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Cheryl Low might be an Evil Queen, sipping tea and peeping on everyone from high up in her posh tower—a job she got only after being fired from her gig as Wicked Witch for eating half the gingerbread house.

…Or she might be a relatively mundane human with a love for all things sugary and soap opera slaps.

Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage, cheryllow.com. The answer might surprise you! But it probably won’t.

Social Media Links: Twitter& Instagram: @cherylwlow Website: cheryllow.com

In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets.

Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. From the tea to the pastries, everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm.

From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he’ll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.

A deliciously decadent debut that will make you reconsider the world within which we live – because how different are we than Low’s drugged-up citizens of the upper crust?” — Sara Dobie Bauer, author of the Bite Somebody series

Grab your copy now World Weaver Press Amazon Barnes & Noble iTunes Kobo Goodreads

“Vaun took another deep drag off the cigarette one of his new friends, Gabby, had offered him. She and the man sitting beside her pretended quite comically to be from the High. The prince did not ruin the show by telling them that he knew everyone in the High, to some degree. The quality of their vanity charms indicated they were not, not to mention the state of their clothing. Being rude was only fashionable if one’s victim was up to the challenge and could strike back. Besides, Vaun never discouraged people who tried so hard to amuse him.

The prince exhaled black smoke. It was thick and dramatic, but his skin didn’t hum the way it usually did after a deep breath of dust. In fact, the tingle was more of an agitation, making him shift in his seat and flick his cigarette more angrily than usual. Ash fluttered through the air. How much tea did he have to drink for a decent buzz? He all but dropped his cup back on its chipped saucer in disgust. “I shouldn’t have come,” he muttered.

“You’re leaving?” Gabby’s smile faltered. Her fingers clenched around her teacup. She wore fingerless, black lace gloves like his sister did on occasion and Vaun noticed that her skirts and bodice were also in dark colors with hints of lace sewn in wherever possible, some obviously added as an afterthought and not even matching the lace elsewhere. It would have been easier to try to imitate the High fashion of Belholn but Gabby had aimed even higher, for the princess herself.

“Yes. I’m sure I have a date somewhere.” Some part of him enjoyed the distress of the people around him at the possibility of his departure. It made him want to leave even more.

“Wait!” Gabby grabbed at the man beside her, whose name Vaun had forgotten a while ago, and tugged at the sleeve of his obviously repaired jacket. “Show him,” she whispered urgently.

Vaun took another draw of his disappointing cigarette. The best part about going to a teahouse or club in the thick of the Main was how the people tried so desperately to impress him. The people in the High knew him too well to try so hard. They feared his mockery even more than they desired his attention. But this group had spent the better part of the last hour trying to wow him with their trinkets and knowledge of the High. It was all nonsense read from the paper and mostly outdated. “I truly doubt you have anything to show me that I have not seen.”

The man reached into his jacket a little uncomfortably and took out a small mason jar. Others giggled, recognizing it, but Vaun only blinked at first. Its glass belly was full but not with anything liquid or solid. Light, captured and pulsing, swirled inside the jar. Vaun felt it as much as he saw it. He heard it like a whisper against his senses and found himself leaning forward to see it more clearly: a soul. Vaun had seen them before, but they weren’t common. So uncommon, in fact, that he was surprised they hadn’t led with this in their attempt to impress him. He supposed they might have been afraid he’d take it. Soul capturing was an old craft that most considered barbaric now.

His gaze turned up from the jar to the man holding it. “Who is it?” The soul was a beautiful captive, but the person walking around without it was the real prize—the puppet, someone that could be made to do anything.

“I couldn’t say.” The man smiled. “He wouldn’t be much of a spy if I did.”

Q&A With….

Cheryl, thanks for stopping by my blog today. Tell our readers about you
I was born and raised in California but moved to Sweden when I was twenty-three. I now have dual citizenship and somehow ended up moving so far north that I’m actually in the Arctic Circle. I love cafes and sugary treats and that love has forced me to spend a lot of time at the gym.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The desperate hope that there will be a box of cookies waiting for me and all my books will magically be edited.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why
Gail Carriger. Because there would be tea and probably some sort of pastry involved and I just image she’d be a delight to talk to.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Vanity in Dust is a product of obsessive imagining. It’s pure fantasy born from daydreams. A world driven by magic, where it’s become their drug of choice and inevitably clouded their minds. Once I laid the groundwork for the world, I built it by wondering in my daily life, how would this work in the Realm? Which inevitably led to them turning a library into a café where they can whisper their secrets and pretend to read books—most without words.

Tell us your writing process
I’m an outliner. I fell into it a while back. I obsess over a story for a while, building a list of ideas and scenes and then when I’m ready, I flesh that out into a full outline. Then I pick a month and write on a word-count-a-day schedule. It really works for me and I love doing it.

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?
Twitter and Instagram are your friends and finding a community of other writers and readers can be really helpful and supportive. There’s a lot to be learned from other authors successes and mistakes.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
There wasn’t a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’ve always been in my own world and writing happened even before I was ready to be an author.

Tell us about your main character:
Vaun Dray Fen is a prince in a city where that means everything and nothing. He has more power than almost anyone around him, but comes to realize that’s not saying much because his mother rules over every choice they make. He’s spoiled and light-hearted and indulgent but finds out he might be capable of more than playing his mother’s jester.

What are you working on next?
The second book in the Crowns and Ash series has been turned in to my amazing editor. It’s going to be a five book series so that should keep me pretty busy for a while.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
Cookies! I am really good at baking cookies. Cake, not so much.

Who are your favorite authors?
Genevieve Cogman and Gail Carriger come to mind first. Amazing world builders with stories that are both exciting and hilarious. I also love Emily Gee, Tanith Lee, and Christopher Rice.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Between the books I want to write and the books I want to read, my free time is well and truly filled.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
Detox in Letters is the second book of the Crowns and Ash series and we’re hoping to have that out next year.

Where can people find you on the web? 

Website – http://cheryllow.com/
Twitter- https://twitter.com/cherylwlow

Any final thoughts?

Questions are fun! And now I want cookies.

VBT – HAND OVER FIST

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Hand Over Fist
by Michael Ross

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GENRE: Thriller

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BLURB

When an old friend disappears, Martin learns nothing is what it seems…

Martin Russell can barely face the future. With dismal life prospects and an estranged family, he is at the end of his rope. When an old friend, Hannah, elbows her way back into his life, Martin’s luck begins to turn around.

Hidden within the shadows of evil, there must be some good…

Ex-policeman Bobby Tanner lost everything one rage-filled night. Now he runs a reading group for alcoholics where he meets a young drug dealer, Zack, who disturbs him in a way that’s hard to define. Bobby soon discovers the teenager is in over his head and has been dealing with a despicable individual known as The Chemist.

The roots of evil run deeper than we imagine…

Martin’s lucky streak begins to unravel when Hannah suddenly goes missing, and he turns to a friend of a friend, Bobby, for help. Thrust into an underworld empire of corruption and half-truths, he learns his friend may not be who he thought she was.

In a shadowed world of deception, stalkers, and despicable drug dealers, Bobby and Martin must uncover the truth, and fast…

Several lives depend on it.

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BOOK EXCERPT

…but there was something gnawing away at him; something about Zachary Jackson that was just not right. He seemed like a good kid, a good son to a troubled mother and a dying father. But now Bobby stood in the shadows watching Zack leave The Chemist’s house and he cursed his sixth sense.

The Chemist’s house was one of a pair of semis that were angled at the end of Shortcross Drive. The area was the roughest part of the city, an independent borough with its own self-administered terms of crime and punishment. The crimes that carried the heaviest forms of punishment were those that affected The Chemist negatively. Punishments ranged from being forced to cut his lawn for a month to having both your knees smashed by a crow bar. And even worse penalties if you failed to insist to A&E staff that you’d been hit by a car.

By the time the local police force had recognised The Chemist’s power, it was easier to leave him well alone than to face the cost of breaking down his power base. The semi detached council house was fortified more strongly than a clearing bank’s vault. Over the years, every door and window had been replaced and so heavily reinforced that it would take a tank to force entry into the property.

HAND OVER FIST purchase

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

It was a strange and twisting road that led to the publication of my first novel. From my humble beginnings, as an office clerk, to ownership of a multi-million dollar business I always maintained my love for literature.

Born and raised in Bristol, England. I spent most of my life in business, my companies turning over in the region of $500 million. The majority of that time marketing cars, eventually owning the largest Saab specialist in the world, before a bitter divorce forced me rethink my priorities. Particularly between 2003 and 2005 when I had to accept that I was no longer a millionaire but literally penniless. I avoided bankruptcy by the skin of my teeth and slowly rebuilt my life.

This led me to the life changing decision to leave the bustling city and move to live halfway up a mountain in the Welsh valleys. At the same time I started a part time six year English Literature course at Bristol University, and attended creative writing classes at Cardiff University. I left school at sixteen and this was my first taste of further education and an immense challenge.

I eventually adjusted my thinking to the academic life, and on 30 June 2015 had confirmation of my 2.1(Hons) degree from Bristol University. At the same time I also won the prestigious Hopkins Prize for my essay on Virginia Woolf and the unsaid within her text. Now the university courses are finished it will, with any luck, gives me plenty of extra time that I can devote to my fiction writing.

Thanks to the university experiences, my interest in English literature has flourished over recent years. Hopefully I have evolved as a writer from my earlier work in short stories (over ninety of them.) Although interestingly my first three novels have all been developed from a long forgotten short story.

Life is, once again, very good, and I live very happily halfway up a mountain, in the Welsh Valleys, with my wonderful partner Mari, and our rescue dog Wolfie.

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Facebook www.facebook.com/michaelross.writer
Twitter @mikerosswriter
Website www.michaelrosswriter.com
Blog http://mikerosswriter.wordpress.com

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Michael will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC! A Rafflecopter Giveaway
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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/03/vbt-hand-over-fist-by-michael-ross.html

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Interview With ….

Michael, thanks for being here today. Tell us about you.
I was self employed from the age of nineteen, and in retrospect I was, what is called nowadays, an entrepreneur. I owned a finance company, an art gallery, an antiques centre, I was a director of a PLC, and of a professional football club, and several car sales sites and workshops. Turning over close to $500m in my lifetime. Before a bloody divorce I was a millionaire, after the divorce I was insolvent. In an eighteen month period my life went to sh*t.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Leonardo da Vinci. Just to spend time in the company of that extraordinary brain would be mind blowing (I know what I’ve done there!)

What’s the story behind your latest book?
There is bits of my DNA in all my major characters, men who have hit rock bottom and survived. Two characters who against all odds are rebuilding their lives, and with the disappearance of a friend how their lives interact to overcome the odds. I have a couple of villains of whom I am really proud, Nash and The Chemist are the most vilest of creatures.

What is your writing process? 
I like to walk my dog Wolfie around the hills near where I live, and think about my stories without interruptions. My partner is a professional musician and she hates music being on in the house , so I have got used to writing with no background noise.

Tell us about your main character:
Bobby Tanner has hit rock bottom, he is an ex copper who has disgraced himself and served a prison sentence, but he is a really decent human being who grabs the opportunity to rebuild his life.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
Tom Hardy – such a talented actor, who can dig really deep into a character

What are you working on next?
The third book in the Out Of Hand series (number two is already ‘in the bag.’)

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Write for pleasure not money, accept it is a long arduous journey, take pride in your work, and type with your fingers permanently crossed.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I am a survivor. Over the years I got sick and tired of people saying that to me. “Don’t worry mike, you’re a survivor.” Ahhhhhh.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Rather glib, but the ability to time travel and lurk around Dallas 11.22.63 and find out the truth of that day.

List 5 things on your bucket list:
I’ve done so much in my lifetime I’m struggling. Visit Peru. One more fall in New England, which is probably my problem, that most of the items on my bucket list would be repeating stuff that I have already done.

Any final thoughts?
Thank you so much for stretching the muscles in my brain.

VBT ~ New York Night by Stephen Leather

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 New York Night
by Stephen Leather

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GENRE: Horror/Supernatural

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BLURB:

Teenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. New York Night is the seventh novel in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series.

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BOOK EXCERPT

Sara could see that he was afraid so she smiled what she hoped was a comforting smile. ‘It’s a game,’ she said. ‘It’s just a game.’

‘If you want to play a game, let’s play Grand Theft Auto,’ said her brother. Luke was ten, six years younger than she was. They rarely played together but she needed another pair of hands for the Ouija board and Luke could be relied on to do as he was told.

‘Because I want to play this,’ she said.

‘It’s stupid,’ he said. ‘I’ve never heard of a game like this before.’ He sat back on his heels. They were in her bedroom. He was rarely allowed into her room and had looked at her suspiciously when she had first suggested they play a game together.

‘You liked Charlie Charlie didn’t you? Well this is the same. You can ask it question and it’ll answer.’

‘Charlie Charlie is for fun,’ said the boy.

‘So is this. But with Charlie Charlie you can only pick one of four answers, right? This way the spirits can talk to us.’

‘Spirits? You mean ghosts?’

‘It’s all the same. Look, it’s a game. Just a game. Do you want to play or shall I tell mom you haven’t done your homework?’

Okay, okay,’ mumbled Luke. ‘Don’t give me a hard time.’

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

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Stephen Leather is one of the UK’s most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan “Spider’ Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.

Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country’s most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.

Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London’s Burning, The Knock and the BBC’s Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website http://www.stephenleather.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather

Jack Nightingale has his own website at www.jacknightingale.com

You can buy New York Night on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/New-York-Night-Nightingale-Supernatural-ebook/dp/B017T03500/

You can buy New York Night on Kobo at https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/new-york-night-the-7th-jack-nightingale-novel

You can buy New York Night on iBooks at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/new-york-night-7th-jack-nightingale/id1057762247

You can buy New York Night at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/591862

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Stephen Leather will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/01/nbtm-new-york-night-by-stephen-leather.html

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Interview With….

Stephen, thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you.
I have a pilot’s licence, but I don’t really like flying! I did learn how to paraglide (where you fly a parachute with a huge fan on your back) but that was even less fun. I have jumped out of planes four times. The first three times were with the RAF’s display team which meant climbing out onto the wing of a biplane and jumping off. It was a long time ago! But here’s the thing. I have a real fear of heights and almost never use lifts (elevators, as the Americans call them). My publisher used to be based on the 22nd floor of a tower block. I used to walk up the stairs rather than use the lift! I have been stuck in lifts four times in my life so my fears are not groundless!

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Living or dead? If dead, I’d choose Jesus. I have so many questions for him. If living, Stephen Hawking. Again, I have so many questions and frankly I find his black hole book more confusing each time I read it.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
New York Night is the seventh book in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series. The first five were published by my UK publisher Hodder and Stoughton and were set in the UK. I am now self-publishing the books and have moved the character to the United States. The first self-published book was San Francisco Night and the next one will be Miami Night. In the latest book, teenagers in New York are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line.

What is your writing process?
I sit in front of the TV with my Mac on a coffee table. I watch TV as I write and always have done. It helps when I need to describe a character’s clothing and the credits are always a good source of names! I drink a cup of coffee pretty much every half hour and my cat (one of three) Peanut Butter sits on the sofa next to me to keep me company.

Tell us about your main character:
Jack Nightingale as a cop who was sacked after a man he was interviewing was thrown through a window and fell to his death. No one knew for sure if the man had jumped or if Nightingale had pushed him, but it was the end of his police career. He became a private detective, and just before his thirty-third birthday he is told that his father was a Satanist and that he sold Jack’s soul to a devil. On his birthday, the devil is coming to collect the prize. That’s the first book, in which Jack has to find a way of saving his soul – by the time we get to New York Night he is much more familiar with the supernatural world. He travels from city to city fighting the forces of darkness while keeping his own soul safe. Jack smokes too much (so much so that when I’m writing I feel like having a cigarette even thought I’m not a smoker! He has a good sense of humour and often says things that make me laugh out loud!

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
I’m lucky in that at the moment Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale) is directing the movie of my book The Chinaman. The hero of the title is played by Jackie Chan and the IRA villain by Pierce Brosnan. How cool is that? For Jack Nightingale, I think I’d like to see him played by Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s the perfect age!

What are you working on next?
I am working on the 13th Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd book, Dark Forces. Shepherd is up against a Syrian sniper who travels to England to carry out a terrorist atrocity.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Concentrate on your writing and the readers will seek you out. There’s nothing worse than a writer clamouring for attention, especially on social media. Best to concentrate on producing the best books you can. I wouldn’t bother with Twitter – everyone seems to be shouting and no one is listening – but have an informative and interesting web page and Facebook page. And have an email list that fans can sign up for – that way you are sending information to readers who are genuinely interested in hearing from you! And always respond personally. If a fan has made the effort of contacting you, the least you can do is reply!

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
A book on lock-picking. I am teaching myself to pick locks.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I’m usually good at predicting the future based on what is happening in the present. I think that comes from spending so much time plotting books. I can usually see when out politicians are making mistakes, and can predict what will happen when things go wrong!

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Time travel, backwards and forwards. It would answer all those questions I need answering. I would love to see how much of our beliefs about our universe are true. I’m not sure I believe in the Big Bang, for instance. Or that the universe is expanding. I figure time travel would provide the answers!

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  • Go dog-sledding in Alaska
  • Ride a camel across the safari
  • Fly a helicopter
  • Bob-sleigh down the Cresta Run
  • Climb Everest

I’m pretty sure I’ll get around to the first three at some point!

Where can readers find you on the web? My website is www.stephenleather.com and I am often on my Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/stephenleatherofficial – where I am happy to talk to readers!

Any final thoughts?
If you’re a reader, keep reading. And if you’re a writer, keep writing!

Book Tour – OBSIDIAN WORLDS

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Obsidian Worlds

by Jason Werbeloff

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GENRE:  Sci-Fi

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BLURB:

Jason Werbeloff’s short stories have been downloaded over 20,000 times. Obsidian Worlds brings together his 11 best-selling sci-fi shorts into a mind-bending philosophical anthology.

In Your Averaged Joe, a man’s headache is large enough to hold the multiverse. Q46F is an obsessive-compulsive android who finds love in a zombie-embroiled apocalypse. The end of the world isn’t all that bad – The Experience Machine will fulfil your every desire (and some you hadn’t considered). A sex bot dares to dream of freedom in Dinner with Flexi. But mind what you eat, because The Photons in the Cheese Are Lost. Don’t fret though: The Cryo Killer guarantees that your death will be painless, or your money back when you’re thawed. Unless, that is, you’re The Man with Two Legs.

Plug into Obsidian Worlds for these and other immersive stories, including the hilarious Time-Traveling Chicken Sexer. Your brain will never be the same again.

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Book Excerpt:

(from Your Averaged Joe):

“Sorry, this is a bit overwhelming. Let me introduce myself.” Then all three men spoke in unison, extending their hands, “I’m Thursday.” They each chewed a piece of gum, their masticating movements simultaneous.

Joe eyed the identical hands. Long, frosty fingers. Whitest skin. He shook hands with each. Their grips were firm. All three.

Thursday continued, “This is the Chamber.” He waved his arm around the room proudly. Joe considered the space. The rows of beds seemed to stretch forever. He couldn’t see the end of the room. And no pillars. Nothing to support the pink ceiling that extended in all directions. Joe scrunched his feet at the enormity of the Chamber, and the floor squeezed between his toes. But the floor wasn’t smooth – it was … hairy? He glanced down, and yup, fine dark hairs covered its surface. It was like standing on a forearm. Goose bumps erupted along his arms, down his legs, Joe shifted his weight to his heels, trying to avoid the hairs from scratching between his toes. And as the goose bumps spread across his back, down his chest, the ground beneath his feet changed. Between the silky black hairs, the fleshy floor lumped in places. Lumps the size of fists. Bumps, goose bumps. On the ground. He shivered.

Trying not to think about it, and resisting the urge to jump, to get his feet anywhere but on the fleshy floor, he stared at the beds. Each held a single occupant, each with brown hair, each wearing the same pale blue nightgown he was wearing. Joe looked to the bed beside his, and his heart stopped.

The man in the bed was him.

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Jason Werbeloff is a novelist and philosopher. He loves chocolate and his Labrador, Sunny.

He’s interested in the nature of social groups, personal identity, freedom, and the nature of the mind. His passion is translating philosophical debate around these topics into works of science fiction, while gorging himself on chocolate.

Amazon Author Page – download all of Werbeloff’s fiction from Amazon.

http://smarturl.it/AuthWerbeloff

Newsletter – subscribe to get ‘The Solace Pill’ free, as well as VIP access to Werbeloff’s latest fiction.

http://smarturl.it/werbeloff

Goodreads – read reviews of Werbeloff’s fiction.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340789

Facebook and Twitter – follow Werbeloff for release date information on upcoming shorts and novels.

http://www.facebook.com/solaceseries

https://twitter.com/JasonWerbeloff

Website – read about the author, and the philosophy behind his fiction.

http://www.jasonwerbeloff.com/

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GIVEAWAY

Jason will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Interview

Jason, thanks for being here. Tell us about you
Human, male, 31. From an obscure planet in the Milky Way Galaxy. Likes chocolates, Labradors, and zombies (not necessarily in that order). I’m a philosopher by training, a programmer in a previous life, and a novelist by profession. I’ve written two novels, ‘Hedon’ and ‘The Solace Pill’, and the short story anthology, ‘Obsidian Worlds’.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Guilt. And the occasional stray positive thought. I do get excited occasionally. On a full moon.

Really, I love my lifestyle. I get to write every day about bizarre, previously untapped worlds. What could possibly be better than living this way?

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Probably Oscar Wilde. Love his acerbic wit and effortless paradoxes. My favorite (partly misattributed) quote of his … On his deathbed, he remarked: “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.”

There’s something about a personality that runs against the grain … people like Wilde make the world a more dynamic place. Without them – well, we’d all be sheep.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
‘Obsidian Worlds’ is a collection of eleven short stories. Underlying them all is this idea: insert protagonist (and reader) into bizarre, harrowing world; see how protagonist (and reader) flail about to survive; and then resolve, usually through a further disaster, but sometimes through a wonderful surprise.

I named the collection ‘Obsidian’, because it’s a glassy, multi-layered, pitch-black, phenomenally sharp volcanic glass. It’s so sharp that it separates cells, rather than tears them as a conventional blade would. The stories in the book are meant to do the same: slice between your concepts and ideas, bifurcating them into dark configurations you couldn’t have imagined beforehand.

Tell us your writing process
Step 1: Eureka moment! Idea forms in brain.

Step 2: Reject idea. Couldn’t possibly work.

Step 3: Play with idea guiltily. This can’t possibly result in anything useful.

Step 4: There might just be a story here.

Step 5: Begin writing.

Step 6: Assume the story will never be finished.

Step 7: Shock and panic as middle of the story approaches.

Step 8: Eureka moment for next story.

Step 9: Finish story.

Step 10: Return to step 2.

Do you have any tips for other writers who want to spread the word about their book?
I’ve heard this said elsewhere, but I’ll reiterate it here. There are two sure-fire ways to build your author platform: write more, and grow your email newsletter. (Shamelessly, here’s the link to mine: http://smarturl.it/werbeloff).

The more you write, the more products you’ll have in your store, the better your writing becomes, and the more cross-advertising you’ll have at your disposal. The more your email list grows, the more reviews you’ll get for your work. The more reviews you have, the better your advertising potential is – sites like Bookbub will only look at authors with lots of reviews.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Quite late, actually. I was 28, and disillusioned with my job as a software developer and management consultant. I’d studied philosophy to PhD level, but didn’t really want to pursue it as a career. So I played with the idea of writing a short story, which turned into a novel (The Solace Pill). What convinced me to continue with it was the enormous release I felt each time I finished a story. It felt, and still feels, like something new has been birthed into the world. Something that breathes and converses and taunts without any further input from me. I love being an author.

Tell us about your main character:
Each of the 11 stories has a different protagonist, in a distinct world. They range from androids, to a smelly goat farmer, to a killer for hire, to a bottle of silicone lube. All of them took their stories in directions I hadn’t initially planned. All of them are strong-willed, vibrant, and unique.

My favorite is Barker, a killer for hire in a peculiar world. Barker is hired by his victims, because they want to appear to have died of natural causes, so they can be cryogenically frozen – cryogenic freezing only happens to those who die of natural causes in this world. Barker is level-headed, old-fashioned and reliable. But everything changes when a young client with a smile he can’t refuse, walks into his life.

What are you working on next?
I’m about half-way through a sci-fi biopunk gore novel. I’ve pulled out all the checks on violence and explicit gore on this one. It’s going to hurt your teeth to read it. More than that I can’t say, other than it’s scheduled for release mid-2016.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I love plumbing. There’s nothing quite like sealing a leaking pipe. It doesn’t talk back. Doesn’t complain or request revisions. It either works or it doesn’t.

Plumbing goes along with a love of renovation more generally. Tiling, painting, knocking through walls – all of it makes me genuinely happy, in a way I just can’t reproduce any other way.

Who are your favorite authors?
I love the sci-fi greats, especially Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood. Anything dystopian, space-based, cyberpunk or mind-bending gets my vote.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I try (and fail) to gym. Love yoga. Listening to podcasts. Binge-watching ‘The Walking Dead’, and eating out.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
The biopunk novel is set for release mid-2016. Between now and then, I’ll probably release a bunch of sci-fi short stories. Really interested at the moment in gory sci-fi. Been watching too much David Cronenberg. Have you seen ‘The Fly’? Woah. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor. And Stuart Gordon’s  ‘Re-Animator’ is insanely good. I challenge you to watch them, and see if you can ever sit through another romantic comedy without wishing the characters significant bodily harm.

Needless to say, my upcoming work will have plenty of body horror.

 

Any final thoughts?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to appear on your blog! I enjoyed answering the questions, and hope to engage further with your readers. Comment below! I’m always happy to respond. And don’t forget … join my newsletter for a free novel, and a lifetime of free and discounted stories: http://smarturl.it/werbeloff

Book Tour – YOURS TRULY, 2095

NBTM_TourBanner_YoursTruly2095

Yours Truly, 2095

by Brian Paone

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BLURB:

Jeff Blue-the victim of a time-travel conspiracy-wakes up trapped in the year 2095. The only familiar face is J0; a robotic copy of the wife he left behind in 1981. But can she be trusted?

J0 could be the only key to unlock Jeff’s journey home, but it will require her to do something against her programming-something human.

During Jeff’s perilous journey through the future, he will have to discover the truth about J0’s origins, and solve the mystery behind how he wound up in 2095, in order to uncover the reality of his own destiny.

Armed with a one-way ticket to the moon, Jeff must race against the clock to seize what might be his last chance to return home to his time. A time without hover cars, Justice Computers, or TeleSkins-a time over one hundred years ago.

BookCover_YoursTruly

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Book Excerpt:

The Xanadu moonliner taxied to the launch pad. I didn’t realize how terrified I was until that moment. This was really happening. I was gripping the arm-rests so tightly that my knuckles had gone ghost-white. I tried to loosen my grip, but my palms would not let go.

“How long is takeoff?” I asked in a whisper.

“About eight minutes.”

“All right. I think I can handle eight minutes.”

The Xanadu moonliner propelled us heavenward toward a frontier I could have never, in my wildest dreams, imagined I would be visiting. Takeoff was smooth and effortless. I had experienced worse turbulence when I would let Julie drive the Thunderbird back in 1981 than I did from blasting through the Earth’s atmosphere in the moonliner. During the time it took for us to get from the ground to outer space, passengers were going about their normal business just like any other commute. I slowly allowed my knuckles to regain some of their natural color.

As smooth as liftoff was, I could still tell when we broke through the exosphere. Outer space! Even though I was strapped in by my five-point harness, I immediately felt the weightlessness of my body hover slightly in my seat. Bruce made eye contact with me just long enough for him to smile. This was it. We were really going to the moon.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

AuthorPhoto_YoursTruly

Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. An award winning author, his love of writing began through the medium of short stories at the young age of twelve. After almost 20 years of consistently writing short stories for only his friends and family to read, Brian’s first full-length novel, a personal memoir about his friendship with a rock-star drug addict entitled, “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts,” was published in 2007. Brian’s second novel, “Welcome to Parkview,” was published in 2010 and is a macabre journey through a cerebral-horror landscape. Brian’s latest novel, “Yours Truly, 2095,” was published in 2015 and follows a man who wakes up one morning, trapped in the future, to discover he’s been the victim of a time-travel conspiracy. Brian is married and has 3 children. Brian’s wife is an Officer in the US Navy. He is also a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, and his favorite color is burnt-orange.

www.BrianPaone.com

www.facebook.com/BrianPaonesNovels

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=brian+paone&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Abrian+paone

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GIVEAWAY

Brian Paone will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Interview

 

Brian, What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock, or the sound of my dog having to go pee. After that, it’s usually just trying to get the kids to the school bus stop on time. If I can do that, the day is already a “win.”

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Kermit the Frog. C’mon, who wouldn’t want to have a day where we go to IHOP for breakfast, then go play in Central Park for a few hours, and then maybe a light lunch at a wrap shop, and then some shopping in the afternoon, and then do a pub crawl for the next 6 hours and not stop until we are stumbling and throwing up all over the sidewalk. I think he would be soooooo funny once he got drunk. The stories…. Oh man, the stories he would start to tell. Priceless.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
One of my favorite albums of all time, is Electric Light Orchestra’s 1981 concept album, Time. Somewhere in my late teens / early twenties, I thought that the storyline of the Time album should be flushed out either as a novel or a movie. I knew, at the time, that I was nowhere NEAR talented enough yet to take on such a task as writing the adaptation of the album. After publishing two novels, one in 2007 and the other in 2010, I believed that I was ready to tackle turning the plotline and story-arc of ELO’s Time album into a full length novel. I began working on the outline in February 2012, and the first step was to take the lyrics of all 16 songs, and dissect their meaning (both literally and figuratively) and put together a cohesive linear storyline. I wanted to do what The Who’s Tommy, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall movies did for those albums… but just in novel format. The Time album has a very concrete characters and storyline (as does The Wall and Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway) but there is enough unsung moments in the progression of the story, that I knew I had to fill in the gaps of the lyrics with my own literary license. In the lyrics we are told, flat-out, that the main character (Jeff) is from the 1980’s and wakes up in 2095, with no idea or explanation how he got there, that there is a woman who is a perfect robotic replica of his wife (Julie) from the 80’s, he wants nothing more to return to his wife but there is some issued that need to be resolved in their marriage, that he takes a one way trip to the Moon to find his way back, and there are multiple new organizations controlling the world’s power. These are very specific lyrics that move the album forward. After pulling out the lyrics that could not be disputed, I then went through line by line and interpreted the lyrics that could be left up to the imagination of the listener of what the lyrics meant, and how I was going to make it a concrete part of my book. For instance, there is a lyric in the album that says: “Someone has broken out of Satellite Two, look very carefully it might be you!” That was pretty ambiguous inside the song, so I had to make a decision to what exactly Satellite Two even WAS, who the “someone” was, why it might be a clone of someone else… and then I had to try to make it work inside the storyline around it. The album is 16 tracks, and just shy of 50 minutes in length. The book took me almost 40 months to write because I wanted to stay as true to every single word on the album that I could.

Tell us your writing process
I’ve published 3 novels, and my typical day during the writing of each book was totally different from each other. When I was writing my first book, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, I was in the middle of moving from MA to GA, changing police departments, and recording an album with my band, Transpose. So a typical day would be: get everything done first for the move, switching jobs, the recording studio, and whatever time was left at night: work on the book. We also didn’t have any kids yet.

With my second novel, Welcome to Parkview, my wife had been deployed to Djibouti and I was working full time at the police department in GA, and we had 2 kids now. So I was alone without my wife, with 2 toddlers, and working full time. The My day would be: get the kids to day-care, go work fighting crime for 8 hours, pick the kids up and do whatever household chores I had to do (laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping etc.), feed the kids dinner and put them to bed around 6:30, then I would work out for an hour, and then I would work on Welcome to Parkview after I showered until whenever I passed out at my laptop.

With Yours Truly. 2095, the Navy had sent us to Japan for the next 4 years. I had to take a leave of absence at the police department, and we moved the family there. I did not get a job right away, as my wife wanted me to be the stay at home parent during our time in Japan (I did eventually become a Criminal Justice professor for the college on base, but that’s irrelevant to the book.) We moved in November, 2011 and by January, 2012 I was itching to write. For the first time, I had the TIME to write, and not having to worry about a new job, moving, or wiping poopy diapers. So, in February, 2012, I started my outline, and writing the book was my full-time job for a while. We sent out 2 kids to Japanese Kindergarten (called a Yochien in Japan) and they were gone Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 4:00. I would bring them to the bus stop, wave goodbye, go back up into our apartment, and write until the bus brought them back. It was the first time I could write without distractions, and the first time I was writing not being dead-tired at night after putting in a full day.

Do you have any tips you can share with other authors on how to get the word out about their work?
I feel that promoting is 50% of writing a book. I constantly preach about always having a business card on you, and I suggest making bookmarks of your books to hand out to people/strangers you see reading a book in public. Have the cover art with the book synopsis on the front and places where they can get a cop on the back. Use the bookmark like a business card for that specific book… a business card the person won’t likely throw out when they get home because it’s actually something useful. And every time they open the book they are reading, YOUR book will be looking at them. Its continuous advertising.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
In the 7th I wrote my first fictional short story called, “The Night is Long.” It wasn’t part of some homework assignment, or in-class exercise. I wrote the story over the weekend, purely because I loved to read and wanted to write something that was my own. After that, I never stopped writing. However I only wrote short stories from 1988 to 2005. It was then that I began work on my first novel. My career as a novelist would never have happened, or at least to the success that I have had, if one of my best friends hadn’t died in 2005. My friend David, who was the lead singer of the industrial-rock band God Lives Underwater who enjoyed some commercial success in the 90s, had been struggling with drug addiction, depression, and the throes of the music business since I met him in 1995. We became fast friends, and I was one of the few people who stuck with him through all his highs and lows. When he passed away in 2005, I didn’t know where the put my grief. I just couldn’t find a healthy outlet for how I was feeling about losing him. It was suggested to me to write a memoir about our friendship, but in novel format so it read more like a story than a journal. My wife was the biggest advocate of me using my grief to write my first novel, and recant all the good and bad times that come with being close to someone who struggles with addiction, and someone who was on major tours, on MTV, and all over the radio. He was a multi-dimensional person, and our friendship was trying and rewarding all at the same time. I started writing what would eventually become my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, in January 2006 and it was published in October, 2007—on the second anniversary of his death. The book sold above and beyond anyone’s expectations, and that’s how I stopped writing short stories and focused on writing novels.

Tell us about your main character:
Jeff Blue. His marriage is failing, his daughter was killed in a wreck, he’s an alcoholic, and pretty much just clinging on to life. Until he wakes up 114 years in the future to find out he’s married to a robot, and that he’s part of a huge time travel conspiracy. He’s kind of a jerk, and very self-centered. But when the façade starts to fall, he has a huge heart and its hard not to start to cheer for him by the end.

What are you working on next?
I will begin outlining my 4th book in a few months. Tentatively untitled, it’s going to be a comedic-military novel, almost in the style of the film Mom with Michael Keaton. This will be about the true adventures I had when my wife, who is an Officer in the Navy, left me alone with our two toddlers when she got deployed for 8 months, and the learning curve and craziness that ensued during those months. I’m hoping to have a 2017 release schedule for that.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I feel that nothing comes naturally or easy for me. Everything I know, or all the talents I have, I had to struggle to learn… where so many people, things just come to them.

Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Jean Auel

What do you like to do with your free time?
I’m a rabid football fan (go Patriots!), I’m a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, I love music (I’ve been in bands myself for 20 years), watch movies, and spend time with my wife and 3 kids.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
Well after the Military Deployment Book I’m working on next, I have another idea for a novel about a female singer/songwriter that travels across the country looking for the ultimate open mic night gig, and all the stuff that happens along the way. Oh, and she may or may not fall in love with a man who has a boyfriend. And then after that, I think I’m going to take all of my uncollected short stories I’ve written over the past few years, and publish my first short story collection.

Where can people find you on the web?
BrianPaone.com
Facebook.com/BrianPaonesNovels
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbJkUkHDsDUcjmWufcH90kQ
@PaoneBrian

Any final thoughts?
Yours Truly, 2095 might be inspired and based on a concept album from the 80s, but it is every bit my own creation as it is developed from those lyrics. Even though it is a time-travel story on the surface, I believe that it is a romance novel about a couple’s redemption at its core. The book may take place in the distance future, but all the conflicts are struggles that we deal with in our relationships in our everyday lives in the here and now. I believe that this book can be enjoyed just as equally by fans of straight up science-fiction time-travel stories, as well as fans of romance mysteries. The science-fiction jargon is not crammed in your face, nor is the romance angle shoved down your throat either. It’s a nice blend of both, allowing the story to ebb and flow on its own, as Jeff slowly figures out what is truth and what is a lie.