Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Spotlight: Desert Son by Glenn Maynard

Desert Son
by Glenn Maynard 

Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing (February 13, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 719 KB
Print Length: 171 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing (February 26, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book:

Carter Spence is a 26 year-old accountant out of Boston who has an out-of-body experience following a car accident that kills his parents. He views the chaos from above the scene of the accident, then passes through the tunnel and reunites with relatives who have long been dead. A woman he does not recognize approaches him and says, "Welcome, son." Her message to him is that he needs to be aware of his true identity and should follow signs that will lead him there. She mentions mountains, but Carter is jolted back into his physical body before she can finish. After burying his parents, Carter heads west and meets a free-spirit named Brenda, whom he is drawn to on many levels. She becomes his travelling companion and leads him to Boulder, Colorado, and to an old white house of an old man named Martin. Diaries, hypnosis, and past-life regression reveal a bizarre connection between these three. Carter discovers that the truth to his identity can only be found by pursuing the answer to whether he is the reincarnation of his biological father in what is shaping up to be a love affair rekindled beyond the grave.

Chapter 1

Warm weather streaked through Boston for a cameo on this late March afternoon.  Mid-70’s usually did not emerge from hibernation until April, but none of this mattered much for Carter Spence.  No temperature could affect him now.  Temperature usually made all the difference in the world to Carter, but now springtime’s rebirth seamlessly transpired.

Carter’s mood elevated, but temperature played no role.  For a split-second, he thought perhaps his mood had a calming effect on his body, but only because his 175 pounds felt fluffy, like he’d been influenced by helium.  Just to contradict this sensation, he remained still.  He felt silly even testing.  This feeling had only captivated him as a memory of running around the bases at the baseball fields near his home, or even when he was a tad tipsy at the bar, but this still overpowered those other times.

Carter questioned reality.  As a recent college graduate, he’d dabbled in binge drinking, even though not nearly as frequent as his “crowd” did.  In fact, every so often, Carter would be the one strong enough to volunteer himself as designated driver.  Carter was able to glance beyond the average college student in an attempt to supersede peer pressure, and assume responsibility for his actions.  He always was the responsible type.

As Carter discovered himself suspended in a position enabling him to oversee earth, he knew this transcended a typical mood swing.  He unquestioningly went along with whatever life threw at him, even in this extreme case, surprising even himself.

Surveying the earth below, feeling not an ounce of care in the world, Carter continued wafting like a loose sheet of paper in the wind, drifting inch by inch, contentedly, as he began keying in on an object.  He seemed more preoccupied with this new attraction than with his sudden participation with the solar system.  It would have been cataclysmic had both his feet been mixing with the earth’s dirt, but that wasn’t the case.  He was just enough removed.

As much a presence that this altered state should have been, Carter began battling a continual attraction to the object.  This diversion was enough to cloud the reality and incomprehensibility of the situation. He finally stopped moving, involuntarily; no further elevation.  He awaited the presence of normalcy, but this delay only lengthened his journey.

He sensed that he had no encasing.  He felt that he was just a feeling, or that his existence was just a thought.  He couldn’t see his body, but never really cared to check, either; just his gut feeling that his thoughts were in a mind of their own.  He felt like a breadless sandwich.  However, he did not care one way or another.

Carter astonished himself when his focus zoomed in like human binoculars.  This felt so empowering, so controlling, so consuming, and he felt that the sky was the limit.  For a 26-year-old guy who had felt so powerless in the city of Boston, this certainly boosted his confidence, but he only wished he could have this focus and earth simultaneously.

He began reflecting on the bullying that he’d received as a child on his school playgrounds.  He wished he could find those punks now, even though he since had learned to defend himself fairly well.  Nobody much messed with Carter once he hit the tenth grade and began pumping weights vigorously.  Nobody was going to offend him, and in the city it was sink or swim.  He had taken it upon himself to get in a position where he could defend himself.  He looked at it as survival of the fittest.  He did not get revenge by beating the hell out of those bullies who had previously roughed him up.  No…that was not Carter’s style.  Rather, his presence became his revenge.  And with this new image came a certain macho sex appeal that ushered in his debut in dating.  He discovered that the two scenarios were intertwined, and that did not pose a problem for Carter Spence.

Carter did love women, but he could not be in love with them.  He believed that he had just never found the right girl, but deep down wondered if he even had the ability to love.  This disturbed him greatly, making him for the most part uncomfortable around women.  He had convinced himself that he was just very picky when it came to women.

During his peak conditioning, the one-time bullies would look up at Carter in the High School hallways, acknowledge his presence with a nod, and then humbly mumble, “What’s up Carter?”  Although Carter considered this sufficient sweet revenge, the thought of toying with these bullies from above did tickle his imagination.

Carter eventually determined that the object on the ground resembled a body, but it wasn’t moving.  Then his focus zoomed in some more, and quickly the body took on an eerie familiarity to him.  The scene below grew chaotic.  Cars jerked to the highway side.  Doors swung open, remaining that way while people flocked to this object, which was a body lying face down in an embankment.  Carter watched this scene unfold before him as if he was watching a movie on television.

The first man to arrive shouted in panic to an unresponsive body.  He carefully turned the body on its back, eased down by the second and third men to arrive.  Carter continued to zoom in because he felt as if he knew this man.  He recognized the strong face attached to the muscular frame.   He recognized the worn denim jeans with the oddly-shaped tear just above the knee, and even the tan polo shirt, which now had absorbed the blood.  The shoes that had detached from his feet were familiar, as were the blue Gold Toe socks on his feet.  His eyes moved back up the body to the face, and saw that the body was his body.

Carter felt indifferent while observing his poor, lifeless body.  “I look so pale,” he thought, aside from the streaking blood on his face.  Carter couldn’t believe it was really him. He would have been hard pressed to select that body out of a line-up if asked to identify himself.  However, he soon was able to recognize his own facial features below, but barely.   Just how observant and aware of his own self was he, Carter pondered.  It seemed interesting to Carter, more than anything else, to see himself from another vantage point, yet treat the situation so matter-of-factly.

Between the lanky frame and the short, light brown hair, he thought that it had to be him.  But why, he wondered, confident that there would be no dream to awake from, or no Allen Funt to emerge out of nowhere to tell him about a camera.   Besides, if this was a dream, he wouldn’t be wondering if it was a dream.  He didn’t think he’d be wondering if it was a dream, but what he wouldn’t give to test this theory of his.

Carter’s focus closed to within about a telephone pole’s length away, even though he felt like a satellite in space.  He noticed the traffic really starting to jam now.  Cars could no longer pass by.  One woman screamed hysterically after discovering an upended automobile streaming fuel onto the ground.  She placed both hands on her head and let out a series of chilling wails. Carter watched emotionlessly.

Some good Samaritans flocked to the car to help, while others ran from the danger.  Most drivers rubbernecked their way past.  Carter shifted his focus.  Directly above the car, a solid Oak shook off contact, but a penetrating scar splintered the tree, evidence of a speedy impact.  Carter faced all four wheels, witnessing the last tire as it finally slowed to a stop.  This all happened so suddenly that this new scene before him appeared almost before the previous scene had ended. A dirty, scraped  arm flopped outside of the car, limply touching the ground, and a thin tornado of smoke rose through Carter.

Carter could see tire marks blackening the highway and dirt tire marks continuing off the side of the road to where the car rested. He did remember getting into his parents car, but he could barely make a positive identification of that car. It rolled and wrapped itself around the tree at the roof.  The smell of gasoline enveloped the air and the potential danger was incalculable. But good people still stopped.

Gas dripped at a steady rate from the gas tank vicinity. Streams of smoke billowed from under the hood.  Carter hoped the smoke and the drips didn’t merge.  There was an unusual smell of dented metal.

When there’s smoke, there’s fire, and within seconds the car flickered flames.  Carter felt helpless to try to save those inside.  But he wondered if it even mattered as he saw that the car’s front bumper meshed with the dashboard and the roof the car rested on met up with the bottom of the windows, which were smashed all around.

He knew those inside hadn’t a chance, and then Carter recognized the car.  It was his parent’s car, so it was his parents who were trapped inside.  “My God,” Carter thought.  “This isn’t happening. They could die.”  This thought flashed through him, but he was emotionless as well.

Emergency vehicles nudged a path to the wreckage, and a few heartless people took advantage of this path to better their positioning.  This was the city life, and nothing was going to spoil the day of some people.  Cars edged closer to neighboring cars on the left, while cars in the far right lane eased off the road, some entirely.  Sirens blared, red and blue lights flashed through the light of day, as Carter took notice of numerous police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.

Carter knew his parents were history, but what about his body?  Where was he now?  Was he dead?  Paramedics swarmed his physical body below, and he wondered if he would ever be reunited with it.  He wanted badly to be able to help himself, but he could only watch, unsure if it was his unwillingness or inability to help.  He felt like an actor watching his own movie, but he certainly possessed more peacefulness above than what was being transmitted at the chaotic scene below.  He remained emotionless.

Firefighters in yellow coats squelched the flames with foam, but the people who had jumped from their cars to throw mud at the flames controlled the spreading.  These people will be the ones dubbed heroes, but will refuse the tag on the local newscast.  Carter could envision this before it even happened.  He wasn’t being disrespectful to those trying to help his parents, but he felt his folks stood no chance by the looks of things.  Maybe the car wouldn’t burn to a crisp, but if they did survive the impact, any fire would be enough to finish the job.

Carter believed his ejection from the car came prior to impact because of his distance from the vehicle, and then it occurred to him how he got into the situation he had found himself in.  His thoughts moved away from the chaos momentarily,  zooming out of that scene  and into another.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kindle Special $0.99 (August 28): The Hauntings of Playing God by Chris Dietzel

The Hauntings of Playing God
by Chris Dietzel

Paperback: 225 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing; 1 edition (August 28, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 529 KB
Print Length: 205 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace; 1 edition (August 25, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book:

Everyone is dead. All that remains is an old woman and a gymnasium full of unresponsive bodies. Each day, another storm approaches, threatening to destroy the building they call home. Each night, a series of nightmares leaves the woman screaming for help. Alone and overwhelmed, will the final member of the human race be thought of as a caretaker or as a monster? THE HAUNTINGS OF PLAYING GOD is a story about the possibilities each life holds. It is also a lesson about the importance of believing in something greater than yourself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guest Author and Giveaway: C.A. Pack

Have you ever been befuddled by genres?

My current series has teen protagonists (YA) who work at a library where books come to life (fantasy) and it happens in an urban setting (urban fantasy), but it has shape shifters and sorcerers in it (paranormal), and a time machine (sci-fi). It’s written as individual novelettes and novellas and then grouped into novel-length chronicles. Most of Chronicles: The Library of Illumination (books 1 - 5) takes place in a library in the real world (paranormal) but it has a nuclear energy theme in one of the stories (science fiction), and magical elements (back to fantasy). I’m now at work on the Second Chronicles of Illumination—which includes my latest novelette—The Overseers—and it involves travel to other worlds (sci-fi), with different beings and different cultures (fantasy, fantasy, fantasy).

For those of you who aren’t sure how some of these genres are defined, I’m going to attempt to simplify the differences between them.

FANTASY: Something that can’t possibly happen, made to sound like it can—in an other-worldly setting.  J.R.R. Tolkiens’s Lord of the Rings is fantasy all the way. It clearly involves fantastical creatures set in other worlds or realities.

URBAN FANTASY:  Fantasy in an urban setting. Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris fall under the urban fantasy umbrella.

PARANORMAL: Supernatural aspects (ghosts, shape shifters, werewolves) happening in a real world setting. The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer fits the paranormal genre. It happens in the real world, but there’s a weird element (vampires) in it. One of my books, Evangeline’s Ghost, straddles the line between urban fantasy and paranormal because my ghost travels back-and-forth from New York City to Heaven.

SCIENCE FICTION: Something that’s possible even if it’s improbable. H.G. Welles novels are as sci-fi as it gets. What’s interesting is that Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is also considered sci-fi, although I would have labeled it paranormal. So, as you can see, this genre “thing” is not cut and dried.

Then there’s HORROR, which is any of the above genres written to scare the bejeebers out of you. Stephen King novels like Carrie and Mr. Mercedes are easy to identify as horror.

Just to add another dimension to the genre dilemma, my primary demographic is young adult, which is often listed as a genre. For the most part, young adult literature can be any genre that has teen protagonists. There’s also new adult, but I think that category skews older, with protagonists in their 20’s.

As my Library of Illumination series continued, I envisioned my protagonists morphing from YA into new adult territory, however, in The Overseers, they undergo a special ritual that stops that from happening. They may get older with each new adventure, but if you read the book, you’ll understand why that will no longer affect their YA designation.

One more thing: In celebration of the release of The Overseers novelette, I have a giveaway going on through the month of August, so enter for a chance to win a prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Overseers 
(Library of Illumination) (Volume 6)
by C.A. Pack

Series: Library of Illumination
Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: Artiqua Press (August 5, 2014)

About the book:

The Terrorian invasion attempt is still fresh in their minds when Library of Illumination curators Johanna Charette and Jackson Roth are invited to the realm of Lumina for Dean Plato Indelicat’s funeral. The teens soon learn there's more to being a curator than meets the eye—some of it good, some of it not so good—and they have to pass muster to keep their positions. To make matters worse, Johanna finds herself at the center of a bold scheme by Nero 51 to bully his way into the competition for Plato Indelicat’s now-vacant position. She has the ability to save the day, but her actions could result in losing her curator privileges. Meanwhile, the College of Overseers is committed to being fair and impartial, but its stance could result in the Terrorian infiltration of its inner sanctum.

About the author:

C. A. Pack is the author of Chronicles: The Library of Illumination, a series of novelettes about an enchanted library where the books come to life. She is currently working on the various novelettes that will make up The Second Chronicles of Illumination, which will recount the war of the realms. She is also the author of Code Name: Evangeline and the Evangeline’s Ghost series.

The author is an award-winning journalist and former television news anchor and writer. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and lives in Westbury, NY, with her husband, a couple of picky parrots, and dozens of imaginary characters who are constantly demanding page space.

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