Category Archives: VBT

VBT: Angels Unaware

VBT: Angels Unaware

      Welcome back, peeps! Welcome to Week Six of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is the self-proclaimed Geek Warrior Princess, the Lioness of MasterKoda, a sci-fi diva and the author of the forthcoming novel “The Knight Riders” – Amadi Kyymm!
      Its an exciting week here on the VBT and Amadi is here to share an original work of fiction in one of my favorite genres… FLASH.
      What do you mean Flash isn’t a genre? Well, who cares? I love it. I love to write it. I love to read it. And I love to host it here on my blog. So give it up for Amadi!

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Angels Unaware

By Amadi Kyymm

      Who would have thought? I’d never believed in angels. I’d never believed in God. But a successive chain of events shook the very foundation of unbelief, and forever changed my life.
      I was a physical education major at New York City’s Hunter Collage. One beautiful Spring morning I was hurrying across East 61st Street and 1st Avenue to get to my Biology class. I was distracted, yakking away on my cellphone and unwittingly stepped into the path of an oncoming New York City Transit attenuated bus. I looked up too late and literally had no means of escape.
      To both my fascination and horror, I was physically snatched up by a pair of strong arms, and placed safely on the sidewalk out of harms way. When I recovered my shattered wits I looked about for my rescuer. There was no one around except passerbys and tourists who were too busy to notice.
      “Are you okay?” a male voice called. It was the uniformed Transit bus driver. He was medium height, of obvious Puerto Rican decent, and had his hair tied back in a neat pony tail. “Raynoso” was the name on his name tag.
      He had pulled his bus over a half a block away. Those tractor trailer length buses were not designed to stop on a dime.
      “I’m just shaken.” was all I could manage to squeak out.
      “Would you like me to call an ambulance?” he asked.
      “I’m fine.” I replied, though shaken to the core.
      “I saw who did it you know.” he continued.
      “Did what?”
      “The one who pulled you back. You may not believe me but it was an angel.” he replied. I took a good look at Raynoso’s neck and noted he wore a gold crucifix.
      “An angel?” I scoffed. “You mean with wings and stuff,”
      “Yeah, a big dude with shining clothes and wings,” he replied.
      “Well, how come I didn’t see him?” I challenged “After all, if this so-called angel was that big, I should’ve seen him too, right?” I continued.
      “It’s because you don’t believe,” he replied. “Listen, I gotta go. I’m already running late.” he said as he shook my hand.
      “Thanks.” I said.
      “No, you should thank God. He wants you to stay alive for some reason.” he said, before turning and sprinting back to his parked bus. Undoubtedly some angry passengers were waiting for him. It didn’t take much to “cheese off” passengers who partook of public transportation in New York City.
      I went home, fired up my computer and Googled “angels”. A plethora of information was available. But the most prominent fact was that “angels were the messengers and servants of God”.
      “What’s so special about me?” I wondered back then.
      Sixty years later, after two nearly fatal car accidents, drug addiction, severe depression, and three failed suicide attempts. . . . . The human body, mind and spirit could only take so much extreme misery, battering, and bashing before it succumbs and reaches out to a Higher Power. I met mine, in Bellvue Hospital’s Psych Ward.
      I’d noted during each trial I’d catch a glimpse of iridescent wings and an outline. Only a brief flash like lightning, just enough to let me know he was there.
      Then I developed lung cancer. When it became terminal, my family placed me in a palliative care home. It’s a nice way of saying they were warehousing me there to die.
      My husband, three daughters and two sons were in the waiting area with my Mom as the doctor discussed the bad news. I only had perhaps an hour or so left to live, if that.
      But, I will not die alone. My Guardian Angel stands here with me.
      “I’ve been with you all along.” he said, by the way of introduction. “I will escort you home.” he continued.
      From that moment on he stood at parade rest at my bedside.
I tried to stay for the sake of my loved ones. To let them see me one last time, but I was in too much pain, far too weary and I couldn’t breathe anymore. So I let go.
      He immediately scooped me up with powerful arms, leaving behind my useless human shell. He flapped his powerful wings and we ascended into the heavens towards an ever growing brightness.
      To my eternal home.

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      Do you agree with my interpretation of the photo? If not, what did you see? Give a two sentence opinion on what you did see.
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I, Amadi Kyymm am a humble writer. I am also known as “Two Wolves” on my WRPG profiles, but my real name is “Nanci E. Maynard”. I originally started writing fanfiction for my first love: Star Trek, then WRPGs (Written Role Playing Games), and blogging. I’m currently editing my first novel, “The Knight Riders” which I hope to publish very soon. In real life, I am a mild mannered woman, working a not so mild mannered job as a police clerical. I’m a life long New York City resident, and live with my two “fur kids” (cats) Biscuit and Spiral.

My Mixed Bag Blog: Radical Scribblings
My Book Review Blog: The Red Shoe Review
Facebook Author Page: Here. (Please LIKE!)
Twitter Handle: @WriterKyymm
Email: here or here

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      So, do you see angels in the inspiration image Amadi chose? If not – what do you see? Share your idea (or even flash fiction!) with us in the comments below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[Editor’s Note: My Guest Post for the week will be linked here shortly.]

VBT: Expanding Horizons & Conspiracy Theories

VBT: Expanding Horizons & Conspiracy Theories

      Aloha, friends! Welcome to Week Five of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is the wonderful, funny, unflappable lady of DeAnnaTroupe.com… DeAnna Troupe! She’s here to share her current summer reading picks. Give it up for her! *wild applause*

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What I’m Reading Now

      I usually don’t read two books at a time.
      I’m really OCD that way. I usually like to finish one book before I move on to another book. I’m currently reading What She Knew, by our very own K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns and Dawn by Octavia Butler.
      Why did I choose these titles? I love conspiracy theory type books. What bigger conspiracies exist than Marilyn Monroe and John F Kennedy? So quite naturally I was drawn to this book from the moment I heard about it. I also wanted to support a fellow Kodan. So that explains that title.
      Why did I pick the other one? Well I like to read sci-fi and I wanted to read something other than Star Trek. I wanted to expand on my knowledge of the sci-fi genre. Someone I met on the train suggested that I read Octavia Butler. She’s an African-American sci-fi author. So far I’m enjoying both titles!
      What are you reading?

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DeAnna Troupe is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and a serial entrepreneur that has always loved helping others. Her very first job was as an algebra tutor at the tender age of 14. Since then she has amassed over 10 years of experience at all levels of business including running her own freelance secretarial business. She has been on the social media scene since before we even knew that’s what we were doing. She has a knack for coming up with creative ways to solve tough problems. She has published a book on Amazon called Tips For Sophisticated Marketers. She is an effective teacher that enjoys seeing her clients get to the next level with their business. When she’s not coaching clients on integrating video in their social media strategy, she enjoys spending time with her husband and step kids, reading, writing, crocheting, and singing.
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      So what ARE you reading? Contemporary or classic? Cozy or chock full o’ gory detail? Can you not choose just one? If not, why not? Comment below, people, and show DeAnna some love!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[Editor’s Note: My Guest Post for the week is up at WritersWriteDaily.com. “Not To Be Confused with Abe Lincoln vs. Zombies” by P.P..]

VBT: A Taste of ‘The Heir’

VBT: A Taste of 'The Heir'

      Salutations, friends! Welcome to Week Four of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is the lovely, talented, generous and outright amazeballs author of the “The Birth of an Empire” sci-fi series, Catrina Taylor! Without further ado or anymore blathering by yours truly, I give you… Ms. Taylor.

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Favorite Contemporary Author

      I am an avid reader. When I get my hands on a book, I consume it with hungry desire. My appetite leans toward the stories that tickle the mind, push the edge of reality and create a drive to turn the page. I know, sounds like something all authors strive for, and all readers enjoy. With my reading patterns, I find that I read a bit from many genre but most recently the genre I am reading from and loving is the Fantasy realm. This is primarily because of a talented author who reminded me why I love it so much. Her name is Sarah Barnard.
      She and I connected first as authors, then on a project to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, and then I was compelled to read her books. Noting it was a series I opted to read the first in the series. The next thing I know, I consumed all three books a short and the start of her new series. The Portal Series is incredible. She has created a world that exists separate from our own, but certain members of the nobility are able to travel between ours and theirs. These magic wielders are bound to the land they come from and responsible for helping it flourish, while caring for the people.
Each one of her characters are identifiable, understandable and relatable. Her main characters are women that you can look at and know are a lot like the friend, sister, or yourself. You can see why they make the choices they make. Without question you have to follow each page, each story and each person through until the book’s conclusion. As an author, I know that is a talent that takes refinement, and it is something Sarah Barnard has made an art of.
      With permission I’ve included an excerpt from her short story that is a prequel to the series I began reading. In this section, Heather and Lily come together at the birth of Lily’s eldest child. Lily has become mistress of their land, and her twin sister, Heather has been living among ours.

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The Heir



      Heather ran the damp cloth over the dusty shelf where she kept her favourite books. She hated to see the dark wood of the shelf obscured by the pale layer, and a damp cloth was the only thing that really got rid of the dust. She lifted the pile of books and rearranged them as she put them back, straightening the spines and making sure no pages were curled, or caught and folded. She paused to breathe the bound pages, so special, so distinctive, the smell of a loved paperback.
      Sometimes she thought books were the best part of this world. She loved curling up in the comfy armchair in front of the fire, and losing herself in the story contained within the pages.
Samuel wouldn’t be home until the weekend almost a week away now, and this was the life she’d chosen. To be with him, to walk away from her family and her home. She missed her old life, but was happy here all the same.
      Loud, urgent hammering on her door startled her from her thoughts.
      “Heather! Are you there? Heather, I need you!”
      Heather stopped, froze in position at the voice shouting from outside. A voice she’d not heard in years, but that was as familiar to her as her own.
      “Lilith,” she breathed softly, dropping the cloth to the shelf and racing to the door. She flung it open and there she stood, outside, out of breath and pale. With dark hair shot through with strands of shining copper, pale, ice blue eyes, Lilith was taller than Heather but not by much. Heather was older, only by a few minutes but it should have mattered. The oldest daughter should have inherited the title, the power and the magic. A few moments younger, and Lilith had shown the magic since she was a child where all Heather could do was heal. The rest was closed to her. Lilith glowed with the power and the range of what she could do outshone even their mother.
      “Come in.” Heather took a step away so Lilith could enter. She frowned. Her sister was unsteady, and clearly in some sort of trouble. Heather stared. Pregnant. Very pregnant, and her healer’s sight showed that the baby was close to coming, no more than a day at the most. A girl, and a strong one. “Whose?” she asked as she steered Lilith to a chair and made her sit.
      Lilith sat awkwardly and leaned forwards onto the kitchen table. “Not his.”
      Heather sat opposite, understanding the problem. “What can I do?” she offered.
      “The child must be born here, she must be kept safe from him.” Lilith’s eyes were hard, determined and that scared Heather more than she cared to admit. Heather let her healer’s instincts expand to see more.
      “What’s happened?”
      Lilith looked away. “He’s not the man I thought him to be.” Her hand shook. “He knows the child is not his and he wishes her gone. If he finds out who her father is, he’ll kill him too.”
      “And you?” Heather reached across the table to clasp Lilith’s hand.
      Lilith shook her head with a small smile. “He won’t hurt me.”
      Heather raised an eyebrow, unconvinced. A small expression that, for Lilith, was still like looking in a mirror. Lilith smiled, a small curl of her lips but it lit up her eyes.
      “Still so like each other,” she whispered. “I’ve missed you, Heather.”
      “I miss you every day”,” Heather smiled in reply. “Can he come here?” She gripped Lilith’s hand tighter.
      Lilith shook her head. “No. He doesn’t have the portal magic, I didn’t give him that. I’m the only one who can use it, and the only one who knows where you are.”
      Heather’s eyes widened as she took in the full impact of Lilith’s words. “Give him?” she repeated, hardly able to believe what she heard. “You gave him magic?”
      “Yes!” Lilith snapped, “and I was a fool to do it but it’s done now and I won’t undo it.” She pulled her hand free and wrapped her arms round herself, hands resting on the rounded swell of her pregnancy. “And I won’t give him my daughter.”
      Heather pushed back from the table, stunned at what she heard. She looked hard into Lilith’s face and saw pain, fear and regret edged in hard determination. “Your magic is weak.” It was barely spoken, barely heard but they both knew it to be true. Their mother had warned them both that pregnancy weakened them, lessened their power for a time, but that motherhood would strengthen. Heather had not yet had children of her own. Although she’d seen many births, none had been for women in her own family so she had no way of knowing if their mother’s warning had been based in truth. Until now. The proof sat across the table. Lilith’s magic was so thin that Heather wondered how she’d managed to focus the portal to reach her.
      “Are you hungry?” Heather asked, knowing that her own stomach was empty. “I was about to make some lunch.”
      Lilith chuckled. “These days I’m always hungry. This baby is very demanding.”
      “I wish Elder could be here.” Heather rose and pulled open her fridge to fetch bread, cheese and salad.
      “Me too.” Lilith came to stand beside her, buttering the bread as Heather sliced tomatoes. “I wish I could take you home and we could all be together for the birth. I wish he was the man I thought he was. I still wish you’d taken the title from Mother. But wishes won’t change this.”
Heather said nothing. She’d never liked Ametsam, always said there was a cruel side to him. But saying anything now would do no good. Her sister needed her and Heather would be there for Lilith. And then Lilith would leave her, again. Heather’s shoulders slumped. Accusations didn’t help, judgement did no good. Lilith would find her own way in her own time. Heather was as happy as she hoped for the most part, even if she missed parts of her old life.

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      As you can see, she is a very compelling author. All of her books yield the need to read more. I love them and I can’t get enough of them.

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Xarrok, by Catrina TaylorCatrina Taylor is a single mom of two, and a science fiction author. Her debut series is Birth of an Empire, a three part series that details how Xarrok came to be, and how the formation of an Empire based on a love brings an end to a war that has lasted more than a century. She released book one in December 2011 with two and three expected this summer and fall, respectively. She currently has two free books also available in the same universe.
Find her on Facebook, Xarrok on Facebook, at Xarrok.com or on Twitter: @theladywrites.
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      So who is your favorite author? Contemporary or classic? Can you not choose just one? If not, why not? My own post about the writer who influences me the most will be up soon and I’ll update the post with a link to it. Comment below, people, and show Catrina some love!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[Editor’s Note: My Guest Post is up at MasterKoda.com. Who Touched My Breast? by P.P..]

VBT: Don’t Be Like Yabba Dooba!

VBT: Don't Be Like Yabba Dooba!

      Aloha, friends! Welcome to Week Three of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is a fantastic, inspirational and frankly, totally bad-ass, writer whose book “Deaf Isn’t Dumb” is a memoir guaranteed to make you think twice about what it means to be different in a world that says one thing, but does another.
      Without further ado… Tara Chevrestt!

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Deaf Isn't Dumb, by Tara Chevrestt      For this post, I’m going to have myself a good rant…about bloggers. LOL. No, seriously. Before I became an author, I was a reviewer and a book blogger. When an author wanted to do an interview with me, I didn’t just throw a random questionnaire at them, but took the time to read their book and ask them questions based on it. I still do this.
      What majority of other bloggers do: throw a random questionnaire at me. And trust me, Mookie Dookie’s blog asks me the same questions as Yabba Dooba’s blog. I can just copy and paste my answers from one blog to the next. (And if anyone else asks me about my writing habits, I’m going to have a conniption.) When the time comes for me to post a link to the interview on Facebook, I wince. It’s no wonder people have quit reading my posts. It’s the same stuff over and over.
      I recently had an experience that made me just say, “No more blog interviews!” I gave my memoir, Deaf Isn’t Dumb, to a blogger in hopes they would ask me relevant questions. Take note of that title. Deaf Isn’t Dumb. I’m deaf.
      Guess what they asked me… Do you listen to music while you write?
      *head desk* You certainly read my book, didn’t you? LOL.
      And that ends my rant. Take care with your questionnaires. Authors like to feel that you are genuinely interested in them, and don’t “fake” reading books. But to answer the question I am sick to death of: No, I don’t listen to music while I write. Am I incapable? Not really. I can play music directly into my hearing aid, but trust me, it’s not easy; it takes all my concentration to hear and distinguish the few sounds (bass) that my eardrum can catch. Deaf isn’t dumb, but neither is Deaf jamming to tunes. LOL
      Find more about Deaf Isn’t Dumb here.
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Tara Chevrestt      Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.
      Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn’t allowed to be unleashed until the last year.
      While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website or their Facebook page.

Guest Post: Scott Seldon

Guest Post: Scott Seldon

      Good morning world! Welcome to Week Two of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is a rockin’ sci-fi writer and the author of two books available at his Smashwords page, “Well of Dreams”, a novel, and “Edge of Hyperspace”, a collection of short stories.
      Check out his musings about music and writing below and try not to miss your usual “Tuesday’s Tunes” post too much. Hah!
      Without further ado… Scott Seldon!

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      When I was editing my book, Well of Dreams, a year ago, I found the perfect music that set the mood, Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy. It is dark, energetic, and beautiful. I played it while I read and edited and it just felt perfect.

      I’ve been using existing music to accompany my book reading for most of my life. I find certain albums that I feel perfectly fit the book and then I put them on repeat as I read. Vangelis’ Direct for Asimov’s Robin/Foundation series is a particular favorite. I find that like the musical score for a movie, having music when I read just sets the mood perfect.

      However it is a different story when I’m writing. What I enjoy listening to while reading makes for horrible writing music. I have to turn up the energy a few notches. While I prefer instrumental music to accompany my reading, my writing music mostly has lyrics. When I read I turn to Vangelis, Delerium, John Williams, James Horner, Enya, David Arkenstone, and Keiko Matsui, but when I write, it is usually Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nadia Ali, Slade, Gregorian, or Comcast’s Music Choice Jazz. To write to it, it has to have energy, power, and never be something I could fall asleep to. For one thing, I need it to drown out the outside world. I use it as a wall to block out things and go into my writing space.

      For Well of Dreams, there really wasn’t any particular piece of music that stood out when I was writing. When I was reading it, the tracks Overture and Rinzler really seems to hit a chord. Rinzler really seemed to nail my main character, Ven Zaran. It is especially appropriate when you consider who Rinzler is in Tron: Legacy and Ven Zaran’s troubled past. Rinzler’s story is pretty straight forward. I prefer more complex characters and Ven is definitely that. I’m still discovering more about him and I’ve been writing about him for nearly 10 years. That track just seems to fit him musically. It starts simple and the music grows in complexity and builds, similar to the way Ven’s background grows more complex and as Well of Dreams progresses until in the end, the story climaxes and resolves.

I have Ven’s next tale penned and will almost certainly be putting on the Tron: Legacy as it pull it out again to do the final proof edits. I wonder which track will fit with Ven’s encounter with the Pirates of I’ab. I’d challenge the readers and writers out there who listen to music in conjunction with their novels, to think of what music they connect with different books and characters.

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Scott SeldonScott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold.

VBT: Master Koda Spills Her Guts

VBT: Master Koda Spills Her Guts

      Good morning world! Today is the opening day of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT! Unfortunately, our scheduled guest was not able to appear due to technical difficulties, but the illustrious KD Emerson (that’s right, Master Koda herself!) has stepped up to fulfill the lead-off guest post here at PP.net. How lucky am I?
      Without further ado… KD Emerson!

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I got started writing when my mom put a pencil in my hand and told me I had to learn the ABC’s. Those first lessons where a real riot. My A’s looked like broken teepees and my Z’s looked like something Mario would have a heyday finding his way through. But Mom stuck it out (much to her later dismay) and soon I was Dick and Jane-ing to beat the band (those were early readers back in the caveman era).

Something caught fire in my soul and I just had to tell stories. Maybe that means I am a first rate liar. I prefer to think of it as having a great creative mind, but whatever the gift of writing is – it has always been my greatest joy and deepest sorrow.

I “published” my first “book” in first grade after spending the previous summer writing and re-writing the blessed tomb. Every time I added a character or something of interest I would changed the title, by the time I finished the title went something like this The Magic Sword, the Boys, the Cave and Sam the Talking Dog. Funny how my upcoming novel features a cave. There must be a deep and meaningful symbol there somewhere. My spelling was something straight out of an editor’s worst nightmare. Sam (the talking dog) braked more often than barked and my mother was ready to string me up on the back porch if I asked her how to spell went one more time.

That summer was challenging for my parents who where honest, hard-working Americans who thought they had bred straight forward children who played straight forward games and didn’t stray too far from the practical life they strived to give us. That was, until they were blessed with me. The summer of “Kim’s Great Novel” was to prove them wrong. They were faced with a child who took herself far too seriously in the writing of the Next Great American Novel. If my older sister ran in with her friends I chased them out with the deadly end of my pencil (keep in mind she was 9 years older than me). No one was allowed within five feet of my desk which was placed smack in the middle of the living room. The TV was off limits before 6pm; my father became my administrative assistant and took messages from my playmates when they came to the door.

“Can Kim play?”

“She’s writing.”

Can you imagine a child that wanted to sit in front of a desk when there were water fights to be had outside? There is something just wrong with that picture.

I am relieved to say I chucked my ego years ago and no longer pose as a know-it-all, self centered “artiste”.

As for me, I am just a writer who loves to write and entertain people. Hope you enjoyed reading. I would love to hear from you. What makes you tick? What is one of your favorite stories about your childhood?
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Author, KD Emerson was born (or is that hatched) several years ago. We won’t go into how long it has been because she has this fantasy that she is still a teenager. She has a passion for the written word and assisting other writers in becoming the best they can be. She also loves to promote others and cheer them on to victory. You can find her at MasterKoda.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kimmutch.emerson.