Thursday 31 May 2012

Writing vs Climbing Parks

image credit

So, the other day, Alyssa (my 7 year old daughter) and I visited the climbing park close to where I live. I was so excited because this was something that I'd always wanted to try out,  but never gathered enough courage. Me and heights don't see eye to eye. That and my fear dislike of extensive amount of water. As long as that said water stays from my knees downwards... I'm game.I can be found hanging out in baby pools in summer..haha  I'd make an interesting character in a story, eh? :D

Anyway, Alyssa and I got all belted up and readied to begin this adventure - to me it was an adventure.

I climbed up the ladder behind Alyssa, my heart thumping in my chest with every step my feet took. Up ahead of me, Aly gave me a wide upper-front-teeth-missing- grin, then turned around, her tiny feet climbing confidently and fast.

Once we stepped on the first landing, my eyes darted everywhere but below. Then this tall, good-looking late-twentyish instructor/climber who was leading the way turned and flashed us a smile, his green eyes twinkling in pure joy. I could tell he adored his job. He held out his hand to Aly. (Secretly, I think they employ those good-looking ones with easy smiles to put people like me at ease) My daughter brushed his hand aside and stretched her hand towards the ropes, grabbing them (show off:D) My daughter is a Scorpio. confidence and determination are part and parcel of their make up gene. So the guy just smiled and led the way. As I stepped on the first wooden step, which was wobbling like the world was coming to an end, I wished the guy would have offered me his hand.

I clenched my jaw, took a deep breath and braved on.

Then I got stuck in the middle. My feet trembled, my hands grabbing the ropes for dear life shook like nonsense. I counted the several dancing wooden steps I had to take to the next landing, glanced down at the distance between where I stood quivering and the lush ground below, then over my shoulder at the impatient faces frowning at me. Aly and the good looking guy were already waiting for me on the next landing.

At that moment, sweating and biting my tongue, that particular image reminded me of what happens sometimes in the process of writing.

After I outline  my story - it's actually more doodling than outlining because I always find myself drifting from the outline - it has a beginning, middle and end. When I begin to write a stroy, the begining is so clear. My fingers fly over my keyboard in excitement. Then comes the middle. For some reason the middle seems different than I had imagined, or thought. But when I look far ahead, the ending of the story is so clear. I know what will happen to the story/character. At times I feel like shoving that story aside to work on later..or never. Then I think about how I love the story, my motivaiton towards writing it....

So what do I do to get my middle groove back? I go back to reread my beginning and my ending as per my forever shifting outline, listen to the song or visit the place that inspired that story. On other occasions, I share this with my friends who are also writers. If there is a person who will ever understand the frustration, is a fellow writer. My cheerleaders.

Eventually I find my middle.

So in this case, I focused my attention on Aly...of course and the guy (I'm not sure why I didn't ask his name. I'll blame it on the initial excitement.) They cheered me on (although the grumblings behind me were getting louder with ever passing second) I rechecked my motivaiton. Why I decided to try climbing the ropes and ladders. Because I wanted to beat that part of me that is scared of heights. Know that I can make it, and for fun of course.

Eventually, I moved my feet, and made it. Didn't let go.

Much much later on when I swung my quivering feet from the ladder and touched the ground, I was happy I'd tried. And made it the whole way. Just like when I complete my first draft, I'm always so happy I ploughed on, didn't let the middle crumble the whole story.

What about you? What do you do to get your middle grove back?

Friday 25 May 2012

Shannon Duffy's Spectral Blog Tour

Author: Shannon Duffy
Genre: Paranormal YA/MG
 Release date: April 10, 2012
Source: Tribute Books

ISBN: 9780983741879
ISBN: 9781476293585
Pages: 334
Buy Links:

Kindle Nook  Google  Smashwords  PDF

Spectral Summary

Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe — the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.

My Review

Jewel and her family have been moving from place to place all her life. In each destination required a fresh start complete with change of names. All she knows is what her parents have told her: escaping the mob. One night she overhears a conversation which changes how she perceives things, and finally finds out who she is. A Spectral: Like the ultimate witch. She also gets to meet a boy, Roman, who says he is her guardian, but later finds out that is not the case. There is more than meets the eye where Roman and his coven in Italy are concerned. Thing is, although getting involved with her is forbidden, he's determined to protect her from anything and anyone who poses a threat. He does a very good job, and even suprised me a couple of times. Definitely a guardian worth having around. :)

Overall Spectral was a great read. To see Jewel discover who she is, who she can trust, how she eventually accepts who she is. The book takes you from Florida to Russia and eventually Italy.(to one of my favourite seasons. The Carnival, which is something worth seeing in Venice)

There is also a love triangle:  Chase, Roman and Jewel. It was good to see her follow her heart on that one :)

Shannon Duffy's Bio:

Shannon Duffy writes young adult and middle grade fiction. She grew up on the beautiful east coast of Canada and now lives in Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of one boy, Gabriel, her angel. She loves writing, reading, working out, soccer, and the sport of champions-shopping. She is the author of the young adult paranormal romance, SPECTRAL. Her upcoming middle grade fantasy novel, GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA is scheduled for a January 2013 release.

Spectral web site:

Twitter hashtag:

Spectral GoodReads page:

Shannon Duffy's Facebook:

Shannon Duffy's Twitter:!/ShannonDuffyLit

Shannon Duffy's Website:

Shannon Duffy's Blog:

Shannon Duffy's GoodReads:

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

Monday 21 May 2012

Familiar Ties Release Day

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: InkSpell Publishing
Format: eBook, Kindle, Paperback
Purchase: Publisher | Amazon | B&N

They had a history. They're friends now. But do they have a future?

Max West is a widower raising Phoebe, his four-year-old daughter. Phoebe has to live with the fact that the day she was born is also the day of her mother's death. As her fifth year without her mother approaches, Phoebe finds solace in her godmother, Amy Riley, and her daughter, Grace Crawford, another single parent family.
Amy Riley is a successful fashion designer who spends most of her days raising her four-year-old daughter, Grace, while her wayward boyfriend is travelling the world making the next best film. As the fifth year without her best friend looms she finds comfort in her ex-boyfriend, Max, and his daughter, Phoebe.
These two “broken” families have a tough week to face as the dreaded day approaches. However through their past, present and debatable future will their choices affect the outcome both parents clearly want and are simply denying? Or will Phoebe and Grace lose the only “whole” family they have ever known?

Teaser quote:
“Shrugging her shoulders, Phoebe looked at the television but only barely paid attention to it. “I guess I want to be like Aunty Amy when I grow up. Can I still be like Aunty Amy even if I'm like my Mom?””

Interested in reading more quotes from Familiar Ties? Click HERE to go to the other blogs hosting the release day party.

What readers are saying:
A sentimental journey about second chances and the importance of family and friends.” – Aubrie Dionne, Author of Dawn Series
Well done, Ms. Nikki, your books will be an auto-buy for me from now on. I'm a fan!” – Brooke Moss, Author of “The Carny”
“A must read for anyone who is looking for some cuddling and warm love” – Shilpa Mudiganti, Author of “Always You”


For the first two weeks Familiar Ties is available from the publisher’s website at an amazing 30% discount! Fantastic, right? :)

Want to win a copy of Familiar Ties?

: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 18 May 2012

Friday Fantastic Feature: Author Kevis Hendrickson

Today I'm really, really excited to have Kevis, a very dear friend and author, here on my blog. His books include the Middle Grade novel The Legend of Witch Bane,The Rogue Hunter Series, The Lay of Gilthol and KirĂ°ral, 

About Kevis

Kevis Hendrickson is a musician/illustrator with aspirations of spending his days guzzling drinks like Ernerst Hemingway between writing/directing blockbuster movies and novels. He currently lives in the Magic City where the weather is hot and the women even hotter!

CeCe:  Welcome, Kevis Please tell us your name.(officially that is :) )

Kevis: Kevis Hendrickson

CeCe: What project(s) are you currently working on?

Kevis:  I've got a slew of projects that keep me quite busy ranging from fantasy to horror. But my flagship franchise, Rogue Hunter series, is getting the bulk of my attention right now. I've got a lot riding on Rogue Hunter and know I have to deliver a series of blockbuster novels if I'm going to take my writing career to the next level. Nothing's being left to chance. From the story, to editing, artwork, and promotion. Everything will be fine-tuned by the time the first of the new books are published.

CeCe: What inspired you to write your first book?

Kevis: Though I've never brought much attention to it, my first published book, The Legend of Witch Bane, was inspired by the murders of several young children that took place around 2005-2006. Children are the most precious things in the world and I was enraged over the senseless abuse and killing of innocent children. Under the spit and polish of fairy tales in my book lies a very subtle, but powerful message for both children and adults. Anyone who looks deeply enough will uncover my call to arms to fight to protect the most vulnerable and precious resource we have. Our continued failure to keep children safe will only diminish humanity as a whole. At the end of the day, without children, we don't have a future.

CeCe:  That's very true, Kevis. And I totally agree with you about children being the future. Which genres do you write?

Kevis:  I mostly write Speculative fiction. But at heart I'm a dramatist. My stories aren't about robots, knights, dragons, or wizards even though they often frequent my stories. My tales are about people. If you want to know what makes a rocket ship tick, look for the other guy's book. Where my passion lies is spinning yarns about interesting people placed in extraordinary situations and how they react to a given crisis. :)

CeCe:  How do you create your characters? How do you mould them to fit what you require for the story?

Kevis: As a rule of thumb, I come up with a name for a character, then try to figure out afterwards who the character is. When I was younger, I would create lengthy character bio sheets detailing character physical and mental attributes. Nowadays, I simply allow the character to flourish in my mind. I generally know everything about my character before I even write one word of my story. Of course, by the time the story is written, I know them in even more detail.

The best part of being a writer for me is creating characters and watching them come to life on the page. I learned a long time ago that the best way for me to write a story is to get out of my characters way. All I have to do is sit back and let my characters do their thing. I'm just a journalist who reports what I see.

CeCe:  What is your writing style like? (more description, dialogue…)

Kevis:  As I mentioned before, I'm a dramatist in the classical mode. I'm all about dialogue. I've always said that if given the chance, I'd write all my novels using nothing but dialogue. Writers are always told that showing is better than telling and nothing does that better than dialogue!

CeCe:  Have you ever hated a character/ a story you wrote?

Kevis: That's a good question. I don't think I've ever hated one of my characters, even though I do think some of them are quite despicable. Queen Rhiannon from The Legend of Witch Bane is probably the vilest of the lot since she slaughters little girls to stay immortally young. She would probably get my vote for my most hated character, except I know she has the most tragic past of all my characters. It's actually a quite sad tale and the reason why I'm hesitant to say I totally hate her. Maybe I'll get a chance to share that tale with the world one day.

CeCe:  How did you do the research for the book you are currently writing?

Kevis: The latest Rogue Hunter book I'm working on right now (book 3 of a trilogy) is a futuristic dystopian urban drama based on the exploitation films of the 60's and 70's. It's a very harsh story with a seedy cast of characters. I'm literally watching hundreds of old movies to help me match their tone of gritty storytelling. My stories to this date have been pretty much PG. But this book is a stark deviation from what readers have seen from me so far. Though it's visceral at times, I think I'm going to pull a few heartstrings with the subject matter. This is one of the books I'm really looking forward to publishing most.

CeCe:  What project are you promoting?

Kevis: To be honest, I'm so immersed in my current projects, that there isn't very much promotion going on.

CeCe: Where can readers and fans find you (online that is)

Kevis: Anyone who wants the scoop on me or my projects should visit

Thanks for hanging out with me on my blog, Kevis. :) Good luck writing Book 3 of the Rogue Hunter Trilogy. I look foward to reading it.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

A Hero Rising by Aubrie Dionne Blog Tour

A Hero Rising (A New Dawn, #3)

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Length: Novella

Release Date: February 2012

ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-83-1


After watching his love leave on a colony ship, James Wilfred must save those left behind from a planetary apocalypse. Their salvation lies in an unfinished ship tucked away in a secret government base, and only James can break in and pilot him and his people to freedom on a nearby space station.

Skye O’Connor’s boyfriend never returns after his gang attempts an assassination of the Governor, and the State Building is destroyed. Worse, crazed moonshiners addicted to the chemical Morpheus have stormed the city, and she must find a safe place for her and her boyfriend’s daughter. When a heroic man saves her, Skye asks to accompany him on his quest to find the last colony ship left on Earth.

As the city falls around them, James and Skye must work together to build a new future, all the while rediscovering their ability to love, before the apocalypse claims them both.

Chapter One
Left Behind

Clutching his retractable cable, James lowered himself down the glassy surface of the high-rise as the wind stole the warmth of the sheets he’d just left behind. He glanced at the fluttering curtain three stories above his, wondering how Mestasis would feel when she awoke to an empty bed. He detached his grappling hook and slipped inside the balcony of the building, fast as a diving raven’s shadow.
If only I could stay longer. If only things could be different.
His wristband flashed another message. If you don’t get down here within the hour, I’m coming to look for you.
The thought of Dal stumbling through the abandoned subway by himself sent adrenaline rushing through James’s veins. The lower levels had been dangerous since Dal was a boy, but with the introduction of Morpheus, the desperate scavengers had grown into vicious savages.
James typed a message back, hoping Dal would believe him. I’ll be there. Stay where you are.
Mestasis will have to understand.
He took an elevator down as far as it worked, holding onto the slim hope he’d have a chance to give Mestasis a decent good-bye later. The elevator creaked to a halt and the doors parted to a corridor lit by one flickering bulb. Crumpled rags and broken vials dusted with the dried, silvery sheen of Morpheus lined the floor.
The lower levels.
No one decent ventured down this far, so the government didn’t find it necessary to cover low level repairs. It would only bring up gangmen, like himself, to the upper levels. But some of us are good. It’s those Razornecks that give gangs a bad name.
He jogged to the end and slid down a plastic recycling chute to Level Five. The chute ended with a rusted metal grating piled high with cracked bottles and compacted cans. He kicked out the grating and emerged on a stairwell landing. Cracked bottles rattled around him as he shuffled through the debris to Level One, the place where only the bravest, or craziest, treaded alone.
The scent of dank air and old garbage wafted up from the moldy floor. It smelled like home. He’d been away too long. James ducked through a shattered window to an alley between the buildings.
Twilight spread through the sky, stretching the shadows of lumbering heaps of old mattresses, broken ionizers, and tattered plastic bags. Using the darkness as his cloak, he climbed through the debris and checked over his shoulder. The alley lay as silent as a wasteland. Residents had boarded most of the windows to keep out thieves, but apartments lay empty and dark as deep space.
Three windows down, a small child with wispy black hair peered out, clicking off a flickering light stick. The child disappeared as he approached. James reached in his pocket and left an orange on the sill before ducking away.
A stone stairway loomed at the end of the alley like a mouth to the underworld. James slipped down a corroded railing to an old subterranean transportation system once used by his ancestors in the days before the mega-high-rises and the elite’s reign of the upper levels.
Pitch-black oozed from under the brick, and his hair glowed neon green as the darkness enveloped him. The radiance was just enough to light his path, the permanent dye a trademark of his gang. James picked up his pace and jogged along the tracks, approaching a thick cement door with graffiti scribbled in hasty strokes.
He raised his hand to knock, but he paused with his fist in midair. Shuffling echoed down the track to his right. No one could see him entering the Radioactive Hand of Justice’s underground facility—he had to find out who had found him and make sure he or she wouldn’t talk.
James slipped past the door and tiptoed closer, his hair casting light a few feet around him in every direction. No one could sneak up on him.
Was it Dal?
“Hello?” His voice echoed down the shaft.
The shuffling continued and James froze, listening for footsteps. The motion sounded more like the fluttering of bats than any tapping of feet. Bats didn’t scamper on the ground.
Someone snickered and then sucked in a long breath before cackling lightly like a witch in a fairy tale. The person smacked his lips together. James narrowed his eyes.
Oh great—some desperate savage, looking for anything he can sell for Morpheus. Maybe I can knock him out and leave him on Level One where he came from.
“Stay where you are.” James’s voice was deep and authoritative.
The shadow moved toward him in a flurry. The smell of mold and rotten food clogged his throat, and James resisted the urge to gag. Where had this man been?
“I said, stay where you are.”
He blinked, and when he opened his eyes again, the figure had scuttled ten feet closer, arms writhing like snakes in the air. James stumbled back. He’d only seen them from the safety of the city walls before.
Oh geez. A moonshiner gone over the edge.
Moonshiners got their superhuman speed from the drug Morpheus, a chemical mined on the moon. Too bad the drug also caused an insatiable urge to kill. James had heard about the moonshiners who lost their minds from stories the city wall guardians told. He reached for his laser, but the man scurried closer like he was in an old movie on fast-forward.
James had enough time to deflect the moonshiner’s jaws with his elbow as the man’s face came into view. Sunken cheeks held shadows where the chemical spread like ink underneath the skin. James pushed back against the man’s weight, throwing him off. The moonshiner lunged at him before James could recover, scratching his chest with jagged fingernails that had grown so long, some of them were curled. James kicked him in the gut, but it did no good. The moonshiner was past the point of reacting to pain.
The man pushed James over and fell on top of him, jaws clacking an inch from his face. James held him back with one arm while the other worked his laser out of its holster. The man’s eyes had turned into black holes, the pupils bleeding over the whites to give him a fiendish glare. Strands of hair shed from his scalp, trailing down his arms to tickle James’s face. The moonshiner’s head was disproportionately larger than his body, as if his skull had begun to grow and change, morphing into an oval.
Yeah, this moonshiner is past gone. Must have been using for years. Why didn’t the guard take him out when he entered the city?
James yanked his arm free to fire his laser directly into the man’s midsection, and the moonshiner fell back with the force. Jumping to his feet, James raised his laser again. He shot the moonshiner three more times in the chest and shoulder, but the man scrambled up and kept coming.
Panic rose inside James in a riptide. Would the moonshiner never tire or die? Hissing with a black-toothed grin, the man crashed into him, pushing James into the wall and knocking the air out of him. Even the guy’s teeth looked different—inhuman, pointed like a shark’s incisors. James banged his head against the cement and dropped his laser. He struggled to focus as the world warped.
Would he die like this? Torn to pieces by a druggie monster?
No. Too many people needed him. He had to see Mestasis one last time.
James fought, wrestling the moonshiner to the ground. He rolled over and stretched his hand out, clawing for the laser. His index finger curled under the trigger and he brought the gun up in one swift motion. The man caught his wrist, and James struggled to point the laser at the moonshiner’s head.
Just a little lower.
The moonshiner opened his mouth, and a dry, rasping voice whispered, “Aliens. They left something behind on the moon.”
“What the—” James hesitated, and the moonshiner lunged for his neck. He fired at the man’s head and the moonshiner stilled and collapsed.
Pulling himself up, James tried to calm his racing heart and think straight.
Where did this moonshiner come from? What brought him into the tunnels? And what aliens?
James didn’t have time to decode the strange riddle leaking from a moonshiner’s crazy mouth. Worried about Dal, he rushed to the cement door and banged five times: two quarter notes followed by three eighth notes. If anything had happened to them while he was away, he would never forgive himself—even if it meant regretting his last hours with Mestasis.
The door creaked and three laser barrels poked through the crevice. James held up his hands. “Whoa, guys. It’s only me.”
An older man with a tuft of white hair stared back at him. Relief shone in his bright blue eyes.
“James, we thought they got you.”
“The Razornecks, the government, or the moonshiner I just blasted in the tunnel?”
“Any. All three.” Dal clapped him on the shoulder and led him inside while two guards stayed behind to close the entrance. Even though the cement locked in place, James had a hard time letting go of the encounter outside. The hideout didn’t feel safe any longer.
“What’s happened while I’ve been on the upper levels?”
“Nothing good.” Dal led him through a tunnel to the concrete bunker underneath the subway system. He talked over his shoulder as they hurried down the steep incline.
“As you can see from your new friend lurking by the door, moonshiners have infiltrated the sewers, climbing through miles of pipeline to rise to the lower levels.”
“Yeah, the one I met smelled like death.”
“That’s not all. A crazed mob of ’em storms the city walls as we speak. Guardians pick them off with gallium laser blasts, but they don’t have enough firepower to keep them back.”
“Hold it now.” James stopped midstep and Dal halted beside him. “The walls are five feet thick. No way the moonshiners can get through, even if they clawed with their fingernails all day long.”
Dal shook his head slowly. “They are, and they will. Some of them still have part of their brains left, and they’ve been tossing hypergrenades at the cement.”
James scratched his head. “Jeez, where have I been?”
“Making sure three hundred of our people got the hell out of here.” Dal squeezed his shoulder. His voice was shaky. “Did it take off?”
James shook his head. “Not yet. But it’s on schedule. I’d like to see it leave, so if we could hurry…”
“I understand.” Dal clapped him on the back. “Just checking to make sure my grandkids made it safely.”
“If you’d tell me why I’m here, I could make sure of it.”
“Yes, yes. Let’s go. There’s something I have to show you.”
James followed him to a low-ceilinged room lined with wallscreens displaying input feeds from all over the world. In the dim light, Dal’s wispy hair glowed like James’s, giving the old man a halo of green, otherworldly light.
Dal sat in a rolling chair across from a circular desk and gestured for James to follow. James waved his offer away. “I prefer to stand.” Every second counted. He knew Mestasis wouldn’t wait for him—shouldn’t wait for him. She’d probably think he’d left to avoid such a painful good-bye.
“You may want to sit down when you hear what I’m about to tell you.” Dal gave him a sad smile.
“I can take it.” James’s gaze passed from a riot in Mexico to a volcano warning in the Hawaiian Islands to flames consuming Utopia, the last giant greenhouse that fed all of New England and the surrounding states. “No place is safe, is it?”
“No.” Dal pressed a button, zooming in on the ruins of Utopia. “One of our spies got a lowdown on the Razornecks’ counterattack…”
“A counterattack? Already? I thought most of the Razornecks died in the blaze?”
Dal shook his head. “They have cells throughout the city, and they’re all seeking revenge.”
James ran a hand through his hair. “What is it this time?”
“Assassination attempt. Governor Ursula Grier. They found out she was the one who ordered the counterstrike on Utopia after they took it over.”
That’s why Dal had called him down so quickly. “Should I organize a team to stop them?”
Dal clicked a button and the screen changed. “No.”
“No? What do you mean no?”
“The Radioactive Hand of Justice shouldn’t get involved in government affairs. Besides, she’s got enough guards and artillery to defend herself, and in two days’ time, she’ll be leaving on the Heritage, along with the other heads of state. The government in New York will be nonexistent.” The inevitability in Dal’s voice sent a shiver down James’s back.
“They’re going to abandon us?” Government officials didn’t just get up and leave their posts. This was serious.
“It’s their only choice for survival.” Dal clicked on another screen, bringing up a meeting of world leaders from at least five countries, all sitting around a circular table.
“More problems?” James studied the screen, recognizing the faces: most from the World Coalition. “What are they saying?”
“They want to nuke the areas with the largest concentration of moonshiners before the mobs grow out of control. As it is, the force outside these gates could rip through this entire population within days.”
“They’re targeting us? Citizens?”
“Bingo.” Dal sighed. “We think this bunker would hold during the attacks, but we’re not sure we could live here until the fallout dispersed. We have the fluorescent greeneries, and the stocks are piled high, but it would take years for the radiation to return to safe levels.”
“Not acceptable.” James shook his head, refusing to resign to such a fate. “There has to be another way.”
“There is.” Dal’s fingers flicked across the keypad and a picture of a gigantic chrome hull loomed over their heads.
“The Destiny.”
“Wait a second. We were deemed unfit for the Expedition. Who’s to say whoever built this ship wouldn’t conclude the same thing? I’m sure they have their own people to transport.”
“The project was abandoned three months ago. It’s not finished. The biodome hasn’t been completed, and it isn’t stocked with enough energy cells. It won’t be able to fly us on a hundred-year journey, but with a little work it could get us off this doomed rock.”
James put his hand on his hip. Every paradise planet he’d heard of was hundreds of years away, which could only mean one thing. “You’re thinking Outpost Omega, aren’t you?”
“It’s the biggest space station within a parsec of Earth, fully equipped with biodomes, solar panels, and energy cells.”
“It’s also the most important and the most heavily guarded. They’d never let a ragtag army like us live there. Only government workers are allowed to set foot on it.”
“Then we’ll take it by force.”
James exhaled a long, slow breath. “No. It’s too dangerous. Too many deaths.”
Dal leaned back in his seat and raised his hairy eyebrows like when he had a winning move at chess. “And staying here isn’t?”
James considered the impending attack of moonshiners coupled with the plan to nuke them all. Even if his group survived the mob and stocked their shelves high, did they really want to huddle underground for the rest of their lives, hoping rations wouldn’t run out? “You’ve got me there.”
“Exactly.” Dal slumped forward, clicking off the screens as if in resignation.
James’s mind whirled with all the possibilities and probable outcomes. “Even if we secure this quasi-built ship, who’s going to fly it?”
The room had gone black, and only their haloed heads illuminated their faces. Dal folded his hands on the table as if further discussion was unnecessary. “You.”
“You’re kidding me. I’ve never flown anything that large.”
Dal grinned. “Practice makes perfect.”
James’s wristband beeped. He glanced down at the time and his stomach sunk. “Dammit, Dal, the Expedition is leaving in fifteen minutes.”
Dal gave him a knowing twitch of his eyebrow. “Do you really want to see it take off?”
“I have to.” James shot toward the door, adjusting his backpack.
“Whatever you do, don’t try to defend the governor. Leave that to her bodyguards. They view all gangs as threats, and you’d be killed along with the Razornecks.”
“I won’t.” Although the governor had always been a thorn in his side, James still worried about her and her family surviving the attack. Yes, she blew up Utopia and planned to abandon her own city, but she didn’t deserve to be taken out by the Razornecks. Besides, James needed some sort of structure until the Expedition took off and he could get to the Destiny. If the Razornecks gained control of the city, every street would go to hell. He pressed the panel and the sides parted, revealing a crowded corridor.
“James, you never agreed to fly the Destiny.” Dal’s voice was a gripping force, holding him back.
James turned around. “You know me better than that, Dal. You know it’s a yes.”
Dal’s face softened. “All the more reason to be careful. We can’t have the most important person in the Radioactive Hand disappearing on us. Every time you go through those passages, you risk your life.”
James shot Dal a steady stare. “I’ll be back. Besides, some things are worth the risk.”

© 2012 Aubrie Dionne

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Spotlight: Familiar Ties by Nikki Naya Blog Tour

Book Title: Familiar Ties

Author: Naya Nikki

Genre: Romance

Publisher: InkSpell Publishing

Publication Date: May 21st 2012

 Format: eBook, Kindle, Paperback

Book Synopsis:
Max West is a widower raising Phoebe, his four-year-old daughter. Phoebe has to live with the fact that the day she was born is also the day of her mother’s death. As her fifth year without her mother approaches, Phoebe finds solace in her godmother, Amy Riley, and her daughter, Grace Crawford, another single parent family.

Amy Riley is a successful fashion designer who spends most of her days raising her four-year-old daughter, Grace, while her wayward boyfriend is travelling the world making the next best film. As the fifth year without her best friend looms she finds comfort in her ex-boyfriend, Max, and his daughter, Phoebe.These two “broken” families have a tough week to face as the dreaded day approaches. However through their past, present and debatable future will their choices affect the outcome both parents clearly want and are simply denying? Or will Phoebe and Grace lose the only “whole” family they have ever known?


“Amy,” Max warned, “You’re not going to just take pictures.”
He chuckled as he stood behind Amy, who was trying to figure out the new camera. Grace and Phoebe were posed perfectly on the sofa like little angels, big smiles showing rows of shiny white teeth, with the odd one or two missing. “You see,” he showed her. “There's this new, fancy thing called a timer. This means that all of us can be in the picture, including you.”
She playfully swatted him, as he jumped back, “Oh zip it.” She laughed, “I look a mess. Anyway I want a picture of you three for my desk, not me.”
Grace sat up as she swung her little legs off the edge of the sofa, her feet not even scraping the floor. “Come on, Mommy! Pwease?” She was missing her two front teeth and therefore she couldn’t pronounce her L’s properly. Amy thought it sounded so cute and secretly hoped that they’d never grow back.
How could she possibly say no to her little darling? She watched as Grace began to pout and bat her big, grey eyes at her. It was her infamous look that could make anyone fall for her, including her mother and her Uncle Max.
“No, not the pout,” she joked. “Anything but that, Gracie you know I can’t resist that cute little pout of yours.”
Once Max finished setting the timer, he curled his fingers around Amy's pale bangle covered wrist and pulled her towards the girls and the sofa. As they both sat down, on either side of the girls, he leaned over the girls’ heads to whisper, “I taught her that pout.”
“Yes, I know,” she replied. “Because that’s how you got Anna to fall for you.” She was about to laugh when she realized what she’d said. There was a moment of silence as both contemplated the loss of Anna. “Sorry,” she whispered to him. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
“It’s fine,” he whispered back, before he could say anymore Phoebe crawled onto his lap. He smiled and saw the splitting image of his deceased wife staring back at him. He didn’t mind that Anna was gone, because she’d left him the most precious of gift. Amy smiled as she lifted Grace onto her lap. Both parents shuffled closer together as a unit.
“How long do we have, Daddy?” Phoebe asked, as she snuggled into her father’s chest.
“Thirty seconds,” he answered. “Can you smile big for me?” he asked.
Phoebe nodded as she smiled her massive toothy smile and reached for Grace's hand. “You too, Grace!” Phoebe instructed her friend. “Smile really, really big!”
For a moment, Amy remembered Anna again. They’d both been only eight years old when they’d sat and posed for a different camera. Amy still had that picture on her bedside drawer, next to one of Phoebe and Grace as babies. 'Smile real big,' Anna had said as she’d tilted her head against Amy’s to become one.
The smile on Amy's face wasn’t a sad one anymore. She was fortunate that she could feel Anna’s presence, through her charming daughter.
As she looked at the camera, she hadn’t realized that Max had put his free arm around her waist, pulling them closer. The camera started to blink, indicating to be ready. “Ready?” she asked them. “On the count of three, okay? One…Two…”
“Three,” they all said together, smiling big for the camera, to produce the perfect family photo, to anyone who didn’t know them.

Author Bio:

Born and raised in London, England, Naya Nikki is a student who’s spent most of her life taming her creative streak through writing short stories. She’s signed her first contract with InkSpell Publishing to publish her first book “Familiar Ties.” The story follows the journey of two single parents whose daughters want nothing more than for them to become a happy family.
She is currently earning a degree in English with a minor in Creative Writing that will allow her to build her writing career. When she isn’t at the university, Naya loves nothing more than spending time with her parents and grandparents as well as meeting her friends for gossip sessions over some hot coco.

Twitter: @NikkiNaya