Author Jan Sikes is showcasing The Culmination on her site. If you have a moment, please stop by and glimpse the book through an excerpt. Happy Thanksgiving!
For many of us, Thanksgiving this year will be spent without loved ones gathered around a table. A phone call will replace our "pass the potatoes, please." May each of us find ways to experience the past joys through our memories and thus bless all the years that lie ahead.
I'm excited to announce that The Culmination, a new beginning hit the shelves of Amazon and Barnes & Noble today. To celebrate, the Kindle and NOOK editions are on sale at 99¢ through December.
So, what’s the book about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.
I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys and learned of the urgent need to become family.
These last months of all-things-COVID have overshadowed international concerns. Our focus has been and is social distancing, face masks, and personal wellness. Of course, the elections have taken center-stage as well. But quietly across the great oceans, tensions mount.
It's important to know that The Culmination, a new beginning is fictional, but the situations, the armaments, and the carrier strike groups are all very real. The two Heads of State who become lovers? They are fictional as well, but their love is universal, and it is up to us to ensure that love prevails.
I hope I've stirred interest, and should you decide to read the book, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 💗 Happy Thanksgiving!
The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series.
After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of State meet to craft a denuclearization agreement.
The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn.
A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.
“If you like action, adventure, love and political intrigue you will enjoy The Culmination!”
John W. Howell
“The Culmination is an absolute must-read for all thriller lovers.”
Every week, author Suzanne Burke offers a writing prompt and invites interested folks to create a story or craft a poem from her selected photo.
The Fiction In A Flash Challenge series now crisscrosses the globe from Australia to Europe and to the United States.
Maybe you'd like to join in the fun? If so, just click on the link above. You'll be taken to her website, where you'll find contributions from a number of writers.
My submission ...
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Are you sure we’re on the right path?
I’m following the coordinates, Kath.
Well, it looks like the middle of nowhere.
By my calculations, we’re almost there.
Maybe the map was for something else, George.
Anything’s possible, but let’s keep going. We’re not far from the location.
The whole thing is strange, how we found the room.
Or blessed? Maybe we’ll discover a treasure.
Yeah sure. How long have we been walking?
Come on, it hasn’t been that long.
You kidding me? What time is it?
Just after midnight.
Thought so. We’ve been walking a couple of hours.
It’s just another 30 yards or so.
Says the football player. Like I know distances in yards!
Take my hand, Kath. It’s not far, I promise.
What was that?
What do ya mean?
That!! Don’t you hear it?
Freaky, don’t you think?
Just sounds of the night. Five more yards. Come on.
I’ll be... No wonder the map said Love At First Sight.
In case you missed my post on Story Empire yesterday, please stop by and meet four notable science fiction writers. Their insights might spark your own. The topic - Science Fiction and 2020. Happy Saturday!
Today is Veterans Day, and to all the veterans, I extend a heartfelt thank you for your service. Though I did not serve, my dad, my husband, my brother, and many cousins served or are currently serving in the military.
During WWII, my mom and her twin joined thousands of other young women to work as a Rosie the Riveter. It was the “patriotic thing to do,” my mom explained.
This day, this week is always emotional for me. The friends who did not return and the friends who still carry the weight of war, bring me to a place of sorrow and yet profound gratitude. I wish I could repair the hearts of mourners, the minds of the traumatized, the bodies of the broken. But, I can’t. I can only honor their courage and their efforts by how I live.
When our National Anthem is played, my thoughts are focused on the courageous masses who have offered me the gift of freedom. For them I stand, for them I sing. The hope, the dream is liberty and justice for all. It is a weighty dream, but collectively, there is the possibility that it can become a reality.
Author Suzanne Burke provides a touching prompt for this week's Fiction In A Flash Challenge. Her photo of a child's hand in a father's palm led me to respond with a Haiku poem of 5-7-5 syllables. I hope you enjoy, and if you are inclined to jump in and write a story or poem, just click on the link above. You'll find plenty of information.
A father's hands...
Each week author Colleen Chesbro offers a poetry challenge, and this week she invites poets to choose their inspiration. How fun!
A year ago, my sisters and I (and our husbands) took a cruise from Barcelona to Rome. It was my first adventure on a ship. While wandering the streets of Barcelona, we came across a wall with a carving of a turtle and doves. It inspired me then and inspires me now. My haiku follows.
Perhaps you’d like to join in the fun? If so, please check out: Colleen M. Chesbro #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 201, #POET’SCHOICE!
Each week author Suzanne Burke provides a writing prompt. This is her 23nd week for a Fiction In A Flash Challenge and the image is a beautiful nature scene.
With the election just hours away, I've decided to respond to the prompt with a simple poem entitled BREATHE. If voters kept nature scenes before them as they cast their vote, we might at least have peace.
Perhaps you have a story you'd like to share or a poem or a thought. If so, please click on Suzanne's name and you'll travel to her website where she will welcome you and offer advice if needed.
Each week author Colleen Chesebro sponsors a Tanka Tuesday Poetry challenge. The theme for this week is "the illusion of power."
Within the United States citizens are captivated by the presidential election -- and the use and abuse of power. Because of this, I created a Tanka poem about the elections and used the basic Tanka syllabic structure of 5/7/5/7/7.
I’m excited to share the cover of my latest novel. I began writing The Culmination, a new beginning in 2019, but then 2020 arrived. Who could have anticipated the turmoil that would befall us? Through one challenge after another, I kept writing and finally the manuscript is with the publisher.
Unlike my other books, this one had a life of its own. I was dragged unwillingly into the heart of the Middle East, into the political tensions involving multiple heads of state, into the uneasy world of nuclear disarmament, and into the horror of biological warfare. There’s good, there’s evil, and thankfully, there's a love relationship that transforms it all.
This is a novel I could not have imagined writing. And yet, it filled my dreams, my thoughts, and ultimately took hold of my hopes.
For a farm girl who enjoys reading romances and spirituality, writing this novel was a leap that required enormous research. I sit back now in wonder of it all. My world was turned upside down -- day by day and month after month. Always, I was brought back to one word – family. We need to find a way to become family before it is too late. My hope is that this book draws readers to that same conclusion.
Publication date: November 23, 2020
Each week author Suzanne Burke provides a writing prompt. This is her 22nd week for a Fiction In A Flash Challenge and the image is an old diary.
I've decided to respond via a Tanka poem, which has 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. Perhaps you have a story you'd like to share or a poem or a thought. If so, please click on Suzanne's name and you'll travel to her website where she will welcome you and offer advice if needed.
Some stories linger. They hit a nerve and force you to look deeper. At times the moral of the story is hidden, other times it is blatant, but always you're left with the weightiness of the truth. Over these last couple of months, I've read several books that have opened my eyes, even if I wanted them to stay closed. I've selected five of those books to share with you today.
Authors Mark Bierman, Kathleen Pooler, Sally Georgina Cronin, Beem Weeks, and Karen Ingalls address complicated, heart wrenching issues. Bierman writes about human trafficking and situates the story in an impoverished area of Haiti. Pooler writes of her struggle with cancer while attending to her son's addiction to alcohol and drugs. Cronin's story is one of recovery, of finding peace and worth after divorce. Weeks writes of family secrets and sorrows. Ingalls poetically looks at the meaning of life.
Though each writer covers a different subject, they have three things in common -- they are all excellent writers, each of them earned my 5-star review, and all the stories remain alive in me.
Breast cancer is very real in my family. There are three of us who have been diagnosed with this disease, and because of this, we are looking into genetic vulnerability. Tomorrow I will have surgery and join the thousands upon thousands of women who have done the same.
May God bless us all.
Every week author Suzanne Burke invites readers to participate in a Fiction in a Flash Challenge. This week’s writing prompt is an image of an old vacant home.
For my response, I've chosen to write a short dialogue and have included a Tanka poem (syllables 5-7-5-7-7) as part of my story.
If you'd like to participate in the challenge, just click on Suzanne's name, and you'll travel to her website where you'll find guidance and the responses of other writers.
I've entitled my short piece: FOREVER.
“Grandma, why are we here? This old house is boarded up!”
“I’m not visiting the house, Charlie. There's something I want to show you in the back.”
“Did you used to live here, Grandma?”
“No. My friend, Johnny, did.”
“Someone I knew. He died in WWII.”
She let her head fall and with it the years.
“He was my sunshine. I called him that. No matter how bad I felt, he’d make me laugh.”
He darts her a glance and takes her hand.
She inhales deeply, “He was my first love.”
Now behind the house, Charlie pauses to look around.
“Grandma, there’s nothing here.”
“I’ll show you. Let’s walk to that big oak tree over there.”
“Okay, now what?”
“Do you see a heart engraved on it?”
Charlie walks around the tree and shakes his head. “Are you sure this is the tree?”
Charlie stares at the trunk and runs his hands over the rough bark, then looks up and spots something. Stepping back, he reads, “JS + MT -- is this what you were talking about?”
“Yes. I told you this was the tree. Now I want you to dig right here, below the heart.” She points with her cane.
Charlie grabs a thick stick and begins digging. After a few minutes he hits metal. He turns to Grandma.
“Pull it out, Charlie. It holds something I need to give to you.”
A few tugs and Charlie hands her a tin box.
“Can you open it for me please?”
He works on the lid until it pops open. Inside there’s a folded paper and a ring. The message reads, Yesterday, today, and tomorrow -- through all eternity. Charlie looks back at Grandma. She appears lost in thought.
"The ring, Grandma, what about this ring?"
She looks up and smiles, "It was my engagement ring. We made our promises at this tree. Soon you will be making yours, and I want you to have my ring. It will bring you laughter, you'll see what I mean. And when it does, you'll think of me."
Each week author Suzanne Burke surprises writers with a photo prompt and invites a story or a poem or just a comment or two. Her image this week is the one below, one rider with two horses.
This is Suzanne's 20th week of providing a Fiction In A Flash Challenge. My response is a Tanka poem of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables.
Perhaps you’d like to join me in this effort. If so, just click on the link above and you’ll be guided to Suzanne’s blog site and her instructions. As well, you'll meet writers from around the globe.
Author Colleen Chesebro's weekly poetry challenge is open-ended today. Writers and dreamers can submit any poem with a syllable structure. I've written a haiku of 5/7/5 syllables. It was sparked while watching children play outside my office window. Of course, with the approach of Halloween and my personal addiction to chocolate, it's no wonder why candy is the theme.
If you are interested to trying this art form, please click on Colleen's name. You'll be taken to her site, where you'll find much information about writing poetry.
My simple contribution...
Today I'm participating in author Colleen Chesebro's weekly Tanka challenge. Using the 5/7/5/7/7 syllable structure, Colleen explains that this week's Tanka poem of five lines must be written from the first person point of view.
If you are interested to trying this art form, please click on Colleen's name. You'll be taken to her site, where you'll find much information about writing Tanka verse.
My simple contribution...
I'm excited to welcome author Staci Troilo to my blog site today to tell us about the fifth book of her acclaimed Astral Conspiracy Series. For this particular series, Staci uses the pen name of D.L. Cross, which you'll notice on the books in the photos below.
Staci is a prolific and award-winning writer. Her commitment to the art of writing is unsurpassed. Please join me in welcoming her and prepare yourself for an other-worldly experience. It's all yours, Staci!
Ciao, Gwen. Thanks so much for inviting me here today. I love first-time visits and am so excited to be here. And a heart-felt “hi” to all your readers.
I’m here today to talk about my Astral Conspiracy Series. It’s technically science fiction, as it’s part of the acclaimed Platt and Truant Invasion Universe, but my saga is as much thriller as it is sci-fi, so I thought I’d have a little fun with my marketing and include pages from the top-secret government files on my main characters. Today, I’m sharing info on Nadia Adler.
Staci: Hey, Nadia. How’s it going?
Nadia: Couldn’t be having a better day. Well, maybe if Halpern was fired. Or killed in action. But basically, this is a banner day for me.
Staci: (eyes open wide) Oh. Um. Okay. Well, that was vivid. Uh… what makes today so noteworthy?
Nadia: (with an incredulous look on her face) You’re joking?
Staci: I know the Astral app went off and aliens are coming. But why do you think that’s a good thing?
Nadia: I’ve been twiddling my thumbs while Homeland, CIA, FBI, and NSA have all looked down on us. Until now. Now, they’re looking to us for help. Finally going to be on the front lines. And even though Halpern tried to keep the deets to herself, Beck read me and Chandra in. Time for some action. And for some recognition.
Staci: There are seven and a half billion people on this planet who are terrified this means the end of civilization as we know it. Don’t you think a power play is… I don’t know. Ill-timed? Inappropriate?
Nadia: Staci, there are two immutable truths I know. One, we’re all going to die sometime, so we might as well enjoy ourselves while we can. And two, when the dust settles, I don’t care if humans win or aliens do. What I do care about is a seat at the table. And you can bet your last dollar I’ll be there.
Staci: You don’t care if we lose?
Nadia: Empires rise, empires fall. Been that way since the beginning, and it’ll be that way ’til the end. I might not be able to decide who wins and who loses, but I can decide who I work for.
Staci: And if the aliens don’t want human minions?
Nadia: They’ll want me.
Staci: What makes you so sure?
Nadia: Because I always make myself indispensable. Look at AATIP. My title’s not Special Agent, but Director Beck already trusts me more than his number two. It’s only a matter of time before I replace that useless lump Halpern. And then, before I take Beck’s job.
Staci: How are you going to take his job if there’s no more AATIP? No more United States? No more planet?
Nadia: So short-sighted, Staci. You just can’t see the bigger picture.
Staci: I’m the queen of the bigger picture. I’m willing to bet I know more about how this all will play out than anyone else.
Nadia: And yet you can’t see what I see. What my plans are. What your fatal flaw is.
Staci: Enlighten me.
Nadia: Much as I’d love to see your face when you realize how blind you were, I don’t think I will. In fact, I don’t want to keep talking to you at all. I have a few more plans to put in place. (she turns off the camera and the recording goes dark)
Nadia makes her debut in the Astral Conspiracy Series in book one, The Gate. You can read a brief synopsis of all five books below, and each one has links to its product page and a purchase link.
The Gate: When the hypotheses of disgraced ancient alien theorist Landon Thorne prove to be true, he travels across the globe in search of a way to communicate with—and perhaps stop—the approaching alien armada.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link
The Stones: The invasion couldn’t be prevented, but there is a chance the Astrals can be driven away… if Landon Thorne can reach the Georgia Guidestones, unearth its secrets, and decode the mystery before the aliens stop him.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link
The Nine: Landon Thorne and his team of resistance fighters seek a cipher to decode the message accompanying a cache of alien artifacts they’ve unearthed, but the government, a clandestine cabal, and the Astrals themselves stand in their way and might not only put an end to their plans—they might put an end to their lives.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link
The Twins: When all factions converge for a human-versus-alien showdown, resistance fighter Reverie Sterling gets help from the least likely source. But even then, it may be too late for everyone she loves to make it out alive.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link
The Lab: In the final showdown between Earthlings and Astrals, twins Asha and Vonn insist their long-lost grandfather has a plan to save humanity. It’s a long-shot, but the resistance takes it—and no one is prepared for the consequences.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link
About Staci Troilo/D.L. Cross
D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television's Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI... no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her.
D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.
Website | Blog
Troilo Amazon | Cross Amazon
Troilo BookBub | Cross BookBub
Troilo Goodreads | Cross Goodreads
Thanks again for the warm welcome, Gwen. And thanks to all of you for visiting. This post was as fun to write as the stories were, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Grazie!
Each week author Suzanne Burke provides a writing prompt she entitles, Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week. This is her 19th week, and her image prompt is the famous Hollywood sign.
As I studied this image, I had so many ideas racing through my mind that I didn't know which one to pursue. Finally, I chose the simple one below and situated Burke's image within a starry night.
Perhaps you’d like to join me in this effort. If so, just click on the link above and you’ll be guided to Suzanne’s blog site and her instructions.
"This is breathtaking, George. I’m so glad you brought me up here."
"Yeah, Hollywood at night is pretty impressive."
Sandy stretched out her hand to his. "The street lights remind me of Christmas."
"Hmm, those red ones? They're police cars."
"I know but sitting here, behind the iconic Hollywood sign, police car or not, it's magical."
George turns towards Sandy. "You know we’re not alone, right?"
"Sure! I can see the cars on either side of us."
"It’s a favorite spot for lovers—above the City, starry night..."
Sandy nods. "I keep thinking about the back seat."
"Really? You'd like to go to the back seat? Kisses would be easier for sure."
"And maybe other things easier too. But..."
"But what? Sandy?"
"I dunno know. I just have this odd feeling that someone's watching us."
"I think you worry too much. C'mon, let's get in the back."
"G e o r g e! What's that??"
"What the... ! Quick, let's get out of here."
And that's a cut. We'll move to scene 33 in fifteen. Good job, team.
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