Thursday, 30 May 2013

Today is the release of my Paranormal Historical Western LAKOTA HONOR

Colorado Mountains, 1880

The blade slicing his throat made no sound, but the dead body hitting the ground did. With no time to stop, he hurried through the dark tunnel until he reached the ladder leading out of the shaft.
 He’d been two hundred feet below ground for ten days, with no food and little water. Weak and 
woozy, he stared up the ladder. He’d have to climb it and it wasn’t going to be easy. He wiped the bloody blade on his torn pants and placed it between his teeth. Scraped knuckles and unwashed hands gripped the wooden rung.
The earth swayed. He closed his eyes and forced the spinning in his head to cease. One thin bronzed leg lifted and came down wobbly. He waited until his leg stopped shaking before he climbed another rung. Each step caused pain, but was paired with determination. He made it to the top faster than he’d thought he would. The sky was black and the air was cool, but fresh. Thank goodness it was fresh.
 He took two long breaths before he emerged from the hole. The smell from below ground still lingered in his nostrils; unwashed bodies, feces and mangy rats. His stomach pitched. He tugged at the rope around his hands. There had been no time to chew the thick bands around his wrists when he’d planned his escape. It was better to run than crawl, and he chewed through the strips that bound his feet instead. There would be time to free his wrists later.
He pressed his body against the mountain and inched toward the shack. He frowned. A guard stood at the entrance to where they were. The blade from the knife pinched his lip, cutting the thin skin and he tasted blood. He needed to get in there. He needed to say goodbye. He needed to make a promise.
 The tower bell rang mercilessly. There was no time left. He pushed away from the rocky wall, dropped the knife from his mouth into his bound hands, aimed and threw it. The dagger dug into the man’s chest. He ran over, pulled the blade from the guard and quickly slid it across his throat. The guard bled out in seconds.
He tapped the barred window on the north side of the dilapidated shack. The time seemed to stretch. He glanced at the large house not fifty yards from where he stood. He would come back, and he would kill the bastard inside.
He tapped again, harder this time, and heard the weak steps of those like him shuffling from inside. The window slid open, and a small hand slipped out.
“Toksha ake—I shall see you again,” he whispered in Lakota.
The hand squeezed his once, twice and on the third time held tight before it let go and disappeared inside the room.
A tear slipped from his dark eyes, and his hand, still on the window sill, balled into a fist. He swallowed past the sob and felt the burn in his throat. His chest ached for what he was leaving behind. He would survive, and he would return.
Men shouted to his right, and he crouched down low. He took one last look around and fled into the cover of the forest.

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Author Rosemary McCracken on Research.

Researching Black Water

Creating an imaginary world generally involves some research, and Black Water was no exception. Pat Tierney, its protagonist, is a financial advisor and I am not, although my work as a business journalist has given me a working knowledge of her business world. I interview financial advisors and investment managers for my articles, and I attend their conferences. I know the issues they face and the concerns they have.

So it wasn’t too far of a stretch to create a character in the investment world. In fact, when I was looking for a central character for my mystery series, Pat appeared full-blown in my mind. She has the traits of the people I admire most in the industry. She cares for her clients. She’s a champion of small investors. She has sleepless nights when markets are down.
But I don’t know the investment world as an insider does. Questions sometimes arise, and I have to call on the experts for help. That’s what makes the Pat Tierney books fun to write—I’m always learning something new.

In Black Water, investment fraud is one of many the crimes taking place in the seemingly idyllic Glencoe Highlands. Money has recently been disappearing from investors’ accounts. (Remember Bernie Madoff, the real-life fraudster who made off with a staggering $18 billion of his clients’ money?) To write about this kind of scheme, I needed to find out how such a thing could be done. It’s a delicate subject, and I wasn’t about to ask my contacts in the financial world how this can be done. They might think I was setting myself up as a fraud artist.
I’d heard about how computer hackers track keystrokes, and that got me thinking. I Googled the word “keystroke,” and came across “keystroke logging”—there’s even a Wikipedia page on it—the action of recording the keys struck on a keyboard. And I discovered there are dandy little devices available to do this. They look something like the memory sticks I keep drafts of my novels on. You connect them somewhere out of sight between the keyboard and the computer, and voilĂ ! They log all keyboard activity—PINs, social security numbers, passwords, you name it—which can then be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes.
Other types of research went into the making of Black Water. The story takes place in the month of March when the lakes in Ontario cottage country are usually still frozen. But if spring comes early and the ice starts to break up exposing deadly black water, this means an end of snowmobile season for most enthusiasts of the sport. But intrepid snowmobilers have come up a way to extend the season—the sport of snowmobile skipping. This involves driving a snowmobile across a stretch of open water by approaching it at a very high speed. The machine skips over the water in much the same way as a stone does when it’s skipped over water.
You guessed it. There’s snowmobile skipping in Black Water. Did I give it a whirl as research for the novel? No siree. If a machine doesn’t make it over open water, it sinks like a rock. A bath in frigid black water? No thank you very much. I limited my research to watching snowmobile skipping competitions and talking to participants. (My journalism interviewing skills came in handy here.) And even that was a chilly business on some days. I learned that there is nothing some people won’t do for thrills.

Rosemary McCracken has worked on newspapers across Canada as a reporter, arts reviewer, editorial writer and editor. She is now a Toronto-based fiction writer and freelance journalist. Her first mystery novel, Safe Harbor, was shortlisted for Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger in 2010 and published by Imajin Books in 2012. You can buy it here.

Black Water, the second book in the Pat Tierney series, has just been released at the special introductory price of .99! You can buy it here.

To win a $50 Amazon gift certificate, enter the Black Water giveaway contest here. Deadline is June 15.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Author Melodie Campbell talks about Romancing the Villain!

Romancing the Villain!  The appeal of Bad Boys…

What is it about the appeal of Bad Boys?  A strange thing happened while writing Rowena and the Dark Lord… I appear to have fallen for my villain.

Yes, Thane is the hero, and Rowena is smitten with him, as she should be.  But her literary creator has become more and more enamoured with bad boy Cedric – the villain of the piece.  Cedric is determined to have Rowena to himself, and he will stop at nothing to get her, including selling his soul to Lucifer.  Cedric messes with the black arts.

Cedric can mess with me anytime.

How the heck did this happen?  I set out to write a funny and sexy adventure, with good guys, bad guys and spunky heroines.  Love that Rowena.  She’s everything I would like to be. Clever, beautiful, sexy… a bit daring, but with a strong moral compass.  Thane is a terrific match for her; strong, smart, loyal, handsome, and the King to boot.  Arch enemy of Cedric of course.

I wanted to make the story rich with characters, so I worked hard to make my villain three-dimensional.  He has thoughts, moods, desires just like anyone else.  And maybe even some good traits.  It’s hard not to be moved by a guy who will risk his life for you. 

Something about that Cedric pulls me.  He’s not as good-looking as Thane.  He probably isn’t as smart. His morals are questionable – maybe nonexistent.  But he is cunning.  He is dynamic.  He is never, ever boring.

Cedric is the typical bad boy.

What it is about men who don’t fit the typical hero mode, but ‘bother’ us, somehow? That’s how Rowena puts it.  “I didn’t like his looks – they bothered me.”  I’ll say they did.  Rowena was rocked to the core!  You see, I know that feeling.  I’ve felt it myself…

Cedric has long red-gold hair.  His eyes are green, and they have an eerie glow when he uses magic. He’s tall, broad and thoroughly masculine, with bands of muscles on his arms.  And he draws her like a moth to fire…

Exciting, that’s the word.  The bad boys in our past made us feel like we were alive.  Living on the edge has its attractions.

So Thane may be the ideal man for Rowena, and for many women.  But Cedric will always be there, in the back of her mind, tempting…promising something that will take her beyond the ordinary, something delicious, enticing…

Damn, that’s attractive.  I can’t kill him off.

Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich.  She has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and 4 novels. She has won 6 awards for      
ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD, book 2 in the Land’s End series, is NOW AVAILABLE at the special introductory price of .99! (regular price $3.99, after May 1.) Buy Link:
And the one that started it all: ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL, book 1 in the Land’s End series

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Welcome to my blog, Kenna McKinnon author of the Young Adult novel, Spacehive.

Many amazing people were involved in my progress from a 5-year-old girl who rhymed "stars" with "Mars" to the 68-year-old author of a published novel.

SPACEHIVE for eBook is available worldwide for 99 cents from May 3 – 10 inclusive on Amazon .

·         I give credit for my recent publishing success to Imajin Books and Cheryl Tardif in particular, that quintessential writer's editor, publisher and mentor. Cheryl took me under her pinions and taught me to hone the technicalities of creating an engaging novel.

·         My writing career probably began for sure from 1971-1975, the years I spent at the University of Alberta under some truly astonishing professors.

·         Although I've only recently been published during the past three years, I've spent my life writing. Writing is my passion. As a child, my only ambition was to be a "journalist" although I wasn’t sure what that meant. Poetry was my first love.

 ·         My parents instilled in me a work ethic and determination to succeed despite all odds. I say this because in 1978 I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia after first displaying symptoms in 1975, my graduating year from the University of Alberta. I've battled abuse, alcohol dependence, mental illness including delusions, obsessions and compulsions over a period of almost 40 years.

·         My education and experience taught me to think and to feel and to never give up.

In both eBook and trade paperback formats, SPACEHIVE will appeal to science fiction/fantasy readers of all ages, with a special nod to middle readers/young adults who like Pixar-like action and, more especially, the appeal of adventure and youth.

It was released in eBook on August 10, 2012 and in trade paperback on September 1, 2012. It was fun to write.

Hope you enjoy SPACEHIVE.