Sunday, December 27, 2015
Today I'm highlighting Dead Witness, a crime fiction novel by Joylene Butler. Be glad you're not Valerie McCormick.
"Valerie McCormick is a wife and mother from small town Canada. While visiting Seattle, she becomes the only witness to the brutal seaside murder of two FBI agents. When she flees to the nearest police station to report the crime, she becomes caught up in a web of international intrigue and danger. Suddenly, she and her family are in the sights of ruthless criminals bent on preventing her from testifying against the murderer. Even with FBI protection, Valerie is not safe. Whisked away from her family and all that is familiar to her, Valerie fights back against the well-intentioned FBI to ultimately take control over her life with every ounce of fury a mother can possess."
Amazon Buy Page:
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Today I'm highlighting a short story by Madeleine McLaughlin. It's a piece of dark fiction called The Mountain City Bronzes, which I've read twice already. Check it out.
"When Kevin learns of his mountain town's evil past, he must struggle to understand his father's part in it and how it affects himself."
Amazon Buy Page:
Monday, December 21, 2015
Today I'm highlighting Eric Price's young adult fantasy novel, Unveiling the Wizards' Shroud. It's the first book in the Saga of the Wizards series and was awarded Best First Novel in 2014 by Literary Classics.
"As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician–the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.
Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle–where much has happened in the days since they departed."
Amazon Buy Page:
Friday, December 18, 2015
Today I'm highlighting Hemphill Towers, a romance suspense novel by Leona Pence.
"Riley Saunders has her dream job. As an art director at a leading advertising agency, she works every day with her two best friends, Stella and Birdie. All three have been assigned to ensure that the Grand Opening of the Peterson Art Museum is nothing short of a success.
When a girls' night out at a hot new Italian restaurant ends with a spilled bottle of wine, it sets in motion a series of events that leaves Stella and Birdie caught up in whirlwind romances, and Riley fearing for her life at the hands of a deranged stalker. But, when the handsome museum curator, Trent Peterson, learns of her situation, he vows to keep her safe.
In a quick-paced tale of fine art, wine forgery, and the Russian Mafia, Riley and her friends soon discover their pursuit of love will require them to expose a crime, thwart a murder, and trust the one thing that has never failed them…their friendship."
Amazon Buy Page:
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Today I'm highlighting the above book by Kerry Crowley. It's a cute, comical book for children and adults alike.
"You’d think eleven-year old rich kid, Marcus Fleming, has it made, but he doesn’t. He often feels like a disappointment, struggling to live up to his dad’s high standards. One day, Marcus holds open a door for a very sickly-looking man. The thanks he gets is a sneeze that covers him in thick green slime. Marcus soon discovers that this slime has given him the ability to shoot radioactive mucus out of his mouth and nose. After fine-tuning his abilities, he dubs himself the superhero, Mucus Phlegmball, but is determined to keep his powers a secret. When mutant squirrels threaten the town, Marcus feels compelled to step up, but worries he can’t handle it alone. He reveals his secret to his best friend, Chunk, and to Dr B., the sickly scientist who sneezed on him, and they agree to work together. Through radioactive snot-filled time traveling adventures, Marcus is continually challenged and faces many of his fears. Can this insecure young man summon the courage to handle the responsibility of being a super hero?"
Amazon Buy Page:
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Today I'm highlighting a young adult/teen novel by M.P. Ward. Sam and The Sea Witch was a great read and is currently available from Amazon and other online retailers.
"Sam and the Sea Witch is a dark, mysterious, and psychologically gripping tale about a boy who lives in a Cornish seaside town. It contains a background of myth and legend, within the Cornish setting, which makes Sam’s story highly atmospheric.
Fourteen year old Sam Camponara is used to getting into trouble; in fact he enjoys the buzz. So when his best friend, Johnny, tells him an old tale about The Sea Witch, Sam sees an opportunity for adventure. But sailing the stolen boat off the Cornish coast in the middle of the night goes terribly wrong and the sea witch turns out to be horribly real. Keeping Johnny as hostage, the sea witch tells Sam he has until the next new moon to find and deliver her missing pendant, lost fifty years earlier. But will he be able to find the pendant in time, will anyone believe Sam’s wild story, and does he even believe it himself?"
Amazon Buy Page:
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Today I'm highlighting a science fiction action/adventure romance novel by Margaret Fieland. Rob's Rebellion releases on December 22, and you can learn more about it via the links and information below.
"Colonel Rob Walker always does his duty, even when it means risking shaky relationship with his family. When he's ordered to bring the treaty negotiations between the Terran Federation and the Aleyni to a successful conclusion, he's determined to do just that, even when both sides would rather he fail. How can Rob pull off a miracle and avoid a war, one where both sides could be destroyed?"
Amazon Buy Page:
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Today I'm highlighting a tween action adventure novel by fellow MuseItUp author Sherry Alexander. This piece of historical fiction is set in the U.S. Southwest during the 19th century and has a very interesting premise.
"Thirteen-year-old Jake Thrasher’s mother is dead, and the only clues left by the beast that killed her are a few strands of red hair and a set of plate-sized tracks. When his Army Scout father refuses to hunt it down, Jake takes matters into his own hands. Leaving the safety of his small ranch, Jake follows a sparse trail through an inhospitable desert filled with snakes, wolves, grizzlies, renegade Apache, and the ever-present threat of death. Will he find his Red Ghost? Or, will he succumb to the inherent dangers?"
Saturday, November 28, 2015
This is book one in the Hekate's Web series by Kat Holmes. I read this book and really enjoyed it. A link to my review is below. If you like fantasy with steamy romance, check out Kat's books.
Kat's Amazon Page:
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Hell is for the Hopeless...
Laura Raylan's father wanted connections he could use. So it's no surprise he coerced his daughter into marrying a well-known federal agent. But only months into their marriage, the doors to Hell itself opened up as Laura's new husband revealed his true nature. Corruption, infidelity, and rape were only the tip of the iceberg, as a young woman, tied to an abusive spouse, entered a world of torment, pain, and blood. Her spirit broken and her body shattered, she must make a choice to save her children that could cost Laura her life.
And here's the trailer I promised.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
A fellow author and friend of mine will be releasing her new book, Soul in Hell, this week. It reads like fiction but, unfortunately, is very real and based on true events. It details the horrific times she (and her children) experienced as the result of her ex-husband. Once the book is ready for release, which should be any day now, I will post a link to the trailer. I worked on the trailer myself, and I hope people will feel the emotion of it and give this book a read. I will also be holding a giveaway with a chance to win a copy of the book.
Monday, November 9, 2015
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Below is a children's flash fiction story that I recently wrote, and I loved doing it. It takes place in the Middle Ages and has a little historical fiction thrown in. Let me know what you think.
By Kevin Hopson
“What’s your business here, young lady?” a male asked, blocking the girl’s way.
Dismounting her horse and standing in front of an archway that led to the inner kingdom, she inspected the man. His metal helmet covered both head and nose, and the girl looked into the man’s narrow, brown eyes before answering.
“I would like to see Lord Foster,” she said.
A chuckle followed, the man’s gray beard barely moving as he contained his laughter. “Is that all?” He paused. “You and everyone else in this land.” Holding the butt of a spear against the ground and resting his other hand on top of a sheathed sword anchored to his waist belt, the man’s posture began to ease. “And your name?”
“Candace.” She hesitated. “I’m no ordinary person either.”
The man grinned. “Clearly.”
“No, really. I’m a knight.” Candace wore pants, boots, and a leather top. While it was uncommon for a girl to dress like this, it still didn’t make her look the part of a knight.
“Is that so?” Candace detected a heavy dose of sarcasm in his voice. “I didn’t realize female knights existed… and such young ones at that.”
Several roosters and hens darted behind Candace, temporarily distracting her. “I’m not that young,” she said, facing him again. “I’m thirteen, and I come from the town of Tortosa. Several of us defended the town against a Moor attack earlier in the spring. In honor of our actions, Count Berenger knighted us.”
The man’s eyes tightened, and he lifted a hand to his chin. “I recall hearing about that.”
“Then you’ll let me in?”
He shook his head. “Any outsider could lay claim to your story. Even if you’re telling the truth, no one sees Lord Foster without an appointment.”
Looking back in the direction from which she had come, Candace noticed two trails of dirt. Left by the constant coming and going of wagon wheels, the path eventually disappeared into a nearby forest. She stared out into the trees, contemplating her next words.
“Can you give him a message?” she asked.
“I’m a guard,” he said, “not a messenger.” Candace gazed at him, refusing to flinch, and the man eventually shrugged. “I can’t guarantee anything, but what would you have me say to him?”
Candace kept her mouth closed, afraid to speak her mind. She wondered if there was a more delicate way of phrasing it. After further debate, she decided to remain silent.
“I wouldn’t want to insult him,” she said.
“He’s not easily offended. If you wish to say something, say it now. My willingness to help is quickly dwindling.”
“What’s your name?”
The guard seemed confused, and he took some time before answering. “Why do you ask?”
“I feel it’s only courteous to get the name of the man who is kind enough in assisting me.”
He stuttered for a few seconds. “Delmer,” he finally said.
“Thank you for helping me, Delmer.”
His face stiffened. “That’s still in doubt.”
Candace nodded. “My apologies.”
“Your apology is accepted, but please get on with it. My patience is wearing thin.”
Though continuing to fear the impact of her words, Candace spit them out before Delmer could grow more irritated. “Why does he ignore the people of Tortosa?”
“That might have been a poor choice of words.”
“I would agree,” Delmer said.
“He offers help to many towns.”
“The entire land,” he specified.
“Yet our town sees very little of this.”
“How do you mean?”
“While others receive food, water, and shelter, Tortosa does not.”
“Lord Foster does not neglect anyone. He provides what is necessary for each town to survive.”
“You’re saying we don’t need any of these things?”
“Not at all, but perhaps you already have them.”
Candace pondered. What does he mean by that?
“I can see you’re puzzled,” Delmer said. “Do you know what Tortosa has that most of the remaining land does not?” Candace shook her head. “Think.” She tried, but nothing came to mind. “Fertile soil,” he said. “An abundance of trees and water sources as well. Why do you think the Moors tried to attack you?”
It made sense to her, but outside of her home, Candace knew very little of the land other than what she had heard from others. “I see your point, but aren’t we entitled to something? Even with our resources, we have many challenges. Instead of sending us barrels of earthworms, why not send us something useful?”
“What do your people do with them?”
Candace shrugged. “How should I know?”
“Tell me this then. What is your family’s profession?”
“My father is a blacksmith.”
“Do you know anything of farming?”
“A little,” Candace said. “We have a small plot of land but typically buy food from others… the larger landowners who run the farms.”
“Then you depend on these people?”
“And they rely heavily on the earthworms.”
She had no idea what Delmer was talking about. “They do?”
Delmer nodded. “The worms enrich the soil, making it easier for plants and crops to grow.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“But now you do. Next time you see a farmer, ask them how important the worms are to their land. I bet you’ll think differently about Lord Foster’s contribution to your town.”
Candace blushed, wanting to eat her words. She climbed atop her horse and looked back, saying one last thing to Delmer before riding off.
“Tell Lord Foster that the town of Tortosa thanks him.”
© Kevin Hopson 2015
Saturday, October 31, 2015
“Is he in there?” Chuck asked.
Luis couldn’t see the mouth of the cave anymore, but that was by choice. He hid behind Chuck and Catsandra. After finding out who Barry was, Luis wanted no part in disturbing him.
“How I am supposed to know?” Catsandra said. “It’s dark.”
The brisk morning breeze caused Luis to shiver. Unfortunately for him, it proved to be the least of his worries. A roar from behind sent the dog jumping, forcing him face-first into Catsandra. As he turned to look, an enormous black beast stood in front of them, its breath outlined in the cool, damp air.
“There he is,” Catsandra said, her tone casual and calm.
Luis felt just the opposite. He couldn’t stop shaking.
The bear laughed. “Sorry, little one,” he said, apparently speaking to Luis. “I can never pass up an opportunity to scare someone.”
“Oh.” It was all Luis could muster at first. “No problem.”
Though the Chihuahua expressed relief, the sheer size of Barry still intimidated him.
“Are you busy?” Catsandra asked.
“It’s that time of year,” Barry said. “Of course I am.” He paused. “Why? Is there something you need?”
Catsandra stared at the dog. “Luis here is looking for a friend. He’s on his way to see Reagle.”
“He could use some muscle in the event he runs into trouble.”
“I see. It’s a bad time, though. I’m fattening up for the winter months, and I’ll be hibernating soon.”
“Oh, right,” she said. “I forgot about that.” Catsandra pondered for a while before continuing. “I have an idea.”
“You often do, Cat. I’m listening.”
“It’s only a day’s hike, and there’s a lot of vegetation in the foothills. You’ll be back in a couple of days, and you can have your fill along the way.”
Luis watched as Barry’s eyes narrowed. “You make a good point,” the bear said.
“If it matters at all, I’ll be going as well,” Catsandra said.
Those words astonished Luis, and he found comfort in the cat’s decision. “Thank you.”
“What about you, Chuck?” Barry asked. “You’re in the same situation as me. Won’t you be hibernating soon?”
“My burrow is ready for the winter,” he said. “A few days won’t matter.”
Luis thought of something, but he hesitated to speak. After deliberating for a few seconds, he posed a question. “I don’t know much about bears, but don’t you typically eat animals like… Chuck?”
Barry’s shoulders bobbed from amusement. “A fair question, little one. Most bears might, but not me.”
“I’m a vegetarian.”
“Yeah,” Chuck said. “Do you think I would have tagged along otherwise?”
© Kevin Hopson 2015
Friday, October 30, 2015
Catsandra settled near the entrance as Luis rested snug against the interior wall. The cat’s home was nothing more than a huge rock, at least at first glance. Jutting several feet above the ground, the strange formation resembled the bottom of a large tree that had been uprooted and pushed on its side. Parts of the rock were hollow, offering shelter to some of the forest’s inhabitants.
“How long have you lived here?” Luis asked.
“A long time,” Catsandra said, staring into the night. Light from the full moon helped illuminate the forest, some of the rays making their way inside. “Most of my life,” she added.”
“All by yourself?”
The cat bobbed her head. “I’ve never had family. None that I can remember, anyway.” Luis couldn’t imagine his life without Kendell, and he felt sorry for Catsandra despite the fact he hardly knew her. “That’s not really true,” she interrupted.
“Not having family.”
“So you do?”
“They’re all around me. The forest, I mean.” She pondered before continuing. “Still, it would be nice to know where I came from… who my parents were… if I had any siblings.”
Luis could relate. He knew his parents and siblings only briefly before being shipped off to another home. However, he did know them, and he loved his new family more than anything else in the world.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Where are my manners? Are you hungry?”
The dog hadn’t thought much about it given the day’s events. “I guess I could eat something.”
“What do you normally eat?”
“Obviously, but what type of food is that?”
Luis wasn’t sure how to respond. “I don't know what it is, but Kendell feeds it to me every day.”
“Have you ever eaten a mouse? I’m sure I can fetch you one.”
“Uh.” The thought of it disgusted Luis, but he didn’t want to insult Catsandra. “I don’t think I have.”
“They’re even easier to catch at night,” she said.
“Don’t bother,” Luis replied, sounding a little too desperate. “What I mean is that I’m not really that hungry.”
“Okay, but let me know if you change your mind.”
Luis nodded. “I will. Thanks.”
“I was thinking,” Catsandra said.
“Tomorrow. If you’re going to find Reagle, it might be wise to bring along some company.”
Catsandra seemed to be hinting at something, but Luis didn’t want to put her on the spot. “You think so?”
“There’s someone I know who might be able to help. His name is Barry.”
Though surprised with her response, Luis didn’t give any indication of it. “What does he do?”
“He can offer protection. As kind as these woods are to me, they can be very dangerous, too.”
“He lives just a few minutes from here. We can visit in the morning before heading out.”
“How else will you find him?”
“Of course,” Luis said, feeling somewhat embarrassed. A rustling in the woods distracted him.
“I saw you coming a mile away,” Catsandra said.
Moving into the light, Chuck appeared. “I’d like to go.”
© Kevin Hopson 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
With his ears pinned back, Luis trembled like only a Chihuahua could. His feet left the ground, and the dog gazed down, the rough and unforgiving touch of something unknown lifting him higher and higher. Finally, an object came into view, but it was nothing like he had seen before.
“Hello,” the creature said.
Too nervous to bark, Luis whined in response, his survival instincts eventually kicking in. He attempted to howl but something else escaped his mouth.
“Please,” Luis said, shocking himself.
“I’m sorry,” the creature said. “I’ve scared you, haven’t I?”
Just like the prior word Luis spoke, this one was equally unexpected. “Yes.” He paused. “I… can… talk.”
Luis realized he was being held by a branch, several ends of the limb coiling around him like fingers. The face in the tree stared back at him.
“Sometimes curiosity gets the best of me,” the tree said. “I’m Oakley.”
The dog thought about what he wanted to say, and his mouth did the rest. “Luis.”
“Nice to meet you, Luis.” Oakley lowered him to the ground.
“Where am I?”
“The forest,” Oakley replied.
Luis hesitated. “Yes, but what forest?”
The tree shrugged. “It doesn’t have a name. It’s just a forest.”
Confused, Luis looked over his shoulder, skeptical of what he saw. “Where did the tunnel go?”
“I came through a tunnel. It’s how I got here.”
“There’s no tunnel in that direction,” Oakley said. “Just miles of woodlands.” He wavered for a moment. “I have to say, though, that you came out of nowhere. I didn’t notice you until you were nearly beside me.”
Movement in one of Oakley’s branches startled Luis, the tree seeming to sense the alarm on his face.
“That’s just Catsandra,” Oakley said. “She won’t harm you.”
An orange, gray, and white-striped cat jumped to the ground, the dry leaves crumbling beneath its weight. Catsandra eyed Luis with her glowing green irises, keeping a stern face and refusing to speak. Luis swallowed. If lucky, the four-pound Chihuahua was half the size of the full-grown cat, but even that was a generous assessment. Luis paid her no mind and turned back to Oakley.
“I’m looking for a boy,” Luis said.
“A boy?” Oakley inquired. “A human?”
“Who is he?”
“His name is Kendell.”
“And he’s your friend?”
“My best friend,” Luis replied.
Oakley breathed out, some of the nearby leaves moving from the gentle breeze. “Wow. It’s been ages since I last saw a human.”
Those words deflated Luis. “Then you haven’t seen him?”
“I’m afraid not. However, if you’re trying to find someone in these parts, Reagle has probably seen them.”
“Yes,” Oakley said. “He lives in the foothills.”
“And how do I get there?”
“North… in the direction you were already headed.”
“It’s a day’s hike,” Catsandra chimed in, speaking for the first time. Her voice was much kinder than Luis had anticipated. “You’re better off heading out in the morning.”
As Luis contemplated the cat’s advice, Oakley let out a scream. The dog jumped back, noticing a furry, brown animal biting into the tree’s bark.
“Chuck,” Oakley yelled. “How many times have I told you? Chew on Woody over there and not me.”
“Sorry,” the woodchuck said. “Sometimes I can’t tell you trees apart, especially this time of the day.”
“Hey,” a voice called out in the distance. Luis assumed it was Woody. “Why are you always picking on me?”
“Who’s Woody?” Luis asked.
“My cousin,” Oakley answered. “He’s a lot bigger than me, so he can afford to lose some bark.”
“I heard that,” Woody shouted.
Luis watched as the last traces of daylight crept through the trees.
“Evening will soon come,” Catsandra said. “You’re welcome to stay with me if you’d like.”
© Kevin Hopson 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
I've considered doing this several times in the past, and now I'm happy to finally go through with it. Each week (maybe more frequently) I will be posting a new chapter of this story as a "free read" for everyone. It won't be finely tuned and heavily edited liked my other books. However, as long as you can deal with that fact, I'll continue to churn it out. Without further delay, here is the first chapter of Kendell & Luis.
With a leash hanging from both sides of his mouth, Luis looked up at the garage door. The orange Chihuahua fixed his gaze on the knob, waiting for the protruding metal piece to turn. Kendell almost always arrived on time, and Luis never ceased to be excited. Their walks together highlighted the dog’s day.
Continuing to grip the harness with his teeth, Luis let out a light whimper. Other than Kendell being a little late, something that occurred every now and then, there was no real reason for concern. However, the dog’s intuition told him otherwise. More times than not, Luis’ gut proved to be right and – for whatever reason – he feared the worst this day.
The metal clasp of the leash knocked against the hardwood floor as Luis relinquished his grip, gently resting it beside the door. He darted out of the kitchen, making his way down the hallway foyer toward the front of the house. Kendell rarely used the main entrance, but the built-in dog door allowed Luis to come and go freely during the day. Putting his head through the flap, he searched the cul-de-sac for any sign of the boy.
A chilly, autumn breeze blasted Luis in the face and trickled through his mane. The Chihuahua possessed a medium coat, which provided warmth in the winter time and a higher tolerance for heat during the summer. Extreme temperatures seldom bothered Luis, though. In fact, the sight in front of him stirred more anxiety than any weather phenomena could.
Pushing through the door, Luis examined the street from the front steps. The sky was gray and the cul-de-sac empty. Several of the neighbors had kids the same age as Kendell, and they were typically out playing this time of the day, yet the neighborhood was unusually quiet.
Luis trotted down the steps and across the driveway to a small patch of grass. He often did his business here but was more interested in the sidewalk adjacent to it. The walkway descended a small hill, disappearing into a tunnel that went beneath the nearby road. It’s the path he and Kendell took each day during their walk. Luis didn’t know why, but he felt an urge to go in that direction.
Kendell loved the playground on the other side of the tunnel, so perhaps he had chosen to go on his own. Luis picked up the pace, the steep slope forcing his tiny legs to move furiously. When he arrived at the bottom of the hill, Luis hesitated. The tunnel, with cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and some of the overhead lights blown out, wasn’t as inviting without Kendell at his side.
“Luis,” a soft voice said, echoing in front of him.
Luis immediately recognized it. He could never mistake Kendell’s voice. Barking, the dog ran to the opposite end and exited the tunnel, but no one was there. The daylight around him began to fade. Luis looked back in the direction from which he came, the light appearing much brighter in the distance. Scared, Luis turned to head home, but something grabbed him before he could flee.
© Kevin Hopson 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
My novelette Delivering Jacob, which was released on October 13 by MuseItUp Publishing, is now available in all formats (eBook, print and audiobook). This story was inspired by personal tragedy and all proceeds will go to two charities... St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which is an organization that helps support parents who have experienced infant
Delivering Jacob Amazon Page
Delivering Jacob Amazon Page