Category Archives: Uncategorized

BERLIN 1941 – Are you ready?

I’m delighted to share the word that Patrick O’Bryon’s “Fulcrum of Malice” can be purchased on Amazon right now. Are you as eager as I am to learn Ryan Lemmon’s fate?

Patrick W. O'Bryon

Europe lies in chains at Hitler’s feet as midnight approaches in the dark heart of the Reich…

Leaving his friends to foil the Nazis in Occupied France, Ryan Lemmon returns to Berlin. Under deep cover in this city of shadows, the American conspires with a powerful German spymaster. Together they intend to subvert Hitler’s state, but secret agent Lemmon is equally committed to saving the life of a dear friend. Threading his way through the menacing streets, he knows he wears a target on his back.

He may be buying her safety with his own life.

Fulcrum of Malice is the final volume in the Corridor of Darkness trilogy.

ORDER THE EBOOK NOW ON AMAZON.COM BY CLICKING

 Fulcrum of Malice 

WATCH FOR THE PAPERBACK EDITION AVAILABLE BY THANKSGIVING!

 

 

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Coffee with Barb & @sknicholls1 ~ A Bad Word in Writing Fiction? #SundayBlogShare

Visited the fantastic Barb Taub’s blog today with a discussion on one of my favorite topics, stereotypes in fiction.

Barb Taub

You say stereoTYPE and I say stereoTROPE. Did we both just say a dirty word?

coffee with BarbAs readers of this blog know, I like tropes. Even when they are so incredibly overused that they go from being a useful shortcut to an absolute stereotrope. What is a stereotrope? There are lots of definitions, ranging from a 3D animation machine to “…an interactive experiment, exploring a set of tropes authored by the community on tvtropes.org that are categorized as being always female or always male.” [check out the entertaining page on http://stereotropes.bocoup.com/!]

But I think of stereotropes as the things that everybody “knows”. Little girls like ponies. Women love shoes. Men don’t cry. Everyone hates mimes. (Well, maybe that last one is a universal truth…)

But today, trope lovers, is our lucky day because writer S.K. Nicholls is here to tell us how to turn stereotypes from a bad word to a good tool. So…

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More on “Town Father”

Kevin Brennan’s new book is out in POD. E-version to soon follow.

WHAT THE HELL

Paperback

Launch week continues…

One of the treats for me as a writer this time around — Town Father is very different for me, as you’ll see when you read it — was finding an approach to the material that would let me really immerse myself in it without getting pretentious or phony. You always have to be true to your own identity, but a great benefit of being a novelist is the ability to put on all kinds of costumes.

Here I assumed the role of a novelist of the 1880s. I would write my story of Hestia, California, as if I were telling it in that period, though, as I say, without getting all Victorian in my language and style. It is, after all, a story with contemporary themes. Feminism. Reproductive freedom. Social judgment. Relativism. Plain old morality.

But the tickling thing I understood right away was that no…

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Myths of Midwinter is HERE!

Sarah Cradit’s sixth book in the bestselling Paranormal Southern Gothic series, The House of Crimson & Clover, is now available on all major online retailers.

...and then there was Sarah

MYTHS OF MIDWINTER, the sixth volume in the bestselling Paranormal Southern Gothic series, The House of Crimson & Clover, is now available on all major online retailers.

MythsPreOrder_IG

Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads 

Quillan Sullivan lost his twin brother two decades ago, a tragedy he never fully experienced due to his unusual ability to see and talk to Riley when no one else can. He believes this “gift” is a fluke, until the haughty, vainglorious love of his life, Estella, returns after several years abroad, and rips his world apart.

Estella Broussard loathes Quillan. He’s the last person on Earth she’d ever bless with her presence. To her great dismay, he alone holds the key to achieving her deepest desire. She will do anything to reach her aims, no matter the warnings… no matter the cost to Quillan.

Nerys guides Finn and Aleksandr on their…

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The Latest Reason To Be Ashamed Of Myself

For those of us who find more humor in Halloween than fear.

readful things blog

horror cover

Available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Description:
“Thursday the Twelfth” is a 15k word parody about a down-on-his-luck killer in a horror book. Filled with absolute silliness, it is not recommended that you read this book if you are concerned with your sanity. For everyone else who is okay with being crazy, please proceed.

Blurb:
What happens if the star of the horror book, the masked murderer, is arrested before he has the chance to kill anyone? A failing college student steps in to take his place. Can it really be that simple? Does the masked killer just walk up to someone and kill them?

Not quite.

Along with following all of the horror monster rules he learned at Psychotic Killer Camp, like:

The killer always gets up again
He always takes the stairs
He must never lose his weapon
He must enter through the most impossible entrance

He…

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10 Learnings Over 4 Years of Publishing

Sarah Cradit sums things up nicely for all you folk struggling with writing and publishing…marketing and all that goes with it.

...and then there was Sarah

Become-a-writerI published my first book, St. Charles at Dusk, on September 26th, 2011. Four years have passed, and with them, more learnings than I could ever fully wrap my mind around. In those early days, I was a woman alone on an island, getting all my advice from Google. I didn’t know a single other author who had published their work.

Flash forward four years. I’m no longer a woman alone on an island, but one surrounded by hundreds of authors, thousands of readers, and years of experience (with many years still ahead). I have seventeen original titles out (and numerous boxed sets), and an endless quantity of ideas. I’ve been lauded by esteemed authors, and appeared on the USA Today Bestsellers list, twice. I’m nowhere near an expert, and far from perfect. I’ve had successes and setbacks, like any author, and I move forward knowing I’ll have more of both…

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Short Story Bonanza: Infinite Waters, Power of Six & Nonlocal SF Magazine

Need some more great reading material. Like short stories. Nicholas C. Rossis has a great deal for you.

Nicholas C. Rossis

As you may have noticed from the header banner, today is the first day of my Short Story Bonanza. Until Monday, 21st, you can read Infinite Waters: 9+1 Speculative Fiction Short Stories for free.

But wait- there’s more! You can also buy The Power of Six: 6+1 Science Fiction Short Stories for only 99c.

What People Say About My Short Stories

“Philosophical ideas woven into science-fiction stories that read like classic stories by the masters, often with a delightful, thought-provoking and unexpected twist at the end.”
~ Jamie Maltman

“Phil K. Dick is up on a cloud laughing with glee.”
~ Ryan Schneider

“I found myself looking forward to coming home so I could dig into the next story. Each story pulls you in to its unique little universe and takes you on a ride where the tracks are hidden, and you can’t see the corners up ahead.”

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COMFORT ZONE….

Mike Grant has the sequel to White Wolf Moon available NOW!!!

Mike Grant - Author

“Barking at Yesterday’s Moon” is online. Another chapter in my writing life has closed and it’s time to start anew. While there is still a lot of work to do with getting some exposure and working a bit of marketing I can’t bring myself to not have a Word document open. I have to be working on something and my read-through of the Kindle version of “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon” provided me with another storyline. It involves some of the ‘walk-on’ characters from one of the scenes.

Being ‘walk-ons’ in no way diminished their importance to the storyline. The roles they played, while not central figures, provided insight into the main characters and created some interesting scenes. One character in particular made his appearance early in the book, created a little havoc then disappeared. The more I thought about this man the more I realized there is a story behind…

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Kombucha Project # 1

We all know I can’t be satisfied with one project in the works. I have to have three, or more, in the works. With two novels in the editing phase, I took on a home project brewing Kombucha and I want to show you how this is coming along.

Kombucha is fermented tea with the health benefits:

*contains probiotics
*alkalizes the body
*detoxifies the liver
*increases metabolism
*improves digestion
*alleviates constipation
*cancer prevention
*reduces blood pressure
*relieves headaches & migraines
*aids healthy cell regeneration
*reduces kidney stones
*high in polyphenols
*improves eyesight
*reduces eczema – softens the skin
*prevents arteriosclerosis
*speeds healing of ulcers
*helps clear up candida & yeast infections
*boosts energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*high in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer and promote healthy cellular development
*rebuilds connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

 

You can do continuous brew (CB) or batch brew (BB), and I thought, since this was my first time I would do BB, and if I liked it well enough, switch over to CB. At $4.00 a pop in health food  stores, it can get quite expensive if you drink a couple of servings a day.

To brew Kombucha at home is really very simple.

You need the following:

A healthy SCOBY (A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) In my case two. Yes, they’re alive!

1 cup -2 cups strong starter liquid per gallon

A brewing vessel (plain or fancy) a glass pickle jar will do, you can get a fancy ceramic urn with a spigot, or what I have that is a cross between the two, a 2.5 gal glass water dispenser with a spigot. I want to be able to watch the process, but have the convenience of a spigot.

Tea, (green or black)

1 cup granulated cane sugar per gallon (feeds the yeast, not you)

4-6 bags tea bags per gallon

distilled water

tea kettle

cloth cover

rubber band

  Steps

  1. Boil 4 cups of water per gallon.
  2. Add hot water & tea bags to pot.
  3. Steep 5-7 minutes, then remove tea bags.
  4. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let tea cool down to room temperature to prevent killing SCOBY! Add to vessel.
  5. Fill vessel most of the way with distilled water, leaving just 1-2 inches from the top for breathing room.
  6. Add SCOBY and starter liquid. (Best source for these Kombucha Kamp, Hannah also sells heater strips for those in cooler climates, as ideal brewing temp is around 74 to 82 degrees.)
  7. Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.
  8. Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture (optional but recommended).
  9. Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque). Mine is in my darkened studio, but I also wrap it in a dark blankie.) The area needs to be well ventilated.
  10. Do not disturb for 7 days. (Mine took 14 d/t quantity)
Healthy SCOBY
Healthy SCOBY

I purchased my SCOBY, starter and heating sheet from Kombucha Mama at Kombucha Kamp. I can’t say enough about Hannah and her helpers. Her customer service is impeccable. She really knows her Kombucha and if you have a question about the process, she has the answer somewhere on her site.

SCOBY are stored in my SCOBY Hotel. Here I have two mamas and a baby. There are stored in a glass container with starter liquid which has been pulled from the top of a fermented batch.
SCOBY are stored in my SCOBY Hotel. Here I have two mamas and a baby. They are stored in a glass container with starter liquid which has been pulled from the top of a fermented batch.
Kombucha set-up. I added an aquarium thermometer so I could judge the brewing temp.
Kombucha set-up. I added an aquarium thermometer so I could gauge the brewing temp. The mamas will sink as the baby forms on the top.
With the heating element added around the base (also available at Kombucha Kamp) I'm keeping SCOBY warm and productive. The mamas sink to the bottom, while the baby forms on top. I named my mamas Laverne and Shirley and my baby's name is Stuie.
With the heating element added around the base (also available at Kombucha Kamp) I’m keeping SCOBY warm and productive. The mamas sink to the bottom, while the baby forms on top. I named my mamas Laverne and Shirley and my baby’s name is Stuie. See the yeastie bits forming?
The tea lightens as it ferments.
The tea lightens as it ferments.

 

Here is Stuie being born, sealing off the top and doing his job.
Here is Stuie being born, sealing off the top and doing his job. Bubbles of carbonation are building under him as he grows to seal off the tea from the air.

Once Stuie has done his job (7-14 days, a little longer if you have slow starter or a large quantity. Only three or four days if you use continuous brew method.) the mamas and baby are set aside into the scoby hotel. If you are doing CB, you don’t even have to do this step, just decant a third from the bottom, then pour in replacement fresh sweet tea. I wasn’t sure about the first batch, but will be CBing in the future.

Ready to decant. I have my SCOBY Hotel to the left. Bottles for second ferment, and the mature KT
Ready to decant. I have my SCOBY Hotel to the left. Bottles for second ferment, and the mature KT. My currently unused art studio serves as my KT brewing room. You can brew in a lovely ceramic brew pot, also available at Kombucha Kamp, right on your kitchen counter top.
Kombucha Brewing First batch 010
I’ve prepped my fruits and herbs and spices. I’m making pear with ginger and cinnamon, peach ginger, strawberry, and hibiscus with cinnamon. A little goes a long way. You only need about a teaspoon per 16 oz bottle. The KT acts on the natural sugars to add more carbonation to this fizzy drink during the second ferment, which takes three or four days.
My bottles are prepped with fruit and spices. You don't have to puree the fruit. You can cut into bits and drop in, but I have another use for the leftover fruit I'll tell you about later.
My bottles are prepped with fruit and spices. You don’t have to puree the fruit. You can cut into bits and drop in, but I have another use for the leftover fruit I’ll tell you about later.

Decant into your 16 oz bottles from the spigot, or you can pour from a jar over the sink. The spigot is a lifesaver. My funnel has a screen which filters the yeasty bits.

You want to fill your bottles nearly to the top so as little space as possible is there for air. This speeds carbonation. VERY IMPORTANT: Burp your bottles every day or two to avoid EXPLOSION!!!

Place bottles into a cooler for safety and to keep dark at room temp. Don't forget to BURP them every couple of days. Keeping them in a cooler prevents glas and booch from spraying all over the place in case carbonation builds up and you have an explosion.
Place bottles into a cooler for safety and to keep dark at room temp. Don’t forget to BURP them every couple of days. Keeping them in a cooler prevents glass and booch from spraying all over the place in case carbonation builds up and you have an explosion.
Clean up is a breeze with vinegar. Never use soap and water...even trace amounts of soap will kill your culture.
Clean up is a breeze with vinegar. Never use soap and water…even trace amounts of soap will kill your culture. If you are doing continuous brewing instead of batch brewing, you only have to do this about every four to six months. Once fully fermented, I’ll be poring off into the Grolsch-style bottles.
Once your KT is ready, you can pur yourself a refreshing glass and drink right away, or strain into fresh bottles to get rid of the organic matter, which will continue to decompose if not removed. I strained into Grolsch-type bottles to go into the fridge right away. KT will not spoil.
Once your KT is ready, (about a week) you can pour yourself a refreshing glass and drink right away, or strain into fresh bottles to get rid of the organic matter, which will continue to decompose if not removed. I strained into Grolsch-type bottles to go into the fridge right away. KT will not spoil.
If you have leftover fruit. Mix it with two or three tablespoons of chia seed for fresh fruit chia jam and place in fridge. It will be great on nut butter toast for breakfast.
If you have leftover fruit. Mix it with two or three tablespoons of chia seed for fresh fruit chia jam and place in fridge. It will be great on nut butter toast for breakfast. It keeps fresh for two or three weeks.

I can’t say enough about Kombucha Kamp and the Kombucha Mama. Hannah Crum is truly awesome and she is available to get you started with all the supplies you need. She also supports you through the process if you have concerns. She’s been in production for seven years and has attended many seminars and appeared on TV shows where she explains Kombucha and how to make it. Here is a cool video where she explains how to flavor during the second ferment: