Fiction Writing Basics – 5-Day Online Workshop

Hello dear readers and writers, after some exhausting and mentally strenuous months, I am back with another workshop.

Fiction Writing Basics – 5-Day Workshop

Last year I conducted multiple batches of Fiction Writing Masterclass and Creative Writing workshops and the one thing I noticed in all of the students was that most of them did not know how to write and where to begin. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to start the workshops for this year with the most basic course, spread over 5 days so that the students can get enough time to not only learn, but to understand, implement and discuss each and every topic.

When I say students, I mean all the people who attend my class – right from 15-year old teenagers to 80-year old professors, I teach everyone whoever is interested in learning writing.

I implore you to read through my bio and profile to know exactly why you should learn from me, a self-taught award-winning fiction writer.

Details:

  • Date: 3rd May to 7th May 2021 (Mon to Fri)
  • Fees: Rs.1000 per person (10% off for old students)
  • Medium: Online
  • Platform: Google Meet
  • Study Material: Notes will be provided
  • Duration: 2 hours on all 5 days
  • Critique of exercises: Peer critique (all homework & exercises will be discussed in the class)

Topics:

DaysTopics
Day-1
3rd May’2021 – Monday
Introduction to Creative Writing & Fiction Writing
Genres in literature
Discovering The Writer Within
Ways of writing and the best way to write
WHAT to write – finding and developing ideas
Important Terminologies
Important Literary Devices
Writer’s Block
Writing Styles
Literary Themes
Day-2
4th May’2021 – Tuesday
Understanding Drafts
Importance of First Draft & Second Draft
Exposition, Narration & Point Of Views
Rules of Fiction
Elements Of Fiction Writing
Tools Of Fiction Writing
External conflict & POVs
Understanding Plotting a story
Elements of Plot Structure
Aristotle’s Basic Story Structure
3 Traditional Plot Structures
Day-3
5th May’2021- Wednesday
Characterisation basics
Types of different characters
Character as per their narrative function
Character arcs
Inner Conflicts
Character Motivation and Stakes
Character Backstory
Profiling the characters
Day-4
6th May’2021 – Thursday
My Story Framework
Show, don’t Tell technique
Dialogue writing basics
Understanding Pacing & Tension
Structuring a scene
Conflict, Resolution and Ending
Self-Revising and Self-Editing
Day-5
7th May’2021- Friday
How to improve your writing
Reading to improve your writing
Writing-Related Concepts
– Freewriting
– Morning Words or Pages
– Blank Page Syndrome
– Prompt-Writing
– Idea Journal
Biggest Insecurities faced by Writers & Security Blanket For Writers
Using MindMapping and Brainstorming to write

Extra Perks!

  • Detailed Study Material will be provided
  • 60 Writing Prompts for you to write and practice
  • 50-traits Caracter Profile Sheet
  • 50% off on my Online Writing Consultation Service (for one hour consultation)
  • 20% off on Manuscript Critique Service (1 critique)
  • 1 month access to my Blog’s Monthly Subscription Service. To read more about this, please visit my website: http://www.crazycatwriter.com

Registration & Payment:

The fee for this course is Rs.1000 per person. There is a 10% discount for my old students – people who have previously attended at least one of my paid workshops.

Please register yourself for this workshop here: Registration.

Once you re registered for the course, you will receive the payment details and further details via email.

Evolution Of The Influencer Trend

Digital marketing has seen steady growth in the past decade, but last year – 2020, was a significant game-changer for everyone in this industry as there was an extreme upsurge in the growth of the entire digital marketplace.

As consumption of digital content saw an all-time high, there was an equally exponential rise in the number of digital content creators too. Whether it was blogging website giants like WordPress, Medium and Square Space, micro-blogging sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, all the digital platforms saw a boom in the increase of content creators who were brimming with creative ideas.

The emergence of new content creators inevitably changed the digital marketing format to a great extent. Gone are the days when only bloggers were the main content creators for the entire social media marketplace, now we have a new generation of content creators who are equally as good as the old bloggers – Influencers. The influencer industry is composed of all kinds of content creators – Instagrammers or Bookstagrammers, TikTokers or BookTokers, Author Tokers and FashionTokers and YouTubers or BookTubers, AuthorTubers and FashionTubers to name a few.

Here’s a brilliant interview by author influencer Angela Maiers, who was announced as the Top 100 Social Media Influencer by HuffPost (2016) and IBM’s Top 20 Global Influencer (2017,) sharing insights into being an author and entrepreneur influencer.

The entire social media marketplace has changed and evolved into this amazing influencer industry. And in hopes of keeping up with the changing needs, almost all content creators have now started to lean towards being influencers instead of only being bloggers or only content creators. I personally feel that it is great to have one single umbrella term for everyone who creates different varieties of content for digital consumption because it is very liberating to not be categorised by any single platform one prefers to use.

Keeping in mind the current content needs and trends, I too have tweaked my own social media strategies and have started my own Bookstagram and AuthorTube channels. Where I only used to blog before, now I try to create a variety of content that is more diverse, creative and varied in terms of lengths and formats. I still write blog posts, but now I also create Reels, Shorts, Stories, Videos for IGTV and YouTube channel as well try to incorporate more and more of the current trends and hashtags into my content.

The expansion of the influencer industry has made me, on a personal level, realise that I am capable of way more creativity than I ever gave myself credit for. Where in the past I thought I was camera-shy, I am now creating videos on reading, writing and promotional videos for my brand as well as others. Therefore, I believe that this drastic evolution in social media trends has also led to the evolution of creativity in all content creators as well. And this is the aspect that makes being an influencer so lucrative to everyone, especially the millennials and the newer generations, though that does not mean that others don’t feel the same way. Influencer industry is open to one and all, no matter where they are from and no matter what they do or how old they are. If you have something to say or share, then, by all means, start creating content about the things that are most dear to you, including your career, passion and even hobbies.

What about you, are you tweaking your social media content strategy to stay ahead in this ever-changing game? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I’l love to hear all about it!

Image by expresswriters from Pixabay 

First Online Writing Workshop

Hey guys, I know it’s been so long, but I swear I have decided to post more often now. That’s why rather than just posting on my social media I thought I’d come here and do a full post on this (you, get back in the groove.)

So as you might have observed, I have taken a couple of webinars in the last 3-4 months and then I finally decided to go ahead with launching my workshops online. Online workspace is a lot more comfortable for me as I do not like stepping outside the house and recently in these pandemic time people, especially in India, have become more receptive to the idea of online teaching. Therefore, after a quick chat with my publisher, who’s been behind me for writing a non-fit book on writing, I decided to take the plunge.

It took a full month to put together this amazing workshop (my first ever) – Fiction Writing Masterclass, in which I taught my students how to start writing a book and then make sure that they finish it. It was a great learning experience for me and I enjoyed it a lot. The response was incredible, so much that I had to split the workshop into 2 batches to not to overcrowd it.

Here are some pictures from both the days of the workshop:

The best part was that all my students were happy with the workshop and I was so thrilled to have gotten to know so many like minded people.

I have another workshop next month, so hopefully it’ll go as well as this one!

Thanks a lot for reading 🙂

Ciao ❤

Reading Vlog #1

My first ever vlog! I talk about the books I am reading currently – Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Lottery And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson, The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Harper audiobooks.

Book Review: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Author: Ray Bradbury
Release Date: 1949
Genre: Classic, Science-Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 303
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Blurb:
The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

REVIEW

★★★★

This is my first book by author Ray Bradbury and needless to say it was a compelling read.
I felt the same sense of a constant hovering of foreboding while reading this book as I felt while reading Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov. Though the writing styles are very different I think the tones of their works are similar to each other.

Even though this book was written ages ago, the arrogance of humans, sadly, still feels precisely fitting. The need to constantly want more, the urge to explore while being completely oblivious and ignorant to how it affects others and the need to be celebrated for doing something that is important to them and them alone is reflected very aptly in this book. The lingering feel of melancholy is something that greatly appealed to my taste.

I’d recommend this book to everyone as this has a lot more to offer than classy sci-fi entertainment. Though, let me give you a heads-up – if you are not into the classic writing styles, you might have to remind yourself constantly throughout reading this book to be patient as, in the end, I assure you that this book is totally worth it.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Monthly Updates: May 2019

Hello guys and welcome to my Monthly Updates post series. The month of May wasn’t the best month I’ve had so far in the year because Vishal got sick and was bed-ridden for the most part of the month. He’s still not well, but his recovery is steady and hopefully he’ll completely recover in another week or so.

Here’s what I managed to do the time that I was able to scrape out from the hectic schedule I had this month:

Writing:

  • I have finished revising all the old drafts of Sinister Town and plan on working on the next draft, which will be the final one, in the month of June.
  • I am in talks with a literary agent who seems interested in two of my manuscripts and has suggested some major changes for them – Sinister Town and Alone In The Dark, so I’ll be making those changes to my books in June

Reading:

Out of these Doctor Izard and Armadale were audiobooks from Librivox. Rest were Kindle ebooks.

Movies Watched:

  • Apostle – Netflix
  • Sabrina (Indonesian) – Netflix
  • The Doll (Indonesian) – Netflix
  • The Doll #2 (Indonesian)- Netflix
  • Veronica (Spanish)- Netflix
  • Deadpool #2 – TV
  • Thor Ragnarok – TV
  • The First Great Train Robbery – TV
  • John Wick 3 – Theatre

IGTV Videos:

 

So this was how my month went by. Do share about what you’ve been upto in the month of May and your plans for June.

See you all next month with hopefully more posts.

Ciao ❤

 

Monthly Updates: April’19

Hello, dear readers. I missed March Monthly Updates post but didn’t want to miss April as well, therefore, I thought that even though I am a bit late I’ll go ahead and do a quick update post.

Writing:

  • I participated in Camp NaNo with a target of 30K words, but all I managed to write were 20K words. Though I did manage to revise a couple of thousand words, around 8K so overall I’m still happy with my progress.
  • I am working on 3 books simultaneously so at times it gets hard to track the progress individually, though I’m making steady progress with 2 of the 3 works and the 3rd one is coming along slowly as it is in its early stages.

Reading:

  1. Lost Man’s Lane (Miss Butterworth #2, Mr Gryce #by Anna Katherine Green – 5/5
  2. Kill Code by Clive Fleury – 4/5
  3. We Call It Monster by Lachlan Walter – 4/5
  4. Aristophania (The Kingdom of Azur #1) by Xavier Dorison – 3/5
  5. The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lilah Sturges – 1/5 – DNF
  6. Hotel Dare by Terry Blass – 4/5
  7. A Promise Of Return by Rebecca Crunden – 4/5
  8. A Dance Of Lies by Rebecca Crunden – 4/5
  9. Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tehereh Mafi – 3/5
  10. The Circular Study (Miss Butterworth #3, Mr Gryce #10) – 4/5

Out of these Lost Man’s Lane and The Circular Studies were free audiobooks from Librivox and Shatter Me was a paperback. Rest of them were all ebooks.

Miscellaneous:

  • I joined the swimming classes. I bunked a lot but still, now I know how to float and release bubbles. I will be taking a break this month from swimming as the chlorine is affecting my sinuses and I am getting one-sided headaches again. But I will be resuming in June.
  • I joined Multifit right at the end of the month and began functional training. It is exhausting, to say the least, but totally worth it!
  • In new releases, I watched Avengers: Endgame, The Curse Of The Weeping Woman and Pet Sematary.
  • In old movies, I re-watched Wall-E (twice in April cause I love, love, love that movie), The Magnificient Seven (the old one), Apollo 13, KGF, and a couple more that I am forgetting now.
  • On Netflix, I watched Black Mirror S1 & S4 and started watching Hemlock Grove.
  • And obviously, I watched all the episodes of Game Of Thrones S8 on HotStar. I feel that the makers have totally ruined the characters and the plot that GRRM worked so hard to create. TV series can never do justice tot he books, still, the show was going pretty good till S6, but from S7, essentially the part where the show left the books behind, everything feels rushed and incomplete and… off. GRRM anyway hasn’t given away the original ending so the books are anyway not spoiled. Now I’m eagerly waiting for the TV series to be over and the books to come out soon!!
  • I created my IGTV Channel! You can follow it through my IG profile: @CrazyCatWriter.
  • And here is my first video as posted on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMup8ExsejU
  • And here is the second one:

That’s about all I can remember from April (it’s been almost half a month since April ended so it’s hard to remember), but I’m sure I covered all the main things I did. I hope you all had a fabulous April as well. May is getting hotter in India, and hopefully this year the rains will come sooner than usual. Do share about how your Camp Nano went and what you’ve been up to last month.

Thanks for reading!

Ciao ❤

Book Review: The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro

Author: Linda Lo Scuro
Release Date: 22nd October 2018
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 296
Publisher: Sparkling Books
Blurb:
Most victims of the mafia are the Sicilians themselves. The role of women both as perpetrators and victims has been grossly overlooked. Until now.

As the daughter of Sicilian immigrants, in her teens Maria turns her back on her origins and fully embraces the English way of life. Notwithstanding her troubled and humble childhood in London, and backed up by her intelligence, beauty and sheer determination, she triumphantly works her way up to join the upper middle-class of British society.

Maria delves deeper into her mother’s family history and a murky past unravels, drawing her more and more into a mire of vendetta.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro is a very gripping book with a well-written plot and a beautiful cast of strong characters. This book was a very quick read and had a lot more to offer to its reader that one can imagine. This book is very culturally rich and it was great to get a detailed glimpse into the family of mobs and also witnessing the repercussions of belonging to such a family.

I enjoyed reading this book from start to end, mainly because the writing was good and had a very easy flow to it. The plot-progression was good and so was the pacing and tension and they all complimented and went along the story very well.

I’d recommend this book to all crime and suspense readers who enjoy reading culturally rich books.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Monthly Updates: February’19

And finally, I’m doing the monthly Updates post after a long, long time. I loved doing these posts before and I’m really excited to do it now. To be honest, these update posts help me in knowing exactly where I stand in terms of my writing and helps me plan ahead serving as the much-needed motivation.

February was a good month for me, not only as compared to January’19 but also as compared to all the months in the last year. I did have some good writing days last year, especially in the second half where I edited a lot and wrote a considerable number of words, but my muse only came in bursts of 5-7 days at a time and then faded away for good. But this February, I not only wrote consistently but was also able to work on posts for my blogs. This makes me feel like I’ve finally reached the headspace I wanted to be in order to complete the projects I’ve been working on for a while now.

Health-wise, it was a good month for me. I even started visiting with my dietician again and slowly getting back into my morning walk routine. Though Eva, my 1.5-year-old cat, got a liver infection probably because of the cat tree we got in January (it happened due to some chemical and we cannot think of anything else as the source.) She had to undergo a very extensive IV therapy which lasted more than a week. 4-5 days into the treatment and the poor girl started running away and hiding from Vishal and me whenever we tried to get close to her in the evenings thinking we might put her in the crate and take her to the vet. She continued doing this even after her treatment was over for around 1 full week. It was disheartening and I’m just glad that now we all are back to our merry old selves.

Anyhow, moving on here’s what I was able to do this month:

Writing Updates:

  • Wrote around 10K words, not counting the scenes I wrote while plotting my projects
  • Plotted and planned the contemporary fiction novel I started working on last year. I call it the Unnamed Project (UP.)
  • Got a new story idea, a really good one! It’s more on the lines of slasher fiction – pure, mind-numbing gory fest. I have already written 8 chapters for it, which is big for me because it has been a long time since I wrote with such fierceness.
  • Learned new ways of plotting and story structures and will try and implement these in March for the projects listed above.
  • I didn’t work on Sinister Town this month as I was trying to distance myself from it in order to figure out an issue I’ facing with one of the characters and it seems like I’ve figured out what the issue is so distancing myself from it paid off. I’m planning to work on Sinister Town in March.

Reading Updates:

  • Read 2 very disappointing reads: Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent and The Nightmare by Lars Kepler. I had big expectations from both these books: Stillwater Girls had a great blurb (because of which I requested it off NetGalley) and The Nightmare is the sequel to Hypnotist, a book I fell in love with. But both turned out to be very dissatisfying reads and I had to mark them as DNF reads, much to my dismay.
  • Read 4 decent reads by the authors I know: The Afterlives Of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings, Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown, The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt and The Curse Of Time by M.J. Mallon. I’ve reviewed all these books on my book blog, The Reading Bud, so do check out my reviews there.
  • Apart from these, I read a book that completely changed the definition of Classics and Cosy Mysteries for me – The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Greene. My very good friend and co-moderator of RMFAO, Dagny, introduced me to this author and after reading her book and biography, I’m totally blown away by the fact that I never heard of her before and that she is so underappreciated. I’m presently reading another one of her books, That Affair Next Door, and it even better than the one I read for Feb.
  • Overall, I read 7 books this month. Out of these, 3 were for RMFAO 2019 Genre Challenge‘s Mystery-Thriller month.

Movies & Series:

  • 8 episodes of the 6th season of Orange Is The New Black. It was good as usual.
  • Cargo on Netflix. Not good at all. They totally ruined a potentially good concept.
  • Tidying Up with Mari Kondo on Netflix. It was kind of a life-changing event and I will be doing a blog post soon on how I’ve adapted the Kon Mari method in my life and home.
  • In new releases, watched Gully Boy and Uri – two of the best movies till date in Bollywood.

Apart from this, I hosted a lot of guests (well, the same guests over and over a couple of times) and was busy in taking care of Eva. So the month went by in a flash. I’m just glad that I was able to get some writing done.

Hope February treated you all well. I’d love to know how you spent your month and what progress you made in your writing, reading and other aspects of life. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ciao ❤

2019 Resolutions

I know I’m late for this, but I really like doing a resolutions post and I really didn’t want to miss out this year. I’ll try and keep this post as short as I can because if I’d let myself get carried away then this would be one hell of a lengthy post.

So without wasting any time, here’s my list of resolutions for 2019…

2019 Resolutions

Writing:

  • Write 300 words daily. There was a point where I was writing 1200-1500 words daily for over 4 months, but that time is long past and I need to get into the habit of writing every day. So I’m thinking of starting slow and then eventually writing as much as I can.
  • Finish Sinister Town and get it beta read.
  • Complete all the stories for the short story collection Alone In The Dark.
  • Write the first draft of Worlds Apart. This one is a new project that I started last November. I only have the vaguest of ideas about this one but it is a good one and therefore I’m going to work on this one, though very slowly.
  • I have another contemporary story that I have to finish, so that is there too.

Reading:

  • Write interesting and more expressive reviews. Since last two years, I feel I’m holding myself back in reviewing books for some reason. So I’ve decided to be more vocal about my feelings, at least relating to the ones that I really liked or disliked.
  • I’m going to read less this year and try to concentrate more on writing. Last year I read a whopping 120 books and that affected my writing pretty badly as I was in a mad rush to read book after book each and every month. So this year, I’m not going to read more than 5 books a month (this is going to be hard because it’s just 12th Jan today and I’ve already read 4 books. Though, I need to do this in order to not let my writing suffer.)
  • I’m planning to read more of horror and contemporary fiction and some cosy mysteries and classics this year.
  • Read more books on writing.
  • Read all the unread books I have on my shelf.

Miscellaneous:

  • I already maintain a gratitude journal, so I’ll continue having that.
  • I’m going to try and go for morning walks as much as I can – this gets difficult as Vishal and I walk together and when he is busy and out for work, I tend to stay awake in the night so I don’t go for walks in the morning. Still, I’ll try and do it as much as I can.
  • I’m meeting my nutritionist tomorrow after almost a year as I shifted far away from her clinic, so I’ll be sorting out my diets for the next two months. I’m planning to do Keto, so hopefully, I’ll be able to drop some pounds this year.
  • Invest in a property. I have some savings and I am looking for a nice piece of land to invest that money in. It’s going to be small, but it’s going to be mine 🙂
  • I am finally going to learn to drive (admitting I don’t know how to drive is embarrassing enough.) I learned driving at the age of 19, but then I never actually got around to driving a car by myself, therefore, I forgot everything. Vishal has promised me to buy a fully automated car for me so that I won’t have to remember the gears (our Honda City has gears and I absolutely dread using a gear), but I still want to learn before that so that I know driving both kinds.
  • Finish watching Orange Is The New Black, Grimm, Dexter and The Walking Dead on Netflix.
  • Learn Mexican cuisine and do a couple more classes related to baking and making loaves of different kinds of bread.
  • Learn swimming.
  • Continue learning German.
  • Blog more – both in terms of writing posts as well as visiting my old friends and making some new ones.
  • I’m also going to try and spend more quality time with Vishal and the girls by trying to be less online which I’ve already started doing since last year. That’s why I’m posting less on Fb and Twitter and even the blogs than I used to.

That’s it for me. I’m going to focus my energy on this list and see what this year has in store for me. Happy New Year to you all.

Ciao ❤

Book Spotlight: Beautiful Disaster by C.J.

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the section of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring C.J, author of Beautiful Disaster, for one of our features, Book Spotlight.

About The Book

Book Name: Beautiful Disaster

Author: C.J.

Publisher: KDP

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Page Count: 448

Release date: September 2, 2018

Synopsis

When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty cream–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns and even scars?

But a discovery like this is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula’s decidedly nasty side effect pops up. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.

As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?

get the book here:

amazon | goodreads | barnes n noble | itunes | kobo | scribd | 24symbols | playster


About The Author

C.J. graduated from Illinois State University and has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area. She is currently semi-retired, works part-time at the local library and lives with her husband and two dogs, Chili Pepper and Molly. She finally managed to put down on paper the strange and humorous story that had been with her for several years. This is that story and this is her first book.

connect with the author
 facebook | instagram | website 

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Excerpt Reveal: Beautiful Disaster by C.J

Welcome to TRB-Lounge, the section of TRb dedicated to book promotion. And today, I’d like to welcome author C.J, for sharing with us an excerpt from her latest release, a fascinating speculative fiction novel, Beautiful Disaster.

Read ahead to get a sneak-peek into this amazing new read!

About The Book

When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty cream–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns and even scars?

But a discovery like this is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula’s decidedly nasty side effect pops up. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.

As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?

book links:
amazon | goodreads | barnes n noble | itunes | kobo | scribd | 24symbols | playster

Book Excerpt

CHAPTER FOUR

Suzanne Verassing, Safety and Human Resource coordinator of Lexi Corp. was making her usual trip to the security office with an armful of baked goods. Since her hire date Suzanne had been cultivating the friendship of all of the security personnel. She believed if she was seen often enough, and shoved enough baked goods down their throats, they would feel she harmless and would cease to notice when she came around or at least not be alarmed when she did. Her plan worked, for, on every trip to the security office, which she made several times a week, she would download several days’ worth of video surveillance on a flash drive she carried with her at all times for opportune moments of piracy. Then she would watch it at her leisure at home or occasionally in a vacant Lexi office and forward any pertinent video off to Teaberry Cosmetics, Lexi Corp’s main competitor.

Suzanne was actually employed by Teaberry, the, CEO of which had no compunctions about getting ahead in the cosmetics business no matter the risk or illegality.

Suzanne Verassing or as she was known at Teaberry, Suzanne Hemlock, was a jack of all trades so to speak, a hired gunslinger for companies, which like Teaberry left their scruples behind after their stock first became public. With her chameleon-like features, Suzanne could fit in anywhere and conform to any type of situation. At five foot four 120 pounds, with shoulder length dark hair and hazel eyes, she had deceivingly soft facial features which contrasted her extremely physically fit and heavily muscled body. She covered up her muscles with long sleeves and full-length skirts.   At Lexi, she was the Human Resource woman who wore her hair in barrettes and favored pastels and flower-printed outfits. With a permanent smile on her face, she could always be found around the company delivering home-baked goods to someone’s office or a conference room.

Teaberry hired Suzanne because her abilities included theft, actual and informational, and product sabotage. She was not above seducing anyone who might have valuable information or needed to be slowed down if they were on the verge of a significant breakthrough. She also had a knack for destroying companies from within by preying on the weaknesses of essential members of staff, such as alcoholism, gambling, etc. What Teaberry didn’t know was that Suzanne also was a hired assassin and that she advertised on the dark web for extra money and for the sheer thrill of killing. She especially enjoyed making a murder look like an accident or a natural death. However, there was something to be said for the out and out wham bam bullet through the head approach. She often wondered if she was more of a sociopath or a psychopath but decided that was society’s problem to figure out at some point. For now, she would just enjoy the ride.

For two long years, Suzanne had integrated herself with these self-absorbed non- productive piles of emotionally driven drones. She had plastered on a smile after fake smile. She had signed every birthday, get well, and retirement schlock filled card until she wanted to puke. Known as the happy homemaker of the company, she had brought in baked goods by the dozens, which gave her stomach cramps. Finally, yes finally she was going to get out of this stifling environment and move on to something that didn’t involve skin care or the beauty industry. If it required chemistry, she wanted the end result to at least blow-up.

“Actually that might be a fitting end for Lexi a lab explosion with these annoying lab rats blown up in a fireball. Whoops, something went wrong, and just when they were having a breakthrough, what a horrible tragedy. Well, it’s time to butter up Mitchell and Roger,” Suzanne said to herself as she grabbed a tin of cupcakes and headed for the security office, unaware that she was about to hit pay dirt.

Later, after leaving the security office, she headed on home and watched the video she had downloaded. On it Suzanne saw Kensington and Montgomery (code names, “Dumb and Dumber”) run to the UV-VIS (ultraviolet, visible spectroscopy) with some sort of sample to analyze. She noticed Dumb and Dumber were acting stranger than usual, and something seemed different about them as well. They didn’t look as repulsive as they usually did. Their skin glowed as though they just had a body wrap, which was doubtful. She wasn’t sure they even bathed.

She leaned into her monitor as far as she could while zooming in. Suzanne couldn’t believe what she saw. Kensington and Montgomery both had perfect, unblemished skin. Had they actually come up with something? No. It wasn’t possible, she thought. She waited for them to suddenly combust, or for their first layer of skin to slide off in a crusty heap, but nothing happened. They just stood there grinning at each other and doing what appeared… Wait, they’re seizing. They are having the start of some sort of grand mal. No, oh God, they’re dancing and chest bumping.

She immediately texted her contact at Teaberry, Gretchen Meadows, and told her she was sending a feed off her computer. Once the feed uploaded, Suzanne and Gretchen began an Internet Relay Chat (IRC). They start an Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

G- Why are they analyzing the formula now? Are they double checking the ingredients? They should’ve examined the formula ages ago. They needed to have run it through the spectroscopy months ago for the quantitating determination of the different analytes. They can’t be checking to make sure their sample complies with the Drug and Cosmetic Act for the FDA now. It’s crunch time.

S- I wonder if the morons are using Nanotechnology and or nanoemulsion. That’s a little beyond their limited scope.

G- Of course it was experimental in 1998 and is the new hot ingredient we hide in the label. Of course no one advertises it that way. Who wants to buy something that bores into your skin and then possibly into your bloodstream and lymph system?

S- Think again, G. Some of these women would give 10 years off of their life to look 10 years younger now. What do they care if things run amuck in their system and eventually damage their tissue?

G-Why are you just showing me this now? It looks like they have been working on this for some time. What have you been doing over there?

S-These guys are idiots, grade “A” morons who spend the whole day playing games and socializing. The odds of them coming up with anything slightly marketable and innovative are the same odds of a pig winning the lotto. I’m looking through the previous video to see the breakthrough moment. I’ll also look for any specific ingredients or at least find out where they keep their notes.

G-Teaberry is paying you a lot of money. You had better do more than just look at the video and guess at what they came up with. I want that formula, I want everything surrounding that formula and no trace of anything or anyone connected with it after you have it. Is that clear?

S- Yes, G. I understand. You will have it all and Lexi Corp. will have nothing once again.

G- Signed off.

Suzanne was nervous and for Suzanne nervous was unthinkable. She disregarded the most recent portion of the download since it appeared those two grade A idiots were just throwing ingredients into a bowl. And when they combined the two containers, she figured they were making their lunch again. Several months ago she’d been fooled. While viewing a surveillance video, she thought Dumb and Dumber were looking unusually focused as they compared notes from battered notebooks. She had carefully taken notes of every colored-coded jar, only to learn that the morons had been making chili for themselves and the rest of the lab.

She couldn’t find a moment in any of the videos where Kensington and Montgomery had manufactured a formula. In fact, she could barely find a moment when they were actually working. Suzanne thought she had it back in July, but then a series of explosions and an evacuation of the lab destroyed that possibility.

She sat and pondered things. She began to wonder if the video in which they’d been making chili might have been when they actually created the formula and the latest video with what appeared to be them tossing random ingredients in was part of that same formula. Did I misjudge those idiots? Are they that brilliant that they can come up with a working formula in that short of time? Did they just need a deadline to perform? No. They are idiots that got lucky, and now they will be the late idiots of Lexi Corp.

Suzanne packed a “to go” bag. For her, this meant a Glock 21 .45 cal. with a silencer, a .223 DPMS rifle in a case, plenty of ammo and enough explosives to wipe out an entire city block. She also put in a change of clothes; she would walk past the Tweedles as Suzanne from HR, but would come out a warrior. She put all of this in her Land Rover. Soon after arriving at Lexi Corp., she had the car outfitted with plates registered to that moron Brian Conner. She never drove the Land Rover to Lexi Corp. before given she felt it would not go with her happy homemaker image. But today, when the big bang occurred, the last car seen going through security would be Conner’s Land Rover, and his ID badge would be used in the entryway. It was always good to be prepared and to have a scapegoat, and Conner, the jackass, was perfect.


About The Author

C.J

C.J. graduated from Illinois State University and has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area. She is currently semi-retired, works part-time at the local library and lives with her husband and two dogs, Chili Pepper and Molly. She finally managed to put down on paper the strange and humorous story that had been with her for several years. This is that story and this is her first book.

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Author Interview: Dwayne gill

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Dwayne Gill, author of Written By Blood: Conviction, for another one of our very popular feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Dwayne Gill

Dwayne Gill is a new, up-and-coming author with a big imagination. He first thought of the premise of his series “Written By Blood” when he was just twelve years old. Growing up, he loved action movies and larger-than-life heroes, which is evident when reading his writing.
However, as he got older, he became bothered by the typical action figure tropes and the predictability of the plots, causing his series idea to evolve further.

If you like action thrillers, unlikely, conflicted heroes, twists, and character development that has a much deeper moral than most other thrillers in its genre, you’ll want to follow the series “Written By Blood.”

The two short stories, “Cane’s Detour” and “Daniel’s Darkness” feature Cane and Daniel, two major characters in his series “Written By Blood.” The first novel of the series, Conviction, will be released in December 2018.

Dwayne Gill lives in Louisiana with his wife, newborn son, and his yellow Labrador Retriever.

 you can connect with the author here
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The Interview

 

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My starting ambition was simply to put my story out there for everyone to read, but a funny thing happened along the way. I separated one long book into separate volumes. By doing this, I knew I’d be losing a lot of content, so I decided to incorporate the extra content into short stories.

I published Cane’s Detour in February 2018 with little expectation and a lot of pride. It was awesome to see my book, my story, on my own Kindle. Of course, my family and friends read it and said they loved it, but the reception I began receiving from complete strangers is what first made me realize there may be more to this. There were readers writing me expressing how much they enjoyed the story and began asking me when the full-length novel would be published. A few readers turned into many, and by the time I released the second short story, Daniel’s Darkness, in May 2018, I had quite a substantial following. Little did I know that readers would like Daniel even more than Cane.

Daniel’s Darkness caused my following to multiply exponentially, which made me realize the potential in what I was doing. I knew if all of these people loved the two short stories this much, they’d love the novel.

Then, in August 2018, my wife gave birth to our first child, and my world changed forever. My wife and I were both working before, but shortly after Sampson was born, we both decided she would stay home to raise him. It’s what my wife always wanted. That left me shouldering the burden of being the sole breadwinner, which made me realize how badly I needed this author thing to work for me in the long-term.

I hope to someday be able to support my growing family as a full-time author. We’re not done having kids, so I better get busy!

What started as a hobby has escalated into a deep desire to entertain people, and to make an honest living doing so.

 

Which writers inspire you?

This may sound funny coming from a self-published author, but I’m inspired by the traditionally published authors who came before me. These authors didn’t have the luxury that I have today of being able to decide to put my work out there for the world to see, absent any gatekeepers. Authors Like Margaret Mitchell, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, even James Patterson, were all turned away multiple times by publishers, yet they never lost hope. They kept writing. They didn’t have the alternative that we indies have today; they just had to keep submitting their manuscripts, hoping someone would believe in them. That inspires me. I hope that I’d have the same level of confidence in my writing to trust myself on that level.

 

Tell us about your book?

My book is, in a lot of ways, your classic action thriller. It has all the elements you’d expect to see: a scary bad guy, epically bad-ass protagonists, damsels in distress, high-level corruption, and heavy doses of action sequences. It’s set in the near-future and features genetically enhanced men to throw in a dash of Sci-Fi. Conviction is also obviously pointing at a soon-to-be apocalyptic-type event, which would give readers that enjoy that sort of scenario something to look forward to in future volumes.

The book features Cane, a rogue-assassin who was trained by the government. He’s ruthless, efficient, and because he was isolated from society from birth, unable to understand most human emotions. In one of the short story prequels, Cane’s Detour, you get to see him at his worst. He’s still an asset of the government program, before it’s shut down, and he’s on his way to kill an American citizen. He runs into Kristy, who’s recently escaped from a serial killer, and has to decide what to do with her. He ends up helping her, albeit in an unconventional way.

The other main character is Daniel, who you also get a peek at in the short story Daniel’s Darkness. He’s 7’5 and over 400 pounds and is locked up in a super-max prison, convicted of multiple counts of murder. While Daniel isn’t in the novel as much as Cane, he’s still a highly entertaining character.

There are lots damsels in distress; besides Kristy and Taryn, the two you meet in the short stories, you meet Natalie and Jordyn as well. Not all the women in the novel are in need of protection though; readers will get to see a lot of the female characters evolve and stand apart on their own.

The other supporting characters of note are Lynks, who is Cane’s best friend and former fellow trainee, Bowman, the man who trained Cane and Lynks, Calvin, Daniel’s best friend, and Agents Hart and Barkley, whose roles grow bigger as the plot unfolds.

The villain of the novel is named Amos, and he’s one of the seven terrorist leaders who are giving orders to the marked men. Years ago, men by the thousands began disappearing all over the country, then reappearing elsewhere. What made it stranger was that they all were ordinary, hard-working family men. They abandoned their families and careers and moved away, and every one of them now have a marking, like a tattoo, on their forearm. There are also some who commit seemingly unprovoked acts of random violence, leading many to be suspicious of the group’s intentions. The true nature and origin of these men become clearer as the novel progresses.

The centerpiece of the plot has to belong to Marcene, however. She’s a mysterious lady that directs Cane to save Natalie from the marked men, thus bringing them to his attention. She also leads him to Calvin, then Daniel. She’s instrumental in the novel.

The novel follows Cane’s journey to save Natalie, investigate the marked men, recruit Calvin, and extract Daniel.

It also follows Amos’s path of trying to corner Cane, and when he fails, he targets Kristy and her mother, the two people Cane cares most about.

It turns into a feud that will keep escalating until the final pages.

Anyone who likes thrillers in the vein of Rapp and Reacher will surely be entertained, but where my novel and series differ from most thrillers, I believe, is in the exploration of the characters’ own inner struggles. Cane and Daniel are two of the most unlikely hero-types you’ll ever find in a novel, but each have found a way to overcome their own limitations to be someone better.

And it’s just the beginning of that journey.

 

How long did it take you to write it?

I won’t count the original version of Written By Blood, because it was really long and ended up being segmented into different volumes. Because of the way I had to restructure the one long story, it’s hard to gauge how long it took to actually write Part One: Conviction. I began separating Written By Blood into different volumes in February 2018, which was a complicated process. I wanted each volume of the story to stand alone on its own, absent cliffhangers, so I had to add some plot and move things around.

The end product was Written By Blood Part One: Conviction, and I finished the manuscript in August 2018. In total, it took nearly four months of actual writing, once I had the plot worked out.

 

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Oh yes! I’m always working on other projects. Currently, there are three short stories due before the launch of Written By Blood Part Two. One features Cane, another is a prequel to Part Two and features Daniel, then the other features the third main protagonist of the series, William, who will be in Part Two.

Of course, I’m also working on Written By Blood Part Two itself, which I think readers will like even better than Part One.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I didn’t really choose the genre. In fact, I didn’t consider genre until after I finished my first short story. It turns out my novel really crosses genres; it’s best described as a technothriller, but it could fall into a number of others as well.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

I wrote my first book when I was about five years old. It was called, The Thing, and it was awesome. My sister helped me make it into an audiobook, in the form of a tape cassette recording. In fact, I would read a page aloud and she’d press the side button of a walkie-talkie to indicate it was time to turn the page.

Seriously, though, after that phase of my life I gave little thought to writing. However, all through school I excelled in English and Grammar, and my ninth-grade teacher was so impressed with my journal entries that she presented me with a special award at the school end-of-the-year awards ceremony. She also told me she wanted a signed copy of the first book I wrote. I plan on following through on that promise.

I still didn’t quite fancy myself a writer at that point, and it really wasn’t until I wrote the first version of Written By Blood that I yearned to become a writer. It was more of a pipe dream then, but as I got older and the publishing industry became more indie-friendly, that dream became a reality.

 

Why do you write?

I started writing because I had a story burning inside of me. I didn’t sit down to write it until I was twenty-eight years old, and it was for fear of the story being lost somehow. I knew when I died, the story would die with me, unless I put it in writing.

So I did. However, I didn’t actively pursue publishing until I was thirty-nine years old. I had talked about it, people had encouraged me to go for it, but it took many years to pull the trigger.

However, Written By Blood isn’t the only story in my head. In fact, I have entire books, or stories, start-to-finish, sitting in my mind, waiting to be written. Dozens of books in many different genres, and I plan on writing them all.

I write for two reasons: One reason is the love of the story, for seeing the movies in my head come to life in written form. There’s no bigger thrill for me than that.

The second reason is for my fans. No one ever warned me about what it would be like to have fans that turn into dear friends. I have met so many great people in the past year, people that began as casual readers who took a chance on me. I’m so thankful for the relationships I’ve formed, and my readers mean everything to me. I vow to always be accessible to fans; I answer every email and have months-long conversations going with people.

Where do your ideas come from?

I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. When I was a young boy, I’d play entire movies out using G.I. Joe men or stuffed animals. I’d even set a timer to make sure the length of the “movie” stayed in a certain time-frame. As I got older, even though I’d abandoned my toy props, I’d still play movies in my head. My favorite time to do this was on the school bus; because I lived in a rural area, I rode the bus for over two hours to and from school. In the mornings, I would lie on the back seat, close my eyes, and let the film roll in my mind. During these trips to school, the concept of my series Written By Blood was born.

Even at age thirty-nine, I still have the same, active imagination, although I rarely use stuffed animals or action figures. I’m inspired by anything I watch on television, anything I read, and I’m greatly inspired by music. I can listen to an emotionally moving song and have a movie trailer, of my making, playing through my mind by the end. I also use complete silence to brainstorm. One thing’s for certain: I never force an idea into a book or plot. It all comes very naturally, for I could only write stories that move me personally.

 

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

90% of my writing is done on a desktop computer, however, I’ve been known to type out portions of my books using my phone. I use MS Word and save my work on OneDrive, so my phone can connect seamlessly to any document that I need to edit on the fly. In fact, I do a lot of my proofreading on my phone.

I’ve yet to master dictation. I’ve tried a few times but so far it doesn’t seem to suit me.

 

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Five Favorite Books:

  1. Tough Customer by Sandra Brown
  2. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  3. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  4. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  5. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Five Favorite Authors:

  1. Vince Flynn
  2. George R. R. Martin
  3. John Grisham
  4. Dean Koontz
  5. Sandra Brown

Each of the books and authors played a great role in me becoming an author. I don’t claim for any of the books or authors to be a top five list of the best, but the impact they each had on me was substantial.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’ve honestly never experienced Writer’s Block, but that’s likely because all the writing I’ve done has consisted of stories that I already know from beginning to end, and everything in between. I’m sure at some point I’ll inevitably hit the wall, but so far there’s been no issues.

 

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

The most important piece of advice I’d give is simply to write. That may seem like a no-brainer, but I think too many aspiring authors out there don’t consider themselves true authors. I think this rings truer with Indie authors; we tend to only think of ourselves as an author once we see one of our books published. However, being an author starts long before any of your writing is published, so we should act accordingly. A true author writes, and does so every day. Set time away and make content your priority. By writing daily, you’re honing your craft, finding your voice, and becoming a better author.

The second piece of advice would be to grow your audience, and to do it immediately. This ties into writing everyday as well. Produce content, whether it be blogs or short stories, and get that into the hands of readers that will value your work. And keep producing! Give free material away all the time to your faithful readers to keep them engaged.

Decide whether you’re writing as a hobby or making it a career endeavor. If you’re writing as a hobby, you don’t have too many rules or guidelines you need to follow. But if your aim is to make a living from your writing, there’s certain things you’ll need to do if you want to be successful, and it will cost a few dollars. Don’t think you can put out quality work completely on your own without spending a dime. While you absolutely can publish at virtually no cost, your chances of long-term success are pretty low. Get a professional editor and cover designer, at the very least, and if you’re really looking at getting your name and novel out there, consider researching marketing. Learn how to write a professional blurb, learn categories on Amazon or wherever you’re publishing. Consider Facebook and/or Amazon Ads.

Lastly, join communities, whether it be other like-minded authors or readers in your genre. Goodreads has a ton of groups. Join one, or three. Get to know other people in the industry.

If you want to be successful, visible, and to stand out, you’ll need to do things other authors aren’t doing, because let’s face it: there are thousands of authors out there that no one knows, so if you want to avoid being just another name thrown into the mix, go the extra mile.

Have confidence in yourself and your writing. Accept criticism; it’s more important than you realize. Have fun. And most importantly, value your faithful readers. They’re the ones who will always have your back. Keep them happy, and never take them for granted.


Thank you, Dwayne, for all the insightful and exciting answers! 


About The Book

Written By Blood: Conviction

Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.

Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.

Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

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If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Spotlight: Dwayne gill

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring Dwayne Gill, author of Written By Blood: Conviction, for one of our very popular feature, Author Spotlight.

 

About The Author

Dwayne Gill is a new, up-and-coming author with a big imagination. He first thought of the premise of his series “Written By Blood” when he was just twelve years old. Growing up, he loved action movies and larger-than-life heroes, which is evident when reading his writing.
However, as he got older, he became bothered by the typical action figure tropes and the predictability of the plots, causing his series idea to evolve further.

If you like action thrillers, unlikely, conflicted heroes, twists, and character development that has a much deeper moral than most other thrillers in its genre, you’ll want to follow the series “Written By Blood.”

The two short stories, “Cane’s Detour” and “Daniel’s Darkness” feature Cane and Daniel, two major characters in his series “Written By Blood.” The first novel of the series, Conviction, will be released in December 2018.

Dwayne Gill lives in Louisiana with his wife, newborn son, and his yellow Labrador Retriever.

 you can connect with the author here
website | facebook | bookbub | goodreads

About The Book

Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.

Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.

Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

buy Written By Blood on
amazon and goodreads

Praise

“If you like action thrillers with a slightly futuristic, Crichton-esque twist, I strongly recommend Dwayne Gill.”
Matt McAvoy

“If you are looking for action, and conflicted heroes like Jack Reacher, you’ll really like this novel. But if you’re looking for something deeper, something that’s guaranteed to move you on a personal level, then you’ll LOVE this book.”
–RobertGG, Booksprout reviewer


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author/book featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Spotlight: Future Comes From Behind by S.T.K. Chan

About The Book

Book Name: Future Comes from Behind (Paradigm Shift, #1)

Author: S.T.K. Chan

Publisher: S.T.K. Chan

Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Visionary

Page Count: 235

Release date: August 28, 2018


Synopsis

After Lisa barely manages to escape an invasion from the Rebel army in her home of Malta, she discovers Exo. This ancient dimension is made of memories from the past. It is here that evil manifests as flesh. It is here that the legacy of centuries of darkness can be stopped from whispering to our ears. Lisa desperately wants to resolve the conflicts of this inner world peacefully, but quickly learns she must fight the shadows in people’s hearts materialized through battle re-enactments, warfare and emotional turmoil.

buy here
amazon and website

 


About The Author

S.T.K. Chan – A fan of nourishing SF&F fiction. Seeker of essential truths in historical non-fiction. Exploring life for almost half a century. Delivering action and matters of the inner self. “Chan has license to be more philosophical and issue-oriented, and on the whole he blends together different genres well.” (John Staughton, SPR)

 you can connect with the author here
website

Getting Back In The Groove

Finally, after almost 1 and a half years, since Eva’s arrival and the start of my health issues (both unrelated, of course), I am feeling like myself again. After such a long break, I have also started re-working on my 2nd novel, Sinister Town, with the kind of energy I always seemed to have before things started to get sour in regards to my health. Lately, I’ve even started with my fitness regime again, though that is coming along a bit slowly. But I’m in a kind of a happy place now where I am doing all the things that I love doing and I am not sick nor coughing my lungs out the entire time.

Though my medical tests are still pending, I’m positive whatever it was is long past and now all that remains is for me to conquer the world again (see, that’s how good I’m feeling.) And it’s not that I’m just feeling good now, or this week. This has been the case from last two month since I’ve recovered from my last allergy bout. And that is the reason why I’ve been able to blog again to my heart’s content in the last few days – I’m not only blogging on The Reading Bud and this blog, but I’ve also taken up cooking occasionally again and have started posting on The Baking Bud too.

Eva in our backyard

I guess my last sickness bout made me very appreciative of the life I have; my loving, caring and such a devout husband and my crazily adorable and loving cats, Eva and Katie, and also the ever-goofy and always smiling Max. With so much love around me, I guess I’ve not only bounced back to being well but that I’ve been able to come back in a much better frame of mind.

Katie lazing around

For now, my focus is solely on getting Sinister Town ready for my alpha and beta readers and then polishing the dark short story collection I’ve been meaning to work on for some time. I’m also trying to read more and incorporate cooking regularly, more and more, into my daily schedule.

I’ll try and post here more (at least once a week) even if just a life update kind of a post as I hate not being in touch with blogging here. I’ll also try and visit all my favourite blogs more often (haven’t done it in so long that I’ve almost forgotten how great it feels to read everyone’s posts.)

Ciao ❤

Max Is Coming Back Home

Okay… so let me start from the beginning…

We got 40 days old Max home on 10th April 2019 and everything was going great until, after exactly 13 days, Vishal rescued Whisky, a 10-15 day old kitten that V found outside a bakery on the side of the road while getting some pastries. Because Whisky was suffering from severe malnutrition, Vishal and I dedicated most of our time to taking care of Whisky which somehow, unbeknownst to us, led Max to feel neglected.

He started to get needy and when, after a month, Katie – another rescued kitten whom I got home for fostering, arrived at our home (a day after Whisky was adopted) the same thing happened all over again, only more because Katie’s voicebox was ruptured having spent a rough couple of days on the road fighting with bigger cats (as per rescuer’s information.) Katie’s delicate age – 1 month, and her broken voice instantly led me to fall in love with her like a crazy protective cat-mom and I spent even more time with her trying to establish trust and a bond with her to bring her out of her shell (Katie was a tiny little thing who jumped and hid even at the sound of someone laughing.) That led to a disaster and Max, who adored Eva and even Katie started to get very needy and started barking at both the girls a lot. He also developed some anxious ticks such as barking obsessively to gain our (and whoever’s happened to ring doorbells in our neighbourhood) attention, obsessive chewing of rugs and furniture and overall he got overwhelmed because of being tied most of the day (that was because of Eva who was not yet comfortable with Max invading her space.)

 

Look at that adorable face!

On top of all this, the trainer who was training Max turned out to be a bad match for him as he was not able to train Max properly and it backfired very badly. So, overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless, Vishal asked his friend to keep him for a few days so that we all could get some time to recuperate and regroup. Vishal loved Max a lot and he hated to be parted from him, and so did I, but by then we had decided to adopt Katie as I had a feeling that only we could have taken care of such a young kitten with broken voicebox (I still feel that no one else can love Katie more than me and no one could have cared for her better.) So anyway, Vishal left Max with his friend, who also had a German Shepherd named Kaiden, for 15 days.

While at Vishal’s friend’s place, Max got along with Kaiden so well that we all thought that it was best if he was given more time with him. The best part was that V’s friend was a breeder a couple of years ago and knew how to handle and train dogs. He did a lot of work on Max and with Kaiden to teach him good things and ways to behave properly, Max got to learn a lot with them both. And now finally, we’re bringing him back home. This time we’re making sure not to foster any kittens and to give Max our 200% love and attention. We’re also planning to hire another trainer (someone who’ll be the right fit for Max’s crazy amount of energy) and to get him analysed by a pet behaviourist. We both are so happy that finally, we can do for him what we had wanted to do for these couple of months. I guess, sometimes doing the right thing for one being can harm someone else. So we’ll just pause the fostering for now and concentrate on Max for the next couple of months at least.

I’m just happy that Max is coming back and that Vishal and I are getting back our fur-son and Eva and Katie are getting back their sibling 🙂

Will keep you guys posted on our progress.

Ciao ❤

RMFAO Buddy Read: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

First off, I’d like to share a good news that we’ve crossed first 500 members at RMFAO! For those of you who don’t know what RMFAO is, it is a book club/group on Goodreads where book lovers from all over the world share their latest reads and reviews and participate in exciting year-long challenges and buddy reads.

Coming back to the topic, for the month of October this year, we’re hosting a buddy read for Strange Weather by Joe Hill at RMFAO. The buddy read would be lead by Cheryl, one of the moderators at RMFAO.

I’ve been waiting to read this book since its release last year! I got the hardback copy of it as a birthday gift from Vishal in December itself, but then we planned to have a buddy read for this book in October, so I saved it for later and finally, after a long and arduous wait, October is here and I’m super thrilled to read this book! The best part is that this book fits in the Horror genre so it makes it easy for all of us who are participating in RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge (October – Horror) challenge to count it in.

If you want to read this book or like horror fiction or want to explore it then come along and join us. This is a month-long buddy read so you can join in anytime as long as you finish the book by the end of the month.

You can find the main discussion thread for Stange Weather buddy read here.

If you want to know more about RMFAO then you can check out this page: RMFAO

Ciao ❤

Author Interview: Kally-Jay Mkwawa

Welcome to the TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Kally-Jay Mkwawa, author of Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix, for an author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kally-Jay Mkwawa

Kally-Jay Mkwawa (a pseudonym), is a lady of 30 years living and working in
Tanzania and is the author of Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African
Phoenix. She gained her undergraduate degree in Bcom Law (majoring in law and
minor in business management) which she was awarded in South Africa and is
currently working for an NGO dealing with provision of medical assistance in the
country whilst pursuing her MBA with the University of South Wales, the latter
being via distance learning.
She’s always been a lover of reading and collecting books, a passion through
which (in addition to formal education) and, possessing a mind louder than words
she can actually utter, has enhanced and inspired her to start writing. Her writing
is more of a born talent since she’s never had classes in literature or the arts which
would have enabled her to grow further in the field. To her, writing is a form of
therapy and a way to tap into her imagination.
Besides her love of writing, Kally-Jay has a passion for lending an ear to people
who most of the times need someone to listen to, music and watching series or
movies.
She draws inspiration for writing from travelling, reading fiction novels and devotional books and conversations with close friends and family and, anything that is ‘out the box’ or living life not conforming to society’s normal set standards. She strives to write stories from real life experiences and thus, living an essence of herself in them and what she’s personally been through in life and epiphanies she’s come to in the process.

 you can connect with the author here
instagram | linkedin | goodreads


The Interview

 

can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?


I’m a Tanzanian lady living and working in Tanzania and am the author of Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix. My given name is L.J. Mkwawa even though for the purposes of publishing my work I’ve picked the pseudonym of Kally-Jay Mkwawa. I attained my undergraduate degree in Bcom Law (majoring in law and a minor in business management) which I was awarded in South Africa.


please tell us about your book?


My book is generally about life stages, epiphanies that one comes to whilst encountering different people and experiencing different situations. It’s about love (in most of its facets), friends, family, memories one collects during one’s life and personal growth. I’d say parts of it are quite emotional but I’d rather readers look at the bigger picture. I’ve put an essence of myself in the book as well.


how long did it take you to write it?


I’d actually started scripting the chapters for quite a while but, the process had actually been on and off since I’d had to juggle work, family and school. But ideally, I’d say it took me less than a year to complete it since I’d set a deadline of my birthday in 2018.


why did you choose this topic?

Wow (chuckles). This is definitely one of my favorite questions. I chose the topic/ title because ‘Isidora’ which ideally means ‘gift of isis’ or in other different stories, she was an empathetic woman always overlooking herself and putting others first whilst in history she is said to have been quite reserved as well. This is something which talks about Isidora’s character. The subtitle ‘Life, Mind and Memories’ is simply about her life, the way her mind works and the memories she’s kept instilled within her that’s somehow shaped and still shaping her character. ‘African Phoenix’- a phoenix is a mythological bird who at the end of its life, goes in flames and, out of the ashes it is reborn. This portrays the various stages and trials that Isidora goes through by experiencing different situations and encountering different people and in signifies that no matter how trying a scenario/ experience is for her, she lives to see another day. And, ‘African’ is just the fact that it represents the story being based in Africa – Isidora’s home. Having said that, I therefore chose this title for my debut book.


which writers in your field inspire you?


The actual fact is that I haven’t quite read a lot of books by non-fiction authors, but the few that come to mind are such as C.S. Lewis, Susan Cain, Sarah Young, Stephen Covey and the like. In all honesty, I’ve read more fictional books than non-fiction and I feel it’s perhaps because I’m quite particular about a writer’s writing style.


what inspired you to write?

I’ve personally grown up to have very few people I can speak to or confide in, and thus, there more times when my mind tends to be louder than my mouth or the number of times I speak. I also easily always find myself thinking a lot (most especially about deeper meaning of issues in and of life) and thus, writing is my way of emptying my mind. This is especially because most times not a lot of people would understand what I’m saying (thus appreciating my level of ‘weird’) or relate to what I’m saying. Writing is my type of therapeutic exercise. When a thought or an epiphany (be it spiritual/religious or general, comes to my mind, it even gets to a point of getting a headache. Thus, I’d grab my laptop or a pen and notebook and just pour it all out.


are you working on any other project(s) right now? if yes, what are they?

I’m currently working for an NGO dealing with provision of medical assistance in the country whilst at the same time, I’m pursuing my MBA with the University of South Wales, the latter being via distance learning. I also manage a vacation home on a part-time basis (this being a family venture). At the same time, I’m still writing and thus, in the process of writing my second book as well.


how do you prefer to write? on computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?


I prefer writing with a pen in any notebook of mine I can find and when it’s something I feel I can include in a book, that’s when I use my laptop (or, my phone when the urgency to get a thought out of my head gets too overwhelming).


what are your 5 
favourite books and 5 favourite authors?


  • K. Rowling – All the Harry Potter Books (wouldn’t be fair to pick just one)
  • Susan Cain – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
  • Nora Roberts (definitely too many books of hers to mention as I’ve read (still reading) a lot of them and equally loved all of them),
  • Stephen Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Dan Brown – Angels and Demons


non-fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. how do you deal with the all research work?

Honestly, it’s really not that much of a challenge for me at the moment and this is simply because debut book is about things or people I’ve encountered or experienced or, have in one way or another played a role in. This is be it through conversations with my close circle of friends or my family or, at times, through reading work from other non-fiction writers/ authors (something which isn’t at all hard for me since reading another form of relaxation for me. I’m a certified book junkie!). I also think non-fiction isn’t solely about research all times, it’s just the mere fact that it’s based on true or real life occurrence of events.


what advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

I reckon each person has a story to tell about oneself and it doesn’t matter if it’ll be a bestseller or not or, whether you’d be praised for your heroics or be laughed at. The point remains that you have a story which has somehow shaped their character and made you who you are today; it is your testimony. If you touch one person, one million or all 7 billion, you’re in a position to inspire, change or motivate someone. With your story, another person would grow and learn to do and be better, why not share it? I encourage aspiring authors to speak up and let them be heard. It’s one which through which you can definitely make a difference.

Most times it’s not easy to make your mark in this world, so even if you’ll eventually be writing for an audience or readers, initially, you can write for yourself. Do it for you! This piece of advice was hammered into me by one of my closest friends and she said ‘do it for yourself woman! Be your own fan’. It took a lot of debating and second guessing myself to have finally decided to publish (and self-publish at that, a field I was completely clueless about) but I did it for me. And it still amazes me that so many people praise the fact I published and that they appreciate my writing.


Thank you, Kally-Jay, for all your honest answers and for the insightful and exciting answers! 


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix

Spending the better part of your life being called a good listener, a weirdo, a hermit or a ‘mirror of ugly truths’ and a walking-talking memory machine isn’t at all that it’s cut out to be. To a large extent, it’s a lonely life. You arrive into this life without even meaning to and suddenly it seems that you carry the weight of the whole world on your shoulders. You get sucked into it quite easily and coming up for a breath of fresh air is not easy at all.

This is an account that will give the reader an idea of what Isidora has encountered this beautiful, yet twisted and noisy place called the world. It’s not a long story with a happy ending (at least not so far). Rather, it’s about the reason for her tears, worries, unending voices in her head, the blows that life threw at her, about those precious moments of sheer joy and last, but certainly not least, her encounter with Him. Hopefully, sharing her story will find others who can relate to it and make them feel they’re not alone. Writing this work has been like an ‘extension’ of herself whilst overcoming her fear of hurting people or being compelled to ‘walk on eggshells’. It’s one of her legacies and as always, has been her type of therapy. May it be a type of therapy or inspiring for you too.

book links:
amazon and smashwords

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Spotlight: Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix by Kally-Jay Mkwawa

About The Book

 

Book Name: Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix

Author: Kally-Jay Mkwawa

Publisher: L.J. Mkwawa

Genre: Non-Fiction, Family & Relationships

Page Count: 88

Release date: June 2018


Synopsis

Spending the better part of your life being called a good listener, a weirdo, a hermit or a ‘mirror of ugly truths’ and a walking-talking memory machine isn’t at all that it’s cut out to be. To a large extent, it’s a lonely life. You arrive into this life without even meaning to and suddenly it seems that you carry the weight of the whole world on your shoulders. You get sucked into it quite easily and coming up for a breath of fresh air is not easy at all.

This is an account that will give the reader an idea of what Isidora has encountered this beautiful, yet twisted and noisy place called the world. It’s not a long story with a happy ending (at least not so far). Rather, it’s about the reason for her tears, worries, unending voices in her head, the blows that life threw at her, about those precious moments of sheer joy and last, but certainly not least, her encounter with Him. Hopefully, sharing her story will find others who can relate to it and make them feel they’re not alone. Writing this work has been like an ‘extension’ of herself whilst overcoming her fear of hurting people or being compelled to ‘walk on eggshells’. It’s one of her legacies and as always, has been her type of therapy. May it be a type of therapy or inspiring for you too.

buy here
Amazon and Smashwords

 


About The Author

Kally-Jay Mkwawa

Kally-Jay Mkwawa (a pseudonym), is a lady of 30 years living and working in
Tanzania and is the author of Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African
Phoenix. She gained her undergraduate degree in Bcom Law (majoring in law and
minor in business management) which she was awarded in South Africa and is
currently working for an NGO dealing with provision of medical assistance in the
country whilst pursuing her MBA with the University of South Wales, the latter
being via distance learning.
She’s always been a lover of reading and collecting books, a passion through
which (in addition to formal education) and, possessing a mind louder than words
she can actually utter, has enhanced and inspired her to start writing. Her writing
is more of a born talent since she’s never had classes in literature or the arts which
would have enabled her to grow further in the field. To her, writing is a form of
therapy and a way to tap into her imagination.
Besides her love of writing, Kally-Jay has a passion for lending an ear to people
who most of the times need someone to listen to, music and watching series or
movies.
She draws inspiration for writing from travelling, reading fiction novels and devotional books and conversations with close friends and family and, anything that is ‘out the box’ or living life not conforming to society’s normal set standards. She strives to write stories from real life experiences and thus, living an essence of herself in them and what she’s personally been through in life and epiphanies she’s come to in the process.

 you can connect with the author here
Instagram | LinkedIn | Goodreads