Monday, September 18, 2017

Schism Named Book of the Week by BookWorks!

The Battle for Darracia (Book 1) (Volume 1)

Profile photo of Michael Phillip Cash by Michael Phillip Cash

On the planet Darracia, an ever-widening social gap between its inhabitants is causing turmoil that is fracturing a once peaceful world. Struggling with his identity, nineteen year old Prince V'sair must harness the power of the elusive Fireblade, the secret to a warrior's heart, in order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuen's lust for supremacy. Will the energy of the Elements guide the young prince to his true destiny or will Staf Nuen conquer Darracia? After the success of his first three books (Brood X, Stillwell, and The Hanging Tree) Michael is fulfilling a dream and creating his own epic fantasy world. Schism: The Battle for Darracia is the first book in a planned series.

"The writing is smooth and builds nicely; creating an engaging tale with a big bang ending that leaves you thankful it is the beginning of a series. Definitely recommended for fans of dystopian novels in want of a fast page-turning read." - The Children's Book Review

"This coming-of-age fantasy novel with a subtle sci-fi backdrop follows a half-breed prince who's forced to embrace his unique identity when his intolerant uncle - vehemently set against a looming peace accord between antagonistic races - attempts to usurp his father's throne...the briskly paced storyline features a cast of well-developed characters...Well-written...a solid foundation for what could be an excellent series." - Kirkus Review

"...a fast-paced novel that will appeal to lovers of science fiction and fantasy.  Set on an alien planet, this is a story about social equality and the struggles faced by those seeking great change....The author has crafted a complex society with a well-defined class system facing a political struggle for social equality. This is the first installment of a planned series, and Cash does a fine job laying the groundwork for future books. Schism is a quick, pleasurable read that is sure to entertain." - ForeWord Reviews

ForeWord Reviews

2013 Book of the Year Award
Science Fiction
Winner 2nd Place for Science Fiction from Rebecca's Reads Choice Awards 2013!

Michael Phillip Cash
Publication Date: 12/05/2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Binding Type: Paperback (print)
ISBN 13: 9781493572441
No. of Pages: 202
Profile Photo Michael Phillip Cash

About Michael Phillip Cash
Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He’s written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist and Battle for Darracia series. Michael’s books are on the Amazon best-seller list and have also won numerous awards. Additionally, he is a screenwriter with 14 specs under his belt. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island.

All books by Michael Phillip Cash

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Writing as Jazz, Jazz as Writing: Part 4 – Go Into The Story

This article is amazing! I hope you enjoy it!

Writing as Jazz, Jazz as Writing: Part 4

Words of writing wisdom gleaned from some jazz greats.
Because I have a musical background, I often think about writing through a variety of musical lenses.
Writing as classical music with its sonata form and three act structure.
Writing as rock music with its raw power of emotion.
Writing as country music with its love of character-driven stories.
Writing as hip hop with its embrace of the poetry of storytelling.
But if I had to choose one musical genre which best fits what we do as writers, it would be jazz.
Why? Because every time we sit down to write, we have to do two fundamental things:
  • Write in the moment
  • Improvise
Every scene exists in our present tense. We have to be right there with our characters to experience the story unfolding in ‘The Now’.
Every time a jazz musician performs live, they exist in the moment. They find the spark of creativity by playing off each other and giving themselves over to every second of the songs they perform.
Likewise whenever we sit down to write, no matter how much of the story we’ve figured out, we have to give room for spontaneity and to improvise when our characters veer over here or there.
So, too, jazz musicians whose lifeblood is improvisation, making it up as they go along, pushing the envelope, and testing each song in nightly performance.
That inspired me to do a series this week featuring quotes from some of the all-time great jazz players.
Today: Ella Fitzgerald.
I stole everything I ever heard, but mostly I stole from the horns.

Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996)

In the spirit of the quote from Ella Fitzgerald, let’s steal some wisdom from it. “I stole everything I ever heard.” Similarly we, as writers, can learn the craft — big and small parts — from other writers and their creative output.
Style, tone, pacing, scene construction, personality, feel, atmosphere, structure, character, dialogue, themes, tropes, memes, any time we read a story, listen to a poem, watch a movie, take in a play, we can ‘steal’ from the creators. And I think in the spirit of what Fitzgerald intended with her comment, most of that is unconscious ‘wisdom’, a kind of creative osmosis whereby what we learn settles in as an instinct.
“But mostly I stole from the horns.” What we can take from that is this: While we may benefit by being exposed to a wide variety of creative influences, at some point it behooves us to zero in on a few specific writers and/or stories which become a touchstone for us. Start wide, then narrow it down to the “horns”, those handful of writers or even one writer who resonate most clearly with where our creative impulses are taking us.
Bottom line, we learn from those who came before us, but eventually we should strive to find our own unique voice. Be so damn good at what we do as writers, others will steal from us!
For inspiration, here is Ella Fitzgerald in a haunting 1968 performance of the classic show tune “Summertime”:

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Love of Reading & Writing by Nathan Bush

The Love of Reading & Writing by Nathan Bush

Hello out there to all my fellow readers and authors.  No matter what our genre of preference, I’m sure none of us will ever forget when we first fell in love with the written word.  For me, it was The Hobbit.  I still have the first, and only, copy I bought many, many decades ago.  The opening line grabbed me and never let go.  That’s all it took.  I have been a fan of reading ever since.

The love of reading eventually turned me to a new passion, one of writing.  I have written hundreds of thousands of words for short stories, poems, and songs.  All unpublished and most unread by anyone other than myself.  Mainly because I was afraid to let anyone read them for fear of ridicule.  Who hasn’t felt the gut wrenching fear of unanswerable internal questions?  Is it good enough?  Will anyone besides my mother like it? Or even want to read it?

I finally won out over my fears.  After spending two long years writing and rewriting, and editing, I published my first completed novel, Written in Blood, in July of 2016.  It is the first book in my Christian-based crime series, The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District.  While it has not won critical acclaim, it has garnered multiple 4 and 5 star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.

I am now ready to choke out those nagging questions and mixed emotions once again.  The second book in my series, Root of Evil, will be available by June 15th, on both Amazon and CreateSpace.  

Thanks, and happy reading.

Here's a few links (hope they work):

Thanks for having me on your blog.  You are most awesome!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Guardian Falls by R. Tran

A Guardian Falls

by author R. Tran

Genre: Fantasy

Book Blurb:

All looks bleak when Mara is forced to return home after her love’s brush with death. She only has one magical artifact and the army seems out of reach. The consequences should she fail or even succeed finally set in and Mara has doubts about everything.  There will be a war of blades and magic with Mara at the center, but Mara wonders if she has the strength to survive.


In the dim morning light, Mara heard voices in the distance too faint to understand. Bishop shifted below her, anxious for the coming battle. Mara pulled her cloak tighter against the chill air and damp drizzle as she waited for news of Laran’s army. A few of the horses behind her snorted their dislike of Drake’s swift approach.

“It’s just as we thought. Half his troops went south in an attempt to flank us and back us into the mountains, but the remainder are coming head on. It shouldn’t be long now. Is the shield in place?” Drake asked, looking off to the horizon.

“It has been since first light. Its constant hum is driving me crazy. Every fiber in my body longs to bring it down,” she informed him.

“You’ll be distracted soon enough,” Drake assured her.

Mara gave a forced smile. “I only want one man’s life. It’s a shame so many will have to die defending him.”

“I’m sure he’s saying the same thing.”

“He’s not on the battlefield. He’s locked away in the castle somewhere. I can feel it,” she spat annoyed at his cowardice. She looked to Drake. “How was Kess?”

“Worried about you. Don’t worry, you’ll see each other tonight,” Drake promised.

Mara looked up when a spell crashed into the shield above. Unsure of what was going on, Bishop sidestepped. Mara calmed him and he didn’t move when another spell crashed into the shield. Flames licked the shield overhead but rolled off like water on oiled canvas.

“What are they up to?” Drake asked, looking up as well.

“My guess is they’re trying to bring down the shield so they can kill us with magic.”

Drake gave her a weary look. He was all too familiar with magic. “Are you sure this will hold?”

“No, but it was created by magic far stronger than any they have,” Mara replied as blue lightning crackled over the shield’s surface. “They’re getting closer.”

Arrows darkened the sky in the distance. “The battle’s begun,” Drake said menacingly. He drew his sword with a mischievous grin and kicked his horse into a run. “See you tonight,” he called as he rode off. Mara drew a short sword and kicked Bishop into a run. The other men were at his heels. Everyone was eager to begin. The sooner it started, the sooner it would end.

Mara reined Bishop into a throng of men ahead of her. He eagerly rushed in and pushed men out of his way. She swung down on an enemy soldier successfully severing an artery. Blood sprayed out as he fell to the ground. She caught another squarely in the chest knocking him backwards. She barely had time to pull out her axe before he fell. Mara cut off a man’s hand as he raised it to swing at one of her soldiers.

As Mara pressed forward, a man lunged into her path. She instantly threw her axe and struck him in the chest. Mara heard the crunch of bone when it hit and the man sank to his knees gasping for air. Three men caught her by surprise and rushed toward her with the intent of dragging her off her horse. Mara wouldn’t have time to go around them.

Bishop, on the other hand, saw them and stopped suddenly. Rearing up, he kicked one man in the head on the way up and another in the chest on the way down. Mara formed a blue ball of flame and held it in her hand waiting to hurl it at the third when she landed. His eyes went wide when he saw the ball headed towards him.

Get this brand-new release as well as book one as a FREEBIE for a limited time:

June 12 – 16, 2017

Author Biography: R. Tran is a first-time author who started writing as therapy after losing her father at 16. Her first manuscript was finished 4 years later but sat around for years gathering dust before she had the courage to let someone read it. Sixteen years and many revisions later, what began as therapy is now a published novel.
Twenty years after her father's death she has a husband, two children, and a dog he never met.

Social Media Links:

twitter: @rtranbooks

email: (used for book promotions)

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Tale of Two Parrots by Chrys Cymri

A Tale of Two Parrots

The story of a second chance at love--and inspiration

By Chrys Cymri

If the smoke detector hadn’t gone faulty, Xander would not have died on Christmas Eve.

23 December 2015. A malfunction in my house’s alarm system had meant that every thirty minutes, for around ten minutes, an ear-splitting noise would spiral throughout the building. The alarm company, after trying to talk me through a fix over the phone, finally sent someone out. He cut the wires, advising me that the fault was irreparable and the unit would have to be replaced.

The four hours of aural hell had left me with a splitting headache. I let my green cheek conure out of her cage and started to get ready to cook my dinner. I popped into the next room to collect a magazine, and when I tried to shut the door, it caught on something. 

It only took a moment for me to realize that the ‘something’ had been my bird’s head. Xander flew onto a kitchen cabinet and made a noise of such distress that the air was sucked from my lungs. I could see that her head pained her. Only the next morning did I notice that the lower mandible of her beak had been shoved sideways. She couldn’t eat, and even drinking was difficult.

Finding a vet open on Christmas Eve was a challenge. The specialist avian practice was shut for the holidays. The general vet sent me home with a syringe and liquid hamster food (!). However, even when I managed to pin Xander down and squirt food into her beak, she coughed and gasped. The physical damage was just too great. So I arranged for a friend to drive me back to the vet. And I held my little bird while the vet gave my beloved bird the injection which would end her life.

Xander had been with me through so much. My divorce, a change in career, more house moves than any creature should have to face. She had given me a reason to smile on the darkest days. And now she was gone. I had her ashes incorporated into a small glass heart as I grieved.

This should have been a good time for me. After many years of writing fantasy novels, I had finally come up with a new series which beta readers loved. Xander had been the inspiration behind Morey, the small gryphon who accompanies the main character, Penny White. When I published the book, ‘The Temptation of Dragons’, I dedicated the novel to her. 

My life seemed empty. I was now living totally alone. There seemed no reason to return home from work. I knew that I had to share my life with a new companion, for my own sanity’s sake.

Since there are so many parrots looking for second chances, I started looking for a rescue bird. Through searching the web I found Tilly, a year old green cheek conure looking for a new home, and in March I collected her.

I was very nervous. I felt I had the experience to deal with whatever issues a rescue bird might have, but on the other hand, Xander had been so tame and trusting. And I’d had Xander from the age of three months old. Would this new bird and I be able to form a bond?

Things were a bit rocky to start with. I’d make assumptions which Tilly didn’t share! But I read up and employed clicker and target training, and taught her a number of tricks (including flighted recall). Our relationship grew from strength to strength. 

There were some adjustments to be made. I’d gone from a mature bird to a youngster! I went to the Think Parrots show and spent a small fortune on toys--Tilly becomes bored far more easily than Xander ever did. I bought a bigger cage and transitioned her to a different type of pellet diet. Unlike Xander, Tilly doesn’t really care for dried chilli pods, but she would sell her grandmother’s egg for a Nutriberry.

My new companion also influenced my next novel. Tilly is much cheekier than Xander, and her antics fed into the character of Clyde, the small snail shark who lives with Penny. 

A few days before Christmas, ‘Your memories on Facebook’ offered me a video I’d made of Xander. Watching her dance to my rendition of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ brought tears to my eyes. But then I lifted Tilly to the computer screen, and let her see the video. ‘That’s your sister,’ I told her. ‘And I love you both very much.’

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Crashing...RL Jackson

SUPER: “3:00 A.M
R.L, early 30-something sits at her computer desk and ponders the blank word document in front of her. A bead of sweat forms on her brow.

R.L sits at her computer desk, the scorching lamp shining on her face as she stares at the blank computer screen. A bead of sweat rolls down her brow. It’s three-o-clock in the morning and she sighed aloud, looking at the time in the lower right corner of her computer. She’d been sitting in her darkened living room for hours now not being able to sleep, but still not able to write anything either; the chalk white document in front of her still only showed the blinking cursor as evidence for her “writing”. Get it together, she thought, as she cracked her knuckles and placed her fingers on the keyboard.

Screenwriting and novel writing have special pros and cons of each, whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, or whether you’re making an indie film or shopping a script around to film houses. This is a topic that hits home for me being that I started my serious pursuit of professional writing with scripts before writing fiction novels. The process in hindsight for script writing is similar to manuscripts, but these are very different beasts. For me when I start any story idea, I watch it in my mind first. If I can’t imagine it in my own head, how will anyone else? Makes sense to me. After that I write detailed “story worlds” where I set the scene ( sleepy mariner town or a post-apocalyptic wasteland), then the characters I want to see (i love large ensemble casts), then I break all of that down further until I know  intimate details like, what each character’s favorite color is to what their favorite food choices may be.) When that’s said and done, I then write out my plot map and set up my “mini-movie” formula to ensure that I’m hitting the correct beats needed to keep things moving, interesting and full of suspense.
Once all of this has been plotted out, the fun really begins as words are either going to fly out of me and end up on the screen, or I’ll sit there without a clue as to what to write next. The same is true when I’m writing a manuscript as well. I plan and plot in a very similar way, but I have to think a lot more. In a script, the director and cinematographer will be able to build a set to show watchers the scene and the mood being conveyed. In novel writing, you have to actually be able to do that with words to immerse your reader, but also be clever about it too. No one wants to read three paragraphs on how good a banana tastes to the character, or how sunny the day was. You have to find a happy medium and that is where I ran into a lot of trouble at first.
With scripts, they want a fast page turner, 90-120 pages of pure entertainment, without any fuss. After being so used to writing like that, my first manuscript was pretty skinny, so instead of faking my way through it, I picked up some books and read. When I got the hang of how much description others used, it helped to open my mind up and be able to “show instead of tell”.  A lot of people think that phrase is only true for manuscripts but it’s not. In scripts, you are required to do the same, just less of it, which has its own challenges. I remember giving a script to a good friend of mine who is a pretty popular director right now, and he told me that the V.O’s (Voice over’s) I had in much of the script killed the story. He told me that the best scripts in this particular genre, did the showing, without needing the V.O’s at all, and made a bigger more dramatic impact. It blew me away and in that instance, I ended up with lots of short descriptions instead of actual dialogue, which made the suspense level go from 5 to 11 (on my imaginary suspense scale).  So you have to achieve the very same things in similar ways but follow very strict guidelines in a script. If a producer has an hour to kill but can’t get off page one in a minute or less, he/she probably won’t bother reading it unless it’s a “Lord of The Rings” caliber situation. The mechanics will depend essentially on what you’re writing and what the emotion is you’re trying to convey and knowing that with detailed outlines of your story will help you achieve it for both.
Script: Fast paced, little description, page turner, 90-120 pages
Novel: Fast paced, good descriptions, page turner, length is up to you
If you want to give scripts a try, get yourself some good software like Final Draft, or Writer Duet which is free. I’ve used both and when/if you are collaborating with a group, Writer Duet allows you to talk with your partner and see script changes in real-time. It also works for manuscripts written by author collaborations as well! Also, download some Hollywood scripts, a lot of them are free so you can get a feel for the format. It’s the same advice people give with fiction writing: Read your genre!
I say all this, not because I’m an expert, I am most certainly not, but to say to do your homework and research. Being an indie in either field requires a lot of hard work. I find being an indie author to be rewarding with the freedom and control but it’s no different from being an indie film-maker.I thought the vampire script market was saturated, lol! But I won’t despair, writing requires an audience or building one and if you want to take it seriously in either medium, you have to be a go-getter and have confidence in yourself and what you write. Don’t give up because something is hard or one person says something didn’t work for them. Find beta reader’s and editors, preferably recommended from other reputable authors in your circle.
SCRIPT- INDIE FILMMAKER: Have a good script, find funding, market, attract A-list talent (not as hard as you think), establish distribution, get paperwork in order, secure talent, film if all the stars align just right. (And none of this happens in order by the way. Sometimes you get talent with nothing but an idea and luck, or you have everything else and can’t find any recognizable talent interested, which doesn’t help distribution efforts. HARD WORK.)
NOVEL- INDIE WRITER: Have good manuscript, publish e-book, format for paperback, publish that, find fan base, market, advertise promote, watch rankings, social gatherings, social takeovers, launch parties, giveaways, discounts, write more, relevant blog posts, conferences, seminars, networking. ( No particular order other than a manuscript is needed before anything can get moving essentially and you still need money to do marketing. HARD WORK)
These look pretty similar and it is apparent that most of the work happens AFTER your masterpiece is completed or nearly completed. Neither is for the faint of heart as you can clearly see.
“Write, Publish, Edit, Repeat” is my motto. Emphasis on edit for both script and manuscript. Don’t put in months of hard work, to have it all mean nothing because you couldn’t afford an editor. Grammarly is free if that’s your only option and will point out lots of mistakes. Print your manuscript/script out chapter by chapter or scene by scene and read it. You will be surprised at the amount of mistakes you find and fix, and then even MORE surprised at how many your editor will find even after you’ve done all that. It’s worth every penny to put your best foot foreward. Again these are just my thoughts and experiences and not meant to be the definitive explanation of all things regarding either industry. I’m still learning everyday and I’m sure I have lots more to go.
All in all, I’ve enjoyed the journey of both and will continue my pursuit of story-telling no matter where it will lead: Oscar or NYT Best-seller list. A girl can dream, “write”?

Shared by the amazing RL Jackson! Check out her links!