Friday, November 20, 2015

Matronly Duties by Melissa Kendall @mkendallauthor @BridgGapPR

 Matronly Duties
Melissa Kendall

Genre:  FICTION / Romance / General / Science Fiction
EBook available from: Amazon and ITunes

Hundreds of years after an asteroid slammed into Earth and sent it into a new ice age, what remains of the human race lives on in underground sanctuaries. Now, as the bicentennial anniversary of the impact approaches, a
new leader prepares to take her place at the head of the government. At least, thats what she thinks.

Bethanie Greenes life has been planned out for her since the age of thirteen. Beautiful and intelligent, shes spent the last twelve years training to become the next Matron of the underground nation of Oceania. But when Bethanie is kidnapped by rogue extremists just six weeks shy of taking office, her world is turned upside down by the handsome stranger who rescues her.
Howard Jameslife has been the polar opposite of Bethanies. Struggling to survive in a world where those in power wished he didnt exist, he harbors a deep-seated resentment of the government and all its representatives. Together with his unconventional family, he shows Bethanie a life she never knew was possible, while at the same time, opening her eyes to the injustices of the government she is meant to lead.
But can she trust a stranger? And can a few days change everything she believes and desires? Against all odds, Bethanie must decide if her heart and her duties can coexist.


My body shakes at the thought of what could have happened to me yet again. Ive heard stories about the slums, and I have to take a few deep breaths to calm myself.

I was silly running away, I get it. I just couldnt stay in your home any longer.
Howard sighs. “Just because my parents raised us with traditionalist values doesnt mean we are anything like the Trads. You accused us of being a drain on society, but you dont even know us.
“Youre right, I dont. But you dont know me either. If you did, you would understand why its hard for me to understand your way of life. It goes against every law, moral, and convention Ive been taught. So I cant be sorry for what I said, even if Im sorry I ran out of the house.
Howard takes a deep breath, then exhales long and slow. The expression on his face looks a bit like pity but with a dash of guilt mixed in. Look, maybe Ive judged you unfairly based on preconceived notions, but—”
A loud bang echoes outside. Howard glances at me with a panicked look on his face, and then pulls me off the crate onto the floor behind. I sit up, and turn to yell at him, but male voices outside keep my mouth closed. I instead huddle closer to Howard as he puts his hand around my shoulders. He pulls me in until Im tucked against him.
Did you see where she went?” a mans voice asks.
Nah, she just vanished.The voice of this one sounds young.
Damn, the boss isnt going to be pleased about this.
The crunch of shoes against pavement indicates they are on the move again. The sounds trail off until theyre no longer audible. I sigh in relief, all the tension fleeing my body.
“Are you okay?Howard asks, rubbing my shoulder.
I glance up, only then noticing how little space is between us. His blue eyes have flecks of grey in them, and theres a smattering of freckles covering his nose and cheeks. His warm breath tickles my cheek almost like a caress, and his jaw has the barest hint of a five oclock shadow. He really is captivating.
“Im fine,I eventually say, the words a mere whisper.
The butterflies in my stomach return with a vengeance. Howard licks his lips as they turn up ever so slightly in a smile.
I cant stop the sigh that slips past my own lips. Howard leans forward a little, then moves closer still until his mouth is pressed against mine. I dont dare move. A zing of something, Im not sure whether its pleasure or fear, shoots through me. His lips are soft and wet, and the sensation is unlike anything Ive felt before. I cant even decide if I want him to continue or stop. When he pulls away though, a feeling of disappointment bubbles up inside me.
My first kiss.
Goosebumps cover me from head to toe, and unbidden, my fingers move to my lips. Glancing at Howard, he stares at me for a minute, then moves to sit further away.
“Im sorry. I shouldnt have done that.
I shrug. “Its okay.”
Howard frowns and then looks across the room.
Part of Matron training is learning not to form close relationships. It doesnt mean it never happens. Ive heard the odd story here and there from the other women, and I realise thats probably what Gail was trying to tell me at breakfast the other day. But in all honesty, I cant remember the last time I had real physical contact with anyone, above all with a man.
We sit in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. Tension rolls off Howard in waves.
Whats wrong?
Nothing. Come on,Howard whispers. We need to get to the house before those guys come back.


Melissa Kendall is an almost forty-year-old mother of two from Perth, Western Australia, the second-most isolated capital city in the world. Predominantly a stay-at-home mum, she works a few hours a week as a software support consultant. She has always loved to read and write, and spent most of her teens writing poetry and short stories. Over the years, daily life got in the way and she lost the passion for it, but after the birth of her first child, Melissa discovered e-books and her interest in writing rekindled. She is now the author of two published short stories. Matronly Duties is her first full-length novel.


Friday, November 13, 2015

It's All About the Book with Brenda Beem

Thanks for visiting today and please welcome Brenda Beem!  
We are interviewing her and... It’s All About the Book.

Thank you so much for inviting me today.  I appreciate the chance to answer your great questions and share bits and pieces of my novel with your readers.

 Please tell us about your current or upcoming release.
My upcoming novel is titled “Beached.”
Back Cover Blurb.

Toni and the young crew of the sailboat, Whistler, have just found a safe harbor. Or so they thought...

They may have survived a tsunami, but they’re racing ahead of an ice age as they continue the frantic search for their families.

The island they’ve anchored near is anything but safe. Dangerous men lurk nearby—along with snakes, stingrays, and sharks. An island girl threatens to destroy Toni and her boyfriend’s relationship, the youngest member of the crew gets lost in a narrow dark cave, and Zoë is more annoying than ever.

Will Toni and her crew survive the island and its treacherous waters? 

 What is this book’s genre?
That’s a good question. It is a mix of adventure, survival, a touch of YA romance, and pinch of humor.  Although there isn’t such a word, I call it Pre-dystopian.

 Is this the genre you usually write in?
It’s what I have been writing lately. A few years ago I wrote a Sci-Fi/YA romance with a ghost as the love interest. Lots of fun.

Are there any genre’s you haven’t written that you’d like to try?
  Humm! I like the fast pace of YA novels, and I’ve always wanted to write a novel set in outer space. Maybe…

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m that crazy friend you have who is always reading survival sites and imagines how long it will take to escape to a safe place if there is an earthquake, war, or plague. Maybe because I live close to a number of huge volcanoes, (Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens). And my husband and I are sailors. If you know you are going to be stranded on a deserted island, you really should invite me, my rolls of duct tape, and my recipe for penicillin.

 How did you pick its title?
This is the second book in the series. The first was “Knockdown”. Its title is a nautical term for a boat that goes down, but bounces back up. I liked the many layers of meaning in the title.

In this novel, “Beached”, the kids on the boat arrive at a dangerous island. The boat becomes stuck at one point on the shore, and the beach on the mainland is all military. Beached seemed fitting. Also, I like one word titles.
Did it come first or did you have to write the story first?
The title came first, although I wasn’t sure I’d keep it until the end.

 How did you create your characters? 
 Did you use any real life people in their making? 
My children think I based the three main characters on them. They are so indignant when I have the character they claim as them do something they’d never do. My youngest son was horrified when I killed off his character.
The short answer is that I might have started out thinking of my children as the characters in the beginning, but the characters have each taken on a life of their own.

Who is your favorite character of this book and why? 
Wow. That’s hard. I’ve grown to love my characters. But the most fun to write is Zoe, the girlfriend of Toni’s brother. Zoe is so self-centered and whiny.  Yet she is also the daughter of two doctors and is a sports medicine student. She becomes the ships healer when she isn’t whining about running out of make-up and complaining about salt water showers.

What is your favorite part of this book?   
Can you share an excerpt from that part?
So much of my novel is life and death survival, but I tried to balance the drama with lighter scenes.  This scene takes place towards the beginning of the book. In the Chapter before this, Takumi, Toni’s boyfriend hiked into camp with a new girl, a beautiful Goth girl named Kat. Before she even sees them, Toni hears Takumi’s deep belly laugh. He is laughing with this new girl. Toni and Takumi have been so busy surviving that they have never had a moment to really laugh together. This excerpt is from the following chapter:
The rain finally slowed to a drizzle. We came around a huge boulder and Takumi placed his finger to his lips. We watched the field of wet grass on our left side. A ripple was flowing through it. Something alive was headed toward us.
We took a couple of steps back and searched for some kind of weapon. We had nothing. Takumi took his pack off and raised it over his head.
“Do you have a rock or something in there?” I whispered.
“No!” Takumi answered.
“Great!” I hid behind him. We were so screwed.
Whatever was in the grass was charging right at us. All of a sudden a bird’s head popped up. And then it gobbled.
“A turkey?” Takumi lowered his pack.
 “A killer turkey!” I chuckled.
The turkey waddled out of the grass and gobbled again.
“Don’t move,” Takumi whispered, as he slowly took off his coat, and crouched down.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Catching it.”
Takumi and the turkey stared at one another for a long moment. With his jacket open wide, Takumi pounced. The turkey flapped its wings. Feathers slapped Takumi in the face. Feathers floated in the air. The turkey squawked. Takumi yelled. The turkey broke free and launched itself into the air. It flew low but fast, and was soon only a tiny speck in the distance.
Takumi lay in the grass face down. His coat was spread out beneath his face. Feathers covered his back.
I giggled so hard I had to sit. Takumi rolled over in the grass, looked up at me, and began laughing too. The relaxed, deep laugh I’d heard earlier.
“Missed,” he said with a gasp.
“Sure did.” Another wave of hysteria hit me.
Takumi brushed the feathers off as best he could. I helped pick off the ones stuck to his wet shirt and stuffed them into my pocket.
Takumi got to his feet and stared out at the direction the turkey flew. “I didn’t think turkeys could fly.”
“Well, it appears they can.” I wiped my eyes.
“Yeah!” Takumi put his coat back on and adjusted his hat. “But how cool is it that turkeys are on the island. The brochure talked about foxes, but not wild turkeys. Next time I’ll be prepared. We can set traps.”
“Naw! You should give your coat at least one more try.” I snorted.
“Very funny.” Takumi wrapped his arm around my shoulders, and kissed me.
I reached up and pulled a feather out of his hair.
Our eyes met, and he laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.
With me.

What was the hardest part of this book to write? 
Can you share an excerpt from that part?
The fight scenes are the hardest for me to write. In this scene, an islander named Jeremy is holding the youngest member of the crew, a four year old girl named Makala hostage until the crew agrees to hand over the boat to him and his family. Angelina is Makala’s sister. Dylan is Toni’s big brother. Nick is part of the crew.
The guys guarding Nick stood and gazed at the scene on Whistler.
Jeremy jumped up, while holding Makala as his shield.
It was time. Jeremy had his back to Takumi’s hiding place.
Dylan continued speaking and gesturing with his gun. “Jeremy! I’ve let my hostages go. Now, it’s your turn. Put the gun away. Give Makala to her sister. If you want off this island, work with me.”
I glimpsed Takumi darting behind a large boulder from the corner of my eye. I held my breath. The plan was working. Everyone was focused on Dylan.
Jeremy shook his head. “You had your chance to let us on. The boat’s mine now.”
Dylan raised his hands in the air with frustration. “If we don’t get the boat off the beach, it won’t be useful for anyone.”
Jeremy’s face grew purple. “The boat will float off the beach. It will float, or you’ll be sorry.” He spun and turned the gun on me.
I froze.
Takumi roared, “Drop the gun!” eHHHe jammed a spear into Jeremy’s back.
I’d been expecting it, but still jumped.
“I said, drop it!” Takumi sounded fierce.
In one quick motion, Jeremy dropped Makala, twisted, and elbowed Takumi in the face. Takumi lost the spear gun. Nick, hands behind his back, body slammed into Jeremy. I snatched Makala and dove behind a bin. Angelina raced over and covered Makala and me with her body. Kat sprinted to her dad. Jeremy’s friends stayed by the fire and held their hands in the air.
Nick, Jeremy, and Takumi rolled around on the ground. Nick head-butted Jeremy. Jeremy threw a punch that knocked Nick away. Takumi grabbed Jeremy’s arms. Jeremy flipped Takumi onto his back, straddled him, and held the gun tight to his forehead.
“No!” I screamed.
Takumi worked an arm free and tried to push the gun away. Kat’s dad came out of nowhere and leapt on Jeremy’s back. Jeremy, Takumi, and the doctor fought for control of the pistol.
Then the gun went off.

Did you have any special rhythm or quirks while writing this?
There is a sense of urgency and a feeling of danger lurking throughout the novel, but I tried to balance these with a little romance and humor.

 Is this a stand-alone book or is it part of a series?  
 If so, we want to hear about it and what’s next in the series. 

This is book two of a three part series. In the first book, “Knockdown,” the young crew gathers at the boat, steals supplies, and heads out to sea racing the clock to beat the crest of a tsunami and a growing ice age.

In this novel, “Beached,” the crew has survived the voyage down the coast and have anchored near an island off the coast of California they hope to find their parents on. But the island is not the safe haven they hoped for.

 In the next and final novel, the crew is still trying to find their families, some of whom live in or near the Mexican border.  A war between the U.S. and Mexico breaks out just as boat sails into Mexican waters, and the multicultural/multinational crew is caught in the middle.  

Of course, all three novels are really about the relationships that develop aboard the ship, as well as the adventures the crew has in a pre-dystopian world. 

Thank you again for listening to my stories. It’s been fun.
Brenda Beem


(Knockdown, book 2)
by  Brenda Beem
Released: October 30, 2015
YA Contemporary Suspense

Toni and the young crew of the sailboat, Whistler, have just found a safe harbor. Or so they thought...

They may have survived a tsunami, but they’re racing ahead of an ice age as they continue the frantic search for their families.

The island they’ve anchored near is anything but safe. Dangerous men lurk nearby—along with snakes, stingrays, and sharks. An island girl threatens to destroy Toni and her boyfriend’s relationship, the youngest member of the crew gets lost in a narrow dark cave, and Zoë is more annoying than ever.

Will Toni and her crew survive the island and its treacherous waters? 

14+ due to sexuality and adult situations 

The first book in the series, KNOCKDOWN, won first place at the Houston Writers Guild.

BEACHED  Buy Links:   Evernight Teen    Amazon   All Romance eBooks

Author bio:

Brenda has always lived in the shadow of Mt. Rainer, a rumbling volcano, and the many waters of the Pacific Northwest.  
Her idea of heaven is a book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.  
She now lives on Lake Washington, close to Seattle, with her husband. She loves to kayak and watch the resident eagles soar. Her sailboat, Whistler, is in a marina a short ways away. Summers are spent sailing the inland seas of Washington and Canada.


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