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David Litwack – Compelling Ideas, Great Books, and a Special Deal

A little something from author David Litwack, followed by a little something from Evolved Publishing.

 
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” ~ Albert Einstein
 
I’m sometimes asked how I come up with new ideas, especially since most of my novels involve alternate worlds and unusual cultures. The short answer: I don’t have a clue. Ideas come to me rather than me seeking them out. They arrive at odd times, usually when I’m least rational. They appear out of thin air during a long walk or a boring drive. But mostly they arrive in my twilight half-awake state, between five-thirty and six AM, when I’ve had enough sleep to be half conscious, but am still too groggy to let my rational side dominate.

Images materialize out of nowhere with only one thing in common. All evoke some strong emotion in me. Then as I come more alert, I find myself trying to make sense of them. Where did they come from? What do they mean? And inevitably—assuming I’ve been writing each day—how can I use this image in my latest story?

Logic follows creativity around like a good scribe, taking notes and organizing thoughts into coherent patterns. But where do the ideas come from? I haven’t a clue.

No wonder the ancients came up with the notion of the muse.

My conclusion: Creativity comes not from finding ideas, but by embracing them as they flit across the palette of a daydreaming mind.

NOTES FROM THE PUBLISHER

First, David followed up that original line of thinking above with some additional posts, which you can find here:
1. IDEAS, IDEAS – THE ROCK FACE
2. IDEAS, IDEAS – THE TEMPLE OF THE DREAMERS

Second, part of what drove us to feature David today is the release of our newest book by him, ALONG THE WATCHTOWER, which we’re really excited about. This is a re-release, revised and re-edited, and is even stronger than its award-winning first edition. If you never discovered the first edition (maybe even if you did), you’ll definitely want to discover this new second edition.
 

A tragic warrior lost in two worlds… Which one will he choose?

WINNER: Readers’ Favorite Book Award – Bronze Medal – Fiction Drama
WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Best Literary Fiction

The war in Iraq ended for Freddie when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once a skilled gamer as well as a capable soldier, he’s now a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities.

The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse—and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic, which Freddie enters when he sleeps. The lines soon blur for Freddie, not just caught between two worlds, but lost within himself.

Is he Lieutenant Freddie Williams, a leader of men, a proud officer in the US Army who has suffered such egregious injury and loss? Or is he Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde, his only solace the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, whose gentle words calm the storms in his soul.

In the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission to that of the prince—a journey along a dark road, haunted by demons of guilt and memory. Can he let patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart? It may be his only way back from Hell.

“This is a book that deserves to be read. It is both gritty reality and magical fantasy, and filled with both love and beauty, and ugliness and despair, but ultimately it is a story of healing, of burying the past, finding hope and taking control of the future.” ~ Awesome Indies Reviews

AND… A SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY

To help celebrate the launch of David Litwack’s new book, we’re placing a fan favorite on sale for ONLY $0.99. The first book in “The Seekers” series, THE CHILDREN OF DARKNESS, has been a huge hit, receiving critical acclaim and winning multiple awards (as have, by the way, all 3 books in this series). Now’s your chance to discover this extraordinary series for only $0.99 for the eBook of Book 1.
 

A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Best Science Fiction

“But what are we without dreams?”

The vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

Childhood friends, Orah, Nathaniel, and Thomas have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. When they’re cast into the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy, for a truth from the past awaits that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might once again release the potential of their people.

Yet they would also incur the Temple’s wrath, as it is written: “If there comes among you a prophet saying, ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the Light.”

“The plot unfolds easily, swiftly, and never lets the readers’ attention wane… After reading this one, it will be a real hardship to have to wait to see what happens next.” ~ Feathered Quill Book Reviews (Awarded “The Children of Darkness” the Gold Medal in Science Fiction & Fantasy)

“A tightly executed first fantasy installment that champions the exploratory spirit.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

HAPPY READING!

As always, thank you so much for your continuing support. We couldn’t do it without you. And to make sure you never miss one of our blog posts, please sign up for our automatic feed by clicking on the image below.

Author K.M Hodge Talks about Writing and a Current Promotion

We’re pleased to welcome to the blog today one of our thriller authors, K.M. Hodge, creator of the 4-book series “The Syndicate-Born Trilogy.” Yes, yes, we know… a trilogy doesn’t have 4 books. Well, we had originally planned to to stop this series after 3 books, and thus the trilogy, but when K.M. Hodge said, “Hey, I have an idea for a prequel that I think will be a lot of fun,” we said, “Let’s do it.” The trilogy then grew to 4 books.

First, let’s tell you about the author:

Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author, K.M. Hodge grew up in Detroit, where she spent most of her free time weaving wild tales to spook her friends and family. These days, she lives in Texas with her husband and two energetic boys, and once again enjoys writing tales of suspense and intrigue that keep her readers up all night. Her stories, which focus on women’s issues, friendship, addiction, regrets and second chances, will stay with you long after you finish them. When she isn’t writing or being an agent of social change she watches old X-files episodes, does yoga, streams Detroit Tigers games, and binges on Netflix with her husband. K.M. Hodge truly enjoys hearing from her readers, so don’t be shy about dropping her an email or say hit on social media.

Find her online here:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram

Be sure to follow her at:
Amazon | Bookbub

Finally, sign up for her mailing list & Get a Free Gift at:
www.kmhodge.com/subscribe

Second, let’s tell you about the promotion:

SALE/PROMOTION: $0.99 eBook at Amazon (All of June and July)
BOOK: Red on the Run
SERIES: The Syndicate-Born Trilogy – Book 1
GENRES: Crime Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Women’s Fiction
 
ABOUT THE BOOK:
You can’t hide from The Syndicate. Run, Red. Run!

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Fall 2016 – Best Thriller

In search of redemption from his sordid past, FBI Special Agent Alex Bailey takes on a new partner, Katherine Mitchel… and a new secret mission.

Before being assigned their first joint case, Katherine uncovers damning evidence against a major crime ring known as The Syndicate. The group controls key members of the D.C. Metropolitan Area Police, the U.S. Congress, even the FBI, and they will stop at nothing to protect their interests. With her life on the line, Katherine is forced to put her faith in Alex as she flees from Washington D.C. and enters the Witness Protection Program.

Yet there’s no hiding from The Syndicate.

In the most dangerous investigation of his career, Alex must decide how far he is willing to go to keep Katherine safe, and to stop The Syndicate.

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
“Ms. Hodge is adept at keeping the reader engaged and on the edge of their seats.” ~ LAS Book Reviews

“Move over Baldacci. Prepare for competition from this new author! Spellbinding – hard to put down.” ~ Patrisha Ehlert

“This adrenaline-fueled thriller captivates from the first chapter until it hurtles to the dramatic finale.” ~ RandomBadger

Third, let’s talk a little with K.M. Hodge:

QUESTION: When did you know you wanted to write a book?
Twenty years ago, I took on the challenge to write a novel. I got about a fourth of the way through writing the story, Red on the Run, before life happened and I stopped writing. I got married, worked full-time, and became a mom to two beautiful boys. Then, in October 2014, a friend challenged me to finish the novel during the National Write a Novel in a Month (NanoWriMo). I accepted her challenge and finished the novel at last! Another friend inspired me to self-publish the book, and in March 2015, I took the plunge. In August of that year, I signed the series with Evolved Publishing, which published the second edition in Fall 2016. In winter of 2016, I received the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Thrillers. “The Syndicate-Born Trilogy” series currently has three additional books: Black and White Truth, True Blue Son, and The Sally Ride Chronicle.

QUESTION: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Oh so much! I did everything wrong the first time. I didn’t outline, the cover sucked, I didn’t have it professionally edited, and I rushed publication. It’s almost a “write” of passage for most authors to go through this when they’re first starting off. Three years later, I feel as though I am finally settling into my skin and writing to industry standards. I try and look at it all with a beginner’s mindset, because there will always be things to learn and improve upon.

QUESTION: What are your top five favorite books?
1. The Stand by Stephen King — I loved the characterization and suspenseful storytelling.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen — …for its strong female characters.
3. Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver — I loved its varying points of view, and how each character had such a distinct voice.
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott — …for its exposition and characterizations.
5. Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood — I love everything Atwood has written. She’s clever and witty, and employs snappy dialogue. I enjoyed this book most of all for its story within a story. She also finds ways to bring environmental and women’s issues to the forefront in truly creative ways.

QUESTION: What are your future projects, if any?
I’m working on a 1970’s romantic thriller that will come out at the end of the year in the “Love Under Fire” boxed set. I’m also working on a flash fiction piece for a literary magazine, about one of my “The Syndicate-Born Trilogy” characters, Sally Ride.

QUESTION: Since you write thrillers, what are the Top 10 internet searches you’ve done for book research?
1. Gunshot complications that kill you weeks after being shot.
2. Treatment of sex addiction
3. Where to stab someone so they don’t die
4. What kind of gun and bullets to use to limit forensic evidence
5. Body farms
6. Kidney transplants with 3D printed organs and stem cells
7. Sex trafficking in the US
8. The history of FBI profiling
9. Culture and linguistics of the 70’s
10. Video footage of 9/11

In closing:

Hmmm… some of those searches sound interesting. Well, we hope you enjoyed discovering this talented author and her work, and that you’ll take advantage of the $0.99 eBook Sale on Red on the Run, which lasts the full months of June and July. If you’re a KindleUnlimited subscriber, you can download all 4 books in this series free.

As always, thank you so much for your continuing support. We couldn’t do it without you. And to make sure you never miss one of our blog posts, please sign up for our automatic feed by clicking on the image below.

Nillu Nasser Talks about the Writing of “All the Tomorrows”

We are pleased that author Nillu Nasser has stopped by to offer some insights on the writing of her new book, All the Tomorrows, which officially releases on Monday, November 6, 2017. And if you needed any more reason to be excited about this amazing book, just click on the picture below to see what 3 separate reviewers have said about it:

Without further ado, we turn this over to Nillu.

 

How I researched All the Tomorrows

by Nillu Nasser

 
Committing to a story idea is a funny thing, at least for me. It’s a decision that is made half with the heart, half with the head. My debut novel grew from an image I just couldn’t shake: a filthy, older, Indian man, pressed up against a window. That image refused to leave me for weeks, and my imagination began building on it. That’s when I know a story is worth investing in.

By the time I began writing the book in earnest, I knew the central character was a homeless man with a long lost love, and that he lived somewhere humid. Writing a novel, especially your first one, can be a daunting task. I had a hero, and the beginnings of a setting, but I decided to draw on my own experience rather than researching a setting from scratch.

I’m of Indian heritage, and so India seemed a sensible choice, and I loved the opportunities the setting brought to the story: the colour, the food and traditions. I knew my hero belonged here. That’s how All the Tomorrows was born, a story about second chances that unravels amongst the dust and grime of the Mumbai’s streets and behind the gates of opulent houses.

Still, there were gaps in my knowledge. I am at one Indian, and removed from India. My grandparents were born there, but I was born in the UK. My family traditions are rooted in both India and East Africa, with a splash of Britain thrown in. I have visited India twice, once as a child and once in my early twenties. My recollections are broad brush strokes: the smell of street food, the sticky heat, the palaces in Jaipur, the imploring faces of child beggars pressed against cool taxi windows.

For the details of my novel, I turned to travel guides and photo books. Cousins of mine, who live in Mumbai, provided eyewitness accounts. Friends sent me pictures of their own travels there. I watched Bollywood movies to drink up the setting. The internet opened up a wormhole, an unfiltered surplus of information, causing hours to disappear with the click of my trackpad.

How easy it is to get sidetracked. I needed to know the dates Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, and within moments I was drawn into the tragic glamour of the Gandhi family, history I once knew, but which had all but escaped through the sieve of my memory: Indira’s rise to power, the loss of her politically-minded younger son in a plane crash, convincing her elder son to run for parliament and setting him on the path to his assassination ten years later, her own murder, and how the wives of her dead sons are on opposing sides of the political spectrum in today’s India.

Creativity is often about dreaming and drifting, as much as it is about perceiving and persistence. I liked how my research caused me to meander, how the novel was shaped by a chain reaction to materials I came across, and how my ideas morphed into something new.

For me, the best fiction shows glimpses of research but never burdens the reader; it is entertaining first and foremost. Fiction writers are not historians. Our magic power is making up worlds, with the hope that they are believable and authentic. Hopefully, I’ve achieved this with All the Tomorrows. I hope you’ll pick up a copy to find out.

Releasing November 6, 2017 (Now Available for Pre-Order): All the Tomorrows


Sometimes we can’t escape the webs we are born into. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall.

Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.

Jaya can’t contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.

Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash’s reach?
 
For more on the author, please visit her page here: Nillu Nasser.

HAPPY READING!

As always, thank you so much for your continuing support. We couldn’t do it without you. And to make sure you never miss one of our blog posts, please sign up for our automatic feed by clicking on the image below.

Author Joe Hefferon Talks about Writing His New Book, “The Last Meridian”

We are pleased to welcome to our blog today Joe Hefferon, the author of the exciting new hardboiled crime/noir mystery novel, The Last Meridian. He speaks a little about his process as a writer, and about what led him to create his fantastic new book.

 
Many writers are hesitant to talk about process. I’m one of them. We don’t want to overthink the way ideas form; we probably fear we’ll disrupt it. In 1786, Sir Joshua Reynolds told his architecture students to trust their “happy accidents” rather than always rely strictly on plans. Architects are still trained to trust them. The Last Meridian is one of those happy accidents. Sometimes, we get lucky.

I wrote The Last Meridian for much the same reason I write anything. I had to.

I often feel a surge of desire to write and it doesn’t matter what it is. The act feeds the jones. It usually comes after a period of drought and often hits me when it isn’t convenient to sit down and start, but I feel it wanting, pulling on a worn, fat cord dangling from my skull tower to sound that writing bell.

Joan Didion said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking.” That makes sense to me. It seems I write to find out what’s poking me. There are emotions, unresolved conflicts and ideas that need air or they get cranky, so I write.

Sometimes it starts out as an overarching concept for a plot but more often it begins as a few lines of dialogue, spoken (aloud mostly) in dialect or accent that suits my mood. If I like the sound of it, I push it. I act it out, bringing in other characters and soon a conversation begins to take place between them, sometimes funny, sometimes not. It’s just that thing needing to be heard like a kid standing at the adult’s table trying to say his piece.

I just watched “Bridge of Spies” with Tom Hanks. The character who struck me was Michael Gor’s KGB officer, Mikhail Gorevoy. The portrayal was a cross between Peter Lorre and Christoph Waltz. I liked the way he moved. I began imitating the voice as I made a snack and wondered just what kind of killer would have such a voice and demeanor. Would he be polite and serve a proper tea before he pulled out the cleaver? Or would he just be the person everyone suspects because he’s so damn strange?

Maybe I’ll write about it and maybe not, but this is how it starts.

I know other writers meticulously devise plot lines but that’s just not my way. I prefer to let characters tell me their stories and ask me to speak for them. I try not to let them down.

I’ve wanted to write something hard-boiled for a long while, as a toast to the old detective flicks I’ve enjoyed. The fast-talking, quick-witted style of the characters has captivated me as long as I can remember.

I started typing. I picked a locale and began to sketch out a vision of a woman driving fast on a highway, someone with either a place to be or needing to be someplace else. I wrote an exchange between a sharp woman and a disinterested detective. I liked the way they played together. People matter more to me than intricate plots. It goes back to Maya Angelou reminding us that we won’t always remember what someone said but we’ll remember how they made us feel.

Things have to be simple when I start. Like design must work in black and white before color is added, good stories have to work at their most primal level. It’s one reason I like old movies—grayscale. The filmmakers couldn’t rely on special effects or sex to make a good picture. First, they had a good story and then they told it well.

I hope I’ve served that concept well.

Nina’s a cool customer, smart and present, but there’s always someone who can push the buttons of a woman like her. For that I had her husband. I knew him. I’d worked with him, drank with him, even acted like him before, but I knew how to get to her.

Once I started thinking about who Nina was and how she got to Los Angeles, questions about my son’s adoption began to crop up in her story. Nina didn’t seem the type to have kids, but that didn’t mean she’d never had one.

How would she feel about him after so many years? What if he needed her?

I knew what she’d do. I just had to figure out how, then determine how it was all going to end. It always does.

Once I put her son in a bad spot I had Nina’s intention. Her bad marriage, pride, fear, gangsters and other external influences became her obstacles.

According to the screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, intention and obstacle are critical. The writing comes after. And now the publishing. I hope you find something to love about The Last Meridian.
 

GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY!.

 

 
The Last Meridian – crossing it was her only choice.

A telegram sets off a chain of events that destroys five lives, throwing Hollywood insider Nina Ferrer’s life into turmoil. The infant boy she gave up for adoption in Chicago sixteen years earlier has been arrested for murder. A plea from the boy’s adoptive mother pushes her to act, but Nina has a big problem—she never told her husband about the boy.

Nina must come to terms with her guilt, while accepting the reality of her fragile life and her cheating husband, who’s embroiled in another deadly plot. As her life unravels, the boy’s fate grows ominous. Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood heyday of the early 1960s, the quick-witted, smart-talking Nina, a designer for the well-heeled of Los Angeles, hires a private detective to uncover the facts about what happened back in Chicago, and save her boy. Maybe… just maybe… he can save her, too.

Or perhaps Nina will have to save herself, the most frightening prospect of all. To do that, she must cross The Last Meridian, the place beyond which life as she knows it will no longer exist.

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