Melange Books 2015 Giveaway Extravaganza!

black                                                                                                                                                              Love to read? I know! Me too, so have some fun—visit Melange Books to enter this fantastic giveaway! Check it out, because ebooks, ARC’s, and autographed print books are up for grabs, plus one lucky winner receive a brand new Kindle Fire HD6 AND a $25 Amazon Gift Card to stock it full of books! Sounds awesome, right?

Please check out my books The Twelfth Paladin (supernatural/thriller) and Guardian 2632 (science fiction/adventure). Romance, murder/mystery, and fantasy/adventure themed books are there and accounted for as well. Take your time while scrolling to find the books that are perfect for you!

twelfthpaladin

guardian2632

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kragan

 

FindingTWBack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To enter, go HERE: http://melange-books.com/2015NYGiveaway.html
Keep in mind: A LOT of giveaways will load on that link above. Please let the page fully load everything before entering. Click the link, go check your Facebook or Twitter, then check back!

HeartExile

And for the blog comments entries, visit, and then leave a post here! http://www.melange-books.com/blog/new-years-giveaway-extravaganza/

GRAND PRIZE

One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive a Kindle Fire HD6 and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Two (2) second place winners will each receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

SecondBest

 

 

1CovertExposureHappy New Year!

Thanks for visiting the Noracast.

 

 

ForgettingFallenwood

Book of Death by S. Evan Townsend Visits the Noracast!

Today at the Noracast, I have a special treat for you! S. Evan Townsend’s Book of Death sounds amazing, and I can hardly wait to read it. Plus, you’ll get to know Mr. Townsend a bit, because he’s also written a guest post called The Allure of Horror…Why We Love to be Frightened?

I do, indeed, love to be frightened, and Mr. Townsend makes a lot of sense in his guest post. Now, back to his book! It caught my interest mainly because the speculative world fascinates me, and in Book of Death—witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers are real. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to live in a world where fantasy creatures and myths from long ago were actually part of our history? I mean, they are part of our history, but imagine a world where the world governments utilized magic as a weapon and/or to help others.

Check out the Book of Death!

Title:  Book of Death

Author: S. Evan Townsend

Publisher:   World Castle Publishing

Length:  266 pages

Sub-Genres: Vampires, Paranormal Entities

 

 

BLURB:

They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called “adepts” and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if some of them discovered a power that other adepts could not match.

During the turbulent 1960s, when American adept Peter Branton agrees to go to Transylvania for the CIA, he suspects it’s not about ball bearings as he was told. What he finds is a plot that could kill millions of people and plunge the world into eternal tyranny and bloodshed. Branton doesn’t know it, but he’s about to face the adept guilds’ worst nightmare: practicing necromancers with a taste for human blood.

EXCERPT :

I’d never seen this type of meta before. At least I assumed that’s what it was, as the wooden man inexorably walked toward me with a creak of moving wood, like tree branches in a heavy wind. It was raising its arms for another blow so I stepped back and shot an airbolt at it. I heard wood crack, but that didn’t stop it. It swung again and its wooden fist pounded into my face, knocking me down and back on the sidewalk. Somewhere I heard screams and yells. A guy sitting on the sidewalk, his back to a storefront, muttered, “Wow, bad trip, man.”

The Indian was bending over, its face expressionless except for the painted-on peace sign as it seemed to prepare for another attack. I shot fire at it, assuming old dry wood would ignite easily, and it did: the hippie dress went up in flames, and now the monster was a burning mass, still attacking me. It smacked me again with a flaming arm and I suffered from both the impact and the burns. Nearly screaming, I scrambled away on hands and knees. I don’t think I’d ever been that scared. Still it came, oblivious to the fact it was on fire.

A motorcycle cop I hadn’t noticed jumped off his bike, pulled his service revolver, and shot it into the Indian with six cracks of bullets being fired. It had no effect other than sending burning splinters of wood flying. The cop suddenly looked frightened, and was gripping his billy club but taking no further action.

People were screaming loudly now. I looked around, looking for an escape. If I could teleport away I might escape, but I could see no clear place to teleport to. Briefly I wondered what happened to Ernestine and if she were safe. I didn’t sense the presence of another adept, but I didn’t really have the ability to be quiet enough to do so. I just hoped she was okay.

The burning Indian smacked me again, hard, in the chest and I felt as if my feet left the ground as I was knocked into a car’s side. I heard and felt sheet metal crumple and knew I’d hit the car hard. My vision was going gray. But I realized my shirt was on fire and that kept me from passing out; if I passed out I was probably dead. I pulled water from the air to douse the fire, but this took time and the Indian was on me again, even though it was moving very slowly.

I wondered if I’d survive until the wooden Indian had been consumed by the flames. It hit me again, knocking me to the sidewalk. There was an unpleasant smell and I realized my hair was burning. I used my bare hand to pat out the flames. This gave the Indian time to hit me again, hard. It almost felt as if I flew through the air and was slapped painfully to the sidewalk, the Indian still lumbering toward me.

In desperation I shot another airbolt at it. It must have been on the verge of falling apart because that hit blew it into flaming pieces that scattered over the street and also hit me, burning my skin or singeing my clothes. But it was no longer attacking.

The Allure of Horror…Why We Love to be Frightened?

I have a confession.  I’m a 52-year-old man who refuses to watch/read anything that has to do with horror.   And I blame that on Lassie.

Yes, Lassie, the cute collie who was always rescuing Timmy after he fell down the well.  The problem was, if you started watching an episode of Lassie, you knew something bad was going to happen: Timmy is going to fall down the well.  And when I was a kid, anticipating the bad just drove me nuts.  And I hated it.  And I still do to this day.

Now as an adult I can watch bloody, violent movies if they are action-based but not horror based.  I think the last time I had a visceral reaction to something violent I saw in a movie was in Eastern Promises when a man gets stabbed (bloodily) in an eye.  But that was okay because I didn’t have to spend ten minutes worrying about when he was going to get stabbed in the eye.

So it’s the foreshadowing that does it, and that’s what horror does.  It builds up anticipation of something bad happening and then . . . it happens (usually) and I hate that anticipation.  In the Johnny Cash bio-pic Walk the Line, his older brother is sawing wood on a machine with a huge circular saw blade.  And you just knew something awful was going to happen (and it did).  I was very uncomfortable until the awful thing happened.  I hate the anticipation of the awful thing: the bad.

But a lot of people love horror.  And I think it’s the same reason a lot of people (including me) love rollercoasters.  You get scared, your heart gets pumping, the adrenaline courses through your veins, but you know in reality you are safe.  Getting scared safely makes us feel more alive.    As Winston Churchill is reputed to have said, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”  That’s probably true and horror, or rollercoasters, are as close as many of us are going to get.  Or want to get.

The allure of horror is the ability to get the heart pumping without the added fear of being in actual danger.  Maybe there’s something in our DNA that wants to be running from the saber-toothed tiger that we can’t get in modern life with its health and safety emphasis.  Me, I drive fast (sometimes on a racetrack) which isn’t as safe as rollercoasters and scary movies.  Others do rollercoasters.  And a lot of people watch or read horror.  I’m just not one of that last group.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

S. Evan Townsend has been called ‘America’s Unique Speculative Fiction Voice.’ Evan is a writer living in central Washington State. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives with his wife and has three grown sons. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel.

Author Links:

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/Gnike_j2KSI

Websitehttp://sevantownsend.blogspot.com/

Blog:  http://www.radioactivecommunistzombies.com/writers_thoughts/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-Evan-Townsend/120699138076862https://www.facebook.com/adeptseriesbook3

Doesn’t this look like a great read? I’ve already added it to my TBR list!

Have a question or comment for Mr. Townsend? Feel free to post away.

Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

TBR List & Hot Tea for Me

Michigan…as lovely as it can be, with warm summer air that’s happy to dance upon a breeze and beautiful lakes for plenty of fun in the sun, gets hit hard once winter begins. Oh! I’m a northern girl, I should not complain, but frigid air, crunchy snow, and ice-covered roads do not get along with me—at all. Since I cannot fly south for the winter, my plan is to dive into my “to be read” list, try some new teas, and make darn sure my electric blanket is good to go. I know, such a wild woman I am.

So, what’s on my TBR list that I’m dying to read? Plenty of paranormal books, because those are my favorite, and a suspenseful thriller…that promises a dash of humor called “The Reluctant.” Take a look below to see if any of these books pique your interest!

Witch Hunt by Devin O’Branagan

 Leigh has been married to a Hawthorne for a decade, but never knew the family secret: the Hawthornes are witches. When the dynamic Preacher Cody instigates a new, world-wide witch hunt, Leigh must choose sides. Will she stand with her husband and children, or will she run? This isn’t the first witch hunt the Hawthornes have faced, but it could be their last. Will anyone survive?

A classic novel, updated for the 21st Century!

 “Witch Hunt” will be read while I sip on Vanilla Earl Grey Black Tea, which STASH says has a “unique blend of fine quality black teas with a hint of bergamot and natural vanilla flavor. Smooth and aromatic with an amber color in the cup.”

The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles) by C.S. Splitter 

Action, adventure, suspense, and thriller in one story told with a liberal dose of humor.

Tom’s problems are not unique. His business is failing and his wife has to work too many hours to make ends meet. He is under some rather large financial pressures and wants more from his marriage and his life.

He finds his respite in the air as a private pilot. Unfortunately for Tom, he is behind on payments for his plane and is forced to take odd jobs from a local crime boss. Tom is no criminal, but the errands he is running are just slightly on the wrong side of the law and the money is almost good enough to allow him to make his plane payments.

Just as things begin to come under some semblance of control, he meets a woman who just might represent the adventure he seeks. He soon discovers that appearances, and beautiful women, can sometimes be deceiving.

“The Reluctant” is the first in the Crayder Chronicles series and yet is a standalone story with a satisfying conclusion of its own.

Chai Spice Black Tea also from STASH has a “spicy, aromatic blend of black teas, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove and cardamom,” and it sounds like a perfect companion for Spiltter’s suspense/thriller.

Verland: The Transformation by B.E. Scully

True crime writer Elle Bramasol is drawn into a macabre mystery when incarcerated Hollywood producer Eliot Kingman asks her to write a book about his case. As she delves deeper into Kingman’s murder conviction, she discovers that he possesses a centuries old diary written by an elusive vampire named Verland. Uncovering the transformative secrets held within the diary’s pages, Elle is drawn deeper into both Kingman’s deadly schemes and Verland’s dark world of shadows. When the two finally collide, the stage is set for a climactic battle over mankind’s ultimate prize: eternal triumph over death. But will the Holy Grail of immortality turn out to be the cruelest curse of all?

Exploring the allure of the shadowy places between life and death, between fantasy and reality, and the ultimate power of belief, Verland: The Transformation is a gothic-inspired tour de force, a brooding return to the roots of the vampire genre that goes for the throat from page one until the final, bone-chilling climax.

Harney and Sons Cranberry Autumn Tea will be my delight as I devour this book. Sweet and tart, this black tea has cranberry and orange flavors.

Daimon: A Prequel to Half-Blood (Covenant 0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

“Love in my world usually ended up with someone hearing ‘I smite thee!’ as she was cursed to be some lame flower for the rest of her life.”

For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals—pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she’d been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she’s pretty much accepted that she’s a freak by mortal standards… and that she’ll never be prepared for that duty.

According to her mother, that’s a good thing.

But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return—the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she’s being hunted by the very creatures she’d once trained to kill.

The daimons have found her.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? A cool Peppermint Herbal Tea from Lipton will be the choice for this book.

 Bloodletter by Angel Haze

A contradictory message written in blood at the scene of a young woman’s murder. Within days, another body surfaces with a similar calling card and, to Detective Ramon Faust and Criminalist Kelly Garret, it’s clear a deadly game is underfoot.

As the rash of horrific crimes continue, a phone call unearths a shocking revelation: Nakeita isn’t the first city the elusive killer has left his mark. The Bloodletter, as dubbed by the media, has played his deadly game before.

Delving deep into the most terrifying case of Kelly’s career, threatening phone calls and flashbacks of a forgotten near-death experience challenge her sanity and the lives of everyone she loves.

A tangy, spicy tea is a “must-do” while reading about Kelly’s harrowing adventure. Lipton’s Orange Herbal Tea has tempted me to try it since it contains hibiscus flowers, cinnamon, orange peels, roasted chicory root, natural flavor, licorice root, soy lecithin, and cloves.

Domingo’s Angel by Jenny Twist

When Angela turns up in a remote Spanish mountain village, she is so tall and so thin and so pale that everyone thinks she is a ghost or a fairy or the dreadful mantequero that comes in the night and sucks the fat from your bones.

But Domingo knows better. “Soy Angela,” she said to him when they met – “I am an angel.” Only later did he realize that she was telling him her name and by then it was too late and everyone knew her as Domingo’s Angel.

This is the story of their love affair. But it is also the story of the people of the tiny mountain village – the indomitable Rosalba – shopkeeper, doctor, midwife and wise woman, who makes it her business to know everything that goes on in the village; Guillermo, the mayor, whose delusions of grandeur are rooted in his impoverished childhood; and Salva the Baker, who risked his life and liberty to give bread to the starving children.

The events in this story are based on the real experiences of the people of the White Villages in Southern Spain and their struggle to keep their communities alive through the years of war and the oppression of Franco’s rule.

Ah…a love affair to remember, so for this novel, I’ll stick to the tea I choose most often, Orange Pekoe and Cut Black Tea Blend.

These books will heat up the chilly, autumn nights, and then make sure to keep my mind sizzling with mystery and paranormal activity all winter long. I’m also anxious to read Curious Hearts, Endurance, and Full Moon Bites from my publisher Melange Books. What’s on your TBR list? Have a book or tea suggestion for me? Feel free to comment!

Thanks for visiting the Noracast.

*All book content (from Goodreads) belongs to the publishers of Witch Hunt, The Reluctant, Daimon: A Prequel to Half-Blood (Covenant 0.5), Verland: The Transformation, Bloodletter, and Domingo’s Angel.

Interview with Zane Grayson/Executive Director of Guardian TMF

It’s been awhile since I posted. Where have I been? Well, let’s just say I’ve had my hands full keeping up with Dr. Zane Grayson. This handsome guy, whose linage is a mix of Japanese and European, not only controlled my waking moments, but also my dreams where he wreaked havoc. For weeks, I’ve tried like crazy to catch my z’s, but alas, they belonged to the ups and downs of Zane.

What’s a girl to do? I mean this guy is unstoppable.  Dark eyes, a body to die for, strong and determined in every way…I had to help him. Who is he? Take a minute, and go on a literary adventure to find out about the protagonist in my latest novel, from Melange Books, called Guardian 2632. It hits the market in February 2011. The interview with Zane follows the excerpt.

Book Blurb:

Dr. Zane Grayson, the most accomplished executive director Guardian TMF has ever seen, is breaking the law…his law against time surfing. Zane has the supreme power, in 2632, to decide which paradoxes in time need altered, or deleted, but he’s frustrated. Something, or someone, is missing from his life.

Time surfing in illegal time zones is the rush Zane can’t live without. As addictive as the Martian dust called kilred, time surfing becomes Zane’s obsession. And knowing full well if caught by the Elite Guardians, he’ll suffer an unwelcome death by Time Mercs, Zane still dives deep into trouble. Soon, he discovers a mission in 2035 left him trapped in a timehole. This timehole places him in Pittsburgh, PA in 1998, instead of home. In Pittsburgh, Zane strolls into a coffee shop to see the bewitching Julia Emerson. From that point on, his life spirals out of control as he fights to protect what he loves most.

It’s possible Zane’s future is no longer in 2632…but actually in 1998. Guardian 2632 reveals what a man will sacrifice to save a life. This is the amazing story of Dr. Zane Grayson.

GUARDIAN 2632

“Man…can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way.” H.G. Wells, The Time Mahine

Prologue

April 18, 1955

“Albert is dead.”

“I’m terribly sorry. This is awful,” said Sophie, “but yesterday, I knew the end was coming when he was admitted to Princeton Hospital. Didn’t you sense it, Dr. Rosenthal?” she asked shoving her teal rimmed glasses back in place.

“Yeah, I suppose so. He’ll be greatly missed here at IAS and—”

“Forgive me, Dr. Rosenthal, it goes without saying he’ll be missed. More importantly, Albert will never be forgotten. Albert Einstein changed the world during his seventy-six years,” said Sophie as a few tears slid down her pale cheek.

“Um, Sophie…Miss Cervantes, head home. I’ve put you in charge of organizing Albert’s office, but that can wait,” said Dr. Rosenthal in a soft-spoken voice eliciting true compassion.

Feeling her stomach flip, Sophie grabbed her raincoat to leave, but then stopped. Picking up a black and white photograph of Einstein, she said, “This one’s my favorite…he looks happy. It was his 70th birthday party at his home in Princeton, New Jersey.” Sophie’s trembling fingers skimmed the photograph’s glass as a half-smile momentarily eased her pain. “He loved the kids, you know?”

“Yeah, Albert sure did,” he said while admiring the photograph. “They are the future.”

“Yes, well…the future will have to wait on me.” Placing the photograph back on Einstein’s cluttered desk, she said, “You’re right. No way can I work now.” Hurrying past Dr. Rosenthal, Sophie mumbled, “This is a dark day, indeed. I’ll miss you, Albert.”

* * * *

May 23, 1955

Slipping away from Sophie, the dusty box hit the floor to break open. Documents, notes, and files spilled out making a huge mess.

“Fantastic. I’ve killed an antique lamp and a picture frame, and now this happens. Jeez, what’s next?” Plopping down beside the paper mountain, Sophie then instinctively alphabetized the labeled files and stacked everything else in small piles. “Hum, where do these belong?” she asked looking at a bunch of papers. “This is not Albert’s handwriting.”

Flipping through the stapled hodgepodge of wrinkled papers, written in various colors of ink, curiosity got the better of her. “Time Travel 1953? Whoa, is this a short story? Yeah, maybe one of Albert’s previous students wanted him to see it.” After reading a few pages, Sophie confirmed Time Travel 1953 as fiction. “Oh, boy…Charlie will get a kick out of this. I mean, seriously, a time machine?”

* * * *

June 30, 1955

“Charlie! Open up…I have something for you,” said Sophie while pounding on the office door, IAS-238.

“No. I’ll pass. Just go away, Sophie,” replied Dr. Charlie Wilkinson.

“Oh, come on, don’t be a baby. I’ll pay to have your car fixed, okay? It’s only a scratch.”

The door opened like a hurricane had just passed by. “Just a scratch? It runs down the entire left side of my Jaguar. Hell, I knew something would happen, but I ignored that voice of reason in my head,” said Charlie still peeved about her irresponsibility.

“Yeah, well, I’m here to make amends.” Shoving Time Travel 1953 into his chest, Sophie’s pale blue eyes lit up. “Since your British skin won’t come to the July 4th party, read this. It’s hilarious. I almost forgot about it.”

“Um, thanks,” he said grasping the papers, “but the last piece of literature you recommended was total crap.” Moving Sophie’s black as midnight hair away from her eyes, Charlie sounded insincere saying, “I don’t want it.”

“Uh-huh, right. You’re dying to know what I found and I can tell,” said Sophie violating Charlie’s space. “I know you all too well.”

“Am I that obvious? Damn.”

“Yep, I’m afraid so. You’re biting your bottom lip while staring at me like I’m offering you a ride to the moon…that’s a dead giveaway. So, lighten up, it’s just some gibberish, maybe compiled from one of Albert’s past students.” A warm smile smothered Sophie’s face as she turned away from Charlie knowing she was forgiven for her unwanted, yet still highly proficient skill-set of destruction. “See you next week.”

* * * *

December 23, 1955

Michael? Are you still here?” Agitated, Charlie hit the door harder. “Michael!”

“What is your problem?” asked Dr. Michael Hodges opening the office door to greet his co-worker and best friend, Charlie. “And, yeah, I’m still here. Well for about two more minutes anyway. Why?”

“Hey, I know Christmas is days away and all, but…um…I—”

“Is something wrong, Charlie?” asked Michael. “You look like shit.”

“Oh, thanks…sleep deprivation for almost six months will do that.”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed you’ve been pushing it too hard. So what’s up?” asked Michael concerned for his friend. “It’s like you left the planet as of late, and the excuses for ignoring me are getting ridiculous.”

Placing a folder in Michael’s hands, Charlie leaned in to whisper, “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re right, but what’s up is that folder. You’ll understand everything soon enough. So read through Time Travel 1953. Do not show it to anyone, and I mean anyone. When you’ve done the math, abandon reality as you know it—and then we’ll talk. I know you’ll be impressed. I have to go.”

* * * *

March 22, 1956

The grease-slicked parking lot at IAS felt the downpour as puddles swelled on this rainy day. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed, maybe warning Charlie he was about to embark on an adventure of once believed impossibilities that held the fate of mankind within its realm.

Come on, Michael…why are you always late? Tapping on the steering wheel of his black Jaguar, Charlie’s heart raced like a runaway train while sweat rolled into his gray eyes. “My God, what are we doing? Michael has filled in most of the holes so it just about works. What if this is a huge mistake?”

The car door opened. Michael entered saying, “Stop it right now.”

“Stop?”

“Yes, I can tell from your unshaved face, your refusal to get a haircut, and by the repulsive smell of that cheap cologne, used to mask the fact showering is no longer part of your routine, that you’ve become a grotty prat…as you Brits say. You’re cranked on regret because we’ve solved so many of the mathematical problems within Time Travel 1953.”

A heavy sigh escaped Charlie as he glared at Michael. “Yeah, uh-huh…well we can’t all be Gregory Peck, so back off.”

“That’s funny and all, but only a few students have said I look like him. And that’s hardly worth mentioning. All joking aside, the data we have is—”

“We should burn this dangerous data and you know it.”

A contorted, arrogant smile overtook Michael’s handsome face. “But we’re not going to burn anything, are we, dear friend?”

Rolling his eyes, Charlie’s British accent was especially thick as he quoted Einstein saying, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” Staring at Michael, Charlie grinned.

“That’s right. We’re going to transform the world,” said Dr. Michael Hodges.

* * * *

August 22, 1978

“So, it’s a done deal? Time Travel 1953 is mine…to do with whatever I see fit?” asked the highly renowned physicist, Max Kieto, of Outscape Technology located approximately 100 miles south of Kugluktuk, Canada.

“Yes, as long as you follow the guidelines in the contract, you’ll grow old,” warned an elderly, but still intimidating, Dr. Michael Hodges. “Charlie’s dead, but before he died, he hired watchdogs…hounds from hell if you get my drift, who will monitor Outscape Technology’s every move.”

“I understand,” said Max. “I’ll follow the guidelines you and Charlie outlined in the contract. I’m a smart guy, you know?”

“Yep, and I’m counting on that. You’re the only person we considered to protect this volatile data. At this moment in time, you’re above reproach…the most ethical physicist we know, but don’t be seduced by the power of Time Travel 1953. Always do what’s righteous, Max or—”

“I get it, Michael,” said Max. “I won’t disgrace myself by disregarding the incredible trust you both put in me. You and Charlie got very close. I believe with OT’s equipment, we’ll move subatomic particles through time within a decade…possibly sooner, God willing.”

“Well, I won’t live to see that happen. Damn,” said Michael.

“Hey, you never know, maybe you—”

“Uh, lung cancer says no I won’t. And lose the long face…it’s pathetic. I’ve lived an amazing life, so you do the same.” Michael shook Max’s hand placing the fate of mankind with Outscape Technology.

* * * *

February 8, 1991

The world is forever altered on February 8, 1991, although only Max’s crew of physicists, scientists, and technicians witnessed the subatomic particles as they traveled through time. Experiments intensified, people lived and died working at Outscape Technology as the data from Time Travel 1953 annihilated old theories while inspiring new ones to ensure the success of time travel.

* * * *

March 2, 2299

Three-hundred eight years vanished. World War III (2082-2086) altered the map of the world, including Canada, so Kugluktuk became Terents.  Research and experiments performed on the private site of Outscape Technology eventually gave birth to Guardian TMF…a time monitoring facility that had its first, small scale time machine routinely working after March 2, 2299. By 2343, Guardian TMF’s responsibilities toward the past, present, and future expanded with the completion of the time chamber…an enormous, silver sphere capable of escaping the so-called parameters of time.

* * * *

May 19, 2632

The spec of time called 2632 belongs to Dr. Zane Grayson, and he’s in charge of exploring paradoxes in authorized time sequences. He decides which tragedies and mysteries to bring before the Elites so they can be evaluated for missions. The Elites at Guardian TMF trust him unconditionally and why shouldn’t they? A mastermind and a gifted military surgeon, Zane has a perfect employment record.

Guardian TMF couldn’t be more pleased, but they are in the dark as to Zane’s crippled state of mind. He’s a daring man, determined to continue his quest of illegal time surfing, meaning time scans in unauthorized time sequences, because he believes something is out of sync. No matter, Guardian TMF has mastered the art of time travel taking a pledge to protect the world from its worst enemy…mankind.

____________________________________________________________________________

Interview: Dr. Zane Grayson

NW: Okay, so you work in the year 2632 at Guardian TMF. What is Guardian TMF?

Zane: Guardian TMF is a monstrous time monitoring facility located in Terents, Canada. At Guardian TMF, paradoxes in time are explored and, if possible, fixed. Its roots go all the way back to Albert Einstein’s death in 1955.

NW: Really? That’s interesting. How is Albert Einstein’s death involved?

Zane: Well, after Einstein died, curious looking papers, written in different colors of ink, were discovered by his assistant, Sophie Cervantes. Eventually, as you read in the prologue, the Time Travel 1953 papers found their way to Outscape Technologies and to the famous physicist Max Kieto. Guardian TMF was birthed from the findings at Outscape Technology.

NW: Good to know. Now why are you qualified to be the executive director at Guardian TMF?

Zane: I was elected by the Elite Guardians. They are the corporate owners of Guardian TMF. They decide what time zones, and then on a smaller scale…what time sequences, are authorized. From the time sequences, I choose what paradoxes to alter or fix. The Elites are; Victoria Merrick, Nathan Westfault, Marcus Rhoades, Sasha Yurtanu, Urik Rosdale, Max Reinhold, and Harrison Bellows.

NW: So, that’s it, you just get elected?

Zane: Oh, no…it’s not that simple.  I was born and raised at Guardian TMF. My father, Dr. Christian Grayson, met my mother, Asuka Ishikawa, at Guardian TMF. I followed in my father’s footsteps by joining its military, and my specialty is medicine. I became a surgeon. While in the military, I realized no way could I do a standard “nine to five” job. Whether this is good or bad, I don’t know…but I thrive on dangerous situations. After my military stint, I ran against Nathan Westfault, Aaron Cranston, and Kayla Preston for the executive director position at Guardian TMF.

NW: Can anyone run for that coveted position?

Zane: No. A person has to pass a series of tests, both physical and mental, before candidacy is announced.

NW: That makes sense considering you work with quantum computers, time machines, high-tech weapons, and so on and so forth.  I noticed Nathan Westfault became an Elite. Do you guys get along?

Zane: Yeah, I could write a book as an answer to that one. I’ll keep it simple…no.

NW: Now for an easier question. Your favorite color?

Zane: Black.

NW: Is that really a color?

Zane: Well, that depends on who you ask. If you ask a scientist, the answer might be, “no.” If you ask a six-year old, who is coloring with crayons, the answer will be a resounding “yes.”

NW: Okay, I’ll drop it because if I push it…I imagine I’m going to get a lecture about the Additive Color Theory.

Zane: Yes, you will. I like theories.

NW: Are you addicted to anything?

Zane: Hum, mostly time surfing. And caffeine. There are days I would kill for it. Chocolate is also high on my list, but don’t tell anyone. Oh, and of course, feeling a rush from the onset of a perilous situation that may lead to my death.

NW: Your biggest fear?

Zane: You have to read Guardian TMF to find out.

NW: No problem, I can handle that. What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?

Zane: This almost sane lady brought me to life so I could share my story.

NW: Ah, thanks.

Zane: You’re welcome! See you in your dreams, Nora.

Greetings!

Movies You Might Have Missed

Blade Runner: (1982) This hauntingly beautiful, intense movie stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. Revisit a magnificent, yet bleak vision of the future in the year 2019, Los Angeles as Rick Dekard, a Blade Runner (cop) exterminates Replicants (clones) who’ve hijacked a ship back to earth. The Replicants are exterminated upon detection. This movie questions what it is to be human, or not to be human. Rated R

 The Hoosiers: (1986) This one stars Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, and Dennis Hopper. It was inspired by the Milan (Indiana) Indian’s state tile of 1954. Although it centers around the basketball players, who are underdogs on a grand scale, and their volatile coach, it’s more about how these people change each other, help each other, and to some extent irritate each other, yet in the end their desire to be successful pushes them all to become better people…and better athletes. It’ a tale of redemption and even though it’s an older movie, it’s fantastic. Rated PG

 The Silence of the Lambs: (1991) Jodie Foster plays FBI cadet Clarice Starling, who interviews Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Hannibal Lecter) who is an incarcerated madman/ serial killer. She is hunting down “Buffalo Bill,” a serial killer who does unspeakable things to his female victims. I think this is Anthony Hopkins best role as he is horribly convincing…absolutely stunning in this movie. Rated R

 Fargo: (1996) Written by the Coen Brothers, this is a dark comedy centering around a kidnapping that goes as wrong as possible. Jerry Lundegaard is having financial troubles and works for his father-in-law who owns a car lot. Jerry hires losers from Fargo, North Dakota to kidnap his wife so he can get ransom from his father in-law. Frances McDormand is the police chief  playing Marge Olmstead-Gunderson and she investigates the three people murdered around Brainerd, Minnesota. Frances McDormand is always entertaining and she handles this role with a charming sarcasm that makes Fargo memorable. Rated R

 The Rock: (1996) A great action/thriller starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage. Cage plays Stanley Goodspeed who must team up with Connery’s character, John Patrick Mason, who has been jailed for 30 years because he supposedly stole the private files of J. Edgar Hoover. Alcatraz Island has been taken over by a crazed group of terrorists led by marine General Francis Xavier Hummel who, for years, has been protesting the government’s refusal to pay benefits to families of war veterans who died during covert military missions. It turns out the marines/terrorists kill the entire squad sent by the military, except for Goodspeed and Mason. They have to keep Hummel from setting off VX gas warheads into San Francisco. It’s an awesome movie with great character development of Goodspeed and Mason. The soundtrack is icing on the cake. Rated R.

 The Fifth Element: (1997) This movie stars Bruce Willis as Korbin Dallas and Milla Jovovich as Leeloo. It focuses on Evil coming to earth every 5000 years and what’s needed to stop it is the fifth element, which is Leeloo. (Water, air, wind, and fire are the other four elements.) It’s an exciting, fast-paced science fiction story that is also quite funny. Ian Holm is terrific as Father Vito Cornelius and Chris Tucker is hilarious as Ruby Red. Rated PG-13

 Whale Rider: (2003) Takes you on a journey with Kiesha Castle Hughes as she strives to become the next chief of her tribe living on the east coast of New Zealand. Kiesha plays Pai…an 11 year old living in a male-dominated society where the chiefs are always first born males, but she believes she is supposed to be the next chief. So she fights against her beloved grandfather and traditions to fulfill her destiny. It’s truly a magical movie. Rated PG 13

 Garden State: (2004) Written and directed by Zach Braff, who also stars as Andrew Largeman  in the movie, this one is exceptional. Natalie Portman stars as Sam, who is a pathological liar, and after she meets Andrew…his life is never the same. They discover life is never what it’s cracked up to be, but it beats the alternative. It’s tender, funny…really touching at times, yet it is out there a bit too. I loved this movie, but make sure to preview it before renting. Rated R

 Serenity: (2005) It’s been called a space-western. If you ever watched the cancelled Fox science fiction television series Firefly, this movie takes place after the final episode. Serenity is set 510 years in the future, and follows Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew on Serenity, which is a cargo/transport ship. It has action, adventure…cool special effects and really great fight scenes. It’s all about doing what’s right in spite of the danger and sacrifice involved. Rated PG 13

 Up Side of Anger: (2005) Joan Allen stars as a suburban wife who realizes her husband has left her. At first, the anger and sadness control her, but then she gains control to find life is always what you make of it…no matter what happens. Kevin Costner stars too. It’s about being responsible for how you affect the people around you in both good and bad ways. It has humor, lots of drama, and life lessons throw in too. Rated R

 Waitress: (2007) This movie is about an unhappily married waitress named Jenna, played by Keri Russell, who hopes to win a pie-baking contest so the prize money will enable her to leave her abusive husband, Earl. However, her plans get totally botched up as she struggles with an amazing attraction to the new town doctor. This is a story about second chances and having dreams. PG 13—BUT I think it’s more of an adult movie.

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Greetings!

Enemy of Mine

Don’t be afraid—you can handle this monster. It’s big, ugly, and seemingly hell bent on ruining your hopeful outlook for the future, but you can beat it to death and come out ahead. Come on; let’s get a stronghold on the beast sucking the life out of us all…the economy.

Take Charge

Keep in mind, fail to plan…plan to fail. Design a financial plan that will stretch the income you have and prevent wasteful spending. Start by examining every bill, fee, interest rate, etc. and look for ways to lower them or cut them out altogether. For example, consider refinancing your mortgage, switch to interest free credit cards, make sure your bank is not charging you ridiculous fees, and if you do use a credit card—use one that rewards you with cash back.

Compare costs for any service you use with competitors to save money. This includes services like water filtration services, garbage pickup, landscaping/grounds keeping, snow removal, annual pool openings/maintenance, driveway sealants, pest control, cable, Internet, and telephone services. Also consider taking time to compare your insurance needs with various companies. Auto, home, and life insurance are expensive, so get the most for your money. Some companies offer discounts if you pay for the entire year upfront.

Just Do It

Instead of hiring people to service your lawn, pool, and driveway, plus kill any pesky bugs on your premises…just do it and save money. For example, learn to trim your children’s hair. I’ve always done this and with six kids you can imagine the money I’ve saved over 23 years. Learn how to tile a bathroom, paint a room like a pro, clean carpets, or tackle simple home repair problems by renting or buying “how to” DVD’s. Utilize free classes at home supply-improvement stores and remember to visit your local library. The Internet is also a valuable resource for anyone looking to save money on home remodeling or repairs.

If the idea of cutting hair or tiling a bathroom seems overwhelming, then think about your circle of friends and the skills you all collectively possess. Trade time with each other, teach each other, and make good use of the skills you’ve all been blessed with.

Purchases

Groceries- According to my teens, Coca Cola is a necessity. If the dinner menu includes burgers or pizza, I agree, but any other time, it can be left out of the buggy and the world will not end. If you are living on a tight budget, use coupons if you would purchase those items with or without the coupons, but realize if you are only buying products because of coupons, then you’ve been tempted to spend money on things you would not have had on your grocery list. Too often, money is spent on snacks and sugary drinks, instead of nutritious food. Shop around, look for deals, and be cautious about over buying. No matter what I do, I cannot freeze bread or buns. They always taste awful if frozen for too long, so I never stock up on those items. However, go for it and stock up if napkins, paper towels, garbage bags etc. are on sale.

Meals- Rather than paying $2.25 to $3.00 for a can of soup or chili, make a huge batch. Soup can be used for several dinners, especially if you have soup and sandwiches one night, and then soup and salad another night. Tasty muffins or cornbread can be made cheaply and make dinner more satisfying.

If you do buy dinner as “take-out,” skip the drinks. You’ll get more for your money if you use the drinks you have at home.

Clothes- Great deals can be found online and coupon codes are easy to locate as well. Amazon, eBay, Eastbay, Kohls, Overstock, and Old Navy have amazing deals from time to time. Stock up at the end of a season and you’ll really see big savings.

Vehicles- The beastly economy has made it difficult for many to purchase a new car, so look online and locally at the used cars available in your area. Wheel and deal to the best of your ability and do this by knowing exactly what you’re looking for and what the book value is of said vehicle. Kelley Blue Book can help, plus visit websites like Carfax or AutoCheck to run the VIN numbers of any vehicles that catch your interest. Bear in mind, especially with used vehicles, if a deal sounds too good to be true…it usually is.

Holidays/Birthdays

This is a touchy subject for some people, but 2010 is the year to make major changes in shopping preferences for holidays and birthdays. Be brave and inform your loved ones you are cutting back and you honestly want them to do so as well. Gifts do not have to be expensive to be meaningful.

Internet Presence

For some small business owners, maintaining a web presence is extremely costly. Think about using free blogging sites and affordable website building sites, like Create Personal Websites, as alternatives to paying someone else to maintain your online presence. WordPress and Blogger make space available enabling any business owner to shine. Twitter is also another great marketing tool that can be used for free. Upgrades are available on these free options, but if you are just starting a business…get online, link with other businesses, fill your website with terrific keywords and content, and satisfy your potential customers by enticing them to come back to your website.

This may mean learning basic html, but nowadays, templates are used making it incredibly easy to get online and create impressive blogs and websites. Once again, I must stress if you need to learn about online marketing, but you feel intimidated, check with your family and friends for help. Today’s teens are connected to the Internet and almost instinctively know how to maneuver through the virtual world with ease.

Go Green

Go green, save trees…save money. If your business typically sends out paper correspondences, go green and make the same documents pdf files or accessible online instead. Newsletters, quarterly statements, and/or company magazines can all be web based and they will look stunning, plus save businesses money. Bank online and skip buying stamps too.

Entertainment/Family Time

During these tough times, using local libraries to acquire entertainment resources is a smart choice. Libraries today are nothing like the ones I frequented as a child. Movies, puppets and toy areas, group activities for both adults and children, and use of computers make them a wonderful place to visit. I was shocked when I visited our local library.

NETFLIX– So great to rent movies online and never have to pay late fees! Check it out and see if this online movie rental company can save you money.

College

Remember to take advantage of the lower tuition costs at a local community college. Make sure to investigate which universities will accept your credits as transfer credits. Online classes are wonderful for people who need flexibility in their schedules. Also, if possible, avoid out-of-state tuition. Apply for grants and scholarships in a timely manner, and bear in mind some local organizations offer fantastic scholarships.

If you served in the Peace Corps or the military, check to see if your college offers anything special just for you.

If you have a great money saving tip, please leave a comment.

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Greetings!

Because You Can

Early Saturday morning, I ventured downstairs believing I was the only one awake, but I was mistaken. To my surprise, I found my nine-year old son sitting at the computer. He looked deep in thought, so I figured he was playing a game.

“Good morning,” I said.  “Are you winning?”

“Uh, no,” Aaron replied.

“Well, I’m sure you will be in no time,” I said encouraging him.

“Mom, I’m not playing a game. I’m writing a story called, The Moon Warriors.”

“Really? Why? Is it for school?”

“Why?” he asked like I had offended him. “Because I can, that’s why. You do it, so I thought I’d do it.”

After wishing him good luck with his story, I realized he had great wisdom for only being nine-years old. Because I can, that’s why…lingered in my head. Aaron was not concerned if he’d ever finish the story, or if any money could be earned from it, nor was he bothered by the fact only a few family members would read the story. He was spending time doing something that mattered to him and that was it in a nutshell.

What if we all learned from his amazing attitude? It’s possible too many of us only do what we have to during our time on earth, instead of what we could do…simply because it brought joy. On top of that, imagine if the way we used spare time helped others?

Thomas Jefferson said, “It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.” I agree with him. I imagine wealth and splendor would be wonderful, but not if I had to trade it for tranquility. I believe the best days are spent making a difference in someone’s life, learning about something new, or taking pause to be thankful for friends and family, plus I still have dreams for the future. Life is a one way journey either spent in a worthwhile manner, or not.

Take a few minutes and evaluate how your time is used. Are there activities, places, and/or people needing your attention? What is it that makes you laugh until your side hurts? Try something new, make your life an adventure, help someone…because you can, that’s why.

Click on the links below to possibly jumpstart your adventure. Maybe you’re a novelist, poet, hobbyist, volunteer, or it could be pottery is your thing. Most importantly, surf the Net and have fun!

Hobbies/Interests

Hobbies

The Craftman

Volunteer Match

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Pottery

Tips for Writers

Fiction Factor