Monday, September 29, 2014

NEW RELEASE: EYE OF THE BEHOLDER (A Short Story)

My adult sci-fi short story, EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, is now available for Kindle. It will be available for Nook at the end of the year, too.

Summary:  Chester Van Breuer is obsessed with Maureen, the drop dead gorgeous woman who lives in the apartment across the hall. With his scarred face and uncontrollable stutter, he is no match for the men who come and go through her door. To rectify the situation, Chester seeks an unconventional "cure" from a Chinese herbalist shop, but soon discovers that lust and beauty are only skin deep.

Published by Skyrocket Press

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NY1Y364



Thursday, September 25, 2014

WHAT'S IN A (MIDDLE GRADE) COVER?

(Rest of post deleted. Why? Because I felt like it.)

Below are a few recent middle grade book covers that really knocked my socks off!


The Dreamosphere Flights and Chimes and Mysterious TimesThe Curse of the ButtonsWish You Weren't
The DreamstoneRain Reign

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CREATING TOC FOR EBOOKS

Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop (Ends 9/25)
To Ph.D. or not to Ph.D.?
Excerpt from SOULESS by Amber Garr


BannerFans.com*

I'm in the process of teaching myself how to publish books. It is quite a steep learning curve, but very doable. I thank God for Google every day, because that is how I've learned every step of the way.

I've decided to share what I've learned with you every so often since some of you might be interested in doing the same thing. Today I learned how to create a hyperlinked table of contents for Ebooks using Word, thanks to the fantastic Youtube video below:



Friday, September 19, 2014

STUCK IN A GOOD BOOK GIVEAWAY HOP


Welcome to "Stuck in a Good Book" Giveaway Hop, sponsored by I Am A Reader and Stuck in Books!

To change things up a little, this time around I'm giveaway a full set of my published novels -- all signed. If you're interested in winning, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. U.S. residents 18 years and up only, please.

This giveaway ends on Sept 25th. Don't forget to check out the other participating blogs!


Read about  my books HERE:




Friday, September 5, 2014

TO Ph.D. OR NOT TO Ph.D.?

I started my third year of graduate school last week, and while the courses I'm taking are interesting and I'm feeling that euphoria of knowing it will all be over soon, I have also spent a lot of time reflecting on why I did this in the first place and where I will go from here.

The idea of continuing on for my Ph.D. has been bouncing around in the back of my skull for some time, but I made a decision today to forever (probably) scratch that off my bucket list. I've been drawn to USC's (University of Southern California) graduate program for three of reasons: 1 - If you're lucky enough to get into the program, THEY PAY YOU! Getting a Doctorate--for free??? So tempting.  2 - Unlike most Doctoral programs that offer studies only in literature, USC has a lit/creative writing hybrid. Very cool. And 3 - It's within driving distance from my house. Doable.

What are the drawbacks? I counted seven. First, they only accept 3 - yes, 3! - fiction students each year. Talk about competitive.
 

Second, students must select several specialized areas of study from a list. Children's literature is not on that list. Bummer.

Third, students must show a proficiency in a foreign language. What??? I'm still on level one of Rosetta Stone Spanish. I highly doubt I'll master the language between now and next summer.

Fourth, the program is five years long. That wouldn't be a problem if I was, say, 25 or even 35, but as of today I am 46 years old. I'd be over 50 by the time I get that degree, the age at which most people start thinking about retiring!

Fifth, why the heck do I need a Ph.D. anyway? It seems to me that the only reason to get a doctorate in literature is to become a university professor. And while I do intend to teach, it is not my end all goal. I will teach not because I really want to teach (though I really do enjoy it), but because I need some money to help put my five kids through college! I do not want to teach full time. I don't want tenure. I don't even want health insurance. Just a little something extra for the kids' college funds.

Sixth, I want to WRITE! My passion is writing. My dream is to make enough money as a writer SOMEDAY so that I don't have to do anything else! The M.A., the teaching, all that is my back up plan. Graduate school has seriously interrupted my writing. Tacking on another five years of doctoral studies - I might as well just stop writing all together.

Seventh, the most important reason of all. I'm a mom. During the past two years, I've spent between 5-10 hours a week going to school, one or two nights each week, not including my study time. It's not much really, but I want to spend more time with my kids, not less.

So I am not, NOT doing the Ph.D. thing. I'll soon have my back up plan securely in place with my M.A. and a part-time adjunct professorship at a local city college. I'll hang with my kids, write some more books, and hopefully give my writing career a kickstart. And when I graduate, I'm going throw myself the biggest party in the history of...whatever. I will definitely be celebrating.

BOOK TOUR: SOULESS by Amber Garr

SOULESS
Amber Garr
Hallowed Ink Press
Ages 14+


When it comes to death and love...only one is guaranteed.

Four decades ago Nora died. A tragic event for someone so young; however, four decades ago Nora was also given a second chance to walk among the living.

A Death Warden with a mysterious past, her job is to escort the newly expired towards the light, battling with the Soul Hunters who want the freshly dead to help with their own evil purposes buried in the dark.

When Nora's charges suddenly become targets, she realizes that the hunters are after far more than just souls. A shift in power between good and evil threatens to change everything, risking the lives of the only family Nora has ever known.

Devastated and angry, she's forced to face the man she once loved - a man who chose darkness over her - in order to find the answers she needs to stop the horror from escalating. Yet, while a lost relationship still haunts her broken heart, a new Warden with secrets of his own will enter the mix and quickly alter everything Nora believed to be true.

Death is unavoidable...but sometimes, so is love.

 

EXCERPT:

No one invites Death to a party.

Luckily, I wore a disguise. . . and I wasn’t Death, exactly. It’s true I might linger around humans on their way out of this world, but I wasn’t the one who decided their fate. I just had to explain it all.
Knowing what type of scene I was about to enter, I decided to use my free time in this realm—as well as my natural petite body—to their fullest advantage. Grimacing at the hideous tunic I wished I could leave behind forever, I morphed into a pair of skinny jeans, black corset, and high heeled boots that clung to my calves like liquid leather. Concentrating a little more, I looked down to admire my success. The matching hot pink thong and lower back tattoo peeked out in all the right places, promising these poor souls favors I would never honor.

At least I didn’t plan on it.

“Wow! Where did you come from, Angel?”

I looked up to see a tall, blond frat boy standing next to the door. His hungry eyes and wide smile tempted something inside me. Not lust, it was pity. He eagerly grabbed at his friend’s arm, directing his attention toward the new fresh meat. I hadn’t even made it up the porch of the old house before being spotted. Although, if being honest with myself, I loved his reaction. I walked up the stairs and stood in the doorway.

Horrible reggae-techno music blasted onto the street, and with each beat of the overly loud bass the windows pulsated. I’d just stepped into the middle of a raging college party. A brief sense of sadness crept through me as I imagined the life I could’ve had as one of the living, if only it hadn’t been cut so short. I never made it to college. Never had a chance to get drunk and be stupid. Never even had a real date.

But when I took in my surroundings, I remembered that I wouldn’t have missed very much.


College students littered the ground floor with their gyrating bodies and arrogant sense of selves. More spilled onto the stairs leading up to the bedrooms, reminding me of cows being led to slaughter. A combination of darkness and smoke from legal and illicit substances created a ghostly haze throughout the house. Glow sticks hung around people’s necks and settled in the bottom of clear plastic cups, giving the cheap beer an odd tint.

“I don’t think we’ve met you before.” The doorman commented while using the proverbial fraternity ‘we’. He was cute. Young and inexperienced, but still cute. Built like an athlete with round, dark eyes and fashionably messy hair, I knew college would probably be the best years of his life. I wondered how long he’d have after that; after losing the hair, gaining the beer gut, and sitting with his co-workers from a hideous job talking about the good old days.

“No, you haven’t.” I smiled, turning on the charm. “I’m looking for Todd.”

“Is that so?” He stepped away from his post and moved closer. Devouring me with his eyes, he offered a wicked smile full of blatant innuendos. He stood close enough for me to smell his cologne over the cigarettes and stale beer stench clinging to his clothes. Not bad. I placed a hand on his muscular arm and rose up on my toes.

“Yes, that’s so.” Not a sexy statement, but I knew how to make it one. I’d had a good teacher when I joined the ‘other side’. Ignoring the sudden pang of longing in my heart, I continued playing my role. With a slight whisper, my lips passed by the frat boy’s neck and brushed close to his ear. His sharp intake of breath let me know I’d hit my mark.

Bending his head down to accommodate our height difference, he returned the flirtatious gesture by speaking directly into my ear.

“Oh, that’s too bad.”

His hand slid around my lower back and ever so slightly pulled me a little closer. He took a deep breath, seeming to commit my scent to memory. A small sensation of his lips against my shoulder sent shivers through my body just before he let out a deep sigh.

“Are you sure you want Todd?” He sounded rather serious, but frat boys had a code, and if I belonged to Todd this one wouldn’t give me too much trouble. Not unless I asked for it.

I giggled and gave a tight squeeze on his arm. “I am right now, but I’ll let you know if it doesn’t work out.”

Pulling back, I looked into his eyes and saw the potential a few more moments of flirting could hold. And the danger. It had been a long time since I commanded this kind of attention.

“Promise?” he asked with a wink.

I nodded, and he pointed to the living room-turned impromptu dance floor. Giving him a final killer smile, I sauntered toward the center of the party feeling his gaze on me the whole way.

Todd McCormick was drunk.

Reeling on wobbly feet, he attempted to dance with his girlfriend, whose slurred speech and loud laughter indicated her own state of induced oblivion. As the center of attention, he sang a bad version of Brown Eyed Girl to Emily in between cheek kisses and gulps of beer. A couple of his friends joined him on the chorus and gave her a serenade only the inebriated could truly appreciate. They were enjoying themselves.

I’d been watching Todd for two decades, and one thing I could say was that when he wanted to let loose, he gave it his all. I suppose I envied him a bit for his youth and naïveté—two characteristics I’d lost a long time ago. Responsibilities, angst, and death now filled my days. I suppose one could argue that I chose this for myself, but I could also argue that I really didn’t have much of a choice at all. And now, here I stood, flirting with college guys while watching others make complete idiots out of themselves with no idea what was in store for them.
 

 

Monday, September 1, 2014

SEPTEMBER IS FOR SEQUELS GIVEAWAY HOP



SeptemberSequels Giveaway

Welcome to the September Sequels Giveaway Hop hosted by Lisa Loves Literature and I Am A Reader! I'm giving away...


To be eligible to win, just fill out the rafflecopter below.  U.S. residents 18 years and older only, please. Don't forget to visit the other participating blogs for more chances to win. Thank you!

King Dork Approximately