Celebrate the Small Things! – Back from a very long blogging hiatus

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

Happy Summer! I’m jumping back into the blogging pond. Or maybe I should say ocean. I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with posting every week, but will try for every other week, at least. I’m looking forward to catching up with what’s been going on with everyone.

Celebrations in general:

  1. My daughter graduated from high school last month and will be heading off to St. Michael’s College at the end of August!
  2. My job is going well.
  3. I finally managed to publish my third book! The Road Once Taken came out in e-book in April, and the print version came out June 1st. I have a book signing tomorrow from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Eloquent Page bookstore in St. Albans, VT. Woo hoo!!

TheRoadOnceTaken

The Road Once Taken

 Jacinda Harper just wants a vacation — a little time to spend with an old friend and her new baby. But a speeding car on a rain-slicked road crashes just ahead of her, and alters her life forever.

 The last wish from the dying woman in the wrecked car sends Jaci to a lonely mansion, where she finds a mysterious grandfather clock, a cryptic diary, and a strange key… and magic…

 Unwittingly transported into a fantastical world of ominous castles, wild forests, and rebel swordsmen — a world ruled by a ruthless sorcerer whose quest for world domination has long been thwarted by the loss of a magical key stolen from this world long ago — the key that Jaci has just brought back into his reach…

 Jaci must find a way back to her own world before the sorcerer finds her.

*****

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2018. All rights reserved.

Spotlight on Crystal Collier’s New Release: Timeless, and Medieval Funnies!

Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some medieval funnies!

 

timeless_ebookcoverIn 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

 

Amazon| B&N

 GUEST POST

Thank you Lori for having me here today!

Writing is my hobby (a little more than a hobby if you couldn’t tell). It gives me a reason to dream, a reason to stretch, and a reason to LEARN ABOUT EVERYTHING. How cool is that? (You might hate research. That’s fine. All the more for me!) But you have something you love. One thing I’ve learned from studying across time periods, the environment may change, but the humans have always been the same. We’ve always craved love, survival, and healthy recreation. (Or sometimes not so healthy.)

This month, TIMELESS, the third book in my Maiden of Time trilogy is out! (Knights, battles, time travel, an epic love story, and special powers…WHAT?!) Today I’d like to share some medieval hobbies with you. (Pick your favorite, eh?)

PE (Physical Exercise)!

Language!
Music!
Technology!

Oh wait, how did that get in there?

Hobbies have always been a part of life, but how wonderful when someone (ME) can share my happy place with others (YOU)? And now the shameless plug: go buy my books. What hobby would you most miss if you lived in medieval times? What is your favorite medieval movie/story? What’s your favorite hobby?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her online HERE.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

 

The Prizes! Click prize photo to Enter

The Prizes!
Click prize photo to Enter

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

 

Spotlight on Joylene Nowell Butler’s New Release: Matowak Woman Who Cries — My Review and a Giveaway!

matowak-woman-who-cries-tour-banner

Welcome to everyone following Joylene Nowell Butler’s epic book tour! To those who haven’t met Joylene, I’m happy to introduce you to an excellent writer of psychological thrillers. Be sure to check out my review and the giveaway below!

matowak-woman-who-cries-by-joylene-nowell-butler

 

A murder enveloped in pain and mystery…

 When Canada’s retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife’s unsolved murder.

The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.

Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister’s horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him…

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Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is available in eBook at the following sites:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C

 

The print copy is available at:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

*****

My Review

I didn’t have much experience with police procedural murder mysteries when I picked up Matowak Woman Who Cries by Joylene Nowell Butler, but the story intrigued me and drew me in. Leland Warner, retired Canadian Minister of National Defense, is found murdered in his home. Corporal Danny Killian, an Aboriginal Canadian with the RCMP, must track down the murderer. One of the suspects is Leland’s long-suffering wife, Sally. The story is told in first person from Sally’s and Corporal Killian’s points of view.

As the story unfolds against the backdrop of the murder investigation, the reader is sucked into the lives of these psychologically damaged people. Beaten down by years of emotional abuse, Sally hasn’t recovered from the recent, devastating murder/suicide of her sons, while Corporal Killian drowns beneath a flood of guilt and pain associated with his wife’s murder. Killian also has to deal with personal and professional racial discrimination.

Matowak is much more than a highly detailed police procedural mystery. It’s a haunting portrayal of two forlorn souls trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. I kept wishing that Fate had dealt them both better hands.

I’d highly recommend it for any reader who likes murder mysteries, police procedurals, and/or psychological thrillers.

*****

author-joylene-nowell-butlerABOUT THE AUTHOR:

When Joylene’s father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father’s Child. Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steam-punk collaboration Break Time. While she’ll admit being published didn’t fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal, and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.

Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.

For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

mc-book-tour-logo

Meet Officer Blake Herro from Chrys Fey’s 30 Seconds Before

Chrys Fey and Officer Herro are taking over my blog today in honor of Chrys’ new release, 30 Seconds Before. Catch the exciting excerpt after the interview!

*****

Chrys Fey here interviewing Officer Blake Herro from 30 Seconds Before. This will be a quick interview for a busy man.

  1. Did you ever shoot someone while on duty, and how did it make you feel?

Once. It’s not something I ever want to do, but to protect myself and my partner, I did shoot a man who had opened fire on us. Even in the name of self-preservation, it’s never an easy thing to deal with afterward. The moment when bullets hit our car and I had to open fire replayed in my mind for nights, days, and weeks. The man died, and I struggled with that. A fellow officer sat me down and made me see that, although some officers can go their entire careers without firing their weapons, some of us aren’t so lucky, but that doesn’t make us bad officers.

  1. Have you ever made a mistake?

I think all rookies make mistakes, but I thankfully never made a life-threatening one or put anyone in jeopardy. Well, unless you count going undercover in the Mob. Yeah, that might’ve been a mistake.

  1. I do think that counts. What do you do to de-stress and relax?

I sit back with a beer and watch football if it’s the season for it. I also don’t mind cooking, which I know will surprise many, but my grandmother taught me how to cook, and I enjoy it. On occasion, to shut down after a hard shift, bourbon helps a lot.

  1. Bourbon works. When you went undercover in the Mob, is there something you wish you had done or didn’t do?

I wish I hadn’t been so good at it.

  1. Now I have to ask a question for the ladies. Why are you single?

Because I am my job, and I don’t meet many eligible bachelorettes when I’m in my uniform.

Well, we like a good-looking man in a uniform, don’t we, ladies? Okay, so I’ll stop teasing Blake and let him get back to work.

30secondsbefore_w-11122_750

 

Title: 30 Seconds Before

Prequel to 30 Seconds

Genre: Mainstream Thriller

Page Count: 60 (novella)

 

BLURB:

Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?

 

BOOK LINKS:

Amazon US / Amazon UK /  Amazon CA

Nook / Kobo / The Wild Rose Press

Goodreads

 

EXCERPT:

Blake’s gaze continued to scan the area. Too many officers needed help. Blake strained his eyes to see if the nearest officer was still breathing, but the darkness and flashing lights obscured his vision.

Dread was ripe in his veins, twining his intestines into knots. The assailants who attacked the officers could be lurking nearby, watching and putting him in their sights. Being out in the open with nothing but his Kevlar vest as protection was not where he wanted to be, but the officer he was helping would bleed out if he moved.

Blake studied the officer. His lips were an unnatural shade of blue. He was shivering from the frigid December night as well as blood loss.

“Did you see them?” Blake asked. “Do you know who did this?”

The officer’s lips moved.

Blake leaned forward, bringing his ear to the officer’s mouth. “What was that?”

The officer took a shuddering breath. “Red.”

 

sale-image

30 Seconds, the story that follows 30 Seconds Before, is on sale for 99 Cents. Get it at this discount so you can read the entire story from start to finish!

 

SALE LINKS:

Amazon / The Wild Rose Press / NOOK / KOBO

 

75b4b-chrysfeyauthorpicBIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. She is an administrator for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and heads their monthly newsletter.

Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four adopted cats who keep her entertained with their antics, and three nephews who keep her entertained with their antics. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and through her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers!

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

 

 

Celebrate the Small Things — Today’s the Day! And Lynda R. Young’s New Devotional: Cling To God!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

Today I’m celebrating the Independent Publishers of New England Book Awards! Today’s the day I find out if I’m the Finalist or the Winner. The winner will be announced at the IPNE Book Awards ceremony this afternoon at 4:30 as part of the IPNE 2016 Publishing Conference in Portsmouth, NH. Wish me luck!

I’ll be at the conference over the weekend, so I’ll return comments and visits when I get back. Either result — Finalist or Winner — will feel like a win to me. So exciting!

*****

And now for another super celebration — Lynda R. Young’s new devotional, Cling to God, is here!

cling-to-god-by-lynda-r-young

 

Cling to God: A Daily Devotional
by Lynda R Young


Release date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Freedom Fox Press

 

Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

Kindle      Amazon     Nook     B & N     Kobo     iTunes     Goodreads

 

lyndaryoungLynda R Young writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here:

Blog     Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads


*****

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

Spotlight on Diane Burton’s new novella: Mission To New Earth and a Giveaway!

mission-to-new-earth-750-cover

 

Mission to New Earth: a novella

By Diane Burton

Genre: science fiction romance

Release date: August 31, 2016

Length: 88 pages (25k words)

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ ARe ~ Smashwords ~ Barnes & Noble

 

The Story

Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?

In 2172, Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of volcanic winter—the timeline changes.

With eight years of training crammed into four, Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch. But are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.

*****

UNDERGROUND HIDEAWAYS

While the majority of Mission to New Earth takes place on Titan, Saturn’s moon (the launch platform) and the rest on the new planet, which they named Serenity—my shoutout to Firefly—the astronaut teams are aware of what’s going on back on Earth. And the news isn’t good. So far, they’ve had earthquakes, tsunamis, and now a potential supervolcano. Could it get any worse? Oh, yeah, the super-size passenger starships aren’t ready yet. Sara’s team and/or the other two teams had better find a new home. Quick.

Back home, the United Earth Nations government is preparing underground bunkers for Earth’s inhabitants to ride out the next calamities. Caves and mines are ready-made shelters. Think about all the natural caves in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the world. They would have to be modified, of course. Sealed entrances to keep out ash from a supervolcano or floods from tsunamis. Ventilation would need to be upgraded, roadways enhanced, sanitation facilities added. But the main work of hollowing out underground bunkers is already there.

In the story, there’s a brief mention of the salt mines under Detroit. Yes, indeedy, salt mines 1200 feet under Detroit and suburbs, even going under the Detroit River into Windsor, Ontario. Although I grew up in the Detroit area, I never imagined over 1500 acres and over 100 miles of roads underneath my feet.

Photo Credit: Nolan Ross

Photo Credit: Nolan Ross

 

 

 

This cutaway diagram shows the Detroit River with the Detroit skyline in the background.

 

 

 

 

In its heyday, the mines produced over 8,000 tons of rock salt a month. Over time, operations stopped and started. Since 1998, the mines don’t produce table salt. Instead, road de-icing salt, a necessity for Michigan winters.

Photo Credit: Wayne State University

Photo Credit: Wayne State University

 

 

 

If you look carefully, you can see a miner in the middle surrounded by bags of salt.

 

 

 

 

In the 1940s and ’50s, schoolchildren toured the mines. When my husband was in college, he went on a tour of the mines. He said this picture is what he saw.

Photo Credit: detroitsalt

Photo Credit: detroitsalt

A plus for anyone living in the salt mines, besides the cool temperature, is no rats or cockroaches. Nothing for them to eat. With people living there, that might change.

Until I researched for this story, I didn’t know that the Great Lakes rest on the largest salt deposit in the world, estimated at over 71 trillion tons of unmined salt. Imagine if they expanded the tunnels to accommodate more people.

Having learned all this, I started asking myself questions. What about the people who had to live down there? Or in any cave or mine? Talk about close quarters. Little or no privacy. How did the government determine who gets in first? What about those who are claustrophobic? Once settled in, what did people do? Sit around or would they have jobs? What if someone didn’t want to go? Would the authorities force them? What could go wrong?

As I thought about all those questions, I got ideas for more stories. Isn’t that what writer do? Think what if . . .

*****

GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

diane-burtonAbout the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Amazon author page

Sign up for Diane’s newsletter

 

 

Celebrate the Small Things! And Julie Flanders’ Baby Moo’s Great Escape!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

This week I’m celebrating nine print books plus a couple of e-books sold at the Mad River Valley Craft Fair in central Vermont this past weekend. It was a new venue for me, and I was happy to have some sales in a different part of the state from where I’m usually selling. Hopefully, it will help spread the word.

*****

I’d also like to celebrate the arrival of Julie Flanders’ new children’s book —

Baby Moo’s Great Escape!

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Baby Moo has a dream. He wants to travel the world and sing on the stage of the Sydney Opera House! While he loves his home at Sunrise Sanctuary, it hasn’t been the same since a piglet named Nathan showed up and stole all the attention away from Moo. Jealous of the new baby, Moo decides now is the time to make his escape and pursue his dream.

But the world outside the sanctuary gates is not quite the fun and exciting place Moo imagined, and he quickly finds himself in big trouble. Moo’s friends Missy the dog and Ruthie the cat rush to help him, and land in some trouble of their own.

Lost and frightened, Moo and his friends must rely on each other to find their way back home. Will they ever see Sunrise again?

 

Release date: September 8, 2016 from Native Ink Press

Links:

Amazon

https://julieflanders.blogspot.com/p/baby-moos-great-escape.html

Add on Goodreads

Julie Flanders will donate $1 to Sunrise Sanctuary, home to Baby Moo and numerous other rescued animals, for each copy sold in September.

*****

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

Celebrate the Small Things! And Stephanie Faris’ Piper Morgan!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

Today I’m celebrating getting my van fixed, though I’m definitely not celebrating the large hole it made in my finances. I’m also looking forward to VT Comic Con coming up this weekend! Can’t wait to see the cosplay and all the exhibits! Last year, we had a lot of fun and sold some books. Hopefully, we can repeat that this year.

And now I’d like to welcome the fabulous children’s author, Stephanie Faris! She’s celebrating the release of her Piper Morgan books, and she’s here to share some tips on how to balance writing and the dreaded marketing. Don’t miss the Giveaway at the end!

Take it away, Stephanie!

*****

Writing While Marketing Your Books: Finding the Right Balance

by Stephanie Faris

For authors, writing a book is only the beginning. We go through multiple rounds of revisions before our books see the light of day. In the weeks before and after release day, life is chaotic as we do everything we can to get the word out about our books. Children’s authors do school visits in addition to social media marketing, mailings, and bookstore schmoozing most authors do. It can easily become a full-time job, even if you already have a “day job” that takes up 40 hours of your week.

At the same time, though, most book marketing experts will tell you that the best marketing you can do is to write another great book. When a reader discovers one of your books, she’s more likely to look for other things you’ve written. But how can you find time to write when you have a book to promote? Here are a few tips to help you with the juggling act.

Set a Schedule

One option is to set time aside every day to work solely on writing or marketing. You may find that you do your best writing first thing in the morning. If so, set your alarm clock to wake you an hour before everyone gets up and find a quiet place to write. Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour each day to working solely on your marketing efforts, as well.

Use the Pomodoro Technique

Many professionals now use the “sprint” method to ignite productivity. With the Pomodoro Technique, you work for a set period of time (generally 25 minutes), then take a short break before working for another interval. Don’t allow yourself to do anything but the designated task for those 25 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in a given day.

Write AND Market

At some point in your career, you’re going to find yourself sitting awkwardly at a table alone in the middle of a bookstore. Customers will walk by, smile at you, then ask where the restroom is. If you’re lucky, they’ll stop and ask you some questions about your book. This interesting article from author Peter Damien says when you stare at passersby, they see you as the equivalent of the DirecTV salesperson at Sam’s Club. He has found that people are much more likely to approach if you look moderately busy. So take a pen and paper and write longhand. Or catch up on your reading.

Learn to Say No

This is one of the hardest things for all of us, but my freelance-writing friends are always pointing out that, “’No’ is a complete sentence.” As your schedule gets busier, become more selective in how you spend your time, turning down things that won’t sell a minimum of ten books (unless you simply want to do them for fun).

No plan is perfect, but hopefully these tips will help you find a little more balance in your writing/marketing life. If you have any tips for being more productive, I’d love to read about them in the comments!

*****

PiperMorgan Joins the Circus

Piper Morgan In Charge

 

Piper Morgan

By Stephanie Faris

When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.

In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!

In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link

 

StephanieFaris

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

 

Website     Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Amazon

 

What other celebrations are going on out there? Any tips to add? Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway!

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

New Release! Jacqui Murray’s Thriller: To Hunt a Sub

Happy Release Day to Jacqui Murray as she launches her new thriller, To Hunt a Sub!

Be sure to check out the exciting excerpt below!

THAS cover--large

 

Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray

Release Date: August 15, 2016 by Structured Learning

Genre: Thriller

Cover by: Paper and Sage 

 

The USS Hampton SSN 767 quietly floated unseen a hundred fifty-two feet below the ocean’s surface. Despite its deadly nuclear-tipped arsenal of Trident missiles, its task for the past six months has been reconnaissance and surveillance. The biggest danger the crew faced was running out of olives for their pizza. That all changed one morning, four days before the end of the Hampton’s tour. Halfway through the Captain’s first morning coffee, every system on the submarine shut down. No navigation, no communication, and no defensive measures. Within minutes, the sub began a terrifying descent through the murky greys and blacks of the deep Atlantic and settled to the ocean floor five miles from Cuba and perilously close to the sub’s crush depth. When it missed its mandated contact, an emergency call went out to retired Navy intel officer, Zeke Rowe, top of his field before a botched mission left him physically crippled and psychologically shaken. Rowe quickly determined that the sub was the victim of a  cybervirus secreted inside the sub’s top secret operating systems.  What Rowe couldn’t figure out was who did it or how to stop it sinking every other submarine in the American fleet.

 Kali Delamagente is a struggling over-the-hill grad student who entered a DARPA cybersecurity competition as a desperate last hope to fund a sophisticated artificial intelligence she called Otto. Though her presentation imploded, she caught the attention of two people: a terrorist intent on destroying America and a rapt Dr. Zeke Rowe. An anonymous blank check to finish her research is quickly followed by multiple break-ins to her lab, a hack of her computer, the disappearance of her three-legged dog, and finally the kidnapping of her only son.

 By all measures, Rowe and Delamagente are an unlikely duo. Rowe believes in brawn and Delamagente brains. To save the America they both love, they find a middle ground, guided with the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago. 

*****

Available on Amazon

*****

Preview Chapter from To Hunt a Sub

 

Three days before present

 

Ten hours and thirty-seven more minutes and the crew of the USS Hampton SSN 767 would be home. Seasoned submariners, the six-month covert intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance tour down the eastern seaboard of South America had gone flawlessly and silently. The Atlantic is a large ocean and the Los Angeles-class sub’s noise footprint small. Once the boat cleared Cuba, the crew would relax.

The Captain sipped the morning’s fourth cup of burned coffee when the hair on the back of his neck prickled. He glanced around, trying to identify what bothered him.

“Captain,” the Watchstander’s gaze bobbed from the Executive Officer to his watchstation. “Navigation is non-responsive.” Confusion tinged his words.

That was it. A change in the deck’s subtle rumble. Before the Captain could react to the impossibility that guidance controls had crashed, every monitor in the sub’s nerve center shut down.

He hadn’t seen this in twenty years of driving subs. All personnel made a hole as he rushed toward the Control Center, shadowed by the XO.

“Sonar readings?” The Captain called to Sonarman Second Class Andy Rikes in the compartment just aft of Control, barely larger than a broom closet but elbow-to-elbow with operators, fingers flying across keyboards and eyes locked onto screens that blinked a dull grey.

Rikes answered, “Negative, Sir. The hydrophones are working, but aren’t sending raw data, like someone pulled the plug and flushed everything out to sea. Trying to fix it.” His voice was hopeful.

If the screen had worked, Sonarman Rikes would have seen the ping, a final gasp before everything electrical collapsed.

The COB—Chief of Boat—interrupted, “Captain. Reactor Scram!” The sub’s nuclear power had evaporated. “Nuclear technicians isolating the problem. Battery back-up is being attempted.”

“Shift propulsion from main engines to EPM,” an auxiliary electric motor that could turn the propeller.

“Negative, Captain. Non-responsive.” Fear leaked from his voice.

The depth meter no longer worked, but the XO guessed that the sub was angled downward at 10 degrees.

“Blow main ballast tanks!”

“No response, Captain.”

“How deep is the ocean floor in this sector of the Atlantic?”

The Sonarman answered, “It varies between 1,000 and 16,000.”

16,000 feet was well below the sub’s crush depth.

“There are seamounts and ridges spread throughout. We could get lucky and land on one. Or not.”

“Inform US Strategic Command of our situation.”

“Sir, comms are down.”

“Release the message buoy,” though all that told the world was they were in trouble. It could quickly drift miles from their position.

The Captain continued, voice calm, face showing none of the worry that filled his thoughts, “I want all department heads and Chief Petty Officers in front of me in five minutes. I want the status on every system they own and operate. Wake up whoever you need to.” He had a bad feeling about this.

 

“Gentlemen, solutions.” The Captain looked first at XO, then COB and finally NAV, the Navigation Officer who turned to the senior chief of navigation.

“It’s like an electromagnetic pulse hit us, which can’t happen underwater…” then he shrugged as though to say, I have no idea, Sir.

They practiced drills for every sort of emergency, but not this one. No one considered a complete electrical shutdown possible.

“We’re checking everything, but nothing is wrong. It just won’t work.”

“Where’s CHENG?” The Chief of Engineering.

“Troubleshooting, Sir.” COB’s voice was efficient, but tense.

The Captain didn’t wait. “Condition Alpha. Full quiet—voices whispers, all silent, no movement not critical. Defcon 2,” the second-highest peacetime alert level.

No one knew who their enemy was or why they were under attack, but they had one and they were.

“XO, get lanterns up here.”

 

Within an hour, the massive warship had settled to the ocean floor like the carcass of a dead whale. It teetered atop an ocean ridge, listing starboard against a jagged seamount, and the gentle push of an underwater current from a cliff that plunged into a murky darkness. Every watertight door was closed. As per protocol, the oxygen level was reduced to suppress a fire hazard. Without climate controls, the interior had already reached 60 degrees. It would continue dipping as it strove to match the bone-chilling surrounding water temperature. Hypothermia would soon be a problem. For now, though, they were alive.

The hull groaned as though twisted by a giant squid.

The Captain peered into the gloomy waters that surrounded the sub. “Thoughts, XO?”

“We’re stable for the moment, barring a strong underwater current.”

Based on the creaking protests from the hull, they were at or beyond crush depth. Any deeper, the outside pressure would snap the HY-80 outer hull and sea water would roar into the living compartments. Everyone would be dead in seconds, either drowned or impaled on the ragged remains of the sub by a force in excess of a Category Five hurricane.

“We’re beyond the depth of the Steinke Hoods,” escape equipment that included full body suits, thermal protection, and a life raft. Budget cuts had eliminated funding for more advanced solutions.

XO pointed toward a darker expanse of black just yards from the sub. “No telling how deep that crevice is.”

“Gather the crew in the Forward compartment. Seal all other compartments. Ration water. Start O2 candles when levels reach 50% normal. Did the message buoy launch?”

“Yes, sir.”

That was a relief. The Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) deployed in emergencies from shore couldn’t assist if it didn’t know they needed help.

*****

jmm picJacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

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Celebrate the Small Things! And C. Lee McKenzie’s Sign of the Green Dragon!

CelebrateSmallThings_BadgeCelebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

This week I’m celebrating blue skies, mowed lawns, and the upcoming visit of my brother and his family from PA.

I’m also celebrating the arrival of C. Lee McKenzie’s latest —

 

Sign of the Green Dragon!

 

greennew2_med

 

Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A buried treasure.

After six months in a new school, Sam’s finally fitting in. He’s the one kid with enough talent to hit the winning home run and bring the baseball trophy back to Haggarty Elementary. But Sam’s guardian is shipping him off to boarding school before that can happen.

When teammates, Joey and Roger, hear his bad news, they plot to hide him until the big game. Their secret cave is a perfect place until an earthquake shatters a wall and reveals a wooden chest with a red-eyed dragon carved into its top. Inside, a bony hand clutches a map with a note, promising treasure.

 With Joey and Roger, Sam sets off to track down the clues and hopefully discover treasure. When some puzzle pieces start to make sense, the boys become lost in a labyrinth of underground tunnels, trapped by dangerous thieves and sealed inside an airless tomb.

Sign of the Green Dragon gets a high five for fantasy, fun and some fearsome adventure. If you like intrepid would-be knights on impossible and dangerous quests, you’ll love this story. As one reader says, this book, “has more twists than a dragon’s tail.”

Buy now to jump into the adventure.

AMAZON

 

Lee20_250 I love to write for young readers, and I write both young adult and middle grade fiction. I fall into the hybrid author category with four traditionally published young adult novels–Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative and Sudden Secrets–and three self-published middle grade adventure/fantasies. Sign of the Green Dragon is my third Indie out August 3. Alligators Overhead and the sequel, The Great Time Lock Disaster were my first two. It’s fun to know both sides of this writing business. Italia Gandolfo represents me, and I’m about to send her my latest young adult story. Fingers crossed.

 I’m very fortunate to have some great five star reviews from readers and reviewers. And I’m really pleased that I’m learning this business. Promotion has been my biggest challenge. I’ve had to learn how to schedule, so I can still write and do the promo I need to do for my other books. It’s a full-time job.

 When I’m not writing I’m practicing yoga, doing sun salutations in my garden (AKA weeding) or scratching my head over how all of this writing stuff started. I’m still not sure, but the ride has been exhilarating and so much different than I’d expected.

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What other celebrations are going on out there?