Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Introduction to PBI Case Files Adventure Five

Do you enjoy a little paranormal mystery with a touch of romance? Check out my PBI Case Files... The first four adventures are only $0.99 each. Written for 18 and older. There is action, suspense, and tons of variety.

Check out the excerpts from all four adventures here.

The Beginning (a night of drunken mishaps set Sarah and Frankie Hollister on a new destiny with the Paranormal Bureau of Investigation) 

Outbreak (the team is called to Florida to investigate a case of bath salts going zombie freak on the local communities - or is it something completely different, more supernatural?)  

Lost Plane (the team is called in to investigate the disappearance of Avalon Flight 370, the passengers and crew over the Pacific Ocean. What they discover can tear the very fabric of time apart) 

Justice Driven (the mid season finale has Sarah and Devon finally taking a chance romantically. It's a big decision to date an ancient vampire... only his past interrupts this dinner date as the Amazon's take their revenge sanctioned by the ancient gods.) 

Adventure Five Remote Paranoia is currently in production and will make you rethink war play. The team is called in to investigate the death of high powered supernatural creatures across the world. What they discover will create a war between the humans (paternaturals) and supernaturals. What will this do to the Paranormal Bureau of Investigation and the partnerships developed between humans, supernturals, and ancient gods? Coming soon...

I hope you enjoy this little taste of my popular series. One click all four adventures today... FREE with Kindle Unlimited. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Excerpt to Dragon's Dream Dancer from the Demon Fairy Tales Series

My newest release "Dragon's Dream Dancer" is the second stand alone novella in the Demon Fairy Tales series. Tremaine MacGregor is on the hunt for a dream demon who is accused of killing a human but he doesn't expect to meet his mate on this mission. Worse, his mate happens to be his target's sister. Can they find a way to save her sister and save the love they were promised from the gods?

Here is a little taste of Dragon's Dream Dancer by Jami Brumfield... written for audiences 18 and older.

Chapter One

Kensi ran shaky hands through her coppery red curls as she pushed down the bile rising in her throat from the fear wracking her mind and body in rolling waves. Her reflection in the mirror seemed like a stranger to her. The fake eyelashes surrounding her sky blue orbs, a thick layer of makeup hiding her freckles and flaws, and sparkling body paint - the only thing covering her nakedness, all seemed alien to her. This was the only way she could go through with her plan. She told herself the world wouldn’t see her, they’d see a fantasy image of a girl that didn’t exist instead of Kensi McKenna, struggling college student needing to escape a future that held nothing but pain and suffering.
She slipped on the red sequined dress and knee high stiletto boots over black fishnet stocking-clad shapely calves leading up to slender thighs. She wasn’t extremely skinny, but she had the athletic body of a dancer with one minor exception, the larger than average chest size. It messed with her center of gravity, but she adapted nicely. Next she fiddled with the position of the long black wig hiding her signature red hair. The wig strategically hung past her breasts which would be the only cover she had from onlookers as she danced tonight. The new image of an unrecognizable person that reflected upon the silver glass surface of the full length mirror smiled wickedly as her costumed appearance fell into place.
A small level of satisfaction over the success of her new image began to make her feel easier, and more certain no one would recognize her, even her brother and sister would find it difficult spotting her in a crowd. Doubt crept in again. She wasn’t going to be hidden amongst people. Her body was going to be on display for all the world to ogle. The thought made her sick and almost sent her running from the club. She forced down the rising bile which caused a burning sensation in her chest and the back of her throat. Taking a deep breathe she told herself, ‘I can do this!’ It was becoming her mantra;.a simple chant she said over and over again to force positive beliefs into her psyche. I have to do this. She had bills to pay. If she was going to escape the terrifying fate in store for her here she needed the funds to afford her tuition and to pay for transportation out of this tiny Oregon town. Dancing at the Bayside Beauties was the only way she was going to get out, and she needed to run far, far away from this place. There was no way in hell she was going to become an assassin as her family insisted. She’d die first.
“You’re up in five, Kensi.” Jacklyn, the nightclub manager, snapped from the doorway.
Kensi turned to Jacklyn, forcing down another bout of stage fright in the form of nausea. Jacklyn was not necessarily the nicest woman for which to work. Kensi guessed it was because she was in her mid-forties, and age was stealing away her youth and beauty. This was compounded by the fact that she was surrounded by all the pretty young girls she employed as dancers at the club. If rumor was true, Jacklyn was one of the best dancers this club ever had. But her days of glory were over. Wrinkles on her skin from living a hard life made her look matronly, but took away her vibrancy. Her body was still in great shape, a sign of a true dancer, but keeping up with the younger women was difficult. It was the cold, hard truth of reality, and figuring out her motivations was basic Psychology 101. “Thank you, Jacklyn.”
The pretty, older woman offered a tight nod and turned to leave. Instead of walking away, she stopped as though she had an afterthought. Jacklyn took three long strides toward Kensi. The jasmine scent of her strong perfume made Kensi’s stomach roll again, but she swallowed hard past the lump. Jacklyn’s fingers flipped the black wig tresses behind Kensi’s shoulders and straightened her dress sleeve in a motherly manner. “Remember, you’re Siren’s Song out there, not Kensi. Siren is a strong, proud woman who eats men for dinner. Don’t show your fear, they’ll see it and it’ll ruin the illusion.”
Kensi appreciated the encouragement and nodded, “I’m playing a character.” Her smile spread across her lips as she slipped into the character of Siren’s Song. Her mantra playing over and over again like a broken record in her mind.  
“That’s right. You’ll do wonderfully.” Jacklyn walked away. Shouting from halfway down the hall, she said, “three minutes” over her shoulder as she retreated.
Kensi took one last look in the mirror and took a deep breath. It’s now or never. Each time she repeated her affirmation strength flowed into her body. She could, and would, do this. She had to earn the money for college and leave this town, and she had two months to do it otherwise she’d be stuck here forever.
Her feet started walking to the side stage. She couldn’t remember giving them the command, but she made it to the stage just as her music intro started and Jacklyn spoke into the microphone. “Please welcome Siren Song to the stage for her debut dance.”
The crowd cheered her entrance and fueled her strength. ‘I can do this.’
Her body started moving to the music on instinct more than conscious thought. She was dancing, performing, and playing a character. The lights blinded her to the crowd’s faces. The music carried her, her character taking over, her fear melting away as her imagination took her away from her reality. She was aware of the stage, but the audience didn’t exist anymore. Her leg wrapped around the pole, and her body contorted in the ways her choreography called for. Sounds from the crowd told her they were soaking up her smiles and every sexual movement she made. When the dress fell from her shoulders revealing her naked body covered with intricate body paint that glowed under the black light the money fell like crazy on the stage. Men lined up to place dollars in her G-string panties that matched the body paint perfectly and gave the illusion of complete nudity. She was no longer Kensi, she’d effectively morphed into Siren’s Song and she was eating the men for dinner.


Tremaine MacGregor entered the club looking for the spunky brunette dream weaver known as Mariah McKenna. The oracle told him the woman worked at this club. It would be an easy bounty, so easy he decided to take the challenge on his own. His family members had other things on their plate, especially Connor and Lee who were on their honeymoon. Besides, the oracle singled him out with the additional helpful information so he had a head start on the other hunters.
It helped that he understood dream weavers. They weren’t known to be tough in this world. It was in the sleep realm where they possessed their power, not the waking one. He’d capture her and rush her to the portal that would allow him to deliver her to the Tribunal. He’d face their anger at not following instructions at the time of delivery. He wasn’t a killer, he was a hunter, and he wasn’t going to take her life just because the order was for her head.
As a dragon shifter, he was uniquely suited to hunt this predator. He didn’t need to sleep as much as many of the other races so staying awake while delivering the package would be easy. It was the kill order that made him wary of the whole thing. It wasn’t like the Tribunal to order hits. They were about justice and giving people their time in court.   
He wasn’t disputing how dangerous she was. Mariah’s race was the worst of the worst in the assassin world. They killed victims without remorse or discrimination. But there was a need for them in the supernatural world, and had she kept her business in the paranormal and not in the human realm, the Tribunal would’ve never put a bounty on her head. But when she was named responsible for one unsanctioned human death she became public enemy number one in the Tribunal’s mind.
His eyes barely noticed the girl dancing on the stage or the topless waitresses flitting around the bar room insuring the men, and women patrons were heavily numbed by alcoholic beverages. He was only focused on finding his killer. The smoking atmosphere filled his lungs and left his stomach queasy. As a dragon he had his own fire and smoke in his body, and it was void of unhealthy chemicals. The music held an exotic beat which called to his inner beast. He glanced around with curiosity at the lost souls mesmerized by the show on the stage. It was like he’d entered an alternate dimension, and he wondered if the performer on the stage or the musician who created the song was a witch or siren of some sort.
When the crowd roared its appreciation, his attention was drawn back to the stage. His eyes locked with the woman dancing and he felt as though he’d been run over by a two ton truck. His heart raced, the world spun out of control, and time stood still. In that instant, he knew she was his mate. His dragon clawed under the surface of his skin, talons aching to reach out and snatch her from the eyes of the patrons staring at her almost nude body. She was magic on the stage and she had the patrons eating out of her hands. Money was falling on the stage floor, but when a portly man reached up to place the cash in the girl’s G-string, he lost it. The only hands he wanted to see near her naked body were his.
He rushed toward the stage, his bounty forgotten. Primal instinct taking over, the need to cover her up his only focus. A bouncer twice his human size stepped in front of him, blocking him from his destination. His fist shot out and cracked against the bouncer’s face with enough surprise force that the man fell backwards, and Trey jumped up on the stage. His need to cover his mate unbelievably strong.
Kensi didn’t catch the commotion until she came face to face with a man of gigantic proportions, long dark hair tied back loosely in a leather band and piercing sapphire eyes. Her heart stuttered as she stumbled backwards and felt her foot give out. She experienced a moment of freefall before she felt strong arms wrap around her waist and pull her against his hard body. When she was upright, she found her lips inches from his own and fought off the urge to crush her lips to his.
Everywhere he touched was on fire with sparks of passion, but her mind was raging with anger at his behavior. The two emotions blended well together like her morning smoothie and created a reaction in her body. The need to flee was overpowering the desire to fight and her mind sent commands to her extremities, but logic tried to intervene, pointing out she wasn’t strong enough, or fast enough to evade this man.
She looked around frantically searching for the bouncers. One was knocked out in front of the stage and two more were heading her way. The music stopped, and everyone around them seemed to be moving in slow motion. Screams broke out as people started realizing what was happening around them.
Trey wrapped his enormous leather jacket around Kensi’s shoulders, which engulfed her. Then he pulled her toward the edge of the stage. She fought back in an attempt to escape, but his grip was firm and unyielding.
“Let go of me!” She hissed.
“Never!” He snapped as he pulled her off the stage with one quick movement and tossed her over his shoulder. Another bouncer approached him, but he used the force of his bicep to drop the assailant and spun around aiming Kensi’s booted feet at the second bouncer’s head, smiling with satisfaction when he heard the crunch of a boot hitting a solid jaw. Knowing these men were watching her dance moments before only made the action more gratifying.
The woman on his shoulder fought against him. She wasn’t a shifter, but she was a supernatural. Did she not recognize him as her mate? He could feel the strength in her thighs as she squirmed to get free from his grip. Her movements only served to drive his desire to higher levels. He felt the pressure of his erection push against the zipper of his pants. Being this close to her was excruciatingly painful, in a good way. He just couldn’t understand why she hadn’t recognized their connection.
He knew it the moment his eyes locked on hers – he knew from the insanity and rage he felt from all the men that watched her painted body wiggle to the music in her seductive way. Gods, please don’t let my mate be a succubus, he thought as he headed toward the neon exit sign. Her actions left him no option but to steal her away from the crowd. Connor had told him meeting his mate would be like a punch to the gut. The bastard wasn’t kidding.
He’d have to wait until she felt the connection too, and he wasn’t going to let his furious vixen leave until she did. The fear that she’d run was too great at this point. He could feel the anger vibrating off her in waves. Logic was starting to settle in over the insanity that took over. He knew he’d acted rashly, and she wasn’t going to easily forgive him for his actions. It would take some cooling off.
He placed her in the black SUV rental and spoke some words over the door seal, locking her in. Sometimes having minor magic came in handy. He’d let her begin that cooling stage while he went back in to find his target. “When you calm down you’ll better understand what is going on,” he told her through the sealed door. “I’ll be back shortly.” And with that he turned and headed back into the strip club.

Check out other Adult Paranormal Romances by Jami Brumfield here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Excerpt of Assassin's Mate from the Supernaturally Shipwrecked Series

Hi all, just wanted to share an excerpt from Assassin's Mate which is currently being released. This is a cat shifter adult romance with action and suspense. When these two kitties meet the chemistry sizzles. Check out chapter one below.

Chapter One

Scarlett Jennings caught a movement out of her peripheral vision as she was working through the new choreography for the coming night’s performance backstage. Damn cat vision was more of a curse than a blessing. Being the only one scheduled for the stage for the next thirty minutes the appearance of another person was suspicious. The hair that rose on the back of her neck had her running softly after the intruder when she landed from her leap across the stage. Something wasn’t right. If she was smart she’d call the cruise line’s security team, but she and authorities didn’t mix well and she’d feel idiotic if she called the cops on a fellow dancer that was simply getting ready for his scheduled time on the stage. It wasn’t the best way to make a first impression with whoever the stranger was, and she couldn’t afford the drama that might come from narking on a colleague who wasn’t doing anything wrong. Without this job, she only had one other option and sanctuary wasn’t the right move at the moment. It would put those she loved in danger. She needed this dancing gig far more than she’d ever admit out loud.
Her slippered feet padded silently across the floor as she followed the shadowy figure that went deeper into the unauthorized area of the ship. She was pretty sure this intruder wasn’t a fellow performer and began to rethink her pursuit. The cat that shared her mind warned of danger and flooded her body with adrenaline. The instinct to turn and escape was strong, but the urge to chase prey was stronger. The cat and human were at odds, and once again the tigress would win the battle for control. Her speed picked up as she continued to follow the mysterious figure further into the ship.
He, (she assumed he was a he because of his build), took a left down a restricted hallway. She continued her stalking, and was taken by surprise when strong arms snaked around her waist and slammed her against the ship’s wall. “What the…” the impact took her breath away and his dangerous looks robbed her of her second breath.
His hand covered her mouth as he moved closer to her neck and whispered, “Why are you following me?”
Her heart beat double time. Her eyes grew large, pupils dilated as fear flooded her system. She felt a primal need to escape, but another, deep down, wanted to stay. This wasn’t the same fear she felt in Joshua’s presence. This was different. She tried to talk, but his large hand muffled her words. “Mrph um mph.”
“I’m going to remove my hand. If you scream, I’ll break your neck, understand?”
Scarlett nodded. His words should’ve chilled her to the core, should have, but they didn’t. His intensity excited her. Something was obviously wrong with her mind. She’d never felt so many mixed feelings. Her first inclination was to fight the man, and her second was to kiss his rugged lips. Everywhere he touched a spark lit in her nerves and sent her brain into panic mode. Her fight-or-flight instinct should take over, only, instead, she wanted to curl up in the man’s lap and purr.
Slowly, he moved his hand from her lips, but kept his other hand on her waist, fingernails digging softly into her flesh holding her against the wall, and keeping her from fleeing even if she wanted to, which was the farthest thing from her thoughts in that minute.
“Why are you following me?” The snarl in his voice was far from scary, more sexy and primal.
Gods, Scarlett. Pull it together, she chastised herself silently. “I saw you backstage and was curious,” she lied.
“So you put yourself at risk out of curiosity?” He sounded irritated with her. Why? He was the one doing suspicious things.
She shrugged. “You know what they say, ‘curiosity kills the cat’.”
Uncomfortable silence spread between them as he stared into her eyes, like he could see into her soul and read her thoughts. Finally he said, “I suppose you’re going to tell me you’re a cat shifter.”
His grip on her waist eased up, and she felt sad at the loss of pressure from his hand. She never liked the bad boy types, probably because her ex-fiancĂ© was the worst of the devils, but something about this man made her ignite. “I’ll share what I am if you’ll reciprocate.”
A tiny tick started in his cheek, just below his dimple, and his mossy green eyes narrowed on her with distrust. “Panther.”
“Tiger,” she replied, thankful he gave in enough to share his alter ego with her. “What are you doing down here?  It’s restricted.” She whispered loudly.
He readjusted the strap to the shoulder bag she just realized he was carrying. The action caused a lock of his black hair to fall into his eyes. She resisted the urge to reach up and brush it back. It had been too long since she’d found comfort in a man’s arms. It was the only way she could describe the feelings whirling around her body like a tornado.
“Do you make a habit of asking strangers questions that could get you killed?”
The bluntness of his words were like a kick to the gut. The man had already threatened to break her neck and now he was implying her actions could get her killed? She’d seen danger all her life, her home was virtually a warzone. It was why she couldn’t go back. She couldn’t lose this job because far worse hazards waited for her there.
“If threatening a girl is your usual pick…” her words were cut off when his lips pressed against hers. At first, she denied his advance, but the slide of his tongue along her lips tempered any resistance, and she opened up to him and the pleasures he was offering. He didn’t hesitate to deepen the kiss. His grip on her waist tightened, and his other hand eased into the red curls at the nape of her neck forcing her head back allowing him more control.
She’d never been kissed by a handsome stranger before, and she intended to enjoy the moment. His tongue took authority and rolled over hers like an ocean wave driving her desire up a notch, stealing her breath away. Tension tightened in her middle and grew needy as his hot, ready body pressed her harder against the cold metal wall of the ship. They began the primal dance pressing their bodies together at the center and grinding to a silent rhythm that made them want more.
Her leg rose of its own accord and wrapped around his waist pulling him harder against her as he masterfully thrust his hardness against her. His fingers on her waist moved to her thigh and she felt a pleasurable sting as his fingernails bit slightly into her flesh. Desire and want rose in her and threatened to send her soaring into the sky like one of the jumps in her dance.
“What are you two doing in here?” The harsh tone of a security guard hissed at them, washing over Scarlett like a cold shower.
The bastard kissed me to keep from getting caught! They broke from the kiss, both short of breath, staring oddly into each other’s eyes. A connection was made, no doubt. What that connection was she couldn’t say with her mind all jumbled and confused.
He grinned, and with inhuman speed, picked her up and held her in his arms. “Sorry, officer, we just got married and were looking for a little privacy.”
Married? She didn’t even know the man’s name, and she was suddenly his alibi for some sort of criminal activity, she was sure, but the passion he lit in her from a single kiss kept her from saying what her brain knew was right. She simply blushed – blushed, and allowed him to carry her off as the security guard escorted them out of the restricted area.

Get the full story here and check out Jami Brumfield's other adult paranormal romances here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Busy weekend with lots of great events and a new release

As an author, there are a lot of fun events I get invited to do and takeover and this weekend is a full slate. I'm pretty excited about the fun and wanted to share the events with you. Hope to see you there. You may even win a prize or two.

The Crazy Lady Authors are hosting a Spring Extravaganza Cross over event Saturday, April 18th on Facebook here. Here's the line up:

The Crazy Lady Authors have been busy. Together we have published Cooking with the Crazy Lady Authors and a collection of Treasured Moments short stories. On April 18th we will be celebrating both these collaborations. Even better, they will be on sale for only 99¢ Come and party with us... The Crazy Ladies are always fun to hang out with

Here is the line up.

9:30 - Ella Medler
10:00 - Melanie James
10:30 - Kelly Batton Cozzone
11:00 - Aubree Lane 
11:30 - Andrea Wood
Afternoon (Central Time Zone)
12:00 - Lunchtime Linda Lee Williams
12:30 - Diane Rinella
1:00 - Nikki Lynn Barrett
1:30 - Teri Riggs
2:00 -Terri Hubbard Carle
2:30 -Holly Barbo
3:00 -Michele Gwynn
3:30 - Jennifer Theriot
4:00 - Cherime MacFarlane
4:30 - Jayne Hyatt
5:00 -Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
5:30 - Jami Brumfield
6:00 - Angela Ford

TJ's Virtual Book Tours has it's Grand Opening Celebration this weekend with so many amazing authors that it's impossible to list them all... Check it out here on Facebook.

Spring Magic, meet the authors event, hosted by Lions Book Promotions is also hosting a party with plenty of awesome authors here.

Here's the author line-up:

Sat. 4.18.15 - EST

12:00 Dawn Montgomery
1:00 Nic Saint 
2:00 P.T. Macias 
3:00 Matthew William Harrill 
4:00 Marissa Honeycutt
5:00 Teri McGill
6:00 Thomas Duder
7:00 Elisabeth Popolow
8:00 Sandra Nelson
9:00 Cindy Tibbitts
10:00 PM Briede

Sun. 419.15 - EST

12:00 Bella Jeanisse
1:00 Michele Bardsley
2:00 Renee George
3:00 Diana Marie DuBois
4:00 P.T. Macias
5:00 Nadine Marie Catalano
6:00 Thomas Duder
7:00 Teri McGill
8:00 Teri McGill
9:00 Jami Brumfield
10:00 Marissa Storm

and My Heart Belongs to a Fictional Character Multi Author event hosted by Chelsea Author Promotions is also in full swing this weekend here.

Check out this line-up:

1. Natalie-Nicole Bates
2. Allyson Lindt
3. Loralie Hall
4. Denice Garrou
5. Crystal Dawn
6. Shirleen Davies
7. Krystal Shannan
8. Taige Crenshaw
9. Cari Quinn
10. Caryn Moya Block

1. Katya Armock
2. J.C. Valentine
3. Sotia Lazu
4. Vivian Lane
5. Christine Pope
6. D.J. Shaw
7. Elvira Bathory
8. Sarah Grimm
9. D.D. Miers
10. Tabith Conall

1. Gwen Knight
2. Stasia Morineaux
3. Mya Lairis
4. Joanne Jaytanie
5. A.E. Via
6. Fiona Steele
7. Robin Nadler 
8. Jami Brumfield

I'll personally be giving away multiple books at these parties and so will many of the other authors participating so all of these events promise to be fun.

I also released my first non-fiction book in the Organizing Your Life Series titled Become a Time Manager. It's full of tips, tricks, exercises to help people increase their time management skills. Check it out and one click this one this weekend for only .99.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends

Guest Author Post: Author Palessa gives a great tip on overcoming writer's block (plus excerpt)

Breaking Block Barriers

It was around May 2014 when I first got hit by a kind of writer’s block that I had never really known existed. I had published book 2, Portrait of Gray, which was such a powerful write. When I finished Unchained Hearts, I felt Grayson’s story so strongly that I had a lot of the graphical assets in my head as well as a solid outline for the story so quickly. I shocked myself. Grayson’s story was heart wrenching in many ways that I actually misted up when writing a couple of parts. I knew that if I felt that, readers would too.
But Book 3, Story of Us, was giving me problems. I was having a block that I just couldn’t quite explain. In May, I had to go offline for a few weeks. That meant no Facebook or email for at least three weeks and I was nervous. It wound up being the best thing that ever happened because it helped me to face what this block head on. I figured out what it was: Fear. I was afraid of the pain I was going to feel in writing what turned out to be the last book in the main series. Someone dying was hard enough but to have people’s lives destroyed through no fault of their own was pretty painful and I was avoiding it. That was my block.

There are different kinds of blocks writers can experience. 
  • ·        As I mentioned, you know you’re going to have to deal with a difficulty and your mind is avoiding that kind of emotional discomfort.
  • ·         You’re just burned out and don’t want to write anything.
  • ·         You can’t finish what you started. It’s like the idea was there and then it just dried up

I have been through all of these at one point or another even before I was published. They used to scare me because when it comes to telling stories, that’s my calling, that’s my purpose.
One of the ways I have always been able to work through what’s in my head is by writing it out. When I was in school, we did stream of consciousness writing exercises in my English class and I loved them. I write out, chip away at it and eventually I find out what my real problem is. Not everyone can do this because it’s low tech but pen to paper is my “go to” when I have any problem like that.
When I used to get burned out, I stepped away and did something else. Writing doesn’t give me a lot of time to read, plus I have other business projects I work on.  For a time, I turn to those and just step away from writing for a bit because I don’t want to force the story to come. It won’t work. I step away and let the ideas comes to me when they are ready. That’s the time I’ll get flashes and inspirations. I may not be fully ready to write yet but as the ideas pop up, the feelings build I eventually get back to it.
Usually when I feel like an idea has dried up, that means that a part of the story just isn’t working for me and I need to take a left turn at Albuquerque. I scrap it and see if the character is open to doing something more radical. I am always conferring with my characters because, really, it’s their story. Opening myself up to that kind of change helps me generate other ideas and I’m usually a lot happier with the outcome.
My point is when it comes to overcoming blocks, there are different times, different kinds and different solutions. You need to just be honest enough with yourself to break through that barrier to get to the other side. Everybody has his or her way; what’s yours?
While you’re thinking about that, here’s an excerpt of my very first historical fiction book, Eyubea Girls, the story of how a young woman found her home in a land not her own:

"Marriage? But she's just seventeen, Simon.” Patrick watched the priest carefully remove his robes behind his desk. He closed his eyes and leaned over the simple wooden chair in front of the priest's desk, bowing his head. “She's a child who knows nothing of life, much less of Africa or missionary work."

"Patrick," Father Faricy finished hanging his robes and walked over to his friend. "She's of age. Many other young girls are contemplating or have already been married. They've got direction and purpose. Lisbette is a young woman and this is a great opportunity for her to learn about the world under the right guidance."

"She knows nothing of him. I know nothing of him. Yes, I know of his parents but…I cringe at the thought of my little girl marrying some man and moving so far off."

"All good points but think about it. As her parents, the mission is willing to pay you a handsome stipend of fifty pounds a month for two years, she would have a proper home from what I understand, a husband—"

"What about love, Simon?" Patrick may have lost his love but he wanted something more decent for his little girl.

Father Faricy walked up to Simon and put a hand on his shoulder. "Love can bloom under such circumstances where two people are bound together by a common goal. They are both young enough to explore their feelings."

Patrick pondered the proposal. Africa was far and exotic. Would Lisbette be happy there? And if she wasn't could she come back home? Looking the priest squarely in the eyes, he said with complete seriousness "I want her to be happy, Simon. I want her safe and happy especially after what Vivian did. I need to make sure she's protected. She will be so far away."

Father Faricy saw the opportunity he had been waiting for. "What happened, Patrick? At the very least you would have made the necessary excuses for Vivian's absence, but today you said nothing. Are the two of you all right?"

Hearing the genuine concern in the older man's voice Patrick looked down at his hands. Vivian's drunkenness was really the worst kept secret but it was their business. He closed his eyes, breathed a bracing sigh and told the priest all that happened.

"Saints be praised!" Father Faricy turned his eyes to the heavens. "I had no idea things were so dire."

Patrick laughed quietly. "I didn't know they could be this dire. Lisbette is all I have now." He saw the priest about to interject and he stopped him. "No. I'm not ending my marriage, if that's what you're worried about. Till death us do part and I meant it. But not even God can expect me to let this pass."

"I can understand your anger, Patrick. I even share it, God forgive me. But this opportunity for Lisbette is an answer to your prayers. She can be safe away from these thugs and you can settle the debt."

"And lose my daughter to a different world and a man I know nothing of in the process. What a tangled web, indeed."

Patrick knew his daughter. She hated being told what to do. He had always given her the freedom to choose her path. Now he was taking that freedom away. Even if it meant saving her life she would probably hate him for it. At least she would be alive, in Africa, while she seethed.

Looking at Father Faricy, Patrick nodded. The priest clapped his hands but Patrick held up his finger, "There are conditions. As soon as they are agreed, I will consent."

Patrick stepped out of Father Faricy's room and saw Graham and Lisbette across the room talking. She was smiling and they seemed to be getting along. Perhaps this wasn't going to be as bad as he thought. He walked over to the pair calling out to his daughter.

"Da, Graham was telling me about his travels and the people he's going to meet."

"I'm glad you had someone to talk to while I discussed some church business with the Father." Patrick turned to Graham and extended his hand. "We will be in touch soon."

Graham's eyes lit up. "I trust so." He turned to Lisbette. He took her hand is his and held it. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Lisbette." He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. "I'm sure we will be seeing each other again."

Lisbette watched him leave. She felt her heart flutter and her cheeks flood with prickly heat. It was a sensation she was getting used to and she liked it.

Patrick looked at his daughter and realized just how much of a woman she appeared. She wasn't a tomboy anymore with dirt on her face and missing baby teeth. She would soon be a woman, a married woman. He offered his arm to her and she took it as they left.

Whether he liked it or not, he would have to give his daughter up. The only question remained was whether she'd forgive him for it…

***About Eyubea Girls****

Graham Tate-Fuller needs a wife. Not just any wife. One who is young enough to take on his education mission to the African continent and not ask too many questions about his past. Lisbette Caldwell is just seventeen, a young woman who isn’t ready to give up her tomboy ways. She dreams of playing football and becoming a teacher just like her father. Through a series of circumstances beyond her control, Lisbette marries Graham and embarks on an adventure in Eyubea, a small independent township in southern Africa, which managed to escape the colonial rule that overtook many other African nations.

There Lisbette settles into her new life as an assistant teacher to a small group of young girls who will have no choice but to become wives and mothers. Its a simple enough task that will turn into a fight for their lives as Graham's past catches up to them and Lisbette faces the dark side of marriage in a land not her own.

Set in the early 1900's, Lisbette is forced to take a stand for herself and her Eyubea Girls against stacked odds, even if it means losing the life she's come to love. With the help of new friends and a will to carve out her own place in the world, she searches for a way to live life on her own terms in a place she will come to call home.

Buy Eyubea Girls, Growing Wild 1 by Palessa

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Guest Author Post: Andrea Perno talks more on World Building in Novel Writing (plus excerpts)

If you build it, he will come. ~Kevin Costner.
                World building in novel writing: How important is it? How, where, do you even begin? If you’ve talked to me…and I mean really talked to me. More like talked me into telling you my “crazy,” you’ve probably heard me say that my characters write the story. That’s true. I don’t write it. Not any more at least. I may have started the story off with a neat little concept and designed a somewhat familiar setting as a backdrop for my characters to play in. Ultimately, when they show up, they take what loosely woven strand of fiber I’ve picked (tangled rat’s nest depending on your interpretation) and run with it.  
                That being said, once you’ve decided your genre and you’ve got that “big bag of crazy” that is the beginning of a kick ass novel, there are two main things I feel every author should consider while world building.
                Number one: This is probably the most important in my opinion. Whatever the genre is, creating a believable world is critical. A story is not a story if it’s not believable. You, the author, have to be able to creatively craft a world that can convince a reader to suspend disbelief enough to still be present and fully engaged with the tale being told. That’s a hard thing to teach, a hard thing to learn and an even harder thing to put into practice.  
                Readers are smart. They’ll know when you haven’t done your homework. When you’ve built a world in the sixteenth century but your characters are magically talking, behaving and wearing a t-shirt and shorts like it’s present day twenty fifteen. Writers have to be smart when creating a world. The small details, things like culture, climate, race, history, social classes, food, are important to consider. Readers will know when you’ve left gaps. Or worse, when you’ve tried to plug those gaps with things that don’t belong. Think of your readers’ like that damn kid at the beach. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that no matter how well you think you’ve fortified your elaborately built sand castle with sharp shells and sea urchin quills…that little bastard is going to mow it down like the line backer, Terry Tate if you turn your back and leave an opening. In the case of world building and novel writing, that’s the dreaded plot hole. 
                 Just like your characters should act like real, fully rounded, albeit slightly flawed people to make them seem credible. Your world and setting should also be believable. I’m not saying you can’t have crazy awesome fantasy creatures with three heads and twelve inch teeth…if that’s your thing. I’m saying your character’s reaction to those creatures has to be authentic and genuine. The setting you create should match. Think of it in terms of theatre. In the world you’re building, the structures, flora, fauna etc. are your backdrop and props. The characters interact with those things moving the plot forward, backward or in some cases sideways and upside down, all while shooting a ray gun with green laser beams. The point is you have to find a way to connect with the reader, make them feel, see, smell, even taste the world you’ve built. All while allowing your characters the freedom to be who they are and tell their story effectively. That’s not too hard, right?
                Number two: World building is like setting up a game board. I liken it most closely to the game, Risk, but my stories are Science Fiction and all about war so there may be a bias on my part. Sometimes I find it’s best if I lay out all the pieces first. For some this may mean verbally bouncing ideas off a couple of friends or making an outline. For me, it means using my art degree in its purest form and literally laying out the biggest piece of paper I can find. I go to town drawing what the world would look like. What color are the plants? What kind of wacked out sci-fi tech can I design out of tin foil and toothpicks? Where are the landmasses, native tribe homelands, military bases etc. located? Then I scribble out freakishly unrecognizable chicken scratch notes to go with it all.  I may not be able to read the notes later. Despite the fact that I can paint a masterpiece, I can’t seem to get a handle on basic handwriting. Never the less, it gets the wheels turning. I do everything from mapping out destinations, creating an idea of how long it would take characters to get from point “A” to point “B” and what physical, mental, environmental obstacles would pose hazards to their health. Doing all of this helps me get a feel for what the world is like and what my characters will endure.
                **There is a caveat that I feel prudent to point out. The process of “physically” drawing out a world in map, or whatever form may materialize, is very likely to change as the story progresses. So don’t get attached. I’ve found that you can do all the leg work you want up front, before even typing a single word in the book. You may find that your characters take your work of genius and turn it into something completely foreign from the original concept. This is OKAY. I’ve talked to a few new authors who fear this phenomenon. Don’t fear it. Be open to it. If you’ve created a great starting block, your characters will dive right into the world you’ve made for them and take it to new heights you’d never imagined.

                Whatever technique you choose to go about creating the world for your characters, remember to make it relatable. Building a believable world is crucial for their survival as much as it is for your story. Sometimes it pays off to sweat the small stuff in the beginning. After all, the devil is in the details.

Excerpt from: THE LAST DROP
I stare at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, hardly recognizing myself. My dark, crew-cut hair is growing out all wrong. Even at sixteen, there’s a rough haze of stubble along my jaw and across my upper lip. I’ll have to shave before reporting. I balance my armpits on the tops of aluminum crutches and rake my fingers along my scalp, watching my hair stand on end from sweat. It would feel amazing to splash cool water on my face and rinse the dirt from my skin, but those days are gone. Water is too precious. The sink basin is dry and coated with a layer of sand and dirt like everything else in the house. I turn the knobs anyway and pretend water fills the basin before reaching for the powdered bathing substitute and electric shaver. I need to look and smell presentable today. Dad and Jeremy are returning from overseas. My older brother, Jeremy, won’t care what I look like, but it wouldn’t be acceptable for the son of a prestigious military commander and esteemed biochemical engineer to have even one hair out of place.
             The thought of their return brings a nervous anxiety, which I try to evade by pressing the electric shaver into the cleft of my chin, daring the blades to cut me. I don’t want to think about what my father will do if this mission failed too. No one on base will tell me anything substantial, but rumors say diplomacy is out the window. It explains why recruitment numbers are through the roof and why Jeremy doesn’t want me along for any missions. Thanks to him, I get another few weeks off before recruitment officers force me back into basic training. “Only had three days left, now I’ll have to start all over. Least you could’ve done was waited until I finished basic,” I whisper at the mirror.
            For just a moment, as the last bit of facial stubble falls into the sink, my reflection takes the form of Jeremy’s face. Striking blue eyes, prominent jaw line, he’s only two years older than I am, but all I’d need is a good haircut and we’d be twins. Sighing, I shift weight off my broken leg to ease the throbbing pain. The heavy plaster cast encasing my left upper thigh down is a cumbersome reminder of Jeremy’s loyalty and love, however misguided. He was only doing what he thought was best, the only way he knew to keep me on base, but he had no right.
            “You’re a smart kid. You don’t have to be a grunt. Stay put. Go to class. Get your ass on the flight list outta here.” His voice fills my head as if he’s standing in front of me. But the flight list is a joke. Commanding officers like to dangle the hope of being hand selected for space settlement in front of students and soldiers as motivation. It works…mostly. Everyone wants out of our military base, Asik. Off Earth. I’m guessing I’m the exception. I don’t hold out much hope of a successful space settlement even though people rumor that habitable planets are out there. If we can’t fix what’s wrong with our own planet we’re doomed no matter where we wind up. Jeremy would be pissed to know I requested transfer out of the space academy, though. Too bad. He doesn’t get to choose the life I lead. Brothers are supposed to protect each other. I’m supposed to be watching his six out there. Instead, I’m stranded here nursing a fractured femur.

            The room feels different the moment I cross the threshold and the heavy metal door closes behind me. I brace myself for the annoying computer data dump that comes with every new place I encounter. I’ve never mastered accessing it in a way that doesn’t immediately cause me to go into sensory overload. Nor have I been able to tune out the excess information like my sister insists is possible. This room, cold and starkly furnished with only a long metal table and two metal chairs, is somehow...quiet.
            “Please have a seat,” the police psychologist who accompanied me says. I ignore her request and instead take a few steps toward a wall to my right. I touch the bare surface and eye the rest of the space curiously. There are no pictures, mirrors or windows in this room. My brain should be melting down with information about where I am, the history of the building, why I’m here. Nothing happens. I’m not even downloading the waste management schematics of the building and that’s supposed to be my Civilnet job description.
            I let my hand slide down the smooth wall and fall to my side before acknowledging the psychologist. She’s meticulously folding her hunter green trench over the back of a chair in such a way to provide cushioning against the metal. I guess she thinks we’ll be here awhile.
            I watch with growing annoyance as she settles herself into the chair and applies an obnoxious bright red lipstick to her lips. If my computer chip were working properly, it would be telling me what great taste this woman has to pair fire engine red lipstick with pasty white skin and unnaturally orange streaked hair.
            I don’t want to, but I take a seat in the empty metal chair. It’s not as if there’s anything else to do in this room.
            “Shall we begin?” she asks.
            I know it’s rude, and this woman has done nothing to me, but I shake my head and roll my eyes anyway.
            “Whenever you’re ready then,” she says patiently and folds her hands on the table.
            I glance around the room again, looking for anything to capture my attention so I don’t have to talk to the woman in front of me. When I can’t find anything to look at, I rock myself back against the metal chair, letting it balance on two legs. The psychologist’s expression doesn’t change from kind and patient, which annoys me more, so I tip the chair back further. A high-pitched warning siren in my inner ear squeals. The familiar scrawl of red lettering with statistical variants temporarily obscures my vision.
            I let the front legs of the chair crash to the floor. The siren and the red lettering go away. The room suddenly doesn’t feel so quiet.
            “Civilnet will still let you know if you are in danger of being injured.” The psychologist smiles.
            “Where’s the rest of the Civilnet crap you guys fill us with?”
            “The precinct finds it easier if the rest is withheld during discussions. That way conversations aren’t diluted.”
            I nod and close my eyes for a minute, embracing the silence.
            When I open them, the psychologist is staring blankly, waiting for me to make my statement. I know I’m not going anywhere until I do but every time I open my mouth to say something, an uncontrollable anger causes me to lock my jaw and grimace instead. It’s not as if she actually needs to take a statement. If I’m plugged into the system, she can access all the information she wants. Even pull up the brutality on a fancy high-def, holographic screen as large at the wall next to me. She’s probably already watched it in preparation. No, she wants me to recount the incident so she can see my reaction. So she can see how fucked up it made me. That way she and her police buddies and everyone else in the world can justify being “plugged-in.”
            After several minutes of shifting on the uncomfortable metal chair, waiting for the psychologist to give me an out, I shout at her, “Why can’t I just go?”
            “You haven’t recounted the events that occurred on the evening of November 17, 2103,” she says matter-of-factly. Her mouth closes to a thin line. The red lipstick she’s wearing is so thick and sticky-looking that her two lips merge into one. The tip of her tongue separates them again and she says, “Once you give your statement you will be free to go.”
            “Free to go.” I nod in disgust and look at the ceiling. “Right. Free to go back to what? A job I hate? The tiny little apartment in the sky that...” I let my words fall off because I’m sure admitting I’ve thought of jumping from my 351 story balcony will get me thrown in the loony bin. And if that happens I won’t be able to go through with it later.
            “If you’re unhappy with your current occupation I’ll be happy to have someone assist you with re-examining your Civilnet aptitude scores and—”
             “Just stop. I don’t need you or anyone or anything else to help me.” The last thing I want is my aptitude scores re-examined. I can’t bear to think what new waste management hell the computation systems will puke out for me if I have my scores re-examined.
            “I feel it prudent to point out that you would not be alive today without the help of our Civilnet system.”
            “Yea, well, I feel it prudent to point out psychologists are supposed to have empathy. Maybe I’m not ready to discuss what happened.” I try to sound pompous and proper like her but it comes out more like the verbal tantrum of a fourteen-year-old.
            “You have been given the statistically recommended 6.342 days, on top of physical healing duration, to properly recover your mental faculties. If you refuse to make a statement today, Mr. Tom Rodgers will be released and re-inserted into Civilnet.” She leans across the cold, steel table between us and whispers, “What he did to you was unthinkable. Regardless of how you feel about Civilnet, do you really want him back on the streets where he can do it again?”
            She searches my face, waiting for my defenses to crack. He hurt me, more than words can describe, but the truth is, the events of that night are completely cloudy. I know I have a connection to Tom Rodgers. I know he was the one who physically hurt me. There were other people too. People I know and yet, frustratingly, I can’t quite call their names or faces to memory when I think about them. I was a part of something big. Something important that didn’t work out and even though I got hurt, I’m not sure he shouldn’t try it again.
            “You don’t need me to say it. You have more than enough evidence to put him away. Spare me the bullshit,” I tell her.
            “If it were up to me this case would be closed.” She sits back, ignoring my temper, and wipes her hands clean as if it would be that easy. “But a jury will not convict this case. The feed from the chip comes in garbled. It even freezes in places. Atrocious things are happening and a jury will see that. But a good lawyer could argue that what’s going on is fictitious and fabricated. The two of you could have been making a film, for instance.”
            “Right. A home movie where half my face is being burned off by industrial grade acid.” I scoff and touch the right side of my face. The skin under my fingertips is flawless and perfectly smooth. It’s not rippled and scarred like I know it will be in twenty-four hours when the medical test serum wears off.
            “It was unimaginable pain. Wasn’t it?” She looks at my cheek almost curiously, and I know she’s never felt pain like I have. “It must be awful for anyone to undergo such torture.”
             I swallow hard. Not sure if I should be mad at her sudden interest in knowing what it’s like to have skin melted from its bones or mad at myself for falling victim to an avoidable crime. I purse my lips. “You want me to tell you what happened?”
            “Yes.” She smiles and a smear of red slime coats her front teeth. She notices me wrinkle my nose and sucks the lipstick away with her tongue. “Tell me what Rogers did to your chip.”
            “My chip?” I say sarcastically.
            “Yes, what did Mr. Rogers do to it?” she asks again.
            My eyebrows knit in frustration. She’s supposed to be concerned about what he did to me. She’s not concerned about me at all. It’s about the chip. It’s always about the damn chip.