armageddon fun. 


If you love movies like Aliens, Predator, The Chronicles of Riddick, or Serenity, then you might find the heroes and creatures in Enemy of Man dangerous, determined, and ready to risk it all. It’s all about action and suspense, with a dash of romance—or perhaps flash romance. 

From the Author

Thanks for your interest in my novel, Enemy of Man. I hope you chose to read the book and enjoy every page. 

If you have already read Enemy of Man, how was it? Reviews are appreciated! 

Have a great day and be safe.
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Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – R
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#Excerpt from LUCIFER & THE INDIGO KIDS by @Lord_Ra_Krishna #Poetry #Life #AmReading

Me vs. God…

Dread Locs on my head
Like snakes on Medusa

Get to close
and you turn into stone

If I were a girl
Then I would be Medusa

Tell Jay-Z and Kanye
Get the f#ck out of my throne

It's the clash of the Titans
It's me vs. God

They're just mad
Because I stole back the fire
Like Prometheus

You see,
Prometheus stole the fire
From the Gods and gave it to mankind…

That's a metaphor for knowledge
Now I'm giving it to you…

It's the same as the apple
In the Garden of Eden

Just take one bite
And you will know that you are God…

"This “new age” book of poetry reflects the diverse views and philosophies of it’s author Ra Krishna EL. It’s an intimate, humorous and thought provoking group of poems intended to evoke strong emotion. To quote the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, this style of poetry can be called “Zukunfts poesie“ which translates into “Poetry of the future”, where truly original ideas are presented thru poetry. Also known as post Nietzschean poetry.

It’s subjects include society, pop culture, love, religious dogma, God and the new age of Aquarius. This book was written and published during the false incarceration of its author in Chicago’s notorious Cook County Jail, the largest jail in the country."

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Genre - Poetry, Philosophy
Rating – PG-13
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Friday, December 12, 2014

#Excerpt from THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN by Marilyn Holdsworth @M_Holdsworth #AmReading #HistFic

from the novel, THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN, by Marilyn Holdsworth

“Oh, no,” she wailed the moment the door opened revealing the two guards. “The guillotine,” she cried. “It is to be today. Dear God, dear God, have pity on my soul.”
“Oh my dear, my dear,” Elizabeth Monroe soothed, pushing past the two guards and rushing to Madame LaFayette’s side. She stooped down, took the trembling woman’s hands in hers, and knelt down beside her. “No, no; it is nothing like that. I am Elizabeth Monroe. My husband, James, is the United States minister to France and a longtime friend of your husband. They fought together in our revolution,” she explained. “I have come to visit you, assure you how very concerned for you my husband is. We are going to do all we can to help you.” She placed her arms around the sobbing, frightened woman’s shoulders, continuing her reassuring words in soft, flowing French.
I stood watching from the doorway as Mistress Monroe calmed and comforted Adrienne LaFayette. Disregarding the filthy surroundings, Mistress Monroe continued to crouch down before the distraught woman, holding her hands as she spoke. When at last she rose, she drew Madame LaFayette to her feet and embraced her.
“Merci beaucoup, thank you for coming,” Adrienne LaFayette whispered, wiping her eyes. “I was sure they had come to take me to the guillotine. I was so very frightened. My family is all gone. I thought for sure they had come for me too,” she said, fighting back the tears.
“Of course you did, my dear, but have courage. Be assured that James will do all he can for you,” Mistress Elizabeth promised, patting her gently on the shoulder before joining me at the door. “We must go now, Jasmine, get back to the Folie as soon as possible. We must tell James of this poor woman’s deplorable state.”
She glided gracefully back down the long dingy, hall, past the guards to the prison door, where Michael was waiting to escort us safely back to the carriage.
You can read more about The Beautiful American, by Marilyn Holdsworth at: http://marilynholdsworth.com/the-beautiful-american/

As a novelist, I draw on many real life experiences to provide background for my books. After completing studies in Literature and History at Occidental College, I became a staff writer on a travel magazine, and throughout my career I have traveled extensively all over the world. Because I love horses, I owned and trained them. I support horse rescue and wild mustang preservation. Based on my experience with horses and my research on abuse issues, I wrote Pegasus.

As a descendant of James Monroe, I did extensive research at the James Monroe Museum in Virginia about him and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. I also visited their home, Ashlawn/Highland in Albemarle County. This resulted in my novel, The Beautiful American. Making Wishes, was based partly on my experiences as creator, owner and operator of a greeting card company.

Making Wishes

Elloree Prince is an attractive, creative young woman who marries a wealthy businessman, Tom Randall. After courting his bride with unrelenting determination, Tom moves her into old-moneyed Oak View, where generations of Randalls have lived for years. Outwardly, Elloree appears to settle into raising their two sons within Oak View's stifling social structure, but inwardly, she yearns for her artistic work. 

An unexpected phone call from Mark Williams, her former employer, offers her the career opportunity of a lifetime, and she must make a choice. She is torn between her devotion to her sons and her love for her work. Her decision to return to Wishes, Inc. brings dramatic life changes to her and the people she loves.

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Genre - Women's fiction
Rating – PG-13


"Abby Long is thrilled when she offers the winning bid for an antique desk at an auction. With its intricately inlaid woods and elegant style, the desk is perfect for Abby; it is the gift she promised herself to finally celebrate her thriving antique business. She has no idea that the antique desk holds a secret that will lead her on a fascinating, life-changing journey back in time.
When Abby discovers a hidden diary stuffed inside a secret compartment in the desk, she can hardly wait to read the spidery, faded script. As she carefully turns the tattered pages, she reads the captivating story of two remarkable women from opposite backgrounds who somehow manage to form an unforgettable bond against the backdrop of a fledgling America struggling to find its place in the world. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of James Monroe, and Jasmine, a young slave girl, develop an extraordinary relationship as they are united by pivotal historic events, political intrigues, and personal tragedies.
 From a bucolic Virginia plantation to the bloodied, starving streets of post-revolutionary Paris, this powerful tale follows the lives of two courageous women from the past as they quietly influence—and inspire—a woman of today’s world."

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Genre - Historical fiction
Rating – G


Widowed at thirty, Hannah Bradley is a successful journalist focusing on animal abuse issues. An accidental meeting introduces her to lawyer, Winston Caughfield III. Drawn to Hannah’s gentle beauty and fierce commitment to her work, Win joins her in a fight to save wild mustangs from slaughter. Together they rescue a badly injured horse with a mysterious background. Hannah’s search to discover the animal’s true identity leads them into a web of black marketeering and international intrigue. 
Action packed with crisp colorful dialogue the story propels the reader to a race against time conclusion. Marilyn Holdsworth delivers a gripping tale of mystery, adventure and romance guaranteed to hold the interest and capture the heart. She brings true-life characters together with real-life issues to create a fast-paced irresistible story.

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Genre - Contemporary fiction
Rating – PG
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 Connect with Marilyn Holdsworth on Facebook & Twitter