AMuse News! Keep up with the happenings at our Publishing House -- new releases, upcoming books, signings, readings, calls for submissions; it will all be here for you to see. Subscribe to our RSS feed.
|Posted on July 16, 2014 at 10:50 PM||comments (0)|
It’s finally here! This is the day we’ve been planning for… weeks of planning!
We were tired of never ‘really’ meeting out authors, of communicating through emails, messages, IM, phone calls… it has been too impersonal, and we just don’t like that. It’s the curse of the small publisher, but we are about to change that!!
We want you to see how… for lack of a better word, ‘wonderful’ we are. More to the point, though, we want you to get to know our authors, where they come from, what they are like in real life, and what makes them tick. To this end, we are inviting you along on our trip. It’s an e-road trip on e-roads with a lot of e-mishaps along the way. Embrace your inner Bambi, buckle up, click the link, and come along. It’s going to be one crazy ride.
|Posted on June 24, 2014 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Writers AMuse Me is thrilled to announce the opening of their US division, located in sunny, beautiful Bemidji, Minnesota! It's a big step for us, to be in two countries, so we wanted to celebrate by showing off our incredibly talented authors and playwrights, and by giving away some free books.
To celebrate the growth of Writers AMuse Me, and the opening of our US location, we invite you to participate in the revealing of our new corporate slogan!
Visit all our authors’ websites and/or blogs and search for the blue letter hidden there. You will know them when you see them. When you have them all, unscramble the letters to form our new corporate slogan, send in your answer to email@example.com along with the WAMM book you would like to read, in what digital format you would like it and the address we can email it to. If you are one of the first one hundred to get the slogan correct, we will send you a free e-copy. All correct entries will then be put in a draw to win an additional three books of their choice, in the format of their choice, including print.
Be sure to use all the letters collected. Some are duplicated because they show up more than once in the answer.
Only one free book per person, other than for the Grand Prize winner.
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
1st word – John Lennon song (7 characters)
2nd word – cereal (4 characters)
3rd word – boundless (10 characters)
Contest runs from June 25th to June 30th, 2014.
Good luck, have fun, and thank you for supporting Writers AMuse Me!
|Posted on May 26, 2014 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
IT'S RELEASE WEEK!
We have paranormal novel, Enter Eternity by Honey Boudreaux, a family saga romance with Sentimental Journey from Shakey Smith, and a literary novel From Time To Eternity by Mary Cote, all hitting shelves on Thursday, May 29th!
For Jillian it was just another day at the beach until she saw a young boy caught in an undertow. One minute she was battling the current and waves, holding on to the boy. The next minute, she was confronted by rows of doors. As she passed through them, she entered a different life she had lived -- a Native American, a slave on a southern plantation, an executioner in France... with each door she learned more about herself, and she saw how intricately our lives are woven together. Enter Eternity is Honey's second novel!
Cy and Stevie Joy are about to celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary. As they prepare for the big day, amid the chaos of family life and family strife, they each wander through old memories of their first days together, and worry that 'their day' could result in the biggest ballroom brawl ever. Sentimental Journey is 6th novel in the Dupees of Gray County Stories series by Shakey Smith, and one you will not forget.
Wyatt Cresswell wakes up on November 1st, convinced he is never going to experience another November 1st in his life. There is no reason for him to think this, but the notion is enough to propel him out of his long list of fears and neuroses. With the help of his best friend Dylan, he realizes now is the time to fulfil a dream -- to go to Italy, but first, Dylan insists they go someplace far from Wyatt's comfort zone -- Haiti. In the still-remaining wreckage of Haiti, perhaps a metaphor for Wyatt's life, he finds both death and life, despair and hope, and a reason to go on living. His experiences on the island make him see classic, historic Italy in a new life. In essence, From Time to Eternity is a 50-year-old coming of age story.
All three books will be available in digital and print formats in most on-line bookstores. Click the covers to learn more about each book!
|Posted on May 20, 2014 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
AND THE WINNERS ARE...
We were thrilled to receive the news late yesterday that not one, not two, but THREE of our books had been chosen as finalists in the NIEA Indie Excellence Awards for 2014.
Congratulations to Tony Walkden for his second award for his book With A Dying Breath. He also was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards last year. This book was truly a labor of love, as Tony does not keep one penny of his royalties -- they are all donated to the IUCN and to the Kamloops Wildlife Park to help continue the work to protect and preserve nature. He is already started on his next book, and it should be on the shelves early next year.
Congratulations to DeeJay Arens, who has now won three awards for The View From A Rusty Train Car. Last year, his book was a finalist in the ForeWord Review Book of the Year Awards and was the winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. He will now add a finalist medallion for the NIEA Indie Excellence Awards to his cover. (If he keeps this up, we will have to get him a bigger cover!) DeeJay will be attending Book Expo America in New York this year, promoting his book as a result of his other wins.
Congratulations to Mary Cote, whose military fiction Trip Anderson, USMC: The Road Less Travelled has also been awarded finalist status in the NIEA Indie Excellence Awards. This novel is awaiting final adjudication in the ForeWord Review Book of the Year Awards, where it is currently a finalist. We will be hearing at the end of June if the book has advanced any further.
We are incredibly proud and truly blessed with a complete roster of amazing authors. Congrats to all our winners. Check out the shiny new cover bling!
|Posted on March 31, 2014 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
What better way is there for us to celebrate our
WAMMiversary than to kick open the doors on our shiny, new Plays store. Yes, we
are publishing plays, and it has been an incredible journey so far. Our
playwrights bring so much to the table – they are, every one of them,
brilliant. Their talent is evident on every page. The range is magnificent –
melodrama, comedy, drama, social commentary, slapstick (not all in one play!)
We have fashionistas, talking furniture, dead lovers, discovered lovers, romance,
distraught teachers, high school reunions, the plight of a mentally challenged
young woman, and God, in one-act and full length plays.
We are tickled to present to you our playwrights – Tom Swimm, Don Grimme, Joseph P. Krawczyk, Paul Barile, Marc Holland, Kathy Holland, Mike Davis, DeeJay Arens, Steve Saari and Mary Cote... and this is just the beginning.
When we took on the challenge of adding plays to our roster, we did it because we wanted to see the playwrights get paid for every script sold (no, traditionally, they are not). We wanted to make plays more accessible and available to schools and community groups, and we wanted to allow the production organizations to have a chance to promote their work by including video rights in the contracts. We also wanted to take the step toward digitalizing the world of play production, because a smaller carbon footprint is always a good thing. We bundle the packages in both print and digital form, making them even more affordable, and providing them in whatever format best works for the actors.
The next step? Well, musicals of course. Plans are already underway to bring full length musical plays to you, so please stay tuned to further announcements.
For now, please join us in welcoming our playwrights to the WAMM family.
|Posted on February 18, 2014 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE
by Barbara Townsend
Bones have been discovered in the art studio kiln at Wyoming's Colter State College. Campus police dismiss the discovery as a prank but Lariat reporter Jennifer Roby isn't convinced. Haunted by memories of her mother, guided by the experienced voices of her father and grandfather, and hampered by just about everyone on campus, she continues to look into the tasteless joke for her college newspaper article. Disappearing students and freak accidents add to her determination to prove that there is more to the story -- then the local coroner confirms Jenn's suspicions about the bones. An impending visit from the President of the United States makes it that much more difficult to get the answers she needs. She must find someone who will believe her as she puts the pieces together, she needs to work quickly before the paper is shut down in an effort to silence her, and she has to make sure she doesn't become the next victim in this conspiracy and cover-up. How high up on the college administrative ladder will Jenn have to go in order to expose a killer?
'In these pages, you will meet gutsy Wyoming people you will admire and enjoy spending time with. But watch out! You will also encounter some despicable folks you can’t turn your back on. Nor will you want to. The murder on the mythical campus engrosses the reader from the opening page until the end as timeless themes of greed and power compete with integrity and honor. I only hope that this will not be the last Jennifer Roby mystery we see from the author.' ~ Marjane Ambler, Yellowstone Has Teeth, a memoir about living year round in the world's first national park.
'The only thing more fun than a Western cozy mystery is one set on a college campus, a small world where anything can happen. In Clear and Convincing Evidence, Barbara Townsend sends her savvy young heroine to solve a campus murder then ensnares the campus art community, campus police, and even the top administration. All this, with only the First Amendment, her dad and grandpa, and the spirit of Walter Cronkite to light her way.' ~ Julianne Couch, Traveling the Power Line
'Clear and Convincing Evidence by Barbara Townsend is a compelling and suspenseful read. It is a must for anyone interested in the integrity of information that is furnished to the public and the journalists that struggle to provide the truth.' ~ Susan Layman, South Pass City and the Sweetwater Mines
“You are so cranky when you’re blond.” Hannah laughed with caution, and hoped her teasing would lighten Jake’s dark mood. His natural blond roots overpowered his black dyed hair.
He was the class jokester, a self-effacing quip at the ready, but today his melancholy bordered on despair. His eyelids were puffy like he’d been crying. The stark difference concerned Hannah.
Jake said nothing. Instead, he focused on unbolting the door to the car kiln, an outdoor ceramics furnace the size of a walk-in closet. He pulled hard on the monkey wrench to break loose the bolt securing the door to the kiln’s exterior frame. The teeth slipped off the rounded head. A crescent of knuckle skin smeared across the abrasive surface. Jake clenched his fist and managed not to curse.
She held her breath as Jake groaned, cradling his scraped fist. His trembling hands couldn’t hide the chewed ebony-polished fingernails. She averted her eyes as the unofficial leader of Colter State College’s artistic world blinked back tears.
Jake gulped the chilling air before grabbing the wrench. The wind blew harder. Rotted leaves from last year swirled in chunky vortices in the courtyard’s corners behind the studio. A few snowflakes shot across the yard like tiny white darts; the points of ice stung Hannah’s face.
The winter-like winds raged strong in Colter, funneled by the Wind River Mountains to the west. Dark clouds from the fast-approaching series of snowstorms obscured the granite peaks that loomed beyond the campus treetops.
The storms also distracted Hannah’s fellow students. They had chattered more about the dirt and snow blowing horizontally past the studio’s massive windows than about the clay on their throwing wheels.
Earlier, in the middle of class, Professor Alexandra Redgrave had announced that the car kiln had been fired on Sunday and was now cool enough to unload. Who would volunteer to unload it? At the hesitant silence, Alex prodded. “Everyone has to take their turn.”
Hannah had said nothing; she unloaded the kiln last time. This time she wanted to make the clay on the throwing wheel submit to her will. Yet, every mound of clay she tried to coax into a bowl spun itself into a lop-sided globule. She recalled Alex’s caution on the first day of class: ‘Some days you just can’t do anything, and it’s best to quit for the day.’ Hannah sighed and raised her hand.
Across from Hannah’s wheel, Jake had been quiet and seemed particularly distracted. Every vase or bowl he threw ended up as a mangled clump. He volunteered.
“Tiffany, you too,” Alex said. Students in earshot of her command watched Tiffany’s reaction. She sat at the worktable at the far end of the room, away from the rows of throwing wheels. She looked away from Alex and continued her sketching.
Hannah silently cheered Alex’s pointed directive while she cleaned her wheel and slid her toolbox on the assigned shelf. Maintaining a ceramics studio entailed myriad chores. When Alex called for volunteers, Tiffany never offered or simply disappeared when expected to help.
“Oh.” Alex held up both hands to get the students’ attention. “I hate to tell you this, but Carmen reported problems with the car kiln.”
Those problems meant their work could be ruined. Students stopped to stare with apprehension at Alex. She had their full attention.
“Apparently the gas line had some sort of blockage. The temp didn’t get nearly as high as we needed. Remember, we wanted cone seven, around twenty-two hundred degrees. Carmen couldn’t tell what temp the kiln reached. It’s not likely we’ll get the stoneware we expected. There’s no telling what we’ll get.”
At the students’ groans and complaints she held up her hands, palms out, in acknowledgment. “I know, I know. I have pieces in the kiln too. The glaze may be dull, but we can refire them. Don’t despair. Some pieces may be just fine. I’ve already called maintenance to fix the gas line.”
Jake spun the last bolt from the door. He gripped the door’s edge and slowly tugged open the kiln. Hannah thought of it as a cabinet containing a giant drawer. It had no back or sides and slid on parallel rails. On the floor, removable posts supported a tower of shelves that held the pottery. She tensed for a possible collapse. If the shelves weren’t balanced, the fall would crunch artwork, ruining hours of effort.
With the drawer open, Jake and Hannah moved alongside to gaze at the ceramic pieces. She always enjoyed that first look: the surprise of unexpectedly beautiful art or the utter disappointment of a sagging or an exploded piece that destroyed its neighbors.
The top shelf displayed vases and bowls with dull finishes. The two students silently began to stack the pieces in their arms. The ceramics were still warm. The heat felt good against Hannah’s cold, stiff hands. She didn’t dare wear gloves for fear someone’s work would slip from her grasp and shatter on the ground.
She paused to hear the tiny ‘ting’ of the cooling and contracting pieces. A delicate melody emanated from the studio shelves. The small sound always lightened her heart. The pieces were not just inanimate objects for utility or aesthetics; they were alive and had a soul. ‘Life’s little pleasures,’ she told herself.
She and Jake made trip after trip into the studio, restacking the bowls and vases on the silt-smeared metal shelves. Her bowls had a matte finish. At least her dull pieces could be refired to the necessary higher temperature to attain the preferred coating.
“Is it unloaded?” The irritant in Hannah’s ceramic life walked toward the kiln, leaned against it to look inside, and seemed to pout with disappointment.
No, you little simp. Neither Hannah nor Jake answered. She recalled the first day of class when the uninspiring blob named Tiffany was quick to inform everyone about how her parents owned two successful art galleries, one in Denver, Colorado, and one in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. During the semester, she often spoke of the latest hot artist they represented. Within days of Tiffany’s initial pronouncement, Hannah and her classmates figured out that her parents’ talent had skipped a generation.
Tiffany moved in slow motion as she picked up two bowls. Every student was careful to not break another student’s piece, but Tiffany moved at a sloth’s pace to the studio.
If you move any slower, pigeons will land on your head.
“What is with all this ash on everything?” Hannah puffed on a couple bowls and waved the thin cloud away. “Have you ever seen anything like this?” She rubbed her fingers.
Jake grunted no. He stared at his gray-coated fingertips before wiping them on his jeans.
Each time Hannah and Jake cleared a shelf, Jake’s height and arm strength enabled him to remove it. Constructed of high alumina to withstand the intense heat, the shelves were heavy for their size. As they worked their way down, the wind set off billowing puffs as the ash coating thickened.
Two men, college maintenance men judging from their coveralls and toolbox, came around the corner of the studio.
“Alexandra Redgrave?” the taller man asked Hannah.
“No, sorry,” she replied, annoyed at being confused for a prof just because she was older than most students... and some profs.
Jake pointed with his chin toward the studio. The shorter man held the door open for Hannah and her armload of bowls. She smiled. “Thank you!”
Hannah returned to the kiln, shaking the cramp from her arm. She hefted one of Alex’s smaller pieces. The sculpted face was twice the size of hers and had no eyeballs, yet the eye sockets’ voids exuded life and intensity. She stared at the face and tried to put into words the intrigue it commanded. Alex was into heads and faces, carved busts on a massive scale, but the eyeless sculptures fascinated Hannah. She delivered the larger-than-life piece to her professor.
The last sculpture on the last shelf was a stylized white figurine decorated with spastic black stripes, another successful piece. Hannah’s interpretation of the sturdy sculpture was of a maiden wrapped in robe. She appeared to be praying to the heavens. The sculpture’s soft white coating contrasted sharply with the jagged black lines.
“Ooh, whose is this?” Hannah cried. She turned over the piece to see the initials of the artist scratched in its bottom. “T. A.”
“Miss Art Gallery,” Jake sneered.
“She has some talent,” Hannah said with envy. She brushed her finger along the black lines and wished she were this creative.
“That’s mine.” Tiffany materialized at Hannah’s elbow with her hand extended. Hannah thought about offering her a compliment in addition to the piece, but quietly passed the sculpture. Tiffany cradled it in the crook of her arm, grabbed another bowl off the shelf, and turned back to the studio.
Jake bent to lift the last shelf to expose the remaining pieces. He gasped as the support posts lurched at his touch then he struggled to keep the posts vertical. If they toppled, he couldn’t prevent crushing the pieces below. He reset his feet to regain his balance.
“Gimme a hand, will ya? Grab the post closest to you. Hurry! Some idiot used four to hold up this shelf. The whole thing wants to fall over.”
Hannah grabbed the post to hold it steady. She arched her neck to see the others. “Yup, some twit used one in each corner. Why is it so hard to remember three are more stable than four?” Hannah grabbed a teetering second post. “I’ve got the two that want to fall.”
Jake lifted the shelf with a slow, smooth motion.
Hannah set aside the two posts. “Finally, we can get these last pieces into the studio.” She blinked at the snowflakes pelting her face.
He froze. His wide eyes and motionless stance caught Hannah’s attention. She followed his gaze. The floor was rimmed with vases, bowls, and another of Alex’s faces. In the center lay pieces of a skeleton. A skull, pelvis, and a couple long bones were all that remained.
Hannah stared. She tried to remember if Alex had assigned any student to make such a piece or if any student made it for personal art. “Wow, these look like something you’d make. Is it yours?”
After a long pause, Jake’s voice choked from shock. “No.”
She thought the pieces looked strikingly realistic and reached in with both hands to retrieve the skull.
“Don’t touch it!”
At his shriek, she yanked back her hands. Her heart rate spiked.
“I’ll get Alex.” Jake staggered toward the studio, still carrying the shelf.
Alone at the kiln, Hannah leaned in for a closer inspection.
Little ash lay on the floor since the firestorm within the kiln during its firing had scattered most of it. A faint residue on the floor hinted of a small figure in the fetal position. The outline highlighted the gray bones. Two long bones pointed at the pelvis. A hole over an inch across gaped at the skull’s left temple. White teeth gleamed from the spread jawbones frozen in a silent scream.
Hannah’s breathing became ragged and high-pitched. Her thoughts froze as horror seized her brain. Her stomach convulsed. She ran to the trash barrel by the shed and vomited.
“Any thought on what this might be?” Campus Chief of Police Tom Bannister asked Hannah as she shivered beside Alex. All three stood in the shelter of the shed lined with electric kilns, protected from the increasing snowfall.
Hannah pressed into Alex’s side. Grateful for the comfort of the professor’s arm around her shoulders, she shook her head. “I don’t have a clue.”
“I can’t imagine exactly what it’s made of,” Alex said. “If it turns out it is made of clay, a good ceramic artist can make anything look authentic.”
The stocky policeman jotted on his notepad, and tugged the collar of his leather jacket up to his ears. He stroked his thick mustache as he stepped out from the shed’s protection and blinked as the flakes tapped his eyes. At the kiln, he studied the rough material of its sides. “Between this surface and this weather, it’ll be tough to get fingerprints,” he muttered.
He asked with a note of resignation, “Any chance the prints are less than ten years old?”
“None.” She shook her head. “People have been using these tools and touching the kiln for forty years and the artwork that came out earlier has already been handled by several students in the studio.”
The chief scratched his cheek as he studied the area. “Let me photograph the scene now before any more snow falls. I need the photos with the area as clean as possible.” He hunched forward, studying the slushy ground as he stepped toward his staff car parked beside the bungalow. The flashing lights reflected off the blowing flakes like a colorful disco ball.
A tall, slender woman in an ankle-length red wool coat rounded the bungalow’s corner and stopped short of bumping into the chief. Hannah watched as the woman grabbed one of his arms and gestured with the other. With the faintest movement, he flicked off her hand then gestured toward the kiln. She nodded then stepped tentatively to the open drawer, leaned over, braced her hands on her thighs and stared at the contents on the floor.
In a sudden movement, she tottered toward the chief. He gripped her arms, steadying her as she pressed a fist to her mouth. After a moment, she nodded and he turned back to the police car and lifted a large camera from a metal case.
She whipped out her cell phone and spoke into it with great gestures.
“You feeling better?”
Alex’s words snapped Hannah from her reverie of watching the woman. “Doing better, thanks.” Her embarrassment spiked because of her reaction to the contents. Hannah was older than the professor and had years of military experience. She should have handled the shock better. She ran her tongue over her teeth in another effort to rid them of the film of her breakfast’s reemergence then lifted her hand toward the kiln. “What do you think, Alex?”
The professor stared at the kiln as if contemplating its contents. After a huge sigh, she raised her hands as if in resolution. “It has to be hand constructed. That’s all it can be. The chief’ll confirm it. I’m going to see if he needs me to do anything else.” Alex patted Hannah’s shoulder and reached the chief as he adjusted the lens on the camera.
Hannah leaned against the shed wall and watched the woman in the red coat as she listened, nodding as if the other person could see her movements. Closing the phone with a snap, she spun on her heels, and held out a hand to stop the chief from snapping photographs. She pulled him away from Alex and stepped close to him as she spoke.
The chief’s face grew red. The woman shook a finger at him as vehemently as he shook his head.
She spun away from him and strode with a purpose toward Hannah. “I’m so sorry you experienced this upsetting prank. The chief said there’s nothing for you to worry about here.”
Hannah’s eyes narrowed at the abrupt pronouncement. Mistrust rose like the remnants of her breakfast.
Beyond the chief’s car, a vehicle idled forward. A magnetic sign stuck to the van’s side read Coroner.
CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE
by Barbara Townsend
Available Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
in Print, Digital and Kindle/mobi formats.