Sunday, 24 June 2012

Writings From the Heart Blog Tour

Hello Sheri and everyone!  My name is Beth Ann Masarik, and I am here to talk to you about an anthology that I published with 30 authors.  This collection is called Writings From the Heart: Stories and Poetry From Around the World.  I collaborated this project in order to help raise money for the pediatric cardiology unit at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of NY.  CCMC, was also known as Schneider Children’s Hospital, and is a part of the North Shore/LIJ health system. 

Each of the contributing authors has their own personal reason for contributing to the anthology, and I would like to share some of them with you. 

William Cass: ‘‘I have a son who is severely disabled and medically fragile who has been a longtime patient at our local children’s hospital (in fact, at one point, he was admitted there for over a year), so I applaud and am personally touched by the purpose of your efforts with this anthology.”

Frank Cavano: ‘‘As a retired physician, I am impressed by your intention to collect writings that may prove helpful to sick children.”

Melodie Corrigall: I am inspired and humbled to hear stories of the courage, resilience and insight shown by children whose youth has been blighted by poor health and painful health treatments. I contributed to this anthology in support of these young people and their families.

I hope that you all will support this great cause.  The anthology is available in paperback for $13USD on all sales channels, and in electronic format for $4.99. If $4.99 is too much for you, during the week of the Fourth of July, I am going to run a holiday special, and offer it at half off ($2.99.)

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Sheri! I really appreciate it, and I know the authors of the anthology do as well!

For those interested in purchasing the anthology, here are some of the purchase links:

You can also purchase it in paperback from
Barnes &Noble and Createspace, as well as on Smashwords for all other electronic formats.

Thanks again everybody! For more information, please visit my blog and click on the category “Charity” or visit my Goodreads page.

30 short stories and poems make up this unique anthology.
Authors and poets from around the world joined together for one cause; to raise awareness of congenital heart disease in children.

All proceeds from this collection will go to the Adult Congenital Heart Program at Cohen Children's Medical Center of NY for education and research in this area.

My review:
4 of 5 stars false
This anthology will have something for everyone. The short stories range widely in topic and are heartwarming and full of emotion, playful and funny. One of my favorites was the very first story, "Hiding in Plain Sight," though there were a few others I really enjoyed as well.

Though I'm not normally a huge fan of poetry, I really enjoyed the poems in this anthology. A couple of my favorites were "Invisible Scars" and "Succubus in Chains."

This book is for a good cause, so even if short stories and poetry is not something you usually read, give it a try. The proceeds from this collection will go to the Adult Congenital Heart Program at Cohen Children's Medical Center of NY for education and research in this area.

Beth Ann Masarik was born on Long Island, NY in the year 1984 with an over-active imagination. She used to love playing make-believe games, and now loves creating her own fantasy worlds. Masarik has been writing since she was 15 years old, and had her first newspaper article published in her high school newspaper in her sophomore year. She has taken several creative writing classes, and started writing her very first novel in college, and is currently searching for the right literary agent. Aside from writing novels, Masarik enjoys bowling, gaming, and role playing online. She enjoys reading fantasy novels written by Richelle Mead, L.J. Smith, and J.K. Rowling, and looks to them for role models.

-Author of The World Among Us, Prince of Darkness (available where books are sold!)
-Author of 5 star story, Murderous Regrets, a World Among Us short story (available where ebooks are sold!)
-Moon Spirit, a The World Among Us short story available where ever ebooks are sold!
-Luney Writers, an anthology coming in 2012
-Founder of Literary Lunes Magazine for more details!
-Founder of Wordsmiths and Ink Scribblers writing network

Follow me here: 
Twitter: @theworldamongus

Stop by all the other stops on this tour!
June 13- Erin Danzer
June 14- Me, My Shelf and I
June 15- Bilinda Ni Siodacain
June 16- Beth Ann Masarik
June 17-Nikki
June 18-Lizzy Ford
June 19- Tricia Kristufek
June 20- Martha
June 21-Danica Page
June 22- Cassie from Gathering Leaves
June 23-Misty
June 24-Ali
June 25- Sheri
June 26-Adrienne DeWolfe
June 27- Cambria Hebert
June 28-Audris
June 29- Miriam Pia
June 30- Tiffany
July 1-Heidi Permann
July 2- Kindlegraph book signing and release & new website launch party!
July 3-Vix Parungao
July 4- Jenn at

Friday, 22 June 2012

This Week's Featured Books #4

This week's featured books in
Making Connections!

Click on the book title to be taken to the ARR sign up page to get your own copy to review!

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.

Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

The Gilded Cage by Cynthia Sally Haggard
Genre:  Historical Fiction

THE GILDED CAGE is the third in a series of four books about Cecylee Neville (1415-1495), mother of Richard III and Edward IV, Queen by Right and Abbess. The tale of Richard of York’s political career, and its tragic impact upon his wife Cecylee, will intrigue readers who enjoy political novels.

It is 1445, and Cecylee is turning thirty. She and Richard are waiting for the new Queen of England to arrive from Paris. Everyone remarks on how close the Yorks are. Theirs seems a successful marriage, for Cecylee is constantly at her husband’s side, providing him with political counsel as well as comfort.

But matters are not as happy as they seem. Richard is devastated by her affair, but doesn’t lock her up. Instead, he keeps her firmly by his side and takes revenge by marrying their eldest daughter Nan off when she is only seven. This decision, done only for political gain, costs Cecylee her happiness.

Set during the end of the Hundred Years War and the beginning of the Wars of the Roses we see Richard inherit the political mantle of his mentor Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and become the people’s champion. The rambunctious Londoners are unhappy that their country has become mired in misrule due to the ineptitude of a King prone to fits of madness. Nor are they better pleased by the attempts of the King’s French wife to maneuver herself into power, especially as she was responsible for England’s losses in France. But can Richard and Cecylee prevail? Everywhere, their enemies lurk in the shadows.

This book is filled with many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time. By their courageous acts, these fifteenth-century Londoners set the stage for American Democracy.

The Macabre Masterpiece: Poems of Horror and Gore by Justin Bienvenue
Genre:  Poetry, Horror

Have you ever wanted a tour of the infamous underground we know as Hell? To experience different angles of blood? To meet some of horrors most morbid and fearsome creatures? Or maybe you wish to get totally creeped out and be left in utter shock and suspense to the point where your heart is beating so fast but you can’t get enough!?

If this is you, then check out “The Macabre Masterpiece: Poems of Horror and Gore”
-Five chapters
-Fifty in-depth poems
-Gruesome tales

The best taste of horror and gore starts and ends here...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Determinant by A.M. Hargrove Cover Reveal!

Woohoo! It's finally here! 

Book 3 in The Guardians of Vesturon series...

Determinant by A.M. Hargrove

January St. Davis, on her own since the age of sixteen and struggling to stay in college, thinks she’s scored in a major way when she lands a paid summer internship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  One evening, after working an especially long shift, a chance encouter with a group of mysterious men alters the course of her life.

Rykerian Yarrister, a Guardian of Vesturon with unearthly powers and impossibly gorgeous looks, finds himself at odds over the human female he recently saved from certain death.  When it seems he is on the verge of winning her over, she is ripped from his hands by a strange and powerful being, threatening to destroy her if his demands are not met.

Do Rykerian and the Guardians have the ability to meet this fierce barbarian’s ultimatums, or will January suffer a horrid demise?

Series : The Guardians of Vesturon
Genre : Young Adult Paranormal Romance (with a sci-fi element)
Heat : Hot

About the author
One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodgeball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window.   She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone and hit #4 on her speed dial.

A.M.’s Boss:  Hello.
A.M:  Hey Boss, I'm calling to let you know you can pick up my luxury Ford Focus at Starbuc ks near the interstate.
A.M.’s Boss:  Why ever would I want to do that?
A.M.:  Because I quit!

A.M. hit the end button and speed dialed her husband.

A.M.:  Hey hubs, can you pick me up at Starbucks?
A.M.’s Hubs:  Sure...having some car trouble?
A.M.:  Not at all.  I don't have a car to have trouble with because I just quit my job.
A.M.’s Hubs:  WHAT?!
A.M.:  It's time for a new career and I am going to be a very famous novelist.

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a young adult paranormal romance author of self-published ebooks.  Her series, The Guardians of Vesturon, centers around a family of six siblings and is a mix of humor, mystery, suspense and of course, love.  Survival and Resurrection are her first and second full length novels, and Beginnings is her prequel novella to the series.  Determinant, her third in the series will be released 6/30/12.
(It didn’t really happen like that, but you get the idea!) 

Feel like stalking A.M.?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tony Talbot Guest Post

A few months ago, I'd just finished another novel, and was wondering (maybe dreaming would be a better word) what would happen if I was suddenly granted my be a full time writer and at that a famous full time writer. Kind of suddenly discovered like JK Rowling, people everywhere reading one of my books.

What would my life be like? Imagine that...never having to leave for work in the morning and never having to drive through snow or rain or rush hour traffic. To sit at my desk all day and (to quote Steven Spielberg) 'to dream for a living'.

But it wouldn't be all regular royalty cheques and a quiet home. I know I'd get easily distracted, sitting there in an empty house. I'd be forever checking my Goodreads reviews, my Facebook friends. There'd be constant pressure to Tweet my every move. Not to mention the endless meetings and flying to Hollywood to meet with Mr Spielberg for the movie deal, and the endless parties and other things I'm sure I'd hate. Would be tough, I'm sure, having to fly to the Caribbean and lie on a beach.

I digress into my fantasy there, but thinking about how my life would change set me thinking about a story, as such things do. I imagined a housewife, bored with her life and her three children. She has everything she ever wanted: beautiful home, devoted husband and adorable kids. But still she's bored. She's always defined by how other people see how she relates to her family. She's always a wife, or a mother...never just her.
Finally, she starts writing one day, just to slay the boredom and the incipient feeling that life has more to offer her. She writes, and she writes, telling no one - this is something just for her. Eventually she writes a novel and sends it to an agent, and they accept it, but still she tells no one what she's doing.

Which is where the story starts: she's sitting at her kitchen table, looking at an advance from an agent and a publication deal that would free her from her domestic life forever. All she has to do is cash the cheque and make it to the airport, and her life is her own. The story is about how trapped she feels, and whether she'd be more free if she was suddenly flung into the spotlight.

I loved that story. I really felt for that woman and what she was going through. It might have been realistic if she just told her family what she was doing when they came home, but I wasn't interested in that; I wanted to go through what she was going through.

But here's the really terrible thing: I lost that story.
I thought I had it saved on at least ONE of the computers I use, or the memory sticks that hold my work, but I can't find it. I must have saved it somewhere because (being the tech guy I am) I always hit save before I print. And I printed two copies: one for me and one for a writing friend.
I can't find my printed copy, and I NEVER throw my work away. I have hopes my writing friend can find it and I can re-type it. I've even tried a file recovery program...but nothing.

Why not recreate it? You might ask. That's a hard one to explain...stories are ephemeral, flighty things, gone with a breeze. If I re-write it, it won't be the same story. I know I won't be able to recreate the same...intimacy...with the woman in the story, I won't get into her head the way I did when I wrote it on a whim. I won't know who she is as well as I did before.

I've never lost a story before, and it's gone as though it never existed. And I feel bereft. I've lost a story and it feels like I lost a friend as well, and they're such hard things to grasp at the best of times. I know all the arguments: hit save, hit save, then hit save again. I did. I do.
But this time it wasn't enough. Farewell, lonely housewife.

I'll miss you.

(Stop Press 18th June 2012: My writing friend found my story! Thanks Portia!)

About the Author:
Tony Talbot started writing short stories in 2008, after a dream he had and couldn't shake; Finally his wife told him to write it down or stop talking about it.

He wrote his first Young Adult novel, Over the Mountain, in 2008, and has completed several others and a growing raft of short stories since.

He lives in a village in Leicestershire UK, with an American wife he met online and a teenage cockatiel. As well as writing, he enjoys reading, playing Mario Kart on the Wii and not getting enough exercise.

Over the Mountain - 2008
Taken - 2009
American Girl - 2011
Eight Mile Island - coming 2012

Twitter:  @authortony

What if your whole life was a lie...?

Amon Russo lives in a huge villa in a huge estate on a secluded Greek island with his super rich parents. He has a private beach, his father has a yacht and as many fast cars as he can think of.
He seems to have it all...
Until he starts to see cracks in his life.

Why do his parents keep him hidden away from the islanders?

Who is the strange girl living next door in a deserted villa?

The truth shatters Amons life, and the price he pays for finding out the truth is almost too high...

If everyone you know is lying to you...who do you trust?


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Author Interview with Jason Warne

I'm excited to welcome author Jason Warne to our blog today!

Jason's book, Fix by Force, is available at

Spencer doesn’t have a choice.

He can't choose to be different than what he is—the son of the town's worst enemy, the weakling who can't stand up for himself, the loser without friends.

He can't change the way things are.

Or maybe he can.

Immediate confidence.

Rapid change.

Instant hope.

These are the things Spencer believes he needs to fix his life, and that is what the steroids promise—a quick fix.

But promises can be broken and shortcuts are often treacherous, and Spencer must decide if those risks are worth the perceived rewards—if “artificial” hope is strong enough for him to be fixed, by force.

5 out of 5 stars

If I was could sum up this book in one word, it would be WOW (capitalized for effect). This is an incredibly powerful story chock full of emotion and drama.

Spencer is a high school senior who feels insignificant and powerless. He comes from a dysfunctional family, including a verbally and occasionally physically abusive mother, and he is being bullied at school with no one to turn to for help. Spencer feels he is alone in the world with his pain, and his greatest fear is of turning into his much-hated father. Spencer realizes he needs to take action to turn his life around, but he is looking for a quick fix with immediate results, no matter the consequences.

Spencer's character was nothing short of amazing. The way the author was able to portray Spencer's feelings of self-loathing, fear, and loneliness on the pages of this book made the story absolutely heart wrenching to read. We were able to get inside his head and were able to see his rationalizations for his actions, and even though he knew the consequences of the steroids and could see them being played out with a negative impact on his health and his friendships, he still thought what he was doing was okay because it would help him get noticed, be liked by other people, and ultimately be somebody.

I loved that we were able to get to know Spencer pre-steroids and then were able to journey with him over the timeframe of the story, watching the consequences of his decisions play out and how those consequences, plus other external forces (family and friends), change his outlook on life as he eventually realizes that he may not be as alone in the world as he thought.

The best kind of book is one that leaves you thinking about it long after you've read the last word. Fix by Force is that kind of book. Ultimately, I am going to recommend this book to everyone I know, as it is the kind of story that every parent and teen should read.

See my review on Goodreads!

Q & A with Jason Warne

Q:  What was the inspiration behind your story?
A:  While the inspiration for many of the plot concepts and themes was inspired by many of my own personal experiences, my real motivation for writing this story was a group of students at an alternative school where I worked. At the time, I was a teacher’s assistant in a substitute role, and while reading together in class was always part of our curriculum, the students never seemed to identify with the books we read, and they were mainly disinterested. Fix by Force was my attempt to provide them with something a little different—more relevant to their lives—so I’d usually write a chapter or two every other day, and we’d read it together in class and discuss it afterward. I probably only made it eight or nine chapters into the story before changing jobs, but, inspired by the response I received from the class (who hadn’t known I was the writer), I decided to finish the story.

Q:  Tell us about your main character, Spencer.
A:  Spencer isn’t always the typical well-intentioned “hero,” and in reality, as the story’s protagonist, he sometimes lacks some of the qualities that insure “likability” for the story’s main character. Spencer is real (as “real” as a fictional character can be), and he is honest with himself and with the reader. And I think that may be why many readers find him so relatable. Spencer admits to truths about himself that we often don’t, but that doesn’t stop him from making contradictory decisions and deviating blame. Still, I feel like we can understand him and empathize with his motives as a 17 year-old who is simply trying to “fix” things and figure everything out. So while we, as readers, are fully aware that Spencer is actually quite wrong in his way of thinking throughout most of the story, we can understand why he’s come to conclusions he has, and root for him to figure out what’s “right.”

Q:  What’s one thing you would like your readers to take away from your story?
A:  I think the one thing I’ve struggled with the most, especially when I was “a 17 year-old simply trying to fix things and figure everything out,” is understanding and owning up to my responsibility for own situation and the choices I make. I would never presume to know or even speculate about other people’s motives for their decisions, but I would like it if the story could somehow encourage some reflection about our choices in life and who holds the responsibility for the outcomes. The story does seek out to illustrate the damage that outward sources can do, especially concerning things like bullying, but ultimately, Spencer understands that he is responsible for his response to these sources, which is why he consistently blames others when thinking he needs to justify his behavior—even if just to himself.

Q:  What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
A:  Many times, I had difficulty getting through some of the more personal aspects of the story, especially concerning the steroid use. However, the most difficult part was, and still is, staying motivated. I enjoyed writing this story, but staying motivated to keep writing was often very difficult, since I didn’t know what would happen when I finished. How would I get it “out there?” Would readers like it? Could I even obtain readership? Would it “matter” to people? There were so many questions and fears about what would come “after” and my oft-wavering and sometimes full-failing motivation affected my writing.

Q:  I love the cover art. Who created the cover and what was that process like for you as the author?
A:  I actually designed the cover myself—both front and back covers. The image on the front is my younger brother, Mitchell, and we took the picture in my kitchen with just a dark blanket as a backdrop. I edited the photo and used the scene of Spencer’s late-night triceps injection as the cover’s theme when designing. The process was actually quite enjoyable and I am glad that I had creative control of my cover. The publisher made an attempt and did a nice job, but their version didn’t capture the darkness and despair of the moment, and since I was more familiar with the feelings and themes of the part of the story that inspired the cover, I figured I could give it go on my own, and am very glad I did.

Q:  Are you working on any new projects?
A:  I started working on a story about one the story’s main characters, Janelle, a few years ago, but that “wavering motivation” has held up that story for now. However, I am excited about a work of speculative YA fiction I am a few chapters into. I have always been fascinated human potential as far as our physical and mental abilities are concerned, so I’m focusing on a realistic, more scientifically backed kind of “superhuman” story, and it’s shaping up pretty nicely so far.

Q:  Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A:  Well, I’m 28 years-old and northern born and raised (Michigan) and have been living in Tyler, Texas for the last few years. I’ve been married for nearly seven years to the girl I’ve been dating since I was about 16 or 17. I’m a bit of a wannabe athlete, and love football, baseball and basketball. My dream-job for some time has been to write full-time, preferably fiction literature, so, even with that “motivation” problem still creeping up now and then, I’m still trying for that!

Q:  What are you reading right now?
A: I recently met a local author, Steven Jennings, at Staples while I was printing flyers for a book-signing, and just starting reading his new thriller, When Darkness Falls, available on kindle.

Thank you Jason!  

Readers can find out more about Jason and his books on his websiteor on Goodreads.

This Week's Featured Books #3

Check out the featured books this week in
All of these books are available for review. 
Click on the book title to be taken to the sign up page!

Apart from running the family farm, Jake's daily routine is simple: Late every afternoon he searches his son Joey's room to make sure Joey didn't bring something unwelcome or alien into their house. Joey doesn't appreciate his father's intrusions, but it's Jake's house, Jake's rules, right? Besides, Joey has nothing to hide. Nothing at all. A short story.

Her husband was dead. That was the price he had paid for that one, foolish kiss. Now, someone else must pay, too - and she had vowed that the price would be the same. A short story.
ROSE OF RABY is the first and second books in a series of four about Cecylee Neville (1415-1495), mother of Richard III and Edward IV, Queen by Right and Abbess. This tale of Cecylee’s girlhood will appeal to readers of YA novels.

Cecylee is the apple of her mother’s eye. In her father’s eyes, however, she is merely a valuable pawn in the game of marriage. But does Cecylee wish to marry the boy her father has picked out for her? Does she wish to marry at all? For at the age of ten, she has already experienced too much violence at the hands of men. Several years later, when Cecylee is twenty-six years old and the wife of Richard, Duke of York, a mysterious young man rides into her life. Who is he? And what is he doing in Rouen? By turns baffled and enchanted, Cecylee finds herself confronted by an intriguing challenge.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Second Time Around by H.A. Caine

Jamie lives with his straight modeling best friend of three years, John. He’s finally achieved his life long dream of opening up his own bakery and John throws him a party. There he meets Matthew, co-owner of the Home Improvement shop across the street from his new bakery. They hit it off.

Only there’s one problem. Matthew is possibly straight and theres a 90% chance that he thinks Jamie is a woman!

Sheri's review
This was an enjoyable short story. Jamie is about to open his own bakery and has a chance to meet some of his new neighbors. Matthew and Jamie seem to hit it off, but Jamie is unsure of Matthew's sexual orientation or if he is interested in him.

The characters and the setting in the story were fun, and it was an entertaining story.

About the Author
H. A. Caine lives in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York. She has hopes of becoming a great writer and one day opening her own bakery. She even has the name and layout already decided. Among other writing projects she's working on her very own first series, Boys in Love. The first book, Letting Go, will be available later this year.

Author Links


Twitter: @H_ACaine