Dylan Cross

"Boundaries" is a collection of short stories, all written in variations of second-person narrative for the purpose of connecting intimately with the reader. The opening story places the reader at a party, where she’s roped into an extremely raunchy contest.

~~~...if you lose the contest... then you will stay in this bed... where there will be an “anything goes” policy toward you...~~~
The second tale offers the reader a choice--an extremely romantic, passionate candlelit evening, complete with strawberries... or a very hard-core, rough and degrading night.

~~~...random ...… you get to guess where. your cleavage... your neck... your inner thigh... the back of your wrist... your navel... your earlobe... eventually replacing the kisses with gentle nibbles everywhere...~~~

The third story, Bet On It, gives the protagonist little choice at all--the narrator has made a rather foolish sports wager with the wrong people, and there’s only one form of collateral they’ll accept.

~~~I really thought the Bears were going to win that game... I couldn’t pay and things were getting scary. These guys were really menacing. No, its ok, sweetie, I was able to work things out with them. Honey, someone’s at the door, can you answer that?~~~
There are also stories here to suit other tastes. Office politics (as in, an explicit action plan for “training” the new secretary) and outdoor fun (where strawberries make their second appearance.) The final tidbit, A Kept Man, plays upon the CFNM (clothed female naked male) theme, and will be sure to suit female readers with a bit of a dominant side.

~~~I place my hand on the back of your head, but you slap it away. "Do I need to handcuff you? Keep your hands by your side and your ass against this door, or I’ll leave for work and make you wait all day..."~~~
Crossing Her Boundaries has something for everyone, and you should find it to be a short but delightful read.

book links


Reiew of Stone Mended by Renee Harless

Stone Mended
The Stone Series Book Three
By:  Renee Harless
Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance

This book was given to me for an honest review for Julies Book Review at: juliesbookreview.blogspot.com

As in the first two books, the heroine and hero are Mallory Winston and Alex Stone.  Mallory and Alex are still coming to terms with what happened in Shattered and Unhinged. Now, the newlyweds have another issue, someone is out to destroy them as a couple, and they don’t care how they do it.  Mallory and Alex must deal with a very public shaming.  Someone leaked sex pictures of them practicing their D/s relationship to the tabloids.  When that doesn’t have the effect the person wants, he takes it to the next level.

It has been a joy to watch Alex grow.  He’s learned that the sun does not rise and set on him, but on Mallory, his ‘beautiful’.  He still has that hair-trigger temper, but has learned to control it, for the most part.  I would love to tell you about the changes in their relationship and Mallory’s professional life, but that would spoil all the fun.  I will tell you that you will never figure out who is harassing them, which I thoroughly enjoy.  I can’t stand figuring out “who done it” early on in a book.  It makes for a boring read and I want to be surprised.
The author brings back all the secondary characters, we know and love, from both Shattered and Unhinged.  As usual, the author does a great job of weaving them into the story to add depth and conflict.

Last, but certainly not least, the sex scenes are as hot and steamy, but more to do with love, than just BDSM.  Which is the way it should be considering how their relationship had progressed.
Strengthened by their experiences, Mallory and Alex’s relationship grows and their love blossoms.  They cling to each other, realizing from past mistakes, they are stronger together than apart.  After all the stalkers, kidnapping, and attempted murders, The Stones finally get their happiest ever after, possible.

4.5 stars!  Thank you, Ms. Harless, for writing Mallory and Alex’s story and ending it so well.  This book was a great way to end the trilogy... Happily ever after with an unexpected surprise.
Kasey Belle (aka Anna)

Review of The Exorcist Who Loved Me by Jennifer Savalli

Title: The exorcist who loved me
Author: Jennifer Savalli
Stars: 5
Outline: Holly believes she is being possessed by her late husband Paul. With her options running out and the safety of her 3 year old twins in jeopardy she has no choice but to call an exorcist. When Lawe showed up at  Holly's home she was surprised her exorcist was not a priest but a very handsome strange man. In that first moments of meeting Lawe and Holly have no idea their adventure was just starting.
Review: Loved it! I couldnt put it down till i finished it and I love those type of books. The exorcist who loves me had everything adventure, Mystery, Romance, Action I loved it.

Review of Child of Privilege by Ross Ponderson

Title: Child of Privilege
Author: Ross Ponderson
Stars: 5
     Dana Van Werner has found her self on a bus heading for her freedom even if she doesn't know were that is. Dana was born into a rich family she had everything she ever wanted but the love of her father. Her father was a powerful abusive lawyer that beat his wife and daughter as much as he could. Finally Dana had enough and ran away. How long can she run before her fathers people caught up with her? Dana had to find safety she had to stay away her life depended on it.
  This book was a very powerful book! I really enjoyed reading it. Dana was such a strong person to know when enough was enough to run and never look back. Dana took control of her life and ran regardless what social standers dictated she was saving her life.

Review of Nathan by Lorraine Nelson

Nathan by Lorraine Nelson
This book was given to me for an honest review. The final book is this series and it packs a wallop! Action packed! Questions answered! Nate, the accountant is in dire straits with his health. He's passing out, he's getting shot at and he's trying to woo his girl Cyndi. Cyndi is also an accountant and also the baby girl in her family with 3 older brothers and a very protective dad. She's smart and sassy. As she gets working with Nate, she's also getting shot at and threatened. People are dying around this couple and they themselves aren't coming away unscathed. A very intriguing story that closes this series. A great read!

5 stars
posted on Amazon

Review of Gabriel by Lorraine Nelson

Gabriel by Lorraine Nelson
WOW!! Book 3 of the Hudson Ranch Series is a happening story! Gabriel, a vet, builds his clinic right at the ranch. He hires sight unseen Kris through an online application he never asked for. Expecting a man, a woman shows up. More mischief is happening and more often and they are getting serious now. As Gabe and Kris develop a good working relationship, they also develop a relationship. When the family suspects Kris is in on drugging the animals, their relationship flounders. Kris sets out to prove her innocence and is watching the ranch at night. Not the place to be! A lot of excitement and suspense in this story. Who is trying to scare them off the ranch? I can't wait to find out and Book 4 is next on my list to read. This book was given to me for an honest review.

5 stars
posted on Amazon

Review of DEAD END by Gerald W Darnell

A Carson Reno Mystery
Gerald W. Darnell

Carson Reno is mystified when his friend Jack Logan asked him to ‘protect’ Cletus Wormlee
until Cletus can testify before the Memphis Grand Jury.  Cletus’ situation doesn’t make sense to
Reno, and when he moves Cletus to Humbolt, Tennessee for his protection, Cletus sneaks away
and seems to fall victim to a shotgun blast.  But does he? And, what role does private
investigator Lilly Longstreet, ‘working’ for an associate of Cletus’, play in Cletus’ apparent
death? Just who the hell is Hampton Forbes anyway, and why does he keep hounding Reno and
Longstreet looking for Cletus’ personal belongings?

The stage is set for another 1960’s era nostalgic Carson Reno, private investigator, mystery in
and around the Memphis area of western Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. Liberally sprinkled
with nostalgic photos of many of the buildings, vehicles and other landmarks from a bygone era,
the author weaves a fine mystery tale in and out through the streets of Memphis and Humbolt,
leading out to places like Jonesboro, Amagon and the isolation of the rice fields of eastern
Arkansas. Laced with characters whose personalities blend perfectly into a sixties era detective
story, avid readers of the genre can often predict what the characters will do or say; and are not
disappointed when the characters perform as expected.

Dead End is very entertaining, quick to read and provides real tension until the very end.  As a
story, it is a fine representative of the genre that is bound be appreciated by aficionados of classic
detective stories. The nostalgic photos reinforce the images in the reader’s mind, while providing
a glimpse into the author’s thoughts as well. They are fun even if slightly distracting. However,
the copy I reviewed contained a number of typographical errors; not enough to be distracting, but
enough to warrant very careful proofreading. Overall, Dead End is a very good entertaining
mystery story.

Clabe Polk

Review of Benjamin by Lorraine Nelson

This book was given to me for an honest review. Book 2 in the Hudson Ranch series picks right up where book 1 left off. Reuniting the triplets and introducing them to their baby brother. They need to stay on the ranch for 1 year, taking care of the ranch itself and Jerry (their 2 year old baby brother). These 3 bachelors know nothing of caring for a toddler so they hire a nanny. Dani is trying to escape her abused past and applies for the job and is hired within minutes. Things are being sabotaged at the ranch but the brothers are determined to stay together and start showing a profit. Dani gets involved not only with the ranch, the baby but also Ben (former rodeo star). Doubts and suspicions arise between the two as things start happening at the ranch and with each other. A great story by Lorraine and I am anxious to get to book 3 in this series GABRIEL.

5 stars    
posted on Amazon

Review of My Dirty Detour: An Alpha Male Mafia Comedy Romance by Grace Risata

My Dirty Detour: An Alpha Male Mafia Comedy Romance

This book is about Rocky and Violet.
Violet small town girl and making new life for herself after her ex husband up left. Now she finds herself in whole new world after picking up part for her mom's ex off and on boyfriend.
Violet she's sassy as the sametime weakling and no self-confidence all at the same time.

Rocky has some major problem crazy ex and lifestyle he's trying keep violet from finding out but of course that's won't happen.

Had be laughing and had me hey what just happen.

Can violet over look Rocky passed and what he was give him a chance?
Well they overcome he's passed when the danger comes knocking?

Love all characters love here about them as well

I received a copy for an honest review
Reviewer for JBR
Libby F

posted on Amazon

Review of The Chosen Saga by Giselle Simlett

The Chosen Saga
Giselle Simlett

ISBN-13 – 978-0-9943826-0-3 (eBook)
ISBN-13 – 978-0-9943826-1-0 (paperback)
Copyright 2015 by Giselle Simlett
Published by WWS Publishing Ltd

Leonie is (as far as she knows) ordinary seventeen year old girl who lived in Yorkshire.
Unknown to her, she has a future that has been carefully planned and laid out for her by her
parents in a magical realm called Duwyn. Duwyn is ruled by the Chosen and operates on a class
system based on the strength of a Chosen’s magic. Pulsars are the strongest, but Pulsars are
extinct. Now, Duwyn is ruled by the Thrones, the second strongest, and the lower two castes,
Zeros and Phobiens, are subjected to them. Political power is vested in the Throne Council.
Beings, known as Kytaens, are ‘soul-bound’ to Pulsars and Thrones as personal body guards.
Although they are intelligent, sentient beings, they are treated as possessions by the Thrones.
However, all is not peace in paradise. Rebel Chosen threaten the power of the Throne Imperium
and Leonie is suddenly thrust into the middle of this chaos when she learns that she is also a
magical being; the one remaining Pulsar brought back into existence to bring order to the
world…or to destroy it. Both sides want her power and her cooperation. Being soul bound to
Korren, her Kytaen, she is appalled at the way the Kytaens are treated and initiates a friendship
with Korren that results in serious emotional and mental upheaval for both and threatens a well
established social culture. For a seventeen year-old who is grasping to discover her roll in this
chaos, this is traumatic. When the emotional stress is added to the loss of her father and many of
those she knows in a rebel attack she is left not knowing where she fits in or who to trust.
Unfortunately, the reader is left there too.  This book is written as a serial series which means
that the reader is left hanging in the tangled vines of the story until they fork over the change to
buy the next episode.  Personally, as a life-long reader, I deplore this strategy and remove
authors I encounter using it from my reading list.

Otherwise, Leonie is a likeable young girl who is sorting out her values and emotional
confusions as a result of rapid changes and stressful conditions brought on by changes in her life.
She must grow a backbone and sort out the different factions that pull her in different directions.
As there many changes around that age, Leonie’s life could be a metaphor for practically any
seventeen year-old growing into adulthood. Leonie’s father has manipulated her upbringing and
has been less than honest with her and with the Throne Imperium about her. Unfortunately, the
reader is left questioning his motives for this and many questions are never answered.
The story is long on mental and emotional rumination as Leonie works through the changes in
her life and the changes she is facing in her value structure. She now knows her father was not
honest with her and that her mother influenced her future, but to what extent and in what
direction are fundamental questions for which she has no answers.
Generally well written and edited, The Girl of Myth and Legend is narrated alternately from
Leonie’s and Korren’s perspective. It is entertaining, to a point, even riveting at times, until
boredom with the mental and emotional rumination kicks in. These things are necessary to the
story to some extent, but ensure that this story is not my cup of tea, and for me, the serial series
format is a fatal flaw. 
It should, however, be liked by those who are fantasy fans who don’t mind springing for endless
serial series books or those who enjoy books about youthful psychological confusion about roles
and values. 3-stars

 Clabe Polk

Review of Lorraine Nelson's THE INHEIRTANCE

Review of Lorraine Nelson's THE INHEIRTANCE

This book was given to me for an honest review. A very good beginning to what I believe is going to be a great series. A lot of Information in this short story that has me anxious to read the next 3 books! Zach Hudson has just found out he has an inoperable brain tumor. He tells his wife, starts making changes in his will and hires a P.I. to find his long lost sons. Triplets Benjamin, Gabriel and Nathan. They leave their 2 year old son Jeremiah (Jerry) with a good friend and start off on a mini vacation to track down his sons in person. What an interesting ending. I can't wait to dive into Ben's story which is book 2 in this series.

I gave this story 5 stars
Posted on Amazon


Theresa Rizzo

Pages: 393pgs
Description: Award-winning author Theresa Rizzo delivers a thrilling crime novel packed with suspense, romance, and redemption.
The Scarfilis and Donnatellis love deeply and protect fiercely. “Family takes care of family” is the code they live by.
So when a hacker threatens Gianna Donnatelli’s life, Dr. Joe Scarfili is determined to keep her safe, only he has no police or tech experience, and Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed. Gianna protects Joe with the same unyielding resolve. 
Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons. Joe tries her patience like no other. But together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.

Author Bio: Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes romantic crime fiction and emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 
Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty-three years. After attaining a BS in Nursing, Theresa retired to raise four wonderful children and write.
Find Theresa on the web at www.theresarizzo.com, or connect with her on Facebooktwitter or and Goodreads.

Buy Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1WgbFWN


Jacx Logan

Valda is on trial for murder and it’s the biggest scandal since Profumo. 

Murdered singer Renee Porter is the link between a Russian oligarch and a key political player - what she knew was dynamite. Can Valda work out what it is before she pays the ultimate price? 

Lawyer Jack Lauder is in Belfast dealing with the case of a young well-heeled Russian woman at the special request of up and coming Labour MP Dustin Stanhope acting on behalf of his ‘friend’ oligarch, Oleg Lagunov. 

Valda and her band, The G-String Girls, are performing in Belfast as part of a UK tour. Was it the hand of fate that led her to Jack that night or does she have another agenda? Can Jack ever be entirely sure that Stanhope wasn’t behind this coincidence? Although he does not yet know it Valda and her band mate, Renee, are also tied up with Stanhope and Lagunov, two of the London high society power brokers who quaff Moet in their clubs whilst they decide the fate of others. 

When Renee is found dead in the bath, Valda is branded the “jealous femme fatale” and charged with her murder. Jack puts his reputation and his life on the line to defend her; he is fast falling for this enigmatic singer even though he knows she is not always 100% honest with him. 

Meanwhile the Fleet Street hacks salivate at the prospect of the Trial of the Century. Valda and Jack have little time to gather the evidence which will save her whilst carefully watching their backs as Oleg Lagunov plays only for the highest stakes. 

Readers who enjoy John Grisham and Sidney Sheldon will find this book right up their street.


Petra March

A Veil of Glass and Rain:Special Edition (Book 1)

"Delicate and resilient. Like you."
Brina and Eagan meet for the first time when she's nine and he's fourteen. They like each other from the very beginning, though their bond isn't immediate, but it grows over the years. What links them is the fact that their parents are photographers and are extremely devoted to their work and to each other; so much so that both Brina and Eagan have to learn how to take care of themselves from a very young age. Despite their differences, age, gender, nationality - Brina is Italian and Eagan is American - they find comfort in their growing friendship. 
Then Brina becomes a teenager, and her feelings for her friend start changing and deepening. New desires stir within her. As soon as Brina realizes how those feelings complicate her friendship with Eagan, she runs away from him. 
A few years later, Brina is twenty and Eagan is twenty-five, they find one another once again. ( New Adult Romance - Ages 18+)

All the Skies I will not See: A Novella (Book 2)

-The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Award Finalist.
-Literary Classics Seal of Approval, August 20, 2015.
-Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Summer 2015: Best Novella.
-Readers' Favorite 5-Star Review.
-Shelf Unbound Notable Top 100 Book.

It takes 7 seconds to crash.
It takes 3 seconds to fall in love.
It takes an infinite moment to let go.

David Medwin's life is fading away, and all he can think about is what it means to be alive.
An intense story about life, death and, most of all, love. (YA Romance -Ages 17+)

About Petra March:

Petra March studied Screenwriting and History of American Cinema at UCLA and NYU. Presently, Petra keeps traveling and dreaming through her novels. Her characters are deeply in love with Europe and the USA, just like Petra is.
Petra March is the Award Winning Author of the A Touch of Cinnamon Series.
Book 1: A Veil of Glass and Rain:Special Edition - Paperback and eBook
Book 2: All the Skies I will not See:A Novella - eBook
For more info: authorpetramarch.weebly.com


Tiffany Shand Day 5

Denai witch, Cate McCray should be enjoying married life with her new elemental husband, Jason.

But their arrival in a new city soon has them stumbling headlong into a new case with dangerous

connections to the very people that govern their world.

Cate and Jason face opposition from those they once considered allies. Together with their team of

enforcers, they must find the killer before anyone else dies.

With danger from all sides and the threat of ancient, dangerous magic, the team must pull together

and use all their strength to find their enemy before disaster strikes.


Links for Tiffany Shand

Blog tour signup

Goodreads giveaway

Denai Bound Amazon link

Tiffany’s Website








Tiffany Shand Day 4

Denai witch, Cate McCray should be enjoying married life with her new elemental husband, Jason.

But their arrival in a new city soon has them stumbling headlong into a new case with dangerous
connections to the very people that govern their world.

Cate and Jason face opposition from those they once considered allies. Together with their team of
enforcers, they must find the killer before anyone else dies.

With danger from all sides and the threat of ancient, dangerous magic, the team must pull together and use all their strength to find their enemy before disaster strikes.

Links for Tiffany Shand

Blog tour signup
Goodreads giveaway
Denai Bound Amazon link
Tiffany’s Website


Tiffany Shand Day 3

Denai witch, Cate McCray should be enjoying married life with her new elemental husband, Jason.

But their arrival in a new city soon has them stumbling headlong into a new case with dangerous
connections to the very people that govern their world.

Cate and Jason face opposition from those they once considered allies. Together with their team of
enforcers, they must find the killer before anyone else dies.

With danger from all sides and the threat of ancient, dangerous magic, the team must pull together and use all their strength to find their enemy before disaster strikes.


Cate McCray is no ordinary witch. 

Prophesised to be the one to destroy the Covenant, an age-old organisation who seeks to enslave all Magickind, the race is on for them to kill her before she attains immortality. 
But before receiving the phenomenal power that comes with it, she must first survive the ascension and the only person who can help her is her elemental partner, Jason Talbot. But when the time comes, her forbidden love for Jason threatens to destroy them both. 
As leader of Excalibar, an elite team of Enforcers, they work to infiltrate the Covenant leading Cate into life-threatening situations. Can she outwit them before it’s too late?


Tiffany Shand Day 2

Tiffany Shand Short Bio

Tiffany Shand was born in Essex, UK and started writing short stories when she was a child.

She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early


Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance

during this time.

She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but mostly fantasy and paranormal romance.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s she is now a freelance writer and

professional proofreader. She is currently studying for a journalism degree.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.

Find Tiffany on:

@tiffanyshand on Twitter


Tiffany Shand Day 1

Denai witch, Cate McCray should be enjoying married life with her new elemental husband, Jason.

But their arrival in a new city soon has them stumbling headlong into a new case with dangerous
connections to the very people that govern their world.

Cate and Jason face opposition from those they once considered allies. Together with their team of
enforcers, they must find the killer before anyone else dies.

With danger from all sides and the threat of ancient, dangerous magic, the team must pull together and use all their strength to find their enemy before disaster strikes.

Links for Tiffany Shand

Blog tour signup
Goodreads giveaway
Denai Bound Amazon link
Tiffany’s Website


Xavier Neal

  New Release   
#PurpleHaze (part 2) by #XavierNeal is #LIVE

Second chance. Last chance. Only chance. Well, at least that's how Ryder Collins feels when he's reconnected with the lost love of his life. While Ryder is battling the grim reality outside of rehab, he will be forced to face his past mistakes and the possible pitfalls of his present. Will the purple haze he's relit be enough to keep him moving towards a beautiful future or will Ryder Collins repeat his misguided history?


Blue Dream (Part 1)


Gerald Darnell

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Apr 12, 2016 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

Carson's client is suspected of two murders, and desperately needs his help. After a night of drinking, she wakes up in a hotel room with a dead man, but claims no memory of the previous night's events. However, a gun found in the hotel room was used for another murder - used to kill a lawyer at the local Drive Inn Theater. Then. . .things get worse! The murder gun belongs to his client's husband, and has her fingerprints all over it. The dead lawyer was blackmailing her and witnesses saw her at both murder scenes. Interesting and dangerous characters surface, and somehow events from World War Two are playing a part in the mystery. To prove his client innocent, Carson must unravel a complex blackmail scheme and explain a few murders. Follow Carson as he chases clues trying to solve this old fashion murder mystery. A mystery that has everyone looking the wrong way. This is an unusual case for Carson - a case of Justifiable Homicide.


Brian Cox Day 5

Day 5 – Author Question

I asked Brian Cox, author of “The Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”, why
he wrote his book.


Q. Why did you write “The Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”

     A. I believe most people have the capacity and desire to be creative.
     When I was a teenager I loved art. I enjoyed oil painting in particular, and
making things, such as model gliders. I did not seek an audience; I just took
pleasure from doing. As you get older, and time shrinks, you discover one day –
well at least I did – that you have moved so far away from the things you once
loved to do, that they no longer even qualify as strangers. If I picked up a pencil
now, the best I could manage would be a crude stick figure. Some skills disappear,
and they can be recovered, but only at great effort for a shadow of your youth’s
potential. This may sound glum, but that would be a misconception. I am a realist.
Being a realist, one that still needs a creative outlet, I thought why not writing. I
never considered myself a writer, though I have always wanted to write a novel.
     Like most white collar workers, I produce reams of dull grey prose for work.
It may not seem like a suitable spot to nurture creativity, and in many ways it isn’t;
however, it does hone a few skills, including, logical thinking, precision, and clear
communication. I can also type a lot faster! This led me to consider writing a
     The logical question that follows is: what gives you the right to foist your
efforts on the public? This is an issue I grappled with for some time. As a first time
novelist, one with no training or background in creative writing, one who does not
even have an adequate schooling to understand the rules of grammar, it was
possibly very arrogant of ill-conceived for me to imagine it would be acceptable to
publish my work. A few years back, all those concerns could have been washed
away at the publisher’s desk. If you wrote rubbish, it would go in the bin. Now the
democratization of publishing, with the removal of the gatekeepers, any fool,
including me, can make something available for anyone to purchase. Does this
freedom come with responsibility? I don’t know.
     In the end I decided to self-publish on KDP, not because I thought I had
written a beautiful work, but because I believe I have an important story, one that
is worth sharing.


Brian Cox Day 4

Day 4 – A continuation of the extract below

Below is a continuation of an extract from a new dystopian science
fiction: “The Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”


     “Carl, I have heard all this before, and it can be summarized in a one sentence
complaint, ‘we are living poor in a land of plenty’. People see things in very
simplistic terms. They see the abandoned houses, the print that can be scrounged,
and they remember another time, when everything was plentiful. The Strat tells
them daily that they are wonderful, that they deserve everything, that they are
perfect in every way. And when hunger or compulsory duties drag them out of
their dream world, and they are forced to confront the real world, they respond like
children, demanding that the real world obeys the same rules as the Strat. Well, the
real world is very different to the Strat. In the real world we have to maintain the
servers that support the Strat, we have to clear the sewage lines, we have to fix the
roads, we have to train a defense force, we have to grow food, we have to treat the
ill, and the list goes on and on and on. It’s not like things are easier either. All of
these jobs actually require more effort per capita than they did 20 years ago. The
reason is simple; the infrastructure has not shrunk with the population.”
     Katharine stopped, and then looked at Carl, searching his eyes for a sense that
he was listening. When she was sure she had his attention she continued.
     “If we don’t take a tax in one form or another, the entire infrastructure that
makes our city possible will crumble. You know this. You must know this. Clearly,
the million people that live here want to live in a city. If they wanted to live in the
Stone Age, then no one is going to stop them from crossing the bridge and leaving.
But they have chosen to stay here. The citizens elected you to make this city
sustainable, not throw it into anarchy.”
     Katharine softened her tone, “I have never been comfortable with the print
tax. We did this because it was necessary; there was no government in place. But
now that government is firmly re-established in our city, it is appropriate that
taxation responsibilities pass back to the government. This does not mean you get a
free ride. PedCom will continue to be compensated for the services it provides in
facilitating trade. Everyone has to pull their weight. My staff will not work for
     Carl was not expecting such a concession. He did not trust Katharine and
suspected she was tricking him. However, rather than be combative, he resolved to
listen. After all, he had nothing to lose.
     “How would you propose to roll this out Katharine?”
     “Whichever way this is done, the infrastructure needs to be maintained, so the
transition cannot interrupt core city business, not unless you want to start your term
with riots. Consequently, the solution has to be an economic one, not a political
one. The print tax is a clumsy and inefficient mechanism for redirecting resources
from personal consumption to social works. Money would be a more effective
     Carl was intrigued. It did sound viable, but he was still hesitant. “This means
the government would take ownership of an unpopular tax.”
     “Carl, there is no such thing as a popular tax. It does, however, mean you will
also take ownership of how much and who will pay tax. Most importantly a
monetary tax will be more palatable to the population. As I said earlier, I never
liked the print tax. It looked and felt like a tribute. It is easy to see how the myths
of ‘hordes of PedCom print’ could emerge. The people only remembered us when
we collected the print, they never saw, or chose not to see, when we redistributed
this print back as payment for infrastructure maintenance. The cost of collecting,
cataloguing, storing, then redistributing this print has been crippling. The savings
you will make by returning to a monetary system will allow you to cut the effective
‘print tax’ rate, without impacting infrastructure maintenance. Not only will you be
seen as the one who brought New York back to the modern age, you will have cut
     Carl could not help but feel respect for Katharine. She delivered a win-win
when it seemed impossible.
     Katharine continued, “It looks like we might be close to an agreement. Shall
we walk?” Katharine led Carl out through the double doors, towards the S-Tell,
and then turned to Carl and said, “There is one more issue we need to discuss.”
Carl nodded. Katharine continued, “You have made some outrageous claims that
we have been hording treasure caves full of functioning print.” Carl felt
embarrassed, and angry that he was about to lose face. But before he prepared for a
counter attack, Katharine said, “I have not raised this to rehash the election. Yes it
was ugly, but I can forgive you for that... once. I think we can form a strong
partnership, and this is why I have to raise the obvious point that you cannot go
back to the electorate empty handed.”
     Once again, Carl was not sure how to respond, and sensed that Katharine was
about to out maneuver him.
     Katharine stopped next to the S-Tell, turned to face Carl and said, “We can
give you the print stores. People will not know that these are not permanent stocks,
but temporary storage, in which the print is held for a week on average, before
being processed as payment for city works. All the public will see is the large
storage facilities, and they will draw the conclusion that these stores are the “print
horde” you promised to deliver. Now, the truth of the matter is you cannot
giveaway this print, not without the city grinding to a halt within a week. People
may want free print, but they also want their garbage removed.”
     Katharine paused before delivering the punch line, “The solution is to use the
print as a guarantee for the new currency. That way you can show people the print
hordes, while at the same time stopping the mob from taking the print. You need to
sell the angle that the new currency guarantees access to a set value of print. Do
you understand?”
     Carl nodded. Katharine continued, “After all your election posturing you will
still need a patsy. Here is how it is going to unfold. You are going to conduct a
very brief investigation before you discover the print horde, and you are going to
find that the top military brass was responsible for the horde, and that they were
planning a military coup. You will immediately install Grant, my Security Team
Leader, as the Commander-in-Chief of the New York Defense Forces.”
     Carl looked gob smacked, “Your Security Guard?”
     “He used to be a Special Forces' Colonel. He is more than qualified to do the
     “But that will leave you in control of the military?”
     “No, it will leave you in power, and with some very strong wins under your
belt very early in your term. Grant is his own man, and a very good man. The
military are lazy and corrupt. They are a problem waiting to happen, and this deal
will solve two problems in one go.”


Brian Cox Day 3

Day 3 – Extract

Below is an extract from a new dystopian science fiction:
“The Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”


     The S-Tell bashed on the mansion doors and kept bashing until a butler
opened the door. Standing stiff, the butler eyeballed the S-Tell with an understated
but still detectable air of derision, and then he turned his head to face Katharine
and said with a clipped tone, “Welcome to the Governor’s House ma’am. Please
follow me, and I will show you to the waiting room. Your gentlemen escorts can
wait outside.”
     “No, they will come with me.”
     Katharine ignored the butler, pushing past him. The butler followed in
Katharine's wake throwing fussing complaints at her as she strode away.
     “You cannot go in there ma’am, you must wait for the Governor.”
     “Where is the Governor?” Katharine demanded, as she marched past each
door, flinging it open without looking inside afterward. “If I was a weasel, I would
hide up the back.”
     “I beg your pardon miss!"
Katharine stopped, turned to the butler and stated, “Next time you call me
miss I will have my good friend here tie you up by your feet and hoist you up that
stupid flag pole out the front. Now get out of my face.”
     The butler scurried off like a frightened beetle towards the two large doors at
the end of the corridor.
     “I bet the pompous prick is in here,” Katharine said to her S-Tell as she
continued towards the end of the hallway. She flung the doors open, and sure
enough, Carl was in the room cowering in the corner. Katharine strode in, flanked
by her security team marching with her in locked step. She came to a halt one foot
from Carl’s face, stopping precisely in step with her entourage. It was an
unpracticed and unintended maneuver born from the gravity of the situation. Carl
stumbled backwards, into the chaise lounge behind him. Katharine stood over him
in silence.
     For a moment Carl was sure he would wet himself. But from somewhere deep
inside, he found a smattering of courage – just enough to squeeze the internal
muscles required to stop what would have been a terminal display of cowardice.
He then used the miniscule of residual courage remaining to steady his voice.
“Have you come to arrest me?”
     In that moment Katharine knew the choice was in her hands. She could arrest
him, and that would be the end of her problems with Carl. There would be no
accountability, no law she would have to invoke. It would just be the exercise of
raw power. If needed it could all be wrapped up later in a nice neat legal bundle.
But if she did, what next? The situation would be worse, and the population would
become unmanageable. Katharine thought Carl was not the cause of the unrest, but
its symptom. He was simply the person the mob pushed to the front. At least while
Carl was in power she could negotiate. You cannot negotiate with anarchy.
     “Consider yourself on probation, at my pleasure,” Katharine said.
     Carl straightened himself up in his lounge, and sensing he had one over her,
raised himself to his feet, and then stepped toe-to-toe with Katharine.
     “You have no authority. However, we have much to talk about.” Carl looked
up to the S-Tell then without taking his eyes off him said, “Alone.”
     “Fine,” Katharine said, and nodded to the S-Tell, who evacuated the room and
closed the double doors behind him. Alone, the two did not know what to say for
some time. Their positions seemed impossible to reconcile; yet they both knew that
some form of compromise had to be reached, for both their sakes.
     Katharine broke the silence. “You have backed yourself into a corner with
your election lies.”
     “Whether there is a secret store of print is not the issue.”
     “Well, you certainly made it an election issue.”
     “The issue is that you have kept your immense wealth and power, long after
the collapse of the system that granted you power. The issue is there is enough now
to go around for everyone to be wealthy. The issue is you continue to enforce
artificial scarcity. The issue is people have had enough. It is a new world, and you
are standing in the way. The issue-”
     “ENOUGH,” Katharine yelled.  The room went silent. She waited some
moments then continued, “To be frank, I cannot decide whether you believe your
own bullshit, or if you think I am a fool. What exactly are you proposing?”
     “Remove the Strat fees and the print tax.”
     “And then what?” Katharine asked.
     Carl was surprised and did not know how to respond. Katharine continued
before Carl collected his thoughts.

To be continued tomorrow…


Brian Cox Day 2

Day 2 – Question

I asked Brian Cox, author of “The Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”, what
made his book different.


Q. What makes your book different?

     A. I would love to say it’s the writing… but I would be lying. I believe writers 
fall into three categories: those who can write beautiful prose; those who can tell 
interesting stories; and, those who can do both. Great writers can sing and dance. I 
can only dance – just, maybe! My dancing efforts have led to many sins, including 
spending too much time “telling” rather than showing, and deploying a few too 
many adverbs.

     Before I talk you out of reading my book, and quite clearly if that was my
intention it would be simpler to un-publish the work, you will find my novel has 
one critical difference. So what is it?

     Well, sometimes the meal you most remember is not the best cooked one, but
the first time you tasted something unique. Imagine, if you can, the very first time
you ate curry, or an unpronounceable exotic fruit. Experiencing something new can
be wonderful, simply for being new.

     Where George Orwell asks in his book “1984”, what happens when
individualism is subsumed by the state, I ask what happens in a world where
everyone is free. Just think about that for a moment. What is absolute freedom, and
how would it play out? Of course there is no way my writing is even a patch on his
great work. However, my story is quite different, and is premised on a unique
question and resolution.

     We are living in an age of fundamentalism. On one end we have individuals
who believe that death is a gateway to paradise. At the other end we have the rise
of narcissistic right-wing US politics, epitomized by Trump. In between all this, we
have masses of ordinary people trying to make sense of a crazy world that seems to
be lurching towards disaster.

     Where people enjoy other post-apocalyptic books for the understandable
fantasy of wanting to start with a clean slate, or to express a concern for the future
– my readers will enjoy being challenged to think about the dynamics that led to
the slate becoming dirty in the first place. That is what makes my book different,
and what makes it worth reading.


Brian Cox Day 1

Day 1 Extract:

Below is an extract from a new dystopian science fiction: “The 
Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”


     The Professor was already waiting when Katharine arrived. She told her
entourage to rest outside, shut the door for privacy, then out of caution motioned    
for the Professor to join her on the balcony.
     As she opened the balcony doors a rush of stale dry air flooded over her. It
smelt of contamination. Being outside for long was never pleasant, though, thanks
to natural selection, only people with hardier genetic dispositions survived the
unchecked toxins produced by the printers during the late 2030s.
     The Professor looked at Katharine and smiled. “It is good to see you.”
     Katharine was dismissive, and against her better judgment launched
immediately into an attack. “What the hell are you doing?”
     “Straight to the point!”
     “You don’t understand the situation, or you don’t care.”
     Katharine realized her temper would get the better of her, and stopped
speaking. The Professor waited, giving her a chance to say what he understood
would be difficult.
     A few moments later Katharine continued, “I am responsible for a million
people. A million people… Sure, we have the elected government, but it’s a group
of fools elected by fools. They are unable and unwilling to make hard decisions.
No one wants to work, and everyone wants everything. The only thing stopping us
descending into the Stone Age is the Strat. And yes, I recognize the irony. Do you
remember how things were before? It was a shitty world, but there was hope.
There is no point to these tribes; they are nothing more than animals. This cannot
be the pinnacle of our evolution. We have to have the Strat, at least until civil
society is rebuilt.”
     Katharine, paused, her tone becoming despondent and less combative. “I beg
you Dad, the Strat servers are close to finished, and we cannot find anything to
replace them. The only things that can save us are your BQCs. We have not
produced a single new chip for 18 years. There are no super computers; there is
only a battery of servers. All the scientists you saw today think they are scientists,
they think they are doing cutting edge work. But they are idiots in white coats
cobbling together decades old technology to prop up the Strat.”
     “Sorry, the answer is no.”
     “You are being a fool. Others will look for you… I cannot hold them back
any longer.”
     “Is that a threat?”
     “No… never. It is simply the truth. I am losing control of things Dad, and
when I do, chaos will follow. If you help me, we can fix the Strat. Then we can get
out of this mess, together. Please. I am begging you.”
     The Professor understood her argument, and it upset him to see his daughter
this way. But the stakes were too high to concede to Katharine.
     “The Strat is your problem, it is humanity’s problem, it is the very reason we
are in this mess now. The Strat never has been and never will be any part of a
     “You see things in black and white. It’s not that simple.”
     “Yes, it is that simple. Why are there so few children now? You know the
answer. Men prefer compliant StratBots to making an effort with a real woman.
Why have there been no technological advancements? Because your scientists
would rather receive the Nobel Prize daily on the Strat than do the hard yards with
experimental research. Why do people eat gruel day after day, doing nothing to
create something worth eating? Because they cannot bear to spend a second away
from the Strat. Duties have become duties; just the absolute essential, and all spare
time goes to the Strat. Why would anyone choose to wake from their dream world
to improve the real world?”
     “Fine, if you want to simplify things, here is the simple truth. The Strat
servers have another month. Two, maybe...at best. After that they are gone for
good. There is nothing to replace them, the Strat will disappear. I will lose power
shortly afterwards. But that is not the problem. You cannot rebuild civil society
with tribes.  You need a critical mass of people. New York is the only place with
that critical mass. After the Strat is gone those people will pack their bags and head
off into the hills. Once that happens, humanity will have nothing to show for its
efforts except a toxic planet, and no way to fix it, with no direction, and no purpose
for being on it.”
     “You may be right. But I have more faith than you. If we must go backwards
before we can go ahead; then so be it. The longer the Strat keeps going, the harder
it will be to turn things around. Help me to arm people with the knowledge to build
a better future.”
     “I don’t have that long Dad, and I don’t have that kind of power. You are
asking for the impossible.”
     “We can get number six reactor running, it will provide the power we need.”
     “I don’t mean electrical power Dad, I mean political power. Perhaps if you
saw me earlier, much earlier, we could have done something. But you sprang this
on me now, with no warning, no real briefing. Do you expect me to drop
everything, to turn the whole edifice around single handily, and help you… on
faith? Even if I understood what you are proposing, and to be honest I do not know
how it would play out, you are talking about a logistical and political nightmare.
This would take months to execute, and if it did not work - and with all due respect
this would not be your first failure - then we would have used the last bullet in out
belt. You are proposing to make people superhuman, all of them. What happens if
some people become superhuman before others? What happens if it does not take
with some people? What happens when the wrong people become superhuman?
You love to give me questions; well how about you answer mine! There is a sea of
human trash breaking out there, breaking against the last bastion of order. I know
Dad; unlike you, I have to fight it, work with it, compromise with it, and
occasionally crush it… every single bloody day. And you are proposing to
empower these people too… the depraved, the murderers, the thieves, the rapists…
all of them? Or do you have some unimpeachable selection criteria that everyone is
going to accept, that divides people into the deserving and undeserving, without so
much as a murmur of dissent? Who do you think yells the loudest, and with the
least right to yell? You are living in a utopian dream world Dad, you always have.
     “You have misunderstood me dear.”
     “Have I? You are obsessed with your solution, like it’s the only one. What
about genetic engineering, what about artificial intelligence? There are many ways
to get us out of the mess we are in. You do not have a monopoly on the truth. Your
way is not the only way.”
     “You do not understand me.”
“Well, explain it!”


Lisa M Caretti Day 5

The charming but slightly offbeat town of Chester seemed like the perfect place for a fresh start, at least that is what Bretta Berryman’s husband claimed as he sent his wife and two daughters ahead of him to find their new dream home. 
But when Bretta falls in love and purchases a dilapidated old mansion and begins renovations, she soon discovers that her new home has a history of horrifying evil and devastating secrets, all which appear to be intertwined with her absent husband’s inscrutable past. 
As skeletons surface and acquaintances are murdered, Bretta begins to doubt her own sanity and believe her spouse’s accusations that she is not only mentally unwell, but somehow responsible.

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