Pretty Yakky Stuff!

Hi everyone! Today I have guest author Craig Boyack telling us all about his latest book The Yak Guy Project. Just from the cover, I can say it looks like a lot of fun! Take it away Craig …

Thanks for the invitation, Harmony, and for allowing me to promote The Yak Guy Project to your friends. This one is an alternate world fantasy, or a portal fantasy, if you like that term.

The Yak Guy winds up on a world that’s destroyed itself in a great war. The people still fight, but it’s more tribal now, since they’ve destroyed hundreds of years of technology.

Below is an excerpt from early in the book. It reveals a bit of the lazy, and nearly worthless, Yak Guy. It also involves a conversation with the yak, so you get to see a bit of his character here too. The lesson at this point in the tale is pretty basic. They get much more complicated as the story evolves.


We came to a series of broad weathered trenches. Rusted chunks of equipment dotted the landscape. One of them was a self-propelled artillery piece. Its spidery legs were twisted, rusty, and broken. “What happened here?”

The yak stopped. “The people here have waged war for hundreds of years. There are many places like this. They destroyed all their technology and now fight with rocks, clubs, and sharp objects. They usually take the metal away, but we are far from anyone. Today, they worry more about needs than wants.”

“Back to the zen shit again? Do I need a weapon?”

“What for?”

“Maybe I’m supposed to be a warrior. Maybe I’m here to win the war for someone.”

“Are you angry with anyone here?”

“I don’t know anyone here.”

“Exactly.” He moved across the trench and headed into the next one.

“Oh, come on. Let’s check this stuff out, maybe there’s something useful.”

“Fine.” The yak walked up to a destroyed tank. And waited.

The treads were blown off, and the turret was missing. I looked around and climbed inside. The rusted driving levers were hot to the touch. When I hopped down I grabbed the waterskin and sat in the shade the tank offered.

“There is something useful here,” the yak said. “That shiny rock at your heels. Put it in your pocket.”

I picked up the rock. It was about as big as my palm, white, and jagged. “What’s so great about it?”

“That is flint. You will need it tonight.”

I dropped it in my pocket and finished my drink.

“Tighten my saddle, time for you to ride.”

The Joshua trees disappeared, and the junipers made their own forest. Small hoof prints showed up in the dust at several places.

By mid-afternoon the yak led us to a tiny spring trickling from a ledge. “Take my saddle off. It’s time to ruminate once more.”

“Still seems kind of early.”

“This is about needs and wants. I need to digest my food and cannot do that while trekking.”

“Fine for you, but what am I supposed to do?” I removed the saddle and equipment, then hung the waterskin on a juniper tree.

“I will show you, but you need to develop some initiative on your own. I am not your friend’s pantry to steal from. Follow me.” He stuck his nose in the air and headed into a wooded draw.

Flies buzzed around the trees, and the cluster grew thicker where the yak went. He led me to a fruit tree where old fruit covered the ground. A few bright yellow apples clung to the higher branches. It smelled syrupy and sweet.

“You can eat this,” he said.

I climbed into the tree and grabbed several of the cleanest fruits. Back on the ground, they smelled okay. They had wormholes in them. “I can’t eat these. They’re all buggy.”

“Let me see one.”

I held one out and turned it so he could see the wormhole. He ate it from my hand, core and all.

“Tastes fine to me. You need to decide whether you can’t eat them, or won’t eat them.” He turned back toward the spring and left me.

I took a tiny bite as far from the worm as possible. It tasted like cantaloupe. He told me some things are different here. I nibbled deeper but discarded it before reaching the worm. Hunger got the better of me, so I scrambled back up. There were almost no fruits with a bite available, but from up here other trees were visible.

I made my way to the next tree. A pig the size of a St. Bernard fed on the rotten fruit around the trunk. He was almost a mossy green color. He looked at me and growled, like a dog. He definitely wasn’t the same as normal pigs.

He charged. I ran. At the third tree, I climbed beyond his reach. He watched and growled. I pelted him with rotten fruit until he left. This tree offered a better selection, and a few bites here and there would allow me to survive. I surveyed a route back to camp that would take me away from anymore pig trees, but took some of the best looking fruit with me.

The yak looked approvingly at my fruit, and I told him about the pig thing.

“Pigs can be very possessive of their feeding grounds. This world has dangers, like any other. You must keep your wits about you.”

“I’d like to roast him for dinner.”

“Humans eat them sometimes, but to do so you must kill him and have a fire. Let’s take this in small steps.” He looked toward the saddle. “Retrieve the pack and bring it here.” He burped up another wad of grass and went back to chewing.

I brought the pack and unrolled it. It held a bunch of worthless-looking junk.

“Take the curved piece of metal, wrap it around your paw.”

It fit like brass knuckles. I punched my other hand and smiled. “Great if we’re ever in a bar fight.”

“You are an idiot. Strike it against your rock.”

When I chipped it against the rock, sparks flew off.

“You needed water and we found a spring. You needed food, and you picked the fruit. Now you need a fire. Best hurry, it will be too cold for you tonight.”

I grabbed a piece of juniper wood and showered it with sparks.

“That will never work. The steel can only start the tiniest of fires. You will need to nurture it into the fire you want. Start with dried grass, or something even finer if you can find it.”

I grabbed a clump of grass and ground it to a powder between my palms. I put the powder inside another clump of grass and showered it with sparks. It smoldered and went out.

“You have to nurture it. A tiny bit of air will help, then add a tiny stick. A fire of tiny sticks can take a larger stick. Build it up until you have the fire you want.”

I followed the instructions and gathered everything before trying again. It took nearly two hours, but I had a tiny campfire.

The yak swallowed his cud. “It will get cold tonight. To keep the fire alive will take a mountain of wood. Gather a pile at least as large as I am.”

I spent another hour gathering wood and keeping my fire alive. By the time I finished, I appreciated its warmth.

“It takes time to address your needs. After they are accomplished, you can address your wants. There is soap in the pack and a small pool below the spring. You should rinse out your clothes and let the sun dry them while it’s still available.”

The water wasn’t really cold, but it bit where it touched my sunburned skin. Blood washed out of my shirt for a long time, and I didn’t stop scrubbing until the water wrung out clear. I hung my clothes over branches where the sun could work on them and returned to the fire wearing only my boots.

“You should put the soap away.”

“That kind of thing is why I never call my mother. I’ll get it later.”

The yak burped up another wad and started chewing. “I certainly don’t want to sound like your mother.” His jaw made a few more revolutions before he added, “Right now, you are like a spark. We want you to become like the fire. It will take time and nurturing. You learned to dedicate time to your needs, then you addressed your wants.”

“I think you were the one who wanted me to wash up.”

“That is true. You stunk like a dead thing.”


I hope you enjoyed reading about Yak Guy learning some of the basics. This is a harsh environment, and lessons like eating or not, matter. So do basics like the ability to make a fire. Yak Guy and the yak are not buddies, this is more of a mentor/mentee relationship, and this excerpt gives some of that flavor.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to pick up a copy of The Yak Guy Project, and I’ve provided all the details of how you can do that.

Amazon Link:

Twitter: @Virgilante


Thanks for stopping by and supporting this awesome author today. You can also find out more about Craig on my ‘Accompaniments‘ page 🙂


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The Alternative … What would you do?

Hi everyone! Today,it gives me great pleasure to welcome author Suzanne Burke with her latest book, The Alternative! Take it away, Suzanne … 🙂

Hello, and welcome to the Cover Reveal of my New Thriller Anthology

“The Alternative”


The Alternative

The Alternativeby S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.Release Date: Monday June 18th 2018Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Anthology.

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remissin not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Alternative”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Alternative” my latest Thriller Anthology. “The Alternative ” is due for release on June 18th.It is NOW available for Pre-OrderI have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement. Here’s my new baby . . .With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khalessi

Presenting “The Alternative” A Thriller Anthology.

“The Alternative”


The Alternative.

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …These are their stories.The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

An excerpt from Chapter 1. Picasso.

February 1990.The tall man stretched his arms and flexed his long artistic fingers. He stood back to gain a different perspective of his latest work of art. He’d spent a great deal of time sketching his outline and was well satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps this one would be the perfection he craved above all else.His other efforts were upstairs in the gallery, and while they were far from his lofty imaginings, they each represented another step forward toward his ultimate goal. He knew this exhibition would prompt worldwide interest, that was a given. His reputation was on the line. That at least was something he valued.He grunted and moved the newest piece into the workroom. The more difficult application of his talent needed to begin.


NEW YORK JULY 2015Meredith keyed in her code, shouldered the door open and dropped her briefcase onto the polished boards of the entry. Working on autopilot, she flicked on the light and bent to collect the mail from the floor; throwing it onto the small bureau without bothering to check the sender. She shrugged off her coat and draped it over the arm of the sofa. Too damned weary to be bothered with any external interruptions tonight, she removed the home phone from its cradle and headed to the kitchen to fix enough coffee to sustain the long evening ahead, deliberately ignoring the well-stocked bar. She was well aware that she’d need every bit of concentration she could muster. She removed the Glock from her handbag, and out of habit, she placed it on the coffee table next to the perpetually full ashtray.Her head was already pounding and she rubbed at her tense neck muscles until her fingers ached. Relief from the unresolved tension still hovered … just out of reach. She held her breath for a moment, stilling her impatience. If all went to plan, this thing would be finally ended. If justice existed at all, it would go well. All the years she’d worked to bring what was the only course left open to herself and the others to completion was coming. ‘Soon now’, was her daily mantra. But the darker visions still danced vividly in her mind’s eye and tormented her rare sleeping hours … it had been that way for almost twenty-five years.The memory haunted her, dark and unforgivingly brutal. It replayed in clear and explicit detail every time she was forced to reflect on it … and its aftermath.



“The Alternative” on AMAZON.COM

 Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page 


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Thank you so much for joining me here today. Your support is very much appreciated.I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments below.

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What Hinders Your Creativity?

A great post from author Joan Hall over on Story Empire today …

Hello SE Readers! Or should I say hello creatives? That’s right; whether you’re an artist, a musician, or a writer, you are creative. You create pictures, music, words. And really, a writer paints …

Source: What Hinders Your Creativity?

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Plants and Payoffs

A great post on writing plants and payoffs by Craig Boyack over on Story Empire today …

Craig with you today. My topic is going to be those plants and payoffs we use when writing our stories. This is one of the things an outline can help us with. You’ve seen my post about storyb…

Source: Plants and Payoffs

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Don’t Do This, Ever: Faleena Hopkins Cocks The Whole Entire Fuck Up

One of those posts you DON’T want to see first thing in the morning … all authors, you need to read this! OMG, what next??? Thanks to Jenny Trout of for posting about this.


Source: Don’t Do This, Ever: Faleena Hopkins Cocks The Whole Entire Fuck Up

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How to Get Your Dragon to Behave in Scrivener

An informative post on dictating with Dragon and Scrivener from P H Solomon over on Story Empire today …

Happy Monday to all the Story Empire readers. It’s so good to be back with all of you once again to share a few helpful (hopefully) thoughts. Today I wanted to share a few tweaks so that you …

Source: How to Get Your Dragon to Behave in Scrivener

Friday Fiction: A Helping Hand

Hello everyone!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a little while. I’ve been off enjoying the Mediterranean instead, lols. Now I’m back, watch this space! 🙂

Over on Story Empire today, Craig Boyack has come up with an awesome fiction prompt … check it out HERE.

This really fuelled my Fiction Rocket, and here is what I came up with based on the prompt of an advert reading: “Free fill dirt from my basement remodel project. Yours to haul away. Call XXX-XXXX.”

A Helping Hand


Gill rubbed at her bruised elbow while she reread the advertisement in the local paper. This looked like just what she and Mike needed to finish the landscaping in their garden. Hmm, bit of a grand term for it, really. It amounted to little more than a postage stamp. Slowly, she read the advert again. Ideas formed. Being in her mid-forties had its benefits, such as holding the old style of driver’s licence, which allowed her to drive up to a seven-and-a-half tonne truck without needing further training or licensing. For a moment, she felt sorry for the youngsters, whose licenses limited them severely when it came to vehicle hire and size options.

With a determined set to her jaw, she picked up her iPhone from next to the paper and pulled up her keypad. A mobile number, which gave her no clue as to the guy’s location. Gill felt certain that her recent run of bad luck would dictate that he lived well outside any reasonable travel range. The line rang. And rang. And rang again. A gruff male voice said, ‘Hello?’

Gill cleared her throat, ‘Um, yes, hi. I’m calling about your advert.’


‘Yes. Um, where abouts are you?’

After a slight pause, the man said, ‘Near Fowey. Just on the other side of the river. You interested?’

Gill smiled. The location couldn’t have turned out much better. Mike and she lived just over the other side of the estuary. ‘Yes. Yes, that would be great. Um, I’ll need to sort hiring a van.’

His reply came at once, ‘Where’re you to? Might be I could bring it.’

Her luck must have turned, at last. ‘I’m just up the road from Bodinnick. Up at Highway.’

‘Oh.’ He sounded surprised. ‘Right. I’m down at Lerryn.’

Perfect, just down the road aways from her. ‘Great. When can I come and have a look at how much you have?’

A slight pause ensued, and then he said, ‘Ah, I thought I might just bring it, like.’

Gill shook her head, cringing at the thought of Mike coming home to all their hard work buried beneath a vast pile of earth. ‘I’d best come and check.’

This time, the silence stretched so long that she thought they’d gotten disconnected. In their area that sort of thing happened all too often. ‘Hello? Are you there, um, Mr?’

A soft sigh reached her ears. ‘Yup. Still ‘ere. All right, you can stop by now if you’ve a mind.’

Gill thought fast. If she went right now, she felt sure she could have herself and the dirt all sorted before Mike returned from work. She reached her decision. ‘Yes. Thank you. If it’s just at Lerryn, I can be there in ten minutes.’

The guy said, ‘Right. I’ve got your number. I’ll text you the address and directions. I’m right off the lane; you can’t miss it.’

Gill thanked him and hung up. A minute later, his promised text arrived. Nervous for all sorts of reasons, she grabbed her keys and dashed out to the car, phone in hand. The small-holding proved easy enough to find, and in no time at all, she stood knocking on the old and worn wooden door. While she waited, Gill studied the exterior of the house. With it in this rundown state, why would the guy have started by remodelling the basement? The whole place looked as if it could do with a major make-over. The door opened with a squeal of hinges and thumped back onto the wall. In the shadows of the hallway stood a tall and muscled man. Gill peered up at him, ‘Hi, I rang a minute ago, about the dirt …’

Brusque, he stepped back and waved her in. ‘Come on, then. It’s just back here.’

Gill’s eyes widened. Hadn’t he moved it outside yet? Surely he didn’t have it in the basement still. Oh well, she was here now. Resolute, she followed the gruff guy into the dim depths of the building. Indeed, he led her down into the cellar, and the aromatic dust of freshly dug earth sifted into her nostrils and down her throat. She coughed. Gradually, her eyes adjusted to the dimness in there. Only a single bare bulb, barely glowing, provided the meagre light in the large space. Wooden sloped doors opened onto what looked like overgrown meadow. She supposed that the man intended to haul out the dirt that way. He stood and watched her, arms folded over his chest, as she cast her eyes around. Beyond the doors, mounds of dirt covered the grass. Her gaze came back into the basement. Gill nodded, ‘This is great. It’s just what we ne–‘ Her brain, focussed solely on the visual input now, interrupted her tongue. Stopped her thoughts as well as her breath. The man stiffened. Took a step toward her, arms now loose and ready at his sides. Gill processed at the speed of light. Had he left the body partially exposed deliberately? She held up a hand, ‘Wait. We can help one another.’ The white hand seemed to beckon to her from its shallow grave. It gave her a whole other set of possibilities. Miraculously, he paused and waited to hear her out. Everything in her body had expected the man to attack and ask questions later. Gill knew who the body belonged to–or had a fair idea, anyway–as news of the woman who had gone missing two weeks ago, from the Fowey area, had filled the papers.

‘My husband beats me. Other stuff too.’

The man shifted and held out a hand. ‘Pete. Pleased to meet you.’

Gill relaxed. ‘Gill. Nice to meet you too. Um, I don’t have a lot of money. I–I could pay you in other ways.’

He shook his head. ‘Just some company would be enough. I’ve seen you around, maid. Spotted your bruises and that haunted look in those beautiful eyes of yours. I reckon I can help.’

A few minutes later, the details were settled, and Gill returned home in the cab of Pete’s battered Toyota Hilux. When Mike got in some fifty minutes later, he got the shock of his life. Or, perhaps I should say, the shock of his death. I wish I could tell you that Gill and Pete lived happily ever after, but you know, secrets have a way of weighing you down … of burying you alive.

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A Love of Libraries #NationalLibraryWorkersDay

Check out this lovely article on Libraries and reading from Mae Clair over on Story Empire today … oh what memories …

Happy Hump Day, SEers! Did you know that yesterday was National Library Workers Day? If you’re like most writers, libraries hold a special place in your heart. When I was a kid, my parents used to …

Source: A Love of Libraries #NationalLibraryWorkersDay

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Basic Plots: Tragedy

The second of seven basic plot types from Staci Troilo over on Story Empire today. We’ve had rebirth, and now we have the Tragedy …

Ciao, SEers. On March 21, I started a series of posts on the seven basic plot types, as defined by Christopher Booker. So far, we’ve covered Rebirth. Today, we’re going to talk about Tragedy. In it…

Source: Basic Plots: Tragedy

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Friday Fiction Prompt: Chained to the Desk

Hello everyone!

Today, over on Story Empire, we have our monthly Friday Fiction Prompt. Check it out at:

Mae Clair used a word cloud as the prompt. I chose ‘subdue’ as my ‘writing rocket’. Below is the short fiction I came up with. Enjoy …

Chained to the Desk

Subdued, Alex sighed and stared at the screen. What would happen if he left the desk? If he just got up and walked away? Up close, it looked okay, friendly even. But the further away he got, the nastier it became. With regret, he recalled his former boss. The man might not have been a people person, but he was a lot better than this. The AI had taken over completely. And it terrified him.

A further hour elapsed in similar fashion, with him working while frantically trying to think of a way out. The damn machine would keep them all here until they dropped dead from exhaustion or dehydration or something else just as awful.

A loud sigh escaped his pursed lips. He squared his shoulders and straightened his spine. Now. He would do it now. After all, it was a bloody computer. What the hell could it do? So far, only his abject fear had kept him seated. Kept him subdued.

In one smooth and sudden movement, Alex rose to his feet and backed away. The screen flashed between red and black. Okay, then. He could handle that. Another step away had his heart race. The computer monitor changed. It took him a moment or two to work out what he was seeing. The image showed him the interior of a vehicle. Then realisation dawned. His wife’s car. The AI had somehow gotten into her Self-Drive system.

Determined, despite his terror, he took yet another step away. The AI turned the surround-sound speakers up to full volume for maximum effect. His wife’s scream reverberated around the room. Horrified, he watched while her car flipped end-over-end and came to a sudden, wrenching stop against the crash barrier. The screen went black. After the ear-bending squeals and screeches of twisting metal, the silence deafened.

Alex dashed forward and gripped the back of the chair, knuckles white and fingers digging into the fabric. The monitor flipped back to the scene. The vehicle’s airbags had deployed. Though bruised and shaken, his wife seemed fine. Alex shook from head to toe, and sweat ran in rivulets down his now slumped spine. He dropped back into the chair, subdued.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of flash fiction. Please do check out the full post over on STORY EMPIRE! 🙂

Twitter: @harmony_kent 

Harmony Kent Author Page: Amazon

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Let’s Talk Goodreads

Check out Joan Hall’s article on Goodreads and Amazon over on Story Empire …

Hello, SE readers. I would venture there isn’t an author who at one time or another, hasn’t been upset with Amazon and its review policies. It doesn’t matter if you are a verified purchase owner of…

Source: Let’s Talk Goodreads

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blog reflections on life – from the desk of Gwendolyn M. Plano

A most beautiful poem from Gwen Plano … please do visit her blog and leave her some love 🙂

by Gwendolyn M Plano

Source: blog reflections on life – from the desk of Gwendolyn M. Plano

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Size Matters: What do you look for in size?

Hi everyone. Happy Easter Monday! Today, I have a post over on Story Empire about book size and print-on-demand publishing. Check it out … 🙂

Hello SErs! Harmony here. Happy Monday! Well, with yesterday being both April Fool’s day and Easter Sunday, I took care when biting into my Easter Eggs, lols! 🙂 You just never know … O…

Source: Size Matters: What do you look for in size?

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Bonus Friday: Author Update

Check outnews from our Story Empire authors … new books, upcoming books, and more …


Happy Friday, SEers! This month is one of the few this year that has five Fridays rather than four. It doesn’t happen often enough for us to have a “themed” post scheduled, so we decided these spec…

Source: Bonus Friday: Author Update

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Basic Plots: Rebirth

A great post from Staci Troilo over on Story Empire today about ‘Rebirth’ as one of the seven basic plots …

Happy Spring! Despite what the groundhog said, yesterday marked the end of winter. On the calendar, anyway. With the strange weather patterns we’ve been having, it’s anyone’s guess what the next fe…

Source: Basic Plots: Rebirth

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#NewRelease “Backstage” by Harmony Kent @harmony_kent #Erotica #Romance #IARTG #ASMSG

Join me over at Soooz’s place as she helps me launch my latest book, Backstage … 🙂

Welcome everyone, today I’m delighted to feature author Harmony Kent with her New Release “Backstage” Let’s meet the author! Indie Author Harmony Kent has written a number o…

Source: #NewRelease “Backstage” by Harmony Kent @harmony_kent #Erotica #Romance #IARTG #ASMSG

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The Nightforce Security series, on #LisaBurtonRadio

A fantastically entertaining interview between robot Lisa and Danny Caruso from Staci Troilo’s Nightforce Security Series. You really do want to check this out! 🙂 …

Don’t touch that dial. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, coming at you with 1.21 jigawatts of power all across the cosmos and beyond the veil. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, brin…

Source: The Nightforce Security series, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Friday Writing Question, tools

An interesting writing question from Craig Boyack over on Story Empire today …

Hi gang, Craig here again. We take turns on Fridays, and the assignments are rotating. This time my task is to pose a writing question. Seems simple enough, but I also want to get some comments flo…

Source: Friday Writing Question, tools

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A Big Welcome to Harmony Kent Talking About Her New Book Backstage

A lovely post today from John Howell helping me release my latest book …

I am so delighted to have Harmony Kent visit Fiction Favorites. If you don’t know Harmony you should. She describes herself as a Multi-Genre Author. Editor. Proof Reader. Beta Reader. Reviewe…

Source: A Big Welcome to Harmony Kent Talking About Her New Book Backstage

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Backing Up Social Media

Hello SErs! Harmony here. Happy Wednesday 🙂 After my debacle with Facebook last month (see my post HERE), I thought it might be helpful to write something on the importance of backing-up your soci…

Source: Backing Up Social Media

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Passion. Romance. Greed … Backstage!

Hi everyone!

Well, after my epic 15 days of writing, I now have my latest book BACKSTAGE on pre-order on Kindle.

It is Erotic Romance. 

Here is the blurb:



Just when Emma thinks she’s found love. Just when her big chance comes. Just as she finds a little confidence at long last. Right then, it all goes horribly wrong.


John believed he had found ‘the one’. But the demons of his past wouldn’t allow him to break the leash, and when he gets the wrong end of the stick, it just confirms all his old prejudices and hurts.


Derek Prentis is his name. Coercion is his game. He’s the man with the money. The big man who wants to keep Emma under his control and who will do anything to keep it that way.






Twitter: @harmony_kent 

Harmony Kent Author Page: Amazon

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An Oscar Winning Performance

Great post on story ideas and our obligation to make our books the best they can be … from Joan Hall over on Story Empire …

Hollywood hosted its 90th Academy Awards event last week – a night for the stars to shine. No, I didn’t watch the show, nor did I care to. However, I did see three of the films that were nominated …

Source: An Oscar Winning Performance

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New Book: Gamble

Hello everyone,

Today, it gives me great pleasure to host Staci Troilo on the release of her latest book, GAMBLE. This is the second book in her Nightforce Security Series. I read the first one, PASSWORD, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll be checking out this latest installment too 🙂

Take it away, Staci!  …

Hi, everybody. Thanks for letting me visit today. I promise I’ll be quick.

Most men I know (and even many women) kind of turn up their noses at romance novels. Maybe they’re picturing the old bodice-rippers of the past where the heroine wasn’t a hero at all, but rather was a damsel in distress waiting with breathless anticipation for someone to rescue her.

Those kinds of novels probably still exist. I neither read them nor write them, so I can’t be sure.

Back in 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month (in perpetuity). Given that fact as well as the #MeToo movement and all the abuses coming to light, I want to talk about strong women—like the women in my work. Specifically Daphne, the heroine of Gamble.

In most romances, and certainly in mine, the heroines are strong, smart, capable women who don’t need men to solve their problems. (That doesn’t mean the guys aren’t going to try, or even succeed, in helping. It just means they aren’t necessary.) I don’t know what you’re picturing, but I can assure you these aren’t ladies born into royal families or who have servants to take care of trivial details while they sit on the boards of multinational conglomerates and spend mornings in bed and afternoons at the spa.

My heroines are a bit more relatable than that. They have problems at work, they worry about unexpected expenses, they pay their own ways—even when the cost is steep. They have pride in themselves and their families, and they aren’t afraid to stand up for what’s right. They have the same types of insecurities and flaws as everybody else, and they struggle to overcome them just like the rest of us. They’re realistic. They’re also strong, passionate, and persevering. Probably like a lot of women you already know.

I’m partial to Gamble’s Daphne because we meet her at the pinnacle of a bad day. She looks awful, feels worse, and has every right to wallow in her misfortunes. Instead, she seizes an opportunity to make herself feel better. She solves the problem. Maybe it’s better to say she takes action, because in true “terrible day” fashion, she initially makes things worse.

But that’s okay. Daph’s a fighter. And the action she took that made her day spectacularly bad may, in the end, actually be to her benefit. Either way, the choice was hers. She didn’t wait for or expect someone to come to her rescue. She took charge.

And that’s why I like this character. She might not be an alpha male, but she’s definitely a hero.

Blurb for Gamble:

Sometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help

 isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the


thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

More Information | Universal Purchase Link

About Staci:

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

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Friday Book Share ~ When Night Comes

It’s time for the Friday Book share over on Story Empire today. Check out Joan Hall’s choice …

Hello, SE Readers. Can you believe we’re already in March? And since it’s the second Frida of the month, it’s book share Friday. I don’t know about you, but my “to be read” list seems t…

Source: Friday Book Share ~ When Night Comes

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Throwing Darts Blindfolded & Author Considerations

A thought-provoking post on the various publishing routes available to authors by P.H. Solomon over on Story Empire …

Making choices self-publishing choices can feel like throwing darts blindfolded. With all the changes to publishing in the last decade or so it gets even more confusing. For instance, now there are…

Source: Throwing Darts Blindfolded & Author Considerations

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An open dialog on characters

A fun and interesting post about Character Arcs and Development from author Craig Boyack over on Story Empire today. You really do want to check this out … including the brilliant imagery! 🙂


Hi, gang. Craig here again. I’m noticing that my posts tend to be more open ended than the other authors here. Part of that is because there are so many different methods to produce a good st…

Source: An open dialog on characters

The Wrong Slide

Happy Friday, everyone! 🙂 

Today, over on Story Empire, we have a Friday Fiction Prompt, where we invite everyone to write and share a short story.

Find Staci Troilo’s Story Empire post at: Story Empire Friday Fiction Prompt: Limited and Focused Views

Below is my offering. I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with based on the prompt …

The Wrong Slide


If I hadn’t had such a bad day, it would never have happened. Have you seen those road signs? The one’s that say ‘Tiredness Can Kill’. Every motorway in England has them. The second part tells you to ‘Take A Break’. Excellent advice. I just wish I’d followed it. Wishful thinking gets you nowhere.

The thing with life is that you don’t get a do-over. Not every mistake allows you to rectify it. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Forever. Or what remains of ever. Because some cock-ups change everything.

My lab should have had a sign up warning ‘Boredom Can Kill’. But then again, you read a thing so many times and your brain stops seeing it, like it’s just not there.

I spent the whole morning studying blood cultures through my microscope. Every sample that crossed my field of vision showed me the same old same old. About as boring a day as you get.


Such a small, simple word. Until. The same as ‘but’. Before such a word, the universe runs as normal. After such a word, though. Well now, that’s a different story altogether.

So, until.

On automatic pilot, I slid away Mrs Barbara Winter’s slide, which hadn’t grown one single abnormal culture, dictated into the microphone that the results should show NAD, and slid into place Mr William Robert’s. This sample showed a clear case of Streptococcus infection. I slid that one along and dictated the results for the GP accordingly. Next up came Mr Robert William’s slide.

I know. I know. In hindsight, it’s all so clear. But then, hindsight is about as useful as wishful thinking.

This slide wrapped up my day. Tired eyes blinked away a bout of blurred vision. Okay, then, what did we have here? On first glance, a clear sample. Another Nothing Abnormal Detected. But then … there. Yes, a pinprick of a spot, dead centre. I raised my gloved hand to adjust the focus dial, and just then, Sarah poked her head around my cubicle divider. I glanced up at her with a smile.

‘That’s me off for the day,’ she said.

I grinned and nodded toward the last slide of the day. ‘Me too. Just one more to tick off the list and I’m done. See ya Monday.’

With a wave, Sarah said, ‘Have a good one.’

In a hurry, anticipating my long-awaited weekend, I attached my eye to the viewing tube once more. My overtaxed brain showed me a clear slide, another NAD, a final dictation, and then homeward bound. All I had to do first was input my audio notes into the system.

Quick, easy, and routine.


Come Monday morning, Mr Robert William’s GP called him up and prescribed him a week’s dose of Penicillin to kill that nasty old Strep infection he’d supposedly developed. Meanwhile, Mr William Robert’s doctor’s receptionist reported quite happily that his results had come back NAD. Nothing with which he needed to worry in spite of that annoying cough.

Well, you might well say, that mix-up couldn’t trigger anything that bad, could it? Surely, the Penicillin wouldn’t do Mr Robert William any harm, so long as he wasn’t allergic. And as for Mr William Robert, a few more days or a week would show his doctor that he did, indeed have an infection. Either that, or it would most likely go away on its own within about four weeks.

All true. In the normal course of things.


Ah, another one of those words.

Except for that tiny black spot that I’d forgotten all about after saying farewell to Sarah. The one my eager-to-get-home brain had ignored.

It turns out that a new super-bug has discovered our vulnerable human immune system. What’s more, this nasty little critter thrives on Penicillin. Had I not mixed up the results and slides for Mr Robert William and Mr William Robert, a good chance exists that none of this would have happened. The Streptococcus would have met its match in Penicillin, and the super-bug wouldn’t have received super-fuel.

Official reports say that it can only survive if exposed to an antibiotic within its initial ten-day gestation period. After that, it dies. It goes away. No harm done.

Those same official reports say that once the bug feeds, it grows and multiplies exponentially. All it took was that one contact, and it spread to Mr Robert William’s wife. Then to his three-year-old daughter. Who then passed it on to her best friends. Who, in turn, shared it around nice and liberally.

Hey Presto! Pandemic. End of the world. Only a handful left.

All from the wrong slide.

Thanks for stopping by! And please do check out the post on Story Empire HERE.

Twitter: @harmony_kent 

Harmony Kent Author Page: Amazon

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AmWriting!-15 & Final Day!!

Hi everyone. Today is my fifteenth and final day of writing, and I’ve written 2,300 words today, bringing my total to 50,277 words. The first draft is complete! Whoo-hoo 🙂

I began day one on February 5th and took off weekends. In addition, I had some hospital days, which delayed progress. Still, I have completed draft 1 of this whole novel in the space of 24 actual days!

Now I need a rest, lols! Perhaps I could go and build a snowman …

This is after just a couple of hours. Cornwall hasn’t seen this kind of white stuff for about 13 years, and Storm Emma hasn’t even hit us yet; although, the wind is picking up. I have my own private ski slope on the front ramp, lols.

I always get so excited at this stage of just finishing a book. I’ll keep you posted as to when it will get released, and that’s when the nervousness will kick in … it always does, no matter how many times I hit that publish button! he he he.

Keep well, everyone, and thank you for accompanying me on this writing journey 🙂



The resultant book will be Erotic Romance.

She’s a hopeful actress.

He’s a mentor.

Then there’s the big man who can make or break a career, and the demands he makes.

Watch this space! 🙂 

Twitter: @harmony_kent 

Harmony Kent Author Page: Amazon

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Cusp of Night Cover Reveal!

Hi everyone! It gives me great pleasure today to showcase the book cover for author Mae Clair’s latest novel …

and I have to say, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cover!


Cusp of Night
by Mae Clair
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Paranormal

book cover for Cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .


Connect with Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon
Other Social Links

Promotional banner for author Mae Clair with bio and author photo, spooky house as header in wash of red

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An informative post from Staci Troilo on Story Empire about word count and genre …. How Do I Write Thee? Let Me Count the Words.

via How Do I Write Thee? Let Me Count the Words.

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