All posts by G.S.B

High octane suspense…

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BOOK REVIEW: This book has deep down grunt that gives the storyline a rich and meaningful foundation. Corporate greed. The making of a psychopathic killer. Corruption. Murder. Cruelty. Love and loyalty. An epic idea in the suicide seed technology…. Everything builds inch by inch. Slowly and relentlessly. Like multiple angles to the same force that explodes in the final chapters…. An intriguing setting in 3rd world Africa. Great characters, both the good guys and the bad. And a wonderful dog hero that is worth the read on his own…. But above all, there’s a latent power here that I also noticed in a previous read of this author. Fry writes real, gritty stuff.

Preview Suicide Seeds on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: It’s the contrast between the unrelenting, high octane suspense and the excruciatingly slow burn of romance. That’s what it is about this author’s writing. Of course you get that a lot in these kinds of books, but Sandra S. Kerns does it so well. The crime here is complicated and deeply woven through the cast of characters. This is a damned fine police story. The action starts with the witness to a murder unconscious in an ER, our hero by his side, our heroine nursing them both. Unravelling what happened is a great read… The romance is between a strong, positive, yet damaged, woman and a tough, gritty man who is all heart and impatience. Expertly drawn, these two have you feeling that slow burn and living it with them. I was particularly pleased with how things came together at the end – the way the hero took charge… Excellent romantic mystery/thriller.

Preview Her Master Protector on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: The feel of this book takes me back to the musty halls of the Hermitage Museum and the iron curtain mentality of the real Russia that still smoulders today. We are expertly pulled into this mood chapter one and never really get to crawl up out of it. The characters and plot – the mystery of Brodsky – kind of tumble in on top of us, abstract and disjointed at first, building and tightening as we crawl through the maze (walk the endless corridors of The Hermitage, the towering portraits of lives past eyeballing us)…. Yes, I found the setting here to be tremendously powerful. The mystery itself is classy and intelligent, and develops into a killer of a finale…. Try this one if you like your art-heist thrillers to be gritty, real, and steeped in history.

Preview The Brodsky Affair on Amazon

How to find typos in your own writing…

Concept de lecteur

Well the basic challenge is overcoming familiarity and reading what you typed, rather than what you meant to type. And the short answer to this is to use audio, concentrate, go at a set slow pace, and double check alterations.

But let’s clarify what I’m talking about here: I’m talking about a piece of writing that has already been edited and proofread. Either by yourself or by a paid service. The structure of the work is set. And all that remains is to find simple typos. A word missing. A plural that should be singular. A missing quote mark or period. Something capitalized that shouldn’t be. Repeat words etc….

The reason I’m offering this advice is because I read a lot of indie books, and almost all have simple typos. Like mine used to.

My process is this:

Microsoft Word: From the top of the page we need to click on this little arrow that gives us a drop-down box to Customize Quick Access Toolbar. And we select ‘More Commands’

word talk 1

 

 

From the More Commands pop-up we want ‘All Commands’

word talk 2

 

From the list of all commands we want to select ‘Speak’

word talk 3

 

Which puts this little icon on our toolbar. And when we highlight a section of text and click Speak, the text is read to us slowly and clearly.

word talk 4

 

This forces us to follow the text at a set pace, and the audio will help A LOT in picking up errors. You might be amazed at how you will see something that you’ve missed a hundred times (and that your editor missed as well).

A couple of important tips:

  1. Use earphones and accept no distractions.
  2. Make corrections immediately then highlight again to re-read that paragraph.
  3. If your mind has drifted, stop and go back to where you were last focused.
  4. Expect this to take a long time – 3 to 4 hours per 10,000 words.
  5. If you find a lot of errors, do it all over again.

Sue goes topless in her back yard…

 

16 biker bloke

Feeling both neighbourly and brave, Sue makes a large pitcher of ice tea and takes it out to the back deck with three glasses. She approaches the fence. “Would you men like to join me for a cold drink?”

“Absolutely!” Cal answers with a smile.

The older man smiles too. “Yes, ma’am.”

Sue waits for them to walk around, out their side gate and in hers. She put a shirt on when she was inside, but she hasn’t buttoned it. She’s tugging at it, checking herself out – her bare belly and bikini boobs. She doesn’t mind the thought of the old guy looking.

I WANT Cal to look…. What’s that about?

She has no idea what she’s thinking as she ushers the two bikers to her outdoor setting and pours them ice tea. She’s sitting between them. Roach is across the corner of the table. Cal is close beside her. His legs are open and one of them keeps touching hers. He has on faded Levis, the crotch is full – his package perhaps appropriately proportioned with his very large hands, she’s thinking.

Roach is a jolly character. He’s telling all about his younger days when he was a member of a hippie commune. Cal is teasing him about his story changing so much every time he tells it.

“Well, we used to smoke a bit of pot, and that LSD leaves you wondering what was real and what you only imagined,” he explains to Sue at one point.

“So, have you been married long?” Cal asks. “What’s your husband’s name again?”

“It’s Josh. Yes, we married young…. Seven years.”

“I’ve had two marriages,” Roach tosses in. “That’ll do.”

“One for me,” Cal confesses when Sue looks to him. “I didn’t quite make seven years.”

Roach grins and winks at Sue. “She wised up.”

“Is that true?” Sue asks Cal.

“Yep. Saw through me. Sent me packing. Married an accountant.”

“Oh. That’s not good.”

“What bit?”

Sue giggles. “The accountant.”

Cal laughs. He has a warm laugh.

His leg is pressing against Sue’s again.

Roach finishes the last of his drink. “That was good, Sue. It hit the spot.”

“Would you like some more?”

“No – we’d better get back to it, eh, boss?”

“Yeah, we have a load of concrete coming soon.”

Sue stands with them. The older man ambles off while Cal holds the door open for her to take the tray back inside.

She passes by, brushing close and glancing back.

He looks her up and down, slowly, deliberately. He meets her eyes. “Happily married, yeah?”

The tingles swarm and heat Sue’s face. She nods. “Yeah.”

“Fair enough,” he says with a wink and smile, and he’s gone.

***

Shit…. Oh, shit!

Sue’s legs are wobbly. She puts the tray on the counter and calls Janie.

“Hi, Sue, what’s up?”

“Shit, Janie. Oh, my God!”

“What?”

“Can you come over?”

Janie only lives two streets away. Sue gives her nothing over the phone.

“What?” she implores as Sue closes the door behind her and slumps back against it.

“The biker guy next door made a pass at me.”

Janie’s jaw drops. Her eyes bulge.

“Well, not exactly a pass…. He looked me over and asked if I’m happily married or just married.”

Janie looks Sue over too. “And you were dressed like that?”

Sue nods. She’s grinning, kind of gleefully.

Janie shakes her head. “And where did this happen, pray tell?”

Sue fills her in on the introduction over the fence and the ice tea.

“I can have the neighbours over for a cool drink, though – surely?”

“Is he still out there?” Janie’s peeping from the kitchen window. “Oh, my God. He’s hot.”

“Janie!”

“Oh, don’t worry. He’s busy shovelling concrete.… What a hunk! Nice going, Peggy Sue.”

Sue peeps over her incorrigible friend’s shoulder. “Shit!”

“What?”

“He took his shirt off…. That’s not even fair,” she whines.

“Well, we should too,” Janie says, craning her neck as Cal walks behind the edge of the house and out of view. “We should go for a swim and sunbathe.” She checks her watch. “It’s only midday. We’ve got hours until the kids get out of school.”

“What do you mean, we should? Do you mean to show off for them?”

Of course that is what Janie means. She’s a terrible flirt.

She turns to face Sue. “Take those off. You’re not wearing shorts.”

“But do you think we should?”

I want to. I think I called Janie for this exact reason. She always pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Janie’s eyes roll. “Of course we should. He said he’s only going to be around for a week, didn’t he? And you’re going to miss out on a chance to get a bit of attention at least? Get real, Sue. This is perfect. This is clean, honest fun.” She takes Sue’s hand. “Come on – you have to lend me a bikini too. Plus we need sunscreen. It’s hot out there today, and I don’t want to burn.”

The two women have a similar build. Sue gives Janie a blue chequered bikini to wear, and pulls on the bottoms of her white one. They apply the sunscreen in the kitchen and take a couple of big beach towels outside. The guys are resting on their back deck with beers. Sue glances and smiles. Their heads lift with interest.

The pool is in-ground with a concrete boarder. There’s a patch of grass next to the fence where the girls leave their towels. Sometimes they lie on the other side of the pool to sunbathe, but that would be too far away from the men, Sue has decided. Janie is obviously thinking that as well. She raises her eyebrows cheekily.

They wade into the pool, which is only waist deep – for the kids. While they float around chatting, the men resume work in their yard. It’s a clear view through the fence. Sue can’t keep her eyes off Cal as he shovels up piles of dirt and wheels it away in his barrow. His muscles are flexing and quivering. His skin is glistening with sweat.

He’s just eye candy. It’s perfectly reasonable to enjoy watching a muscular, shirtless guy working. There’s nothing unfaithful in that.

“Plus you know Josh has eyes too,” Janie tosses in when Sue explains what she’s thinking. “He even checks me out when I come over for a swim.”

Janie doesn’t know the extent of Josh’s interest in other women. Sue has never confided much about it to her. She once overheard her husband telling a male friend how he only hires attractive chicks at the shop, which seems to be true – they are all slender, pretty young girls employed there. He’s also embarrassingly obvious at the beach, so much so that Sue avoids going these days.

I’m dreading the day Cynthia grows up and starts bringing teen girlfriends home. I know Josh wouldn’t go so far as to actually do anything, but I’m not looking forward to him ogling and making everyone uncomfortable.

Josh really is too wimpy to be bad, though. He’s no worse than his friends – just a typical guy checking out girls – which of course makes this alright.

Janie motions to the towels, biting a smile, and with her big brown eyes wide. Their shirtless Adonis is working along the fence now, spreading and turning the soil in the garden there. He goes inside to answer a phone. The girls quickly get set up.

“I’m glad I did my bikini line last night,” Sue says, adjusting her pants.

“Me too…. Are you going to show him your front first?”

Sue giggles. “Janie! Tart!”

“Dude! How much did you shave off? Is that a landing strip?”

Sue plucks a bit more at her pants. She’s dark-haired down there, and it’s almost visible through the wet white fabric. “Can you see that much?”

“Yeah, but that’s good. You look hot,” Janie assures. “He’s going to love it,” she adds teasingly. “Plus you’ve got the nipples going…. I love your nipples. Mine are so huge.”

Janie’s plucking at her top, fixing it just right. Sue does hers and settles back, closing her eyes. The screen-door of the neighbour’s house slams closed, and she hears footsteps approaching. She squints a peep to see Cal pick up his shovel and resume turning the garden soil. She feels his shadow.

“Hey, ladies…. Nice day for it, eh?”

His voice is deep and rich.

“Hi, Cal. This is my friend Janie.”

Janie’s beaming. “Hi!”

“Hello, Janie. Nice to meet you.” He has a quick look over them both and nods with a grin. “Don’t burn there, eh….”

Janie and Sue exchange an excited glance. Adonis resumes turning the soil. He keeps looking over at them both. He’s checking out Sue’s body quite a lot. She wants to get her bikini wet so it’s see-through again. She motions to the pool and silently mouths the words to Janie, “I’m going to get this wet again.”

Janie’s eyes widen and she smiles. “Slut!”

“I know,” Sue whispers back. “You’re a bad influence.”

Sue lowers into the cool water and can’t resist a little rub of her pussy. She actually did shave to a very narrow strip of pubic hair, which feels nice – sexy. She emerges from the water dripping. Cal is looking at her, but she keeps her gaze averted. He’s looking at her legs. She reaches back and wrings her hair, with his eyes lifting to her boobs. Her nipples are tight again, of course, and visible through the almost translucent fabric.

She kneels on her towel, still facing the gorgeous man watching her. She plucks at her pants. Her landing strip is certainly visible through them, and they’re creasing into her a little bit. She tugs the waist up and exaggerates that for the guy. He’s staring now, blatantly. She glances and meets his smile.

“Got a second, Cal?” Roach calls from the back door.

Cal flashes another smile and actually winks at Sue as he turns and walks away.

Sue glares at Janie. “Oh, my God!”

Janie’s glaring back. “He totally winked at you. The dirty dog!”

They both giggle. Sue lies down beside her girlfriend. They’re on their bellies this time. Sue feels reasonably confident about having her bottom checked out, as she’s sure it will be in a minute.

“Undo your top,” Janie says. She’s pulling the knot at the back of hers.

“Are you serious?”

“Come on – you don’t want tan lines.” She undoes Sue’s top as well.

Sue lets her.

I feel a bit unsure about this, but as long as I remain lying flat, I guess….

Janie closes her eyes. Her head is resting upon her folded arms. Sue can see the side of her boob. Janie shifts, straightening her towel, and Sue sees her nipple. Janie has both strings undone. The one around Sue’s neck is still tied, but as a flurry of excitement filters through her, she undoes it and lets her bikini top fall away.

Janie opens an eye. She’s grinning. “Should we take them off completely?”

“No way!”

“I will if you will, Peggy Sue.”

“Janie!”

“Why? No one else can see – only him.”

“Yeah, but I’ve never gone topless,” Sue argues.

“He’s topless,” Janie points out. “Why shouldn’t we?”

“Because!”

The idea is thrilling. I’m not brave enough to actually do it.

“Because, why?” Janie persists. She’s giggling now.

“You’re teasing, aren’t you?…….”

R-Rated romance novella. High level sex scenes.

Preview

Slow burn with plenty of heat

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BOOK REVIEW: This is one of the better romances of this kind I have read. It’s a letdown when the hero is a shallow playboy type and the heroine allows her attraction to him to overpower her better judgement. The mix here has the heroine not being overpowered at all. Maggie is a terrific character – her strength not wavering until the final scene, and even then we have to wonder who it was that lost control and succumbed to the attraction – or indeed whether they both did. There is a depth of honesty and realism in these characters that handles the tryst between the powerful bad boy and intrepid good girl way better than some bestselling books of late…. This is a fast read but not a quick fix story. It’s sexy and highly entertaining.

Preview on Amazon

“Bittersweet” alright!

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BOOK REVIEW: What a thrill ride! This picks up at the height of tension we were left with in the first part of the story. It picks up there and never backs off. Right to the final confrontation we are on the edge of the seat – heart in mouth. The style of storytelling here is sharp, gripping, take-no-prisoners. The action, including the love making, is graphic and powerful, but in that it is just keeping up with the mood of the story. The characters portrayed here are gritty and real. The bad guys are total scum and not easily defeated – more tension! The hero and heroine earn every bit of the ending…. Awesome, powerhouse read!

Available on Amazon

Going on about love after 5 minutes…

Beauty Skin Deep

Kate was pleased to be accompanied by others struggling to learn the steps. The lesson began with men lined up together and women lined up opposite. There was no touching. It was just a matter of following the steps to learn the pattern of movement. One two three, one two three. It was quite simple really, and Kate was soon walking through the eighteen step routine that zigzagged along the wall.

When it was time to take partners, that silly tingle in her belly returned. Her eye level was in line with that damned dimply chin, and Ben’s hand closed over hers as another big, warm paw pressed against her back. And she forgot the steps immediately.

“Are you ready?” he asked as the music started.

“Uh huh,” was all Kate could offer in reply, and the hand upon her back firmed, and she was drawn close to that powerful frame. She then completely surrendered as control of her body was taken from her. And she was rising and falling to the music and being swept along in a dizzy haze that took her breath away.

“Are you okay?” Ben asked softly. He seemed to be there in the cloud with her.

“Uh huh…” Kate uttered again.

“You’re doing very well.”

Kate wasn’t game to look at Ben’s face. She clung to one rippling shoulder and stared at the other one. The force of his body was against her hip, and his powerful thigh was driving between her legs and lifting her. The heat of his groin against her sex was something completely unexpected, and it was wonderful.

An hour passed in an instant, and Kate swayed against Ben’s chair while he changed his dance shoes for the boots he had worn earlier. His hand returned to her back as he guided her from the hall to his car. He opened the door for her, and she turned to him and placed her arms around his shoulders. He met her lips softly at first, but his passion was soon crushing her to his body, and she moaned into his mouth. He drew back and touched her cheek, caressing her face, and his hand moved to the back of her neck as he bent to her again.

Kate was on her toes, or perhaps her feet had left the ground. She wasn’t sure. The hand upon her back had slipped beneath her top, and she could feel its coarseness against her skin. The heat from his kiss was swirling in her head, and she clung to his hair as he mauled her neck. She was pinned against the car, his manhood rigid against her belly as he again lifted and kissed her open mouth.

“Is there a motel?” Kate asked, with her words ending as Ben’s lips again met hers, only that time he seemed a little restrained.

He smoothed hair from her face and delved into her eyes. He kissed her again, softly. “I’m a little out of practice.”

“Oh? I hadn’t noticed.” Kate held the man’s eyes. They wavered but quickly regained their intensity.

He kissed her again, deeply and with more tenderness and control that time. Kate responded, though she suddenly felt unsure, and her confusion was leading her beyond the heat of the moment. She wanted to know what he was thinking. He lifted and took to fiddling with her hair at her shoulder. He seemed to be struggling with something, and she waited.

After a long moment of silence, in which passion almost audibly faded, Ben looked up with a light, disarming smile. “I haven’t made love to a woman since Sylvia.”

Kate understood the significance of that statement immediately. She recoiled inwardly. “Love? Who said anything about making love, cowboy?”

His smile broadened with a hint of resignation. “Yeah, I know. Lame, huh?”

She had begun fiddling with the front of his shirt. The thought of the housewives of Goran Vale flashed to mind. “No, it’s actually quite sweet, but it’s not very realistic.”

He lifted her chin and smoothed hair from her face. He kissed her again, softly yet confidently. “Oh, it’s realistic. It’s just too soon for a word like that.”

He wasn’t reading her at all.

“We should go. It’s getting late, and I have jobs tomorrow before I leave.” Kate got in the car and closed the door. Ben stood for a moment then walked around and got in the other side. “Can we skip the restaurant and stop at that roadhouse again?” she asked.

He nodded and drove off. It was a good fifteen minutes before he spoke. “I’m sorry, Kate. I didn’t mean to spook you.”

“Well, you did spook me, cowboy—going on about love after five minutes.”

Ben smiled. “I know. I can usually go a good ten minutes before bringing that up too. It’s a form of premature ejaculation.”

Kate laughed. “Speaking of—that! You know what we could have been doing right now if you weren’t such a sap, don’t you?”

“I know. Damn it. I think there’s a motel just up ahead, though.”

“Nope. Too late. Moment’s passed, and all I want is a steak sandwich now……”

Read all about Ben and Kate: Kindle Countdown 99c sale this week.

 

Lives up to the promise…

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BOOK REVIEW: She is going to die and she knows it. Genre aside, that right there is a powerful and intriguing story idea. No one has threatened her or anything. She has simply seen her own funeral. Brilliant. The big question to be answered here is laid out plainly in the title, and within a page or two of reading, we’re in. We’re going to need to know how and why she dies at the end…. So now we have a clear and simple yet powerfully intriguing question, but do we have a story journey to back it up? Definitely! The setting is a tangible paranormal world with interesting relationships between the different species and plenty of historic complexity. Certainly 3 dimensional. And the tale of who our heroine is and how and why she dies is rich and captivating storytelling…. For mine, this book is every bit as good as the title.

Available on Amazon

Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe…

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BOOK REVIEW: This sci-fi setting is like real. It’s actually quite brilliantly understated. When imagining the universe being depicted here, it’s as if there’s nothing to prove – as if it’s just a matter of fact that this place exists and we all know it. This is a powerful human drama and romance set elsewhere, not on Earth…. The depth in the story itself is also impressive. We can easily imagine the prequel, which would be potentially even more intense and dramatic. I quite enjoyed joining in at the tail end of a story, with lives already blown apart, and seeing everything come together…. An intelligent and nicely constructed read.

Available on Amazon

Ben scores his first date with Kate…

Beauty Skin Deep

Ben finished his beer and strolled back out onto the street. He thought for a moment about his washing but decided to walk down and pay Bobby a visit after all. He wouldn’t try to press for information about the missing girl. He would just call in to see how the home gym was going, and it occurred to him he might be fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with the lovely Kate again.

He could see Bobby was still in the garage as he approached the house. There was a silver Range Rover with the number plate ‘RISSMAN’, in addition to the car he had seen the day before. The front door was open, and he heard Kate squeal and laugh. There was a man’s voice too. Ben knocked and stepped back.

Kate approached the door giggling and looking back over her shoulder. She turned, and Ben greeted her with a smile.

“Afternoon, ma’am.”

“Oh… Officer?”

“Ben… Ben will be fine, ma’am. I was out and about and thought I’d call by and say hello to Bobby. Am I intruding?”

“No… God, no! Um… Ben this is, um, a friend of mine, Paul… Paul, Ben’s the local cop.”

A tall, weak-chinned man had appeared behind Kate. His hands were upon her shoulders. Ben nodded.

“May I go around the side? I can see Bobby’s there in the garage.”

Kate squirmed from between her friend and the screen door. She opened it and shuffled Paul back a bit. “Can you check on dinner for me, please? I’ll just be a few minutes.”

“What do I do?” Paul asked.

“Oh, it doesn’t matter. Just… I’ll be there in a minute.” Kate slipped through the door and closed it. She was blushing and avoiding Ben’s eyes.

“Is everything okay? I really didn’t mean to intrude.”

“No, it doesn’t matter. He’s just… I don’t know… It’s fine. And I wanted to ask you a favour.”

Kate had stepped close. Her blush had faded, and her warm, brown eyes were enticing.

Ben wondered in that instant if any man had ever denied her anything.

“I was wondering if I could help with your investigation.”

“Help in what way?” Ben sat back on the porch rail. It gave him a little more room to breathe.

She smiled coyly and shrugged. “I don’t know. In any way I can. I might be able to check the newspapers from when the girl went missing. I saw there’s a library near your house. Maybe they have something there. Or you could let me see the police report.”

Ben met her smile and wondered how she knew where his house was. “Ma’am—”

“Kate! Not ma’am… Kate. You were saying?”

“Kate, I really don’t have the authority to invite civilians into the station to look into missing persons.”

“So, take that one little file home and invite me to dinner. I’ll sneak a look while you’re busy cooking.”

“I can’t cook.”

“Frozen pizza?”

Ben hadn’t stopped smiling. “You’re pushy!”

“Tomorrow night?”

“What about?” Ben motioned to the door.

“He’s nothing. He’s just my boss. I’m sending him home after dinner.”

“Okay. Around six, and it’ll be fresh pizza, not frozen. And white wine?”

Kate stepped to the door and smiled back over her shoulder. “Or beer.”

She stayed at the door while Ben walked back to the front gate. “What about Bobby?” she called after him.

“Next time… I got what I wanted,” he called back.

“Me too!”

………………….

Read all about Ben and Kate: Kindle Countdown 99c sale this week.

Sale price only available to US & UK customers.

I was shocked by how far this went…

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BOOK REVIEW: This is an intense, shadowy thriller, paced for a quick read. There’s plenty of angst in the awkward, fledgling, arranged romance between our main characters before the real challenge even begins…. The 1980s setting is authentic and well suited to stories about this kind of crime – it’s kind of what makes it so shadowy. It works well. The descent into the murky depths of perversion as the thriller aspect of the story builds is another highlight. The climax is grim and hard-hitting. The romance finds a way…. This stands alone as a terrific read, but there’s definite potential for a follow-up and study of some of the secondary characters.

Available on Amazon