Category Archives: Uncategorized

Who is My Neighbor?

Sure, the title of is a line from a parable Jesus used in teaching his disciples a lesson in treating even strangers with dignity and respect. But this blog piece isn’t really a religious lesson. It’s just an observation.

Pharmacist handing medication to customer

In today’s world, do we really know who our neighbors are? I’m not talking about the strange guy up the street, the one who talks to himself while sweeping the front walk. I’m talking about those people we cross paths with every day while going about our lives. You know the ones, like the little old lady in front of you in the grocery store check-out; or the young man walking along the side of the road, heading to who knows where. With the popularity of internet sites like Facebook and Twitter, we can connect with people all over the world. We can log on and learn that Reggie in West London ate crab cakes for dinner tonight, Tanya is Los Angeles broke up with her long-time boyfriend, and Danny in Sydney recently had his first novel published. We friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and make a connection on LinkedIn, but we never really meet these wonderful people.

And what of that little old lady in the checkout line in front of us? Chances are we won’t get beyond a polite smile or an insincere “Have a nice day.” The young man walking along the side of the road? We’ll ignore him—he might be dangerous.

young handsome bearded hipster man

Don’t misunderstand me. I believe social media is vital to those of us looking to promote our work while building an audience. It’s a great way to meet interesting people in corners of the world we’re not likely to ever visit in person. But the cost of this technology seems to have had a negative effect on how we treat the people around us. We don’t have an instant profile to pull up telling us that the young man walking along the side of the road is a father on his way to work so he can support his wife/girlfriend and their newborn baby; or that his car no longer runs so he has to make that 5 mile trek both ways each day. We couldn’t possibly know the little old lady in front of us in the checkout line is struggling to make ends meet since her husband of 56 years passed away last fall. Without that profile, we won’t bother finding this out the way we as social human beings once did—before the internet.taxi

One of my favorite episodes of the classic American television show Taxi has character Elaine Nardo receiving an invitation to a high-class party. She needs an escort. The obvious choice would be her co-worker and friend Alex Rieger. He’s a level-headed guy, understands proper behavior and good manners in these situations. But, for reasons I’ve forgotten, Alex is unable to attend with Elaine. So, after failing to secure a proper substitute, Elaine finds herself saddled with Jim Ignatowski, played brilliantly by Christopher Lloyd. Jim had once been a bright and near-genius young man—until LSD trips during college left him slow and somewhat addled. The Reverend Jim (he was ordained through a mail-order school) was prone to goofy observations and embarrassing behavior at times.

The thought of attending this high-class shindig with the likes of Jim proved too much for Elaine, so she lied and told the man she wasn’t going to attend. Jim eventually caught on and, despite having his feelings hurt, suggested Elaine attend alone. In the end, Elaine brought Jim along, having discovered a true fondness for her fellow cab driver.

screen-shot-2015-05-28-at-4-48-13-pmWhen the entertainment fails to show up for the party, Jim volunteers to fill in on the piano. Imagine Elaine’s shock and horror over what is surely to be an embarrassing moment, most likely barring her from future invites.

Jim sits at the piano and immediately begins playing “London Bridge is Falling Down” quite poorly. The room full of snobs begins murmuring complaints. Jim stops playing, says “Oh, the hell with it!” and launches into some beautiful classical playing that soothes the room. He stops again and says, “I must have had mmm music lessons!” before continuing his solo concert.

Elaine worked with the man and had no idea he was so much more than the college dropout with a fried brain. We’re all guilty of this on some level. We know more about the guy on the other side of the world than we know about those in our own neighborhood. While social media might bring the world together, it can also contribute to pushing people apart.

So take the time to get to know those who are closest to you. You’re bound to learn something.

Author Gwen Plano Guests on Voice of Indie Podcast Episode 015!

Tune in to the Voice of Indie podcast Wednesday November 11 at 8 pm EST. Our guest this week is Gwen Plano, author of The Heaven and Earth trilogy. Gwen will be with us for the entire hour, sharing news of current projects, chatting about her past work, and answering your questions and comments. So join the discussion via Twitter by using #FreshInkGroup in your tweets. We will also open the phone lines during the show to take your calls live on the air. We hope to find you in the audience!

LISTEN TO EPISODE 015 HERE

Get Ready for FALLOUT!

Greetings! Author Harmony Kent has a new release in the works. I’ll let her tell you all about it! Take it away, Harmz. . .

Hi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Beem for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.

 What will happen to Sasha now that she’s underestimated President Terror?

What does John plan for her?

Can anyone stop these two evil despots?

Excerpt

Stunned, John sat there. What other ways had Sasha used him? Abused his trust? The irony that he had used her too didn’t pass him by, but still, how could she? The little b***h. He would show her.

After a couple of minutes, he calmed enough to speak again. ‘Then why have you agreed to have her around?’

Terrence showed his teeth. Straight and white and polished. Menacing. The sort of teeth that would rip out your throat without blinking.

‘We can use her. You and I.’

John scoffed, ‘We can get sex anywhere.’

Denis grinned. ‘Yes, but it’s more fun letting her think she has the upper hand, don’t you think?’

John nodded. He could use her in other ways too.

Fallout Blurb

WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 

The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?

Author Bio

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

 

Links

Website: https://harmonykent.co.uk/

Story Empire (co-authored): https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

 

 

FALLOUT Pre-order Link: mybook.to/FALLOUT

How did I grow my blog?

An interesting post from Milly Schmidt’s blog.

The Cat's Write

Wine, lots of wine. Preferably a light-bodied, unoaked Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ.

OK, but how did I really grow my blog?

A few people have been asking me to answer this question via email and social media ever since I blogged about reaching 5,000 followers.

I’d like to reassure you that while that number looks impressive, there is no need to get jealous. My blog doesn’t actually attract high levels of organic traffic (from search engines). A large percentage of my views are made up of social traffic (from platforms like Twitter, Instagram and the WordPress Reader).

This means if I don’t put the leg work in, my stats begin to slide as my blog verges on the precipice of a supermassive black hole. For this reason, I spend most of my time and energy seeking out other WordPress bloggers and visiting their blogs. You may also find me trawling my favourite…

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My TOP 5 Fiction Reads of 2017. #AuthorShout #IARTG #IndBk

I am truly humbled by these end of the year lists. Wow!

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke.

Hello and welcome to My TOP 5 Fiction Reads of 2017.

TRUMPET FOR BEST READS LOUIS ARMSTRONG When Only The BEST will do.

It was a difficult task selecting My Favorite Reads of 2017. I have read and reviewed many books in this rapidly disappearing year. I select my reads from diverse places. Yet it doesn’t surprise me at all that those I rank in my top ten Indie-books of the year are all to be found at Rave Reviews Book Club. Why? Because the standard of excellence of each book is outstanding.  That is what I’ve come to expect with each book I purchase. The reviews are always honest and constructive.

What is the X Factor for me? Ah! For me it’s that shining place outside of myself, a wonderous reality that some authors take you to as willing captives. A place where the story has me so utterly committed to it that putting it…

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Jan’s TOP TEN Books 2017

Humbled and honored to even be mentioned in this list!

Writing and Music

JAN'S TOP TENBOOK LIST20171 (1)#1

For_You_To_See_The_Stars   PURCHASE LINK

Hands down, this book easily takes the #1 spot this year. This is Foster’s first print publication. It is classic storytelling at its best. Foster writes with an uncommon depth of emotion, humor, empathy, and clarity.  Adding another dimension to this collection of short stories, Foster, a seasoned songwriter/musician, recorded a music CD which accompanies the book. Together, they make an unforgettable read/listen!

#2 

Heart_Of_A_Texas_CowboyMarryTexasOutlaw

PURCHASE LINK Heart of a Texas Cowboy

PURCHASE LINK To Marry a Texas Outlaw

Yes, I know there are two books sitting in this spot, but I couldn’t find a way to separate them. This “Men of Legend” series was amazing from beginning to end, and it just happens that parts two and three were both released this year. “Some Legends are born and some are made” describes this series perfectly about a father, Stoker Legend and three sons, Sam, Houston…

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Short story: The One Left Behind

Here’s a short story from author Milly Schmidt!

The Cat's Write

There was a storm brewing outside. A cliché I know, but there really was a storm brewing, no other word for it. And even though I didn’t want to look, I was transfixed. A crack of thunder made me jump, and for a moment, I thought I saw the outline of a man in the clouds…  I shivered, trying to reassure myself that it was nothing but a trick of the light, a random assortment of shadows highlighted by the lightning, forming an eerie silhouette.

Last week my sister had told me that she had met someone wonderful, someone… from another world. And not only that, he was a magical being with superhuman powers. Total bullshit of course, but my sister has always been a little wish-washy when it came to these kinds of things, so I had entertained her and nodded, watching as her face displayed surprise at my lack…

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Review of “Alien Disclosure at Area 51” by C. Ronald Garner: This Mind-blowing Read is NOT for the Fainthearted

Here’s one from Marcha’s Two Cents Worth!

Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

15385125_mla copy

This fascinating read is primarily the true story of Dr. Dan Burisch, a microbiologist at the infamous Area 51. It’s well-documented with a substantial number of quotes from credible individuals as well as a long list of suggested reading, some of which I’ve read in the past. In a nutshell, Burisch was abducted as a child, his intelligence enhanced to an IQ of 200 in preparation for his “mission” which entailed the eventual recruitment by the government agency that deals with these matters known as Majestic 12. I’m not going to recount any further details because it would definitely constitute a spoiler, even though this is nonfiction. I believe it’s important to read this information in context as opposed to sensationalizing the “good parts.”

Much of what is revealed is mind-blowing, i.e., in that “you can’t make this stuff up” realm that goes beyond what I’ve conceived as a…

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