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Saturday, March 23, 2019

#WeWriWa RESCUING MARA'S FATHER: Run, You Galactic Garbage!

Each weekend, the Weekend Writing Warriors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

Apologies for not getting around to the blogs last week. I worked nonstop (almost) to prepare Rescuing Mara's Father for publication--final proofing, formatting, and finally uploading it to the major vendors. (More below.) I'll do better about visiting this week. Promise!
I'm sharing my newest story, a Middle Grade/YA science fiction adventure, titled Rescuing Mara's Father. The narrator is Mara, an almost 15-year-old girl who lives in a mining outpost on the Outer Rim. This snippet takes place after last week's. When Mara's friend Jako is being beaten up by the Dunpus brothers, she joins the fight. Since they've never heard the brothers' first names, she and Jako call them by numbers. 

Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. It's also edited from the original.
 
I straddle Dunpus #2, my knees grinding into his upper arms, then I grab his hair and slam his head into the dusty ground. While he’s dazed, I say, “Leave Jako alone. Hurt him again, and you’re planetary poop, understand?” I slam his head into the hard-packed dirt again.
“He understands, Mara,” Stars and asteroids, it’s Father. He lifts me off the stunned boy, while Lukus does the same to Jako who really cleaned Dunpus #1’s clock.
The Dunpus brothers stagger to their feet, take a look at the four of us, and stumble backward in their haste to get away.
Jako yells, “Yeah, run, you galactic garbage. Go back to your farm,” He looks over at me and grins, “We done good, didn’t we?” He holds his hand up in the air, and I slap it.

Rescuing Mara's Father is now available for pre-order at the following vendors:




Blurb:

Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he's gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately. 
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. An old spaceport mechanic and her mentor seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off our planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave her, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, she has to rescue her father.



Thursday, March 21, 2019

GUEST: Diana Rubino and FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET

The prolific Diana Rubino has a new release in audio format. Diana writes about such interesting historical characters--both real and fictional. Here's Diana Rubino to tell you about this story.



FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET Now on Audio with the soothing voice of narrator Nina Price


Read About FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET and how Vita Finds Love and Success Against All Odds

It's 1894 on New York's Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. Vita goes from sweatshop laborer to respected bank clerk to reformer, helping elect a mayor to beat the Tammany machine. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption, Vita's father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. As Vita and Tom work together against time and prejudice to clear her brother and father of a murder they didn't commit, they know their love can survive poverty, hatred, and corruption. Vita is based on my great grandmother, Josephine Calabrese, “Josie Red” who left grade school to become a self-made businesswoman and politician, wife and mother.

An Excerpt:

As Vita gathered her soap and towel, Madame Branchard tapped on her door. "You have a gentleman caller, Vita. A policeman."
"Tom?" His name lingered on her lips as she repeated it. She dropped her things and crossed the room.
"No, hon, not him. Another policeman. Theodore something, I think he said."
No. There can't be anything wrong. "Thanks," she whispered,  nudging Madame Branchard aside. She descended the steps, gripping the banister to support her wobbly legs. Stay calm! she warned herself. But of course it was no use; staying calm just wasn't her nature.
“Theodore something” stood before the closed parlor door. He’s a policeman? Tall and hefty, a bold pink shirt peeking out of a buttoned waistcoat and fitted jacket, he looked way out of place against the dainty patterned wallpaper.
He removed his hat. "Miss Caputo." He strained to keep his voice soft as he held out a piece of paper. “I’m police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.”
"Yes?" Her voice shook.
"I have a summons for you, Miss Caputo." He held it out to her. But she stood rooted to that spot.
He stepped closer and she took it from him, unfolding it with icy fingers. Why would she be served with a summons? Was someone arresting her now for something she didn't do?
A shot of anger tore through her at this system, at everything she wanted to change. She flipped it open and saw the word "Summons" in fancy script at the top. Her eyes widened with each sentence as she read. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.”
I hereby order Miss Vita Caputo to enter into holy matrimony with Mr. Thomas McGlory immediately following service of this summons.

How FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET Was Born

New York City’s history always fascinated me—how it became the most powerful hub in the world from a sprawling wilderness in exchange for $24 with Native Americans by the Dutch in 1626.

Growing up in Jersey City, I could see the Statue of Liberty from our living room window if I leaned way over (luckily I didn’t lean too far over). As a child model, I spent many an afternoon on job interviews and modeling assignments in the city, and got hooked on Nedick’s, a fast food chain whose orange drinks were every kid’s dream. Even better than the vanilla egg creams. We never drove to the city—we either took the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train (‘the tube’ in those days) or the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

My great grandmother, Josephine Arnone, “Josie Red” to her friends, because of her abundant head of red hair, was way ahead of her time. Born in 1895 (but it could’ve been sooner, as she was known to lie about her age), she left grade school, became a successful businesswoman and a Jersey City committewoman, as well as a wife and mother of four. She owned apartment buildings, parking garages, a summer home, did a bit of Prohibition-era bootlegging, small-time loan-sharking, and paid cash for everything. When I began outlining From Here to Fourteenth Street, I modeled my heroine, Vita Caputo, after her. Although the story is set in New York the year before Grandma was born, I was able to bring Vita to life by calling on the family legends and stories, all word of mouth, for she never kept a journal.

Vita’s hero Tom McGlory isn’t based on any real person, but I did a lot of reading about Metropolitan Policemen and made sure he was the complete opposite! He’s trustworthy and would never take a bribe or graft. I always liked the name McGlory—then, years after the book first came out, I remembered that was the name of my first car mechanic—Ronnie McGlory.

I completed the book in 1995, and my then-publisher, Domhan Books, published it under the title I Love You Because. The Wild Rose Press picked it up after I gave it many revisions and overhauls. My editor Nan Swanson did a fabulous job making the prose sparkle.

Changing the Title

When I proposed the story to Wild Rose, I wanted to change the title, since it went through so many revisions. I wanted to express Vita’s desire to escape the Lower East Side and move farther uptown. I considered Crossing 14th Street, but it sounded too much like Crossing Delancey. After a few more hits and misses, the title hit me—as all really fitting titles do.

A Bit of Background—What Was 1894 New York City Like?

The Metropolitan Police was a hellhole of corruption, and nearly every cop, from the greenest rookie to the Chief himself, was a dynamic part of what made the wheels of this great machine called New York turn. 
The department was in cahoots with the politicians, all the way up to the mayor's office. Whoever wasn't connected enough to become a politician became a cop in this city. They were paid off in pocket-bulging wads of cash to look the other way when it came to building codes, gambling, prostitution, every element it took to keep this machine gleaming and efficient. They oiled the machine and kept it running with split-second precision. The ordinary hardworking, slave-wage earning citizen didn't have a chance around here. Tom McGlory and his father were two of a kind, and two of a sprinkling of cops who were cops for the right reasons. They left him alone because he was a very private person; he didn't have any close friends, he confided in no one. He could've made a pocket full of rocks as a stoolie, more than he could by jumping in the fire with the rest of them, but he couldn't enjoy spending it if he'd made it that way. They knew it and grudgingly respected him for it. He was here for one reason--his family was here. If they went, he went. As long as they needed him, here he was. Da would stop grieving for his wife when he stopped breathing. Since Tom knew he was the greatest gift she gave Da, he would never let his father down.

Meet Vita: An Interview With Vita Caputo, Heroine of FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET

Vita, we know you and Tom overcame astronomical odds to stay together. It’s like Romeo and Juliet. I can imagine how torn you felt when you wanted to be with Tom, but didn’t want to defy your father. Tell us, what was your family and homelife like when all this was going on?

Well, I loved my father and brothers more than anything, and didn’t want to defy them. Yet at the same time, I felt they weren’t respecting my wishes. I was in love with Tom, and they hated him for two reasons, which to me, were irrational—he’s Irish and he’s a cop. But you have to understand their underlying reasons—cops always gave Italian immigrants a hard time on the Lower East Side. They didn’t give Italians a fair shake. Many of them were bullied, arrested for crimes they didn’t commit—and of course if you know my story, you know that the police framed Papa and my brother for the murder of Tom’s cousin, also a cop. I can understand their hatred of the police force for this heinous act. But not the entire police force is corrupt. Teddy Roosevelt, the Commish, certainly wasn’t, and Tom certainly isn’t. But when you face this hatred and injustice every day, it’s easy to be bitter. Our homelife, before I met Tom, was the usual Italian household—we struggled to make ends meet and didn’t have much, but I always made sure we had more than enough to eat, and to share with those who had less. I went without new clothes, shoes, coats, to buy groceries so we wouldn’t go hungry. We argued over petty things—like who left the stove on—but we always made up in the end. We were very affectionate, and gave each other a lot of hugs and kisses. We sometimes felt the world was against us—and at times it was.

What did your childhood home look like?

Did you ever see the classic Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners? They had a walk-up flat in Brooklyn. Well, ours was on Mott Street in Manhattan, but our flat looked much like that—it was called a ‘railroad flat’ because all the rooms were in a row—kitchen sitting room, bedrooms in back. We shared a toilet on the landing. But compared to other Mott Street tenements, we had it made—we had indoor plumbing. No bathtub, but a sink with running water. We didn’t have to go to a backyard privy. The bedroom was partitioned off by a curtain that I’d made—one side was mine, the other side my brother’s. Papa and his wife Rosalia had another bedroom to themselves.

What is your greatest dream?

To be a Senator or Congresswoman, but I’m happy enough as a committeewoman for now.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

I wish I could be calmer and slow down. I do too much—run the household because I refuse to hire help, raise our 3 kids, work and invest our savings. I follow the stock market and purchase stocks that have long-term growth potential. What’s stopping me is my drive to get ahead.

Who was your first love?

Tom, of course. My father tried to throw me together with ‘a nice Italian boy’ Roberto Riccadonna whose family owned a music store and was ‘well off’ – but he was arrogant and controlling. He threatened me when I told him I wasn’t interested in him. He and Tom got into fisticuffs when I found Roberto under my boardinghouse window singing “O Sole Mio” with a mandolin. He had a nice voice, but Tom was hardly impressed.

What's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

When Papa and my brother Butchie were arrested for the murder of Tom’s cousin Mike. It tore me into pieces, because Tom didn’t want to believe Papa and Butchie were the killers, but evidence pointed to them. We made it our quest to find the real killer, and we did. It created a huge rift in our relationship of course, but we overcame that as we got through all the other hardships and prejudices that tried to keep us apart. 

What was your first job?

I started out as a sweatshop worker sewing ‘shirtwaists’ (blouses), and now I’m a committeewoman, with a view to being New York City’s first female mayor.

What’s your level of schooling?

I left school at 16 to go to work in a lampshade factory.

Where were you born?

Sassano, Italy, near Naples.

Where do you live now?

Greenwich Village, in a brownstone on East 14th Street.

Do you have a favorite pet?

They’re all favorites, two mongrel pups, Charlie and Shirley, two cats Romeo and Juliet, and assorted goldfish whose names we can’t keep up with!

What’s your favorite place to visit?

Coney Island, to sit on the beach, frolic in the ocean, eat those delicious hot dogs and fried dough, and stroll the boardwalk!

What’s your most important goal?

To see my three children become successful, respectable citizens. Doing all right so far—my daughter Assunta (Susan) owns a clothing store, my son Virgilio (Billy) writes Broadway musicals and my youngest Teresa (Tessie) wants to be a baby doctor.

What’s your worst fear or nightmare?

That the stock market will crash again or some other disaster will plunge us back into poverty.

What’s your favorite food?

My homemade lasagna with my grandmother’s sauce recipe (it’s a secret)

Are you wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between? 

We’re finally members of the solid middle class.

What’s your secret desire or fantasy?

To sing in one of my son’s musicals.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I’d buy my own airplane and give the rest to charity.

A Review From Romantic Times:
Immigrant Vita Caputo escapes New York’s Italian ghetto and secures a job in a Wall Street bank, along with a room in a Greenwich Village boarding house, thanks to Irish police officer Tom McGlory. With her new beginning, Vita even joins the Industrial reform movement.
Tom is an honest cop, with little interest in women until he meets Vita. When Tom’s cousin is murdered and Vita’s father and brother are arrested for the crime, the two team up to investigate and soon discover that they are falling in love.
Vita and Tom face economic problems, prejudice, and cultural differences. Ms. Rubino’s research is obvious.—Kathe Robin

From Rhapsody Magazine:
FROM HERE TO 14th STREET by Diana Rubino is all that and then some. Everything about this book is what writing should be--original and wonderfully executed. Bravo!—Karen L. Williams 

From Book Nook Romance Reviews:
Diana Rubino has done a masterful job of researching the life of Italian and Irish immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York, its society and politics and crime. She paints a vivid picture of the degradation immigrants of Italian descent suffered, particularly at the hands of the earlier Irish immigrants they succeeded. Barred from all but the most menial jobs, forced to live crammed into the worst slums, she makes it easy for the reader to understand why many of them turned to a life of crime and violence. Not only can the reader see what Vita and Tom see, they can smell it, hear it, and taste it.
Vita is a delightful heroine, as full of vivid life as the city she lives in. Stubborn, determined to escape the ghetto in which she lives and make something of herself, she never loses her commitment to and love for her family. That very devotion, however, threatens her growing relationship with Tom, since the Irish and Italians are the Capulets and Montagues of 19th century Manhattan. Although she cannot help falling deeply in love with him, she knows that her father and brothers will never permit her to spend her life with him. And, in a departure from the usual super-masculine hero, Tom is a sensitive, secret poet as well as a cop.
If you like vivid characters and a book that carries you effortlessly back to an earlier time, FROM HERE TO 14th STREET is a good choice. –Elizabeth Burton
MORE ABOUT THE LOWER EAST SIDE:

One fascinating place to visit is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum
at 97 Orchard Street, once an actual tenement. They have tours describing life as it was back then, with each floor of the building decorated (if you want to call it ‘decorated’) to depict each time period when immigrants lived there.

I read a lot of books to research this story. One book I remember reading as a kid is How The Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis, a photographer and reformer of the time. The photos in his 1901 book vividly illustrate the poverty and deprivation of the times, for adults and children alike.


ABOUT ME (Diana Rubino):

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. I live on Cape Cod with my husband Chris. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre. Visit me at www.dianarubino.comwww.DianaRubinoAuthor.blogspot.comhttps://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor, and on Twitter @DianaLRubino.

Purchase FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET






Monday, March 18, 2019

GUEST: Pamela S. Thibodeaux - LOVE IN SEASON


My friend Pamela S. Thibodeaux is here to tell us about her collection of short stories. Authors find inspiration everywhere we look. I think you'll find Pam's inspiration for the cover of LOVE IN SEASON very interesting.

Here's Pam to tell you about her book.


Look closely at the cover….

Recently I visited Animal Kingdom @ Walt Disney World in FL with my family and one of the most breathtaking sights is the Tree of Life / garden. Within the trunk of this huge tree are carvings of every kind of animal. You can view it from any angle and take a dozen different pictures and each time, see something more and/or different.
What does this have to do with a book cover? You ask.

Read on…..

I’ve always admired the covers Pelican Book Group creates for their titles and when I first received the cover for Love in Season, I thought – how sweet, but a closer look revealed a whole lot more than a couple on a bench in front of a lovely tree.

If you took a passing glance, look again….

What do you see?

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all depicted within the leaves and branches of this tree!

It takes an amazing eye for detail to pick something like this for a book cover.  Thanks to Nicola Martinez for creating such a beautiful work of art for for my collection of romantic short stories centered around the four seasons and four love-oriented holidays!

*see photos of the Tree of Life/Garden Here: https://www.wdwinfo.com/Photos/AK-treeoflife/pages/DSC00093.htm

Fun Fact: For quite some time I wanted to put together a collection of short stories that centered around the 4 seasons and 4 holidays that focus on love and family (Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). Since I already had several stories at PBG, I mentioned this idea to my editor, the amazing Nicola Martinez, and she loved it. I submitted two previously unpublished stories to round out the collection, along with those Pelican Book Group had already published, and viola! Love in Season was born.

Blurb: Anytime is the perfect time for love.

In this anthology, author Pamela S Thibodeaux brings together eight of her most beloved romance stories—one for each season plus four holidays that revolve around love and family.

Includes two brand new stories!


Story Blurbs:

(Winter) Winter Madness: Sienna has survived what most succomb to - the death of a spouse and child and has maintained her faith despite her troubles. William has never met anyone who actually lived out what they say they believe. Is it true love between the faithful optimist and broody pessimist or simply winter madness?

(Valentine’s Day) Choices: Best-selling novelist and songwriter, Camie Rogers has penned numerous accounts of the secret love she holds in her heart. Country-Music Superstar Kip Allen has changed from the shy, humble boy, to the epitome of “star.” Can the two rediscover each other after one night of his Home is where the Heart is Tour?

(Spring) Cathy’s Angel: Single mom Cathy Johnson is tired of running her life alone…what she needs is a well-trained angel to help out. Jared Savoy gave up the dream of having a family when he discovered he is sterile. Can a confirmed bachelor and the mother of four find love amid normal daily chaos?

(Easter) Lilies for Sandi *NEW!* Sandi and Brett did everything backwards. They got pregnant before the wedding and had a baby instead of a honeymoon. Since, Brett has resented the fact that his dreams of a football career have been cut short and wonders how long it’ll take God to forgive him for his mistakes. Sandi has played second fiddle to Brett’s dreams and desires to the point of not knowing herself any longer and fears her marriage will never be a true one because of their failures. Can two hearts broken by unfulfilled dreams find healing, wholeness and restoration?

(Summer) The Big Catch *NEW!* Karla and, the love of her life, Jeff, have uncovered some uncommon ground: The Great Outdoors. For the life of her, she does not understand his love of fishing and how he can spend so much time doing so. Will she come to love the sport as much as he or will his passion for a rod and reel tangle up their relationship?

(Fall) A Hero for Jessica: Anthony Paul Seville is known as the ‘most eligible bachelor’ in New Orleans, possibly even the entire state of Louisiana, but finds himself alone—completely and explicitly alone. Jessica Aucoin is a writer on her way to fame and fortune, but is haunted by a man from her past. Will the “champion” lawyer and the author of romantic suspense find love written in their future? 

(Thanksgiving) Review of Love (Newly Edited/Revised/Lengthened!): Jason Stockwell has been commissioned to interview Kylie Erickson and to review her books. Only problem is, she won’t give the time of day much less an interview to someone whose type of writing she deems not worthy of respect. Can they suspend their judgmental attitudes and find true love?

(Christmas) In His Sight: Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.  

Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.
 Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?



Author Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Links:
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU



Saturday, March 16, 2019

#WeWriWa - RESCUING MARA'S FATHER - Mara Joins the Fight

Each weekend, the Weekend Writing Warriors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

I'm sharing a new story, a Middle Grade/YA science fiction adventure, titled Rescuing Mara's Father. The narrator is Mara, an almost 15-year-old girl who lives in a mining outpost on the Outer Rim. This snippet takes place after last week's. Mara's friend Jako is being beaten by the Dunpus brothers. Since they've never heard their first names, she and Jako call them by numbers. 

Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. It's also edited from the original.
  
They are a lot bigger than me, but I don’t hesitate. I’m tall for my age, but what I lack in bulk I make up for in cunning, thanks to Father’s self-defense lessons. I leap up and kick the back of the knee of the oldest brother—I’m wearing stout boots so I’m sure he’ll go down. He does and hits his head. While he lies there dazed, the middle brother starts dancing around so I can’t kick him. He must have seen what I did to Dunpus #1. I jump on #2’s back, and that gives Jako a fighting chance with the youngest. I wrap my forearm around Dunpus #2’s neck and hang on while he tries to shake me loose. If I press hard enough on his throat, I could choke him. Even though he’s a bully, I can’t do that.



Blurb:

Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he's gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately. 
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. An old spaceport mechanic and her mentor seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off our planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave her, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, she has to rescue her father.



Saturday, March 9, 2019

#WeWriWa - RESCUING MARA'S FATHER: A Fight

Each weekend, the Weekend Writing Warriors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

I'm sharing a new story, a Middle Grade/YA science fiction adventure, titled Rescuing Mara's Father. It's still a work in progress, so suggestions are welcome. The narrator is Mara, an almost 15-year-old girl who lives in a mining outpost on the Outer Rim. This snippet takes place a little later than last week's. Mara's friend Jako told her about a new ship that's come into spaceport. 

Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. It's also edited from the original.
 
Spaceport is at the far west end of the village, an easy ten-minute walk. I cut through the alley between Main and Back Street, but as I round the corner of the mercantile, I run into a cloud of dust. The dry season has been drier than usual. If the clouds actually bring rain tonight, everyone will be grateful, especially the farmers, but the dust cloud I’m seeing isn’t made by the wind whipping sand between the buildings.
No, it’s a fight—a one-sided fight, three against one. Since the ‘three’ are the Dunpus Brothers—meaner than vipers and stronger than hicans—and the ‘one’ is Jako, I wade in. I mean, he’s just a little kid, while the brothers are around my age. Two are older, one younger, I think. They don’t come to school—their father says it’s a waste of time.



Blurb:

Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he's gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately. 
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. An old spaceport mechanic and her mentor seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off our planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave her, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, she has to rescue her father.

RESCUING MARA'S FATHER BLOG TOUR

Would you be interested in hosting me on my blog tour? If yes, please click here to sign up. Thank you in advance. When you have a new release, I'm happy to repay the favor.





Thursday, March 7, 2019

STORM OF THE GODS by Amy Braun Blog Tour & #Giveaway




My friend Amy Braun has a new release. I've read snippets on Weekend Writing Warriors (#WeWriWa) and was intrigued by this fine urban fantasy. Often, we writers look back on our career and speculate on what we would've changed. Here's Amy to tell you her perspective. Be sure to click on the Rafflecopter link to enter a fantastic giveaway.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Keep going.

When you’re younger, it’s hard to know what you want to do with your life. I spent a couple years not really being sure what I would do, going back and forth between careers until I realized that writing was the only thing I wanted to do, that suited me. I spent my first few writing years working on short stories and my two first independent novels, Demon’s Daughter and Path of the Horseman.

In hindsight, I would have told myself to focus on a single project and perfect it to send it to literary agents. Writing and publishing is not an easy thing to do, especially for someone who didn’t go to school for it. It takes dedication, trial and error, and above all, patience. I would have told myself to take more stock in all those things.

Finally, I would have told myself the same thing I tell myself every single day, and more importantly, after every mistake I’ve made: Keep going. Keep writing and creating and trying. There are countless authors who have been in the same position I’m currently in, who’ve made similar mistakes and have overcome them to become intensely successful. I know there will be more query rejections, more mistakes, and more disappointment in myself. But I also know that it will be worth the struggle, and that literally creating magic and monsters for a living will be worth every moment of it.




Storm of the Gods
An Areios Brothers Novel #1
by Amy Braun
Genre: Urban Fantasy 

Thirty years ago, the gods of Greek legend returned to the world. Their return restored their powers, which had been spent in a cataclysmic battle with the Titans. With the ancient deities imprisoned in Tartarus, the Olympians now reside in Néo Vasíleio, formerly known as California.


Twenty-four-year-old Derek Aerios is a war scion, a descendant of Ares, the God of War. He and his brother, eighteen-year-old Liam, capture mythological creatures and rogue scions as part of Ares's elite military force. As he struggles to cope with his violent powers and the scars of a traumatic childhood, Derek tries to keep the two vows he has made: protect his brother, and never kill a human again.

But when Ares forces him to hunt and kill four rogue scions under Athena's control—by threatening Liam's life—Derek chooses to go after the scions in order to save his brother and keep his promise to himself.

Yet the closer Derek gets to the scions, the more he realizes that his orders are part of a deeper conspiracy that put him at odds with his mission and his conscience. Athena may not be the enemy, a traitor could be in their midst, and the Titans could be closer to freedom than ever before.







Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is an active member of the Weekend Writing Warrior community.


When she isn't writing, she's reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction, and diving headfirst into danger in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns





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5 Stars

If you grew up reading Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, watched your kids/grandkids enjoy reading modern stories based on Greek mythology, or (as I did) read it yourself, Amy Braun's new series is a great transition to an adult view of those gods. 

Derek Aerios could've gone to Camp Half-Blood with Percy, Annabeth, and Grover. Now, he's an adult. Percy's adventures are child's play compared to the crises he and his brother Liam are forced into. 

This story is fast-paced, fight scenes so well done the reader feels right there. Characters are well-drawn, although since this is the first book in a series, I'm sure the reader will learn more about Derek and Liam. With one confrontation after another--battles with scions, monsters, and gods--the reader keeps turning the page to see what's next.

Between battles and confrontations with Ares, we get glimpses into Derek's psyche. His vulnerability is his brother. He will do anything to protect Liam. Despite being a war scion (disciple of Ares), Derek will fight but refuses to kill. Ms. Braun forces him into situations where his ethics vie with his sibling obligation. She makes the reader feel his torment, his anguish.

Get set for a fascinating read, one that captures your imagination and doesn't let go.