Broken Pieces

All About Moxie from MOXIE'S PROBLEM by Hank Quense @hanque99 #Humor #Camelot #SciFi

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What inspired me to write Moxie’s Problem

I first developed a version of the Moxie character more than ten years ago. Originally, she was the protagonist in a short story. The story never sold, nevertheless I loved her character and I was determined to get her to star in a story.

I developed Moxie’s character for a novel that would include Moxie’s development from a spoiled brat to a formidable woman.

While I was writing Moxie’s Problem, it occurred to me why I couldn’t sell the short story. The problem with the short story was that Moxie was a whiney, obnoxious, teenage brat. Not a good choice for a protagonist. The difference between Moxie in a short story and Moxie in a novel is this: in the novel there is room for Moxie to grow, to learn important lessons and to change. These changes can’t be pulled off in a short story, there simply isn’t room for such complicated issues. So, Moxie’s Problem really is about Moxie growing up and facing a reality that is quite different from life in her father’s castle. Part of Moxie’s learning experiences occur when she is escorted by three apprentice Knights of the Round Table. The knights don’t care about her nobel birth, a shocking revelation to Moxie, and they ignore her commands. This forces Moxie to reflect that people outside the castle think differently that the nobles who attend her father’s court. Once she starts to examine issues like this, there is no stopping her from observing other facets of life outside the castle. This leads her to realize she isn’t trained to do anything except exist and possible give birth, but always under the supervision of an adult male, either her father or a husband. Moxie finds this situation repugnant and she develops a plan to become independent.

That last sentence is a recap of the novel from Moxie’s perspective. Another main theme is the development of Percivale, one of the apprentice knights. And then there are the subplots that revolve around Camelot. The struggle between King Artie and the Saxon warlord Hengist for domination in British football is one such delightful subplot. Another is the Knights of the Round Table (KRT Inc.) a for profit organization that has money problems. Still another is Merlin delving into the Magic of the Mind using ink blots on pieces of parchment.

With all these unique subplots going on, Moxie’s Problem really was a joy to write.

Moxie's Problem

Do you enjoy untypical coming-of-age stories? Well, you won’t find one more untypical than Moxie’s Problem. Moxie is an obnoxious, teen-age princess who has never been outsider her father’s castle. Until now. The real world is quite different and she struggles to come to grips with reality. The story takes place against a backdrop of Camelot. But it isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe. So, all bets are off!

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Genre – Fantasy, Sci-fi
Rating – G
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Erin Sands on Being a Woman, Change & Waiting to Live Again @TheDunesBook #Motivation #SelfHelp

Thursday, December 11, 2014

In my early forties, I began going through what is culturally referred to as “the change”. It is a time in a woman’s life when her hormones rebel against the norm and fluctuate, causing considerable emotional and physical discomfort. It is followed by my all-time favorite, the mind-boggling hormonal weight gain, which is not precipitated by bad eating habits or a lack of exercise. It just appears on your body uninvited. Yeah, it’s a fun time all around and to put it bluntly, I was not happy. My stomach, which had once been flat, was now a pudgy soft playground of goo. My vocabulary, which had once been vast, was now caught up in a perpetual hormonal brain fog, and I despised every moment of it. I hated the weight gain, I loathed the lack of clarity and I detested the private summers. All I wanted was my old body back, immediately.

My husband and I love live music, so we are often out and about supporting local or touring bands. Such was the case the night we found ourselves at The House of Blues in Hollywood, jamming to The Gap Band in concert. I would love to tell you that I was completely present for every glorious moment of that night, but I wasn’t. I spent the bulk of the evening inside my head, hating my body, hating perimenopause and lamenting about how things used to be. Every woman who walked in with the waist I used to have fueled the conversation in my mind of all I had lost, as well as musings of what I could possibly do to get it back again. I felt like it would not be until I somehow got things back to the way they used to be that I could enjoy my life and fully live again.

But here’s the thing, while I was waiting to “live again”…life was happening. Around me, joy was flowing through the air like oxygen. But instead of partaking in it, I chose to fixate on something that, in that moment, I had no control of. I was standing next to my husband, a man who loves me and my body just the way it is: we were surrounded by good friends and perfect strangers, all cheering, singing and dancing to The Gap Band’s old-school hit “Party Train” and I missed it. Life was happening, and I wasn’t there! I was in my head preoccupied with self-pity.

I was so focused on a tomorrow that is not promised that I let the now that was given slip away unappreciated.


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, Erin grew up with an innate love for dance, theatre and the written word. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Erin began her career in the arts as an actress and choreographer. After booking several notable roles in television and film, Erin began to use her gift of writing in blogs featuring political and social commentary, as well as developing content for theatrical use.

Although The Dunes, is a divine departure from Erin’s previous writings it is by far her most cherished work to date. “I wrote The Dunes initially as self therapy because I needed to release some painful experiences and disappointments from my past. I had this thirst to walk in the complete fullness of life with joy as my constant companion. I had no idea what effect it would have on other people. But when I saw people read it and be released from fears that had held them back for years…when I saw people forgive and be able to walk in the freedom forgiveness brings…when I saw people commit and serve and how those things opened up new opportunities in their life, I was just humbled. Humbled by the awesome power of God and humbled that I had been allowed to go along for the ride”.

When asked why she writes, Erin pauses and reflects on the truth of her heart. “I write because although I am only now beginning to truly love the process, I have always loved the outcome. Like a composer, words become my notes. I string them together in song eliciting the response of my reader, grafting a picture of my soul. Where besides the written word can you effect change so utterly and so succinctly? What besides the written word can pierce the universal collective mind? Everything begins with a thought, but it isn’t until that thought is articulated in written word and those words passed down can life changing movement happen. It must be written, it must be expressed on tablet, and when it is, we all become greater, whether the writing be genius or fatuity, it has evoked thought and debate. Why wouldn’t I want to be apart of that phenomenon? Why wouldn’t I want to share my story, give my testimony…add my paradigm to the mix? Whether it is a novel, a poem, an essay or an article, it is humanity visited. An insight into a new or sometimes shared truth. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. And with that I live my life”.


If there was a journey that could masterfully change your life in seven revelations...would you take it? 

In life, sometimes the kernels of wisdom and the richness of revelation can be found in the most innocent of stories; and so it is with The Dunes. Join one man and one woman in an exquisitely simple yet remarkably profound journey as you discover with them that the mountain you must climb in order to live the abundant life of your dreams is located squarely within your heart. 

Illuminated in seven revelations; The Dunes carries the reader on a journey to not only examine the obstacles that are holding them back in life but to conquer and over come them as well. With each revelation The Dunes intimately calls on the reader as the journey companion to face a challenge…a dare if you will that requires an uncompromising commitment to change. In the family of faith-based self help books, The Dunes stands alone, simultaneously taking the reader from fiction to life and back again, equipped with a tailor made journal for the readers inner most secrets and reflections. The Dunes is part allegory, part testimony and part journal, but the best part is the healing it offers your heart. When you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and step into the miracle of your life…The Dunes awaits. 

CAUTION: Readers of this book are subject to significant changes for the better. Side effects may include frequent smiling and enjoying life in every season.

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Genre – Non-fiction
Rating – G
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Loni Flowers Opens Up About Past, Present & All Else @LoniFlowers #Romance #AmWriting #TBR

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Things You Didn’t Know About Author Loni Flowers
What is it about me that you probably don't know already? I'm a very open person, so I really had to dig deep for these.

I'm the only one in my family to have Asthma.

I grew up with severe asthma when I was a child, but every time I had an attack and my parents took me to the hospital, I was be fully recovered by the time we arrived. We could never show them proof asthma attacks. It turned out the calmness of the car ride was a good trick to relieving an attack. It wasn't until my teenage years that a car ride wouldn't fix my problems and I was finally able to prove to a doctor my lungs weren't "normal." And worse, the seasonal weather changes are usually the main cause of an attack. Sucks!

I'm allergic to most dogs and house dust.

Weird right?! When I was five, my mother became obsessed with birds. At one point we had 20 different types. I know that sounds like a zoo or something, but it never felt like we were "the crazy cat lady" type. Most were small birds, but we had a couple really large birds too. Among the asthma flare ups, I would also break out in hives around my eyes and they would spread all over my body. My eyes would swell shut and itch like crazy. Test results confirmed I was allergic to dogs and house dust. This basically included any animal that didn't have hair similar to a human (like a Poodle or a Yorkie). I could still pet them and be around them, but I always had to wash my hands afterwards or else the eyes would swell shut and hives would spread. Fun times! We ended up getting rid of all of the birds but a few.


I had plastic surgery on my ears when I was about 7 years old.
Yep, cosmetic surgery to be exact. My ears stuck out like Dumbo the flying Elephant. Go ahead. Laugh. I know you want to, and it’s alright. It is But even in elementary school, children are cruel and I was picked on for it. So my parents took me to a wonderful doctor, William P. Magee Jr. who had just started a charity while I was in his care. You may have heard of it: Operation Smile. Their charity has done more than 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults who suffer from cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. So I pretty much got worked on by a rock star surgeon and have the best, most beautiful ears ever!

I competed professionally in horse shows when I was about 10 years old.
My family are animal lovers, if you can't already tell from the previous facts. At one point in my childhood, we owned seven horse. They are loving, friendly, beautiful animals. I was a natural, or so my parents and trainer said, when it came to riding and the ease of the sport allowed me to compete effortlessly in Equestrian riding. I entered basic classes, but I will never forget my first horse show. There were about twenty other competitors and all were adults except for about three children, including me. During one show you compete in three rounds and can win a ribbon and points for each round. Points are added up after the three rounds and a overall winner is names. I walked out of my first show with 2- first place ribbons and 1- second place ribbon earning me a Champion ribbon for my overall class. My mom was so excited and I was like, "What the heck does all this mean?!" I learned pretty quickly and by the time the showing season was over for the year, I earned Reserve Champion (2nd place overall) in point standing for the entire show year. Pretty awesome for a first-timer!

I know, I know. I’m so dang interesting it’s a bit hard to handle. Just kidding. I think most people find the whole ear surgery thing the most interesting. And despite my asthma and allergies, I will always have pets. I don’t ride horses anymore, but it was a part of my childhood I will always remember. I had so many great times when it was just me and my pony, Coco, enjoying a Big Mac and fries. Yes, she ate what I ate.

So that’s a bit about me. What is something not many people know about you? Please share!

Witness to my Heart
Keep a low profile. That's what Abigale Peterson was supposed to do, especially when the person she was being protected from was one of the world's worst crime lords. After seven years in the Witness Protection Program, she felt no safer now than she did when she was seventeen. Revenge was rarely forgotten when it came to a professional criminal like Zerilli.

Low profiles meant no social life and definitely no love life.

Paranoia and lies became daily habits, going against everything Abigale believed in, but they kept her safe. They kept everyone safe.

Until a house fire puts her out of that safety and into the arms of a stranger. Max Smith is sexy, smart, and has major attitude. He’s the only one who seems to get her. He calms her fears and comforts her from her nightmares. But he also sees right through her lies.

Before Abigale can stop, she’s in too deep; confiding too much and breaking the one rule she promised herself to uphold: Never fall in love.

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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – R
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#Excerpt from WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL MY LIFE? by Cheryl Rice @RiceonLife #NonFiction #Memoir

Friday, December 5, 2014

I knew something was up when I found Jane already sitting on Jean’s family-room couch, coffee mug in hand. They each took a turn sharing their concerns and offering up evidence of my “disordered eating” as if they were reenacting a scene from an ABC Afterschool. Though I knew their hearts were in the right place, I was furious. They just don’t get it, I thought. If they did, they wouldn’t ask me to eat. They would know how much aliveness there is in hunger—how light and strong it makes me feel. If they got it, they would understand how connected this was to my mom and, more specifically, to not having my mom; in fact, they should applaud me for finding such an elegant outlet for my grief.

I pleaded, “I’m fine.” (I’m not.) “Back off.” (Please don’t.) I assured them I had it under control, but I didn’t. And, though I couldn’t admit it, I was starting to get scared. Every time I reached my stated goal weight, I set a new one before I stepped off the scale. I had reached ninety-nine pounds and was now going for ninety-five, maybe ninety. Yes—ninety sounded better.

My friends gave me an ultimatum: either I would tell David what I was doing or I would go to an eating-disorders clinic within the next week; otherwise, Jane would call David herself. A voice inside me cried out, Please don’t make me eat. Being hungry is all that is feeding me.

Where Have I Been All My Life

Where Have I Been All My Life? is a compelling memoir recounting one woman’s journey through grief and a profound feeling of unworthiness to wholeness and healing. It begins with the chillingly sudden death of Rice’s mother, and is followed by her foray into the center of mourning.

With wisdom, grace, and humor, Rice recounts the grief games she plays in an effort to resurrect her mother; her efforts to get her therapist, who she falls desperately in love with, to run away with her; and the transformation of her husband from fantasy man to ordinary guy to superhero. In the process, she experiences aching revelations about her family and her past—and realizes what she must leave behind, and what she can carry forward with her.

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Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
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K S Ferguson on Authenticity Being the Writer's Watch Word #WriteTip #UrbanFantasy #AmWriting

Friday, November 28, 2014

Authenticity is the writer's watch word. If you're describing a location like Chicago or Los Angeles, you'd better get the Starbucks at the right corner of the intersection. Intend to sink a nuclear sub? Make sure you mention all the right switches and buttons on the control panel. If you don't, readers will let you know that you screwed it up.

David Morrell, author of Rambo and over thirty other bestselling thriller novels knows this rule. That's why he's attended the FBI defensive driving course, knife-fighting school, and spent months learning to sail a boat.

Of course, David Morrell can afford to spend the time and money on research to ensure that his details are authentic. The rest of us merely mortal authors aim a little lower.

In my contemporary fantasy, Touching Madness, hapless hero River Madden is both schizophrenic and a dedicated pacifist. (Think about it—would you give a deadly weapon to someone who hallucinates?) But being a pacifist doesn't excuse River from facing physical danger.

River needs to 'get the goods' on a local mob boss and his drug lord supplier. He convinces the criminals to rendezvous with him in an abandoned factory under the pretext of making a drug buy. River's plans never go quite like he intends. I needed a contingency plan that would allow him to escape without turning to violence once things started to go wrong.

That's when I thought about smoke bombs (possibly because my brother got suspended from high school for a few days for lobbing one onto the football field at half-time). According to dozens of YouTube videos, they're dead simple to make, requiring only stump remover, newspaper, string, and an empty soda can. It was exactly the kind of home-made solution River would use. For the sake of authenticity, I thought I better try it out.

Really good smoke bombs aren't as simple as they seem. To get the necessary billowing clouds of smoke I wanted, I needed to get the air holes just right. And I needed a mass of bombs all going off at the same time. Fuses were an issue. Cotton string just isn't that flammable. Throwing them was a joke. I could barely get ignition when they were sitting on the ground in ideal conditions. In the end, I ditched the smoke bombs.

But all was not lost. I had a very authentic experience convincing the fire department and my neighbors that I was only a harmless writer and not a terrorist. I'm sure I'll use that conversation in a book someday.

Touching Madness

Light bulbs talk to River Madden; God doesn't. When the homeless schizophrenic unintentionally fractures a dimensional barrier and accidentally steals a gym bag containing a million dollars, everyone from the multiverse police to the local crime boss—and an eight-foot tall demon—are after him. Can he dodge them long enough to correct his mistakes and prevent the destruction of three separate dimensions? If he succeeds, will the light bulbs stop singing off-key?

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Genre – Contemporary, Urban fantasy
Rating – R
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#Excerpt from JOHN SMITH : Last Known Survivor of the #Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes #Dystopian

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SK:  I ask again, what was the truth according to John Smith?
JS:    Later in life, when people were counting the number of wells and starting to not buy the “dead Dino” story, scientists made an even more ludicrous claim.  They claimed the jungle and forest, which covered all of the land during the age of the dinosaur, was also decomposing and creating large pools of oil.
SK:  Why was this so ludicrous?
JS:    Admittedly, plant and animal life will share some mineral content, and all things will create some kind of goo when they reach that liquefying stage of decomposition.  However, I do find it a stretch that both would end up creating crude oil, no matter how much heat and time were applied, unless crude is a very tiny subset of minerals that survive decomposition. 
Eventually, scientists started claiming crude was caused by decaying plant and animal life.  I guess fish never played into the formula.  Scientists really had no choice.  They had to explain to an increasingly skeptical public why some crude was yellow and some black.  Some crude was fast-flowing liquid and other crude was a solid brick.
SK:  I ask again, what was the truth according to John Smith?
JS:    Crude oil is decomposing humans from earlier cycles.  Each cycle lasts an unbelievably long time, as far as human life  is concerned.  Humans, by and large, have a need to build communities.  As the cycle progresses, these communities become cities of a massive scale.  When the earth shifts and heaves its continents around, these cities are buried deep in a matter of hours, if not seconds.  They are buried deep without air or the nutrients needed for bacterial decomposition.
The steel eventually reverts back to iron and carbon; the concrete, to limestone and sand.  I’m not certain what happens to the glass other than the fact it is crushed into pieces so tiny one wouldn’t notice them coming up with the drilling mud.  The humans and their pets, though—they are crushed and eventually, the heat of the earth cooks them into crude.
SK:  That is a disgusting thing to say.  We have one of those oil sites oozing stuff out of the ground near our city! People use it for all kinds of things.
JS:    Humans are useful in a variety of forms.  Have they invented a product called petroleum jelly yet?  It’s kind of greasy, helps cuts heal and looks a lot like animal fat.
SK:  Oh!  I cannot believe I’m being forced to sit here and listen to this!
JS:    Do you think I’m the first to point something like this out?  I suppose you have never heard of cannibalism either?
SK:  Another disgusting tale to frighten children!
JS:    Oh no.  It was real and existed in various forms around the globe.  Even in large cities, where everybody claimed it never happened, you would see the occasional news report that someone had been arrested with pieces of humans in their fridge or freezer.  There was even a movie about the earth running out of food and governments taking it upon themselves to make cannibalism palatable to the masses.
SK:  I simply cannot accept the premise anybody would believe such a story.
JS:    The story became a legend.  They would simply herd people to different areas of each city.  One area would be selected for recycling.  The people would be processed and turned into little food squares of “Soylent Green.”  There were lots of different colors of food squares made from the various forms of food still available but there wasn’t enough to go around.

“John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between “John Smith” (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.
Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N
Genre – Dystopian Fiction
Rating – PG
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Madi Brown on Readers Being Visual & Book Covers @Madithe1brown #Wwed #AmReading #ChickLit

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why Book Covers Are So Important

Unless you don't have eyes, people are visual. If there's a handsome guy sitting  across  from me during my daily commute on the train, I'm going to look. If I'm away on vacation, I'm going to appreciate the beautiful sights around me, because I know that I'm there to relax. If my mom bakes one of her yummy peach cobblers, I'm going to feast on it with my eyes first, and then I'm going to devour it. In the world of books, book covers work in the same way. There are probably millions of them out there, but most readers are only looking for one title. Just think, your book cover is going to be the very first thing that a buyer will see. If you're suddenly feeling the pressure of of just  how important a book cover really might be, then continue to read on.

“I've penned a stellar novel. People are going to love me once they read what I've written.” Plenty of authors are probably thinking the exact same thing. But how are you going to let people know about this stellar body of work that you've just created? I'll tell you how.  You're going to  have a fabulous book cover that will make your book stand out from the rest. And don’t worry, I get it. Writers aren't book designers, but here's where you bring in someone to help with bringing your vision to life. Outsourcing can be your new best friend.

How to  Find a Book Cover Designer That Fits Your Needs

I'm pretty infatuated with the book cover for my debut novel, The Truth About Emily, but it wasn't a one step process of knowing what I wanted straight away. It started with me doing research. Think about your storyline or nonfiction topic. Jot down some ideas so that you have a place of reference to pull from. Do you have a title already? Great. If you do, then keep that in mind too, because it's another source. Now go online and begin looking at other people's book covers.  Are they popular authors? Ask yourself what it is, if anything, that's drawing your eyes to it. How do you feel about the colors, the images, the font style, and the font size? Also, check out some of the books that you've previously purchased; specifically on the strength of its book cover. What caused you to click on buying it? Next up, what you want to do, is take all of that information and keep it somewhere safe. We'll come back to it.

Now you'll need to find yourself a competent book cover designer. Fiverr (an online company that will do almost any task for you for $5.00) has loads of  people on there who can assist you for a bargain, but just remember that most of those people specialize in quantity over quality. By this, I mean that you might end up with a book cover identical to someone else or it may have an appearance that looks manufactured. This isn’t to say that there aren’t  some gems on there, but you'll have to diligently seek them out.  As for myself, I chose to go with a freelancer. I was drawn to the element of selection in having access to a host of talented designers with exceptional portfolios  and being able to make a choice based on a price that I’ve set. My final winning pick was Gavin Pledger, Creative Soutions King).

By now ,you’ve found yourself a book cover designer (as far as the work contract is concerned, make sure that you add in how many times they’re willing to revise. Negotiate a flat fee). The first thing that they’ll want to know is what creative direction you’d like them to go in. This is when you whip out the notes that you’ve been compiling for your project. It’s your starting point. Don't be afraid to let them know what works for you, and what doesn’t. A really good book cover designer will be as excited as you are in getting right!


"If you LOVE New York, if you’re a name-dropping, fashion fiend careerist; fed up with serial dating, plagued with a thirst for sex, then you’ll totally stalk me for what I've penned.” - Author, Madi Brown


29-year-old Emily Greene looks the part, but she’s still working on becoming a modern-day woman. Not that she’s one to back down from a challenge, but living as an eternal work-in-progress wasn't exactly the goal that she had in mind. It’s a harsh but true realization---the idea that that time isn't on her side, and the notion that wanting to have it all, doesn't mean getting it. The verdict is in; with zero prospects for a relationship and a stalled blogging career, Emily has every reason to believe that she’s been living a life too humdrum for her own good.

Making the change won’t be easy. She’ll have to do whatever it takes; start dating like a man, become more selective about which RSVP's she accepts, and work even harder at getting her dream job.The payoff’s huge; a modern twist on a storybook ending, but gains don’t often come without risks. In the here and now Emily just may be forced to choose...It’s got to be one or the other----the profession that she’s always wanted, or the love that she’s never had.

˃˃˃ Praise for Madi Brown &

her debut novel, The Truth About Emily

"The added depth of character promises complexity but wraps everything in the saucy cloak of Emily's evolving personality and newfound beliefs about life, love, and the real nature of happiness. And this is where The Truth About Emily outshines many competitors, making it a recommended read for those seeking more than a standard romance novel." - D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews

"This book has just about anything a girl would love to read about. If there's anything Emily Greene has is ISH and lots of it, oh the ending... This book is a total keeper, just anything about fashion to relationships to friends and family." - Y. Sanchez, Goodreads

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating – PG18
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