25 January 2015

Remembering "Unremembered Things" by Rachel Tsoumbakos

All right, enough with the yawning and dawning! Now the beginning of this new year is old enough for more mature content!

First on my real blog parade--as opposed to my woe-is-me and isn't-life-suckish stuff--is a fellow author and friend at Myrddin Publishing, Rachel Tsoumbakos. Rachel lives in Australia and her books are set there. Her latest is no different, a paranormal romance.

This week I'm featuring Rachel's new novel UNREMEMBERED THINGS. Please take a look and read an excerpt below.

Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos

Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos (Genre: Paranormal Romance)
Unremembered Things (Wood Nymph Chronicles #1) by Rachel Tsoumbakos
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance


One woman, two worlds and nothing but UNREMEMBERED THINGS separating them.
Indiana Shamira has a dark secret that could shatter her version of reality and get her killed in the process. Now if only she could remember what it is…
When Indiana wakes with no memory of her past life and a vampire called Sam hanging from the rafters in her cellar, she knows things are about to get nasty. Not only does Sam know all about her previous life, but he seems intent on seducing her as well. Of course her boyfriend, Kurt, has different ideas – like making her open the portal to hell!
And then there is the nagging suspicion that Indiana is not entirely human, now she can see ghostly images from the Otherworld. Or could it be from the life she can no longer remember? They include the flickering effigy of Kurt and a redwood forest that conjures up deeply repressed magic.
Not only will Indiana have to risk everything to keep the door to another dimension closed, she will have to decide whether she is ready to lose her heart to someone who has more secrets than herself.
Set in the lush Australian bush, UNREMEMBERED THINGS is a fusion of fantasy, paranormal and forbidden romance.

Add to GoodReads

Purchase (Pre-order) : AMAZON


“It is time.” Her voice purred like a kitten, but Indiana suspected she was really a feral animal on the inside.
“For what?” Her voice was raspy, hesitant and unsure if she really wanted to know the answer. Somewhere, deep inside, she suspected she already knew.
“Just remember I’m doing this for us,” Sam whispered into her ear. “So we can be together forever.”
Before Indiana could question him further, she felt a flurry of hands over her body. Indiana tried to open her eyes, but a warm hand reached up and carefully covered them.
Indiana was bitten – hard, and she groaned in pleasure. Shocked by her unexpected display, she clutched her hands outwards. Feeling the writhe of skin on skin, she tried to pull herself free. The tickle of fingers across her neck and down her spine calmed her with their warm familiarity.
“It’s okay, Indiana.”
The feathery words danced across her skin, warm like a summer breeze. She stilled and let Sam’s fingers intertwine with her own, relieved by his simple touch.
Time seemed to move forward and Indiana was presented with brief snippets of fleeting images; Camilla biting Sam, biting her. Indiana enjoying the pain of Camilla’s sharp teeth as they gnashed at her neck, her thighs and her wrist. The flurry of skin and hands and teeth as they writhed together in the height of passion. Pale hands slithered over her own luminescent skin, then Sam’s darker skin brushed against her own, warming her and protecting her but against what she was unsure.
Then Camilla poised over Sam, a knife in her hand. A flash of blood as it splayed out from a gaping neck wound. Indiana’s involuntary gasp and then choking sob at the sight of the cavernous hole. Hungry sucking as Camilla drank her fill. A warm hand, its fingers still laced through hers, slowing turning ice cold.

So what do you think? I know I need this book because I tend to forget everything. If you wish to know more about Rachel and her books, she has many links to click on. I'm already fascinated by METANOIA--mostly because I had to look up that word. 

PLUS...Rachel is having a giveaway!


PRIZE (international):
  • 1 x eCopy of Unremembered Things
  • 1 x eCopy of Metanoia
  • 1 x eCopy of The Ring of Lost Souls
  • 1 x $10 Amazon gift card
Rafflecopter giveaway. Click to Enter

(If Rafflecopter doesn't work for you, please go to Rachel's own blog page.)

Rachel's Links:


Unremembered Things now has a Facebook page, too!

(C) Copyright 2010-2015 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

18 January 2015

A New Year Yawns

Well, it seems it's finally that time of year again. Time for the new semester to begin, for I am, as close followers of this blog may recall, one of those of the teacher persuasion. And, thus, the new semester dawns once more. Or should I say a new year yawns?

Sure, I had the holiday/slash/winter break but it is never enough to recover from a fall semester, as usual, filled with mountains of papers to grade and lessons to prepare and conduct. All part of the plan, of course. And I have accepted that plan. After all, teaching writing is the second best thing I know how to do. Writing itself would be the first best thing. However, even those marks may seem pale compared to many others' marks I have encountered in my life. Nevertheless....

I like to begin a blog year with a reintroduction. To those who know everything already, I beg your indulgence. 

This blog has no real rhyme or reason to it; it is more often than not the musings which come into my head and go out my fingertips willy-nilly. On occasion, I endeavor to offer some writing advice, some technique examples, discussions of grammar issues, or similar authorical esoterica. At other times, I will update blog followers on my latest writing efforts or publishing achievements. I may wax poetic on the woes of me whenever the mood strikes me down. Sometimes I will have a guest blogger or share someone else's news or book.

First, you will note the name of this blog. What could it possibly mean? The DeConstruction of the Sekuatean Empire? When I first hammered this blog from hell's own fire and brimstone, I had in mind a place to post the "back material" for THE DREAM LAND Trilogy. Because the trilogy is set in part on another world, the political entity known as the Sekuatean Empire becomes a focal point. Hence, the title of this blog would make sense: taking apart the history, geography, culture and customs of the place where much of the action of the story occurs. However, as time has progressed, other works came to the forefront which had nothing to do with Sekuate or its hard-working rebels.

North and South Sekuate, c. 1481 GP

You will also note the list of book titles with convenient hyperlinks in the upper right corner of this blog page. They are not mere decoration but serve as keys that open doors to my dementia. Experience them and be enlightened forever more! Or, at the least, be entertained. My writing strives to enfold profound truths of the human condition within pages of action and adventure, liberally marbled with sex and romance and sprinkled with pontifications and jokes best left on the cutting room floor. That sounds a lot like a warning, doesn't it? But it's all in jest. I can assure you that 99.9% of the words are spelled correctly and good grammar is always in use==except for the dialog of those characters who have not been well-educated and then only for the sake of authenticity.

To update you now, I am working (more or less) on the revision of my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) book, a science-fiction tale of the little alien who could, working titled THE MASTERS' RIDDLE. I have no timetable for its completion but I am beginning to enjoy working on it, rather than cranking out pages to win the NaNoWriMo contest--which I did at 55,555 words. In addition, I still want to get two previously written novels up to snuff and made available this coming year: AIKO, a love story/murder mystery set in 1980s Japan, and YEAR OF THE TIGER, an action adventure tale about hunting a man-eating tiger, set in 1986.  

Furthermore, I strive to post a new entry once a week, all the better to take advantage of such Twitter hashtag threads as #MondayBlogs. I do not hold to this schedule religiously, however--as this month's fares will attest. But I try. You know how life tends to interfere with your best intentions. Doubly so for writers and teachers. Worst yet if one is both a writer and a teacher. But I'm not complaining.

In keeping with a "best practices" model of book promotion, I shall attempt to keep blatant marketing efforts to a minimum--except when something new is being launched. As always, I expect followers of this blog to read everything I produce and go forth to gather all their family members and friends, coworkers and just about everyone they encounter in their daily lives, and make them also followers of this blog, readers of these books, and all-around nice people who live to love and love to live, helping all of us enjoy this wonderful world we occupy and yet still be prepared to battle the interstellar aliens who will invade us circa 2345. Or not. The choice is yours, as always. But I have high hopes for you.

Thanks for your attention to these matters. Now carry on making the world a better place for me. And I shall return the favor!

(C) Copyright 2010-2015 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

04 January 2015

Is this the year for you?

(I seriously doubt it's for me.)

2015. There. I said it.  (Actually, I wrote it.)

And so it begins: another year of the blogging virus. Will any of us survive?

On Saturday, I felt a pang in my side. A pang is non-descript, a physical sensation that has no physical cause. A chimera, a mystery, a riddle wrapped in flimsy flesh. But I felt it.

The pang expanded, filled my torso until I almost could not breathe. For a few precious moments I thought that was the end for me, the beginning of not-me, my doppelganger. I checked my daily nutritional consumption to investigate the nature of what may have prompted the pang. I considered events of recent days, dismissing each of them summarily as unlikely causes.

I thought it best to rest, so I laid down. (Grammarians need not be concerned, at this point, for I actually did open a bag of duck feathers and spread them around on the floor.) I was already near the floor, you see, so I took my leisure there, close to the undercarriage of society, and there did I nap.

A resurgent pang awoke me, however, called me to rise and rise I did, like the morning sun in the land of the morning calm. Suddenly, I knew the source of my pang. Regret. It's always about regret. Usually somewhere in the plural. Regrets. And there would be more: a year's worth of them, surely.

The little bird outside, robinesque in its twittering, clenching firmly the bending, bouncing twig, dared suggest that a new day had finally dawned, and so I yawned. Already it was year 2015 on the standard calendar. Such an artificial construct! And I wondered: how had I managed, despite myself, to have reached this date? 

I recalled sometime in year 1984 wondering how I could have possibly reached that date, given all I knew or had done (or not done). At the time, I felt as though I had been blessed by a fistful of free hamburger coupons. That exuberance had caused me to reflect deeply on 1975 and the severe dismay I had felt for so many of those months. Much worse than 1962 when all I worried about were toys. Then, in 1999, I again faced the dark abyss and considered whether or not I could make that leap of faith and land sure-footed on the good side of Y2K. (I did.)

And then year 2004 and year 2008 came and went with much hurrah and much sighing, like any good matinee down at the multiplex. Luck of the draw. Everything begins and ends, after all, and you hardly ever see the smoke and the mirrors behind the dog and pony show. You see what you want to see and you get what you pay for. What comes free is always of questionable vintage. The peanuts are free, of course. And the can of soda, too--unless you sit in Business class. There the wine is free.

In fact, this entire holiday period seems drawn from a deep dream. For reason which still remain hidden, I gathered myself into a long box and later awoke and climbed out of that box, rather vampire-like in my proclivities and mannerisms if not for my skin condition. That is not quite how I wished to be, you must understand, but there I was: an automaton driven forth through the streets of some large foreign city, perpetually lost, always on guard and mute, unclear as to my destination. It was a nightmare but without the horse.

It seemed as though I was taken to a temple high on a mountainside and for a brief moment I believed I would be given the opportunity to leap off the top and fly, fly, fly away home. But no, not that. It's never that simple. Instead, the sordid experiments began and for several days there was no technology allowed but for the glasses I always wore. No clothes or shoes, either, only a thin robe and straw sandals. And winter had come. The food was rice and cabbage, and boiled tofu if I was behaving myself. And tea. Lots of tea. But no Q & A. LOL was swiftly punished.

Thus I did not speak, only listened; nobody was saying anything anyway. The world was reduced to birdsong, wind, heartbeats, and the disconcerting creaks of tired timbers along the floor I traversed from morning chant to afternoon meditation to evening sleep. After a couple days, I thought I was imagining everything, as though it were all a dream within a dream within a fortune cookie within a snowball set somewhere safe yet sullen. I was a muffin without a paper wrapper. And coffee was far, far away.

Then the curse broke and I was flying--yes, at long last, like a scrawny, half-starved bird, wax wings holding tight, soaring high to the ancient castle on the top of another, better mountain. And there I was hooked by long talons and wrestled inside through a latticed portal, placed on a davenport of Naugahyde and made to chirp my cute English words as though I were an expert. Or someone's prized pet. Occasionally I would be given a tasty treat. Mostly, I listened, for there was much I did not understand.

Not sure what exactly happened--though fairly certain it was not quite a dream (surely not a sleeping one, that is), but I nevertheless hold out for the possibility that I could have been fully conscious yet simply unaware of what was unfolding and refolding around me, so Laundromat-like in its efficiency, as it were--I chose to accept all of it. Indeed, what else could I do? 

And now the waking dream comes to an end--as all realities must at the start of a new page, the first of many: pages filled line by line with regrets, or the occasional cross-out of things that surprisingly went well, day by day. The earth still turns, still bleeds, still crow-caws, and humor is a rare delicacy. But now the pillows have burst, the clocks have been smashed, and the ringing of the school bell awaits. I shun reality like fermented bean paste mixed through with whole dried minnows and a side of kimchi. Because I can. Because I must. Because there is pizza.

If I somehow make it to year 2016, it will be only because of you: my invisible, semi-fictitious, semi-delicious companions on the rocky road to somewhere muffin-warm and marshmallow-soft, sweet and sour like breaded chicken cubes, a rare respite akin to real retirement in the rustic inn along the narrow side of the road, just beneath that crooked, towering mountain covered with ice and snow, and the precariously poised stones tilting there, ready to fall from its heights. Yes, that one. 

We are all in it together. Let's make the most of our fresh set of downs!

BTW, FYI, Year of the Lamb!

(C) Copyright 2010-2015 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.