Short Story Contest – No Entry Fee! – Win a Kindle!

Announcement Golden Shorts


Calling Writers – Short Story Contest

Do you have a short story begging for some recognition? There’s still time to submit your story to this new, no-fee contest! Prizes, banners and bragging rights could be yours.

The seven genres accepted are:

Contemporary Fantasy



Paranormal Romance


Young Adult



Submissions will be accepted now through November 30th, 2013

Grand Prize – a Kindle Fire HD

Other prizes include Gift Cards, ebook bundles and winner banners


For complete information, please see the rules here:

Or on the Facebook Event page:


Don’t waste any time and dig up your unpublished ready to submit short and enter this great contest to win, fame and a Kindle!


Best of luck!

Featured Author – TD McKinnon

Thomas 11.07.2013 at the beach!Today an author with an intriguing background visits me. I’ve even gotten him to answer one question that I just had to ask. 

Hi TD,

Thanks for jumping out of the plane to answer a couple questions of mine.

I’d like to start with a few about you as a person. If that’s okay with you?

Sure, Lucy… After all that’s why I came halfway around the world.

You do have a funny accent for an Aussie. How come you don’t exactly sound like Crocodile Dundee?

While it is true that I live in Australia, well… Tasmania actually, and some would argue that they are two totally different places, but I digress… I am an Australian citizen, but I was born in Scotland and I was thirty years of age before I moved to Australia. So as my wife, Zoë, would say: I’m more Sean Connery than Paul Hogan.

Oh, that explains a lot. 🙂 What place attracts you most? The highlands, or the beautiful vistas of Tasmania?

Well… Tasmania can be beautiful, but I must admit that my very blood cries out for the mystical beauty of the Scottish Highlands. They say that home is where the heart is, and my heart sometimes yearns for the Highlands of Scotland.

By the by, what is an executive close protection operative?

In some folk’s minds, the word bodyguard conjures up a kind of thuggish picture, and I suppose that can be the case; but as in everything there are gradients. A celebrity, or anyone who considers they might need general protection, might employ a bodyguard: someone to be their shadow, follow them around and step in if or when the need should arise. A specific threat, usually within a limited time frame, might warrant the services of a professional, ‘close protection operative’ to determine the ‘threat level’ and the measures that should be taken to minimise that level. Kevin Costner’s portrayal of a bodyguard, in the movie of the same name, is a pretty accurate picture of a professional ‘close protection operative’; however, the job of a CPO and a bodyguard is to protect someone’s life.

I loved that film! Sooo, romantic. *swoons a bit even though she doesn’t really like either Kevin Costner, nor What’s her face.*

Would you like to return to any time or place in your past?

In general, I live in the present and look forward; anything else is redundant. Having said that, the magic of music sometimes transports me back to a time when I was a teenage paratrooper, stationed in England in the ‘swinging sixties.

How did you end up in Indies Unlimited? And do you think you would have been where you are now in your writing career without them?

I found Indies Unlimited, quite by chance, about eighteen months ago; at the time, it was a fledgling site, with a fresh and honest outlook. The staff, and especially the Helmsman, Stephen Hise and his First Officer, KS Brooks, were warm, talented and extremely endearing. I’ve always been pretty much a loner, but over the years I’ve looked at many writers’ communities, even tarried for a short while (emphasis there is on short). It comes down to much more than personalities though; more to do with the attitude that is encouraged at IU, nurtured even. After participating in some of IU’s many activities, I received, as Stephen put it, “A modest proposal,” to become a contributing author at Indies Unlimited; I’ve been comfortably nestled there ever since.

I am now part of a network of writers who, quite apart from being talented, proven, professionals, are such a great bunch of people. Certainly my knowledge of the industry, in regard to the independent author, has grown exponentially, and therefore my decisions, in regard to things like marketing et cetera, are better informed. I dearly love all my fellow IU minions (for anyone who is not familiar with the concept of Indies Unlimited being the Death Star, captained by the Evil Mastermind, crewed by his minions, with a plan to take over the world, one reader at a time, you might not know that minions is a term of endearment) and will always be grateful for the opportunity to be counted among their number.

It is great to see that good things can happen when Indies band together. 🙂 

Thanks for showing us a bit of the person behind the author, but now for the stuff dreams are made of. Books! To be precise, yours!

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Terra Nullius’ is an historical fiction based on a true story: the European invaders came and they proclaimed the land (Tasmania) ‘Terra Nullius’ (land belonging to no-one), and therefore theirs for the taking; and while systematically, murdering, raping and pillaging the Caretakers, appropriating their young women as concubines and inadvertently, spreading their exotic diseases, they devastated the Caretakers number into extinction in about seventy years.

Cover Terra

The prophesy said Trucannini would be the last to leave for the Dreaming; however, while the warrior chief, Mannalargenna, and the warrior woman/freedom fighter, Tarenenorerer, were resolved to fight to the very last, the diminutive, intelligent and long suffering Trucannini was determined to negotiate a safe path for her people. 

I’d just like to add that everything I write gets very personal; Terra Nullius was no exception. After discovering the little mentioned, sanitised, official, colonially biased, account of this particular part of Tasmania’s history, the disenfranchised spirits of those first nation people of Tasmania began visiting me in my dreams. Nightly, they lined up to give me their version of that period, and not until the book was completed did they leave me alone.  

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

I usually have a working title, while I’m writing, which never ends up being the actual title. For instance, Terra Nullius began as ‘The Caretakers’, but the title is perfect. My wife, Zoë, is my business partner (manager, editor, computer whiz, cover artist, public speaking coach and on and on), and has been a professional dancer, singer, actor all of her life, is an enormous help and has a lot of input; we usually brainstorm for the titles.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I don’t think that Terra Nullius could be slotted into any other genre but historical fiction; however my other books were not so easily pigeonholed. For instance ‘Heather Skye Wilson is The Psychic Warrior’ is labeled a speculative fiction. In fact, reviewing it, Lynne Cantwell said, ‘This is kind of an odd book.  I would put it squarely in the sci-fi quadrant of the speculative fiction roundhouse, except for a “whoa!” twist at the very end that kind of made me wonder what McKinnon was on when he wrote it.  And I mean that in a good way.’

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Oh, I don’t know… that would depend on how difficult it had been and how long I’d sweated over it. I might dance a little jig, or more accurately a ‘highland fling’.

Like this? fling gif

Or more like this?

highland fling

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Marketing is a hard one to get right; I would go so far as to say that there is no single, failsafe, magic, marketing trick. As an Indie – actually, unless you’re a Stephen King or a JK Rowling (already a household brand) – you need to cover all the bases: all social media networks, and there is a mindboggling and ever growing number of those. Of course the new breed of blogger reviewer and interviewer sites, like your own, Lucy, are a huge asset and we, serious Indie authors, owe you and your ilk a huge debt of gratitude.

*grins* Why thank you Mister McKinnon.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Actually, at this stage in my life, I find food and drink more of a hindrance: having to stop what I’m doing to refuel, so to speak; I often forget. That wasn’t always the case; out of necessity, I have always been a fairly healthy eater. I led a busy, active lifestyle until I moved here, to Tasmania, to concentrate on my writing almost nine years ago. I still try to work out daily (my martial arts routines), which stimulates my appetite. Of course there is the occasional bar of dark chocolate. As far as drink (alcohol) goes; I’m a Scotsman and so I had a running start, and I was five years in the British Parachute Regiment, where drinking was the standard way to cut loose, let off steam, but these days I really don’t partake; except for the odd occasion (Christmas, birthdays, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), Robert Burns night, finish of book night) when I might have a glass of single malt.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

Fresh Tasmanian salmon, braised in fresh lemon juice, crushed fresh garlic and freshly ground black peppercorns, served on a bed of brown rice, with steamed broccoli and baby carrots.

ecstatic minions

Even the minions like that!

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

I was too sick to do anything but sleep.

Okay, I’ll buy that, since no author before you came up with a simple straight forward ‘could be true’ excuse. 🙂

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

I was seven years old when the school principal said, ‘We have a budding author in our midst!’ It was to be fifty years before I published my first book. I spent most of my life doing stuff I could do, because I felt I had to, to provide financial security for the family; now I do what I have always wanted to do (slave over a hot keyboard) and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

I do have a lot of what you might call secrets, and some of them are whoppers, but they’re secrets for a reason. What good are secrets that everyone knows about? What I will tell you is that two of my five published books are memoirs and, until you read them, there are some dirty little secrets buried there. For instance in ‘I was a Teenage Devil’ I inadvertently walk into a predator’s trap; I describe how my fear turned to anger and then to a cold, calculating rage; that’s when I decided to kill him.

Woah! Hahahaha. Thank you Thomas for taking the time for this interview and your great answers. If in future you have news, or feel the need to share a secret … *wink* Feel free to contact me.

For now I’ll give the readers a taste of Terra Nullius by sharing the trailer and an excerpt.


When the European invaders came they proclaimed the land ‘Terra Nullius’ (‘uninhabited land’; therefore theirs for the taking); and while systematically, murdering, raping and pillaging the Caretakers’, appropriating their young women as concubines, they also, inadvertently, spread their exotic diseases; devastating the Caretakers number into extinction.

The prophesy said she would be the last to leave for the Dreaming but while others, like the warrior chief, Mannalargenna, and the warrior woman/freedom fighter, Tarenenorerer, were resolved to fight to the very last; the diminutive, intelligent and long suffering Trucannini determined to negotiate a safe path for her people.  

 All that’s left for me to share now are few places where they can badger you personally for more info. 🙂

For those who are really tech-savvy, I have the mobile site grcode too 🙂

Review For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie

For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie3

For the love of Ireland by Judy Leslie

Reviewed by Lucy Pireel

I must admit it took a while before I could really get into this book. At first I thought the heroine was brave, ahead of her time, soon I got irritated by her and thought she was nothing more than a swooning shell. A character which the author tried to let behave as if she were a strong, independent woman in charge of herself and her life. But reading on all suddenly fell into place. Her willfullness, swooning, surrender, it all made sense. Very cleverly done! I can’t say I rooted for her, but she did make me feel things even if most of the times I was annoyed by her, but that says more about me and my impatience with a certain kind of females and is actually a compliment to the author.

The book is filled with facts which read authentic. So much so I never doubted a moment the book is based on true events while I have no idea if that is the case or not.

There’s love, there’s action and characters with flesh and bones. Throw in drama, and a strong story. Mix in a few twists, an ending you never saw coming, and you have a book I eventually enjoyed to read.

To whom I recommend this book? Well, anyone who has a love of historic figures, can appreciate proper research, and look for a great story.

This book is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition or Paperback.

For The Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie

Judy Leslie has written a historical novel For The Love of Ireland. It is about a female American journalist writing under a male name during the late 1800s.  The story is based on real people and actual events and she is here to tell us more about it.

For the Love of Ireland by Judy Leslie3

Hello Leslie! Glad you could make it back here. Last tim we talked about you, tell us about the book this time. I have a few questions, but first have a coffee and make yourself comfortable.
Okay, let’s first do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun. And by yada yada I do not mean boring, or in any other way stupid questions, but just the traditional ones. You know? The ones we secretly all want to know the answer to.

Right, we know which book you would like to talk about. So, tell us something and we’ll take it from there.

For The Love of Ireland. It is a based on a true story about a Chicago couple, Ireland’s Land League, and the secret Irish-American organization the Clan na Gael.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

No. I think the title is perfect since the book is about several people and the actions they took “For the Love of Ireland”.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

It is hard because there are so many subcategories in the historical fiction genre now. My book is not a historical romance and romance readers would find it lacking in heat. If I had to change genre I would say women’s fiction would be my next choice, since my book deals with the issues women faced during the 1880s. My protagonist is an American journalist who publishes under a male name.

I’m glad to see you are one of the authors who does not let a genre’box’ keep her from writing the book as it is supposed to be. To show you what that is everyone should read the following part of this post.
Margaret Sullivan dines with politicians, rebels, and spies. She is an admired journalist with the Chicago Tribune publishing under a male nom de plume. Her unscrupulous husband is a prominent attorney and power broker with aspirations of his own. They are well-connected members of Chicago’s 1880s Irish elite.On her trip to Ireland to do research for a book she is writing, Margaret meets a charming one-armed Irish rebel named Michael and finds herself attracted to him and his ideas for liberating Ireland. While traveling through the stone-walled back roads of the island, Margaret sees for herself how the poor are treated. She breaks her vow never to get involved, and soon questions if she can ever go back to her old superficial life in Chicago again. Overcome with her new found emotions and strong desire to help the poor Irish tenants, Margaret finds herself easily convinced by Mrs. Delia Parnell that women can be just as crucial in the fight for Ireland’s independence as men.Back home in Chicago Margaret publishes articles hoping to gain support for Michael’s cause. That is until he is arrested. Desperate, she turns to her jealous, devious husband for help…but he has a hidden agenda of his own.
Torn between her career as a journalist and compassion for those overseas, she finds herself trapped by her own aspirations. Soon things spin out of control both at home and abroad, and Margaret has to decide how much she is willing sacrifice for Michael and her love of Ireland.For The Love of Ireland is a historical novel of love and loyalty, deception and honesty. It is about women fighting against traditional roles and gender prejudice, while trying to carry out humanitarian efforts in Ireland. For The Love of Ireland is a work of fiction woven around actual events of the Irish Land League, a Chicago couple and the covert activities of the Clan na Gael.
If you want to know what I think of this book, do return a week after today to read my review. For now I’m very curious to your first impression after reading this post.  
Can you tell me in the length of a tweet what will entice you to buy a book?
Should you not want to wait until my review goes live, please do buy the Paperback or Kindle Edition on Amazon and leave the author your review too.