All posts by Alex McGilvery

Against the Oaks of Bashan – Guest post by Julia Starling

Against the Oaks of Bashan cover

The best way to rule a populace is from behind the scenes. Let people think they control their opinions and actions, and you can lead them anywhere.

So believes Professor Litvac, who dreams of engineering the “perfect consumer”, creating a populace living a life of mediocrity, anxiety, and malleable opinions. And in the turbulent political climate of 1970s Buenos Aires, he’s got plenty of opportunity to experiment. Any young adults who disappear are assumed to be the victims of ongoing political unrest.

Trapped in one of Litvac’s torture camps are Lucas and Vera Freund. Brilliant scientists, the Freunds hold the key to Litvac’s success, but they’re not talking. With the backing of a powerful Catholic sect, Litvac puts a plan in motion that will transcend generations. He’ll have what he wants–no matter the cost.


 

Who are you and how did you start writing?

I am a medical doctor and psychotherapist, born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I started my career as a med student in Buenos Aires, and then moved to England to complete my studies. After acing the US Medical Licensing Exams (99th percentile in all of them), I interviewed for Psychiatry programs in the US and decided that the field was not for me—not here in the US. So I went back to school, after moving to California, and completed another degree to become a licensed psychotherapist in the States.

After a forced sabbatical (for health reasons), I began to write more intensely. ‘Against the Oaks of Bashan’ came after a year of soul searching.

How did you come up with the concept of your story? 

People are living a fast-paced life nowadays, a life that does not let them stop to think what they truly want to do with their lives, to ponder over existential issues, to chose their own path rather than following what everybody else is doing.

It looks like the norm is to go for as much distraction as possible, blindly following collective opinions, with no time to think for our selves—until one day we just die.

How did you come up with the title?

It is an Old Testament allusion about the idea of God severely punishing all that is extraordinary and “lifted up”. The Oaks of Bashan, mentioned in the sermon in the first chapter of the book, were the most beautiful oaks of the ancient world of the Old Testament. The Christian church and all Abrahamic traditions routinely emphasize the need to be cautious of anything extraordinary and keep our heads low, promoting mediocrity and punishing independence, freedom of thought and those who are brave enough to stand up and shine, be their own person.

A mediocre herd that is suspicious of intelligence and anything extraordinary is a perfect malleable group, ready to absorb the values and ideas that the elites in power want them to profess and live by.

Please provide some insight into or a secret or two about your story.

Why is it that the door of a secret vault in a New Mexico scientific institute can only be opened by Frances Fons, a young Argentine scientist born 9 months after the vault was last opened?

If you reflect on this question while you read the novel, you’ll be ahead in understanding the clues that lead to the shocking and juicy end.

What was the most surprising part of writing this book?

My natural literary style drifted seamlessly toward a psychological thriller that has elements of science fiction. I always assumed that my first novel would be a heady soliloquy of memoirs and reflections—but, instead, I created an exciting, thrilling, rather dark story packed with action scenes and suspense. I surprised myself along the way.

What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

The editing process: chopping the manuscript from almost 80,000 words to the current 68,000. I just spent seven consecutive days, from morning to night, focused and slashing. It was sad to see some great literary elements and poetical excerpts go…but very necessary to keep the plot focused, smooth and moving along.

 

Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment? 

Exactly where I am right now: a north-facing studio with huge windows and direct views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, with only a typewriter and my painting materials around. I paint as a way of inspiration. The cover art in my book is my artwork.

When I am done with the first draft, I move to an office with a computer and do the rest. It’s a great balance.

Name one entity that you feel supported your writing, outside of family members. 

Nobody. But then again, I did not look for help outside family and friends. My husband, an artist, has been an incredible source of support. And many friends have provided me with feedback and encouragement.

What is your advice to writers?

Base your stories and character development on what you know. And don’t get too distracted with what others are doing. This is your voice and your creation—don’t let anyone bully you into conforming to their norms. Protect your uniqueness.

If you met Stephen King on an elevator, how would pitch your book to him?

In all honesty, in that situation I would keep quiet and not approach him. I am not good at soliciting contacts because of my personality. I don’t like depending on favors to achieve my goals. I like my work to speak for itself. It’s a harder, lonelier, and sometimes gruesome path. But I’d rather walk it alone than grovel over any famous person that I meet in order to get something out of it.

 

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Julia Starling is a medical doctor and psychotherapist. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she spent five years in the UK finishing her clinical studies and then moved to California to complete her psychotherapy training. She currently lives in northern New Mexico with her husband Alex.

The Heron Master and other stories is live!

I’ve released my sixth book, The Heronmaster and other stories with an amazing cover by Wil Oberdier. Check out samples of a couple of the stories on the page link above. If you sign up for my Newsletter, the first twenty people will get a free ebook of the Heronmaster in the format of their choice. The Newsletter will contain a story, a book review and some writing tips and some other goodies. All of this will be exclusive first release to the members of my newsletter list. Sign up by clicking the Newsletter link above.

 

Cover Reveal for The Heronmaster

leaperalex2015leaperstale10My newest book is a collection of stories. The title story follows the life of a frog who must do the impossible to protect his pond. We also follow the adventure of a wolf who is forced to play detective to learn the fate of a bull moose. Two other stories round out the book bringing meteors and red balloons into character’s lives with unexpected results. Look for it Novemember 10th on Amazon and other ebook sellers. The hard copy version will be available by the end of November through Lulu.

Back Cover

Stay in touch and get a chance to download The Heronmaster for free. Sign up for my email newsletter. Just click ‘Newsletter’ in the banner above and fill out the form.

The Conspiracy of Silence

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Title         –        THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE

Genre      –        Mystery/thriller

ISBN        –       978-1517190316

Excerpt link: http://goo.gl/kYhj92

Book trailer link: https://goo.gl/wZ4F3g

Synopsis    

The conscience of a town steeped in sexism, vanity and hypocrisy is pricked by the brutal murder of a mysterious woman in a park in Los Angeles. But the shock is transformed into a steamy, seductive scandal when the body turns out to be that of Susan Whitaker, the flamboyant wife of the governor of California.

Soon, a dazzlingly intricate shuffle of volatile links leads the police to the delicate theory of secret lover/blackmailer, and to the indictment of Benjamin Carlton, Hollywood’s most influential black celebrity.

Then curious things begin to happen when Carlton’s ambitious girlfriend, Rita Spencer suddenly unearths the shocking secret that Susan Whitaker did not, in fact, exist. She little realizes however that her discovery of this colossal fraud is a mere curtain raiser to a chilling world of ugly skeletons dating back to the assassination of a U.S. senator in a Washington hotel sauna, skeletons connected to riveting sex scandals in high places, skeletons the FBI and political kingmakers will kill for…

                                                                                                                    Author pic

Author bio   –

Augustine Sam is a bilingual Italian journalist and an award winning poet. A member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, he was formerly Special Desk editor at THISDAY newspapers, an authoritative Third World daily first published in collaboration with the Financial Times of London. He later became correspondent for central Europe. His poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence & Measures of the Heart. One of his poems, Anguish & Passion, was the winner of the Editors’ Choice Awards in the North America Open Poetry contest, USA.

Augustine’s debut novel, Take Back the Memory, a contemporary Women’s fiction, received a Readers’ Favorite 5-star medal. His second book, Flashes of Emotion, a collection of poems, was the 2015 International Book Award Finalist. Augustine lives and works in Venice.

Social media:

Author website             –           http://goo.gl/A5jRnj

Author’s blog                –          http://goo.gl/VIRVmM

Twitter                            –          http://goo.gl/Yzan2G

Facebook                         –          http://goo.gl/W7W1Ta

Goodreads                      –           http://goo.gl/NjAxV9

Google +                          –          http://goo.gl/yruj3D

Amazon author page    –         http://goo.gl/osU1VZ

Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss

Here is a cover release with my name on it! Xchyler Publishing presents Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss. This collection is the result of one of their quarterly competitions. I managed to squeak a story in there some how. Don’t blink and you’ll see my name come up on the video.

These stories are paranormal, but they represent a wide variety of views of what paranormal is and how to write it. It is going to be a book well worth reading.

BEYOND-THE-WAIL-front-web

 

 

Sigil of the Wyrm Blog Tour

Xchyler Publishing has released Sigil of the Wyrm, the first book of the Into the Weirding series. It is Urban Fantasy in the best kind of way, not just introducing elves and such into the modern world, but creating its own unique universe which is a step sideways from where normal people live.

SofW_Webkit_book

Interview with A.J. Campbell

  1. What is your advice to writers?
  2. a) Read, read, read, read, read. Develop your taste. If you don’t have a feel for what makes a good book, how are you going to be able to write one?
  3. b) And write. Write all the time you’re not reading. You wouldn’t expect to sit down at a piano for the first time and play Rachmaninov just like that – so why expect your first scribblings to be your best? Writing is a skill like any other, and you have to practice if you want to get good.
  4. c) And don’t be too precious about your work. Some of the best advice I ever had was that if there is ever a paragraph or a section of your story that you are particularly attached to, cut it. It will start to warp the story around itself like a black hole or a space-time anomaly. Always remember that your prose should be serving the story, not the other way around.
  5. What’s up next for you?

I’ve already started on book 2, which will be the next in the Into the Weirding series. It’ll be drawing a lot on Arthurian legend this time, especially the Excalibur stories. I’m about as far as chapter outlines and a few first-drafts of scenes, so watch this space…!

  1. What is your favorite snack while writing?

Does coffee count as a snack? Tea?

  1. If you had three wishes, what would they be?

I’m far more practical than people think, so I’d probably go for some variation on the standard “Health, Wealth and Happiness”. I’d like to be earning enough from my writing that I’d never have to worry about money again, I’d like 20/20 vision again so I could stop faffing around with glasses and contact lenses, and I’d quite like to play the violin.

  1. Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I’ve been listening to the 1812 Overture recently, and I think more pieces of music should be scored for artillery.

Pinterest: Fantasy casting call

https://www.pinterest.com/galacticteabag/fantasy-casting-call/

 

 

AJ-Campbell-author

Book Release Blog Tour August 29-September 5

Saturday, Aug. 29

Alex Campbell

Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind

Sunday, Aug. 30

Lurking Musings

Slithers of Thought

Monday, Aug. 31

The Deep, Dark Library

Cobblestone Scribe

Tuesday, Sep. 1

Lucy Ayrton, Performance Poet

T.N. Payne, Author

Wednesday, Sep. 2

Richard A. Usher, Media Creative

Alex McGilvery’s World

Thursday, Sep. 3

Scott E. Tarbet, Author

Are You Afraid of the Dark

Friday, Sep. 4

OMega W

Danielle E. Shipley

The Author Visits

Saturday, Sep. 5

R. A. Ridley

Didi Lawson, Author

Musings, Amusings, and Bemusings

 

No blog tour would be complete without a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watch the trailer here: 

or on YouTube

SofW_Webkit_available

 

Buy the book on Amazon

For more information on Sigil of the Wyrm and Xchyler Publishing check out their web page.

Guest Blog by Simone Salmon author of Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel

One of the things that I’m working on in the next while is to bring more authors and unique stories to my author page. There is a world full of very talented and fascinating people out there. My goal is to introduce you to a few. The first is Simone Salmon with a book that looks like a very good read. I have it on my list and it will be reviewed in the not too distant future on Celticfrogreviews.com

Drafnel-1

Drafnel-2

 

Years of deception and suppressed trauma do not prevent secrets from unraveling when
parallel worlds clash, intertwining families and exposing hidden agendas.  An unwanted romance mirrored in an alternate universe has devastating consequences for an unsuspecting young woman and a mysterious stranger.

“There is a vast literary intellect behind Camille and The Bears of Beisa – Drafnel, and it belongs to author Simone Salmon. The language is transfixing, bewitching, erupting into that realm between an epic poem of breakneck pace, and the clarity and rigor of an after-action report meant only for a general’s eyes. 

This story operates in many rich dimensions. It reads like a graphic novel, but without need of illustrations, as the events explode like fireworks in the mind’s eye. What an amazing piece of writing!”

Robert Blake Whitehill, Screenwriter, Author
The Ben Blackshaw Series,
www.RobertBlakeWhitehill.com

Here’s what the critics are saying about Drafnel:

“The structure and some of the themes of the book reminded me of the movie The Fountain, which I adored. This idea of the same person persisting in different forms across time and space, mostly through the power of deep emotional connection to other people, really connected the two pieces in my mind.”

“Salmon’s use of folktales and specific stories to build out the structure of this unfamiliar world, and to link it back to Camille’s story, was a brilliant narrative device.”

“Drafnel is Dune-like in the grandiose sweep of its worldbuilding. The sci-fi universe Salmon creates, Narvina, with its eight ruling clans and ornate power structures was intriguing. It was also refreshing to read a great space opera like this where the people in charge are people of color, and where the universe is a matriarchy.”

BR Sanders, Clatter and Clank

“The scene’s describing Catherine’s sojourn in Jamaica are the strongest section(s) of the book…”

“The writing in this section is very contemporary and accurately reflects the self-confidence of young urban women who feel they’re on the cusp of great things and fully in control of their personal destinies.”

“…a bit of writing that stays with you a long time.”

Merrill Chapman, Rule-Set

Excerpt 1

Narvina, Nu-century 2055 

Aknanka clamps down with all her might. Her teeth tear into Sephia’s wrinkled skin, digging for chunks of flesh. They only grind against bone. A fist smashes into her cheek, jerking her head sideways. Sephia yanks her hand away right before Aknanka chomps down again. Blood gushes everywhere.

“I’m not going anywhere with you!” Aknanka’s scream rages through the interior, punching a small dent into the door. It slams shut.

Any experimenting she needs to conduct today will be done right here. And without blindfolds. The metal restraints chafe Aknanka’s wrists as she wriggles around for freedom.

“Stop fighting, Dreamer. You make this harder than it has to be.”

“Bet you’ll think before trying that again, oh Wise One!” Aknanka’s aim is accurate. Bloody sputum soils the middle of Sephia’s tunic.

A med-bot enters the room and stitches the bandages over Sephia’s wound. The pale Elder clenches her fists. Her eyes blaze to match the blood staining the floor. The med-bot’s front panel flashes, absorbing the charge from Sephia’s quelled anger. Sparks bounce across the overloaded circuits. The bot spins over to the sealed porthole and then powers down.

“These gene markers will soon confirm our suspicions, Dreamer.” Sephia’s shoulders stiffen, tugging at the hood to expose her protruding frontal lobe. Her white skull magnifies in the dimness. Her lips never move.

Na-mum Camille warned Aknanka that the Elders would spare no sympathy once they discover her true kinsatah. She followed every painstaking instruction: the implants are undetectable, even from their host.

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of3lw5XxmKM

Author Bio:

Drafnel-3Simone Salmon, a Jamaican born New Yorker, is the mother of two sons and a jack Russell terrier.

Simone is still working on her exit strategy from Corporate America, but in the meantime she writes novels, poetry and expands her multisensory perceptions.

She is a spiritual truth seeker who appreciates psychic phenomena and timelessness.

Music of all kinds, warm weather, lounging on the beach, and experiencing the unknown are just a few of her most favorite things.

Excerpt 2

Jamaica, 20th Century

The food on display and the brilliant dyes of the hand-loomed textiles hanging at the market made me homesick. The marketplace crowded with vendors selling varied crafts and wares. The frenzied pitch of the hagglers echoed under the tin roofs. Voluptuous women wearing multi-colored wraps balanced huge straw baskets on cornbraided heads, while children darted through stalls with jaws stuffed of toffee candy or juggled melting snow cones with syrup-stained hands. Fruits ripening in the heat sweetened the layer of jerk pork and chicken charring over coals inside huge metal drums.

At first Miss Mattie kept me close, but as the market became more crowded her clenched fingers slackened. I searched the aisles, worried about returning home empty-handed. Failing to find any spices, I started making my way back to Miss Mattie and then noticed a young woman with a basket tucked between her knees. Loose braids stuck out from under her head scarf. Kind hazel eyes invited me forward. Curious, I bent over to check out the samples. The woman pulled me closer and stuffed a piece of cloth into my waistband.

“A gift from the Goling family, Miss. Put it in safe-keeping. This has been my honor.”

Miss Mattie swooped in at my heels in a matter of seconds. She sniffed the air several times and shoved me away from the vendor’s stall. We left thirty minutes later, my impatience to unwrap the cloth’s contents shielded.

Unpacking the supplies, I started dinner. Then, while the meal simmered, I sneaked to my room and pulled out the puffed packet. Wrapped inside were five cinnamon sticks. My smile must have been a mile wide. I decided to add them to my hideaway after Miss Mattie left for church that Sunday.

As my guardian angel instructed, I wrapped a small piece under the ribbon tied around my braid. I noticed Miss Mattie’s immediate reaction. Her harsh tone gentled and she even allowed me to eat with her at the dining table. A welcomed change, my nerves were still on guard, unsure of how long Miss Mattie’s tolerance would last. Against my better judgment, I decided to ask about Caleb and Cassandra.

“Miss Mattie, do you think I can visit with my sister and brother sometime soon?”

Growling, Miss Mattie cocked her head and then swung around to face the door. Her eyes rolled back into their sockets. Her head snapped back as she sniffed the air.

“Why are you sitting at this table?”

I warned you, Grandmother. Leave the table now!

Miss Mattie’s neck protruded as her limbs extended. Fingers mutated into claws and hind legs ripped through her lower extremities. Wiry tufts of hair sprouted all over her body. Her face contorted and elongated as saliva slimed down enlarged jowls. My hand stifled the scream roaring through my head.

Get up and walk away slowly. Do not turn your back on it. Now!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drafnel

Twitter: @miraclemindcoac

Blog: Origisims

Website: www.ssalmonauthor.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/simsalmon/

Preorder Links:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/ssalmon-drafnel
Bookgoodies: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B013TAU6AG

Cover Reveal for: The Bookminder

I am fortunate enough to have been pulled into the ‘X Team’ which is the fond term Xchyler has for the authors and contributors of their books. In the hopes of broadening my blog beyond the occasional post about what I’m writing I agreed to take part in several of their exciting cover reveals over the next couple of months. Xchyler is a publishing house currently focused on paranormal, fantasy and steampunk with some fantastic books to check out. Xchyler Publishing.

Here is the cover and blurb for The Bookminder by M.K. Wiseman

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To learn more about the author check out these links:

Website – www.mkwisemanauthor.com

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/MKWiseman

Twitter – @FaublesFables

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FaublesFables

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/faublesfables/

January 31 Day Photo Challenge

Day One

Goose and Crow by Rick Bedwash
Goose and Crow by Rick Bedwash

Day Two

Cabin by my grandmother Mulholland
Cabin by my grandmother Mulholland

Day Three

Great Spirit carving by Steve Powless
Great Spirit carving by Steve Powless

Day Four

At the Bottom of the Sea,  Marsha Wade-Charlebois
At the Bottom of the Sea, Marsha Wade-Charlebois

Day Five

Night Song on Spirity Cove by filliea
Night Song on Spirity Cove by filliea

Day Six

Miniature of leaves by Elizabeth VanderBrock
Miniature of leaves by Elizabeth VanderBrock

Day Seven

Island Sunrise Quilt, design by Judy Neimeyer. Colours and quilt top  by Alexandra Beasse, quilting by Kathy Schwartz
Island Sunrise Quilt, design by Judy Neimeyer. Colours and quilt top by Alexandra Beasse, quilting by Kathy Schwartz

Day Eight

8-Feathered-Dog
Feathered Dog, unknown carver

Day Nine

Polar Bear by Lessia Anna
Polar Bear by Lessia Anna

Day Ten

Birches unknown artist
Birches unknown artist

Day Eleven

Bluegill Carving by Rick Upthegrove
Bluegill Carving by Rick Upthegrove

Day Twelve

Cougar by J. Chester
Cougar by J. Chester

Day Thirteen

Raku Vase
Raku Vase

Day Fourteen

The Unenchanted Princess by Christina Castro Santiago
The Unenchanted Princess by Christina Castro Santiago

Day Fifteen

Moored boat by Alex McGilvery
Moored boat by Alex McGilvery

 

Day 16

Eagle by Vance Bomberry
Eagle by Vance Bomberry

Day Seventeen

Puffin #5 unknown artist
Puffin #5 unknown artist

Day Eighteen

Grandma unknown artist
Grandma unknown artist

Day Nineteen

Frog and Raven Ring, unknown artist
Frog and Raven Ring, unknown artist

Day Twenty

Welsh Glass Vase, unknown artist
Welsh Glass Vase, unknown artist

Day Twenty One

Stained Glass by Brigitte Wolf
Stained Glass by Brigitte Wolf

Day Twenty-two

Frog Tea Pot unknown artist
Frog Tea Pot unknown artist

Day Twenty-three

23-Austrian-Frog

Day Twenty-four

25th Anniversary Wood Scroll Work by Glen Mickelsen
25th Anniversary Wood Scroll Work by Glen Mickelsen

Day Twenty-five

Iron Bird, by Nick McGilvery
Iron Bird, by Nick McGilvery

Day Twenty-six

26-Cedar-Owl
Cedar Owl by Robin Studer

Day Twenty-Seven

Flin Flon Water Tower by Chad Plamondon
Flin Flon Water Tower by Chad Plamondon

Day Twenty-eight

Caribou Tufting Owl
Caribou Tufting Owl

Day Twenty-nine

The Unenchanted Princess Box, by Suedre
The Unenchanted Princess Box, by Suedre

Day Thirty

Inuit Hunter, unknown artist
Inuit Hunter, unknown artist

Day Thirty-one

Beaded Frog by Kelli June
Beaded Frog by Kelli June