Guest Author Blogs

This week’s Guest Author is  Tantra Bensko

I’m glad to say Hi and announce that I have two books coming out now at the same time, the larger one on the light side, exploring alternate, parallel, and past lives, the underworld of the subconscious, and pure zany fun, the other one also with a mix of surreal and “regular” levels of the self, addressing more shadowy issues such as Milabs with screen memories, and the cannibalistic nature of some relationships. Like Donna, I’ve taken a good look at the interactions with interdimensional beings so often found in secret societies, the ability to travel through dreams, telepathy, the power of crystals and healing. And I’ve lived a lot of my life in the wildnerness, straight up. And like Donna, I’m also a poet and artist. I feel the more we write and talk about the reality of other frequencies the more people become able to see, and admit they see them.

I have 170 poetry and fiction publications in magazines, and some trace my experiences in the paranormal, others experimental with language and structure and high concept, and others are Absurdist, or New Wave Fabulism. I teach fiction writing and run Exclusive Magazine. So much wonderful writing is coming out now, I love participating in the literary world and encouraging writers.

I like to give readers a lot for their money, and contribute to the very new Transmedia, as my full length book Lucid Membrane is spread across other websites which can be accessed in the way the readers of the book can discover, and this is in a form I’ve never seen. I like to explore edges of what fiction is. It also has 3 stories encoded within it. People like to participate, share their own things, and that’s the fun that can be had with this book.

The chapbook, The Cabinet of What You Don’t See is a more creepy, Expressionistic kind of whimsical fun that makes you wonder what you’re really seeing, who you are, what the world is made of, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. A lot of people have to go through the kind of labyrinthine mind control and hypnotic amnesia implied in this book, and dreaming though fiction about such topics respects the need for processing through the imaginative world, and creating something beautiful.

Bio:

Tantra Bensko teaches Experimental Literature. The has 4 chapbooks, including one just from ISMs, and a full length fiction book, Lucid Membrane released by Night Publishing. She has 170 creative writing publications, including several in magazines that gave her awards: Carolina Quarterly, where she won the Academy of American Poets Award, Cezanne’s Carrot, Punkpen, The Iowa Journal of Literary Studies, Rose and Thorn which nominated her for Pushcart, and Medulla Review, which dedicated an issue to Lucid Fiction and invited her to co-edit. She runs Exclusive Magazine, and Experimental Writing,   http://experimentalwriting.weebly.com, and is a collaborator of the StepChamber. She instigated the genre Lucid Fiction. She is also an artist. She lives in Berkeley.

Blurb for Lucid Membrane.

Lucid Membrane, like the title suggests, is an investigation of the thin margin at the periphery of experience, in which every sentence, each phrase, is an entry point onto new ways of thinking and being. The whole is infused with a whimsical sense of surrealism, the breathing in, moving out through something that might even be transcendence, as embodied in the quiet moments that come in the evening, the sun rising in the morning, the cool shiver of souls in bodies…. Lucid Membrane is an auspicious debut, and sure to be one of the most adventurous things published this year (or any other, for that matter).

Kyle Muntz, author of Voices (Enigmatic Ink) and Sunshine in the Valley (Civil Coping Mechanisms)

 

Excerpt from Lucid Membrane, the beginning of one of the stories, which was published in Cezanne’s Carrot:

The Terrace Steps

The rest of the story shall go unexplained, but the steps were the first token of my affection for the birds, and we shall end there. They became being. Nothing else really mattered at the time, and the steps were the most beautiful rocks I could find in the quarries of the imagination, the shapes being suggestive of alterations in the seamless. The rocks never spoke to me directly, but they called to me in another time, and often their names were apparent in a kind of transparent liquid sensation that would take me over each time I discovered a name I couldn’t understand in words.

But the circling of the rock, the lifting of it, the carrying of it, step by step, my legs moving past each other with a whish of magnetics was a way of saying their names back to them in greeting. The placing of them in the line of steps along the terraces was a way of them saying my name, as they locked into place, and they felt the strength of my name. It is a name of tradition, masculine, solid, like the sound of a rock falling into place for good. They will always be there in the terraces, surrounded by the green moss, and I will always be named Arturio.

The birds have their own names, but they exchange them back and forth with each other sometimes as they fly. I want to do that someday, be always named Arturio but still, exchange it back and forth with people named Angel, Julio, Antonia, and Marcus. I’d like to fly with them while we do it, over the terraces,seeing the green of them as we swoop over them, the green glowing richly. When we fly together at night sometimes, we almost exchange names like the birds, but I have not yet learned their secrets for how they do that as yet. When I do, then, I would have to teach my friends, and they are perhaps too traditional to learn new things of that nature.

The steps have become the project of my middle age, and when I am through with them, I will know I have started my old age. I am not ready for that to happen as yet, but my old age does beckon to me from the well. I feel it sing to me when I pull up the water, see my reflection with my face hanging over it, gravity and reflection, the time below the earth, and the time on the surface of the earth. They are different, you know. The time below the surface of the earth is my secret, but I will explain it to you, for now.

In the future, you will forget it, in the past you have forgotten it, so I know the secret will be safe if I keep it in the present. The present will enfold it and keep it mine, and yet I can revel in the telling of it. Under the surface of the earth, my old age sings and I am beginning to learn the songs from the well. The well is made from stones like mine, but I never knew their names, as they were locked into place when I was a boy, by my grandfather.

 

Blurb for Cabinet:

Tantra Bensko’s illustrious Cabinet of What You Don’t See keeps you guessing the nature of every little dent in its worn and wondrous surface. Uncover the inhabitants and inspirations of each drawer but don’t forget to slowly look over your shoulder every once in a while because Bensko’s elegant prose is
cut and trimmed to learn and adapt to its reader’s expectations and assumptions. You never know when something will creep up behind you with sheer surprise.

Michael Seidlinger

The Day We Delay CCM and In Good Company Enigmatic Ink Press

Excerpt from The Cabinet of What You Don’t See, beginning of a story:

Can You Tell Them I’m With Them?

I wish the people I’m living with, on my own invisible frequency, could understand that I am weaving myself through their cells, through their dreams, their breath, their love. I am a verb, and they only understand beings as nouns. What an odd planet, based on things, separate, individual, rather than on a flow of energy. When they say “I,” they mean something encased in skin. A brain, the view from their eyes, their memories. I’m learning. But when I say “I,” I mean anything I want to mean. I can be whatever part of me is flowing through them, and through their memories of certain events, and through their future in various parallel potentials, and some of my feelings about that.

And that I can be portrayed as the most beautiful art, kind of an abstract mobile. But the people I live with don’t even know I’m there. I guess they might be afraid if they did. They’re already afraid of themselves, and their feelings about each other, which draws in the Reptilians, and they’re afraid of them, so maybe it’s best to leave them alone. But I don’t want to. Would you, if you were me, oozing through their minds, dribbling through their secretions, lucid inside their dreams?

I’m telling you this, because you are reading it. Something brought you here to this point. And you have a future in which all this makes sense. I hope you can let that future layer over on top of you and fill you in, so you can see how odd these people on Earth seem in the present time, so distant, unconscious. And I hope you let the secret promptings that occurred in the past pile up against you, run hard at you and bump into your mind all at once, and remind you how important it is that you read this. I hope you can align all the levels of yourself, from your subconscious below, all the way up above your head to the most divine self. And I hope you spread out to include your aura, one level after another, out to the farthest edges, in which you know there are no edges.

Thanks for your good supply of English language to draw from. It’s hard to talk to people who don’t know their language well. Babies are actually the easiest to talk to, and willow trees, and deer. And granite.

And you. You’re special. I love you, as they say. Let me lift your hair, and whisper into your bones, and pull out some pain from your muscles. Ahh. . . . Let me lap up your milk of being, and spit out my own juices of everything beyond thought, into your lap, which extends, if you could only see it, into the lap of your mother before you were born. And into the star dust you were made from, ultimately.

The people I’m living with want to kiss me. I know they do. They just don’t know I exist. But they want me to. They want the kind of love I can give them. Not kisses on the lips, but on the entirity, which means of course, my intertwining into the sap in the trees and the bed springs underneath them, and the poo that leaves their bodies, and the first teacher who helped them understand how to read.

I want you to tell them I’m here. Give them a call, write them a note. Something. Make up a song to sing as you walk past them, and they’ll hear a whiff of it, and it will all make sense on some level. Can you?

The teenage girl is afraid of slugs. When she goes out at night, to take the dog bowl in, she can’t stand the slugs on it that she has to take off. She procrastinates, she begs, she draws snakes that look like penises, Reptilians that look like slugs, and when she wakes up, the Reptilians have pounded her belly and made bruises on her.

 

 http://lucidmembrane.weebly.com is my website about these latest books. http://experimentalwriting.weebly.com is my website as a resource for Experimental Fiction, including Exclusive Magazine.


Guest Author Archives:
Jan. 5, 2011

This week’s guest author is Carole Gill. A former Manhattanite, Carole Gill resides in England with her husband and two lunatic Parson Russell Terriers.
In 2000 she was selected by North West Playwrights of England for further development but found she preferred fiction writing.
Carole writes dark horror and sci-fi and is widely published in horror and sci-fi anthologies.
THE HOUSE ON BLACKSTONE MOOR is her first book and has just been published by Vamplit Publishing.
It is available from Smashwords now and will be in paperback early in 2011.
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/33847
Carole is at work on her second novel for Vamplit. The story set before and after World War 1,
is a very different vampire love story and is tentatively entitled PASSIONATA.

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Life Insurance Quotes
Book Excerpt

chapter 1

They said my father was mad, corrupted by evil and tainted with sin, which is why he did what he did. I came home to find them all dead; their throats had been savagely cut.
My sisters only five and eight were gone as well as my brother who was twelve. My mother lay butchered in her marriage bed. The bed her children were born in.
I discovered him first—in the sitting-room afloat in a sea of crimson—the bloody razor still clutched in his hand.
How pitiful I must have looked, bent down trying to wake him. Calling to him over and over, “Papa please… Please wake-up.”
He could not of course. No more would he open his eyes in this world, had I not been struck mad I would have realized.
Yet madness is sometimes a mercy and when shadows come to take the horror away it is a good thing.
Do not pull away in terror, please. I have much to confess. Just be patient, for I promise I will tell you everything. The only thing I ask in return is for you not to judge me until you hear my entire story.
When I recall that dreadful night I remember it in confusing images and noise. People came and went. Gentle hands touched me trying to soothe away the shock and the agony—voices too, hushed and sad, telling me things I could not then understand.
“Go away.”
I probably said that, though I can’t be sure. Lucidity was not my strong point that night. I do recall someone carrying me out of my home to a neighbor’s house.
We lived in Notting Hill then having moved from Mayfair after my father’s illness—more about that later.
The house was on Blenheim Crescent, a respectable residence in a fairly affluent neighborhood. Despite this, the grander environs of Mayfair was much remembered and longed for by my mother especially. My mother who now lay caked in blood in her bedroom in Notting Hill.
“You remember me, don’t you Rose? It’s Dr. Arliss.”
Dr. Arliss? Our physician. Was he there?
“I am sorry Rose, but you will have to go with them.”
People can’t be left around screaming you understand and I am silenced by strong hands. “Come along Miss. That’s better.”
I hadn’t the sense to ask where I was being taken. All I can remember is being removed from my neighbor’s house.
They explained that I couldn’t very well stay in my own home surrounded by the blood-splattered corpses of my murdered family, now could I?
They half dragged me down the stairs and out into an icy rain.
“Just get her in…”
A woman reached for me. I caught sight of her face; she looked serious though not unkind. “Come along now dear.”
Dear that was nice. I do believe I thanked her. Well I wasn’t right in my head was I?
“Where are you taking me?”
So polite, a soft refined voice heard at church socials. Not me. Churches and I never mixed. Of course I would regret that in the future.
“Harry, go get the restraints.”
Restraints? It doesn’t affect me because it’s nothing to me, I’m not really there you see. Well not all of the time.
I must explain something. The first hours following the carnage were a blur to me really. I have only come to understand things over time, which is better in a way, so I can tell you my story more clearly.
I dozed I think. There had been a pinch in my arm earlier and Dr. Arliss telling me he was giving me something to relax me.
The wagon moved—clip clop—down the streets for an indeterminable time, but then stopped. A door opened and other arms reached for me now.
“That’s right, love, all out.”
They were taking me into a building of some sort.
“What is this place?”
I’m not sure if I asked that question, if I was able to. If I was, I know I didn’t receive an answer.
Someone had me under the arm, one of the men from the wagon. “It’s alright.”
Why was everyone telling me it was alright when it was the worst time of my life?
We stepped inside a vestibule. A woman looked up from a high desk, not at me. She looked instead at the man who was still holding my arms. “Name?”
He took out a piece of paper, glanced at it and said: “Rose Baines of 22 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill.”
“Oh! A lady are we, dear?” I start to answer but her words drowned me out: “Right, put her in with the rest of them.”
This was when I started to feel fearful. The rest of them? That didn’t sound nice. I needed help—had I been arrested? They didn’t think I did it, did they?
I started to struggle which was the worst thing I could have done.
“Now stop that at once!”
I cried out. “I am innocent please help me!”
They dragged me away then and as they did I caught a whiff of ether and disinfectant.
Was I in a hospital? Maybe that was good, it was better than being in a prison.
Why then, if it wasn’t a prison did I see a massive gate just ahead in the very direction we were heading?
I saw a surly face along with jangling keys and I heard the sound of locks being opened.
“In here.”
It was a smallish room, more like a cage than a room and far too small for all of the sad humanity populating it. A sea of the most miserable and pathetic faces greeted me. Some were holding their sides and rocking back and forth, others were sleeping or crying. One or two were crouched against the filthy walls muttering to themselves in their agitated state.
Realization hit me. They thought me insane.
I cried out yet no one came. “Please, someone!”
The pathetic creatures I found myself with began to repeat my cries. They didn’t do it to mock me I’m certain, but it was horrible anyway.
At last I was quiet. I couldn’t stand their shrieking and if that wasn’t bad enough most of them were filthy and smelled of the street and the gutter.
I was there for a long time I think, crying quietly and dozing too. An attendant came around a few times mostly to look in at us and then saunter away, immune to protestations or questions, mine included.
I did sleep. I don’t know for how long and woke to the unmistakable sound of jangling keys and the realization that the door had been opened.
I picked my head up off of the stained bench to see who had come in. It was a gentleman and he was looking over each of us. There was a burly man with him. They kept whispering to one another.
When he got to me, he raised the lamp shining it directly into my face. I put my arm up for the light was blinding.
“No dear,” he said gently moving my arm down. “I just want to see your face.”
I almost asked him why, I think now, looking back on it, I should have asked; things might have been different if I had.
As he was holding the lamp aloft, I could just make out his even features. He looked sane. “I am Dr. Bannion and I’d like to talk to you.”
***
I was unwell, confused in my mind and yet there are moments I remember well; this was one of them.
Before he led me out he spoke to an attendant, I am sure it was to ascertain whether she thought I’d be violent. Just to be on the safe side, she went along, her arms at her side but ready, should the need arise, to restrain me at any time.
All these female attendants were big boned, tall and most of them and could have easily been mistaken for men.
“In here please.”
It was a small room with a bench and some cabinets. I saw medicine bottles and books and other medical paraphernalia.
I sat on a bench alongside the attendant with the doctor facing us.
He began at once. “Now then,” he said bracingly. “Would you prefer to be called by your surname or your Christian name?”
How singularly unimportant that was in the scheme of things. I didn’t realize it then, however I am certain I said I preferred to be called Rose.
He looked pleased. “Well now do you feel able to answer some questions, Rose?”
I quite liked his manner, as ill as I was and I was very ill and confused a great deal of the time. I liked him because he sounded kind, caring and because of this I wished to answer all his questions. “I shall try.”
“Yes that is all one can ever expect is to try.” I noticed then that he nodded toward the attendant, which must have been a sign for her departure. I was delighted.
“What can you tell me Rose? You were away for the weekend, weren’t you?”
“Yes I was.” I hadn’t remembered that until he reminded me. “I was at my aunt’s.”
He was speaking to me and jotting notes down too. I think I expected that.
“Your aunt is ill.”
“Yes she is dying.” I now remembered my mother telling me to go for a final visit and I got choked up and found it impossible to go on. “Please sir.”
He reached over and touched my arm gently as a friend would. I found the gesture reassuring and I believe I smiled. “It is so hard.”
That, as they say, was the last straw and I collapsed in a paroxysm of tears and sobs. I think I was quite wild too and unmanageable.
The attendant reappeared.
“Rose I am giving you something. It will help to calm you.”
Everything became a pleasant blur, but I did hear Dr. Bannion, “I shall remove her to Marsh where she can get the best care.”
***
He told me Marsh was a place where I could rest, where he’d help me to get better. “You’ll see Rose. It’s in the country and the location is lovely. I run it and I am certain you will benefit greatly from being there under my care.”
I had questions I wished to ask him, yet since I felt as though he didn’t want me to say anything, I didn’t.
I wonder still what he would have said if I had.
“We shall take the train. Huddersfield is a long way from London.”
“In Yorkshire, sir?”
“Yes, the West Ridings, it’s quite beautiful there.”
I remember bits and pieces of this day. I remember smelling the rain and him helping me into the carriage.
“Kings Cross.” The cab obliged jerking forward.
“It won’t be long now.”
I had so many questions with neither the sense nor ability to ask them, because he had given me another injection before we left.
“Yes that’s right you close your eyes.”
In and out of consciousness, sleeping one minute and awake the next.
The cab stopped we were there at Kings Cross.
He had already explained that we would have to change trains a few times. “Don’t worry; I shall take care of everything.”
How comforting that was to hear, I began to trust him and to rely on him then.
As for the trip itself I can only recall it as a muddle of steam and groaning metal, of sharp whistles too, so loud I covered my ears.
“That’s alright Rose,” The calming voice again, I felt myself smiling for I was comforted.
I slept most of the time, barely noticing being guided from one train to another, guided gently with his voice always soothing me: “Yes just this way now. There you may sit down now, Rose.”
Later, as if I was a sleepwalker waking from a dream, I heard him say, “You really have slept most of the way, we should be arriving fairly soon.”
He looked pleased and because he did I felt pleased too. “Truly, I never meant to sleep so much.”
The train screeched to a stop and we disembarked like two weary travelers nearing the end of an expedition. Expedition: fancy, yet perhaps it was; a quest to get better or so I thought in my feeble state of mind.
I was not prepared for the tumult. I cringed at the hustle and bustle of so many people rushing this way and that, but he calmly ushered me along. “Just this way, Rose you’re doing splendidly.”
I was proud of myself I really was and I felt my spirits soar.
There was a line of cabs and a cabby called out. “All destinations. Fair rates.”
“Marsh please.”
The cabbie looked startled. “Marsh sir? The town or…”
“The asylum if you please.”
“Righty-oh sir.”
Asylum? Another madhouse, why hadn’t I asked, why hadn’t I known. When all is said and done what difference could it have possibly made if I had asked, I was at the mercy of others now.
“There it is Rose.” he nodded, looking encouragingly.
I looked out to see a forbidding place with granite walls and towering gates, implacable barriers to be reckoned with, the words strung across the archway struck fear into my confused mind:
MARSH LUNATIC ASYLUM.
This was my new home for now.

Book Review

Review by: James Garcia Jr. on Dec. 22, 2010
In a day when vampires and other paranormal characters are seemingly coming out of the woodwork, this epic work takes a bit of vampirism, demons, magic, action and romance, and takes them all into a dark place. Earlier I used the word “epic” and this novel is nothing short. It may not have been as long as Stephen King’s, “The Stand”; however, by the time the reader has gone from the abattoir that was the Baines home to the insane asylum to Blackstone Moor and beyond, they will feel that they have truly gone on a grand adventure. In order to accomplish this, perhaps the most important skill is pacing. One of the more impressive qualities of this work is exactly that. Gill takes us in many directions, providing many traumatic twists and terrible turns, but while she does this, we are neither bored nor rushed.
In poorer efforts, characters come and go simply to drive the plot or to be fed to the antagonist, but in this, they are tangible and vital, and when they are gone, not only do we miss them, but they remain with us as well. And none more so than Rose Baines and Louis Darton. When the tale has been told you will find that every one of them, even the minor ones, were fashioned so well that you will swear that you could picture every bit of them. They were that well-crafted.
If you like your novels dark, then you have most definitely come to the right place because you are about to witness hell on earth. From ancient sacrifices to present-day devil worship and blood and sex rituals, you will find yourself transported through every possible waking nightmare as Rose escapes one, only to find herself trapped in another. There were places even I wasn’t prepared for, but I continued on, as you will as well. If you are troubled easily, then you had better prepare yourself. Carole Gill has really done something special here. Her Rose is a well-written character that you will find yourself rooting for as she is thrown into places found only between heaven and hell, and caught between the constant battle of good versus evil where the only losers tend to be the poor souls caught between.

Book Trailer:

Dec. 20, 2010

This Week’s Guest Author is W. S. Gager

Bio:  W.S. Gager has lived in West Michigan for most of her life except for stints early in her career as a newspaper reporter and editor. Now she enjoys creating villains instead of crossing police lines to get the story. She teaches English at a local college and is a soccer chauffeur for her children. During her driving time she spins webs of intrigue for Mitch Malone’s next crime-solving adventure. Her first in the Mitch Malone Mysteries was A Case of Infatuation which one the Dark Oak Mystery Contest. Her second book, A Case of accidental Intersection won the Public Safety Writer’s Association Contest for best unpublished fiction. Her third book, A Case of Hometown Blues will be out this summer.

Review:Characters that are vividly described, personalities that are clear cut and believable, a main character whose strengths are persistence, diligence, kindness, creative, hardnosed, hard working and more, help to round out this well written and crafted novel. The ending is just the beginning for one character and what happens brings things full circle from the past to the present. Author W.S. Gager’s novel is really a first rate mystery and Mitch Malone is someone this reader and reviewer wants to see in other novels by this outstanding author.


Exerpt:

Chapter 1A twisted piece of fiberglass stuck in the dirt along the side of the road. A rearview mirror the color of cherry-red lipstick was detached from the wreckage and thrown some fifty feet along the centerline marking the do not pass zone.Firefighters, EMTs and policemen huddled around the still-turning belly of a cement truck that had mowed over the top of something but was itself undamaged. The realization hit me with horror. The mirror belonged to a car pinned under the orange and white girth. It now looked like an octopus with jagged sheet-metal legs protruding in all directions, rather than a fancy sports car from a showroom.I moved in the direction of a woman pacing and ringing her hands. I pulled out my ever-present small digital camera and snapped a couple of shots of the wreckage. Then one of the woman who clearly showed the magnitude of the scene without any words needed. I slipped the camera back in my breast pocket.“I’m Mitch Malone with the Grand River Journal.” I held my hand out to shake hers. With the other hand I pulled my narrow notebook from the back pocket of my jeans and flipped it open. I tugged the pen from the spiral band at the top with my mouth. I grabbed the pen from my lips. The contact of warm flesh made the woman pause. She looked from the wreckage that had mesmerized her. As her eyes focused on me, she settled somewhat.The woman was short, compact and old, still wearing an apron tied around her ample hips.

“I never heard such a noise as when that there car. . .” the woman paused for a moment trying to come to terms with the twisted metal that had originally been designed for speed. “I was in the house and heard the truck’s brakes lock up. I’ve gotten used to that with all that roadwork going on. I was just turning back to my dishes.” A shaky hand rose and smoothed a strand of gray hair ruffled by the slight breeze back into place. Her hand shook and I didn’t know if it was from age, illness or the accident.”The ripping, tearing…it screeched until I wanted to put my hands over my ears. I could feel my home shake, the dishes clinking in my sink.” The senior adjusted her shirt and fiddled with the hem that had pulled out from under the apron. “Then it was dead silence, eerie like all the sunshine had been taken from the day. I thought that was bad enough.” She lifted the bottom hem of her floral apron and stared at it.”Then the screams started.”I nodded to the woman, hoping to keep her talking. This was good copy and I’d happened along the catastrophe by chance. I’d been to see a pint-sized friend and was returning home via a more scenic route when I came upon the accident. I’d had a great afternoon tromping through the woods with my former roommate, Joey.The accident scene crushed my happy memories much like the truck had crushed the car. I went from leisure-time pursuits to award-winning journalist in less than a turn of the cement truck even if it was a Saturday afternoon of my weekend off.

“I looked out, scared to see it and called 9-1-1. I went to help, but couldn’t figure out where to go. I followed the screams, but couldn’t get under the truck. I don’t get around too well any more. I’m eighty-three and have a bum hip.”

I nodded again to keep her talking, scribbling in my own form of shorthand.

“I saw a car leave and thought what terrible people they must be to leave an accident and not help, but I looked at the wreckage again and knew there was nothing I could do. I felt so helpless. The screams turned to sobs. I called to her, but she didn’t respond to me. She kept saying, ‘Ashley, Ashley, I’m so sorry.’”

The woman stopped abruptly and shook her head. Her next words were a whisper. “Then it was quiet, dead quiet.” She stopped and ran a hand through her graying hair pulling wisps of it from the bun. She took a deep breath before continuing, trying for a normal tone.

“It seemed like the longest time until I heard sirens in the distance and the police finally arrived. I’ve been standing here since.”

“They haven’t left with anyone?” I wanted to know if anyone could survive such an accident. I doubted it but wanted to know the number of people in the car.

The roar of the Jaws of Life broke above the cacophony of other noises and stopped our conversation. I looked toward the truck, its orange and white tank still spinning. Its optical illusion added to the flashing lights looking more like a carnival ride than the carnage it was. The firefighters in their heavy coats pushed blankets into small crevices under the giant wheels.

The mechanical whine of the spreader strained as the full weight of the heavy truck was forced up by the miraculously simple Hurst tool. I wondered if it was made to lift the tonnage of a fully-loaded construction vehicle. Scurried movement danced around as supports were inserted to stabilize the vehicle for emergency workers to get to the victims. The pitch increased again but this time a blade-like pincer made contact with metal. It only lasted for a second and the cuts sounded like a bolt cutter snapping a chain.

Shouts and the bustle of movement ensued before the Jaws again revved and pierced the afternoon with its cry.

EMTs stood off to the side, waiting for the tool to allow them to get to the victims. Their faces were pained, tense, doubtful if they would have any work to do but always hoping for a miracle.

I looked back at the older woman. She had tears running down her face.

“Do you think they’re alive?”

I could see that she wanted to believe they would be alright. I didn’t want to tell her I thought the odds were long that anyone could survive a crash like this one.

I patted her shoulder feeling awkward. I rationalized that if I offered slight comfort, I might get better quotes.

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Dec. 4, 2010This week’s Author is Sylvia Massara.

Sylvia Massara has been writing since her early teens. She has written in a variety of genres, from stage plays to screenplays to novels. Since she can remember, she’s loved immersing herself in a world filled with characters of her own creation.Massara has published a quirky romantic comedy in ebook format, entitled “The Other Boyfriend”, and has recently released a general fiction life drama, “The Soul Bearers” . Both books will be released in paperback toward the end of 2010 or early 2011.Massara lives in Sydney, Australia, with husband, Nick, and four-legged daughter, Mitzy. She is an avid supporter of indie authors and helps promote their work for free, both on her virtual TV show, Lit Chick Show and on her new blog “Authors helping authors”.

Sylvia Massara
Novelist, host of “The Lit Chick Show”,
creator of “Authors helping authors” and
owner of Tudor Writing Services

The Other Boyfriend, Book excerpt:

chapter 1:Jeffrey had told me repeatedly that he didn’t want to hurt Moira’s feelings by dumping her after fifteen years of being together; but staying with her for the sake of pity was just crazy. I fumed every time I thought about it. It was unbearable. Jeffrey should be with me by now. I squeezed my eyes shut and momentarily prayed for that elusive miracle.“Mike!” I was brought out of my reverie by Monica’s excited cry.“What?” I asked, somewhat confused, briefly entertaining the idea that she had lost her mind. Perhaps the heavy smoking had finally taken its toll on her and she couldn’t think straight anymore. What was this about a mike?Monica crushed the cigarette butt into a large crystal ashtray that was already overflowing with the remnants of other cigarette butts, which had met the same fate.“Mike!” she repeated in exasperation, frowning at me.Like I was supposed to know what she was talking about. But I hoped against hope that she wasn’t thinking of a karaoke microphone. Heaven forbid. This was what happened to people when they lived in Asian countries for too long.Another large gulp from my refilled wine glass and I was ready to focus on what she was trying to say. “Who or what is ‘mike’?” I asked, trying to hide my impatience. As she lit up another one of those little deadly cylinders I hated so much, the thought crossed my already tired mind that I was going to have to wash my hair in order to get rid of the horrible, clinging smell of smoke.Monica rolled her eyes at me. “Honestly, Sarah, you really don’t remember?”No, I don’t remember. In fact, I had no idea what she was going on about. But it was obvious that some diabolical scheme was forming in her fag-fogged brain, because whenever she was excited about something her British accent became more pronounced.The view of the busy harbour faded in and out before my eyes as Monica puffed away furiously. I waited, hoping this was just a weird dream I was having; and if luck was on my side, I would soon wake up and things would be normal once more. Or worse still, I suddenly thought in alarm, I really was drunk in some karaoke bar and it was my turn to sing. Ugh! God help me.
book review:The Soul Bearers (Kindle Edition)Book Description: Sarah Jamison is on a mission to find a boyfriend for her lover’s partner; and Sarah’s best friend comes to the rescue with an idea so crazy that it just might work. Enter the enigmatic Mike Connor. Sarah hates the man on sight, but her body tells her otherwise. Mike Connor is smug and full of himself; even so, Sarah thinks that with his help she can finally be with the love of her life.This is an absolutely amazing story. I laughed, I cried, I felt ill at times…I felt everything the characters experienced.I really believe this story needs to be read, and also that it needs to be seen. It would make an excellent movie–it would be one of those movies that people watch again and again–an instant classic.There were so many times that I was shocked at the way the storyline turned–and this was a good thing, because it made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next. I literally found myself unable to breathe sometimes in anticipation of what would come next. I absolutely love the symbolism with the butterflies (no spoilers here, read it and you’ll see what I mean!!), and what a perfect ending.This book is a real eye opener, giving you an intimate glimpse into characters who deal with real-life issues in a way that is both profound and human. Not only is the story interesting and life-affirming, but it tugs at that most private part in each of our souls that only wants to be loved and accepted for who we are. I think that, most of all, this story is truly about genuinely unconditional love, and the way that not much else matters when it’s present.

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Nov. 3, 2010

This week’s guest author is Paul Kyriazi, he is here to tell us of his new novel, McKnight’s Memory

Author Bio: BA in Film. San Francisco State University.

Director of six feature films including ‘Omega Cop’ starring Adam ‘Batman’ West, Stuart Whitman, & Troy Donahue.

Produced my novels as full cast AudioBooks:

2009 – ‘McKnight’s Memory’ – Narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr. Peformed by Robert Culp, Nancy Kwan, David Hedison, Gary Lockwood, Henry Silva, Alan Young, Don Stroud, Edd Byrnes. 4 hrs.

2007 – ‘Rock Star Rising’ – Narrated by Rod Taylor. Performed by Russ Tamblyn, George Chakiris, Robert Culp, James Darren, & Kevin McCarthy. 3.6 hrs.

2007 – ‘My Casino Caper’, Performed by Edd Byrnes, David Hedison, Alan Young, Henry Silva, & Michael Callan. 77 min.

2007 – ‘The King and McQueen’ full cast Audio-Bio. With Barbara Leigh, David Hedison & Joe Esposito. 2.6 hrs.

2006 – ‘How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle’. Taught at The Learning Annex. 8 CDs or download.8 hrs.

2005 – ‘In the West’ – 90 minute travel production for Japan. Appearance by Pat Morita.

1975 – 2004 – Wrote / Directed six feature films:
‘Omega Cop’ – ‘Weapons of Death’ – ‘One Way Out’ –
‘Drawn Swords’ – ‘NinjaBusters’ – ‘Death Machines’

Now producing my audio-novel ‘I Justice’ performed by Frank Sinatra Jr and cast.

Book Excerpt:

CIA Chief James McKnight has three problems – Amnesia, the Mafia and his addiction to the Ultimate Woman

McKnight woke up in a small Colombian Village in the middle of a drug raid with no memory. Returning to Washington D.C. Things get worse as he finds out the Mafia has a contract out on his life.

His only solace in this deadly game of cat and mouse is Carla, the woman he is living with, though he can’t remember her. She is the most beautiful and erotic woman that McKnight could imagine. He has the feeling that he knew her from someplace else, but can’t quite remember. With his life in danger, can he trust her? Can he trust the CIA? Perhaps his bizarre dreams hold the answer.

The jungles of Colombia, the monuments of Washington D.C., the gambling tables of Atlantic City all have dangers awaiting him. Can he solve the puzzle? Can he outwit his adversaries? Can he survive to win the voluptuous Carla or will she be his Doom.

Excerpt:

“Maybe you’re part of what’s been happening to me, all of which is bad. Maybe you made a hone call when I left here. A phone call to get me killed.”
“What a stupid thing to say to the women who’s been climbing in and out of your bed for the last six months.” Carla could see a decision coming on McKnight’s face. “What?” was all that could come out of here mouth now because she became aware of something she had forgotten about when her temper was flaring. The gun in McKnight’s hand. And he now looked like he was thinking about using it.
Carla froze.
McKnight took a deep breath. “I might be paranoid. I’ll give you that. But on thing’s for certain. One, somebody wants me dead. Two,somebody tipped off that killer, told him I was going to the mall. He hesitated, hoping Carla would ask him what the third thing was. But she stood there silent, contemplating the gun in his hand.

Production story of working with Frank Sinatra Jr. On ‘McKnight’s Memory’

Narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr. Performed by Robert Culp, Nancy Kwan, David Hedison, Don Stroud, Henry Silva, Alan Young, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, Barbara Leigh, Gary Lockwood.

CIA agent James McKnight (Robert Culp) has amnesia and has the Mafia and the CIA out to kill him. He tries to escape with his beautiful lover (Nancy Kwan), who he doesn’t remember and might be working against him.

It was a dream working with our narrator, Frank Sinatra Jr. I had heard his audio commentary on two of his father’s movies on DVD, “Robin and the Seven Hoods” and “Oceans Eleven”. His voice, articulation, as well as his respect for character actors impressed me, so he was approached to take the listener along on this conspiracy tale.

Mr. Sinatra requested his recording be done at night as that is when most singers feel their voice is the best. He gave a concentrated performance, often coming up with changes in the text that were superior than the original.

For example, there is a line that read, “The hit man was dead before his 200 pound body crashed to the floor.” Mr. Sinatra changed it to:”The hit man was dead before his 200 pounds crashed to the floor.” When I heard that, I was overjoyed that this subtle, but powerful change had happened.

Then Mr. Sinatra said, “Okay fellas, I’ll read it as written so that you’ll have a choice.” But I knew right then which reading I would use. This happened a few other times as well. I was in awe of Mr. Sinatra’s annunciation and sometimes ending a paragraph in an upward tone, leaving it hanging as if more will come. I don’t know what that’s called, but I loved it.

During our breaks, it was wonderful to talk with Mr. Sinatra about the sets that he visited of some of the now classic movies, such as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “Them”. He also explained why and how lounge acts disappeared from the Las Vegas casinos.

It seems that when the headliners lost popularity and could no long fill the large show rooms they were moved to the lounge to entertain gamblers and provide music to the whole casino. But when the entertainers insisted that their act be curtained off from the casino, the owners decided that if the gambler could see or hear the acts, then why should they pay to have them in the lounge. Thus the lounge acts disappeared.

The production’s cast includes Robert Culp, Nancy Kwan, David Hedison, Henry Silva, Don Stroud, Barbara Leigh, Alan Young, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, Gary Lockwood, and others. The production has full sound effects and music, like an “audio-movie”.

It’s a mystery/thriller about a CIA deputy director that get’s amnesia and for some unknown reason is marked for death by both the Mafia and the CIA. The woman he lives with, but can’t remember, runs with him. But can he trust her? It will be avaliable on Amazon and Author’s Den.

http://lodingo.com/_product_49120/McKnights_Memory

Oct. 3 2010
This week’s guest Author is Julie Achterhoff, she is here to tell us about her new novel, Deadly Lucidity

Bio: Julie Achterhoff has been writing mostly scary stories since she was a kid scaring her teachers with her writing. She has written a play titled Angel in the House, a novella titled Native vengeance, which was published by Demon Minds for Halloween of 2009. Her debut novel was Quantum Earth, about the devastation coming in 2012, her second novel was Deadly Lucidity, about a woman trapped in her own nightmares. Her latest work is a paranormal thriller titled Earthwalker, soon to be released. Her goal is to write her heart out till the very end!

Excerpt from Deadly Lucidity:

Sarah took her hand in one of hers and touched her first finger to Marie’s forehead right between her eyes and said, “Maybe that time is right now!” And suddenly Marie was falling and falling, light as a leaf from a tree towards the ground.Then she was awake. On a table. Hands tied down at her sides. A gag in her mouth. The smell of musty earth in her nostrils. She was no longer in the forest with the small band of friends. She was in a dark basement. She looked around frantically as she pulled against the restraints. They just dug deeper into her wrists, cutting off the circulation. She dared not call out and risk being heard by her captor. She was pretty sure the walls were soundproof anyway or he wouldn’t have brought her here. She was terrified. Nobody from her dreams was going to help her out of this one. How long, she wondered, before he would come down and find her awake? Then what? Horribly frightening images plagued her mind. He certainly didn’t plan on letting her live.Suddenly, she thought she heard a noise coming from upstairs. Immediately, she closed her eyes, feigning sleep. The upstairs door opened and she heard someone descending the stairs. She tried not to shake too much. Marie was desperate that this man not know she had woken up. She couldn’t keep her eyes relaxed, though. They kept shutting too tight. There was nothing to do but confront him. She opened her eyes. The man was over at a sink washing his hands. Marie told herself to pretend this was a dream. It was the only way she could possibly deal with it. Besides, it did feel like a dream, or, more rightly, a nightmare.

The man finally turned to look at her. He pulled a string attached to a bare bulb in the ceiling. Marie squinted from the light.”Oh, goody! You’re awake finally,” he said. “I thought I might have given you too much. It’s my own mixture, you know.” He clapped his hands. “You can call me Baron. And you’re Marie, right? Oh, silly me. You’re gagged. How are you supposed to talk?” He laughed at his little joke. He untied the gag and ripped it out of her mouth. She could taste blood. Bile rose in her throat. She felt like vomiting.”That was quite fun the other night, wasn’t it? I love hunting. Have you ever been hunting, Marie? I’m gonna take you hunting with me tomorrow. I’m so excited. I’ll be the hunter and you get to be the little rabbit. How does that sound?”Please visit Julie’s website at http://earthwalkr.wordpress.com

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2 Comments »

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  1. Tantra is a superbly challenging writer, with an incredible sense of being. She has an extraordinary poetic feel for the language, and her prose is always a delight to read. Yes, she’s very challenging at the same time, and definitely no Enid Blyton 🙂

    I really wish you well, Tantra, with these works. Please make sure you let us know where and when to buy them. *170* published works? Wow! x

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