Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Fling 99-cent Kindle Ebook Sale


Just in time for summer vacation reading - many of our titles, including some new releases, are on sale through Amazon Kindle for a limited time at just 99 cents - the lowest price ever!

If you need a different ebook format, visit our listings at, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook retailers. (Email us at 'penumbrapublishing AT' and we'll give you coupon codes for discounts from Smashwords on any of our titles currently on sale - see the list below...)

This is a great opportunity to check out new authors and their books. Stock up for summer vacation reading. Limited-time pricing ... don't let this opportunity slip by!







ESCAPE CLAUSE, David Berardelli

FATAL INNOCENCE, David Berardelli

HEART OF STEELE, Kessa Stranberg

NIGHT OF THE GUPPY (Books 1, 2, & 3), Jamie Wasserman

LAST FLIGHT HOME, Robert J. Wetherall



PIXIE, Willa Kaye Danes


TALK OF THE TOWN, Lucille Naroian

THE CAT'S FANCY, Gwynn E. Ambrose




UNFORGETTABLE, Lucille Naroian

Monday, April 18, 2011

Parallel Triangle Excerpt and Ebook Giveaway

Today we thought it would be a nice change of pace to host an ebook giveaway and post an excerpt from the book PARALLEL TRIANGLE by SANDY HYATT-JAMES, published by PENUMBRA PUBLISHING.

Sandy's a British author currently residing in beautiful Bulgaria. PARALLEL TRIANGLE is Sandy's second novel to be published, a unique and emotional science fiction romance featuring a love triangle spanning parallel worlds.

Leave a comment on this blog and earn a chance to win a free ebook coupon for any book from PENUMBRA PUBLISHING! (Your email address will be required to send the coupon, but will not be retained by us!)

INTRO: Earth and Earthzad (name meaning 'behind Earth') are parallel worlds, alike in many ways, but also different. Earthzad is aware of Earth but doesn't want Earth to become aware of Earthzad for security reasons. Things that happen on Earth occasionally affect Earthzad - sometimes disastrously. To help 'guide' events on Earth, a group of sensitive female scientists on Earthzad have developed a very limited method to monitor goings-on on Earth and to send telepathic visions to specially selected women on Earth via the Sight. Until recently, this was the only contact with Earth available to Earthzadians. However, a top science group has developed an experimental device to allow one person to transport to Earth for approximately three hours. Orion is the first Earthzadian man to try out this device, and his assignment is to monitor an Englishwoman, Elizabeth, who has recently been given the Sight.

A somewhat vain glory hound and lady's man in the beginning, Orion has eyes for Jacosta, the beautiful ruler of his region on Earthzad. But as he spends more time on Earth, he comes to appreciate and admire plucky Elizabeth. His association with her allows him to grow as a person and become a better man - a man that Jacosta finally sees as a worthy love interest. As the situation progresses, Orion finds himself unexpectedly in the middle of a long-distance love triangle involving these two very different women. Amid kidnapping and confinement on Earth, and treason and war on Earthzad, the three of them are forced to make some very difficult choices...

Jacosta’s private secretary greeted Orion upon entering the Krestan’s office. Rasane, an attractive woman but one who, as far as he was concerned, had the deadest eyes he’d ever encountered, stood in front of the adjoining door leading to Jacosta’s office. “It’s late,” she said. “The Krestan is about to go home. You need to make an appointment and come back another time.”
Her imperious glare amused him. “I want to see her this evening,” he said, and strode to the lounge area. “Will you please tell her that Orion has come to see her? If she doesn’t know who I am, just say I’m the one who risked his life this morning to go through the Barrier.”
Rasane, who’d obviously heard of Orion’s conquests with women, looked as if she wanted to slap the sarcasm right off his face. But she remained cool. “Of course she knows who you are.”
“Oh really? I thought she had better things to do than take up her precious time with the making of history. Tell her that, after my efforts today, and in consideration of the fact that she couldn’t be bothered to greet me personally upon my return home, seeing me now is the least she could do.” He sat and folded his arms.
Rasane threw another dead-eyed stare. Her expression turned to blatant dislike when she saw his lips twitch into a smile at her disapproval. She disappeared into Jacosta’s office and, moments later, returned with an even stronger scowl. “You can go in, but don’t keep her any longer than ten minutes.”
He swept past the woman and entered the Krestan’s office.
Jacosta sat at her desk at the end of a long room. Upon seeing him, she stood up and smiled.
He shook her outstretched hand and saw, for the first time, her violet-coloured eyes.
She gestured for him to sit opposite her. “So, you are Orion. I believe I’ve seen you at the FitnessCom before?”
“I ... fence there.”
“That’s right. I go there to do the cardio-vascular training.”
He didn’t answer.
“I’m told that you’re very good at fencing; a champion even.”
Then followed an awkward pause during which she again waited for him to speak. When he didn’t, she said, “Kelmin said one of the reasons you’d been chosen to be the first Earthzadian to go to the Earth world was because fencing has made you both physically fit and mentally sharp.”
He gazed at her, stunned at how such a fragile-looking thing could hold down a tough office and do a good job of it. But she did. Everybody said that she was the best Krestan that Mardak had seen for half a century.
Seemingly unperturbed by his apparent rudeness, she leaned back in her chair and said, “According to Mostilon’s plan, you should be at the MedCom now, undergoing checks with Trisk. I’d arranged to meet you at the celebration dance in a few days time, so what brings you here now?”
At that moment, the awful thought dawned on him that he didn’t really have a good enough reason to barge in on her as he had. His initial intention, to speak of his disappointment at not being met by her, seemed so feeble. And the last thing he wanted was for her to ever think that he could be petulant and childish. An inspiration came to him, a clever lie he could use to impress her. “I’ve come about the Earth woman, Elizabeth the Seer, whom I was assigned to check on today.” He got up, walked to the window, and turned to face her. “I think Dorta and the Disseminators are handling their transmissions to her clumsily, so much so that it appears they’re ruining her life in the process. I witnessed her reaction today, when she saw that photograph altered only in her mind. She looked so scared. In my opinion, it would be far better to withdraw the seeing power from her and find somebody less sensitive.”
Jacosta gazed directly at him without a flicker of reaction. However, pink patches appeared on her neck. “What do you know about this Seer?” she asked quietly.
“Ah, well she’s twenty-seven.” Realising that he hadn’t taken the trouble to find out about her, he paused while trying to think of further details. “She’s a ... I think she’s a writer. And she’s been given the Sight by your people. Um...”
“She’s a freelance illustrator. A good one, according to the Detectors.”
“What? Oh, yes, of course.”
“She’s also tenacious and intelligent. Despite living in Warwickshire for five years, she still speaks with an Earth northern accent. We know this, because the Detectors picked up that she teases herself about it. When she was ten, we facilitated her seeing an apparition, just to check if the Sight we’d just given her was going to work. It did. By the way, do you know what the Sight is?”
Embarrassed and all but defeated, he shot her a look conveying that he knew he should – but didn’t. “No, not really.”
“It’s a matrix which we impart to receptive Earth women. The rudiments of the matrix are secret, but I can tell you that with it, our Seers are able to pick up our messages and premonitions.”
Wanting to appear more knowledgeable, he jumped in with, “And only a Seer could see and hear me.”
“Right about the seeing, but wrong about the hearing. “Any Earth person would be able to hear you, unfortunately. It’s a discrepancy in the technology that we’re still trying to iron out.” She looked curiously at him. “As the first person to test out the Varat, I would have thought you’d have known much more about the technology than you appear to.”
Knowing that saying anything else would confirm his ignorance even further, he stood and listened to her, feeling both miserable and furious at the same time.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it, that we – er – incompetent women, working on Detecting and Disseminating from and to the Earth world, know so much about our Seers and their backgrounds? I could tell you more, if you like. Let me do so. Elizabeth worked her way through university and has such a good job now because she’s an exceptionally talented artist. Her mother, who’s still alive, had the Sight. We gave her a premonition about a man whom we knew intended to beat his wife to death for adultery. She failed to act upon our warning, so we tried to take the Sight back from her. For some reason, she proved resistant to the withdrawal process and still holds ten percent of it. This is enough to cross wires with Dorta’s women and be a source of irritation to them sometimes. Elizabeth, of course, knows nothing of this.”
The sun came in from the window behind her and shot its light onto her hair. He couldn’t think of anything else right then but wanting to release her hair from the severe grip in which she’d entwined it. He wanted to feel its texture and watch it tumble over her shoulders.
“My answer to your request,” she continued, “Is that the Seer is a resourceful young woman who may not like having the Sight, but nevertheless has all the necessary qualities to carry it well.”
He tried leaning against the wall to display indifference. He hoped that this would mask his actually feeling expertly wrung out and hung up to dry.
She sat forward a little. “These factors being as they are, why should we withdraw the Seeing power from her?”
He glanced across again, feeling that he ought to keep up the pretence, lest his credibility in her eyes be dashed forever. “I ... understand that you only have the best intentions at heart. It’s just that I wonder whether the effort that you all put in will be worth the result.”
Jacosta sat back again, folded her arms, and noted his chestnut brown hair, longish nose and dark brow eyes. So, she thought, this is the legendary Orion: the one who has all the women dancing to his tune. Hmm, I wonder why?
“Now it’s my turn to speak plainly to you,” she said. “I think the problem of which you speak isn’t actually in Dorta’s corner or mine – it’s yours. Or to put it another way, you are overstepping your brief. You were assigned to prove that getting to the Earth world was possible, not to come back here afterwards and criticize those who devote their lives to helping Earth people.” She thought for a moment, then mumbled to herself, “It’s a thousand pities that we woman are deemed physically unable to go through the Barrier ourselves. Such a glittering distinction had to be given to a male, simply because his body mass is denser and stronger.” She noted his tall athletic build, clicked her tongue and turned her head away.
His mercurial temper rose quickly, and he fought to control it. Feeling the urge to match up to her figurative height, he sat opposite her again and, this time, mirrored her body language. “I can cope with most things. I’m merely asking whether your methods with this Seer could be toned down.”
“And what would you have us do? You know that Mardak women use telepathy to give warning messages to the Earth Seers. She’s a Seer; we need to use her; that’s it! She turned towards her desk tramol, spoke the closing-down command, and turned off her desk lamp.
Aware of the dismissal, he got up to leave. What was the point, he told himself, in pretending that he cared about this Earth Seer anyway? He didn’t. He just wanted Jacosta’s attention. The thought of walking out of her office at that moment was tantamount to failure on his part. And he never failed at anything he’d set out to achieve.
By the time he’d reached the door, another plan had formed in his mind; one which he hoped would keep him in proximity with Jacosta. Not that he was attracted to her, he told himself. He simply needed to facilitate her believing that she should give more of her attention to him, exclusively.
Upon realising that he hadn’t yet left, she shot another disapproving glance at him.
He cleared his throat. “The Earth Seer’s obviously been given these premonitions to warn of an impending catastrophe in the Earth world?”
“Of course. The catastrophe that’s about to happen involves a small Earth child. Dorta’s Detectors got into the thought waves of a deranged woman who intends to kidnap this child. Unfortunately, this type of casual mind eavesdropping is a rarity. If it could be done more often, and under controlled conditions, Dorta’s Detectors could be much more effective in their efforts to curb unsavoury activities.” Sighing, she looked downwards and whispered to herself, “And we’d be able to intervene in far more child abductions than we do.” She gazed back at him. “On the back of that, the Disseminators facilitated the photo phenomenon and a dream to the Seer today.”
For the first time, a flicker of true concern touched him. “So ... you want this Seer to warn the child’s family.”
“That’s about it, yes. And we’re trying all the time to get more information to give her, because we’re all so worried.”
He stepped forward. “But wouldn’t it be so much easier if I could just materialise in front of her. Now that the Varat’s capabilities been proved, why don’t we make use of it? Why don’t you make use of me? I could go and tell the Seer what she needs to know without all this sending these hit-and-miss telepathic messages.”
Jacosta wanted to rail at him about the hit-and-miss bit, but she felt tired and impatient to get home. “You know as well as I do, that’s not possible. As soon as we knew that travelling to the Earth world was only a matter of months away, we Mardakans took an oath never to materialise in front of an Earth Seer!”
He remembered the oath.
She joined him by the door.
“Don’t you think it’s about time that this archaic rule was changed in Earthzad,” he asked. “Here we are, living in a tiny annex to the real Earth world, tip-toeing around, afraid to be discovered by its people. What harm would it do to let them know that we Mardakans spend a lot of our time trying to help them!”
Surely, she thought, you don’t include yourself as one of those. “It would be too dangerous; you know that as well as I. Svelta has a pathological fear of the Earth people. If we let Earth know of our existence, the Sveltans might wage war on us.”
“So be it, then! We have a sophisticated arsenal and a well trained and equipped army and air force ourselves. We could match them at every turn.”
She sighed and turned off the office light and said, “I’d much prefer to know that everybody in Mardak is sleeping peacefully in their beds rather than getting anxious about an enemy virtually on our doorstep! Anyway, I can’t discuss this with you now. I have a Lafia meeting in the morning. And...” She glanced up and met his eyes again. “After that, I have to discuss the final touches for the dinner-dance, to celebrate your – er – bravery and Mardak’s glittering achievement.”
He held the door open, and she swept past him.

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-Pat Morrison, Penumbra Publishing

Senses of Humor - Beefing up your writing with the five senses

According to my pal, successful author and welder Eddy Salinski, Immersing your readers in your literary masterpiece can be a challenge, but one that offers distinct rewards by creating memorable scenes that will leave your reading audience stunned breathless. The idea is to bring your readers' own sensory systems into play, leveraging the powers of smell, touch, sight, taste, and hearing.

Here are some of Eddy's colorful examples to demonstrate how this can be accomplished:

SMELL: After a fine gourmet lunch at the exclusive highrise restaurant, the well-dressed Avon sales lady stepped into the elevator. As the door closed, she felt an undeniable urge to vent a noxious gas build-up resulting from the rich food she'd consumed. The consequences made her gasp for fresh air. Opening her sample case, she produced a can of Forest Glade air freshener and vigorously sprayed the enclosed space.

When the elevator came to a halt and the door opened, in walked a gentleman who immediately gagged on the wretched blast of malodorous air.
Attempting to deflect responsibility for the pungent atmosphere, the lady exclaimed, "The air is positively horrid in here - what in the world could have happened?"

Coughing and clutching a handkerchief to his nose, the man said, "Hell if I know, but it smells like a bear took a big dump behind a pine tree!"

TOUCH: The old adventurer proceeded to tell his tale that we were hard-pressed to accept as truth. "While touring along the mighty Amazon River, I stopped to examine a clutch of crocodile eggs in a nest along the bank. As I lay prone on the ground, I felt a sharp pain when something clamped my left leg in a vise-like hold. I felt sand and pebbles bite into my cheeks as I was dragged screaming into the water."

SIGHT: The circles of my binocular brought the girl into startling life-size focus, as if my nose was touching her thigh. I readjusted the view field until her full Vargas figure was framed for easy observing. "Good lord!" I whispered to myself as I watched her undress. Just then she turned and looked straight in my direction, as if she knew someone was peeping at her. And then she smiled.

TASTE: My client was a hot little number who suggested an authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch. I couldn't read the menu written in Spanish, and felt it safe to tell the waiter, "I'll have whatever she's having."

"Calamari," my client purred. "You'll love it."

In no time, the waiter returned with two large platters of what looked like deep-fried spiders. Taken aback, I asked timidly, "What's this called in English?"

"Squid," my client informed me, digging in to her serving with gusto.

I shuddered, then decided to man-up and at least try it. Plunging my fork into the mass of crispy, rubbery critters, I chewed ... and chewed ... and chewed. The taste and texture was distinctly unpleasant, as if I'd gobbled a mouthful of rubber bands. Not wanting to embarrass myself by spitting out the mouthful, I swallowed - and nearly choked. Once I was sure I wouldn't spontaneously regurgitate the horrendous mass, I managed a smile and mumbled, "Mmm ... yummy!" then quickly excused myself to dash to the men's room.

HEARING: It started as a muted thumping noise coming up from the basement, then gradually transformed into a series of booms, growing louder with each passing second. A sudden explosion of cymbals startled me into dropping my cup of steaming-hot coffee onto my lap. My sharp scream of pain was drowned in a thunderous cacophony of bangs and bongs that ricocheted through the house, causing the cat to launch from the living room rug with a screeching howl. Hoping to find relief, I grabbed the cat and ran to the back yard, but no solace was to be had. Even eight-inch-thick concrete basement walls were no match for a joyous four-year-old with his brand new drum set.

SUMMING UP: Eddy says it's easy to exploit your reader's senses to enhance your writing. But it's also important to remember to do so appropriately, and throw in a good measure of that other sense - Common Sense!

Robert J. Wetherall
Available at,,

Friday, April 8, 2011

America's Galactic Foreign Legion - Book 8: Allies now available

by Walter Knight

The latest war between the United States Galactic Federation and the Arthropodan Empire is over, and humans and spiders are now allies bound by a treaty. Before anyone can enjoy the tentative time of peace, the scorpions reappear with a vengeance.

In response to the treaty agreement between the new allies, Colonel Joey R. Czerinski and his band of miscreant legionnaires are sent on a side trip to a terraformed Arthropodan asteroid to help the spiders battle the scorpions.
With their usual serendipitous screw-ups, the legionnaires manage to convince the scorpions to surrender. Those who were enemies become allies, and vice-versa.

Another alien species makes a cameo appearance, and the return of a feared nemesis puts everyone on alert as the laughs continue in this eighth installment of the military space saga gone wrong.

New release available now in ebook at and other online book retailers!

Ebook on Kindle at Amazon

Ebook on Smashwords in a variety of formats

Print version available now through Penumbra Publishing and coming soon to other online book retailers!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Indie Spotlight to feature LAST FLIGHT HOME

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 7, The Indie Spotlight will feature Robert Wetherall's novel about a female pilot who breaks the glass ceiling in the airline industry, LAST FLIGHT HOME.

Available from Penumbra Publishing and popular online retailers in ebook and print...,

Friday, April 1, 2011

Angel's Oracle author Gary Bolick interview discusses racism in America

Simon Barrett of BlogTalkRadio interviews Gary Bolick, author of Angel’s Oracle. Bolick talks about his childhood in the 60s South, and how racism comes in many sizes and colors. Does it comes down to the haves and have-nots…

streaming audio interview

Angel’s Oracle paints a harsh portrait of our past, and perhaps a harbinger of our future, a toxic atmosphere…

Yeah, you want to CORNHOLE!

Now, before anybody gets all in an uproar about my rather suggestive title for this blog, lemme do a little esplainin’. First, I thought this would be a good subject to post on April Fools Day. And while the word ‘cornhole’ may conjure up insidious images of Southern rednecks running through woods to the tune of dueling banjos, I want to make it perfectly clear that ‘cornhole’ is just a game – a backyard game suitable for the whole family to play. It consists of a palm-sized satchels filled with field corn kernels, and a slanted plywood platform with three holes cut it in. The object of the game is to toss the satchels into the holes of the platform to score the highest points. This is an old and dear game, also known as beanbag toss (when the satchels are filled with uncooked beans instead of corn).

A cottage industry has sprung up as a result of the reinvention of this game, and many manufacturers/distributors of the game kits will go to great lengths to customize them or otherwise make them seem worth the sometimes exorbitant prices they charge. This reinvention of old as new is one of the oldest marketing ploys around. And Cornhole isn’t new at all – it’s just beanbag toss renamed. But with the new name comes the fun of an inside joke. Now that you know what ‘cornhole’ refers to, you can go ask your friends, “Hey, ya wanna cornhole?” and get some really bizarre looks. Maybe even get slapped or punched. But once their disgust wears off, you can explain the term ‘cornhole’ and maybe even play a few rounds with your friends.

So what is my point in bringing this unsettling weird term, ‘cornhole’? The point is REINVENTING or even RECYCLING something well-known, to create new buzz for it. Specifically you can do this with your writing, as well as your marketing approach to your writing. For instance, the subject of vampires may seem to have been done to death (no pun intended), but if you can figure out a new way to get more mileage out of this paranormal subgenre, then you’ve got a whole book series ahead of you, which may still be salable in a saturated market. For instance, you could call your vampires some new bizarre name you’ve made up, and present them as bloodsuckers from outerspace. (Oh, wait. That’s been done before.) Or present them as another species of demonic creature. Or ... well, you get the idea. All you have to do is take the familiar and make some innovative changes to create a seemingly new product.

But why bother with ‘new’? Why bother with trying to reinvent the same ol’ same ol’? Well, look at car manufacturers. If they didn’t make model changes every year to render previous models as dated or obsolete, how would they convince anyone to buy a new car? The only people who would buy a car would be those that, for whatever reason, have to buy a new car. But a shiny new model with even more great features than its predecessor is sure to dazzle the eyes of many potential buyers. That’s what you sometimes need to do with your writing, especially if you’re writing in a genre with lots of offerings and lots of competition.

Another thing many writers who’ve been around for a while are doing now is RECYCLING back-listed out-of-print titles to which they’ve regained the copyrights. Now they can update these stories, maybe put a new twist on them, maybe give them a new title, and then reissue them to reach a whole new generation of readers. The same can be done with blog information or any other content you use in your self-marketing routine. Why constantly try to come up with new content when you can spiff up some already used articles, update them for a specific twist, and get new life out of them? If you look at the annual topics of magazines, you’ll find many of them have ‘seasonal’ content that gets regurgitated each year at the same time. Just because you used an article about developing characters once doesn’t mean you can’t use it again to guest blog on someone else’s blog, or submit to an online magazine – provided you retain the copyrights to it.

So, next time somebody asks you if you want to ‘cornhole,’ you tell ‘em, “Heck, yeah!” Cornholing your writing is the smart thing to do.

Dana Warryck

Crystal Clear: Storm Ryder
Lucifer’s Last Lover
The Protectorate: Patriarch
Coming soon - The Dead of Wynter

FATAL INNOCENCE - New release available now at Smashwords

When software tycoon Richard Warden meets a ravishing redhead, tragedy strikes repeatedly. Private Eye Adam Brooks is hired to find this woman Richard fears is a competitor’s spy. Adam suspects she’s got a more personal reason for pursuing the software king and races to find the truth before the CEO of WarCo goes down in flames. Or maybe that’s the best thing that could happen to him.


A new suspense by David Berardelli

Available now in ebook at Smashwords

Coming soon in print and Kindle at Amazon and other popular online retailers

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