I have only recently discovered playwright, author, and photographer G. M. Lupo. This collection of shorts is an excellent introduction to his storytelling finesse. The nine pieces of short fiction are narrated in the third-person present tense, which gives them a relaxed immediacy and could be a reflection of how stage-writers such as Lupo offer the plot as it is happening. These stories lay the groundwork for new and interesting characters, as well as some I understand appear in other works by the author. This book shows Lupo at his best with backstory, putting together sequences that show the vagaries of luck and fate and who-knows-what in shaping the lives of people. One traces the unlikely path to success in the music industry, another the growth of indelible friendship between girls from a Chinese orphanage. Others include two young women who discover they are more than mere friends, one a flashback to college and the role of cameras and shaping perception, and a teen girl with a curious identity. Each of these stories has strong dialogue and a relaxed narrative voice that makes them interesting and easy reads. I strongly encourage those who appreciate good storytelling to discover G. M. Lupo, either with this book or his other works.
First up is Jacqui Murray who writes amazing and meticulously researched prehistoric fiction. Her most recent release Laws of Nature is part of her Dawn of Humanity Series. Jacqui also writes the Rowe-Delamagente Series of technothrillers. The first book To Hunt a Sub held me spellbound, and the second is waiting on my kindle for reading consumption. You can view Jacquie’s many books on her Amazon Author Page.
While visiting Jacqui today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, The Festival of Magic and Blood which is my tip-of-the-hat to Ray Bradbury. Curious what it’s all about? Check it out HERE.
I’m also honored to be a guest on the blog of Jill Weatherholt. I’ve recently connected with Jill through the wonderful and heartwarming books in her
The real question, of course, is how KDP hardcovers compare to IngramSpark or Lulu. Dave concludes that IngramSpark still has the edge, as far as quality goes, thanks to features that KDP lacks right now such as a dust jacket and expanded distribution.
However, KDP hardcovers are much simple to make, cheaper for the reader, and they don’t have an upfront fee as IngramSpark does.
So, I’m agreeing with Dave here that you should:
Stick with IngramSpark if you prefer quality, want expanded distribution options, and…
Lippert was thrown into the bowels of the Michigan Department of Corrections as a seventeen-year-old adolescent. He remained entrenched in a world of malfeasance for the next forty years. With astonishing honesty, he reveals the raw details of what a life of incarceration looks like from the inside. His observations of human behavior and his stellar ability to tell a story reveal the courage and resilience of a man who has survived horrifying and savage injustice. These are stories of miscreants and corrupt institutions. They are tales of men who have made poor choices and suffered grave consequences.
His tales of the criminal counterculture are sometimes tragic, but often humorous and redemptive. Through it all, he displays a sly sense of humor and the quiet wisdom of a man who is, ultimately, a survivor. Lippert’s journey has been one of an unrequited longing for freedom. This…
Hello, everyone. Welcome. This is the 2nd post in my book tour. But, before I get on with it, I wanted to dedicate the following poem to the lovely and talented Sue Vincent who is no longer in the land of the living. She will be sorely missed.
She Made Words Talk
She walks in beauty
among the clouds with angels
She was a proper poet
Sue had a way with language
The main character in The Rise of Gadreel is a fallen angel. Gadreel was never evil, but she fell into the wrong crowd and did bad things, influenced by her close friend Lilith. After her fall from grace, she had plenty of time to ponder her many mistakes. Remorseful and ashamed, she no longer wanted to follow those evil creatures that got her exiled from her home in heaven. She escaped them and has looked for…
In this retro-futuristic era, the old look and reproduce as if in the prime of their lives. The babies delivered into this world—sickly, fighting for every second to have a slim chance of survival. To turn this existence on its heels, it requires something … or someone … Special.
When a healthy baby is discovered by Nurse Celestine, she makes it her mission to protect what she believes is a well-kept secret.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the observant Nurse Trudy to put the pieces together to utilize for her personal gain as well as orchestrate Nurse Celestine’s ruin. Can Nurse Celestine succeed in combating the determined Nurse Trudy, or will all that is special be exposed and possibly destroyed? Find out in Reversal.
Mere infants … fragile, feeble, sickly and flushed of color, lined the nursery of St. Agnes General Hospital NICU Department. This was nothing new, of course. They were all born that way. Those who made it past their first week of birth were among the blessed.
An almost invisible film of mauve and viridian—a sheath that covered their reality—was the translucent haze that weighed upon all things. It was as though the colors had been embedded into the fabric of the world, tinging everything—no matter what its candescence—in those pigments. The darkest of the dark, and the lightest of the light, all seemed ominous and void of vitality.
Dreary. That was the word that best described this place, these people … these babies.
The atmosphere was inauspicious. Everything seemed afflicted with lifelessness. The hospital, antiquated. Though hundreds of years in the future, the setting felt like a 1950’s time warp. The perimeter of the hospital was as inert as its own appearance—scant trees, barren bushes, leaf and debris covered streets.
The perils that distressed St. Agnes General Hospital was the lack of advanced technologies. It was as though the last ten centuries had never transpired. An entire fragment of time had evidently disappeared leaving behind a woefully dull and mechanically limited world which was forced to operate within its mediocre means.
The hallways of St. Agnes General were long, ominous, and cold. The walls were painted in a tainted light green. The doctors wore perfectly pressed white coats which covered their black business suits. Their hair, slick—brushed back into a tight, shiny do. The nurses donned white nursing uniforms with white hats which had red crosses in the center. Skirts at knee length, taupe pantyhose and white nurse shoes. They looked perfect. In complete contrast to their locality.
Beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep; first in dots then in dashes. The sound carried a cadence of absolute fear which could give any person goosebumps—that river of icy-hot pimples that ran all over one’s body. Yet the screeching of the monitor’s blaring was far louder than the unhealthy baby that attempted to cry its woes. His voice was as decrepit as his leathery, bony flesh.
Nurse Juliette was an excessively feminine, soft-spoke Asian woman with the tiny frame. Blue-black hair fell to her waist, and Juliette’s spotless face was softly made up.
“Sh, sh, sh. There, there, little one. It’ll all be over soon, I promise. Mommy already knows that you’ll be going to a better place,” whispered Nurse Juliette who was sitting next to his cradle. She gently shook the child’s puny legs. Nurse Juliette’s tone was void of emotion, as though this were an everyday occurrence.
In all actuality, it was.
In complete opposition to the old-looking, ailing child was Nurse Juliette whose stature was strong, young, healthy and … well, perfect. So was the child’s mother and father who both waited for the news of his fate from their hospital room.
And, just as Nurse Juliette swayed the hardly sobbing yet profusely ailing child, the infant took in a sharp lungful and exhaled his last breath.
“Ahh, poor child,” Nurse Juliette concluded, then proceeded to get out of her seat to pick up the phone. “Nurse Celestine? Yes? Good. Please advise the Smithson family that the child has passed.”
“Certainly,” replied the voice on the opposite end. Neither one of the voices even remotely somber.
Hi, everyone! Today is the ‘Launch Date‘ for my new book, The Rise of Gadreel! I was hoping the paperback would have gone live today too, but for some reason, Amazon still has it on review. I’m not surprised since everything this year has happened at its own pace. I’m told the paperback will be released soon. Because of this inconvenience I’ve left the price of the eBook at .99¢ until the paperback goes live. Please help me spread the word.
Today I’d like to share another excerpt from the book. In this excerpt my main character Gadreel is visiting an abandoned monastery said to be haunted by a group of monks. She meets her ally Thomas for the first time. I hope you enjoy it.
The courtyard had a peculiar allure. The vast, grass-covered area surrounded by flowering bushes and small trees lay interspersed with benches…
“The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits”
by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun
“Infused with a sense of danger, the intricate plot and dramatic storyline create a breathtaking and intense story.” –Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Review
Charlie Littlewolf knows there’s something suspicious about the accident that killed his best friend. Determined to solve the mystery, he must return to a way of life he’s shunned for decades. Will the Cheyenne grandfather spirits respond before a black ops team kills him, too?
RURAL FALCON RIDGE
FASTING VIGIL DAY 1
April 20, Friday
It was still dark when Charlie sat before the fire pit the next morning. He made an offering, then began a ceremonial fast. The last time was under Eaglefeathers’s direction, prior to leaving for college. It was difficult. He didn’t make it through the entire four days, even with his grandfather’s encouragement. He berated himself for being young, weak, and foolish.
Upon dousing the fire, he climbed into his pickup to return to the accident site. The headlights swept the road ahead, beams vanishing as they probed empty space beyond sheer drops. Their lethal potential blared through him as never before, fingers tightening their grip on the steering wheel.
When he arrived the traffic cones were gone. It looked the same as always. Vain hopes flared. Was it only a nightmare?
A cliff face loomed skyward beside the cutout as he pulled in, killed the lights, then the ignition. Darkness consumed the cab. He got out and closed the door. Its report rebounded as his rantings had two days before.
There was no moon, dawn’s light occulted by towering rock. Walking blindly bordered on insanity, yet using the truck’s emergency flashers or his flashlight felt wrong. Inability to see the dangers ahead fit why he was there.
His footsteps crunched along the pebble-strewn shoulder as he felt his way to the tailgate. Metal screeched as he pulled it open and sat down to wait for his eyes to adjust.
Stars appeared, starting with the brightest. Jupiter lingered toward the west, Mars and Saturn overhead, flanking the Milky Way. Shadows took shape where the celestial dome ended beyond distant trees. It seemed impossible that starlight alone could light the way, yet it did.
He slid from his perch, crossed the road, and resumed the same position as the day before. The leaves of the aspen to his right sang in the morning breeze.
Jupiter faded as the sky greyed with first light.
Like his anger at Maheo.
Grief, however, remained, his gut eviscerated.
His mind shifted to Bryan. He couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t in his life. Even when life placed them on opposite sides of the globe.
As adolescents they discovered they had the same birthday and declared themselves twins. They shared youthful adventures, the pains of growing up. Teen crushes, and heartbreak. They encouraged each other through hard times, even when geographically separated. Their ability to sense each other’s distress was uncanny, this time no different.
Except this time Bryan couldn’t tell him what was wrong.
There was something he should do.
Why did the accident occur here? Spirits of all kinds occupied the area. Eaglefeathers made sure he knew its history.
Many years before the government forced their people to leave the land where they were born—land that Maheo gave to them. Rather than go to Indian Territory in Oklahoma or other remote reservations, a small band slipped away and came there.
A few years later white men lusting after silver and gold arrived. Conflicts arose that resulted in them forcing innocent people as well as a small herd of horses to perish in that canyon.
Their medicine man, Black Cloud, blessed the area with protection from further exploitation by the white man. Should any attempt to do so, he would not prosper.
Did Bryan stumble onto the curse? If so, how? He never thought of him as white, yet he was. Had he discovered something? His white brother, like himself, was driven by curiosity and clever at unearthing secrets.
His thoughts halted at the sound of a vehicle approaching on the other side of the road. The coming weekend brought increased traffic. He stood when the driver of a white SUV full of kids stopped and rolled down his window.
“Do you need help?” he asked. “Did your truck break down?”
Charlie forced a smile. If only it were that simple. “No. I’m okay. Thank you.”
The man waved, rolled up his window and drove away, expression puzzled.
He sat back down and contemplated how Bryan and his grandfather had affected his life while the sun crawled across the cloud-strewn sky. At times it felt as if they were standing beside him, that he could see them if he were to open his eyes. Any comfort it wrought, however, quickly collapsed to another onslaught of soul-crushing anguish.
His thoughts stalled at the sound of another car, this time on his side of the road. He got up when it came to a stop and the motorist, an older gentleman, rolled down the passenger side window. The man’s grey eyes were kind and sympathetic.
“Did you know them?” he asked.
Touched by the simple words of understanding, Charlie nodded, any response stuck behind the lump in his throat. The man offered him a bottle of water. It was rude to refuse a gift, so he accepted it and whispered thanks.
He no sooner got settled when another vehicle came along, this time a pickup. It didn’t slow down, much less stop. The dust it left behind invaded his parched throat and triggered a coughing fit. He eyed the water bottle.
No food, no water.
He toughed it out, grateful it was only the first day of his fast.
The sun crept westward, dropping toward the mountain tops beyond the yawning canyon. Eaglefeathers’s absence as well as Bryan’s loomed as the night.
The day felt wasted. He knew no more now than when it began.
As he prayed to close the day’s efforts, lamenting the loss of his grandfather’s guidance, an impression struck at the speed of thought.
Why did you not bring him with you?
He stiffened at the ridiculous thought. How? His grandfather had crossed over years before—
—but still lived in the world of spirits.
Of course. How could he be so dense?
His teachings lived on as well.
As he considered the source of the mysterious words, a vision appeared in his mind. The old man had given him many things over the years whenever he and his father, Frank Littlebear, traveled to the reservation to attend a ceremonial sweat, a sun dance, sacred buffalo hat, the sacred arrow, or fasting at Novavose, their name for the Sacred Mountain.
He remembered showing them to Bryan, who compared them to Boy Scout Merit Badges he received as he worked toward the rank of Eagle Scout. Charlie didn’t argue, but knew his were different. They were sacred. Blessed by his grandfather, a strong and worthy medicine man. Each item retained a measure of his essence. Others were handed down, like his medicine bundle.
All were stored in the chest he and Bryan built from local cedar. He bowed his head, ashamed he’d further ignored his teachings. Again it made sense no answers had come. He imagined the old man’s piercing look, awed when rather than scolding peace surrounded him like a blanket in the cool of night.
Return tomorrow with the sacred items. Do that which you were taught and you will receive answers.
His head bowed in humble thanks. Venus winked as a beacon on a far mountain top, waxing crescent moon trailing in her wake.
MEET THE AUTHORS
Marcha Fox earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Utah State University in 1987, which facilitated a 20+ year career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Her interests expand far beyond the world of aerospace and hard science, however. The esoteric realm of metaphysics and all things weird and wonderful hold her interest as well.
When her attempt to debunk astrology backfired, she pursued knowledge in that field. She graduated from the International Academy of Astrology’s professional development program in 2012 and is the sole proprietor of ValkyrieAstrology.com. Much of the popular website’s content can be found in “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology.”
Her previous fiction work includes her epic Star Trails Tetralogy series, which has been highly acclaimed for its family-oriented plot as well as its palatable and STEM-friendly science content described in detail on http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com.
Born in Peekskill, New York, she has lived in California, Utah, and Texas in the course of raising her family of six children, now grown. Besides writing, she pampers her two cats, maintains an active astrology practice of international clients, and tries to keep up with her home, yard, friends, and family.
Pete Risingsun is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who has served as a spirit helper to medicine men in ceremonial sweat lodges. He’s a proud fifth generation descendant of Chief Iron Shirt, who was a lodge keeper and powerful medicine man.
Born in 1950, he was raised on a small ranch east of Busby, Montana. He attended Montana State University, then worked for Exxon in Billings, Montana for a year before returning home to the reservation as adult education director for the Northern Cheyenne tribe where he also raised black angus cattle and bred championship Quarter horses. He has served as a Tribal Council member and was the first Northern Cheyenne elected to serve as a Rosebud County Commissioner.
He’s the proud father of one daughter and grandfather to two. Pete is currently retired, but in addition to co-writing The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” he makes and sellssweet grass braids, a sacred plant used in various ceremonies.
After Delilah’s mother, Persephone, was murdered, Delilah was taken in by her great-aunt, Wanda. She never formally adopted Delilah, but was named her guardian, with control over her niece’s affairs until Delilah turned twenty-one, graduated college, or married.
Delilah knew Wanda as her “little Aunt”, which is what Persephone always called her. She was actually the youngest sister of Persephone’s mother, born a year or so after Persephone. The pair grew up together and Wanda always treated Persephone like an older sibling, rather than her niece.
Wanda would invite Persephone and Delilah over to watch Miss America every year. Persephone explained that Wanda competed in pageants as a young woman, but the best she’d ever done was winning the title of Pumpkin Queen at a festival in Dacula when she was sixteen. That competition had been marred by an outbreak of food poisoning, which took out many of the top…