Sunday Morning Musings: 2017 A to Z Challenge Blog– Z is Zulu

hyacithGood day! As you can see, I have flowers now. While it feels like -1C ( 30F) outside this morning, Thursday it was 31 (80). That’s Canada for you–a land of extremes at times, but the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths as well as the snowdrops are in bloom. Soon, I hope to have consistently warm temperatures, leaves on trees, irises, and lilacs.  I hope wherever you are, Mother nature isn’t being too harsh on you.

2017 BadgeWelcome to the twenty-sixth and final day of this year’s blog challenge. This has been an incredible month, and I hope to be able to continue checking in on the blogs of those I’ve followed as the years continues. I won’t be blogging daily, but Tuesday will continue to be my Tuesday Tales day where I’ll join a small group of other bloggers writing a new novel based on word cues or specific pictures. Wednesday will see me participate in the Midweek Tease with other bloggers who share clips from public works, some spicy, some not. Sunday morning I hope to continue the reflections on the past week in my Sunday Morning Musings. And then, my blog is always open to writers who would like to promote a new book (Only restriction is that is has to be rated PG, not the book but whatever I post LOL) You never know who might drop by. I’m also hoping to be able to put up a few reviews. I’ve posted them to Amazon and Goodreads, but haven’t gotten around to a deeper look at the books.

ZZ is Zulu

Have you ever been asked to spell your name over the phone? How many times have you had to repeat a letter and tried to make the person understand what you are saying? Imagine how dangerous and difficult it is for air traffic controllers or police officers. There exists a way to make communication clearer. It’s called the NATO Phonetic Alphabet,  or the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet is a communication code word system for the alphabet. The words for the 26 letters of the alphabet in order are: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee and Zulu.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) alphabet assigned codewords  to the letters of the alphabet so that important combinations of letters and numbers could be  be pronounced and understood in voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of language barriers or the quality of the communication channel. In other words, no matter what language you may speak, Z is Zulu. 

As I was trying to decide what to write about, I thought of all the Z words I possibly could, and when I decided on this, I got to wondering why that particular word for the letter Z? Why not zoo, zebrazenith, zinnia zither, zigzag, zilch, Zach, Zephrim… I could go on and on. I know it can’t be zero, since that’a a numeric value. So, off I went to learn more about this.

booksAs I researched, I discovered that this system of assigning names to letters goes back quite a way and has been through some changes over the years. From Wikipedia:

After the phonetic alphabet was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)[2] it was adopted by many other international and national organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).

It is a subset of the much older International Code of Signals (INTERCO), which originally included visual signals by flags or flashing light, sound signals by whistle, siren, foghorn, or bell, as well as one, two, or three letter codes for many phrases.[3] The same alphabetic code words are used by all agencies, but each agency chooses one of two different sets of numeric code words. NATO uses the regular English numeric words (Zero, One, with some alternative pronunciations), whereas the IMO provides for compound numeric words (Nadazero, Unaone, Bissotwo…). In practice these are used very rarely, as they frequently result in confusion between speakers of different languages.

The first such alphabet code was created in 1927 with changes made until it was adopted like this in 1932. This continued to be the standard for the IMO until 1965 Amsterdam, Baltimore, Casablanca, Denmark, Edison, Florida, Gallipoli, Havana, Italia, Jerusalem, Kilogramme, Liverpool, Madagascar, New York, Oslo, Paris, Quebec, Roma, Santiago, Tripoli, Upsala, Valencia, Washington, Xanthippe, Yokohama, Zurich. Note how much longer and more complex the words were.

During the wars, things were even more complicated until the US adopted the Joint Army (Air Corps)/ Navy (Marines) alphabet for all radio transmissions.

Royal Navy Western Front
slang
RAF radio
alphabet
Joint
Army(Air Corps)/Navy(Marines)
1914–18 (WWI) 1924–42 1943–56 1941–56
Apples Ack Ace Able or
Affirm
Able
Butter Beer Baker
Charlie
Duff Don Dog
Edward Easy
Freddy Freddie Fox
George Gee George
Harry How
Ink Item or
Interrogatory
Item
Johnnie Jig or
Johnny
Jig
King
London Love
Monkey Emma Monkey Mike
Nuts Nab or
Negat
Nan
Orange Oboe
Pudding Pip Peter
or Prep
Peter
Queenie Queen
Robert Roger
Sugar Esses Sugar
Tommy Toc Tare
Uncle
Vinegar Vic Victor
Willie William
Xerxes X-ray
Yellow Yorker Yoke
Zebra

After the war, with many aircraft and ground personnel from the allied armed forces, “Able Baker”, the name given to it, continued to be used for civil aviation. But many sounds were unique to the English language, and so an alternate was needed. The  “Ana Brazil” alphabet was used in Latin America. But the International Air Transport Association (IATA), recognizing the need for a universal alphabet that had sounds common to English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. On November 1, 1951 for civil aviation  the code words becameAlfa, Bravo, Coca, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Metro, Nectar, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Union, Victor, Whisky, Extra, Yankee, Zulu.

But before long, the authorities found problems with some of these words, too.  Words like  Delta, Nectar, Victor, and Extra, and the unintelligibility of other words during poor receiving conditions were the main problems. After much study, the five words representing the letters C, M, N, U, and X were replaced. So, now I know why the words chosen are what they are.

Sworn to ProtectOne last thing before I leave you for the year. If you haven’t nominated Sworn to Protect, my novel in the Kindle Scout campaign, could you consider doing to? If it wins a contract, you get a free digital copy. And since you can nominate up to three books, there might be something else there you might like. Here’s the link and my thanks in advance.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

Thanks to all who followed me this month. may the rest of 2017 bring you health and happiness. As Mr. Spock would say, live long and prosper. See you next year.

Don’t forget to visit the rest of today’s bloggers. A to Z Challenge Blog

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2017 A to Z Challenge Blog: Y is for YA or Young Adult books like Prove It!

2017 BadgeWell, we’re down the the last two letters of this year’s challenge.  I’m happy I made it to the end, posting on time each day. From the comments I’ve received, I know that my semi-theme of introducing others to “new to you” authors went over well. Hopefully, some of you will explore these authors. Every writer was new at one point, and it’s finding a reader base that made them great.

Today’s post relates to the “G” post I made earlier this month. In it, I explained that I decided to write a book for my granddaughter, Hannah, as a Christmas present. This morning, I’ll share a bit about that idea and the book with you.

I take pride in being an author and while I write romance, as a rule, there is very little, if any sex in most of my books. They aren’t exactly “clean reads”  because there is a fair amount of violence, especially in my thrillers, and a few curse words, although the infamous “F” word won’t appear. I focus on the plot and the motive, and while there is a romance angle in each book, it does not necessarily involved sex. To me, as romance is about falling in love, not necessarily falling into bed. That isn’t a modern attitude, I know, but as many of my characters often point out, it is what it is.

When I decided to write a YA or young adult novel, I knew some things in the way I write would need to be changed, but it wasn’t long before I realized that, in the end, those changes would be minor. Why? Because even this book like all of the others is plot and character driven.

In each plot, there is a kernel of factual information based on recent or past events and news stories. When I was contemplating the plot for Prove It! I read a number of news articles on teens–the drug problem, the disenfranchisement, the bullying and suicide stats among others, the addiction to social media, but when I was thinking of going with that, I came across a story about the Texas mother who tried to hire a hitman  back in the early Nineties to kill a rival cheerleader. That got me thinking of other high school sports, which led to to a number of articles about the increase in betting on the outcome of high school sports teams, the cost involved for athletes who want to make it to the big time.  And, of course, the 2016 summer Olympics were on, with all the hype centered on the pool and the track. The infamous “attack” reported by the American swimmer reminded me that people can be desperate to be part of this event. Screwing up comes with a hefty penalty beyond the loss of a medal. That’s where the idea for the plot of Prove It! was born.

YY is for YA novels like Prove It!

The Blurb:

High school sports can be more dangerous than you think!

Ivy Hill’s track star, Liam Howard, has his future all mapped out: date Hannah Connors, win the New Horizon scholarship, get a spot on the next Olympic team, and then go to medical school. Sounds simple, especially when he’s well on his way to achieving his dream. But someone else has other plans. Ignoring the most recent threatening note, Liam goes out for his regular practice run and is struck by a vehicle and left for dead.

Hannah refuses to believe Liam will never walk or run again, especially when she learns the person behind the accident may be her own track coach. Working with Erik Jenkins, Liam’s best friend, she searches for proof, but Erik vanishes on his way to see the coach. Now, it’s up to her, Liam, and their friends, to find Erik and the evidence they need to put a hit and run driver behind bars. But time may be running out for both Erik and Liam as someone tries to finish the job they started, regardless of collateral damage.

proveit-600x900Here is an excerpt from the story to whet your appetite. While the story is YA, it will appeal to adult readers as well.

Enjoying the adrenalin rush he got from running, feeling the cold wind caress his face, and pleased with the way his muscles worked effortlessly, Liam was surprised when the alarm went off to show he’d run forty minutes straight. He wasn’t even breathing hard and had barely broken a sweat.

Knowing his mother was probably pacing the house and checking the clock every two minutes, he crossed the road and turned west, heading back to the farm. With the wind at his back, he would be home well within the time he’d allowed himself. He’d only gone a mile or so when the skies opened once more, showering him with a cold drizzle, but he barely broke stride. Running in the rain was nothing new, but at the moment, it felt as if he were caught inside a cloud, making visibility poor. If Mom was looking outside, her anxiety meter had gone sky high.

He was less than a hundred yards from his own driveway when the bright LED lights of an approaching vehicle blinded him. There weren’t many of the newer trucks or SUVs in the area, and given the height of the lights, it had to be one of those. Blinking rapidly since the beams pierced his eyes with their intensity, he slowed his pace and relaxed. Despite the mist, there was no way the driver could miss him—his jacket had to be lit up like a Christmas tree.

Liam chuckled softly. Whoever was behind the wheel probably thought he was some kind of idiot. He didn’t care. There was something exciting about braving the elements. The lights vanished as the vehicle disappeared in a trough on the hilly section of the road. Lost in the music, Liam was startled when the lights appeared again, moving toward him faster than they should be. What kind of fool sped under these conditions?

His inner sense of preservation warned him, and after yanking the earbuds out, he inched farther to the side of the road, but the dark pick-up increased its speed. Liam sucked in a breath, surprised by how cold he suddenly felt. The tension in his gut increased. Terror filled him as that note came back to him. Who knew he would be running tonight? Everyone. As Erik had reminded him, his routine was well-known.

Tamping down his panic, Liam moved as far to the edge of the ditch as he could. Unless the driver were under duress and had lost control of his vehicle, which was unlikely given the road conditions, whoever was behind that wheel was aiming right for him. If this was some crazy game of chicken, he wasn’t interested in playing. And if that’s what this was, then the jacket his mother had thought would protect him had just made him a target—a great, big, neon-orange bullseye.

Waving his arms frantically and screaming his lungs out, he stopped within a few yards of his own laneway, standing as close to the slippery edge as he dared, praying he wouldn’t end up at the bottom of the embankment. It was a moot point when the dark-colored truck caught him in the stomach, veered away from the edge of the road, and tossed him into the air as if he were nothing but a rag doll. The full frontal impact with the pavement snapped his head back uncomfortably, his melon bouncing twice before coming to rest on the blacktop, blood pouring from his nose and mouth, his chest on fire, filling him with agony.

The sound of a metal door slamming kept him from succumbing to the darkness all around him. Everything seemed surreal. Was that the hoot of an owl? Footsteps, slow and measured, the click of hard heels on the pavement, floated toward him. The driver was coming to help him. Liam wanted to turn over, to sit up. He couldn’t stay here on the road like this, but his body refused to obey him. The footsteps advanced. Why weren’t they running, hurrying toward him?

A foot caught him in the ribs, adding to his suffering, and flipped him onto his back. Blood from what was most likely his broken nose and the various cuts and scrapes on his face slipped into his mouth, the coppery taste making him gag. Didn’t Mom always say head wounds bled more than any others?

A low moan escaped him, the sound swallowed by the ambient sound of the wind and the truck engine. Liam opened his eyes, but with the blood in them and the rain on his face, he couldn’t focus. All he could make out were the silver-capped, pointed toes of black leather cowboy boots, their heels shining incongruously in the light from the flashlight aimed at his face.

“Too bad you didn’t listen, kid,” a gravelly voice said. “Didn’t want it to come to this. It’s nothing personal, but you pissed off the wrong people.”

The pointed boot caught him forcefully in the ribs again, bringing with it excruciating pain, raising his body up and then letting it flop back down again. The back of his head struck the tarmac hard, sending knives of agony racing along his spine, this anguish almost too much to handle.

Departing footsteps, as slow and measured as they’d been before, echoed on the road, and the vehicle door slammed shut once more. The truck moved away until the sound of the engine was just a memory. He fought to open his eyes, but the rain intensified, as if Mother Nature shared his distress.

Deep cold and numbness erased some of the pain. Was this how it all ended? Thoughts of his mother flooded him. She would never get over this. Losing both her sons at seventeen was more than any mother could handle—and his dad? He would blame himself for not leaving the car.

The owl—was it the one he’d heard earlier?—hooted again. Blood filled his mouth and throat, making it harder to breathe, harder to swallow, and he choked. He tried to turn his head to the side, move his body to crawl off the cold, wet surface, but nothing worked. Where was he? In the middle of the road? The truck had flung him up in the air like garbage and left him to die. Why? What could he have done to deserve this? Would the next vehicle even see him?

An engine, one badly in need of tuning, approached, its steady throb moving closer and closer. It would be upon him in no time. His head swam. This was it. Gone without ever realizing any of his dreams. The blackness edged closer, threatening to take him with it, but Liam fought to stay conscious. On the verge of losing the battle, the squeal of brakes pulled him back.

“Oh God, Liam,” his father’s cry penetrated his consciousness, the agony in his voice almost too much to bear.

Liam wanted to speak, wanted to tell his father how much he loved him and how sorry he was for everything, but he couldn’t fight anymore, and the pain and blackness overtook him.

You can pick up Prove It! for only 99 cents. https://www.amazon.com/Prove-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01N2X98ET

Don’t forget to visit the rest of today’s bloggers. A to Z Challenge Blog

2017 A to Z Challenge Blog: X is for Xaghra’s Revenge from Geoff Nelder

2017 BadgeLet’s be honest today. How many people out there wondered what they were going to come up with for the letter X? The twenty-fourth letter of the alphabet isn’t exactly a popular one for the first letter in a word. In fact, when lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson published his Dictionary of the English Language in 1755, he included this disclaimer at the bottom of page 2308: “X is a letter which though found in Saxon words, begins no word in the English language.” I’m looking forward to reading the creative efforts of other bloggers today to see how many will have proven the man wrong.

Today, as has happened a couple of times in this year’s challenge, I have a post up on another page where I actually found a whole lot of X words. If you visit the Anaiah Press blog site, https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/16877821, you’ll find my X-post there, eXploring your vocabulary.

This morning, I want to introduce you to the last of this year’s “new to you” authors. He’s sent along quite the bio, so here it is, in his own words.

Geoff-IOM-12Geoff Nelder is a professional liar, badass editor, and fiction competition judge living in Britain. He was awarded Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society for his research into air pollution and microclimates, shamelessly using his students as unpaid researchers to discover urban heat islands in Yorkshire towns and villages. He taught now-out-of-date Geography and IT to the ungrateful alive but escaped on his bike to write.

His publications include science fiction novels Exit, Pursued by Bee and the ARIA trilogy; and thrillers Escaping Reality, and Hot Air. A historical fantasy Xaghra’s Revenge is released by Solstice Publishing on July 24 2017.

Many of his short stories have found homes in mags such as The Horror Zine, Perihelion, Ether Books, Encounters, Jimston Journal, Delivered, Screaming Dreams and many anthologies such as Monk Punk, Science Fiction Writers’ Sampler (with Gregory Benford and David Brin), Twisted Tails, and Zombified.

Solstice Publishing released his experimental SF story, The Chaos of Mokii as an ebook in 2016.

His non-fiction include books on climate and he co-wrote How to Win Short Story Competitions.

Follow Geoff here:

Website http://geoffnelder.com

Amazon author pages

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/geoffnelder

and tweets at @geoffnelder

http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/nelder_geoff

XX is For Xaghra’s Revenge, to be released on July 24th 2017

The historical basis

  • One of the world’s most ancient buildings is on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. Ggantija at Xaghra, c. 3600-2500 BC predates Stonehenge and the pyramids.
  • In 1551 the Turkish buccaneer and Barbary corsair, Rais Dragut, sailed an Ottoman pirate fleet to Gozo and abducted the entire population of 5000, except a few elderly people, and sailed them to North Africa.
  • rabbatThe abducted were kept on the ships while Dragut won a siege against the Knights of St John at Tripoli. The surviving abducted were taken and sold into slavery at Constantinople, Turkey, others at Tripoli and Tarhuna, Libya.
  • Some of the abducted had relatives on Malta sufficiently rich to buy them back, but most lost contact with their families.
  • In Tarhuna, Libya, are people living now, whose ancestors came from Gozo.

The fiction

XR-frontcover ABThe spirits of the abducted cry out for REVENGE.

When Reece and Zita become lovers, past and present collide as the spirits of their ancestors force them to relive one of the greatest battles of the 16th century.

Xaghra’s Revenge follows the fate of a sixteenth century abducted family, and of two contemporary lovers thrown together by the ancients. Reece and Zita are unaware that one descends from the pirates, the other from the abducted family. While ancient Gozo spirits seek revenge, so do the Ottoman Corsairs, who intend to roll back history, and this time win the siege of Malta.

The history is real. The places are authentic. The tension and excitementXR-coverback3 are palpable.

“A gripping tale, full of energy and mystery, keeping you wanting for more with every line you read.” John Bonello, First-Prize Winner of the Malta National Book Award

“I liked it. There’s a foreground of interesting characters combined with a skilfully fed-in hint of weirdness.” Jaine Fenn – Hidden Empire series.


Xaghra’s Revenge is to be released on July 24th 2017. July 24th is the date that the population of Gozo were abducted… their time is coming.

Looks like I will be pre-ordering this one!

Please stop by the A to Z blog’s site to visit other bloggers.  A to Z Challenge Blog

 

2017 A to Z Challenge Blog: W for the Wildcat Crew and K.C. Sprayberry

2017 BadgeToday, we face the twenty-third letter of the alphabet. Each letter presents its own challenge. With W, you have the five questions every writer seeks to answer in their novels: Who? What? When? Why? Where? A good novelist can’t just whistle into the wind, wishing for the information to   appear, nor can he/she solely rely on how everything happens and then wilt when the satisfactory ending doesn’t materialize. For me, W embodies all of my hopes and dreams. I’ve been a teacher, a reader, a critic, but all I’ve ever really wanted to be was a writer. I write because I can’t see myself not writing. The stories clamor in my head to be told, and tell them, I must. When I was working, I channeled my need to put words down in the form of lessons and assignments. Once I retired and reached the winter of my days, I realized if I didn’t write the stories down, no one would ever enjoy them. Maybe they aren’t the stuff that will endure for centuries, but they are pleasing to others in the here and now, and with that, I’m content. If you would like a sampling of my work, check out this blog where I’m visiting with my beloved White flower books as people call them.  https://chrysnjay.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/w-white-flower-books/

Over the years, I’ve learned I’m not the only one with this insatiable desire to write. Readers, but their very nature, are attracted to the written word. They enjoy the intricacies of well-crafted plots, love watching well-developed characters overcome obstacles and still sigh at the happily ever afters.

In these blogs, I’ve sought to introduce you to “new to you” authors. While most have been reasonably new, K.C Sprayberry isn’t. If you look up her Amazon author page, you’ll see her name associated with more than sixty anthologies, novels, novellas, and short stories. That’s what I call prolific writing.

91XVnrQ0hvL._UY200_Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/K.C.SprayberryAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Blog: http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Website: www.kcsprayberry.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005DI1YOU

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KcSprayberry/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/boards/

Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

AUTHORSdB: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

Readers Gazette: http://read ersgazette.com/world/rgmembers/2953

W is for Wildcat Crew

WMysteries abound for Wildcat Crew. These four teens are reminiscent of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries and will attract teen readers to follow along the clues as Marnie, Les, Tish, and Garth solve their cases using their ingenuity. Set in 1973, these teens have to operate without GPS, cell phones, and the internet. All they have are their quick minds and a determination to stop the perpetrator!

 

Blurb:

case of vanishing girls-001(1)Finally moving on from the horror of the Manson killings, the Los Angeles area has begun to return to normal. Until, that is, the small bedroom community of Monrovia skyrockets into the news. This sleepy little area, nestled up against the foothills, is probably best known for their football team, but that was yesterday’s news.

Three girls have vanished. Notes left behind have an “H” and a “S” with red dripping off them. People’s minds automatically go to the horror of 1969 and wonder if someone else is about to initiate “Helter Skelter.”

A group of teens, Wildcat Crew, doesn’t think so. Despite the police looking at a trouble teen, they focus on another teen whose past has some dark secrets. As the city moves toward the summer solstice, these intrepid investigators work diligently on solving this case before someone else vanishes into the canyon.

Wildcat Crew The Case of the Vanishing Girls: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06XPKSJKK

Excerpt:

The moon hung low on a dark California night. June could be a mix of summer’s warmth with just enough of the coolness left over from spring to force the native Californians to retreat to their homes and huddle beneath blankets.

Fools they were, and The Mastermind would be the one to remind them of their folly. For he was the one who would wake them up from their quiet, peaceful lives and thrust them into the terror of his making. No one would rest easily until he had sated his hunger.

He crept along a quiet street. Homes were lit up. Images of families having an ordinary evening played through his mind. They had no idea of what he was about to unleash on them. His plan was very simple—no one had noticed his first attempt at fame a mere four years ago, because of the Manson Family’s rampage.

 They will now. No one will ever ignore me again.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/nvTaLcZJDlE

Please stop by the A to Z blog’s site to visit other bloggers.  A to Z Challenge Blog

 

2017 A to Z Challenge Blog: V is for Voyage and “New to You” author, Stephen St. Clair

2017 BadgeWelcome to the twenty-second day of this years’ blog. If you are new, thanks for dropping by. If you are a regular, it’s all nice to see you again. This year’s blog has been wonderful, educational, and enlightening. For my part, I’ve sought to introduce you to writers I know through my publishers who may be new to you.

Today, I’ll continue that practice, bhut first, a little about the intrepid letter V. If you live in the northern hemisphere, especially in North America or even Western Europe, chances are you’ve see the well-known V formation on Canada geese. Many other migratory birds, including Eurasian Eurasian_Cranes_migrating_to_Meyghan_Salt_Lakegeese use this formation. Why? Scientists have concluded that this V-shaped formation serves two important purposes: First, it saves energy since each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. In the second place. it helps the gaggle keep track of every goose in the migration.

This formation is a basic flight formation for military 330px-A_formation_of_IRIAF_F-4s_over_Bushehraircraft as well, and is often seen in airshows and at other ceremonies. The military are always looking for ways to improve on both safety and fuel efficiency.

As a former history major, when I think of V, I also think of V E-Day, celebrated May 8, which commemorates Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945 and VJ-Day, celebrated on August 15, in the UK, September 2, in the US and September 3 in China, remembering japan’s surrender marking the end of WWII.

There are a great many other words that start with the letter V. For example, you have volunteer, visionary, vigilant, verity, and vocation, all very positive words, but you also have vindictive, virus, and virulent which are anything but.  This morning, I want you to consider the word voyage. The term Bon Voyage isn’t used as much as it used to be. You rarely tell your friends to have a lovely voyage. No, since voyage somehow implies more than a mere trip, it’s reserved for things like the name of ships, Voyager, or the exploits of famous men, both real and fictional,  such as the Voyages of Sinbad, the voyages of Magellan, and the voyages of Christopher Columbus.

This morning, let me introduce you to today’s “new to you” author.

MEGreetings fellow traveler! My name is Stephen St. Clair. Here are a few things about me and what I’ve been up to.

I currently have two books published. I have four manuscripts I’m actively working on and that’s just on the weekends! I am married to the prettiest woman I know who is also a fellow author. Together we share 5 kids, three of which live at home still. We have three dogs and three cats. When my wife and I aren’t working on a manuscript, we are out researching future manuscripts or just getting lost in the woods chasing after ghosts, dragons, or fairies!

I love reading all kinds of science fiction/fantasy books and watching the same type of movies. My favorite authors are (yes authors have favorite authors!)  Piers Anthony and Karen Traviss!

If you would like to know more about me, you can follow me on social media: blog/website, stephenstclairwrit.wixsite.com/craftedquill   Twitter as @craftedquill and Facebook- http://facebook.com/stephenstclairwriter or at his Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Stephen-St.-Clair/e/B01M4QKKIW/

The book I would like to introduce you to today is Kindred Souls: Voyage of the Scotsmen

KindredCoverArtAbout the book:

History is meant to remain in the past, or so it has been said. With his love life in shambles and the contents of his entire life reduced to boxes, packed hastily and strewn about his living room floor, Aidan MacLeod needed a serious change in scenery. A mysterious crate with only a return address piques his curiosity. Opening it, he discovers two swords wrapped in fine Asian silk. He’s also shocked to learn he’s the sole heir to his great-grandfather’s estate in Oregon.

Could the sudden arrival of these two swords, the news of the bequeathed estate, and a chance meeting with a mysterious woman go hand in hand?

Kiernan MacLeod makes a fateful mistake amidst a drunken brawl and lands aboard a Dutch trading ship. He finds himself dangling from a rope, mere inches above the ocean’s surging waves. After being hauled back aboard, he’s taken before the captain and informed he must remain with the ship until they reach Dejima, Japan.

Join Aidan and Kieran on the voyage of their kindred souls, through life and the discovery of new love, as they each discover what Destiny has in store for them and where the mysteries of their ancestral paths may cross!

Interested? Find Kindred Souls, Voyage of the Scotsmen here. https://www.amazon.com/Kindred-Souls-Stephen-St-Clair-ebook/dp/B01MR7CJZM or here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kindred-souls-stephen-st-clair/1125515039?ean=9781625265166

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Midweek Tease: Sworn to Protect

mwtease15Welcome to this week’s edition of the Midweek Tease. This has been the early morning from hell! It took over two hours for Windows 10 to upload its updates, that will supposedly keep me safer online. Whatever!

My thanks again to Angelica Dawson and all the other fine writers who make this blog hop possible each week. They never cease to amaze me.

This morning, I would like to tease from one of my newest works. Some of you may remember I posted the opening scene a couple of months ago. Well, it’s finished and has been submitted to Kindle Scout. This is where I need your help. Sworn to Protect needs your nominations to earn a contract. If it gets one, everyone who nominates it gets a free digital copy as a thank you from Amazon for helping with reader assisted publishing.

Here is the link to my campaign where you can read the first chapter and a half of the story. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

The Blurb:

Sworn to ProtectWhen Neil Copeland discovers his wife is the victim of a terrorist attack, he rushes to her side, determined not to let her down again. Evidence suggests the attack was actually a hit, and when a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear whatever’s going on is more complicated than they think. When Nancy awakes with amnesia, trapped 6 years in the past, Neil must protect her from an unknown assassin and convince her that what they had once is worth having again.

Below is your tease which comes from Chapter 3:

“From your email last night, I gather you have enough to scare him into settling this our way,” Larry said taking a mouthful of designer water, his hand trembling slightly. “I’d love to go after him for everything we could get, but it isn’t in the cards. Melissa doesn’t want to cause trouble. We’ll ask for four thousand a month, with him covering the mortgage payments on the house, and leave it at that.”

“I don’t think that’ll be a problem.” She turned to look directly at Jackson. “What do   you know about Claymore Investments? They’re based in Trenton, New Jersey, but they have an office here in Baltimore.”

The lawyer puckered his brow, the gesture making him look more haggard, and shook his head. “Nothing. I’ve never heard of them.”

“When I looked through Paxton Construction’s books, I found he’d invested heavily with them. In a quick online search, everything looks fine, but dig deeper and things get convoluted. There are two primary owners, both numbered companies with off-shore accounts. Paxton’s been doing a lot of business with them these last few years, more than you’d expect given the economy.” She turned to Melissa. “That company holds the mortgage on your house.”

“That’s impossible,” she stammered. “Our mortgage is with the bank. I signed the papers last year.”

“Then it’s got to be a second mortgage.” Nancy scowled. “To paraphrase Shakespeare, something’s rotten in Baltimore.”

“Will Ethan be able to give me enough to cover the bills?” Melissa asked. “I can’t lose anything else. This is hard enough on the girls as it is.”

“He should be able to, but there’s something you need to know. Your husband signed over control of the company three years ago.”

The tired woman frowned. “Why would Ethan do that? This company has been in his family for three generations.”

“There are a number of possible reasons. It could be used as collateral for loans, or it might be a way to hide his assets and make them untouchable. I couldn’t find what C.E.C. stood for anywhere, although I know I’ve seen those initials before, so that’s the first thing I’m going to ask him about. The other is the more than two million dollars that he put into Claymore Investments. I can’t get into Claymore’s subsidiary accounts in the Grand Cayman Islands, but I believe your husband has more than enough to give you what you need.”

“Two million dollars?” the woman’s voice betrayed her shock and dismay. “Where on Earth would he get that kind of money?”

“I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t see the business raking in that much profit, but he did do really well before the bottom fell out of the housing market. If it isn’t his money, then he’s hiding it for someone else, and he definitely won’t want me to go there. Since all you want is four grand a month and the mortgage paid, I think he’ll gladly settle.” She took a mouthful of wine, pleased with its crisp, clear flavor. “Do those initials, C.E.C., mean anything to you?”

Melissa frowned, but before she could answer, a loud noise erupted at the entrance of the restaurant. She gasped, and Nancy turned around to see four masked men armed with semi-automatic rifles. Her breath caught in her throat, her pulse hammered.

“Don’t move.” The voice came from the doorway. Nancy’s gaze fell on the young man she’d noticed earlier who looked as stunned as everyone else.

Chairs scraped along the tile floor announcing diners doing exactly the opposite of what they’d been told. Many dove under the tables. Nancy watched the hostess flee down the hall toward the bathroom, her phone pressed to her ear. One of the gunmen followed her.

One man stood apart from the other two in the doorway and laughed as he watched terrified people scramble for cover.

“I. Said. Don’t. Move.” He enunciated each word and fired a round into the ceiling. “You didn’t listen. You lose.” Gunfire erupted from the hallway causing many of the diners to cry out.

Numb with terror, Nancy watched two of the masked men lift their weapons and open fire on the diners. She couldn’t move, couldn’t look away, transfixed by the horror. Anguished screams and sobs filled the air as the men moved through the crowd, firing here and there. Like angels of death, they selected their victims, choosing who would live and who would die. They laughed at the men trying to protect their women and children. A fourth man, his weapon pointed at the floor, collected the wallets of those they’d killed, and tossed them in a garbage bag.

Trophies? Souvenirs? If this was a robbery, why not just ask for what they wanted? They were masked. None of the diners could identify them. But even as she thought that, she realized there were distinguishing features people might remember. The man in charge spoke with a Hispanic accent and had a strange tattoo on the side of his neck. Barbed wire? The second shooter was short and husky, with a slight limp, while the one who’d gone after the hostess had the rounded shoulders of someone who worked hunched over much of the time. The man collecting the identifications reminded her of a rooster as he strutted from table to table, collecting his bloody tribute.

The young man in the flat cap she’d noticed earlier pulled out a gun and shot at the killers, hitting the second shooter, but before he could get off another round, the assassin who’d followed the hostess returned, firing his semi-automatic weapon as he walked, shattering the window and sending the would-be hero’s body flying through it.

“Finish it now,” rooster man cried, reaching for his injured friend.

He was definitely American and from this region.

“We have to move.” The man who’d shot the boy spoke with an accent, maybe Eastern European? “I took care of the staff, but the hostess was on the phone. The cops are probably on their way.”

Nancy filed away each detail, knowing she needed to be able to recall as much as possible—if she survived. So far, it looked as if the dead were men.

The leader looked down at something in his left hand, looked around the restaurant, and moved toward their table.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Larry asked, standing and trying to shield her and Melissa.

“Nothing personal, senor,” the man answered. His deep brown eyes glanced at Nancy, dismissed her with a shake of his head, and focused on Melissa. He lifted the weapon and fired.

Larry fell backwards, Melissa’s face disappeared, and in seconds, the white tablecloth was red.

The gunman turned to her. “Sorry, chica, but you might know something, too.”

Spinning away from her killer, Nancy jerked against her chair as blinding pain tore through her and everything faded to black.

Please consider adding your support to my campaign and feel free to share with everyone you know. The more nominations I get, the better the chances are of earning a contract! Nominate here:

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

Now, please check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease April 26, 2017


This linky list is now closed.

2017 A to Z Challenge Blog: U is for Unbridled, Book 2 in A Harem Boy’s Saga

2017 BadgeWell, we are definitely winding down our month of challenges. Today, we’ve arrived at one of the unsung heroes of the alphabet, the twenty-first letter, U. Think of it. U words include  usual, unique, ubiquitous, unanimous universal, united, uranium and other ultimately useful words, but the letter U is probably most famous for what it changes. Think about it. You can become upset, unhappy, unusual, uninspired, ungrateful, and even unloved. Doesn’t that make this seemingly mild letter powerful? During this year’s blog tour, I’ve come to realize that it’s not only the words we say and use that matter,  it’s the individual letters that can make or break them.

Today my focus is on another “new to you” author, Young, with a truly unusual and unique story to share with you–his memoirs.

I am always amazed to discover the paths different people take to becoming authors. I was a high school teacher. Some are doctors, nurses, lawyers, ranchers, salespeople, farmers, clergy members–basically people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic levels. Some are lucky enough to discover their passion for writing at a young age. Others, like myself, embark on our careers as authors later in life. We writers are a little like  unicorns, a rare breed of mythical creature, searching for ways to please and entertain our readers and maybe find that magic spot on the elusive bestseller list. Until the moment when your pen or pencil touches the page or your finger depresses a key, you can be anything you want to be, but once it does, you become a writer, and that is a wonderful thing. Today’s author has led a truly eclectic life.  Many thanks to Christine Maynard, screenwriter and novelist, for this biography, from which I’ve taken this information.

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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Young, alias Bernard Foong, is first and foremost, a sensitive man who finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.

 Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England.  He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.

For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, where he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer – travelling extensively to the United States, he was recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.

Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. He was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department.

The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.

Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.

I could go on, but you can see he is an incredibly talented artist and has added author to his portfolio. Foong, writing as Young, is in the process of  completing Metanoia – book V of his autobiographical book series A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.

This provocative story, spanning 4 decades and 3 continents, is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems. Only from such a gifted man can come a heart-filled rendering of a life I never knew existed. I’ve read the first two books in this series and can attest that Young’s life has indeed been a unique and unusual one. 

Young is an Internationally Best Selling Author on amazon.com His books include,

A Harem Boy’s Saga – Book I – Initiation (a memoir by Young), A Harem Boy’s Saga – Book II – Unbridled (sequel), A Harem Boy’s Saga – Book III – Debauchery (3rd volume in the series), A Harem Boy’s Saga – Book IV – Turpitude (4th volume in the series)

A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally. A Harem Boy’s Saga (series) – Film Option Agreement has been signed with a U.K. Film Production Company. Congratulations! Book I – Initiation is currently in film pre-production.


USo today, we look at U is for Unbridled

Unbridled is the sequel to Initiation – A provocative story about a boy who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother’ and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperones and mentors during the boy’s Harem services.

HaremBoy2Unbrindled21600This book follows the boy’s erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at his 2nd Arab Household Harem, the Sekham. He was an apprentice and model, for the household patriarch’s controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places”.

The author’s experiences present facts that are truthful. Through these truths, which are often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnations and negativity which relate to his experiences.

There are 5 – 7 volumes in A Harem Boy’s Saga series.

www.aharemboysaga.com

young@aharemboysaga.com

Buy Links:

UNBRIDLED: myBook.to/UNBRIDLED

A Harem Boy’s Saga – 4 books: http://amzn.to/1FMlHVY

Contacts:

 A Harem Boy’s Saga – Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aharemboysaga/

In The Harem blog url: http://bernardfoong.typepad.com/ in_the_harem

Website: http://aharemboysaga.com/wp/

 Unbridled Book Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J4ewXGxl-U&t=129s

Please stop by the A to Z blog’s site to visit other bloggers.  A to Z Challenge Blog