CHASING BEDLAM — CHARLES YALLOWITZ

Good morning, everyone! Fellow blogger and author Charles Yallowitz just released his new book, Chasing Bedlam. I’m thrilled to help him promote it. He’s been with me since I first started blogging four years ago. Best of all, not only is Chasing Bedlam on sale for .99, so is the first book, Crossing Bedlam.

Check out the details and an excerpt below. Congrats, Charles!!

 

Return to the Shattered States
for a tale of love between a woman & her jeep!

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Lloyd and Cassidy’s last adventure was to honor a life. This time they are out to end one.

It was a normal, violent mission to Texas that should have had nothing more than beer-induced hiccups. That is until an old enemy makes off with Cassidy’s jeep and most of their gear. Needless to say, she’s pissed off and challenging Lloyd for the psychopath of the month award. With the mouthy serial killer by her side, she is going on the warpath from Dallas to Miami even if it means declaring war on the drug cartels.

So strap in for another wild ride through the Shattered States and learn why you never mess with Cassidy’s jeep.

Available on Amazon for 99 cents!

Want a taste?

“So your boss thought she could send assassins to kill the Riflemen,” the black-haired leader says, earning a cheer from his men. A firm smack to the prisoner’s head silences her gurgling attempt to deny the charge. “Nothing you say can prevent the inevitable. Don’t go thinking that pet serial killer will save you either. The idiot brought a paintball gun to Texas and thought he’d win a gunfight? I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did. All we need to do is find the body and we can collect the bounty on him too. Guess you’re lucky that he’s wanted dead and you’re wanted alive by that warden up north.”

“I’d be careful, boss,” a sword-wielding gang member warns. She leans away from the angry glare, but rolls up her sleeve to reveal a sloppily stitched wound. “While this one isn’t as tough as her reputation says, she can still hit hard. Lost two men before we restrained her and three more are nursing broken balls. Maybe we should use some of our tranquilizer stash and keep her sedated.”

“No reason for th-” Top Hog begins as he runs his hand across the prisoner’s forehead. He rubs his fingers at the sensation of something sticky between his fingers and looks closer to figure out what he has touched. “This scar is fake. Made from glue or something. Are you sure this is Cassidy?”

“She was with Lloyd Tenay at the bar,” a one-eyed man replies in a shaky voice. He shifts from one foot to the other when everyone else takes a step away from him. “You told us to look for him and a blonde woman. She had the denim jacket, the forehead scar, cursed a lot, carried two pistols, and even has the correct tramp stamp. Everyone was calling her Cassidy after she drove up in the blue jeep too. We made sure that everything checked out, boss. Even bribed the bartender and two waitresses.”

Sweat beading on his face, Top Hog draws his large gun and presses it to the prisoner’s temple. He leans around her, his eyes repeatedly darting toward her hands to make sure they are still bound. Lifting her white shirt, he sees the unique tattoo that the widespread stories mention Cassidy getting a little less than a year ago. The design is two pistols back to back with vines of bone curling around and binding them together. A strange discoloration catches the gang leader’s attention and he rubs his thumb along the woman’s side, pushing his weapon harder against her head to prevent wiggling. He swears that he feels a seam, so he gets a dirty fingernail beneath what turns out to be a flesh-colored sticker. Top Hog yanks it off and shows it to his men, the prisoner biting her lower lip to avoid screaming. He can already see that the tattoo is smeared from where he has touched it with his meaty fingers.

Enraged and embarrassed, the gang leader is about to kill the fake Cassidy when he hears distant rock music. Within seconds, he realizes that the source is getting closer and is soon joined by maniacal laughter coming over a crackling megaphone. With a snap of his fingers, Top Hog orders one of his men to take the prisoner to his office while the others run for the exit. Nobody gets very far before a blue jeep, which has been outfitted with a wide battering ram, smashes through the front of the warehouse. The vehicle leaves a gaping hole in the wall, which is made worse by hooked chains on the rear bumper that catch and tear more of the obstacle down. The jeep continues at full speed through crates, shelving units, and the slower gang members whose deaths are celebrated by honks of the horn. Tires screech as the driver hits the brakes and gets the car to spin, the move appearing to have no purpose beyond making those inside dizzy. With an embarrassing thud, the vehicle hits the back wall and hisses to a stop.

The gang have already drawn their weapons and are cautiously approaching the jeep when the sunroof opens. Bullets fly at the blonde figure that leaps out, the projectiles creating so many holes that the top half of their target falls off. The legs of the cardboard cutout are casually tossed to the floor before the shriek of a megaphone makes everyone cringe and cover their ears. With the tattered remains laying face up, the frustrated criminals realize that they have destroyed another Cassidy decoy. They are about to inch closer when the jeep briefly roars to life and a man inside begins making engine noises. The sounds change to the exaggerated screams and detailed begging of those whose parts are still stuck to the scuffed battering ram.

“So that was your plan, Cassidy?” Top Hog asks with a chuckle. He turns to see their prisoner is trying to roll away and fires his gun into the air to stop her. “Two decoys, so that you could get the drop on us. Guess you thought more of us would get run over. You still have thirteen of my crew standing and you’re cornered in that jeep. Now, the only question is if I send a piece of you back to the Duchess as a message that she should stay out of my business. Damn northerner needs to stay out of Texas’s business.”

“Actually, that young woman was the bait and I was the distraction,” Lloyd announces from inside. With a gleeful laugh, he opens one of the doors and yanks it back when the gang shoots at him. “Well shit. That was my favorite power window button. Anyway, people make that mistake all the time. You see, bait draws you in and, at least here, allows the real predators to follow you back to the previously hidden hideout. Not even a sign to help us out, which is very rude and unaccommodating. Now, the distraction’s job is to keep you looking in one direction while a mischievous maiden of mayhem prepares her new toy somewhere else. Don’t bother running, boys, because she’ll take that as an insult.”

Top Hog and his men turn toward the hole in the wall, which has exposed them to the large parking lot. The sun forces them to squint at the lone figure standing behind a loaded mini-gun, the weapon glinting in the midday light. Clouds move across the sky, which makes it easier for the gang to identify the denim jacket and blonde hair of their enemy. They take a few shots at the distant woman, but their bullets either miss completely or bounce off several riot shields that are strapped to the weapon. A slamming car door causes them to jump, but they turn in the wrong direction and are unable to stop Lloyd from racing toward the prisoner. Wearing orange pants from his time as a prisoner and a red shirt with a lightning bolt, the black-haired serial killer seems like an obvious target as he scoops up the young woman and dives behind a box of grenades. Suddenly afraid for their lives, Top Hog and his men attempt to scatter and hunt for cover.

“I hate moving targets,” Cassidy growls.

And don’t forget how it all started in
CROSSING BEDLAM!
Also on sale for 99 cents!

charles

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

TIMELESS BLOG TOUR AND EDITING TIPS FROM CRYSTAL COLLIER

Hey, everyone! I’m excited today to be participating in the Blog Tour for Crystal Collier’s new book, Timeless. Thank you, Crystal, for sharing your new book and offering up some editing tips.

At the end of the post, you’ll find the link to Crystal’s Rafflecopter Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter!

 

 

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?
 

BUY: Amazon | B&N

How to Fix Your Sagging Middle

Thank you for having me here today!

So you’ve written this story with an epic beginning, a killer end, but the middle–ugh! No matter what you do, you can’t seem to fix the saggy, boring, drawn-out middle.

Here are a few quick tips to whip that middle into a gem.

First, we have to diagnose the issue. Often middles suffer from one of these:

1. Passive character action
2. Lack of focus on plot
3. Where did the tension go?

Correcting character passivity: 

Characters need to change and grow in a novel. It’s a known truth. Otherwise, we end up with “cardboard” characters, and who wants to hang out with them? I mean, they can’t even talk back to you!

The protagonist needs to be changing and challenged by everything that comes their way. No one wants to read about someone smoothly sailing over their challenges.

A big issue I run across is a character who is merely reacting to everything that’s happening rather than actively seeking after their goals. It’s fine for a character to react to their world, but when you hit the 50% point of a book, that HAS to change. This is the point at which the character has been pushed and shoved and won’t take it no more! From this moment on they must actively go after what they need–whether that be a relationship, independence, power, wealth, revenge, justice, or peace. (And if your character doesn’t BREAK, maybe that’s the issue?)


Focusing the Plot:

But your character does change and grow and pursues their goals. What is wrong?

Have you looked at the plot? A dynamic plot has a strong beginning, a dramatic turn around at the middle, and a powerful end, but that’s not all. The middle of that plot should contain no less than 3 (and preferably more like 6) plot points that DRIVE us toward a need for resolution. Try creating a plot chart where you actually measure where your action falls. I’m serious here–an actual graph. Estimate the tension for each plot point along the way on a scale from one to ten. (This means you have to clearly identify the turning points in the manuscript–any time something happens that motivates major change.)

Every time you hit a plot point, you’re going to go from a negative to a positive motivation, or the reverse. Technically, every chapter should be balanced by a negative to positive (or the reverse). This is one way to get to the next issue…


Where did the tension go? 

Image from Getty Images

There was a point at which I started chanting “tension all the time” while writing. There must be a juicy carrot–a mystery or desire hanging in front of the readers face to keep them moving forward. What question do you want readers asking in each chapter? What feeling do you want them to experience at the end of each chapter? Don’t leave it to chance. Actually, ask yourself these question and answer them–then implement the answer if it doesn’t already exist. Keep a mystery/need in front of the characters, and only let your readers relax about once every 60 pages. Keep them worried. Keep them hopeful. Keep them wondering.

In the end, middles only sag if we don’t build the proper structure beneath them. Go forth and support! You’ve got this.

What advice do you give for sagging middles? Have you been able to fix a book from the middle?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

 

Thank you, Crystal!! Now don’t forget to click on the link below to enter Crystal’s Rafflecopter Giveaway!

(An email address is required for awarding prizes.)

 

https://www.crystal-collier.com/spinner/

 

THE UNDEAD ROAD-MY ZOMBIE SUMMER: PART ONE

I’m excited to be part of my friend and fellow blogger David Powers King‘s cover reveal for his new Young Adult novel, The Undead Road-My Zombie Summer: Part One. Once you read the blurb, enter his contest to win a chance to be zombified in Part Two! You know I’m going for it; I love me some zombies, though I never pictured myself being one…

Cvr-UR
Title: The Undead Road: My Zombie Summer: Part 1

Author: David Powers King

Publisher: CreateSpace / Dashboard Books

Ebook Release: January 1st, 2016

Paperback: January 26th, 2016

Cover by Steven Novak

 

BOOK BLURB:

Nothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Beretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment.

CONTEST DETAILS:

A while ago, David invited the blogosphere to let him turn one unfortunate lucky contestant into a zombie for The Undead Road. The winner was Ilima Todd, who is now the awesome author of Remake. The next installment of My Zombie Summer is underway, and David wants to do this contest again. Want to be in a zombie book? Not only is this your chance, but it is your choice!

CtstURd2

 

Between now and next Wednesday, send an email to dpowersking [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line: Zombify Me! Contest. In your email, David wants you to tell him three things:

 

1: The name you will be identified as (example: your first name).

2: A description of yourself—the more detailed you are, the better.

3: How would you like the survivors to put you out of your misery

 

Four casualties contestants will be chosen on Wednesday, November 25th. The most inventive or interesting entry will be zombified! The other three who are unlucky fortunate enough to survive will be given special honors. Winners will be announced on December 2nd on David’s blog.

Prizes? The winner will be zombified in the pages of My Zombie Summer: Part Two, receive a signed proof of the novel (when it’s ready), and a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card. The runner ups will receive a free e-book of The Undead Road for their Kindle (other platforms TBA).

Thank you for participating, and good luck!

About the Author:

DPK15David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to be a writer. He is the co-author of the YA fantasy novel WOVEN, published by Scholastic. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He currently lives deep in the mountain West with his wife and three children.

 

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Congratulations, Sir David! How many of you love zombies as much as we do? Planning on entering the Zombify Me contest?

 

 

18 THINGS

Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! I have a long list of books I’ve read in the past year that I haven’t been able to review, so I’m mixing them up with books that I’m reading and are on my TBR. Today I’ll be reviewing 18 Things by Jamie Ayres, that I read a while ago and only scanned over it again to remember character names and certain details. I remember the story clearly.

18Things

 

BOOK:  18 THINGS

AUTHOR: JAMIE AYRES

GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/PARANORMAL

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.

When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

MY REVIEW:

Olga’s been in love with Conner since they were little kids and never told him, so they grew up being best friends. Conner dies tragically while they’re out sailing, and Olga is unable to save him, though injured herself and subsequently rendered unconscious. She can’t help but blame herself, thinking she could have done more to save him. The fact that she wanted the girl he asked to prom – popular, head cheerleader Tammy, to know she could have him with her any time she wanted when they planned that fateful day, made it worse. Unfortunately, when she goes back to school after his funeral, a few anonymous and cold-hearted classmates leave notes in her locker blaming her too.

In an effort to escape her pains, physical and emotional, Olga takes the bottle of pain medication the hospital prescribed her when she was discharged. After the ‘pill incident’, her parents insist on therapy. Her therapist Dr. Jill recommends a bucket list of 18 things to do during the year until she’s 18 to help her move forward with the healing process.

It’s while waiting for one of her sessions that she meets Nate Barca, who was court-ordered to therapy. A friendship begins. Olga finds Nate attractive, which she bothers her, because she still loves Conner. She appeals to God for answers – through prayers and pleas many times. How am I going to get through the year? Why didn’t God take me instead of him? I’m not going to give away much more because of spoilers.

I loved the idea and premise of the story. Reading how Olga, Nate, and her friends helped construct and get her through the bucket list was fun. Most of the characters were well fleshed out, although a couple were kind of cliché. Nate was my favorite and who I felt had the most personality. The book has references to God, scripture, and prayers, but it’s not added in a preachy way; it’s an important part of who Olga is and how she ‘deals’.

The ending shocked me – but didn’t, I guess. I had suspicions about how it was going to end in the beginning, but as I kept reading I said ‘Nah’ and forgot about them. When I finally reached the ending, I thought to myself – ‘Wait, what?’ … and had to go back to look for the clues that had me suspicious in the first place!

Overall, I think this is an interesting and clean read for young adults, and would recommend it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

AyresJJamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her jamieayres.com.

 

 

 

OPPRESSION

Hey everyone! Welcome to the Read and Review Challenge, started by the wonderful Jessica Therrien. It’s a great opportunity for authors and reader/reviewers to connect.ReadRev

Click on the image  to find out more.

Today I’m reviewing one of Ms. Therrien’s own novels – Oppression.

Oppression

 

TITLE:  OPPRESSION

AUTHOR:  JESSICA THERRIEN

GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/FANTASY

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s well over eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning-and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.

MY REVIEW:

Elyse is a young woman who had been kept sheltered by her parents since she was a young child. She ages far slower than a normal person, and can heal. Elyse thinks only her parents and best friend know her secret, and the latter was by accident. That’s not the case. When her parents are killed in a tragic car accident, she begins to find out the truth about who she really is.

There are many more like her – descendants of Greek gods, each having their own ability, depending on which gods they are descended from. (Ms. Therrien does a great job breaking this down.) Unlike the others, Elyse is special. Her reason for being is cause for celebration to the oppressed, but a danger to others (the “Council”). It’s why her parents kept her hidden for so many years. She is the one destined to fulfill a prophecy, but she doesn’t even know who she can trust.

I love books that revolve around mythology – Greek, Roman, Norse, or whatever. I’ll read it. I liked the premise and story. Most of the characters were fleshed out well, with distinct personalities. William turns out to be Elyse’s love interest, though she initially isn’t sure if she can trust him. Their attraction is instantaneous, and it seems as if they’re destined for each other.

Kara is one that I loved to hate, but felt for her as the story unfolded, because I got to understand her predicament. I really love the depth of her character. We don’t get to know much about Ryder except that he has a hatred for Elyse and is a bad guy. The Council, well, they’re just out for Elyse.

It took me the first chapter or so to figure out the aging delay. When Elyse initially stated her age as 50 on page 1 or 2, I was confused. It’s explained soon after, and I finally got with the program. 🙂 I would liked to have read more about the Counsel, why Ryder hated her so much, etc. I don’t want to give away spoilers, so I won’t say any more. I was left with some unanswered questions that I hope the next installment will answer.

Overall, this was a read I enjoyed and would recommend it to others.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JTherrienJessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Aside from her trilogy, Jessica’s work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, The Soulless, won first place for people’s choice and fourth place in the judging round.  After growing up in the tiny town of Chilcoot, CA, population 108, Jessica currently lives in Irvine, CA with her husband and two young sons.

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