Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#Harder Than the Rest by Shirleen Davies @ShirleenDavies

Harder Than The Rest

“They are men you want on your side. Hard, confident, and loyal, the MacLarens of Fire Mountain will seize your attention from the first page.”

Will MacLaren is a hardened, plain-speaking bounty hunter. His life centers on finding men guilty of horrendous crimes and making sure justice is done. There is no place in his world for the carefree attitude he carried years before when a tragic event destroyed his dreams.

Amanda is the daughter of a successful Colorado rancher. Determined and proud, she works hard to prove she is as capable as any man and worthy to be her father’s heir. When a stranger arrives, her independent nature collides with the strong pull toward the handsome ranch hand. But is he what he seems and could his secrets endanger her as well as her family?

The last thing Will needs is to feel passion for another woman. But Amanda elicits feelings he thought were long buried. Can Will’s desire for her change him? Or will the vengeance he seeks against the one man he wants to destroy—a dangerous opponent without a conscious—continue to control his life?

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Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – PG-13

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Things You Didn’t Know About Ramz Artso – Ramz Artso @RamzArtso

Things You Didn’t Know About Ramz Artso

I was raised in a small, fairytale-like village in the Swiss Alps, which is why I love camping and skiing, both mountain and cross-country. I’ve always wanted to try snowboarding, but somehow never got around to doing it. Snowblades look very promising, too. The sheer speed gets my blood moving. I love hot chocolate and sliced bread with Nutella scraped all over it for breakfast. Also, I cannot live without pain au chocolat, cup noodles, sushi and Chinese cuisine. I think Red Bull is the best drink on Earth, followed by Powerade.  Inferno chips – best snack known to humanity, and Haribo gummies, particularly the bears, Smurfs and frogs, are to die for. I used to work out and lift weights a lot, but I don’t anymore.

My favorite movies are Inception, all of the Jurassic Parks, Back to the Future films, 1998 Godzilla, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and many, many others. I think the best books I’ve read so far are the Harry Potter, Twilight, Millennium Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings books. I also really like reading classics, like Dostoyevsky, Bulgakov and Charles Dickens, as well as Jane Austen. I prefer dogs over cats, and want to get myself a Norfolk Terrier sometime in the future. If I could be anyone, I’d become a genius inventor and put together a flying broomstick, then fly around racing against sports cars. I imagine broomsticks aren’t exactly comfortable, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re awesome.

I love all types of music, but Lana Del Rey, Pink and Mozart, as well as many other classical composers, have a special place in my heart.  Fall is probably the most beautiful time of year, what with all the multicolored leaves. I love writing most during autumn and winter, of course spring and summer are just as great. But the former two carry some sort of magic in the air that the other seasons lack.

I’ve watched a lot of series in my life. Family Guy, Southpark, Futurama, American Dad, The Simpsons, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Sopranos are by far the best ones I’ve seen so far. People often recommend Rome, so I think I’ll give it a try when my schedule allows it.

In my opinion, Batman and Ironman are the two best superheroes. My favorite villains are of course Bane and the Joker.

My favorite games of all time are all the Elder Scrolls, Sims and Uncharted.  I play my games on PS3, Nintendo Wii and on an Alienware laptop – if you can call it that, ‘cause it’s so huge, it’s crazy.

I really enjoy anything with vampires, werewolves, fairies, wizards, dragons, giants, elves, dwarves and trolls. Norse mythology is my most favorite. The reason being I like Thor and other creatures mentioned in their myths. I’m also very fond of the Viking attire.

Tigers and bears, as well as monkeys, wolves and lions, are the most interesting animals. I could watch their lives on TV for hours on end.


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Genre – Young-adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://ramzartso.blogspot.com/

Closing The Gap: Understanding Your Service (Wo)man - Yvonne Jones @yvijones

In order to explain to you what a military family is, let’s look at the applicable creed and motto your service(wo)man is encouraged to live by.
Due to its prominent use in different forms of entertainment, such as movies and songs, the Rifleman’s Creed is often mistakenly thought to be the creed of all military branches. Each branch within the military, however, has its own creed, which are depicted below.
Those creeds and mottos reflect the pride, beliefs, and top priorities of your service(wo)man. Those beliefs, are the driving force that keep your service(wo)man going during inspirational acts of bravery and sacrifice, during periods of long separations, danger and fear of injury and loss. Military service penetrates and influences the entire family to an extent unmatched by civilian employment. Military life is hard to describe, but ultimately, it is a “way of life” as opposed to a job or a career. Military life is not an easy life, and is most certainly not for everyone. But most of us wouldn’t want to change who and what we are. We travel all over the world and meet some truly amazing people along the way with whom we create lifelong, lasting friendships. But who are “we”?
Closing The Gap
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Genre – Military Family
Rating – G
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Infernal Gates by Michael J. Webb @mjwebbbooks

Chapter 7

It was just after dawn and the sun rose majestically over the snow-capped peaks of the Swartberg Pass. The golden yellow rays—tinged with hues of red, bluish-purple, and brilliant orange—reflected off the glistening, pristine snow. The view was breathtaking—like nothing Donald had ever seen before. The mile-high Pass they were passing through was a masterpiece of engineering, full of wide loops, switchbacks, and stunning views.

He didn’t want to miss a single moment of the extraordinary panorama spread out before him, but he had to concentrate on his driving.

Donald had researched information about its construction on the Internet late last night. The final work accomplished by the legendary road builder, Thomas Bain, it was completed after six years of grueling labor in 1887. Because the road was narrow, winding, and very steep, he couldn’t afford to act like a tourist on vacation, even though he felt like one.

One stupid mistake and they’d be airborne—and it was a long way to the valley below.

He’d also discovered the San Andreas Fault ran smack dab through these mountains. The most destructive earthquake in South Africa’s history had hit not far from here in 1969. The quake had been so strong, 6.3 on the Richer scale, with aftershocks exceeding 7.0, that the force of it had been felt as far away as Durban, on the coast. Thinking of the rock towers surrounding this road shifting and swaying like tinker toys made his stomach quiver.

“Tell me again why we’re going to this place—what’s it called, Heitsi?” he said.

“Gamkaskloof,” their guide replied from the back seat.

Die Hel” Alec said, using the Afrikaans colloquial name as he scrutinized the map splayed out across his lap. He was in the passenger seat with several well-worn reference books scattered at his feet. Every so often he reached down and picked one up, then flipped back and forth through the pages. He scribbled furiously and made several notes on both the map and the small notepad he always kept with him.

“The Hell is an extremely fertile valley, thirty-two miles long and less than half a mile wide,” he continued, as he paused for a moment from what he was doing. “It’s aptly nicknamed by the locals, because it is a place of mystery and legend, in the tradition of Sir Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. We’re going to Gamkaskloof, because of what we found in the Karoo yesterday.”

Heitsi said nothing. An air of concern cloaked his countenance, like a barely discernible gossamer veil.

It was mid-morning when they reached the bottom of the valley.

The temperature had risen dramatically as they descended. Now, all the windows in the Land Rover were down, allowing a scented breeze to flow through the vehicle. The valley floor was covered with a variety of reverie shrubs, thorn trees—with their exaggerated umbrella-shaped crowns, gnarled branches, and jagged thorns—and the spectacular Klapperbosse.

The narrow road wound through bush so dense it seemed like an impenetrable wall and finally brought the three companions to the Gamka River crossing. Donald was grateful they hadn’t seen another vehicle. He couldn’t imagine how they would have negotiated the encounter—there was no place to turn around.

“This valley has to be one of the best-kept secrets ever,” he said. “I had no idea anything like this existed in South Africa.”

“Most people outside of the area don’t,” Alec responded. “The valley was discovered by accident. For more than a hundred years, the only way to get down here was on horseback through the river gorge, or over the mountains. The cut-off leading down into the valley wasn’t even constructed until nineteen sixty-two. Within thirty years of its completion, the last farmer had sold out his interests to the Cape Nature Conservation Society, the organization which manages the Swartberg Preserve. Now, there are only two permanent residents who live here—a conservation official and his wife.”

The Land Rover hit a huge pot hole and the three occupants were momentarily rattled.

“Hit another one of those, Donald,” Heitsi admonished, “and you might as well get out the camping gear right now, because we won’t be going anywhere for a while.”


“You see those three odd-shaped formations up ahead?” Alec tapped his graduate assistant on the shoulder and pointed.

Donald nodded.

“That’s where we’re going to look.”

“Look for what?” Heitsi demanded, a scowl on his face.

“The Tomb of the Unmentionable.”

Six thousand miles away, on the shores of the Mediterranean, an orange-yellow sun was momentarily trapped among a contingent of cumulus clouds as they pranced across the sky, casting a mosaic of lavender and ocher-red hues across the heavenly, deep-blue canopy. A soft, cool breeze, unusual for this time of year, cascaded over the dirty-green water that was the Vieux Port of Marseilles. It left row after row of undulating ripples in its unseen wake.

The smell of salt, and rotting fish, permeated the shimmering air.

On the peak of the strip of land that projected west into the bay, high above the Port, stood the imposing Church of Notre Dame de la Garde. Construction on the Romano-Byzantine style basilica had begun in 1853 on the hilltop where the town’s lookout post had once stood. It was completed forty-six years later, one year shy of the new century. The hilltop, like most religious sites in Europe, had a long history. Originally, a simple chapel had been built there during the thirteenth century. Eventually, it became a priory for the monks of St. Victor. Three hundred years later, the church had been fortified to defend against a threatened invasion by Charles V of Spain.

Now, the century-old basilica dominated the view for miles around.

Standing atop its two hundred foot high belfry stood a huge, gilded statue of the Virgin Mary holding her infant child. Mother and child had a magnificent view of Fort St. Jean, and Fort St. Nicholas, as well as the rocky islet of If, site of the sixteenth century Chateau d’If mentioned in the Count of Monte Christo, the nineteenth century novel written by the French novelist Alexandre Dumas.

Infernal Gates

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Genre – Christian Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://www.michaeljwebbfiction.com/