by Stefan Vucak
Genre: Science Fiction
When everybody is against them, it is tough being a lifeliner, as Nash Bannon found out. Lifeliners are ordinary people…almost. They can draw energy from another person; they live longer and are smarter. Scientists claim that Western high-pressure living and growing sterility in developed countries has triggered the rise of lifeliners, and homo sapiens will replaced by homo renata within ten generations. So, what’s not to like about lifeliners? Protest marches by extremist groups, riots, attacks against lifeliners, repressive laws enacted by governments everywhere, were portents of a dark future. Young, successful, Nash Bannon did not like what was going on, but he thought he had the world at his feet and life in Australia was good, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. A chance encounter with Cariana during a lunchbreak develops into something he considered important. The Australian government calls a snap election, and Nash stands as a Senate candidate on the Lifeliner Party ticket. Unless lifeliners rise up and fight for their rights, they can expect sterilization, incarceration, and possible extermination as democracies everywhere turn into autocracies. To survive, the Lifeliner Party must employ the same dirty tricks the government used against them, but they were not prepared for what awaited them.
Stefan Vucak has written eight Shadow Gods Saga sci-fi novels and six contemporary thrillers. He started writing science fiction while still in college, but didn’t get published until 2001. His Cry of Eagles won the coveted Readers’ Favorite silver medal award, and his All the Evils was the prestigious Eric Hoffer contest finalist and Readers’ Favorite silver medal winner. Strike for Honor won the gold medal.
Stefan leveraged a successful career in the Information Technology industry, which took him to the Middle East working on cellphone systems. He applied his IT discipline to create realistic storylines for his books. Writing has been a road of discovery, helping him broaden his horizons. He also spends time as an editor and book reviewer. Stefan lives in Melbourne, Australia.
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Jessica Lynne

Jessica Lynn and I connected through social media.

Author Bio

I have a strong belief that when something of value is broken- a person, a keepsake, or a relationship- you don’t throw it away, you fix it! Whether the thing in need of repair is a character trait, an attitude, an heirloom, or a marriage- you do whatever is necessary to repair it if possible.

My focus is relationships. My passion is love. Much of my writing embraces themes such as renewed relationships, trust and forgiveness, repentance and correction, and character refining. I was given the advice once, “Don’t be afraid to be bold,” and that is how I try to approach my writing.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m in my late 30’s and married to my husband of 16 years. We live in New England with our four children ages 2-11, 2 cats, and a hamster.

Aside from my writing I also blog, and homeschool 2 of my children.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d be an author but I always had a secret desire to be published.

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in?

I enjoy drama, historical fiction, romance and some thrillers. I prefer not to read books in the genre I write in because I find it affects my own voice. I do read some authors but I’m specific about the ones I choose.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

Adults as it contains some sexual content

What is your current release or project?

I’ve recently released my debut novel, ‘Correcting Candi,’ which is book one in my ‘Starting Over’ series.

Book 2, ‘Naming His Price,’ is due to be released- date pending.

Books 3 and 4 are works in progress.

Tell us about the key characters

In ‘Correcting Candi’, the main characters are Candice Papageorgiou and Ralph Hamilton.

Candi is a girl in her twenties who still lives at home in upstate New York. She comes from a wealthy family and hasn’t learned to ‘adult’ or take responsibility for herself and her own actions, yet.

After losing another job, her father sends her to a see a job recruiter in order to teach her a lesson. The recruiter she sees is Ralph Hamilton.

Ralph is the complete opposite of Candi. He’s learned from a young age to work hard and be self- reliant. When he meets Candi at his office, he is repelled by her at first but due to some of his own ghosts in the past, decides he would like to help her learn to be responsible. The methods he employs are unconventional but he believes strongly in their ability.

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Candi is a twenty-five-year-old young woman living off her daddy’s money in New York. Having everything handed to her certainly hasn’t helped her in the maturity department and when her father threatens to cut her off, she has no choice but to find a job. When she meets with a job recruiter, Ralph Hamilton, seeking employment, he is baffled by the constant setbacks she’s had with each previous employer. After getting to know her, Ralph is on to her. She may think life is being unkind, but he has other ideas…

Ralph Hamilton is the owner of R. Hamilton & Co. Life has thrown him some curve balls, but when he meets Candice, she proves to be just the woman he needs to get his life back. Little does Candi know that his influence in her life will go far beyond the office…

Share an excerpt

“I understand that, Mista Hamilton but you still haven’t told me what you are proposing…”

He sat back and nodded his agreement.  “What I am proposing, Candice is for you to allow me to reform you.” His eyes met hers, silently, with an authoritative presence that was all their own. She wanted to burst out laughing again but when she looked into his eyes, she could see he wasn’t bluffing.  “And how do you intend to do that?” she questioned, eyes wide with disbelief.  “First, I would like to make it very clear that our relationship would be strictly platonic. I am not out to hit on you or try to take advantage of you. I will view you as an employer views their employee. You likewise will refer to me as Sir. You would reside in my home and have rules which you would be expected to follow and routines which you would be expected to keep. Adherence to your rules and responsibilities would earn you rewards and privileges and rule breaking would earn you punishments.”

“Um,” she croaked, her mouth dry from falling open. “What do you mean by punishments?”

“I mean that you will be punished for failure to adhere to my authority in any way that I see fit. The methods I use could be as simple as a reprimand or they could be as complex and humbling as a thorough bare bottom spanking, given over my knee. Do you catch my drift?”

Blushing – she could actually feel herself blushing! She couldn’t remember the last time she had done so. No one had that effect on her, ever. And while she sat there trying to contain her embarrassment, and arousal, he sat across from her cool as a cucumber, not so much as breaking a sweat. 

Do you have a favorite scene?

Probably this one, because the characters have come to a place in their journey together, where they are finally on the same page…

“I don’t want you to let me…” Candi interjected, her eyes pleading in his direction. Fear was etched across her face, a look he’d never seen her wear before. He’d seen her nervous before, yes. She was nervous when he gave her a spanking, but this was not that. Every feature of her face was drawn out and taut as if her life itself depended on his staying.  “Please don’t go, Ralph.” She reached out for him afraid this would be the last time, afraid he’d make her leave and not return. “I’ll take the spanking, please. I want to do better than this. Teach me, Ralph, teach me to do right.”

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Well, I am still a beginner myself, but to anyone who has a dream to write or be published my advice is to hone the skill. Do everything you can to protect your dream and carve out time to work on it. Set aside time for yourself each day to work towards your goal- and let others know that time is yours, and only to interrupt if absolutely necessary.

One piece of advice that helps me is – you won’t start off a great writer. Your writing will get better as you do it!

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

While the saying “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” is one I’ve heard numerous times, it is also one that most people don’t pay attention to.  The cover draws the reader in.  If the cover catches your eye amongst all the other books on the shelf (or on the web page) and gets you to pick up you are much more likely to buy than if the cover doesn’t draw you in.  It is the first impression of the book.  I want to make a great first impression.

In creating and selecting the cover, much thought goes into the process.  There is composition with all of its details like font, font size, font color and so on.  There is the picture and what it represents.  I’m sure there are probably studies out there that people who read X genre are drawn to X colors or whatever.  I only have my gut instinct to go by and the opinions of the people I trust. 

In looking at all of my covers, I try to be as creative as possible and practical.  I have two versions I have to consider whether it looks good or not – ebook and physical book.  In some ways it is easier to create an ebook cover because it only has to be an electronic version. 

Suzanne and Vicki have provided me with some incredible pictures to pick from for Moments in Spirit.  In looking over the pictures, I cannot narrow it down to just one that I like.  This is what led to twelve covers. 

I’ve spent the last three days looking at them electronically and getting opinions from Suzanne and Vicki.  Next I’ll be asking others randomly which one they like best. 

It is a balance of the right pictures, the words standing out, drawing the eye, and representing what is inside.  My problem at this stage in the game is I like several of them and have to narrow it down to just one.  I think I have it narrowed down to four but getting from four to one is causing me some difficulty. 

Midsummer – Longest Day of the Year

Yesterday was the longest day of the year.  This is a day of celebrating the movement of the sun and the life it gives us.  For Ken and I it was about getting stuff done.
Ken worked is so hard yesterday that his t-shirt was drenched every time he came in the house.  He has been working on the yard and wood splitting.  He was very productive. 
In a different way, I was productive as well.  I worked up eleven cover samples which I have to narrow down to just one.  Suzanne and Vicki have made it difficult by providing me with some beautiful photos. 
I also started the next afghan.  As is normal for me, when I’m done with a long and time consuming project, I like to do a quicker pattern for the next one.  I am using a larger hook and a larger pattern so I can maximize the yarn I’m using and minimize the amount of time I’m spending on it.  At this point I’m about a third done with it. 
Today is all about the business of writing so far.  I’ve been downloading reports and setting up a spreadsheet to track information.  It has been about gathering the information I need to keep track of what I’m making and also about expenses. 
Plus I talked to Suzanne and Vicki about the covers they preferred.  They really helped me narrow down the number of covers as well as critiqued one where we liked the picture but not the other elements.  The two of them help me clarify my vision for the book and how the cover will represent the thoughts within the book.
Once I’m done with all the business side of writing today, I’ll be going back to crocheting on the afghan I’ve got started.  I’m hoping to get it mostly done today as quick as it was working up.  If I could finish it this week, I would only have two left to do.  
Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy
Moments in Nature

It Is Done

This morning at 2:15 I finished the afghan!  After work, I had a headache so came home to a dark room.  It felt good to just have quiet and dark.  I was a bit annoyed because I thought I wouldn’t be able to work on the afghan. 
However, after supper my head felt better so I picked up the afghan.  I only intended to work a bit and then go to bed early as I’ve had a couple of nights with crappy sleep.  Instead, I watched Torchwood and crocheted until the afghan was done. 
I’ve made a late start today but I’m okay with that because the afghan is done and I can move on to the next crochet project.  Before I start the next crochet project, I’m going to spend some time on the computer working on production for some of my books. 
Suzanne got me pictures for the next poetry book cover.  I have to take some time to see if they will work.  She sent me multiple pictures.  This means I have to pick the ones I think will make the best cover and play with it to see if it will fit the requirements and work up into a good cover.  I generally make four or five and email them off to people for opinions.  Once people let me know what they like and don’t like, I eliminate until I’m down to THE cover for the book. 
This all takes time and is one of the most time consuming.  It is also one of the most difficult decisions I make when it comes to my books.  Suzanne provides me with some amazing photos and I have a hard time narrowing it down to just one.  There are a multitude of decisions like font style and color, placement, size, and so on that all affect how the book looks.  Since there are almost limitless options for these decisions I try to be consistent but it still helps me to have other people’s opinions. 
Don’t think I’m indecisive.  I have a good eye for color combinations and other stylistic features but too often I’m just too close to it all.  This is where other people’s opinions help me.  It isn’t just a matter of them choosing cover A or B.  It is a matter of telling me what works and what doesn’t work in the covers. 
Suzanne and my daughters are the four people I trust most but I’ve also asked other people to.  The interesting thing from this is generally one cover stands out as getting a consensus of being the front runner.  For Secret Past, I had opinions from at least a dozen people and they all liked the one cover – the one I went with – the best.
This means my day will consist of cover design, errands, and starting a new crochet project.  It will be a full day but hopefully a productive one.  Finally – the neverending afghan – is DONE!!!