Saturday, December 15, 2012

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!

Check out the giveaway section over at GoodReads. I'm giving away one signed paperback copy of my book, Mistfall! The contest starts December 16th and runs through January 16th. I'm looking forward to sending it to one lucky fan! The link to the GoodReads giveaway is: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/40108-mistfall





Friday, December 7, 2012

Author Feature: Amy Mah

Hi all! Sorry it's been so long since my last post. A lot has been going on in that short time. The most exciting thing that has happened is that I got married October 26th!!! After five years of being together, my husband and I finally decided to tie the knot. We didn't have a big to-do, but a nice, quiet little ceremony at home with immediate family. It was rather lovely.

Second piece of news...Book 2 is well on it's way! I'm currently on chapter 6. As of right now, I'm pretty settled on "Burn" for the book title. There is going to be two new characters introduced. One of them is a fierce, warrior Fae by the name of Layla. The other's name is Diana, but she hasn't told me her story yet. I will keep all of you updated as the story tells itself to me.

Amy Mah recently did a book feature for me at: http://amymahvampire.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/mistfall-by-olivia-martinez.html

Ms. Mah happens to be an author too. If you like stories about teenage vampires, then you'll love her books. You won't find a watered down version of Twilight or some swill of that sort. Instead, you'll be treated to the fresh perspective Amelia Mah gives to vampires.


Today's world is difficult for everyone, especially teenagers. They face the stresses of school, deciding whom to date, and the biggie of sex, just to name a few. Imagine all of those things ten times worse, and you might get an idea of what it's like being a living, breathing teenage vampire. At last, the world can read about the life of a girl with good teeth, her problems with strong sunlight that gave her spots, and the sunblock that made her hair go yucky and produced more spots. Yes, sunlight was dangerous, as she could be the first teenager in history to die from terminal acne! In her everyday life, older vampires expected her to walk about at night in the traditional female uniform, a see-through, 18th-century nightdress, without undies! Well, this female vampire knew why the cold winds blowing along the corridors were called, "male winds," so she wore her see-through nightdress over jeans and a very thick jumper. To be sure that people would still know she was a vampire, the jumper had a very large, pink bat on it. And as to guys, well, it was normal for a girl to dream about guys; she just wished the dreams could have involved chocolates and holding hands, not leaping out at someone, ripping off his shirt, and demanding to know what blood type he was (at least not on the first date).


About the Author

The Author Amelia Mah is a 20 something snarky, sarcastic and cynical author who has a very popular blog of how she sees the world from the point of view of a modern teenage vampire Following the success of her first book "FANGS RULE A girls guide to being a vampire" she had now expanded the idea of life as a teenage vampire into a full novel Amelia has given her avatar her own name so you can see the world first hand from a very bored teenage vampire that has been forced to remain a teenager for far too long She may have very good teeth and the ability to hang from ceilings but life is far from easy. Today's world is difficult for everyone, especially teenagers. They face the stresses of school, deciding whom to date, and the biggie of sex, just to name a few. Imagine all of those things ten times worse, and you might get an idea of what it's like being a living, breathing teenage vampire. At last, the world can read about the life of a girl with good teeth, her problems with strong sunlight that gave her spots, and the sunblock that made her hair go yucky and produced more spots. Yes, sunlight was dangerous, as she could be the first teenager in history to die from terminal acne! In her everyday life, older vampires expected her to walk about at night in the traditional female uniform, a see-through, 18th-century nightdress, without undies! Well, this female vampire knew why the cold winds blowing along the corridors were called, "male winds," so she wore her see-through nightdress over jeans and a very thick jumper. To be sure that people would still know she was a vampire, the jumper had a very large, pink bat on it. And as to guys, well, it was normal for a girl to dream about guys; she just wished the dreams could have involved chocolates and holding hands, not leaping out at someone, ripping off his shirt, and demanding to know what blood type he was (at least not on the first date).












Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Interview with Award Winning Author, Lennie Ross


Lennie Ross, who has written professionally in just about every form there is, has published her debut novel, Blow Me. Don't quit reading, we're not talking erotica here. This award winning book is something women of all ages can relate to.

Blow Me is a Sex in the City type of novel, centering on three women close to forty. Life has its ups, its downs, and its heaping dollop of melodrama and Skylar, Dawn and Chloe sure know it. Trying to achieve their dreams of the perfect life that the magazines of their youth tried to sell them, their lives are in chaos and they're  looking for a glimmer of that dream while trying to organize the mess of their reality.

So, the reason you're here...ten questions with Lennie Ross:


You've been a writer for quite some time through print, screenplays, television, etc. Was it a natural progression for you to write a book?

I guess it was inevitable that I would write a novel. I actually started by writing a novel when I was about 18. I was bored with school, convinced my mother I needed a computer, and began the great American novel. So, this is actually my second novel, though the first remains unpublished and packed away in a box somewhere.

Which form of writing do you prefer?

To me writing is writing. It’s all wonderfully difficult. If I could be anything when I grow up I would choose screenwriter. It just sounds the most glamorous, even though nothing about writing is glamorous.

How does it feel to win an award on your first foray into authoring a book?

I was thrilled (and shocked) that I won an award. I’ve always known that I am a good writer, but it’s really special when someone acknowledges that. I think that’s what all artists struggle for—acknowledgement.

You sure are one busy woman! Do you have time to procrastinate? If so, what is your favorite way to avoid writing?

Every writer has time to procrastinate. It’s part of the creative process. For years I dated a very accomplished writer (who will remain anonymous). He would sit at his computer 5-6 hours a day, but he spent half that time on the phone, checking email or surfing the web. We all procrastinate. For me, I make a lot of tea and stop to play with my cats. I also check my email too often.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

The idea for my book came from years of living in Los Angeles and witnessing and experiencing the bizarre male/female relationship dynamic in this city. People always assume the book is about me and they try to figure out which character I am. Actually, the characters are a lovely blend of various women I have encountered throughout my 15 years in Los Angeles. It’s kind of a satire on Hollywood life.

What can we expect to see from you in the future? (Books, movies, t.v. shows...)

I have been tossing a few TV ideas out into the universe, but it’s really difficult to make them stick. And from what I hear, that’s the hardest form of writing there is, so I’m not sure if I’m a glutton for punishment or just ridiculously naïve. I’m also working on another novel, and have two more up my sleeve. It’s a matter of finding time. Time costs money, and since I’m not a famous writer (yet), I still have a day job that gets in the way of the creative process.

What sets your book apart form others in your genre?

Wow, good question, but difficult to answer. Without boasting, I’d have to say my writing style is more sophisticated. I recently finished what I will just call “the most popular chick lit book on the market” right now, and I was bored by not only the subject matter, but the simplistic sentence structure. Granted the characters were young in age, but the writer is close to my age, and that just makes me scratch my head. My novel is also quite humorous. I find other chick lit can be smart, or clever, but rarely does one laugh out loud when reading chick lit, and I’ve actually witnessed that with my novel. There is nothing more fun than watching the expression on someone’s face while they read my work. I love that!

Who are your literary inspirations?

I love so many writers. One of my favorites from long ago who inspired me to write long format is Pamela Houston. I’m also a big fan of Emily Giffin.

You have a definitive no-nonsense attitude when it comes to relationships. Where does that come from? (Nature vs. Nurture)

I’d say my “no-nonsense” attitude is not “nature”. Like most women, I was raised in such a way that I had very low self-esteem and let men walk all over me. It’s my “nurture”… my life experiences that finally pumped up the self-esteem quotient. I guess with age comes confidence and knowing definitively what works and what doesn’t. I don’t see a reason to waste time in the wrong relationship. I’ve done enough of that for a lifetime.

What do you do when you're not writing.

I think about writing. I long to write. I’m so busy making a living juggling so many things that I always wish I had more time to write. What I should be doing is buying lottery tickets. A quicker way to success than writing, and would definitely afford me more time to write. Maybe I’ll win the marriage lottery one day and wind up with my own Prince Charming to take care of the “details” of life, so I can concentrate on aging gracefully in front of my computer.


Lennie's Links:

Website: http://www.lennieross.com/
Blog: http://www.lennierosswrites.com/

Where to find Lennie's book, Blow Me:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blow-Me-ebook/dp/B0055LHSCM
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blow-me-lennie-ross/1104337269



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mistfall is Available!!!

Mistfall is finally available and I'm excited!  As of right now only Smashwords has it available. That's okay though. If you can't wait for Barnes & Noble or Amazon, you can get the format you need on Smashwords. The paperback version won't be ready for a few days, but I promise it's coming!  Woohoo!

You can find the book here:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/242246

UPDATE:
Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mistfall-deborah-sletten/1113140010?ean=2940015556391

CreateSpace (paper back): https://www.createspace.com/4004541

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Mistfall-Series-ebook/dp/B009MDGP0A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1349521481&sr=1-1&keywords=Mistfall


If you like it (and even if you don't) please leave me a review on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Cover Reveal, Woohoo!!!

So here's my cover reveal! A big thanks to Deborah Sletten of Tugboat Designs. She's an amazing designer. She took my scattered ideas and gave me a brilliant cover. I am beyond excited with how it turned out.

The book is going ahead of schedule. I'm looking to release it (tentatively) in 3-4 weeks. I will update  the blog with the info.

So now, here's what I'm so excited about. Hope you love it as much as I do!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Author Interview with Nat Parkinson



I recently had the chance to talk with the enigmatic Nat Parkinson. With over forty years of writing behind him, he has become an overnight sensation with his first book, Bishop and the Pixies, Book One: The Hunt Begins. Straight from the pages of Facebook, a story began to develop and Nat nurtured it to fruition.

In Book One of Bishop and the Pixies, all of the magical world finds itself on the brink of disaster. A former commando and his band of pixies find themselves on a mission to save the world. Will they be able to discover who's behind the threat and stop them in enough time?  Throw in a lovely human named Louise, grand theft tiger cubs, and Willoughby's galloping kittens and you'll enjoy the wild ride.

Keep an eye out for Book Two of Bishop and the Pixies. It's slated for an early November release!

Oh. I must tell you that without the pixies none of this would be possible. (There is currently a pixie bomb being held over my head. They forced me to say that.)

When Nat sat down to answer the interview questions, he told me that this was his first interview for the book. This little ol' blogger is feeling rather privileged at the moment! I'm always excited to do interviews with authors, but this one means a little more to me since I had the opportunity (with many of you) to watch the characters develop. Thanks Nat!

Alright Pixies, Humans, and Others, here's what you've been waiting for. A quick ten twelve questions with Nat Parkinson.

Are you a new author or do you have other books I can mention?
This is my first novel.  I have written for nearly 40 years – both for newspapers and business, but this is my first foray into fiction.

What is your background?
In many ways I am Bishop. I have traveled or lived in nearly thirty different countries and speak nine languages.  I love to cook, was in the rare wine business, worked as a Merrill Lynch Stockbroker, served in the Army, lived for five years on a sailboat, and was actually raised by butlers and nannies.  I am a throwback to the 1800’s, now living in quiet obscurity in Maine and raising my kids.  Most of my neighbors believe I am in the Witness Protection Program.  I encourage this belief.





Where did you get the inspiration for your book?
“Bishop and the Pixies” was drawn from watching the Facebook antics of H.P Mallory’s “Pixie” fans…they are delightfully mischievous and many of the scenes in this and the future books are shamefully lifted from their posts on Facebook.  This entire series is being written with ‘real time’ interaction with the fans – I release periodic snippets on my author page and to the secret Pixie Page for their approval.  I learned early on in this process that I had to satiate their curiosity for my own well being. I have made a careful effort to include locations I have visited, meals I have cooked, and real world things I have actually seen or lived.

Procrastination is defined as an author's favorite pastime. What do you do to avoid writing?
I still have a ‘real world’ job (almost 16 years as an agent for Aflac) and am interrupted at least 20 times a day with claims and questions.  Punctuate that with my kids, dog, cat, and life and the writing is crammed in between.  But, I was a US Army journalist and can bang out 3,000 to 5,000 words in a day.  If you ‘fell behind’ in army journalism school, you got re-assigned as an infantryman…I made it a point never to fall behind.


Will we be hearing from Bishop again? (If so, please give a guesstimate to when.)
“Bishop and the Pixies” will be a trilogy.
My ‘target’ for Book Two is November 2012.  Here are the opening paragraphs:

“Master ‘S’

It is with a heavy heart and my sincere gratitude that I must advise you of my intent to retire from your service. Recent circumstances have made my continuing employ impractical, if not hazardous to your personal safety, and thus we must part ways. 

Many years ago we struck an
agreement. You agreed to postpone our contract for the duration of the war out of respect for my patriotic duty to the crown. Once again, the world is at war, but this time the stakes are the future of the entire world. I propose the same agreement. I shall continue to serve ‘for the duration’ of this current conflict then, assuming there is a world remaining to which I might retire, I shall live out the remainder of my days.

You once told me that you would always take the solemn word of a British Soldier. I assume that is still the case today. Again, you have my solemn word that I shall continue my efforts to vanquish this threat with all my skills and vigor.

Given the nature of the enemy we face this resignation may well be entirely moot. The odds of my surviving this battle are certainly not in my favor. I have faced such odds before and do not fear them. But as in Libya, I have a greater obligation today than my own safety. If I survive, I must retire. This shall be my final campaign....”



How difficult do the pixies make your job as an author?
They are constantly looking over my shoulder.  But, without them there would be no books, so I do my best to ignore.



What do you do when you're not writing?
I’m pretty boring in ‘real life’. I am a news and golf junkie and watch C-SPAN for “fun”.  Really.


You've enjoyed immediate success with your book. What advice can you give to other aspiring authors on how to promote themselves?
I was amazed this afternoon to find that “Bishop and the Pixies” hit #1 on Barnes and Nobles ‘New Sci-Fi’ after only 6 days…I can only attribute this to the way I wrote it.  Every step of the way I included my Facebook fans, shared pre-release excerpts and included them in the writing process…I don’t think ANY book has ever been written in this way.  So, when it was released I had a fan base waiting – for a new author and a first book.



You're book is a tie-in with another successful series. Would you like to tell us a little about Bishop's origins?
I invented “Bishop” as the daytime Facebook bodyguard to Sinjin Sinclair (Vampires tend to sleep during the day and sorta need someone to keep them safe) and the Facebook persona took on a life of its own.  This is not a ‘tie in’ so much as a ‘jump to the left….and then a step to the right’  No characters in B&P appear in any of H.P.’s books…this is an entirely new ‘world’.

Is there a specific age group you are targeting or is this a book for readers of all ages?
I kept this book (and all future books) age appropriate for age 12 – but targeted it to also appeal to adults…there is no sex, very mild profanity (‘Crap’ versus worse choices) and most of the violence is aimed at ‘bad guys’.  I have kids, and would not worry for one minute about them reading my books, and 90% of my readers are adults – who enjoy a funny story.



Who are you reading right now?
I have a vast collection of 1950’s “Juvenile Fiction” and am currently re-reading the “Tom Corbett – Space Cadet” series.  Gosh they’re swell!



Where would you live if you could choose anywhere in the world?
No hesitation – back to living on a sailboat.  You get to pick your neighbors and the view is always lovely.





Below you can find Nat Parkinson's links:

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Bishop-Pixies-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00986TJHC

Barnes &  Nobel:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bishop-and-the-pixies-book-one-nathaniel-parkinson/1112806565?ean=2940015313963

Join Bishop's Army:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/400600683326320/


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Best Indie Book Festival

The Best Indie Book Festival is going on for one more day. If you haven't checked it out, stop by. There are prizes to be won...
Click on the link below to be directed to the site:
http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/content/promotion-best-indie-book-festival

Friday, September 14, 2012

Interview with Award Winning Author, Melissa Foster



Melissa Foster is the author of three award winning books: Megan's Way, Come Back To Me, and Chasing Amanda. As a mother of six, she has even found time to run multiple websites as well as mentor other authors.




The World Literary Cafe is one of Melissa's pet projects. Through this site, authors are connected to other authors, readers, and literary services. The resources available on Melissa's site alone makes it a must-have for any aspiring author.




Now, a quick five questions with Melissa Foster:







What gave you the idea to reach out and help other authors through the WLC, The Women's Nest, and Fostering Success?




When I first began writing, I reached out to Jodi Picoult for a few answers. I was beyond green--I was probably yellow at that stage. She was kind enough to answer my emails in a very friendly fashion (which I could not believe!) and I felt very blessed for her brief guidance. At that very moment, I promised myself that if/when my books did well, I would take everything I learned along the way and share it with other aspiring and established authors. Three years later, I'm still adding daily to what is available for authors, and taking it further to create a literary community, not just a place to learn, but also a gathering place to connect with other literary types. I think we've done that with the World Literary Cafe, and Fostering Success is a hub for author education. 




The Women's Nest is a different story all together. I work from home and many of my friends work in offices or, at the time, had young children at home, so finding time to chat about life or fun was difficult to do. When I created The Women's Nest it was to fill that gap. To bring women from across the world together in one area for support and friendship. We don't allow marketing in our forums, so they are clean and full of supportive conversations and women. It's the best thing I have done. A labor of love.




Megan's Way is being turned into a film. Are you nervous or excited to release the story to a new medium?




I'm both, nervous and excited, but I'm also realistic. I know just how these things can turn at the last second. I hope and pray the movie is done well and timely, but know that at any time it can be pulled from production. So, for now, my fingers, toes, and eyes are crossed. I know the script is out now with the production companies choice of actresses, so we shall see!




I hear you have a motto. Would you like to share it with us?




This made me laugh. I had no idea that people would ever pay attention to my motto--and I am SO honored that you even noticed. Yes, my daily motto is; Enjoy each and every day--no one else can do it for you. My motto that I also live by and do share often with others is; Always give more than you receive.




You're an author, run multiple websites, and are a mother of six. When do you find time to relax?




Relax? What's that? :-) My children are all older now, so my chaotic days are in the past--the youngest are 11 and 12, so life is actually rather sane compared to years ago when we were attending four sports practices each week, five games/events on the weekend, and had two babies in tow. My relaxation time comes very late in the evening. After the kids have completed their homework, dishes are done, and I pry myself away from my computer (which I never really do), we spend time as a family. I usually read around midnight, and that is very relaxing.




Every author has their favorite way to procrastinate. What's yours?




Oh gosh, that is the best question! "Favorite" way to procrastinate? I've never thought of it like that! I love to chat on social media and spend far too much time doing that. My other procrastination is to chat on the Women's Nest or develop ideas for WLC (yes, that's procrastination for me). 



Click on any of the following links to get Melissa Foster's books:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=melissa+foster&x=15&y=20






Join Melissa Foster and 9 other award-winning authors in the BEST INDIE BOOK FESTIVAL,

Featuring 10 Literary Fiction & Thriller Titles!
 TWO DAYS ONLY!





10 Award winning books and SEVERAL chances to win a

$10, $20, or $50 Amazon gift card 

(3 lucky WINNERS will be chosen!)




Click the link below the image for details.





I blog with BE Write

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sneak Peek Section

 I've been doing some heavy editing and revising since I posted the first two chapters. The prologue and first chapter are done and in their final forms. You can see them in the Sneak Peek section. Enjoy!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Author Interview with Ron Hummer

Ron Hummer is a professional who is bound by a non-compete agreement. Non-compete agreements prevent a person from working in their profession within a certain area for a specified amount of time. These agreements can hinder a job search and economically depress families.

Ron has taken his own experiences with non-compete agreements and turned them into  murder mysteries:

In "A Hell of A Woman," Donn Gunn has lost his wife and is now on the verge of losing everything else. He meets a woman who may or may not be a serial killer. Will Don's non-compete agreement keep him from finding a new job before he's the killer's next victim?

"96 Rocks" is about a corporate powerhouse of a radio station. By using non-compete agreements, the radio station plays puppet master with it's employees. When the general manager is found murdered, will detective Ozzie Rivera find answers in the form of the victims of corporate greed?


Now, for the Q&A with Ron Hummer:

Your books deal with your disdain for non-compete agreements. Could you tell those of us not familiar with the term what that means and why this is an important issue for you?

Sure.  A typical non-compete agreement is one that an employee signs and is told that he or she cannot work for a company that has a competing product.  So even if a company has 10 products and another company has one of those products, the employee cannot work there.  It’s not Coke or Pepsi.  It’s Coke and Bottled water.
Since the employee is considered at will, the non-compete further states that he or she can be fired at any time for any reason and would not be able to work for a company with a competing product for 2 years, thus limiting their job search to the point where they can’t work in the industry.
In my case, I was given a memo stating that I had two weeks to sign this agreement or I would be terminated from my company.  I knew that other companies in my industry had a similar contract so I decided to sign it.  I didn’t think there was a choice.
Other people hesitated to sign this agreement and I know that certain people were pressured to the point where they were told that if they didn’t sign the agreement, then they would be terminated.  Others were given a pass due to favoritism and did not sign the agreement.  This is nothing more than discrimination.
I have met with 3 employment lawyers in the past 12 years.  All of them have said the same thing.  These contract are like a form letter that lawyers fill out.  They’re always the same and that’s why they are air-tight.  Companies like mine have an attitude that they’re doing you a favor because your job is your reward, since they don’t even have to give you a severance package if they fire you.  The reason for having the two years after being terminated from your job: it’s an attempt to keep you out of the industry so you can’t get back into the industry, thus destroying your career.
I think non-compete agreements have a place in the business world for people who are CEO’s for example and others who do have trade secrets.  These people either make a tremendous amount of money or are given payoffs that are as much as 2 years of their salary even if they are terminated.
Where I draw the line is when companies feel that all the employees who work for a company have trade secrets.   People who make less than $70,000 a year and don’t attend board meetings are put on these non-compete agreements and cannot afford the litigation cost of $10,000 to go to court to get relief from their non-compete agreement.  That is the most important reason that this should be regulated since it was tried in Massachusetts.

Authors can be notorious procrastinators. What's your favorite way to waste time when you're avoiding writing?

It could be a lot of things.  I could be watching a San Francisco Giants game.  Reading a book.  Going on twitter.

Do you have a new project that you'd like to tell us about?  

I have worked on something but I’m not sure if I want to go forward with it yet.

Who's your literary inspiration? 

For these two books, I would say Bruno Fischer.  I follow a lot of pulp fiction writers from the 1940’s - 1960’s.  When i wrote 96 Rocks for example, it was based on different point of views from characters like Bruno Fischer did in the Ben Helm mysteries.

Who are you reading right now?  

I’m reading the Tourist by Olen Steinhauer.  I’m planning to read The Neighbors Are Watching by Debra Ginsberg next.  

What do you think your impact has been towards educating the public about the evils of non-compete agreements?

The reviews on my books have been great but I have talked to a lot of  people who are very skeptical of non-compete agreements because people don’t really want to believe that they can be deprived of a living due to their non-compete agreement.    Here are examples of the myths that people have created about non-compete agreements.

A judge would not enforce this against an employee - Besides the fact that that you’re paying $10,000 just to go in front of a judge, the truth is that state laws in most states state that the judge has to blue pencil a non-compete agreement so even if it’s unreasonable, the judge has to make it reasonable.  If it was 2 years for example, the judge may make it a year.

Every state is a right to work state - Doesn’t matter.  My lawyer said that the non-compete agreement is what rules in the court of law, not the right to work.

A company isn’t going to go after an employee because of the litigation fees.   They don’t have to.   The hiring manager will show the non-compete to their attorney and the attorney will advise the manager not to hire you because they can be sued.   They won’t cover your legal fees.  I have been told three times that my attorney has advised me not to interview your or hire you for this position due to your non-compete agreement.

The government would not stand for this.  Congress would take action.
State and local governments passed laws to protect non-compete agreements because they don’t want to regulate it.  They feel that if it is regulated, then jobs would be lost.  That is the reason the government in Georgia passed Amendment 1, which, like many other states, forces judges to blue-pencil non-compete agreements.   Chris Christie passed the trading secrets act earlier this year by a 79-0 margin, making New Jersey the 47th state to pass this act which allows companies to bring civil lawsuits against their employees like they did in the lawsuit between Google and Groupon.

How have you and your family been affected by your subjugation to a non-compete agreement?

I think people who read this may say to themselves you’re lucky to have a job.  If I want to summarize my job, it would be this.  It doesn’t matter how late I stay.  It doesn’t matter if I make significant contributions to the company.  I can assure you that I do make significant contributions to my company and they’re not recognized by management since I have not been rewarded with a raise for many years among other things.
If I were to go further in my summary about my job, I would tell you that I have to work at a high performance at all times to meet my goals and quota.  It doesn’t matter how well I did over the course of the year.  If I don’t make my goals even for a month, I would be on probation and them I would be history if that were to continue.
I’m lucky to have a wife that is supportive of me during this time.  Financially, it’s hard and we have to wonder from month to month if I will have a job.  If I’m lucky enough to get another job that I’m unqualified for since it’s out of my industry, I’d be looking at a pay cut of $15,000 if not more.   It doesn’t help that I have seen many of my colleagues in my company and my industry lose their jobs and know that they are out of the industry due to the same non-compete that I’m on.  People getting fired because the company decided to go in a different direction with a product or because someone went on probation and suffered through it because they couldn’t meet their quota and lost their job.
Sure, when you’re on probation, you can look for another job but take some time to go through the ads through Indeed or Dice.  Must have 5 years of banner ad experience.  Must have 3 years of transportation sales experience.  Do not apply for this position if you don’t know what unique visitors are.  Yet the people you are competing with for these jobs are applying for the same position have more experience than you do.
I don’t think of myself as a job hopper.  I don’t know if the grass is greener at another company.  But if people have me have a good reason to leave their employer, then they should have the right to do so.  People like me shouldn’t be forced to stay in a company because they have spent money in giving us specialized training.  This is the justification that companies and lawyers have for non-competes.  It’s a two way street but these non-compete agreements make it a one way street where the deck is stacked against the employee.
My job search has been over 5 years.  I haven’t given up on looking for another job but if you were to read my book A Hell Of  A Woman, you would more than understand what people like me and other people are going through who are on non-compete agreements.

How long have you been writing for?

On and off for about 15 years.

Why did you choose the murder mystery genre?

I’ve always heard the saying write what you know.  I’ve had a lot of short stories published at various websites that were mysteries.   I understand that and I understand non-compete agreements.
I thought that writing a book about non-compete agreements would make it sound more like a rant.  As one reviewer said, by making this a murder mystery also, it doesn’t sound preachy.   That was my goal in writing 96 Rocks and A Hell Of  A Woman.

Any final thoughts on non-competes?

Yes.  The future of non-compete agreements is stronger than ever.  Go on Google, go to news and type in non-compete.  You will see that more companies are adopting them and they’re being enforced by the courts.  You can read the links provided here and know that non-competes are growing at an alarming rate, invading a lot of companies as well as hair salons, pharmacy technicians, and even dog and cat groomers.  Look up canine oasis and you’ll see a lawsuit based on a non-compete agreement.
Other recent developments include a Doctor who signed a non-compete agreement that stated that if he worked within a 50 mile radius of his last job, he would be fined $750,000.  This has to make me wonder if this will be applied in other industries as well in non-compete agreements.
How about 2 disc jockeys in Ohio being sued because they wanted to leave their FM station and start a podcast.  The station tried to sue them in court and lost.  This is like saying that a journalist can’t have a blog.
Speaking of journalists, people on twitter may remember the lawsuit last year where Warren Stephens of Halifax Holdings bought 16 editions of the New York Times and told all the journalists that they would be on non-compete agreements that stated that they couldn’t work at another newspaper, magazine, radio station, or TV Station where Halifax had a property for 2 years even if they were terminated.  In the end, Stephens was pressured not to do this but said that any new employees would still be under this non-compete agreement.  One journalist said that this would create ownership of a story by the newspaper.
 If we are going to put people back to work in America and restore jobs in this country, the least we can to is discuss this openly and recognize that there is a problem.  Just because unemployment offices won’t update their application to have one additional question - are you having trouble finding work due to your non-compete agreement - doesn’t mean that this isn’t a problem.
 "Matthew Marx, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, conducted a study and found that one-third of workers who signed non-compete agreements ended up leaving their chosen industry all together when they changed jobs, often at a significant cost."
People are sacrificing their education, their finances, and their future just to make these non-competes work for companies.  There is no justification for people to do this.


Ron has included some links about non-compete agreements you may find interesting:

http://radioboston.wbur.org/2011/11/29/anti-compete-laws

http://resultsmatterradio.businessradiox.com/2012/04/30/noncompete/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/28/us-groupon-lawsuit-idUSTRE80Q28Y20120128

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/08/20/bise0822.htm

http://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2012/07/31/canton-morning-team-settles-lawsuit-against-former-station

http://ajr.org/article.asp?id=5229

http://www.tradesecretslaw.com/2011/07/articles/noncompete-enforceability/the-unemployment-rate-mismatched-skills-and-noncompetes/

Here are the links to Ron Hummer's books:

http://www.amazon.com/A-Hell-Woman-ebook/dp/B007SAFTL0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346532917&sr=8-1&keywords=Ron+Hummer

http://www.amazon.com/96-Rocks-ebook/dp/B0077EFYY4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1346532949&sr=8-2&keywords=Ron+Hummer

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Author Interview With Rose Pressey

Rose Pressey, author of such books as 'Rock and Roll is Undead' and 'How to Date a Werewolf', is a light paranormal romance author. That means her books have all the romance, but are acceptable for your teenage daughter. A native of Kentucky, her home and it's charm tends to find it's way into her books.

Rose's Mystic Cafe series happens to be my favorite. A young woman takes over her grandmother's restaurant. A magical mishap brings two men into her life. One only thinks he loves her. The other, well he may just take away her magic forever. Throw in one crazy ex-girlfriend and you have one heck of a ride!

I haven't had time to read her last two releases since I'm writing my own book, but once I'm done, I'm heading to the Rose Pressey section of Amazon to catch up on my reading. If you like books by HP Mallory or Amanda Hocking, Rose's books are right up your alley.

Like the other authors I've interviewed, Rose is a self-published indie writer. Through tireless self-marketing, she has made her niche in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre.

Self-published (indie) authors do not have any support except what you give them. Your reviews, purchases, and word of mouth is what makes an indie author successful. Please, when you read a book, go to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and leave them reviews. The more reviews, the better authors get listed.

You can find all of Rose Pressey's book at Amazon and Barnes&Noble

And now, a quick ten questions with the wonderful Rose Pressey:


Why paranormal romance/fantasy?

I’ve always been interested in the paranormal and I guess I’m a romantic at heart. Putting the two genres together seemed like the perfect combination. I love mystery too. My books have mystery also.



How do you feel about being mostly an indie author?

I love being an indie author. If I have an idea for a book, I can write it and publish it. There’s nothing to hold me back. I do have an agent and I’m pursuing traditional publishing. I’ll always indie publish, but I’ve always wanted to be traditionally published as well. Doing both would be perfect.



Who are you reading right now?

I’m reading In a Witch’s Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell. I have to squeeze in reading time when I get the chance.



Who is your favorite character/series of your books?

I absolutely love the Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper.



What has you excited right now?

I’m excited for fall and Halloween coming up. Plus, I’m working on a writing project that I’m excited about, but it’s super secret. Sorry for being a tease.



Give us a typical day in the life of Rose Pressey.

I’m up early with my Chihuahuas. I eat breakfast while answering emails, marketing, etc. I usually eat lunch while working too, but sometimes I take a break and go outside to enjoy nature. I spend the rest of the afternoon writing. I write 2,000 words a day every day.



If you weren't an author you'd probably be....

Well, I wanted to be an actress when I was young, but now, I’d probably try something else creative. Painting, crafting, decorating… anything that allowed me to be creative.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love Kentucky. It’s my home and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I do love the beach though. I’d love to have a beach house and split my time between the beach and Kentucky. A girl can dream, right?


How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing seriously for five years. I’ve dabbled in projects for the past twenty years though.



Is there a new series/release you're working on and would like to tell us about?

How to Date a Demon will be out in a couple weeks. That’s the third book in the Rylie Cruz series.


You can find out more information about Rose Pressey and her books at http://www.rosepressey.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mistfall Update

The book is still on track! I'm down to writing the last 4 to 7 chapters. I should be starting edits and revisions within the next two weeks. I'm setting October 31st as the latest release date, but will upload it sooner onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads if I can. I'm getting excited!

In the mean time, check out the sneak peek of the first two chapters of Mistfall under "Sneak Peeks." I've also posted interviews with Deanna Sletten, Joyce Strand, and HP Mallory. I have a interview with Rose Pressey coming soon, so check back regulary.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Interview With Deanna Sletten, Semi-Finalist for Best Indie Book of 2012

Deanna Sletten, Semi-finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Book of 2012, has been a writer for twenty years. While working and raising two kids, Deanna managed to find the time to write two of her novels. Now that her children have grown up, she's free to follow her dreams of being a full time author. Deanna has written three books:

Memories is about a vet who's readjustment to civilian life isn't without it's troubles. His inability to cope has repercussions, for the other people in his life.

Widow, Virgin, Whore follows the lives of three women from different walks of life. They come together under one roof, deal with one's terminal illness, and all find love in the most unexpected of places.

Outlaw Heroes is a story about a twelve year old boy who has to deal with the new man in his mother's life. On a trip to see his great-grandmother, Will suddenly finds himself in the Old West with Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

Deanna is another author that belongs to http://www.worldliterarycafe.com. It is a website that promotes good literature. Authors an readers can come together to promote books, find great authors, and interact.

And now, a quick ten questions with Deanna Sletten:


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in southern California and moved to northern Minnesota in my late teens. I majored in accounting in college and worked at various part-time jobs over the years while also being a full-time mom to my children. At the same time, I was active with writing for print media and then websites. I also wrote my first two novels while my kids were younger. Now, with both children grown and on their own, I am able to write full-time and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I love traveling, baking chocolate-chip cookies (for some reason this relaxes me), walking the wooded trails around our home with my beautiful Aussie and relaxing on the lake in our boat with my husband.

How did you manage to find the time between a part time job and raising kids to write your first two books?

It's amazing where you can find time to do something you love if you want to do it bad enough. I spent a lot of time in my mini-van driving my kids to and from school and sports, so I always kept a folder and notebook with me so I could write whenever I was waiting. I'd then transfer what I'd handwritten onto the computer when I was at home. I pretty much finished both novels in the van and sitting at baseball practices. I also chose many times to skip sleep and write late at night. It wasn't always easy, but it was the only way I could do what I loved to do.

Favorite way to procrastinate?

Wandering around the internet! When I sit down to write, I usually start by checking my emails, checking my Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook pages and basically just reading random things I see. I may even play around on Pinterest for a while. Then I finally force myself to close out of the internet and start writing.

You've had quite the prolific writing career: Print media, internet, and now books. Which was your favorite?

I love to write, so I enjoyed every phase of my writing career. Of course, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be novel writing. I've been writing books for 25 years, I just wasn't able to share them with others until recently. I have several novels started, some far along and others only an outline, so I have plenty of ideas to keep me busy in the years ahead.

How do you feel about indie vs. traditional publishing?

I love the whole indie publishing phenomenon right now. When I started writing novels and tried publishing them the traditional way, the door wasn't opened very wide for newcomers. But indie publishing changed all that. Having the opportunity to share my work with others and, hopefully find some success at it, is wonderful.

Who are you reading right now?

I am reading "The Phantom Student" by Ann Swann. I read book one in the series, "The Phantom Pilot", and loved it so much. Ann has a beautiful writing style that keeps you so engrossed in the story you literally don't want to put it down. And the best part is that these two stories are perfect for kids through adults.



Do you have any new projects you'd like to tell us about?

I am currently finishing up my fourth novel titled "Sara's Promise". It is a Romance/Contemporary Fiction novel. I plan to have it available in December, 2012. To learn more about it, readers can visit my blog and click the tab with the book's title at the top of the page.

Favorite food/indulgence?

Wow – there are so many! Anything chocolate is on the top of that list. Second is a nice, fat doughnut with sprinkles!

If you weren't a writer you'd be...

Unhappy! I went to school to become an accountant and I've worked at many different jobs throughout the years. I even owned a gift shop for a few years. But through it all, my goal was always to be home full-time and write novels. That dream has finally come true and I wouldn't want to do anything else.

Would you like to tell us about the award you're up for?

My romance novel MEMORIES is a semi-finalist in the Romance category of The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Novels of 2012. The next step is to try to make it into the top five books of my genre (cross fingers). The judges are judging the books by quality of writing, plot and formatting. Considering I started my indie author journey less than a year ago, I am honored to have already been chosen in the first round of this contest.


Books/Links:

Memories
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Memories-ebook/dp/B007DCBI7C/ref=zg_bs_158568011_64

Widow, Virgin, Whore
Genre: Women's Fiction/Family Drama
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Widow-Virgin-Whore-ebook/dp/B006LXJBUK/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323889135&sr=1-1catcor

Outlaw Heroes
Genre: Children's-Middle Grade Fiction/Action/Adventure
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Outlaw-Heroes-ebook/dp/B006M9WSOO/ref=ntt_at_ep_edition_1_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

How to find Deanna online:

Blog: http://www.deannalynnsletten.com

Twitter: @DeannaLSletten

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/DeannaLSletten

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/555634.Deanna_Lynn_Sletten

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Q&A with Joyce Strand, author of the Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries

Joyce Strand is one very accomplished woman. Born in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Strand completed her PhD while raising two young children and following her husband as he travelled around the world for work. Joyce also made a career for herself in the corporate world as a communications professional, just like her character Jillian. The similarities stop there as Joyce never encountered a murder mystery in her line of work.

Joyce has always been a fan of mystery novels. Inspired by the genre, she now writes mysteries herself. The Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries follow the title character as her life as a communications professional becomes embroiled with murder, mystery, and an ex-husband intent on changing his "ex" status.

I met Joyce through http://www.worldliterarycafe.com. It's a website for readers and authors who's goal is to promote great literature. It's a community of authors, book reviewers/bloggers, and reading enthusiasts promoting each other. I was looking to host a few author interviews and Joyce graciously accepted. So here we go, a quick ten questions with Joyce Strand:


Would you like to tell us a little bit about your series?

The Jillian Hillcrest mystery series follows PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest as she strives hard to promote her small, biotechnology company. Unfortunately, murders, her ex-husband, her neighbor, and a San Francisco homicide inspector repeatedly interrupt her and challenge her to solve a variety of Silicon Valley mysteries.

The first mystery, ON MESSAGE, starts with the arrival of a strange package and moves to a frightening call from the homicide inspector.

The second mystery, OPEN MEETINGS -- which was just released -- starts in a restaurant when a nervous woman interrupts Jillian and her reporter colleague claiming her life is in danger if he prints anything she’s told him.  Shortly thereafter the woman dies in a suspicious car crash.

Jillian Hillcrest mysteries are inspired by California cases – specifically, ON MESSAGE by the murder of a retired biotech executive in the San Diego area and OPEN MEETINGS by the illicit activities of a police network in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I noticed that you grew up reading mysteries/thrillers. Did this inspire you to write in the same genre?

Yes, I grew up reading mysteries – beginning with Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, moving onto Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner – to today’s mystery authors such as Michael Connelly and Stieg Larsson – and many, many more in between. I’ve never stopped reading mysteries. I love the puzzles and the tension. When it came time for me to decide what kind of books would I write, there was little question it would be in my favorite genre.

You've lived in various countries through the years. Do you have a particular favorite?

I have lived in Brazil, Italy and The Netherlands. They are all different – each with their strong points. I love Italian food – it remains my favorite.  And Brazilians are as gracious as the Dutch are straightforward. When we lived in Brazil, I chose to research and write my doctoral dissertation about Brazilian politics and their transition from a military dictatorship to the democracy of today. In The Netherlands, I really loved exploring the museums and art.  And my son was born in The Netherlands – a significant event! I learned something from all of these cultures, and also came to appreciate my own.

You hold education in high regard. How does that relate to your causes?

I’m not sure how high I hold education. I know many very smart people who are not necessarily book-educated.  I just happen to enjoy learning.  More important, my brother got a PhD, so I had to get one, too!

What's your favorite book?

James Clavell’s SHOGUN is my favorite book – the author drew me into a totally different world, fascinated me with the many unexpected twists and turns of the memorable characters, and made me want more. I felt like I was actually living in feudal Japan watching the rise of a Shogun with all the surrounding intrigue, love, and battles.

How did you use your marketing background to your advantage with regards to promoting you and your books?

My marketing background in both high tech and biotech prepared me for the many steps it takes to build momentum and sell books. The implementation is different, but the requirements are similar – get the name of you and your book to as many different places as possible where target readers might be. And sustain whatever momentum you can build. Without marketing and promotion, readers are not likely to be aware of a book – no matter how well written it is.

What's your favorite way to procrastinate?

Probably watching TV.  And Tweating and Facebooking. Petting the cats. Sometimes I can use procrastinating to my advantage – if I really don’t want to write, I do housework instead. It becomes a choice of which task do I want to do the least. I get a lot more accomplished that way!

Favorite food?

My favorite food is definitely Italian pasta, led by penne Bolognese. And I also like duck – prepared in many ways.

Would you like to promote your editor and cover designer?

My cover designer is superb and captured the mood of the genre and characters. She also has provided consistency in the book series:
Gwyn Snider – GKS Creative http://www.gkscreative.com/

Also, my editor has great patience and persistence, as well as creativity.
Laurie Gibson, member of Central Coast Writers, a branch of California Writers Club

Who are you reading now?

Among others, the second Stieg Larsson mystery “The Girl Who Played with Fire” Actually, I have approximately 20 books loaded on my Kindle waiting for me to read – almost all mysteries.

LINKS:

Webpage: http://joycestrand.com
Blog: http://StrandsSimplyTips.blogspot.com
Twitter: @joycetstrand
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JillianHillcrest
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

On Message
Paperback:  http://tinyurl.com/d8wbtem
Ebook:  http://tinyurl.com/crog4om

Open Meetings
Paperback:  http://tinyurl.com/d7leoyh
Ebook:  http://tinyurl.com/cent6zr



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Update

I am officially looking at an October release date for Mistfall. Just in time for Halloween! Be sure to look for it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

This is close to what Mags looks like.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bucket Lists & Beta Readers

I was hoping to have another author interview to take up some blog space while I write my book. People are busy and I can't blame them for that, so you'll just have to deal with a random post. I promise, it's a bit silly and worth a laugh!


Bucket List

I don't sleep much, so around 2 a.m. the crazy and wild ideas come to pass. I've turned some of them into a sort of bucket list.

1. I want to have a reason to say, "Release the Kraken" and something epic happen.
I doubt this one will happen but one can only hope.

2. I want to slap someone in the face with a fish.

Why? Because it's funny. Think about it a moment. Everytime I see that on television, I want to go to the supermarket and have a fish on hand, just in case the moment presents itself.

What are you're crazy bucket list ideas? Use the comment section below and tell me. :)


Beta Readers

I'm looking for 5 people who have the time to read the chapters as I write them. This isn't my day job, so I never get more than 2 or 3 done a week. I'm not looking for a lot in terms of your time. My offer is a free finished copy and mention in the book. If you're interested in something like that email me at olivianicks@gmail.com. I can give you more information.




Monday, July 2, 2012

Interview with HP Mallory, A USA Today Best Selling Author!

HP Mallory is celebrating 2 years of being an author on July 7th. In that short time, she became an indie publishing sensation for her Jolie Wilkins and Dulcie O'Neil series. A USA Today Best Seller, she signed with Random House to publish 3 books of her Jolie Wilkins Series.

Jolie Wilkins is a witch who can reanimate the dead. In her adventures she becomes Queen of the Underworld and has two very gorgeous men after her heart.

Dulcie O'Neil is a hard as nails fairy police officer. Investigating Underworld dealings, she doesn't realize that the lines of good and evil blur.

Ms. Mallory has a new series, "Better Off Dead," debuting November 26th and has also written about her journey to becoming a successful writer.

Now, the reason you're reading, ten questions with HP Mallory:

Who are you reading right now?
Um, reading? Hahha I am so busy right at the moment that my TBR list is unfortunately not getting attention! But, the last book I read was 50 Shades. Had to find out what all the fuss was about!

Would you like to tell us about your new series?
I am so excited about the new series! The premise is a woman who dies in a car accident but it wasn't her time to go. In an attempt to make things right, the afterlife allows her to live again only she has to pick a new body, live in a foreign country and, most importantly, she has to become a soul retriever and save souls who incorrectly went to the "Underground City" (think Hell) during the Y2K mishap! And her guide to the Underground City is none other than her alcoholic, crude, and unreliable guardian angel whose fault it was that she died in the first place. Throw in a taciturn and enigmatic but hot-as-heck Scotsman and I think it has the makings for a wild ride!

If you weren't an author you'd be...
Probably in online marketing like I was before I became an author. But I definitely wouldn't be as happy!

Favorite food/guilty pleasure?
I have a sweet tooth that won't quit (just check out my pins on Pintrest!) so I would have to go with peach cobbler, I think. Or chocolate...or chocolate peach cobbler!

Would you ever branch out into another genre?
Yes, I think I would. I love writing paranormal romance/comedy but also can see myself writing some sort of historical fiction. I love Scotland, having lived there, so I could definitely see myself writing about ancient Scotland. My new series actually takes place in Edinburgh.

Rand or Sinjin?
Hahahah the quintessential question. I can't answer! It's sort of like the cobbler vs. chocolate quandry above!

How do you feel about indie vs. traditional publishing now that you've done both?
I love having a foot in both worlds. There's nothing like being an indie and having complete control over your own work but it's also amazing to have the backing of a powerhouse like Random House. My editor there is amazing and extremely insightful in all her suggestions.

Favorite color?
Blue or pink or blue/brown and pink/brown. Oh my gosh, can I make a decision?!

How do you deal with procrastination?
I deal with it on a daily basis and because of my tendency to procrastinate, I'm now having to write a chapter a day. If my wrists could speak they would say: Come on HP, stick to your schedule...please and give us a break from this carpal tunnel!!!

What inspired you to do paranormal romance/fantasy?
I love the creativity and the freedom of this genre. I love the fact that I can just invent some hot species and call it a Loki or I can make Jolie go back in time and no one questions it! There's nothing quite like living in fantasy!

HP Mallory's characters have their own Facebook pages. She definitely loves her fans as they do her!

Be sure to check out HP's books. They are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You'll be happy you did, I love them!




HP Mallory's links:
http://www.hpmallory.com
http://www.urbanfantasyauthor.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/hpmallory
http://www.facebook.com/people/Hp-Mallory/10000124964376

Photos courtesy of HP Mallory

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chapter 2 Sneak Peek!

UPDATE: I finally received the pirate map and found the formatting button I needed. Thanks goodness. This one large block of text was annoying me too!

I know I said I wasn't going to put up Chapter 2 for awhile. I wanted to wait until I was almost done with the book, but I have some other things planned inbetween then and now. Why am I putting out Chapter 2? I always planned to. The first chapter gives you a good background on the character, but you don't get to know grown-up Mags and that's who the story is about. I want you to get to know her, so you'll be as excited as I am when the book is available! Enjoy! (I apologize for the lack of spacing, it's blogspot, not me. When I type this up, it's formatted. I will work on getting that fixed.)

"Eew Mags, that's so gross. I AM NOT remaking dinner!" I had just slain a ghoul that was intent on having me for it's evening meal. It just so happened, the arm I severed landed in the pot my roommate, Melissa, was using to make chicken and dumplings for dinner. "What Melissa? Would you rather have had your dinner ruined or been that things chew toy?

Melissa has been my roommate and best friend for the past five years. She was used to my sarcasm by now. That by no way meant I was forgiven for the ghoulie stew though. "I get it, really, I do. All of Hades has it out for you and this is a part of your life, but can you keep it out of the food Mags?!?!" I tried lightening the mood. "So what are you making for dinner?" I ducked as an onion flew past me.

I probably should've been more apologetic instead of sarcastic to my roommate seeing that was the third hell-monster that made it's way past her wards this week. Melissa is a witch, and a pretty powerful one at that. Unfortunately, that meant Iblis just upped the ante on my capture. Damn, I thought I was going to have a quiet night.

Iblis. Besides being a huge pain in my ass, he's one of the biggest, meanest baddies out there. He's the basis for what the humans call Satan. Yup, I had that hunting me down. Oh wait, the hits just keep on coming, I also had the Aelfadl after me too. Aelfadl is Elvish for nightmare and is the name for the elven assassins. They're supposed to be the good guys and they probably are the good guys too, but they've been chasing me since I was twenty, for the crime of being born. They, along with Iblis, could kick rocks for all I care.

I'm a jinn. There are three types of us, the Ifrit, Marid, and Iblian. The Ifrits are the weakest of our kind. They reside in Hades, can change into different animals, and are notorious firebugs. The Marids have to be the most arrogant and vain individuals I have ever met. They are stronger than the Ifrits, prefer watery abodes, and require a great amount of flattery to get them to do anything.

Then there's the Iblian, the most powerful type of jinn and what I happen to be. There used to be three of us. Now it's just me and Iblis. Want to know a sure fire way to tell who's an Iblian? We have violet eyes. We are the only beings that have that trait. I may as well have a bullseye attached to my backside. I can't speak for Iblis, but I prefer my house on the Mistfall side of Harmony, Kentucky, comfy fleece jammies, and am pretty law abiding as long as something isn't trying to kill me.

The Aelfadl doesn't care about the other jinn, just us purple eyed lovelies. About 200 years ago, the powers that be of otherworldly creatures deemed Iblian jinn a threat to all of our kind and decided we needed to be hunted to extinction. I'm not saying they weren't right, but I know of one living exception to the rule. I've been told that Iblian jinn originated the term "hellraiser." I guess they were all in competition for enslaving and ruling the otherworld beings and at one point became a threat. I get their point, but can't a girl get a fair trial?

Iblis...I have no clue why that bastard has it out for me. Shortly after I made it onto the Aelfadl's radar, he started sending his minions after me. Thank Hades for weapons training!! Ghouls weren't the hardest things to kill, but they sure were messy. They were rotting flesh bags with brains and had a penchant for eating their kills. The dead one in my house was starting to stink up the place.

I closed my eyes and imagined the ghouls body and it's recently liberated appendage disappear, along with the ruined dinner. Thinking I didn't want my house smelling like a corpse flower, I magicked a little air freshener too.

I figured I owed Melissa a dinner so I conjured up her favorite, chicken tikka masala. She must've calmed down some, because she was paying more attention to her dinner than she was me. After a few mouthfuls she sighed, "Mags, you can't keep placating me by magicking up my favorite foods every time I get upset. I'm going to get fat!" "You're lucky I make them low cal then, otherwise we'd be hauling you out of here with a forklift." Thwap. The onion made it's reappearance at the back of my head. "Ouch! A bit touchy are we?"

Melissa was smirking at me. I didn't want to get up close and personal with the rest of the produce in the house, so I changed the subject to the Introductory to Magic class she taught. "Have your students mastered the Mistfall spell yet?" (Mistfall was a spell that kept us secluded from the prying eyes of the humans. It looks like fog and if a human was to take a close look, their attention gets diverted elsewhere, making them forget what they were doing). She sighed, "No, not yet. They don't seem to want to learn anything above basic spells and potions." She shook her head, "Not a one of them want to bother with anything that looks, smells, or feels like work. It's all instant gratification with these kids and they're our future. I think my species is doomed Mags." "I'm sure it will all work out," I reassured her.

I felt bad for Melissa. She's a natural teacher. I think her goal in life is to pass on the knowledge she has to someone deserving of it. Deserving young witches were few and far between these days and you could tell it bothered her more than she was letting on. As far as witches go, my roommate had a hand dealt to her by the goddess herself.

Not only was she powerful enough to possibly end up on the witch's council one day, she was beautiful too. She's about 5'4", has honey-blond hair, blue eyes, skin the color of cream, and curves in all the right places. I'll admit I am a bit jealous. I'm not deficient in the looks department, but I feel rather Plain Jane compared to my best friend. I'm 5'8" with long, raven black hair, skinny, and would call my curves proportionate. Nothing to complain about, but every girl has her insecurities.

"Forget about it." Melissa shook herself out of her bad mood. "We should probably change and go train. I'll work off my frustrations on you." "Alright, I'll meet you in the basement in ten minutes," I told her. I went to my room and changed into my favorite pair of black yoga pants, a hot pink fitted tee, and my tennis shoes. I really wasn't in the mood to train since I had battled it out with the ghoul earlier, but Melissa never lets me take a break, regardless of what recent attack I've had. Needless to say, between her and the beasties, I keep in pretty good shape.

"Come on, you're not even trying Mags!" she reprimanded and swung one of a pair of hooked sword towards my midsection. I jumped out of the way in time and deflected her strike with my sabre. It's a slightly s-shaped sword. Why the weapons training if I have magic or why not a gun? It's good to have a back-up defense and bullets, while they hurt like hell, are ineffective.

"I trained earlier Melissa, don't you remember? I made you ghoulash? Get it? Ghoul-ash?" I couldn't help laughing, it was funny. Something hit me in the chest and the next thing I knew I was airborne. I flew ten feet and landed on my back. The wind was knocked out of me.

Instead of getting up, I decided to stay lying on the ground until I regained my breath. "Instead of wasting energy being a smartass, why don't you use some of that and train?" "Alright, just give me a minute," I asked. "You won't have a minute when you're being attacked by the next Aelfadl or goddess only knows what kind of demon spawn, so get up off your ass and fight!!" Yup, I had her pissed now. I wasn't getting out of this training session until I won against her. I miss the ghoul.

Figuring the only way to end this quickly was to catch her off guard, I got up to a crouched position, magicked up some fire, and shot it straight at her feet. From there it took on a life of it's own, encircling her, then growing up towards the ceiling. It gave me the advantage I needed. Melissa had to drop one of her swords to combat my fire attack. As she was extinguishing it, I rushed her, brought my sabre up and swung it down towards her neck. She met my attack and deflected it, but she was just as good with one sword as she was two.

We kept on for another twenty minutes, each of us attacking, deflecting, and using every dirty magic trick there was in the book. I finally got the upper hand when she stumbled over the words to a spell. I conjured a shadow back and to the right of her. It was in her line of sight and I knew she would look since her wards had been breeched and the monsters had gotten past them. As soon as she was distracted, I swept her legs out from underneath her, put my foot on her chest, and brought my blade down, stopping only millimeters above her neck. I had a big, ear to ear grin on my face. "Are we done now?" I looked at my watch. "It's after 9 and we're supposed to meet your dog at 'The Lamp.'

I hoped bringing up her new boyfriend would convince her to lay off training early. "First of all, get that thing away from my neck and secondly would you quit calling Owen a dog? He's really fun to hang out with." I dropped my sabre and let her up.

She was walking towards the stairs when she turned around with a smile on her face. "AND, he's not mine, well at least, not yet anyway." She turned back around and headed up the stairs. "Make sure you house-train him first!" I yelled up the stairs at her. I heard the onion before I saw it and ducked in just enough time. I don't know what she has against this vegetable.