Evan Burl & the Falling by Justin Blaney @justinblaney



1:05 pm

I was a wicked boy. And my loving uncle was going to cure me of wickedness. That’s what he told me after we left Henri—right before Yesler took a whip to my back. It’s worse when Yesler gives them. Three lashes feel like thirty.

But I didn’t make a sound. 

And I knew the lashes weren’t for stealing food. They were for climbing the tower with Pike five years ago. Every punishment went back to that. I often went back to that moment. He hit the ground first; me, a fraction of a second later. I often thought back to that moment; all the thousands of little things that caused us to fall just the way we did. Marcus taught me about science. Physics. How little changes can add up to the difference between life and death. 

A soft breeze. The turning of the earth. The way our bodies moved and how we changed our paths through the air without even knowing it. The result was a 4 foot distance between where we landed. 

I hit a thick straw roof and went straight through into a shed filled with hay, breaking 12 bones. My leg never healed properly. 

Pike wasn’t so lucky. 

He hit the cobblestone pavement just outside the hut I landed on. Marcus said that a body could bounce up to six feet into the air after a fall like that. He also said it’s a painless way to die. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know it’s not painless for the ones who survive. Especially when I know that it was me who killed Pike. Even if I could forget that, my uncle Mazol was going to remind me.

That’s what the lashes were really for.

Yesler wanted to leave me in the hall where they whipped me, make me walk back to the caldroen myself. But Ballard must have known I wouldn’t make it. With one arm around me, he helped me limp through the castle. Ballard was like that. He might hold you down under Yesler’s whip in the morning and sneak you a sip of stolen beer in the afternoon. 

Under his other arm, Ballard carried one of the small chests that the roslings were found in. I don’t know where the stuff inside those chests came from or where it went when we were done. We might have been producing reams of cheap linen, doilies of spun gold or refined cow dung for all I knew. No one really cared. If, on the other hand, we discovered the clankers turned out cherry tarts, fresh bread—even moldy bread—now that would be something.  

I imaged Ballard carrying a chest of cherry tarts as we walked, smiling at the absurdity of it. My ragged shirt, tucked in my pants, lapped against my bad leg with every step; it would be a while before I could put it on again. I could hear the blood dripping off my back onto the stone floor as we walked.

We were moving too slow for my uncle and Yesler, so they went ahead to keep an eye on the roslings. Not long after they were out of sight, Ballard gestured to a bench. He seemed to sense how badly I needed to sit down, which was ironic given his role in my suffering.

“Don’t run off,” he said with a crooked smile and a growl, then set the chest down next to me and disappeared around a corner. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be funny or not, but when you have blood running down your back and your best friend is being punished for something you did, it’s difficult to find anything funny.

I sat on the bench, careful not to touch my back to the wall. For a moment, I thought about trying to open the chest next to me, just to see what was inside. But it was impossible to open without the key. Instead, I stared blankly through a huge window into the courtyard.  

Daemanhur sat on a cliff’s edge, high above the Leschi sea, which filled the northern horizon. A 40 foot wall circled the courtyard, running close to the castle by the tower on the uphill side and stretching for nearly a mile down the slopes toward the harbor where a small trade-town was built a few more miles down the road. 

A creek ran under the wall on the uphill side of the courtyard and kept a large lake full year round. There were fish in the lake, but most were to bony and small to eat, not that bones stopped us from trying when we had the time to fish. Another larger river joined the creek just above the town and ran into a harbor where ships docked from time to time. 

I sometimes watched the ships come into the harbor while I was working the clankers, just to give me something to think about besides work. Men from the town  traded with the ships, and sold some of the goods to Mazol. Those who dared to travel through the jungle only did during the daylight and always with armored carriages and trained guards. They also kept moving no matter what. They didn’t stop for anything, not even if one of their passengers fell out of the carriage.

I heard once that traveling guards, runners they were called, the kind who protected deliveries through the jungle earned more money than the town’s mayor. Even for that much money, I wouldn’t take the job. Runners usually didn’t live past thirty. To be a good runner you had to be strong, ruthless and talented with a spear. Intelligence, on the other hand, was not required.

When the warts ordered goods, the runners would come to the gates on the uphill side of the courtyard just outside the window I was looking through. There was a fortified sort of room that was open to the outside where the delivery men could wait in relative safety for someone to come open the gates. The runners would pull a chain which ran over the courtyard and was connected to a bronze bell in the caldroen; the bell was in the caldroen because that’s where the roslings worked and someone would always hear it in there.  

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Author Interview – Harriet Hodgson @healthmn1

Tell us about your new book.

Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss is my latest book. It’s a concise grief recovery resource for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or friend. From the first page to the last, Happy Again! assures the reader that happiness is possible and lists proactive steps he or she may take to achieve it. This is my 32nd book and I’m proud of it.

Tell us a bit about your family.

In 2007 my family changed after four family members — my elder daughter, father-in-law, brother, and former son-in-law – died within nine months. My daughter died from the injuries she received in a car crash. None months later her former husband died from the injuries he received in another car crash. His death made my twin grandchildren orphans and my husband and me GRGs, grandparents raising grandchildren. The twins were 15 ½ years old when they moved in with us. Today, they are 21 years old and seniors in college. Nurturing, caring and loving my grandkids has been the greatest blessing of my life.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

One week after my daughter died I turned to my occupation, writing, to recover from multiple losses. In fact, I made a promise to myself: “I will write my way through grief.” I’m a health and wellness writer and his promise changed the focus of my writing to grief recovery. Eight grief resources have come from this promise. More important, I’ve met national grief experts and many other parents who have suffered the death of a child. No doubt about it, my life is richer because of these people.

Why do you write?

I write to learn new things and figure life out. As a non-fiction writer, I’m always researching and reporting on topics. In other words, I’m learning constantly and I love it.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing. Tell us where you grew up and where you now live.

I grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, the location of the United Nations before it moved into New York City. Some UN delegates sent their children t the high school I attended and I enjoyed meeting them. I attended Wheelock College in Boston, MA and took my graduate training at the University of Minnesota. Rochester, MN is my current home and I love it. Patients come to Mayo Clinic, Rochester from all over the world.


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Genre – Non-fiction

Rating – G

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Website http://harriethodgson.com/

Come & Chat with Vanna Smythe @Vanna_Smythe

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

I would most certainly go into the past. I love the Middle Ages for some reason, though I would also love to travel back in time to the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

I’ve limited myself to writers here.  This is my list: Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, George RR Martin, Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

Pen, paper and chocolate.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

Mind reading.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?


Night owl, or early bird?

Night owl. I only start getting productive after 5PM.

Skittles or M&Ms?

Definitely M&Ms.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

My story has love and hate, duty and honor, lies and deceit, happiness and sorrow, and  more, all wrapped up in a single package.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

I’m now finished my Anniversary of the Veil trilogy, and am already planning a new fantasy series. Though I might just write more books set in the Anniversary of theVeil world soon.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG13

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Website http://vannasmythe.com/

Author Interview – Pepper Winters @PepperWinters

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Being able to say I’m a published writer and chased my dream and never gave up J Cliché I know but completely true.

What books did you love growing up?

I loved Diana Gabaldon—the Crosstitch series. I also loved Jean M Auel—Clan of the cave bear. They were just such fabulous series that I fell in love with the characters

Who is your favorite author?

Laini Taylor for her style of writing. I adored her book—Daughter of Smoke and Bone

What book genre of books do you adore?

I’m going through a contemp romance stage at the moment, but I LOVE darker readers, paranormal, urban fantasy. Everything goes really, but sci-fi. I’m not a lover of aliens J

What book should everybody read at least once?

Tears of Tess J Some shameless self promotion. On a serious note…probably The Great Gatsby J

Tears of Tess

Tess Snow has everything she ever wanted: one more semester before a career in property development, a loving boyfriend, and a future dazzling bright with possibility.

For their two year anniversary, Brax surprises Tess with a romantic trip to Mexico. Sandy beaches, delicious cocktails, and soul-connecting sex set the mood for a wonderful holiday. With a full heart, and looking forward to a passion filled week, Tess is on top of the world.

But lusty paradise is shattered.

Kidnapped. Drugged. Stolen. Tess is forced into a world full of darkness and terror.

Captive and alone with no savior, no lover, no faith, no future, Tess evolves from terrified girl to fierce fighter. But no matter her strength, it can’t save her from the horror of being sold.

Can Brax find Tess before she’s broken and ruined, or will Tess’s new owner change her life forever?

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Genre – Dark New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-18

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Website http://www.pepperwinters.wordpress.com/

#AmReading – When the Heart Falls by Karpov Kinrade @KarpovKinrade

When the Heart Falls by Karpov Kinrade


“One star breaks off from the others, shooting across the sky, a bright light trailing behind it, and I finally understand why people wish on dying stars. Because something always has to die for life to give birth to a new dream.”

Winter Deveaux knows pain. She knows fear. She knows heartache. What she doesn’t know is love. Which is a real problem for someone trying to write a romance novel. When a chance to spend a summer in Paris promises her a cure to her writer’s block, she packs her bags, never suspecting that the source of her darkest secret will follow her across the world.

Cade Savage is a man torn between two worlds. As son to the wealthiest ranching family in Texas, being a cowboy is in his blood, but his heart is set on architecture. He has one shot to decide his fate: a summer course in Paris.

Winter and Cade leave everything they know behind to follow their dreams to the city of lights, but they soon learn you can’t run from the demons that haunt you.
In a story of heartbreak, humor, forgiveness and finding love, these two lost souls must face their darkest fears before they can claim their heart’s desires.
But summer love can’t last forever, and soon they must choose between their future and their past. Between their dreams and their love. Between their secrets, and forgiveness.
Can they forgive the unforgivable in order to find happiness? Or are some people beyond forgiveness?

Author Interview – T.G. Ayer @TGAyerAuthor

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

It depends on where I am and what I have available. If I’m caught out its pen and notebook that I always have in my handbag. Mostly its my PC during the day, and my iPad at night if I’m writing in bed. If I do get away for the weekend or am away from the house for a few days it’s the laptop.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I try to write every day. I think creativity in writing is like a muscle and if you stop using it it tends to get lazy. I try to do 3k a day and sometimes when I do want to push I do 5k a day. It’s a rush and can sometimes get crazy if I have edits happening at the same time but I love it more so because I hate the feeling when I can barely write 500 words in a day. Then I feel a little useless because I know I can do more.

I usually write first thing in the morning until lunchtime and sometimes I may come back to write a little more late at night when the household is asleep.

Do you find the time to read?

As a writer you must find time to read. I think reading is inspiration and most writers need the creative input of reading to boost their own creativity. At least it works that way for me. I find I’m most prolific in terms of plotting and writing when I make the time to read.

What inspires you to write and why?

Everything inspires me, especially people and culture. I’ve always been fascinated with the way the mind works so that’s something that I question a lot when I’m working on a project.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

Definitely paranormal/fantasy. I love mythology and fables. I love the mystery of the possibility of the impossible J


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Genre – YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Rating – PG13

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Website http://tgayer.wordpress.com

Book Review Status

#AmReading – Vaccination by Phillip Tomasso @P_Tomasso

Vaccination by Phillip Tomasso


What if the H7N9 vaccination wasn’t just a preventative measure against swine flu?
It seemed like the flu came out of nowhere and yet, in no time at all the government manufactured a vaccination. Were lab workers diligent, or could the virus itself have been man-made?
Chase McKinney works as a dispatcher at 9-1-1. Taking emergency calls, it becomes immediately obvious that the entire city is infected with the walking dead. His first goal is to reach and save his two children.
Could the walls built by the U.S.A. to keep out illegal aliens, and the fact the Mexican government could not afford to vaccinate their citizens against the flu, make the southern border the only plausible destination for safety?

Author Interview -Tarah Scott @TarahScott

What color represents your personality the most?


What movie do you love to watch?

My favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter?

Are they a good thing? Love social media! Facebook and Twitter have been very good to me.

If you could do any job in the world what would you do?How do you feel about self-publishing?

I think self-publishing is wonderful. Some of my books are self published. The trick is to treat self publishing with the same professionalism you would if you were traditionally published.

How important are friends in your life?

Friends are very important to me. We all need good friends.

Do you find the time to read?

I sure do, though not as much time as I’d like.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I’d say my determination.

My Highland Lord

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Genre – Historical  Romance

Rating – R

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Website http://www.tarahscott.com/

Author Interview – Jim Musgrave @OMalley_Mystery

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

I wrote this trilogy because I wanted to get into the Steampunk genre.  Therefore, the first three books in the Detective Pat O’Malley historical mysteries bring my sleuth ever closer to meeting the main adversaries, the Steam City Pirates.  Technically, only the third novel, Jane the Grabber, features an authentic Steampunk villain, but all of the novels do feature elements present in the genre and aficionados will appreciate them as well.  I hope my marketing campaign will introduce new readers to this interesting genre of fiction, so I can gain a following all my own.  Please read my blog post on this topic.

Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?

Writers can watch for my daily “Sweet Writing Tweets.”

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I hope my readers will enjoy learning about history as they are entertained.  I spend many, many hours on historical research for accuracy.  I weave it within the plot like a fine tapestry, and the result (hopefully) should be an overall feeling of satisfaction by the reader.

What’s your favorite meal?

Chinese food, specifically my own version of Chicken Chow Mein.  Y’all can write to me for the recipe.

What color represents your personality the most?


Jim Musgrave

Here are all three suspenseful mysteries in one book!

Forevermore, the first mystery, was a #2 bestseller in Amazon’s Historical Mystery category. It has received outstanding reviews from readers, and it establishes Pat O’Malley as a detective sleuth par excellence. The second mystery, Disappearance at Mount Sinai, continues the development of the characters amidst an excellent caper. The third mystery, Jane the Grabber, plunges O’Malley into the middle of the Steampunk world, and it marks a turning point in the novels to come.

Forevermore Synopsis:

“Musgrave mixes accurate history with a spell-binding plot to create an amazing who-done-it! Watch for more Pat O’Malley Mysteries.”

In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O’Malley is living inside Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx. O’Malley is haunted by Poe one night, and the detective finds a strange note. As a result, O’Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was, instead, murdered. O’Malley quickly becomes embroiled in a “cold case” that thrusts him into the lair of one of the most sinister and ruthless killers in 1865 New York City.

Jim Musgrave’s “Forevermore” is a quick read in four acts that will keep your mind razor sharp trying to solve the mystery of Poe’s murder. Pat O’Malley must first find out how to become intimate with females before he can discover the final clue in this puzzle of wits, murder and romance.

Disappearance at Mount Sinai Synopsis:

What if the anti-Semites, racists, and terrorists wanted the final revenge following the Civil War? How do you stop them from committing the worst atrocity?

It’s 1866 in New York City. Civil War Vet and Detective Pat O’Malley’s biggest case returns him to the deep, dark South to search for the kidnapped wealthiest inventor and entrepreneur in America. But the widening gyre of anti-Semitism and racism pulls him down into the pit of hell itself. Disguised as an Oxford England Professor, O’Malley infiltrates the anti-Semites’ group and travels with his partners, Becky Charming and his father, Robert, down to a Collierville, Tennessee mansion.

At the crux of this case are a Jewish father and his five-year-old son, Seth. They have developed a unique bond that relies on Jewish folklore and a belief that they are Mazikeen, half-angel and half-human, born from the loins of Adam’s strange female cohorts during the 130 years he was banished from the Garden. Will O’Malley find Dr. Mergenthaler before it’s too late? What does this world-wide eugenics group have planned for the mongrel races? Read Jim Musgrave’s Disappearance at Mount Sinai, the second mystery in the series of Pat O’Malley Mini-Mysteries.

Jane the Grabber Synopsis:

What was it like before women were given rights to determine their own destinies? How was abortion and birth control used in the 1860s? What happens to a society when the last sexual taboo is permitted? Find out in the third mystery in the Pat O’Malley Historical Steampunk Mystery Series, Jane the Grabber.

Buy Now @ Amazon @ Createspace

Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery

Rating – PG13

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Website http://contempinstruct.com/Forevermore/

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Author Interview – D.A.& M.P. Wearmouth @dampwearmouth

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

M – Building up experience of writing to improve after each book.  A successful trilogy followed by a new book.

D – Creating something that you can be proud of, and that others can hopefully enjoy. I’m sure there are thousands of undiscovered books out there, that are equally as good as most things in the top one hundred on Amazon.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

M – We tried to get some traction initially by marketing to friends and family alongside other ebook promotions.  We reduced the price to 99p and the book ranking seemed to cause further momentum.

D – Exposure on the Amazon rankings is pretty key, but it’s quite hard to achieve. I think having an eye catching cover, a blurb that creates interest and a good value price are three key elements to having a successful campaign. Hopefully the right readers are targeted by placing the book in the correct Amazon categories, and also placing the book in the right genre when submitting to an online advertiser.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

M – First Activation is an EOTWAWKI thriller.  It’s about two characters who find themselves thrown into the new world and change due to circumstances and experiences.  We wanted the story to be unveiled so that the reader only knows what the narrator, Harry, knows.  It’s a journey that the reader takes with Harry through his here discoveries and more will be revealed as the next book progresses.  Harry doesn’t assimilate everything along the way so there are breadcrumbs for the careful reader.

D – Pretty much what Marcus says, we wanted to come up with something original. There’s a risk involved when doing this, but so far people have seemed to enjoy the story. We’ve had a lot of questions about when our second book is coming out.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

M – Tony Blair to try and penetrate his politician outer layer.

D – Winston Churchill, he was supposed to be great fun over dinner and loved a decent drink. I’d love to know what drove him.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

M – Socialising, golf, movies.  I’m also in Harrogate Round Table which involves charity work.

D – Going out to eat and drink with family and friends, I live for it.

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?

M – Put down the laptop and go outside.

D – Clear you head of any thoughts surrounding post-publishing until you finish the final draft.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

M – Intensely during periods and then intermittently.   No particular time as it has to fit in with life in general.

D – I’m also a bit of a binge writer, I can write for five days running, knocking out fifteen thousand words, then close the laptop for a few days and clear my mind.

First Activation

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Genre – Horror/Science Fiction

Rating – R

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Website http://dampwearmouth.com/

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