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Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Weekend Writing Warriors, and guests whenever they drop in.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

#WeWriWa ~ THE SPY: The Bravest Man I Know #sfr


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

Thanks to all who visited last week. I'm sharing snippets from The Spy: An Outer Rim Novel. It's the 4th book in my series featuring strong women on the frontier of space. 

Because this is a work in progress, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Genna is at headquarters meeting with the Commissioner of the Clandestine Sector of Coalition of Planets Intelligence. Last week's snippet ended with Genna's thought: She’d heard of agents being undercover so long they abandoned their ethics.


She had to try again. “Why are you so sure your agent hasn’t turned?”
“Because I know him better than anyone. Our agent is the bravest man I know. And I want you to save him.”
She gulped. By the Matriarch, her orders scared her to death. But, Vorinda must really trust her. “Sir, who is this agent?”
“Quintall d’Sernin.”


 Tentative blurb:

Rookie agent must rescue veteran before his cover is blown.

Genna Nogaro, new to the Coalition of Planets’ Intelligence Commission, is assigned to bring in an undercover operative in Hallart’s organization. More experienced agents died before getting him out. Were they killed by the intergalactic gangster or has the operative gone rogue?

Quintall d’Sernin, con man extraordinaire, infiltrated the mob and moved up to be the gangster’s right-hand man. Hallart has his tentacles throughout the Coalition—business, industry, and government. Quin’s finally worked himself into a valued position. All he needs is the key to mob structure in order for Coalition forces to take down the entire organization.

Genna will pose as a new recruit to distract Hallart long enough for Quin to find the key. If they work together, they can accomplish more. But Quin and Genna’s lives are jeopardized by a mole in the Intelligence Commission. Will their true roles be revealed before they accomplish their goal?


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Meet the Author: April Kelley Jones @akejones #fantasy

My good friend, Patricia Kiyono, "introduced" me to today's guest. April Jones is a fellow Michigander, and she writes fantasy. Here's a little about her and her journey to publication.





I spend most of my writing time as an editor and book coach. There’s something about stories (any story, any format) that I can’t help but be drawn to. I have just as much fun walking a writer through their plot holes as I do writing my own story, so it can be tricky to block off time for writing my own stories. The Curse Breaker took just under two years from start to finish to complete. Having worked for several publishers, I thought I would have to collect rejections for a while before I found the right publisher. However, I was at a writing convention chatting with a friend about my intentions to pitch my book to one of the publishers there when he suggested that I send it to his publisher instead. When I got home from the convention, I took a couple of weeks to comb over my story for imperfections before I sent it off to Dingbat Publishing. In less than a month I had a reply. It took all my courage to open that email, haha, but when I did I saw the words, “I love this!” and “Tell me there’s a second book!” (Spoiler, there is so I hope you like dragons). So to all the writer friends out there, keep the faith. It might take several rejections to find the right place for your novel, but maybe all it will take is the right friend’s suggestion and a little bit of courage.   



Book Blurb:
Eris's sister is missing, and Magic is definitely to blame! Eris knows only Magic can bring her back, but even as a Light Magic born, is she strong enough to save her sister?
Knox is cursed to spend his days as a corpse and his nights trying to find the prophesized girl who can break the curse. If he can't find her by his 20th birthday, he'll stay dead forever.
Eris and Knox will discover there are scarier things in their path other than curses and half-truths. If the Queen of the Underworld has her way, everything and everyone will die. The only thing standing in her way is the curse breaker, and Eris will have to choose between saving herself or everyone she loves.

Excerpt:
The Queen paced in front of her blood-red throne. After so many years, she was finally going to meet the thief who had stolen her amulet. And when she did, she was going to slowly sever every one of their limbs, one by one, before feeding their soul to Madame. The thought made her smile a wicked smile. That would teach them to steal from the Queen of the Underworld. Stupid humans were always trying to prolong their lives in the most feeble ways. Tonics, magic, deals. Death was something that could never be avoided entirely, but they didn’t seem to think that universal rule applied to any of them.
Three more months and her amulet would call to her like it always did when she could get free of this place, and then she would have her revenge. Whoever they were, they had been granted twenty years that did not belong to them, and she would make sure they paid for that stolen time. That was part of her job, after all, not that she was complaining.
“I apologize for being late, your Majesty.” Madame hurried in, a little out of breath.
The Queen turned and stared at a slightly disheveled Madame. Normally her long hair was braided and wrapped elaborately around her head, causing her to look like a long-lost ancient queen from the human world.
“We can discuss that in a moment. I called you here because I have a proposition for you.”
“I am but your humble servant, your Majesty.” Madame feigned humility they both knew she did not possess.
The Queen rolled her eyes and continued. “If you can find the insect that stole my amulet before three months are up, I will give you a special treat.”
“I will find the human. I will make it suffer.” Madame smiled.
“No. You will not touch a hair on its head. Bring it to me, and I will deal with it.” Madame looked disappointed but nodded.
The body of a girl suddenly appeared in the air in front of them, along with one of her servants. Madame examined the girl for a moment, but then seemed to lose interest once she realized the girl was neither alive nor dead. The Queen walked over and swept the girl’s long black hair back enough to see her face. She scrunched up her nose at the young girl’s beauty.
Snapping her fingers again brought new servants running.
“Take her and put her with the rest of the cursed.”
The women gently plucked the girl from the air. The Queen wondered how many bodies lay waiting in the limbo between life and death. Not that she would forgive the vermin that had stolen her amulet, but she would enjoy watching the human be tortured by all the souls it had trapped prematurely in the Underworld. Eternity would not be long enough for all the lives that heartless human had taken trying to break the curse that came with stealing something born from the Underworld’s power. Since the human had not been able to break it thus far, she continued to collect bodies stuck in the in-between, their lives connected to the cursed one’s. When that insect finally died, so would all of those souls, and she would have a lovely new collection of pets.

The Queen smiled to herself as she watched one of the servants wrap her arms around the girl’s legs while the other wove her arms around the girl’s back. Slowly they carried her out, leaving the Queen to her thoughts again.


Buy Link:
Author Bio:
April Jones has read, written, or edited her way through numerous fictional worlds. When she's not teaching or writing, she spends her time trying to learn other languages or keeping her mischievous cat from eating the pet fish. She received her bachelor's in English and her M.F.A. in creative writing.
A Tennessee native, April currently lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. You can find her poems and short stories published in various literary magazines across the internet and in print. You can also check out her debut novel, The Curse Breaker. For more information visit her website thepathtostory.com


Social Media Links:
Facebook: Facebook.com/editorapril
Twitter: @akejones
Instagram: aprilkelleyjones
Website: thepathtostory.com


Saturday, February 22, 2020

#WeWriWa ~ THE SPY: Did the Agent Abandon His Ethics?


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

Thanks to all who visited last week. I'm sharing snippets from The Spy: An Outer Rim Novel. It's the 4th book in my series featuring strong women on the frontier of space. 

Because this is a work in progress, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Genna is at headquarters meeting with the Commissioner of the Clandestine Sector of Coalition of Planets Intelligence. Last week's snippet ended with the Commissioner saying, “To rescue our agent, you will infiltrate Hallart’s organization.”

Genna's breath whooshed out of her, sweat broke out on her upper lip, while fear prickles danced along her spine. Hallart, the biggest gangster in the galaxy, and Vorinda wanted her to infiltrate the villain’s gang? Holy sherd.
“Are you saying we have an agent inside Hallart’s gang?”
“How else have we been able to stay one step ahead of that villain?” Vorinda cleared his throat, “Our agent has been in Hallart’s organization for four years, his right-hand man for two.”
Four years? That was unheard of for an agent to stay undercover that long. To get into that position had to have taken longer. She’d heard of agents being undercover so long they abandoned their ethics.




Tentative blurb:

Rookie agent must rescue veteran before his cover is blown.

Genna Nogaro, new to the Coalition of Planets’ Intelligence Commission, is assigned to bring in an undercover operative in Hallart’s organization. More experienced agents died before getting him out. Were they killed by the intergalactic gangster or has the operative gone rogue?

Quintall d’Sernin, con man extraordinaire, infiltrated the mob and moved up to be the gangster’s right-hand man. Hallart has his tentacles throughout the Coalition—business, industry, and government. Quin’s finally worked himself into a valued position. All he needs is the key to mob structure in order for Coalition forces to take down the entire organization.

Genna will pose as a new recruit to distract Hallart long enough for Quin to find the key. If they work together, they can accomplish more. But Quin and Genna’s lives are jeopardized by a mole in the Intelligence Commission. Will their true roles be revealed before they accomplish their goal?




Saturday, February 15, 2020

#WeWriWa ~ THE SPY: Genna Must Infiltrate The Mob #sfr


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

Thanks to all who visited last week. I was late getting around to everyone. Seems last Sunday I broke my foot. Don't know how, but it hurt like crazy.

I'm sharing snippets from The Spy: An Outer Rim Novel. It's the 4th book in my series featuring strong women on the frontier of space. 

Because this is a work in progress, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Genna is at headquarters meeting with the Commissioner of the Clandestine Sector of Coalition of Planets Intelligence. The Commissioner told Genna that two handlers have died trying to bring in the spy whose cover is blown. Genna's mission is to find the agent and bring him to HQ.

“I pay attention to trainees with potential,” Vorinda’s lips curved slightly, “I’ve watched your progress, Genna, you give me hope for the next generation.”
By the Matriarch, how did she respond to his compliment?
She didn’t need to as Vorinda went on, “Your mission, once you arrive on Galeriana, is to play up your distrust of the Coalition—your anger over the way Servary treated you. You want to get even with him and more importantly the Coalition that allowed him to fire you without cause.” He forestalled her protest with a dismissive hand, “No one there knows the real situation—unless you mentioned it,” He raised his eyebrow.
“No, sir, I left Mag Prime like a whipped caninus with its tail between its legs.”
“Good, good. You can start at that tavern in Astron Colony.”
“I’m unsure how that will . . .”
“To rescue our agent, you will infiltrate Hallart’s organization.”


Tentative blurb:

Rookie agent must rescue veteran before his cover is blown.

Genna Nogaro, new to the Coalition of Planets’ Intelligence Commission, is assigned to bring in an undercover operative in Hallart’s organization. More experienced agents died before getting him out. Were they killed by the intergalactic gangster or has the operative gone rogue?

Quintall d’Sernin, con man extraordinaire, infiltrated the mob and moved up to be the gangster’s right-hand man. Hallart has his tentacles throughout the Coalition—business, industry, and government. Quin’s finally worked himself into a valued position. All he needs is the key to mob structure in order for Coalition forces to take down the entire organization.

Genna will pose as a new recruit to distract Hallart long enough for Quin to find the key. If they work together, they can accomplish more. But Quin and Genna’s lives are jeopardized by a mole in the Intelligence Commission. Will their true roles be revealed before they accomplish their goal?




Saturday, February 8, 2020

#WeWriWa ~ THE SPY: What Chance Did Genna Have? #sfr


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

Thanks to all who visited last week. I'm sharing snippets from The Spy: An Outer Rim Novel. It's the 4th book in my series featuring strong women on the frontier of space. 

Because this is a work in progress, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Genna is at headquarters meeting with the Commissioner of the Clandestine Sector of Coalition of Planets Intelligence. I've continued where I left off last week. The Commissioner told Genna that two handlers have died trying to bring in the spy whose cover is blown. The Commissioner just told Genna, “You are going to rescue our agent.”

Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. 

   “Me?” Her first mission couldn’t be one so important. Nobody would assign a newbie to bring in a valuable asset, and this guy must be very valuable if they sent two people to bring him in. Hang on, those two people died trying to rescue him—what chance did she have?
   Why would they assign such a high-priority task to her, an untried rookie?
   “You’re an unknown,” the Commissioner said, as if reading her mind, “You’ve proven that you can handle yourself no matter the task.”
   “That was just training, sir.”
   “Did you think training isn’t real? We set you and the other trainees up with real-life scenarios, situations that had already been solved. Your trainer and I were impressed with your unique perspective and methods of attacking the situations.”


Tentative blurb:

Rookie agent must rescue veteran before his cover is blown.

Genna Nogaro, new to the Coalition of Planets’ Intelligence Commission, is assigned to bring in an undercover operative in Hallart’s organization. More experienced agents died before getting him out. Were they killed by the intergalactic gangster or has the operative gone rogue?

Quintall d’Sernin, con man extraordinaire, infiltrated the mob and moved up to be the gangster’s right-hand man. Hallart has his tentacles throughout the Coalition—business, industry, and government. Quin’s finally worked himself into a valued position. All he needs is the key to mob structure in order for Coalition forces to take down the entire organization.

Genna will pose as a new recruit to distract Hallart long enough for Quin to find the key. If they work together, they can accomplish more. But Quin and Genna’s lives are jeopardized by a mole in the Intelligence Commission. Will their true roles be revealed before they accomplish their goal?




Wednesday, February 5, 2020

#IWSG: February Blues?


Happy Insecure Writers Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. We are rockin' the neurotic writing world!

A huge thank you to the awesome co-hosts for this month Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson! 

February 5 optional question - Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it? 

My answer: nope. Well, not yet. I'm curious to read what others say.

If you've been hanging around the IWSG world for the past few years, you probably noticed that I really don't like February. Never mind Valentine's Day, never mind Hubs' birthday, or any other celebration. February in Michigan is blah. Worse than blah. It's gray, gray, gray. It's downright depressing. 

Last year, we got away for a week to the sunny Alabama coast. What a pick-me-up. This year, we're staying home while Hubs goes through cardio rehab following his heart valve replacement. By the time he's finished, Spring will have arrived. So, what can I do to prevent the February blues from setting in and spoiling the good time I'm having finishing my current WIP? 

Double up on Vitamin D
Get out in the sunshine (whenever it appears)
Turn on my "happy" lamp
Change my attitude

If I can't get to the sunshine, I guess I'll have to make some. My daughter gave me the lamp that imitates the benefits of sunshine. It really does work. 

Attitude is the chief way of getting through the February gloom that descends each year on the Great Lakes states. As much as I love Lake Michigan in the summer, it's murder on the mood in the winter. So I have to accept that and move on. Not let it take over.

This month, I'm going to finish THE SPY (An Outer Rim Novel), the science fiction romance I've been dogging around on for over a year. I wrote myself into a corner and couldn't see my way out. So I didn't bother opening the file--other than for snippets each weekend with the Weekend Writing Warriors. The encouragement and comments from the participants is spurring me on. So far this month, I've written 5k words. I'm on a roll. LOL Only 20k to go. Stay tuned to see if I make it.

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.





Saturday, February 1, 2020

#WeWriWa ~ THE SPY: Genna's Mission #sfr


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

Thanks to all who visited last week. I'm sharing snippets from The Spy: An Outer Rim Novel. It's the 4th book in my series featuring strong women on the frontier of space. 

Because this is a work in progress, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Genna is at headquarters meeting with the Commissioner of the Clandestine Sector of Coalition of Planets Intelligence. I've continued where I left off last week. The Commissioner told Genna that two handlers have died trying to bring in the spy whose cover is blown.

Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. 

Taking a deep breath, she said, “Sir, is it possible the agent turned? That he killed those sent to bring him in?”
He stared hard at her. “Absolutely not.”
His vehemence stunned her. She wouldn’t go there again.
“That’s why I called you in.”
Genna had a bad feeling about that. “Sir?”
“You are going to rescue our agent.”

Tentative blurb:

Rookie agent must rescue veteran before his cover is blown.

Genna Nogaro, new to the Coalition of Planets’ Intelligence Commission, is assigned to bring in an undercover operative in Hallart’s organization. More experienced agents died before getting him out. Were they killed by the intergalactic gangster or has the operative gone rogue?

Quintall d’Sernin, con man extraordinaire, infiltrated the mob and moved up to be the gangster’s right-hand man. Hallart has his tentacles throughout the Coalition—business, industry, and government. Quin’s finally worked himself into a valued position. All he needs is the key to mob structure in order for Coalition forces to take down the entire organization.

Genna will pose as a new recruit to distract Hallart long enough for Quin to find the key. If they work together, they can accomplish more. But Quin and Genna’s lives are jeopardized by a mole in the Intelligence Commission. Will their true roles be revealed before they accomplish their goal?