Guest: Talking Cats and Creating Villains with Kathryn White

Today author Kathryn White stops by BA and shares how she came to create two of the villains in her newest novel, Cats, Scarves and Liars. Add it to Goodreads. Connect with Kathryn via her website, Goodreads, and Facebook.

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It is a truth, universally acknowledged that not all characters in fiction are created equally. Oh. Wait. Perhaps that is in actually my truth and something that may or may not be universally true for all authors and worthy of a parody of a famous line by Jane Austen. In any case, my latest novel, Cats Scarves and Liars is one where the two main villains in the piece were equally as much fun to create and write about as my main character, the tattooed and occasionally ditzy redhead Peppa Grove. The set up is this: Twenty-three year old Peppa was widowed several months ago when her husband, Tony, was killed in a hit-and-run. Tony’s killer has never been caught. And widowhood isn’t something that is sitting easy with our young heroine. When the novel opens, we find her sitting in a messy flat, wallowing in self-pity. Empty wine bottles and dirty dishes suggest that Peppa is not taking care of herself as well as she could be. There is the question of a disappearing, reappearing iPhone (suggesting that she may be suffering lapses of memory,) but the most disturbing symptom of Peppa’s current state of mind occurs when the black and white cat she and Tony adopted several months ago, reveals that can speak perfect English and insists on being renamed Charles. He also refuses to speak to anyone else, despite Peppa’s insistence that he can do so, which causes some worry for her former mother-in-law and Julian, Tony’s best mate. Continue reading

Guest: The Activation by J. Cafesin

Today I’ve got a treat for everyone. It’s an excerpt from J. Cafesin’s short story collection, Fractured Fairy Tales of the Twilight Zone. This is the campfire story The Activation, one of the stories you can find in the suspenseful fantasy collection.

Author Bio

J. Cafesin lives on the eastern slope of the redwood laden Oakland Hills with her husband/best friend, two gorgeous, talented, spectacular kids, and a bratty but cute Shepherd pound hound. Find her on Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads.

The Activation – Synopsis

Michael still loves the family’s annual summer camping trip. His teen sister, Amy, doesn’t. It’s likely going to be their last year among the ancient redwoods, the majestic elks, and the seemingly glowing round rocks Michael discovers along the bank of the roaring river. The Activation is a cautionary [campfire] tale for bickering children, and the parents who fail to silence them.

The Activation by J. Cafesin

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Guest: The First Steps to Prepping For the Apocalypse

The First Steps To Prepping For The Apocalypse.

By: Kirk Allmond. Author of What Zombies Fear

Education

The new prepper often goes straight to the question, “Where would I go.” and almost invariably answers that question with “to Walmart!” A better question to ask would be “Where would I meet?” It is hard to understand the difference at first. When we all start down this path of readiness, we often consider ourselves as either the lone wolf; traveling from place to place, surviving on the scraps of humanity, doing what is necessary to survive.

Some consider themselves to be the leader of a group of survivors; single handedly keeping our friends and family alive, and restoring order to (at least a small piece) of a world in chaos. While this might be true, in some select few circumstances, overwhelmingly it will not be the case. For every leader of a group of fifty survivors, there must be forty-nine followers. If your goal is to be the leader, there is an entire set of leadership skills and personality requirements that the majority of people do not have. In this case, learning to be an effective leader is much more important than having a bug out bag, or an alpha site, and should be the primary focus of the new prepper’s education. Continue reading

Author Kevin McGill Giving Away 1,000 Signed Copies of his Novel to Teens

Take The Ride: 1000 signed copies of my book, Nikolas and Company: The Merman and The Moon Forgotten, will be given away on July 6th. Continue reading

Guest Post: The Birth of Act of Grace by Karen Simpson

Speculative fiction is the literature of ideas and I write speculative fiction, in part because the genres of science fiction, fantasy, “magic realism,” and horror offer readers innovative ways to examine society’s problems and possibilities. My novel Act of Grace is a contemporary fantasy born out my desire to have a more engaging and ultimately more truthful conversation about the African American experience in America. It is based on the true story of a young black woman’s extraordinary act of courage. Continue reading

Guest Post: The Power of Reading From Day Dot….

If you are reading this, then you are most likely a person who is passionate about reading. You may be the kind who always has your nose in a book (or an Ebook reader like an IPad Kobo, Kindle etc). You may feel lonely when a book ends as you end a relationship with the characters in the story. Sometimes you my feel ‘ripped’ off when a story ends as there are many questions left unanswered, or you don’t like how it ended. You may be a regular visitor to blogs and read reviews on the types of books you want to read, or write blogs and reviews to assist other readers in their book choices. So passionate you are about reading! You’re probably an adult, or close to it. How then, do we ignite this same passion in our children, hoping that they too one day will have an interest and passion in reading? In a world where technology is constantly outdoing itself, how do we rise to this challenge?

As a mother and an educator of primary school aged children, this is a daily challenge I am faced with, both personally and professionally. When do we start reading with our children, and how do we go about it? How old is too old, or how young is too young? Is there a right or wrong age? My suggestion is……….well from day dot really. Continue reading

Featurette: The Pakistani Diaspora by Aliya Anjum

Pakistan is a country with diverse and intriguing landscape, home to very ancient and traditional cultures as well as an urbane and educated population.  The Pakistani diaspora therefore is also very diverse in terms of their cultural, educational and social background.

In the US you would find Pakistanis working for the Harvard Medical School as scientists, which is as good as it gets and then you would find Pakistanis who work at odd jobs in supermarkets and gas stations.  In between the two, there are many school teachers, doctors, computer programmers, engineers and office managers who originate from Pakistan.

Pakistan is host to world class engineering and medical universities, which offer sate subsidized education.  English is the medium of instruction for higher education.  This is why Pakistani engineers and doctors are found working all over the world from the Middle East to Europe and the US. Continue reading