If you’re a follower of this blog, I’m guessing you enjoy reading paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy fiction. I have a short novel-in-progress, currently about 40,000 words, and I’d love to find beta readers to give me honest feedback. I need to know what works in the story and what doesn’t. I expect to have a finished final draft ready to send to beta readers by early January as a PDF. Or I can send just chapter 1 at that time so you can get a “feel” for the story. Then, if you want to read more, let me know, and I’ll reply with the complete version.

Here’s the tagline for Dreams of the Muse:

“A frustrated writer trades his soul for creativity when he has an affair with a mysterious young Satan worshiper. But will getting everything he’s ever wanted cause him to lose everything he already has?”

If you read and enjoy horror or suspense, I think you’ll like Dreams of the Muse!

Interested in helping me shape my next release? Fantastic! Please click on “Contact Vala Kaye” in the menu at the top of this page to send me an email with your information. *Your name and email address will not appear here on the blog for anyone else to see and will only be sent to me; I also will never use your email for any purpose other than beta reading communication.*

Since this is “adult” fiction, please specifically state in the comments field that you are definitely 18+ years of age.

Thanks for reading this far! (Oh, and I almost forgot to mention…I’ve been known to send my beta readers a small Amazon.com GC as a way to say thanks!)

Advertisements

No Ordinary Fairy final cover-Claire DavonWhen the new guy in town blows into Pani’s pet shop, bristling with impatience as icy as the Wyoming winter, she knows instantly he’s not there to buy dog food. She also knows exactly what he is. A cougar shifter. An apex predator not unlike herself.

Rafe Anderson needs help, which isn’t easy for a cat to admit. Not only has his dog mysteriously vanished, so has his ability to shift. The only creature who can find both is Pani, a woman the local coyote pack warned him to avoid. But he’s desperate—and running out of time. The longer his cat is caged, the closer he edges to insanity.

As a Vila, a fairy with the power to enchant men, even to their death, Pani has never dared reveal her true self, much less fallen in love. But something about Rafe’s fiery green eyes and uncommon vulnerability calls to her. And his touch tells her the feeling is mutual.

Desire rolls over them like thunder, but their search uncovers a dangerous secret that could turn everything to ashes…and bring destruction howling down upon all shifter kind.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON    B&N.com

Visit Claire Davon’s website here!

 

Please welcome a guest to Vala Kaye’s “Other World” today, sci-fi author Tom Olbert! ~ Vala

————————————————

Speaking as a writer who primarily works in science fiction, I am painfully aware that the genre holds extremely limited appeal for the public. The genre has dropped out of popularity. Most of the general public doesn’t take SF seriously. Kid stuff, they assume.

Maybe it started out that way, but the genre is evolving. The science fiction that has won current popularity in books and their big screen adaptations is the sub-genre we call post-apocalyptic science fiction (PASF). Stories that offer tortured young heroes and heroines struggling to find their purpose in dark, dystopian future worlds run by cold, duplicitous adults. And, if aimed and written properly, science fiction can be an excellent canvass for expressing such social themes and depicting characters who thrive in them, because it has no set limits or boundaries.

The writer creates the world that is needed to illustrate the point and to channel the development of the protagonist. The challenge is in making that world seem relevant to an audience that tends to be skeptical of the genre. To be taken seriously, SF has to escape the stigma of glitz and gadgetry and offer stories that are actually character-centered. The setting must frame and present the character, not just use the character to present itself.

One particularly dark and stinging PASF franchise is the CW’s “100” T.V. series, set in a post-war irradiated wilderness grown over the ruins of Washington D.C. Based on the Alloy books by Kass Morgan. A century after a nuclear war, the last survivors of humanity (or, so they think) live under harsh Draconian rule on an orbiting space colony beset by rapidly dwindling resources. They send a hundred of their incarcerated juvenile delinquents down to the surface to find out if it’s habitable. Turns out it is, but already inhabited, by two other groups of survivors. Warlike, savage tribes who live in the forests, and a technologically advanced but isolated society that’s lived inside a mountain bunker for the past 97 years.

Character development is strong and intense, weaving through dark themes of society-building, tribalism, leadership dynamic, and such timeless moral themes as justice, capital punishment, and war. It’s a raw, gritty look at human nature in its purest form, and it spares us nothing. Its strength is definitely in its lead characters. Most notably Clarke, the teenaged daughter of the space colony’s chief medical officer (a mother who betrayed Clarke’s father to execution at the hands of the regime, justifying it for the greater good.)

Thrust into circumstances beyond her control, Clarke reveals natural leadership ability and swiftly rises to power in her group. She soon has to face wrenching moral decisions that seem to echo the dark days of World War II. When the outwardly civilized, seemingly cordial mountain people start performing horrific Mengele-like experiments on the outsiders, draining their bone marrow in hopes of gaining their immunity to the radiation, Clarke must form an uneasy alliance with the savages to save her people. Clarke learns of an impending missile attack from the mountain through a spy she has on the inside, but decides not to warn her people about it, knowing it would tip off the enemy, robbing her side of the critical advantage. She must live with the guilt of her decision as dozens of her friends die a horrible fiery death while she gets herself to safety. A plot-point obviously alluding to Winston Churchill’s alleged similar decision at Coventry. When Clarke’s ally makes her own deal with the enemy, selling Clarke out to save her own people, Clarke must throw away the rule book to save her friends. She takes hostages and personally executes a prisoner just to make a point. When the enemy leader still won’t release her people, she makes the deliberate decision to commit genocide. Her hand pauses dramatically over the switch only a moment before she presses it, releasing deadly radiation into a bunker full of people, including innocent children and conscientious objectors who tried to help her people. The resulting nightmare scene of pleasant, family oriented cafeteria dining dissolving into excruciating death, bodies blistering from the radiation, women and children dying, conjures shades of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“I tried to be one of the good guys,” Clarke later tells her mother. “Maybe, there are no good guys, Clarke,” mom replies. It’s not that everyone is out for number one, you understand. They’re all just doing their best to save their own people. Which is, of course worse. The story is a dark mirror of the world in which we live, but the characters have more life than that. We care about them, and they bring the dark lessons to life for us because their pain and conflict and love and hate for each other are potent.

In my SF novella “Black Goddess,” I combined theoretical quantum physics with the dark yearnings of a morally conflicted Gulf War vet who has lost his faith and becomes obsessed with finding the core of darkness at the beginning of time. The story deals with the real-life agony of torture and what it does to the soul, and asks the timeless questions of whether primal evil truly exists, if life is anything but blind chance, and if there is a God. At its core is a simple yearning for love.

Quote:
“Beneath her black head scarf, her dark eyes stabbed through him with a flaming hatred. Then…nothing. Like a black abyss where a soul had been a micro-second before. A strange kind of peace. More than that, a oneness.

That look in her eyes. In his dad’s. It was the same as he’d seen in Lark’s memory…in the eyes of that kid in Uganda who’d held a knife to her throat. But, he hadn’t harmed her. Something had stopped him. When their eyes had met…something in her had pulled him back from the abyss.”

To read more on Black Goddess please click a vendor’s name
Mocha Memoirs PressAmazon

Tom Olbert lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts; cradle of the American Revolution, and home of University egg heads and kooky liberals. He loves it there. His work has most recently appeared in Musa Publishing. Previously in Mocha Memoirs Press, Eternal Press, and such anthologies as Ruthless, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, Something Wicked Vol II, In the Bloodstream, and Torched.

When he’s not working or writing sci-fi or horror, Tom volunteers for causes he cares about. He comes from a most interesting family; his mother, Norma Olbert is currently self-publishing a biography of the life of Tom’s dad Stan Olbert, a retired MIT physicist and veteran of the Polish underground during WWII. Tom’s sister Elizabeth Olbert is an artist, art teacher, and avid lover of horses.

Learn more about Tom Olbert on his blog Other Dimensions.

Cherish12-1-2013-Front-400

 

It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that teenage ghost for years. Why won’t she leave? When the dreamy senior asks Kayla for a date, she decides to prove to herself that she’s mature and in charge. She’ll tell that ghost to go away. But Kayla shouldn’t have touched the ghost’s cold hand because that’s when everything changed.

Suddenly, it’s 1946, or is Kayla dreaming? Is she crazy? Why is her name Cherish? Why is her mother at home baking cookies when she should be at work? And, she has a father? Didn’t he die years ago? Why is her best friend Trudy instead of Dani? And the thing in her pocket is not a compact with a bad mirror. DON’T TRY TO OPEN IT!

Text messages do travel across the years, judging from those on her cell phone. But why is Dani mad at her? She isn’t there, is she? It can’t be, but it must. Someone is taking Kayla’s place in the twenty-first century. Who?

Fact: Cherish is ruining her life in two centuries. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die in 1946 with Cherish.

Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery) is now available as a paperback and e-book for Kindle. Buy the paperback and download the e-book for free!

AMAZON

About the author:

Norma_Huss_author

Norma Huss calls herself “The Grandma Moses of Mystery.” Cherish is her first book for young adults—for her grandchildren, of course. (She freely admits this book required a lot of help from the younger generation when it came to current technology. She handled the 1946 concepts herself.)

Her adult mysteries, Yesterday’s Body and Death of a Hot Chick are set on the Chesapeake Bay where she and her husband sailed for many years. Her non-fiction, A Knucklehead in 1920s Alaska, was taken from her father’s exploits as a nineteen-year-old college student looking to earn money.

“When I first started writing,” Norma says, “I wrote for children and young adults, submitting to magazines, and finally having quite a few published in popular magazines. I moved on to novels for the same age groups, but none sold. As my children were outgrowing those markets, I switched to my market—mysteries. But, I did have a few YA plots that had gotten nibbles from major publishers. I decided to update one before my grandchildren got too old to enjoy it.

However, after updating Cherish, the only part of the original that remained was the name Cherish for a teen from the past, her desire for an automobile of her own, and the number and sex of the other characters. The original had no ghost, just bones. Even the historic time changed, moving from the 1930s to the 1940s. (I did want someone still living who remembered Cherish.) And 1946 fit in quite nicely for two reasons—I could remember it, and the news from that year contributed to the story.

Early readers have mentioned mother-daughter reads, and that this one is more like a grandmother-granddaughter read. Actually, some of the scenes are contributed by one of the young men in the story, so grandsons may like it too (although that may be pushing it).”

Norma’s Website  Norma’s blog  Goodreads  Facebook  Twitter

Ghost_Writer_sp300dpi

Click on the cover to the right to download the ebook for Kindle or a Kindle app for only 99 cents! (Or order a print copy from Amazon.com for $5.99.)

Have a Nook or don’t shop at Amazon? No worries! The ebook and print book is also available here from B&N.com and the ebook can be found at Smashwords.

LASR (Long and Short Reviews) YA reviewer “Snapdragon” totally got the meaning of Ghost Writer, and gave it 4 stars.

“Ghost Writer is an unpredictable story with a nice little mystery wrapped around a sense of empathy – a sense that will try to stretch across centuries. I’d have to call this novella the perfect Halloween present: A real indulgence with no calories!”

————————————————–

Just click on the cover to download the e-book for Kindle or a Kindle app or to order a print copy from Amazon.com.

The e-book is also available here from B&N.com and from Smashwords.

It’s never too early to get into the Halloween spirit! (No pun intended there, honestly!)

Featured post

The RavenLast night, I watched The Raven on DVD.

It’s no secret that I like the work of actor John Cusack, who wore the character of Edgar Allen Poe as if it were a second skin. I’ve enjoyed a number of Cusack’s films, everything from rom-coms Must Love Dogs, Say Anything and Serendipity, to thrillers like Identity and 1408, to the odd and quirkier movies, such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Martian Child.

The Raven was a mystery-thriller-love story, filled with blood and gore. But, based on the works of Poe, really, how could it have been anything else? As I watched, though, I connected with this story on a level that I think is only possible when one writer observes incidents that occurred (or could have occurred) in the life of another.

Now, do I rank myself as an author with the status of Poe? Hardly. But his work was considered part of the ‘pulp fiction’ of his day, much like horror, sci-fi, romances and mysteries are today.

The Raven portrays Poe’s understanding that he was forever subject to the vagaries of newspaper editors, critics, and his readers, who consumed his stories with a rapid and morbid interest one minute while considering him capable of serial murder the next. Poe also knew that his own dark thoughts had never translated into dark actions, but he still felt responsible when what he’d written prompted an evil mind to carry out the plots of his murders on real victims.

I can identify with this. I haven’t plotted many murders in my stories, nor do I have any plans to…at the moment. But one thing that all writers need to be cognizant of is that the printed word, on paper or on a computer screen, has the power to touch others.

Are we, as writers, responsible for the actions of our readers? No, of course not. But when we see how the 50 Shades trilogy has sparked a mini-baby-boom, don’t we have to wonder?

Or, to paraphrase Poe (the character) in The Raven, “If I’d known my work would have such an effect on my readers, I would have paid more attention to eroticism.”

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: