Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BOOK: Slayers by T. K. Toppin and others


SLAY; verb (used with object), slew, slain, slay·ing. kill by violence. 2. to destroy; extinguish… A Slayer has but one purpose.

7DS Books debuts its newest collection, SLAYERS. Seven short story missions of your not so typical slayers taking on highly unusual targets. These captivating stories slice through tales of aliens, super slugs, demons, and beyond.

T. K. Toppin's science fiction story "We Come in Peace" is part of the collection. Other authors include Darke Conteur, Quincy J. Allen, Laurie Lyons, Solange Nicole, Alyse M. Gardner and Jae L. Malone.

Buy it at Amazon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BOOK: What Tomorrow May Bring by Cary Caffrey and others


What Tomorrow May Bring is a YA Dystopian Boxed set which includes 10 novels (plus bonus chapters) from 11 established and up-and-coming indie authors in dystopian literature in a single collection. Each story contains a brand new foreword by its author. Cary Caffrey's The Girls from Alcyone is part of the collection. Buy at Amazon.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

MEME: The 777 Meme - Atlatl


I've been tagged by Katje van Loon for this year's 777 Meme. Here's my 2013 post and my 2012 post.

The rules are:
Go to the 7th line of the 7th page of your work in progress.
Post the first full 7 lines.
Then tag 7 friends.

The following snippet is from the short story "Atlatl" which is set in the Ambasadora-verse and features brothers, David and Ben Anlow, during an undercover sting--but only one of them knows that's why they're at the bar.

"This part of the city makes the LaTulip Underground look clean and cozy by comparison," David said.

"Oh, yeah?" Ben said. "When was the last time you ventured into the Underground? And, before you say anything more, my team swears by this place when they're on leave."

His cocom buzzed to life in his ear and Meeke's voice sounded like she was inside his head. "For the record, I'm with your brother--I'd never eat in this shithole, on duty or off, including tonight."

Ben glanced to where she sat at the bar with an untouched neon glowing orangish-pink from a glass in front of her.

I tag:
Jason Jack Miller
Albert Wendland
Shawn Hopkins
Christopher Paul Carey
Mary SanGiovanni
Cary Caffrey
Mike Mehalek

(Thanks to Bradley Sharp for the great artwork depicting the Hub, which I snagged from Greenshift's cover!!)

Monday, September 08, 2014

BOOK: Veins by Lawrence C. Connolly


Fleeing from what should have been a perfect crime, four crooks in a black Mustang race into the Pennsylvania highlands. On the backseat, a briefcase full of cash. On their tail, a tattooed madman who wants them dead.

The driver calls himself Axle. A local boy, he knows the landscape, the coal-hauling roads and steep trails that lead to the perfect hideout: the crater of an abandoned mine. But Axle fears the crater. Terrible things happened there. Things that he has spent years trying to forget.

Enter Kwetis, the nightflyer, a specter from Axle’s ancestral past. Part memory, part nightmare, Kwetis has planned a heist of his own. And soon Axle, his partners in crime, and their pursuer will learn that their arrival at the mine was foretold long ago . . . and that each of them is a piece of a plan devised by the spirits of the Earth.

Lawrence C. Connolly’s Veins is now available for the first time in ebook and in a special second-printing from Fantasist Enterprises. This week (September 5-10), the ebook of Veins is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Fantasist Enterprises. Download a copy today. Then fasten your seat belts . . . and enjoy the ride!

Lawrence C. Connolly’s other books include Vipers: Book Two of the Veins Cycle (which has also just been released for the first time in ebook and a new second printing), Visions: Short Fantasy & SF, This Way to Egress, and Voices: Tales of Horror. His stories have appeared in many of the major genre magazines and anthologies, including Amazing Stories, Cemetery Dance, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Twilight Zone, and Year’s Best Horror. Voices: Tales of Horror was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award, Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. His next book, Vortex: Book Three of the Veins Cycle, debuts November 4 in print and ebook.

Friday, September 05, 2014

BLOG TOUR: My Writing Process


Thank you to both Albert Wendland and Shawn Hopkins for inviting me to participate in the My Writing Process (#mywritingprocess) blog tour.

1) What am I working on?
My husband, Jason Jack Miller, and I are finally collaborating on a thriller series (The Fourth Department) which is set in Eastern Europe just before the fall of the Iron Curtain. It's Child 44 meets the X-Files. We have the big corkboard out in the library with a zillion cards pinned to it so we can both see all the notes at a glance. This experience has been so much fun with him because we each bring our own expertise to the project. The pizza and wine sessions really add to it, as well.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I travel quite a bit so I'm constantly incorporating what I experience into my work, whether it be in the far future Ambasadora-verse or in my thrillers. Taking yourself out of your familiar surroundings is useful when you're doing the same with your characters.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Though I am such a girl (love fashion, make up, jewelry), I have always been drawn to adventure and science fiction stories, whether in books, movies, or on TV. That affinity carried through into my own writing. I like the idea of wonder, which is more of a science fiction trope, but, like I teach in one of my graduate classes, most techno-thrillers could share space on the mainstream and science fiction shelves. I look at my own creative influences throughout the years (Michael Crichton, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Clive Cussler, Luc Besson, Joss Whedon, Chris Carter) and all have some element of science fiction.

4) How does my individual writing process work?
I started to get migraine headaches a few years back so I've had to adapt to a 30 minute on/30 minute off schedule, including more writing by hand. (I teach a class on this technique to my grad students and am compiling a book on it.) And just accept that some days there will be no writing because of the pain. Acceptance wasn't easy for an over-achiever like me because all I kept thinking is how much further ahead I would be on my story if only this debilitating pain wasn't tormenting me. Now, I realize that I may not produce as much as some of my peers, but I can enjoy the process once again. And having fun is the most important part of writing, as far as I'm concerned.

Here are some other participant responses:
Diana Dru Botsford
Jen Brooks
Anika Denise
Shawn Hopkins
Eva Hudson
Rhonda Mason
Jason Jack Miller
Steve Robinson
Kim Savage
Albert Wendland
K. Ceres Wright

Friday, June 13, 2014

EVENT: Pennsylvania Literary Festival (PALitFest) in Photos

There were so many wonderful moments during the first annual Pennsylvania Literary Festival held in Uniontown, PA, this past weekend that I can't recap all of them. But here are just a few photos that capture some of the wonderful people involved. You'll find many more photos from the weekend on the PALitFest site.

Thank you to everyone, especially my co-founders Jason Jack Miller, David Slusarick, and Matthew D. Dowling, our honorary chair Stacey Aldrich, as well as my Assistant Director of Professional Writing Relations, Caroline Gessner, our social media guru, Kaitlyn Coddington, and our incredible keynote speaker, John Dixon. See you at next year's #PALitFest!

Heidi Ruby Miller and John Dixon

Jason Jack Miller on an episode of The Penn, the official radio broadcast of PALitFest

Heidi Ruby Miller, J. L. Gribble, and K. Ceres Wright

GoingLIVE with Matthew D. Dowling, Annette Dashofy, Heidi Ruby Miller, and David Slusarick

Far Worlds reading with Heidi Ruby Miller

Vortex Book Launch for Lawrence C. Connolly

Henery Press Authors Wendy Tyson and Annette Dashofy

J. L. Gribble, K. W. Taylor, and Carrie Gessner

Zach Waters, tech man extraordinaire!

John Edward Lawson reads

Jason Jack Miller at his Murder Ballads and Whiskey table

GoingLIVE selfie from the couch with David Slusarick, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Matthew D. Dowling

Sharon Ruby and Heidi Ruby Miller on The Penn

Stephanie Wytovich launches Mourning Jewelry with John Edward Lawson

David Slusarick and Kate McCollough on The Penn

State Librarian Stacey Aldrich at the opening ceremony

Sharon Ruby assisting John Dixon at his signing

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

BOOK: FACEOFF edited by David Baldacci (ITW anthology)

edited by David Baldacci

In an unprecedented collaboration, 23 of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers pair their series characters in an 11-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and published by Simon & Schuster.

The stories in Face Off feature such pairings as Michael Connelly’s Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch joining forces with Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie in the story Red Eye and John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport teaming up with Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme in Rhymes with Prey.

All of the contributors are ITW members. #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci, says, “This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for readers. It’s only through ITW that we were able to bring these literary legends toe to toe. I’m honored to be at the helm of this amazing ship.”

Each author has donated his or her story and all of the proceeds from the book go to fund ITW, which charges no dues to its members. “It’s part of what we do, as ITW members,” said New York Times bestselling author, Steve Berry, who will serve as managing editor working with Baldacci.

The full list of contributors is a who’s who and includes:

Linwood Barclay, Steve Berry, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Linda Fairstein, Joseph Finder, Lisa Gardner, Heather Graham, Peter James, Raymond Khoury, Dennis Lehane, John Lescroart, Steve Martini, T. Jefferson Parker, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Ian Rankin, James Rollins, M.J. Rose, John Sandford, R.L. Stine, and F. Paul Wilson.

For a more in-depth look at FACEOFF, check out this article in the June issue of the Big Thrill.  


Monday, June 02, 2014

COVER REVEAL: Nogiku Series by S. J. Pajonas

Cover Reveal Nogiku series by SJ Pajonas

Today is the cover reveal for The Nogiku series by SJ Pajonas. This cover reveal will be for the following books: Revealed (Nogiku series #0.1), Removed (Nogiku series #1), Released (Nogiku series #2) and Reunited (Nogiku series #3). This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.
Revealed: Part One: New Year’s Eve with Jiro and Mark  (Nogiku series #0.1)
By SJ Pajonas
Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Post-apocalyptic
Age category: Young Adult, Adult
Release Date: June 1, 2014

Get immersed in the Nogiku world with Jiro Itō as he gets ready for a boring and annoying New Year’s Eve out in Nishikyō. At least, that’s what he expects his night to be like. Jiro would rather drink with the geisha all evening, and avoid taking anyone home, but he has family business to attend to instead. When the family business leads to an unfamiliar restaurant, Jiro spies Sanaa Griffin smiling at him from across the room, and his night turns around.

But Mark Sakai, his uncle, is not pleased with Jiro’s flirtations. Mark has worked hard for over a decade to get Sanaa into position for her new life, and he can’t have Jiro interfering. Will a stern warning be enough to keep them apart?

PART ONE of REVEALED is a companion short story to REMOVED, Book ONE of the Nogiku Series. The first chapter of REMOVED is included at the end of PART ONE. Read REVEALED first or read it later, but don’t miss this look into the other side of Sanaa’s story.

Approximately 10,000 words.

You can find Revealed on Goodreads:

You can buy Revealed here:

Removed (Nogiku series #1)
By SJ Pajonas
Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Post-apocalyptic
Age category: Young Adult, Adult
Release Date: September 11, 2013

Duty knows no family. Love has no price. Secrets can cost you everything.

Twenty-year-old Sanaa Griffin is about to get more than she bargained for when she wishes for love, happiness, and excitement on New Year’s Eve. Ripped from the job she always loved, she is reassigned to work for mysterious Mark Sakai and spy on the corrupt leaders of her city. War looms on the horizon, and Sanaa must help Sakai determine the key players and their weak spots before it’s too late.

Mark Sakai has many plans for Sanaa that will take her into a web of lies and danger, and her only protection is to learn to defend herself. But defense training under the watchful eye of Jiro, a strong and enigmatic young man she has a crush on, was not what she expected. Between falling in love with Jiro and the information she is gathering, Sanaa realizes Sakai is holding back secrets about her family and her deceased parents, secrets as to why she was chosen for this job, and learning the truth puts all of humanity in jeopardy.

REMOVED is the first book in a captivating post-apocalyptic series that harnesses the cultures and traditions of Japan and sweeps them into the future between Earth and a faraway land.

You can find Removed on Goodreads:
Want to view some inspirational images for Removed, visit the Removed inspirational Pinterest board:

You can buy Removed here:

You can watch the trailer for Removed on Youtube:

Released (Nogiku series #2)
By SJ Pajonas
Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Post-apocalyptic
Age category: Young Adult, Adult
Release Date: December 17, 2013

Left in the desert to recuperate from her injuries, Sanaa Itami paces the floors and contemplates her mistakes. She trusted too easily, and now people she loved are dead, killed at the hands of men coming to assassinate her. Sanaa feels beaten, but life awaits her at home. While her city recovers from the devastating earthquake, negotiations for Sanaa's future continue. New allies must be made, new friendships brokered, new skills acquired -- at all costs.

Life at the top of the chain is complicated and lonely, though. With all her friendships rocky and uncertain, Sanaa must learn to trust others again more than she's willing. Who is left holding a grudge? And will the new family Sanaa has found with Jiro support or betray her?

RELEASED, Book TWO of the Nogiku Series, is the second book in a captivating post-apocalyptic romance series that harnesses the cultures and traditions of Japan and sweeps them into the future between Earth and a faraway land.

You can find Released on Goodreads:

You can buy Released here:

Reunited (Nogiku series #3)
By SJ Pajonas
Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Post-apocalyptic
Age category: Young Adult, Adult
Release Date: August 14, 2014

Yūsei has surprises for Sanaa Itami. The long trip across the stars ends with Mark Sakai delivering bad news from orbit over their new home, and there’s no turning back or moving on. Despite all their misgivings, this is where they will have to stay.

Sanaa, Jiro, and the rest of Earth’s settlers move into a coastal town and stick to their plans to live the colonization life they dreamed of. But Sanaa’s existence won’t be kept secret from her enemies for long. Kazuo promised he would see her in another life, on another world, and he aims to keep his word. Now she will face those who want their revenge and make new enemies while dispensing with old ones on her journey across the fascinating and unfamiliar landscape of Yūsei.

REUNITED, Book THREE of the Nogiku Series, is the third book in a captivating post-apocalyptic romance series that harnesses the cultures and traditions of Japan and sweeps them into the future between Earth and a faraway land.

You can find Reunited on Goodreads:

About the Author:
S. J. Pajonas loves all things Asian and has been in love with Japan and the East for as long as she can remember. Writing about Asia and Japan came naturally after studying the culture and language for over fifteen years. She studied film and screenwriting first and eventually segued into fiction once she was no longer working a full-time job.

Face Time is the first novel in the Love in the Digital Age series, and Pajonas’s first foray into Korean culture and families. Along with Removed and Released in the Nogiku Series, she continues to take the cultures of Asia and weave them into stories that appeal to people from around the world. Her writing is described as unique and unpredictable. Expect the unexpected.

Stephanie lives with her husband and two children just outside of New York City. She loves reading, writing, film, J- and K-dramas, knitting, and astrology. Her favorite author is Haruki Murakami and favorite book is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

You can find and contact SJ Pajonas here:

And there's a cover reveal wide giveaway! You can win a 10$ gift card for Itunes of Starbucks or one of the 3 e-copies of Released!
Here is the link to the rafflecopter giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 24, 2014

EVENT: Free Writing, Marketing, and Researching Workshops at #PALitFest

Sign Up for Workshops Today
Only 22 FREE seats in each session... 

“If I rest, I rust.” This maxim is true for all of us, writers included!
Key to the Pennsylvania Literary Festival’s mission of educating and informing the public is providing growth opportunities for writers of all skill levels. Our workshops are offered in a small classroom setting, conducive to interaction. With this idea in mind, the seating capacity for each workshop is 22 people. Registration is first-come, first-served, and should be completed online.
Not a writer? Not a problem, workshops are open to the public and free of charge.
"Intimate Scenes for Improved Fiction"
Presented by: Marian Szczepanski
Friday, May 30, 6:30-7:30 PM
Focus on characterization, setting, physical detail, and situational conflict to write intimate scenes for compelling fiction. Includes handout/writing exercise.
"If I can do it, so can you: A no nonsense no gimmick approach to marketing your book"
Presented by: Eric Beebe
Saturday, May 31, 10:00-11:00 AM
Discuss how the cornerstones of basic marketing—like promotion, engagement, and audience—can provide authors and small publishers with an edge in today's dynamic marketplace.
"Public Speaking"
Presented by: Carla Anderton
Saturday, May 31, 11:00 AM-Noon
Calling all authors and other creative professionals: Learn invaluable tips and techniques for effective public speaking in any situation.
"Joy of the Unforeseen" about Writing and Ideas
Presented by: Jody Spedaliere
Saturday, May 31, 1:00-2:00 PM
"The Joy of the Unforeseen" will focus on the positive aspects of experience as it is applied to the creation of poetry. Participants will devote their energy and talents in constructing poems which resonate from the positive and often overlooked aspects in their lives.
"The Shortest Stories Ever Written: Where to Find Them and How to Write Them"
Presented by: Lawrence C. Connolly
Saturday, May 31, 2:00-3:00 PM
This workshop will consider the shortest stories ever written and determine what makes them work.
"Writing Deep POV"
Presented by: Ann Kopchik
Saturday, May 31, 4:30-5:30 PM
Deep POV provides an overview of POV, then dives into what makes Deep POV intimate—and how to achieve it.
"Extreme Grammar"
Presented by:  J.L. Gribble
Saturday, May 31, 7:00-8:00 PM
This is not your high school English class! Learn some obscure grammar rules and pick the brain of a professional technical editor.
“Relaxing the Mind, Body, and Spirit for Writing” [Yoga Workshop]
Presented by: Cathy Kumor
Saturday, June 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Writing demands focused attention that is only possible when proper care is given to the mind, body, and spirit. A primer on yoga will give writers a tool in awakening creativity and rejuvenating the whole self. 
“Digging Up Your Roots: Genealogy”
Sunday, June 1, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Genealogy is the vehicle for an exciting journey into the past, introducing a person to ancestors whose lives have shaped his or her own life in some way. This workshop demystifies genealogical research and shows participants that this hobby can be accessible to everyone. 
“Library Resources”
Sunday, June 1, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
A library is so much more than a place to borrow books! Explore the rich resources that exist within your community libraries, and the ways in which libraries are evolving every day to remain vibrant and relevant.

#PAlitFest sponsorships are still available by contacting
David Slusarick at 724.550.4493 Ext. 9 or at
Your support is greatly appreciated and crucial to the success of this event!
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