The Power of Six by Nicholas Rossis (Cover Reveal)

Nicholas C. Rossis is an epic fantasy/sci-fi author. He has released two books in his “Pearseus” epic fantasy series: “Year 18: The Schism” and “The Rise of the Prince” which became an Amazon bestseller. Now, he’s treating his fans with six science fiction short stories that will whet our appetite for “Mad Water” the third book in the Pearseus series. “The Power of Six” will be available on Amazon on May 15. Don’t miss out on reading “Simulation Over”; an exciting complete story right from this anthology in MM Jaye’s friends write


The Power of Six

The Power of Six is an anthology of six short science fiction stories, originally written between July 2009 and March 2012.  Shortly afterwards, I started work on my first novel, Pearseus.  Although the stories seem to be concerned with various themes, there are certain passions that run through them, almost obsessively.  What is the nature of reality?  Is there more to the world than we can see?

The first story, “Simulation Over”, is based on a dream I had, and deals with Descartes’ age-old question; how far can we trust our senses?  With technology progressing rapidly, the time can’t be far off when it will be practically impossible to tell apart sensory fact from simulation.  How will we be able to tell fantasy and reality apart?  The story was published by magazine 9 on October 17th, 2009.

The second story, “For the Last Time”, is lighter in nature.  Another common theme, explored in depth in Pearseus, is that of the choices we make and their consequences.  The main character here makes one mistake after another.  As a result, he keeps getting in deeper and deeper trouble, until he realizes how happy he was before all this.  As the saying goes, “I’d like to be who I was before I became who I am”.

The inspiration for the third story, “The Hand of God”, came while playing Starcraft™ (and getting pounded time after time in that final level).  It deals with that old question of the nature of reality – digital and corporeal.  What do the game characters do when we stop playing?

The fourth story, “I Come in Peace” (from the common sci-fi first contact words) deals with a tortuous question: how far would man go to alleviate his loneliness?  In particular, a man experiencing what is possibly the worst kind of loneliness; that someone feels when surrounded by people?

This story explores this basic human emotion – the need for companionship.  It won the SF competition titled Invasion and was published by Cube Publishing in the anthology of the same name.  Readers of Pearseus will certainly recognise here the birth of the Orbs.

The fifth story, “A Fresh Start”, is, again, about choices – and a favourite question: if we were free to go anywhere in time and space, where would we choose to go?  And, once there, would we repeat the same mistakes, or make new ones?  What does a man really need to be happy?

The sixth story, “The Sentry”, was inspired by Philip K. Dick’s first story, Roog.  Science fiction fans will surely recognize this nod to the old master.

One common characteristic of all stories is a disdain for names, both for characters and places.  This is because of my conviction that names inevitably restrict the reader’s imagination.  We all carry deep in our psyche an image for all names and places and this will necessarily carry on to the story, limiting the possible projections we can perform.  I’d rather leave the canvas completely blank, so that readers can colour it any way they like.

About the Author

Nicholas Rossis was born in 1970 in Athens. Greece. He got his BSc in Engineering from the Technical Institute of Pireaus in 1995, before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received his PhD in Digital Architecture from the University of Edinburgh.

In 1995 he founded Istomedia, a web design company that has created some 450 websites todate. He also taught various publishing courses at Napier University between 1997 and 2000.

In 2000, he moved back to Greece where he has continued working as web designer and teaching design and publishing at various colleges and universities. He has written a score of children’s books, through Niditales, his ongoing collaboration with illustrator Dimitris Fousekis. He has also had numerous SF short stories published in Greek magazines and in Invasion, a SF anthology. Finally, he has written Pearseus, a SF novel.

Nicholas lives in a forest outside Athens with his lovely wife Electra, beautiful dog and two remarkably silly cats.

Author Links

Pearseus Facebook page:


Effrosyni Moschoudi – WIP interview

frosso pic1 (1)In this week’s WIP interview, I’m more than pleased to welcome author Effrosyni Moschoudi, as the timing is perfect to share exciting news: “The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb“, Effrosyni’s upcoming paranormal summer romance, has cleared Round 2 in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest and is now a quarter-finalist! And that’s on top of “The Necklace of Goddess Athena”, her debut fantasy novel, reaching Amazon’s #1 in Mythology and #2 in Fairy Tales! What a ride for an amazing new author!

For an excerpt of the ABNA quarter-finalist, “The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb”, click here to go to my excerpts’ blog where my writer friends’ work is displayed better.

Effrosyni, first of all, congratulations! Having read both of your novels, I must say it’s an honour well deserved. I’m sure my readers would love to know more about you. Could you tell us a few things about yourself?

My pleasure! I was born and brought up in Athens, Greece. I hold a BSc in Computer Science and have worked in various companies for 20 years, mainly providing computer support and customer service. The credit crunch cost me my career but provided me also with the unique opportunity to dedicate extensive time to my writing; a favorite pastime that I’ve enjoyed since childhood. I reside in a quaint seaside town near Athens with my husband Andy. We have our own house there and it’s idyllic. We love the serenity of our surroundings, growing our own vegetables and having the beach so close to home.

Idyllic, indeed! Could you give us an idea about what your current project involves?

The Lady of the Pier is a paranormal romance that will be published as a duology. It is set in Brighton (England) in the 1930’s and in Corfu (Greece) in the 1980’s. It is about two girls who have never met but are connected in a mysterious way. As you mentioned, the first part (The Ebb) has made it as a quarter-finalist in the 2014 ABNA contest in the category Romance. A short excerpt is currently available on Amazon for a FREE download. Readers can have their say in the ABNA contest by reading and reviewing the excerpts from all the entries. Your readers are welcome to download the excerpt from my novel here. As I can’t obviously foretell what the outcome of the contest will be, I carry on with my plans as normal for the publication of The Ebb this summer. I have received detailed and extremely helpful feedback from my beta readers and I am currently editing the novel based on their advice. At the same time I am penning the concluding part (The Flow) although this is a very slow process. If all goes well, this will be published by the end of the year too. The Ebb is very close to my heart. Although it is a work of fiction, there are many autobiographical elements as I used to spend my summers at my grandparents’ house in Corfu as a young girl, just like my heroine Sofia in the book. If your readers wish to know more and to see pictures of the locales that inspired the story, they are welcome to read this post on my blog.

I’m definitely encouraging all of you to use the above link, download and review Effrosyni’s excerpt. Let’s help a new author out! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

No, I am afraid not. Since January, I have developed frozen shoulder and it has gradually allowed me to do less and less. As a result, to say that I am behind schedule with my writing at the moment would be a huge understatement. Luckily, I’m currently making progress with physiotherapy and hope that things will eventually go back to normal in the next few weeks. I’m determined to resume writing The Flow full time again when that happens.

That’s unfortunate. I hope physio works for you sooner than expected. Are you a plotter, a pantser or both?

A bit of both and it also depends greatly on what I am writing. If it is a short story, I usually have the whole thing crystal clear in my head before I even sit at my desk. With novels, it depends also whether it requires any research or not. Research occasionally results in changes on the storyline as to accommodate the actual facts. It has happened with the Lady of the Pier. With The Necklace of Goddess Athena, as the story didn’t portray any world events, I was free to change things as I went. There have been a lot of delightful surprises creeping up on me along the way with this novel and I think I enjoy this process better.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Distractions. I can be pretty disciplined if I decide it’s time to make progress with a book but for example, when it’s 47 degrees Celsius and the sea is shimmering in the distance, it’s hard to commit to writing indoors! Also, when my husband is at home, I find my writing goes out the window. I often make an effort to treat him with elaborate meals and cakes and we wind up watching DVDs lots too. We both love movies and British series and so, often when he is around, the day just flies by without me writing at all.

Have you experienced “writer’s block” and how do you overcome it?

Yes, of course I have but I don’t let it bother me. I choose never to chase inspiration with a bat. I accept that some days will be bad for writing so on these days I just let it go and go do something else. Usually the next day it flows effortlessly once again so I don’t get frustrated about it. It just is what it is. On the days when I can’t do any writing, I usually read a book or watch a movie or listen to music. Movies especially that are relevant to what I am writing tend to rouse feelings inside that facilitate the ‘un-blocking’ process – if such a thing indeed exists.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring?

I always write at my desk in my tiny study. I favor crammed spaces. I find they feel cozier and safer. I can relax there and let my mind wander. I couldn’t concentrate to write outdoors anywhere or even inside by a window, as I would get distracted. Therefore, my windowless study is the best place for me. I have placed some frames there for inspiration including pictures of The West Pier in Brighton as well as the book cover of my debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena. I don’t have any children but I see my books as such. So, putting up the cover there would be the equivalent of putting up the pictures of my offspring. It reminds me who I work daily for. It keeps my mind focused and my eyes on the ball.

I’m exactly like you! The more my eyes roam, the less my mind focuses. Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I use only Word for writing at the moment but I do intend to look into some relevant programs in future, such as Scrivener. Also, I have recently discovered AutoCrit; a great editing tool for writers. As for research, Google is my main tool but I also read physical books relevant to the novels I write.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I intend to have the most gratifying annual holiday in Corfu ever. I have spent many summers there dreaming of writing about my beloved island one day. If all goes well, this summer I will return there feeling like I have finally fulfilled a promise of paramount importance to me. Writing The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb has felt like giving thanks for a wealth of happy childhood memories. It is also a tribute to my beloved granddad who passed away 4 years ago at the age of 97. My grandmother will turn 90 this year by the way. I visit her once or twice a year tops and to me she is as precious as all the diamonds in the world but sadly she refuses to leave her house in Corfu.

That’s so sweet! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

Being unemployed doesn’t allow me the luxury to employ professionals as much as I’d like to. Thankfully, my sister in law is a graphics designer and she makes the covers for my books free of charge. Also, I am very grateful for the precious feedback I have received from my beta readers on The Ebb.  I intend to polish the novel with a lot of dedication and care and hopefully, if I can’t afford an editor, the result will be satisfactory enough. I will probably have it formatted professionally though. I use Streetlight Graphics who are amazing. You actually feel like they care about your book as they work on it. Their prices are very sensible and their instructions for uploading the book are very detailed.

Your blog is Effosyni’s Blog.Do you blog according to a specific branding idea, or will you also write about something that might catch your fancy?

As my books are set in Greece, I see my country and anything about it as part of my branding. In this sense, among other things, I blog about my travels, Greek culture, customs and also Greek cuisine. I recently blogged for example about the unique Easter celebrations in Corfu and also showed my readers how to dye Easter eggs with organic ingredients. Other than anything Greek, I also blog about my writing, I offer tips for authors and often present other writers and their books.

Lots to entice the reader there! Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I have lots! Let’s see: Animoto is a great free site for making 30 second book trailers. Socialoomph is the best site I’ve come across for scheduling tweets so that you can have a presence on Twitter every hour. There are numerous sites to list free books but I believe in the people behind the sites. The most helpful and professional services I have received came from Indie Author Land, EbookSoda, Choosy Bookworm and PeopleReads. To increase traffic to your blog, it makes sense to use a book tour organizer. I recommend Fabulosity Reads who commit to supporting their bloggers and offer great giveaways too. Last, if you want your marketing to work, be courteous and pay it forward. Don’t be competitive. Being part of the indie community is not a competition – think of it as a group hike. The more helpful, sincere and open you grow towards others as you go, the closer you are getting to success.

Great suggestions! Thank you for sharing! Is fantasy/paranormal the genres you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I believe that an emerging writer should experiment and not stick to one genre. If you don’t try several ones, how do you know which one you are best on? I intend to have a go at children’s fiction and chick lit next, maybe a thriller later on too. I think this process keeps the writer on his toes and sufficiently mystified. I love exploring the new. Sticking to one genre would bore me stiff sooner or later – I know that for sure.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?


FB Book page:

FB Book page:

FB Author page



Google + :


Links for The Necklace of Goddess Athena

Amazon (US):

Amazon (UK):

Book trailer:

Free excerpt download:

Thank you, Effrosyni, and best of luck with the sequel of The Lady of the Pier!

Thank you very much for having me Maria. It’s been a pleasure!


The Perfect Spirit by Traci Hayden

Traci Hayden’s debut novel will be available on Amazon on May 15. Here’s a glimpse of what’s to follow:

Twenty-year-old writer, Vanessa Fortney, has travelled the world, living life to the fullest. When she comes home due to the unexpected death of her only blood relatives, she only has one regret; never finding love that triumphs over all others. 
In a beautiful valley in the Rocky Mountains, Nessa finds herself wondering about mysterious stranger who saved her after a nearly disastrous car accident. The mystery that surrounds Daniel is quickly replaced by the increasing attraction Nessa feels for him.

Will she find that love that transcends all love or will tragedy keep them apart?

Nessa’s body melted as his deep and lusty French accent washed over her, penetrating her deepest fantasies. “My name is…”
Vanessa. I know,”he answered. He stepped forward, pulling gloved hand out from within his
coat. “My name’s Daniel.”
Nessa assumed that, since the town on the edge of the valley had small gathering, her presence had been known within a few hours of her arrival. She looked down at his extended hand and contemplated taking it. When they touched, it was to be final. Her whispering dreams of him would become real. All her fleeting thoughts of him would be physical.
Her drive to be captivated by him drove her tiny hand into his. A chill travelled down her arm as she realized how cold his hand was even through the leather glove. However, her hospitality and caring nature won out over everything else she was feeling.

to the house. Sit by the fire and warm up. I’m sure Richard and Sylvia would like to thank you also.” Secretly, she wanted to keep him close to her.
I’m sorry, but must decline.” His voice held layer of regret. “I’m not comfortable around people. I’ve been alone for long time.”
Nessa bowed her head, hiding her disappointment. “Maybe we could just sit and talk for a bit then.”
Daniel’s hand came to rest on her cheek. His thumb under her chin, tilted her face up till his beautiful eyes met hers again. “As much as would love to…” He looked towards the horizon, the sun barely visible as it set, “I must leave.”
The pang of disappointment stabbed Nessa’s heart as the profound sadness tore through her. She nodded, holding herself together. “I understand.”
Daniel leaned in, breathing in her scent. “I missed this.” Nessa’s body reacted involuntarily. She reached up on her toes and brushed her cheek against his clean shaven face. The fragrance of jasmine and lavender imprinted in her mind.
Missed what?” Nessa asked, already knowing the answer, but relishing in the sound of his deep voice.
Your smell.” He whispered, leaning his face closer to hers. “I haven’t
smelled the incense of lilacs in far too long.”
The heat of her blush flamed bright against her skin. She needed to see
him again. “Daniel…” His name tasted sweet on her lips, “…when can I see you again?”
Very soon, ma belle.” He breathed into her ear. “For now, remember me in your dreams.”
About the Author

Traci Hayden is a proud mother of four beautiful girls and one adorable graddaughter. She has always had a passion for reading, but recently the obsession for writing has taken over. As a Nova Scotian native now living in British Columbia, Traci has travelled across Canada, fuelling her imagination from coast to coast. Along with two dogs and one cat, Traci’s home is shared with her partner of 16 years. He is her rock and constant support. Traci loves all genres of writing, but currently is exploring the world of romance.

Links (Kari March)
15, 2014


17 Simple Ways to Make an Impact (reblogged)

There’s a wealth of “how to succeed” advice, targeting aspiring or new self-published authors, crammed in blog posts that later might turn into ebooks with a short life span — apparently the self-publishing trends are as fickle as fashion. Being an aspiring author myself, I’ve been studying success stories, popular or conflicting views, counter arguments (never skipping the comments section where readers often either verify or distance themselves through personal experience), but nowhere had I seen the “it” factor being discussed; the simple fact that some people might diligently follow well-trodden paths which, in their case lead to a dead end, while others seem to develop Pied Piper-like powers along the way, drawing the masses in.

Before writing this off as simply a case of unbeatable charisma which either you have or you don’t, read this unique and comprehensive article by Kimberley Grabas of Your Writer Platform. Kimberley says that even this can be taught, and I believe her.

Your Path to Influence: 17 Simple Ways to Make an Impact

Image from Your Writer Platform

Languishing in obscurity?

Things pretty quiet on the visibility front?

You’ve tried to follow advice from the “guru de jour” to get your writing career on the map, but despite your best efforts, your ideal audience remains surprisingly resistant to your appeal.What’s worse, is that you know it’s possible to build a loyal, invested community, because the evidence is all around you.

Somehow, both new and experienced writers are finding ways to stand out and get their work noticed.But here you are, playing patty-cake with the crickets, debating if it would hurt to just let one of those spam comments through (it’s about time your blog got a little love, right?):

“am to a great extent impressed with the article I have just read. There is not much to say except the following universal truth: You never know where to look when eating a banana. I will be back.”

Okay, maybe not.

(Desperate chic is not the look that bestselling authors are wearing this season.)

So what does it really take to get noticed?


(Read the rest of this amazing article on Your Writer Platform.)

Choices by Sheila Bliss

This guest post is brought to you by Fabulosity Reads Book Tours and the fabulous Wendy Ewurum!

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CHOICES –  Guest Post by Sheila Bliss

There were so many things I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a TV news anchorwoman, a fashion designer, a news journalist, a nurse, a teacher and a psychologist. That’s quite a variety. I wanted to make sure I had all the bases covered. I was also a voracious reader. My entire family was. Memories as a kid always involved a family member reading a book. My dad, my mom, and my older sisters. The best vacations also involved sharing our responses to whatever book one of us was reading at the time. My family instilled in me a huge love for reading. It was also my escape. My childhood was lonely at times and broken. Reading allowed me to escape the loneliness and I found solace reading about people who experienced a similar pain between the pages of a book. The words breathed life into these imaginary people that I wanted to be friends with, that I wanted for family. It also sparked a deep desire to create those same feelings of connection, relief and escapism for another person. Ultimately, I wanted to create and help people in the process. Teaching called the most to me at the time of college major declaration, though. My fear of failure was strong, so strong I allowed it to overshadow my desire. So, I went with door number two or six if you count all my other options. I could still be creative and I loved working with children, especially children in impoverished areas. Although if you talked to my family they would swear I became a teacher just so I could boss people around. In the fourteen years I taught, I felt restless, I still felt a deep yearning to explore something different. I’m a goal oriented person. I like challenges and I wanted to challenge myself to something bigger. I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to write.

I always wrote something, really bad poetry, random thoughts, character names, gratitude journals, quotes, lesson plans, wish lists and ideas for novels. I started my very first scrapbook when Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married in 1981 at the age of thirteen. I cut out pictures and wrote my own bubble quotes for each picture. I was so proud of myself. I kept going from there, writing diary entries, taking creative writing classes whenever I could in high school and college, keeping journals that were cathartic and therapeutic during some dark days in my early twenties when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that was incredibly exhausting and as equally painful. I took a break from teaching sixth grade in West Philadelphia so I could figure out how to tackle this auto-immune disease, went back to school to procure my master’s degree and started my family. When my oldest who is now sixteen, was ready to begin school I went back to school with her and started teaching Kindergarten. I’ve been there ever since. I love teaching. I love Kindergartners. They are my absolute favorite, but my yearning and restlessness was increasing and suddenly my reading choices were changing as well. My girls started talking about this book Twilight. I had no idea what they were talking about and I insisted that I read it first before they did. I was hooked, but what interested me more than anything was Stephenie Meyer’s personal story about how she started. She inspired me to sit in my girl cave, as my husband has affectionately dubbed it, and write something more than lesson plans. She gave me the courage to put my ideas that gnawed at my brain on my computer screen and actually save it and then have the nerve to label it. It was reading Jamie McGuire’s personal story that gave me the balls to self-publish it. I never met Jamie. She wouldn’t know me from Eve, but her story, her advice she posts on her blog, inspired me to not be afraid. She held my hand even though she didn’t know it or me. For the first time in my life, I was truly going to live by my own personal mantra, feel the fear, but do it anyway. It was time for mommy to practice what she preached to her little people at home. It was time to go big or go home. The clock was ticking and it wasn’t the female one, it was the life one that kept chiming through the night, through the fog of my dreams.

I started Choices in 2009. It’s taken me five years from beginning to the end product you’ve purchased on Amazon. I wrote during the summer months, during holidays, weekends, days off and sometimes these characters hijacked my sleep and I wrote all night and then taught all day. I’ve had some major bumps in the road, some huge failures and some huge successes writing this book. Some people are shocked at the subject matter because I’m a Kindergartner teacher, but honestly that’s not all I am. I am a creator. I wanted to write something outside my realm of knowledge. Some of my friends were shocked and couldn’t understand why I didn’t write a children’s book…um, because I didn’t want to. I wanted to write something real, something edgy, something dark, yet promising, hopeful. I wanted to write a big romance, but not a typical romance that’s sweet and neat. I wanted to write something gritty and real. I wanted to write a story about a strong woman who’s had some strong situations that forced her to feel out of control and her response to it. I wanted to write about a character that was forced to really examine her life. I wanted to write a story that forced this character to ask herself the question no one wants to ask themselves, am I happy or am I lying to myself and believing the lie? Am I just going through the motions? I wanted to write a story about how a woman doesn’t have to sacrifice everything about herself in order to save someone who isn’t interested in saving themselves. When is enough? When do you draw the line in the sand and say I need to take care of me now. Life is hard. Life gives you cards you don’t want. Life is unfair. Life is real. Life isn’t pretty sometimes, but it does give you choices. So, therefore, I give you Choices.


Book Blurb

One never truly knows what goes on behind closed doors in a marriage. On the surface Laurel Brittingham’s life is idyllic but when you dive below the sparkling facade and submerge yourself within the murky, slimy sand at the bottom, life is never as it appears.

Laurel is a devoted, loving and loyal wife and mother. She married her high school sweetheart and created three new young lives during her marriage to Paul, all the while denying and avoiding the role his demons played in their marriage. Laurel’s only saving support system, other than her three children is her rewarding career as a nurse and her three gal pals that she cherishes beyond words. Addictions, anger and emotional abuse are the cornerstone of her marriage until one day life presents an interesting choice.

Laurel wasn’t looking for him, she wasn’t seeking him out. Laurel was loyal; for better or worse, weren’t just vows they were a way of life. Fate or destiny introduced a much younger man into her life; a much younger man who was also the son of a good friend. Brandon turned her world and her heart inside out and upside down. Their love was undeniable and soul mending.

Unfortunately, everything has a price. Their relationship unravels a web of lies, betrayal, abduction and deceit. What Laurel doesn’t know is how close to home this ugly web of lies comes. Laurel begins to travel down a path of shocking truths with twists and surprises she never fathomed, even saving a soul she never thought possible. She’s forced to make choices that will affect her family, her friends, and her happiness, but more importantly may destroy the very life she holds dearest.


About Sheila Bliss

This independent author enjoys writing books about circumstances that shape a person’s life and that life is all about the choices we make.

She hopes that you enjoy reading her first novel Choices as much as she’s enjoyed writing it!


Get in touch

Buy Link


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V-Card by Alicia Michaels

If you enjoy reading New Adult romances but want to do without the interminable angst, don’t miss “V-Card”, Book 1 in Alicia Michaels’ Sharing Spaces series. The excerpt made me laugh out loud! Also, check out the giveaway below:

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V-Card, Sharing Spaces Book 1

by Alicia Michaels

New Adult, Romance, Comedy

April 20th, 2014

Author’s Website | GoodReads

Jennifer Nolan has been unlucky when it comes to love; even more unfortunate when it comes to sex. In fact, the twenty year-old college junior is about to enter her senior year still carrying her v-card. All she wants is to be with that special someone without it resulting in a trip to the emergency room, runaway office supplies, or being scarred for life by someone’s weird fetishes. With several botched attempts under her belt, she begins to fear she’ll end up a lonely spinster or a crazy cat lady.

With only 60 days until her 21st birthday, Jennifer is determined to lose her virginity once and for all. Little does she know that her mission will lead her down a path toward love. She never expects that her mission will lead her to a discovery of what true womanhood is, and where true and lasting love begins.


My mission? To lose my stupid virginity by my twenty-first birthday … which is in two months. I can’t very well go into the next phase of adulthood with my v-card. How can I honestly call myself a ‘woman’ if I fidget, wheeze, and just about have a heart attack at even the thought of intimacy? Any guy I date is going to wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

So, it’s happening. I’m not sure when, or with who—since I’m not dating anybody—but I’m determined not to see twenty-one without shedding that one last thing keeping me at girl-status.

Drastic, much? I don’t think so. Maybe if you knew some of my history, you wouldn’t either. First, there was Jeremy …

My first attempt was as seventeen years old, senior year. It was like something out of a cheesy movie, making out in the back of a car after Homecoming at Lookout Point. Okay, so the place isn’t called Lookout Point, but The Ridge is a cliff overlooking my small Texas hometown and people do go there to make out. Me and Jeremy had been dating for six months—a lifetime in TDT. That’s Teenage Dating Time, by the way.

Anyway, things were getting pretty hot and heavy. The windows were steamed up and we had collapsed on to the backseat in a tangle of writhing arms and legs. Jeremy had me topless and was pretty much in teenage-dude heaven. I mean, I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’ve got some pretty nice boobs. Not too big or anything; average size, but almost the perfect shape and symmetry. Although, with the lack of finesse Jeremy showed in handling them, I doubt he would have cared if one was three sizes bigger than the other, or if my nipples were two different colors.

That familiar tingle of horny teenage hormones was tearing me up inside, turning me into a panting, thoughtless animal. I guess that natural high was what made me bold enough to attempt my first B.J. I mean, how hard could it be? It’s not exactly rocket science.

At least, I didn’t think it was. Apparently there is a science to it, especially when you wear braces. In my enthusiasm, I might have gone in a little too hard. I slipped, my face landed in his lap, and I almost unmanned him. To be fair, the wound was superficial, but there was so much blood you’d have thought someone was stabbed to death in the back of that car.

After dropping Jeremy off at the emergency room, I pretty much ended our relationship by ignoring him until graduation. He didn’t seem to mind. After I mutilated his man-parts, I doubt he would have felt safe getting in the sack with me without some major life insurance.

Let’s see, my next attempt came during my first semester of college, just a few months after my eighteenth birthday. Somehow, I managed to catch the eye of a teacher’s aide. He was a graduate student working on his Master’s in Education. While he was officially considered ‘faculty’, the age gap wasn’t that much and he was too gorgeous for me to be put off with teacher vibes. Slender with long legs and broad shoulders, ginger colored hair and green eyes peeking out from behind sleek, rectangular glasses. Alistair: even his name was sexy.

We traded a lot of smoldering looks across the classroom. Those looks turned into short conversations in passing. Some flirtations where our hands touched as we exchanged papers. One of those hand-touching exchanges led to me being propelled into an empty classroom.

Once again, the moment played out like something from a film. Alistair grabbed my ass and pulled me up against him, his lips crashing down over mine in a seductive move that left me swooning like an idiot. We tore at each other’s clothes, and as soon as he had my pants off, he lifted me and threw me onto a desk.

And right onto a stapler.

You’re probably thinking the two staples I took to my left butt cheek would have been enough to end it, but apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.

“I’m okay, really,” I told him, pulling him in for a kiss.

“Yeah?” he asked, his smile crooked and sexy as he swept the contents of the desk aside to avoid any more injuries. “I’ve wanted this forever,” he said, his mouth tracing a path from my neck and down to places that made my toes curl. My only response was a whimper, as I allowed him to lay me back, struck dumb by his sex appeal as he rested his weight over mine on the desk.

This resulted in another trip to the E.R.

Who’d have thought those classroom desks were so flimsy? It splintered as if it were made of matchsticks, dropping me to the floor, where I cracked the back of my head open on the tiles. A concussion and a few staples were enough to dampen that encounter. Luckily, Alistair did a good job covering up what we’d been about to do and no one was the wiser. When no one questioned his story about how he’d perched on top of the desk I’d been leaning against, causing it to collapse, we were in the clear. I probably could have had a chance with Alistair after that if I’d wanted it. Especially if the longing looks he threw my way were any indication. However, by then I was so freaked out about sex, I just couldn’t bring myself to allow him to get me alone. At the end of the semester, he graduated and I never saw him again.

After that, I decided my first time was going to have to be more vanilla to avoid injury. Good ole missionary position, laying on a bed sex … that was the way to do it. My braces were long gone and office supplies couldn’t impale me.

The chance came my sophomore year when I met Geoff, a moody, brooding art student. He was sexy in a less obvious way. Thin, long, and tall, with an ethereal face framed by inky black hair. He drew pictures of me and called me his muse. He was a total weirdo, but in an artsy sort of way. At least, I thought it was only in the artsy sort of way. He had me fooled for about four months and I thought I we were on our way to a long lasting relationship. That was before he got me half naked in his room and proceeded to try to tie me to the bed with a set of very scary looking leather straps. I don’t think I even bothered to get dressed before I ran, screaming for the hills.

After that I pretty much gave up. There have been a few guys I was interested in, and even a couple of great first dates and kisses. Just a month ago, I went on a date with a guy from my Sociology class. He was cute, funny—and, most importantly—normal. Just the kind of guy I wouldn’t mind giving my virginity to. Unfortunately, when our kisses started to turn in to something more, the twitching and wheezing started and I panicked. If I’m not careful I’m going to develop a reputation for this crap.

No, actually, I’m not.

I’m not, because I’m determined to just power through and do it.

The countdown is on.

60 days.

Oh God, I think I’m going to barf.

Author Bio
 I began my writing career as an author of Fantasy and Science Fiction. My first books include The Lost Kingdom of Fallada Series and The Boinics Series.

An army wife and a mother of three, my days are never dull and I never lack for anything to do. I love to cook, sew, and of course, read.

I’m a believer in the written word and I love transporting people to different settings and allowing them to make friends with my characters.



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Love Sonnets? Now? (Change the question for an exclamation mark.)

In this day and age, we are told to shirk conventionalism, seek originality, see life in its true colors and peel off all glossy veneer in search of the truth. Grit has been the new cool for some time now, and it is glorified in literature, even poetry (lose the constraints of rhyme; use free-verse). Until a few years ago, I consciously tried that angle. It was my dark phase: dark rock music, dark literature. Grit was the crux of it all.

Then I became a mother. With Greece steeped in recession and all sorts of challenges surfacing out of nowhere, grit became too relevant, so obvious in life around me that I needed to retreat to something safer. Fast. A world I’d like my daughter to live in. Call it conventional, call it old-school or cliché, I immersed myself into reading and writing romance seeking the truth through the expression of love. Because when it comes down to that, no struggle for originality is needed other than the evocative manifestation of genuine emotion.

In poetry, this is called a love sonnet. Its beauty, its message, is brought forward through a conventional structure (fourteen lines in iambic pentameter) but that only strengthens its effect. No room for originality there … or is there? In the case of Kevin M. Jackson’s collection of sonnets, there is. Because, when he started expressing his innermost feelings towards a girl through sonnets, he was only sixteen, and in true teenage form, the Shakespearean structure wasn’t challenging enough. So he created his own rhyme system—more challenging, equally evocative.

Kevin has written over 170 sonnets, which he now decided to share with the public. He broke them down into four collections, the first of which he recently published on Amazon, entitled “For Life with Love”. From the first time a teenage boy’s heart flutters at the sight of a girl to the struggles of a committed relationship, the words flow effortlessly, beautifully, and the rhyme is not a constraint but a vehicle. Excitement, joy, doubt, fear, regret are all seeped in the kind of love that has the power to infuse even darkness with the glow of hope. Now tell me that this isn’t the outlook we all need in our lives, no matter what we’re after, or how we’ve decided to go about achieving it.

“For Life with Love: The Sonnet Collection Book 1” reached No. 3 in its category on Amazon last month and was listed under “Hot New Releases” in poetry.

You can download it here: “For Life with Love: The Sonnet Collection Book 1” by Kevin M. Jackson

From Molly Green’s blog: Save $$ With A Manuscript Proof Checklist

This has got to be one of the most useful articles I’ve read lately, and it’s no surprise it appeared on Molly Greene’s blog. All writers want to submit a clean(ish) manuscript to their editor or proofreader, especially if they charge by the hour, but there are pesky errors that wiggle their way into every single page, of the kind that we tend to develop a blindness to. So, if you think that you’ve done an ace job cleaning up your manuscript, use Molly’s checklist and see what else you’ll weed out. Because some weeding you’ll do. Has anyone scrolled down with the pilcrow enabled? Anyone?

MM Jaye


Save $$ With A Manuscript Proof Checklist

Does your proofreader charge by the hour? If the answer is yes, you may be able to reduce your bill by taking steps to find and repair basic typo-type errors that slip by during the editing phase. Let’s face it, when we’ve read a (fiction or non-fiction!) manuscript a thousand times, we miss a lot. This is my basic run-through before I send my baby to beta readers, then again before I submit for the final proof.

Um, bad news, it’s a manual process. It can be time-consuming. You’re going to hate it. It offers the best payback when you scroll through your document several times, focusing on one type of problem with each pass. But good news, it works! Use this as a template to create your own proofreading checklist. Note: Before you begin, you might want to make a copy of your mss and rename it to retain the previous version.

Read the rest of the article on Molly’s Blog and do NOT neglect to read the comments’ section! Great tips there too!

A fantastic (literally and figuratively) novel FREE on Amazon!

Now, that’s the kind of alert for book lovers that I love to share! “The Necklace of Goddess Athena”, a fantasy novel that I’ve read and 5-starred, is FREE on Amazon on April 17-18. Enjoy a family adventure of Greek myths and time travel that the Fantasy & Sci-fi Network has described as a “Rare Gem”. The ebook has reached Amazon’s #1 in Mythology and #2 in Fairy Tales. It has also made the shortlist in the Fantasy category for the “50 best self-published books worth reading” from Indie Author Land!

And if that’s not enough to convince you that we’re talking about an amazing author, know this: “The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb“, Effrosyni’s upcoming paranormal summer romance, set in Brighton in the ’30s and in Corfu in the ’80s, has cleared Round 2 in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest and is now a quarter-finalist! I’m not surprised, as I had the honor to beta read the manuscript, and I know first-hand that it was well deserved. But until that’s published, don’t miss out on Effrosyni’s debut novel!

Book blurb

Efimios is an ancient Greek and an unsung hero of Athens. He has saved the city countless times by undertaking time-travelling missions as instructed by Goddess Athena herself. Now an elderly man, he sends his son Phevos and his adopted daughter Daphne on a time-travelling quest to modern-day Athens. Mysterious as always, he only advises his children to look out for the signs without offering any explanations. Mystified, yet eager to obey their father’s will, Phevos and Daphne settle down in this new world, having been offered assistance by two orphaned siblings: Ksenia and Manos. New friendships and romantic love change their lives while their father’s covert purpose is gradually revealed. As the youngsters continue to unravel the secrets of their family past, inevitably they get caught up in the ongoing conflict between two Gods, one of which becomes their protector and the other, their worst nemesis. Who will prevail when the rival Gods meet again and will the mortal bystanders survive to tell the tale?

An excerpt follows, but for your reading pleasure, I suggest you read it on my new complementary excerpts’ blog MM Jaye’s friends write


Book Excerpt

First, there was this tremendous roar.

Everything around them shook with force and then, a blinding light surrounded them as they were taken through a cyclone of ear-piercing sounds. Phevos held the hand of his sister Daphne inside the forceful vortex of Time.

Neither of them knew where they were headed as they swirled frightened beyond description, their bodies surrendered to the powerful whirlwind. Their eyes were tightly shut to the blinding flashes of light and a sound that resembled a sweeping tornado tortured their ears. In the twenty years of his life, Phevos could never have imagined the intensity of the experience.

Although still captured in this unprecedented storm of light and sound, he managed to recall random pieces from his father’s stories. Efimios, his father and teacher, had described to him hundreds of times his experience of the Passage through Time but Phevos never expected there would come a day that he would experience it himself and at that, in such a different way.

Suddenly, he realized in panic that his sister’s hand had slipped away from his. He started calling out her name but through the roar he couldn’t even hear himself speak.

All at once, there was darkness and a soothing silence and next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground.

A strong buzz still sounded in his ears. It took a few moments to fade as he opened his eyes and tried to gather his wits. His body felt numb at first but he managed to sit up somehow and look around him. The ground felt wet under him and the air smelt of grass.

The moon shone high above on a starry sky with a velvet light that was ample, allowing him to inspect his surroundings quite easily. He was in an orchard.

There were trees, plants and bushes all around him.

Panicking, he realized that he was alone.

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Excerpt: You Can’t Kill The Multiverse (But You Can Mess With Its Head) by Ira Nayman

Multiverse front

(Excerpt offered by permission of the author)

You Can’t Kill The Multiverse (But You Can Mess With Its Head) by Ira Nayman

Genre: Humourous science fiction

1. The Necromantic Uncertainty Principle in Action

All of the ingredients – many of which were difficult to find in this heathen realm – had been collected. The eyes of various beasts were freely available at a specialty market in Kensington. Various herbs could be found in what the people of this realm called “supermarkets,” where they were sold for pittances. The blood of a virgin was a little harder to come by, but, after three tries, the wizard found one by surfing through a place on a magical scrying glass called Craigslist. The young woman – Gladys Kravitz of Niagara Falls – seemed immune to his charms, so the wizard drugged her drink – purely in the name of world domination! – and took the serum that he needed. When she woke up the next day, she would be weak and woozy and have an uncontrollable craving to eat jelly beans, but at least she would wake up the next day. For what good that would do her.

The wizard read the prognosticatory pages of many of the local papers (such as The Star and The Globe) to determine when the moon would be at its fullest. While there, he picked up this nugget of wisdom: ‘Today will not be a good day to start a new project’. And, indeed, it would not be a good day FOR THE CREATURES WHO LIVED IN THIS REALM! He would have laughed evilly at this thought, but the steam from the ingredients coming to a boil in the cauldron was playing havoc with his asthma, so the wizard settled for a wicked grin and the promise of much evil laughter to come.

“Alzabracheem fectid barada nictu,” the wizard intoned as his hands snaked in front of him and he put the fourth toe of his left foot in, he put the fourth toe of his left foot out, he put the fourth toe of his left foot in and he shook it all about. As the stench from the boiling cauldron contents started to grow, his chanting became louder and his motions more animated. Part of him suspected that his landlady, Missus Schmelson, would give him no end of grief if she was unable to get the smell out of the drapes, but it was a small part of him, easily ignored as the dark ritual reached its climax.

“ALZABRACHEEM FECTID BARADA NICTU!” he shouted, his motions becoming what can only be described as ‘frenzied’.


Then, just as the wizard feared he would collapse from exhaustion before the climax of the ritual…there was a mild ‘poof’ and a wisp of pale grey smoke rose out of the cauldron before it was dissipated by the air conditioning. (It was a humid July night, okay? Where does it say that casting a world-threatening spell has to be done in discomfort?)

This was not what the wizard had been promised by the Malificient Malefactorum de Maliciosi. He was expecting the sky to darken and blood to rain from the clouds. He was expecting a rumbling so deep it shook the earth with a trembling, fearsome [MODERN ENGLISH TRANSLATION: a fearsome trembling]. He was expecting various demons to pour forth from a hole in the universe, create a little havoc, then await his command. He was expecting to hear cries of terror from the street, the horrific wailing of those whose comfortable, familiar world had turned into a nightmare. When you are expecting the horrific wailing of those whose comfortable, familiar world had turned into a nightmare, poof and a wisp of pale grey smoke just don’t cut it.

He couldn’t understand what had gone wrong – the wizard had been studying the Malificient Malefactorum de Maliciosi since his uncle Maladroissier had given it to him for his fifth birthday. He consulted the great book of evil spells. Over over sideways over under sideways down – he had clearly done the hand gestures properly. Same with the incantation – his southern accent may have distorted the words a little, but the meaning should have been clear. The contents of the cauldron were still bubbling, so the wizard tried the incantation again, this time enunciating the words more clearly and making the hand gestures more slowly and fluidly. He was rewarded with a ‘pop’ and acrid orange smoke. No blood raining from the sky. No horrific wailing of…you know.

It wasn’t because the wizard was fat BECAUSE THE WIZARD WASN’T FAT, OKAY? His…overabundance of physical presence was pure muscle. Mostly. Well, damn the pox-eyed pusillanimosity of Polidor, anyway, who said evil sorcerers all had to be tall and thin? Other than all of his teachers at Worthags, the school for evil sorcerers (where, okay, fine, sure, he had to admit that he had only graduated 23rd in his class – middle of the pack – not bad, but not enough to get you into the really top flight covens. Look, the important thing is that he did get his degree, and it qualified him to practice the dark arts every bit as much as Jimmy Malfantome, Marise Maldarictor or any of the other students who had graduated ahead of him, okay? Anyway, he would have done much better if he hadn’t had to take Zombies in seventh grade – zombies, uuuuuuugh! But, Animal Familiars was full – what can one do? He knew he shouldn’t dwell on the past so much, but, really…umm…what was he talking about, again? Oh, right…) And, all of the other students. And, his parents. And Evelina Malaproptor, authoress of The 25 Bad Habits of Really Successful Warlocks. Still, he thought, surely evil isn’t about how much you weigh, but about the content of your heart. Your dark, bile-filled heart.

The wizard screamed in frustration. Almost immediately – with unseemly haste, actually – somebody banged on his floor from below. “Sorry, Missus Rosinante,” he shouted. “I…I stubbed my toe. It was very painful, as you might –” The tenant below banged on his floor a couple more times with greater urgency. “Right. Right. Sorry,” he mumbled to himself. He imagined the blood raining down especially hard on her head.

It was late and he was discouraged. Deciding to call it a night, the wizard turned off the burner on the stove and moved the cauldron to a cold burner. A conscientious evil sorcerer will always clean up his workspace as soon as he has cast his last spell (or, so Evelina Malaproptor would have one believe), but his heart wasn’t in it. The cleaning would have to wait until morning.

The wizard went to bed, oblivious to the croaking that was coming from the street outside his window.

2. Faith, Hope and Severity

“Frogs?” Superintendent McCrae barked in disbelief.

Faith and Hope looked at each other as though that could somehow change the answer. It didn’t. So, they looked back at their boss and Hope responded, “Yeah. Frogs.”

“The size of cars?” Superintendent McCrae continued.

“That is correct,” Faith answered. “It makes sense, since…” she bit down on her lip, but the words had to come out: “the cars had turned into frogs.”

“The cars had turned into frogs?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What,” Superintendent McCrae asked in the certain knowledge that he was not going to like the answer, “happened to the people in the cars?”


If you wish to find out what happened to the people driving the cars that turned into giant frogs, buy “You Can’t Kill The Multiverse (But You Can Mess With Its Head) here:

To connect with Ira Nayman, use the links below:

WEB SITE: Les Pages aux Folles

FACEBOOK WRITER’S/FAN/WHATEVER PAGE: Ira Nayman’s Thrishty Friednishes

BOOKS: Alternate Reality News Service collections (Alternate Reality Ain’t What It Used To Be, What Were Once Miracles Are Now Children’s Toys and Luna for the Lunies!) and the novelsWelcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience) and You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head) can be purchased on

ARNS BOOK TRAILER: “A Book Trailer Called ‘Book Trailer’”

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