"In My Cell" #Excerpt from LUCIFER & THE INDIGO KIDS by @Lord_Ra_Krishna #AmReading #NonFiction

Saturday, March 7, 2015

In My Cell

Sitting in my cell / meditating, half dreaming...
See a picture on the wall / black girl in bikini

And we’re both looking happy / we embrace and we smile

As I got my eyes closed smoking on a black and mild...

Better yet / a cigarette
I wish I had one now

Meditate a little harder...
Then I crack another smile...

Cause I'm back on the beach
Sun shining on my face…

Ask me what did I learn?
Most of all / appreciate

Every moment... every second...
Every thought... every breath...

While they’re killing all the prophets / I'm the last one left...

With a wrist full of beads
And a neck full of crystals...

And the city that I'm from busting Shots with their pistols…

But I'm sitting in my cell / and my soul's in outer space

As I astral project / sun kissing on my face…

Now I'm back on the beach
With my son and my daughter

And my son thinks’ he's God
So he’s walking on the water…

And my daughter thinks’ she God
Cause that's what daddy told her...

And they both think that they could save the world when they get older....

As I'm sitting in my cell,
My body's there but I'm not in it

Tell my babies "Not to worry"
I'll be home in a minute

"This “new age” book of poetry reflects the diverse views and philosophies of it’s author Ra Krishna EL. It’s an intimate, humorous and thought provoking group of poems intended to evoke strong emotion. To quote the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, this style of poetry can be called “Zukunfts poesie“ which translates into “Poetry of the future”, where truly original ideas are presented thru poetry. Also known as post Nietzschean poetry.

It’s subjects include society, pop culture, love, religious dogma, God and the new age of Aquarius. This book was written and published during the false incarceration of its author in Chicago’s notorious Cook County Jail, the largest jail in the country."

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Genre - Poetry, Philosophy
Rating – PG-13
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#Freedom by Charlotte Piotrowski from GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN ON EARTH #NonFiction #SelfHelp

Thursday, February 26, 2015

From the chapter on freedom by co-author Charlotte Piotrowski:

“Until such time as we achieve heaven on earth, we must enjoy our freedoms responsibly. Our speech should not be harmful. Our religious practice should welcome those of all faiths (and those without religious faith). Our media should present unbiased truth and facts, rather than one-sided opinion. We must not abuse our freedoms, but rather enjoy them from a perspective of gratitude and wisdom. In doing so, we allow others to enjoy their right to freedom.

While Americans and those of many other nations, especially other democracies, already enjoy basic freedoms, many people around the globe are not equally blessed. Through peaceful means, we must support our worldwide brothers and sisters, as they work to achieve freedom from oppressive governments. We can do this by encouraging the education of all citizens. With knowledge comes power. And with power comes the strength and ability to change. In a heaven on earth, every person will enjoy freedom; and each person’s enjoyment of freedom will only serve for the betterment of the whole, and never to the detraction of anyone else.”

Glimpses of Heaven on Earth

Editor and author John E. Wade II has compiled a spiritual guide of invaluable insight for finding peace and meaning in life while making the world a better place for all. Along with co-authors Charlotte Livingston Piotrowski, Daniel Agatino, Michael Nagler, and Martin Rutte, this collection of enlightening essays and inspirational quotes from renowned thinkers and leaders throughout history provides the intellectual tools needed to live a more harmonious life.

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Genre - Inspirational
Rating – G
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Pendelton Wallace on Not Letting Life's Detours Stop You Writing #AmWriting #Authors #WriteTip

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Practical Advice for Beginning Fiction (or other genre) Writers

Read, read, read. You need to know your genre. If you’re writing about zombies and vampires, what kind of mythology has already been created? Look for common threads in other works in your genre. Get to know what the reader expects, then excite and thrill them. Exceed their expectations.

Study other authors; find out what makes their stories successful. If you’re writing Romance novels, then read the leading authors in that genre. If you write horror, read everything Steven King has written. Learn from the experts.

I really admire Elizabeth George. I try to write character driven thrillers as she writes character driven mysteries. This goes against the grain. Most thrillers are plot driven and all action. If you read The Da Vinci Code, you will notice that there is no character development in the entire novel. The characters are the same at the end of the book that they were at the beginning. I want my characters to have an arc and to grow and develop as a result of the situations they are placed in. But I got this from reading many, many thrillers and consciously deciding what I wanted to do.

Be disciplined. Create your writing time and environment, then stick to it. I write every morning, seven days a week. It’s my most creative time. I get up, make coffee and sit down at my computer. After a couple of hours, I get up, make breakfast, then go back to work.

When I was working, I got up at 4:30 every morning and wrote for two hours before I went to work. I produced a prodigious amount of work.

Don’t let life’s little detours stop you. We all have them. I sometimes have temporary road blocks, but I always get back to work as soon as possible. As I write this, we are six miles off of Cape Colonet Mexico, heading north for San Diego.

Before we left La Paz, the bearings on the drive shaft on my boat burned out. We spent two long hard weeks repairing them and getting ready for the voyage. I got no writing done during this period.

However, as soon as we were off shore and headed north, I started writing everyday again.

Sometimes you experience hardships. I can’t tell you how hard it is to type when the boat is heeled over and I keep sliding away from the keyboard. But, I keep writing anyway. I have to maintain my discipline.

Find a writers’ critique group. I can’t over emphasize the importance of having peers review your work. They find all sorts of little (and big) problems with your writing that you might miss.

Look hard and find a group of people who can help you. I was in two critique groups before I found the right one.

The first group was a group of ladies that were hobbyist and beginning writers. They didn’t want to say anything negative. They were very nice people, but they weren’t helping me. I needed to hear what was wrong with my writing.

The second group included a woman who was brutally honest. She tore me to pieces and I went home thinking I would never write again. After three or four days, I finally admitted that she had a point and I needed to re-work that piece.

The problem was not her criticism, but how she gave it. I always valued what she had to say, but she said it in such a mean way that it was crushing.

Finally, I was lucky enough to fall in with a group of writers who were all better than me. I listened and learned, contributing what I could. They really made me a writer.

Be persistent. Never give up. Never stop trying. So what if an agent rejects your work? That’s only one person’s opinion. Until you have twenty or thirty rejections, just keep going. When you reach critical mass on rejections, then it’s time to stop and think about what you’re doing. What can you change to make your work more appealing.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t give up. Keep at it.

Let me leave you with a little story.

As I was preparing to make my epic voyage south to Mexico, I decided that I needed to read John Steinbeck’s The Log of the Sea of Cortez. Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors and I was surprised that I hadn’t read this book yet.

Finding the Log was not easy. Your corner bookstore probably doesn’t carry it. While I was searching for a copy, I discovered that Steinbeck wrote a book about pirates, A Cup of Gold. That’s right, one of my favorite authors wrote a pirate tale about Captain Morgan and I never heard of it.

I increased my search parameters and eventually found both The Log of the Sea of Cortez and A Cup of Gold.

I eagerly read A Cup of Gold and learned an important lesson. It was Steinbeck’s first book, and it was awful. If he could start out with a book this bad and still become John Steinbeck, then there is hope for all of us.

Keep at it. Work hard every day. Learn. Grow. Get better at your craft. Success does not come to the faint of heart.

If Clive Cussler had written Ugly Betty, it would be Hacker for Hire. 

Hacker for Hire, a suspense novel about corporate greed and industrial espionage, is the second book in a series about Latino computer security analyst Ted Higuera and his best friend, para-legal Chris Hardwick. 

The goofy, off-beat Ted Higuera, son of Mexican immigrants, grew up in East LA. An unlikely football scholarship brought him to Seattle. 

Chris, Ted’s college roommate, grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father is the head of one of Seattle’s most prestigious law firms. 

Ted’s first job out of college leads him into the world of organized crime where he faces a brutal beating. After being rescued by beautiful private investigator Catrina Flaherty, Ted decides to go to work for her. 

Catrina is hired by a large computer corporation to find a leak in their corporate boardroom when the previous consultant is found floating in Elliot Bay. 

Ted discovers that Chris’s firm has been retained by their prime suspect. Now he and Chris are working opposite sides of the same case. 

Ted and Catrina are led deep into Seattle’s Hi-Tech world as they stalk the killer. But the killer is also hunting them. Can Ted find the killer before the killer finds him? 
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Thriller
Rating – R
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Scott Moon on the Many Hats of #SelfPub Authors and Book Pricing @ScottMoonWriter #AmWriting

Wherein we discuss the most agonizing decision a writer makes since deciding to publish

Self-published authors wear many hats–writer, editor, marketing director, cover designer and more. Many of these tasks can, and often should be, left to paid professionals. The indie crowd is full of creative people who can do it all. I thought I was such a prodigy once, but realized I needed to pay people to edit and design book covers. Could I do it? With training and practice, why not? But there are issues of objectivity and time management. Like many writers, I decided to focus on my first love and put the other parts of self-publishing in the (very modest) budget.
Unfortunately, decisions are harder to contract out. Which means I have to decide how to price my urban fantasy and science fiction novels. In this post, I will list factors I’ve considered and make some general statements regarding my final decision.
Perceived value
Readers may judge a book by the price. Ninety-nine cents screams “indie author.” Legions of angry writers clamor against low priced books, calling the strategy a race to the bottom. How can the industry survive if the product is so cheap?
Business Pricing
The cost of the book is balanced against how many units must sell at a certain price to achieve a reasonable return on investment. The point is to make money. The strategy is to price the book as high as it will sell, following the rule of supply and demand.
Emotional Pricing
Selecting a price based on how much heart and soul the author put into the manuscript. Emotional pricing could also be influenced by ego; real authors use real prices. I tend to believe my writing is pretty darn amazing. Things would be simpler if everyone would just acknowledge my expertise in this area. I’m a hero author in my own mind. And my mom says I’m special.
Wherein I just make a decision
I did not set out to start a business. Like many writers, I have a generalized goal of “writing full time.” Professional business persons must cringe at this oft repeated, laughably vague declaration. It is also a bit ridiculous, since few traditionally published authors have achieved this gold standard of success. I know that I need to write great books full of interesting characters striving toward compelling goals. I know to show more often than I tell and I understand the value of hiring the best paid editor I can afford.
I also understand I must build an author platform. If I wrote non-fiction, I could build a resume based on knowledge and experience. Do speaking engagements. Lead seminars. Get a PhD in awesomeness.
How does a novelist demonstrate expertise other than to write novels that can’t be put down, or turned off, or whatever?
My first marketing concern, after writing the best book possible, is to get the word out. I want people to read my stories and be entertained.
For quite a while, I read the blogs on ebook pricing and took the welfare of the industry to heart. But in the end, the decision is really simple. The price of a book should be the price that sells. A fat advertising budget or a viral You Tube video might raise the perceived value and demand. Skyrocketing sales would drive the price up, though some might argue it shouldn’t.
At the end of the day I ask myself two questions. Is my book selling? Am I reaching more readers than I was yesterday?
This is a hotly contested topic in the publishing world, so please abuse me with your comments if you must. (But keep in mind I am an artist, and thus very sensitive.)

Lost Hero

Changed by captivity and torture, hunted by the Reapers of Hellsbreach and wanted by Earth Fleet, Kin Roland hides on a lost planet near an unstable wormhole.

When a distant space battle propels a ravaged Earth Fleet Armada through the same wormhole, a Reaper follows, hunting for the man who burned his home world. Kin fights to save a mysterious native of Crashdown from the Reaper and learns there are worse things in the galaxy than the nightmare hunting him. The end is coming and he is about to pay for a sin that will change the galaxy forever. 


Enemy of Man: Book One in the Chronicles of Kin Roland was written for fans of military science fiction and science fiction adventure. Readers who enjoyed Starship Troopers or Space Marines will appreciate this genre variation. Powered armor only gets a soldier so far. Battlefield experience, guts, and loyal friends make Armageddon fun. 


If you love movies like Aliens, Predator, The Chronicles of Riddick, or Serenity, then you might find the heroes and creatures in Enemy of Man dangerous, determined, and ready to risk it all. It’s all about action and suspense, with a dash of romance—or perhaps flash romance. 

From the Author

Thanks for your interest in my novel, Enemy of Man. I hope you chose to read the book and enjoy every page. 

If you have already read Enemy of Man, how was it? Reviews are appreciated! 

Have a great day and be safe.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – R
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 Connect with Scott Moon on Facebook & Twitter


Craig Staufenberg on Book Covers That Tap Into the Theme of the Story @YouMakeArtDumb #WriteTip

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why Book Covers are So Important

There’s marketing, of course, but I don’t want to get too hung up in that. For me, my book cover was so important because it gave me a way to like my book again.

In general, I like what I write because I write things that I’d like to read. But the process of soliciting feedback, editing, and otherwise sitting with your book in an analytical way can drive away a good chunk of that affection. Especially when you’re about a year deep into the project and you aren’t feeling quite the same rush you did when you blazed through the first draft. And after you’ve been grappling with how seriously to take the 1 out of 40 beta readers who ended up hating your book and tearing it apart. I faced this scenario with my book, and I was having a very, very hard time liking my book right when I was finishing it up and getting ready to publish it.

But working with a good friend of mine to design the book’s cover pulled me out of this funk. The process and the final cover design helped me like, and then even love, my book again.

Why? Because instead of worrying about the text, I got to sit back and work with her to create a piece of art that was beautiful in its own right, but which also tapped into the book’s overall theme and tone.

What’s more, I got to bring someone else in to help work on the book with me. So I wasn’t just sitting by myself worrying about whether everyone was going to hate what I wrote. Instead, my friend and I just chatted on the phone, sent a lot of emails with pictures of book covers we liked, and talked about art. And then we talked about what we liked about the book, and why it resonated with the two of us. And suddenly I had this great avenue for thinking about, and appreciating, the book, while remembering why it meant so much to me in the first place.

Even better, I was able to give my friend a great opportunity—she got to design her first book cover from scratch. She’d worked on many book covers before mine, but she didn’t get to take full ownership of a cover design before. So no matter how I felt about the book, I knew that putting it out there would at least help my friend take a step forward in her career.

And ultimately, the whole process gave me something to love about the book that didn’t come from me. It’s always hard to feel totally positive about something that you made with your own two hands. Even if you like it, and even when you fall in love with it again, you still look at it and see the seams. And hear everything negative anyone has ever said about it. And think about all the worries, and concerns, and anxieties that went into it. But I can look at this cover that my friend designed and love it unconditionally. And that means there’s at least something about this book that I can approach without doubt.

The Girl Who Came Back to Life

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says "Goodbye," and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.

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Genre – Middle Grade
Rating – PG-13
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@KimberlyShursen on Getting Unstuck by Thinking of Pivotal Life Moments #SelfPub #AmWriting

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Help! I’m Stuck in the Middle and I Can’t Get Out
By Kimberly Shursen, Author of Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hush, and Lottery

Ever get to the middle of writing your book and didn’t have a clue what to do next? You’ve set up the story; you’ve described the characters, the scenery, the wallpaper in the kitchen, and now what? You’re excited to write that unbelievable ending you already have conjured in your head, but how in the world are you going to get there?

Answer: resolve the issue before you start staring at those intimidating blank pages on the screen.
  1.  Have a secondary plot. By this I don’t mean a separate plot, but one that weaves nicely into your story. Using my novel HUSH as an example, there is Ann and Ben’s life, and then there’s Ann’s lawyer Mac McConaughey’s story. The plot remains focused on the main characters, however, Mac and his wife Jazz’s life is a secondary heart-warming storyline readers can identify with.
  1. When you’re stuck, think of the most pivotal moments of your life; the birth of a child, a challenging life hurdle you’ve finally succeeded in overcoming, or the feeling of finally letting go and falling in love. Bring these pivotal moments to life in your characters. Set the platform in the first few chapters of your book and you will have a beginning, a middle, and an end that, although cliché, will wrap up into one sweet little package. Never write a chapter that doesn’t have substance or doesn’t move the story forward. Each single word, sentence, and chapter needs to have meaning; so no cheating filling in with drawn out dissertations of the scenery.
  1. I never place my novels in one city as it’s just too much fun to travel via the net. It is important that my characters and the places they live or travel not become redundant. In HUSH, there are three cities I visited in cyberspace. How do I do this? Just as a couple of examples, I use images, descriptions of buildings and restaurants, and neighborhood overviews found in personal travel documentations, along with studying the official websites of the city. I do a ton of research so that if anyone who lives in these cities or neighborhoods happens to read my book, they would think I’d been there not just once, but several times. The bulk of HUSH was set in Minneapolis, and even though I lived in Minneapolis for many years, I still had to check out the facts. How many miles around is Lake Minnetonka where Mac’s wife Jazz lived? How far was it from Dinky Town where Ann lived to the courthouse? Where are the prestigious neighborhoods in Minneapolis? Which suburbs are the poorest? Mileage from one place to the next takes me to Mapquest.
When I took HUSH to Lake Geneva, Switzerland was when I really had to  dig deep into the bowels of the net, close my eyes and envision not only the Jet d'Eau that surges 459 feet above the lake, but the Swiss Alps, and the peaceful inlet of water that borders this quaint, wealthy city.

Don’t be afraid to reach the middle; embrace it. If you’ve done your homework, and set up your storylines, there will be nothing to fear when you proudly present your baby to the public.


Soon after Ann Ferguson and Ben Grable marry, and Ben unseals his adoption papers, their perfect life together is torn apart, sending the couple to opposite sides of the courtroom.

Representing Ann, lawyer Michael J. McConaughey (Mac) feels this is the case that could have far-reaching, judicial effects -- the one he's been waiting for.

Opposing counsel knows this high profile case happens just once in a lifetime.

And when the silent protest known as HUSH sweeps the nation, making international news, the CEO of one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world plots to derail the trial that could cost his company billions.

Critically acclaimed literary thriller HUSH not only questions one of the most controversial laws that has divided the nation for over four decades, but captures a story of the far-reaching ties of family that surpasses time and distance.

*** Hush does not have political or religious content. The story is built around the emotions and thoughts of two people who differ in their beliefs.
 EDITORIAL REVIEW: "Suspenseful and well-researched, this action-packed legal thriller will take readers on a journey through the trials and tribulations of one of the most controversial subjects in society today." - Katie French author of "The Breeders," "The Believer's," and "Eyes Ever To The Sky."

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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Mike Hartner on How Not All Characters Can Be Heard at Once @MHartnerAuthor #AmWriting #HistFic

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Inside the Mind of An Author

In the Darkness brought on by a closed room and narrow stairs, I slowly ascend to the top and push the attic floorboard to the side. This stairwell, conveniently hidden in a second floor wall, has been very dusty and full of cobwebs. I’m really not sure what to expect when I go into the attic. I have, however, heard strange noises.

Climbing up into the attic, into the mind of this author, I look around. The walls are cluttered with post it notes, and most of them had small symbols and some writing. There were papers that had fallen to the floor, and the whole area looked like an old bomb shelter.

I’m immediately dodging the many different children who are running around. The voices that each one uses to taunt the others are all different.

I stop one of them. His name is James.

“Are there any others around?”

“Oh, there are plenty.”

“Where are they?”

“Sitting in a corner of the filing room in the back. They’re waiting for their opportunity to come join the fun.”

“What are they waiting for?”

“Why, everyone knows that they’re waiting to be heard. Not all of us characters can be heard at the same time. Sometimes, he listens to three or four of us for a short time, and sometimes he listens to one of us for a long time. But, we’re all here. Waiting for our chance to be heard.”

“So why are you three out here running around?”

“We’ve already been heard. He’s concentrating on us right now, and it’s our chance to play and rest while he figures out what he wants us to do next.”

“How many are in the back room?”

“The last I checked, the room was crammed, and the waiting list was endless. Lots of voices like us want to be heard. We want to tell our stories.”

James escaped from my vision and went back to running around.

When I saw them return, I also saw them carrying long sticks, using them as play swords. I beat a hasty retreat from the mind of this author.


James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating – PG
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Connect with Mike Hartner on Facebook & Twitter