Gayle Tiller – 24 Hour Lottery Ticket

Title: 24 Hour Lottery Ticket

Author: Gayle Tiller

ISBN: 1448675014

Page count: 286

Genre: Suspense

Price: $14.00

Author Bio:

I am a community activist, public relations professional and a former lawyer for senior citizens. I live in San Jose where I am currently working on my next novel.

Tell us about your book:

Dianne Canton is a lawyer whose life is in dire straits. She’s lost her apartment and car. Dianne is living in her rundown office in downtown San Jose. When Emma Watkins knocks on her door, Dianne thinks she is a bill collector. Emma turns out to be a former judge who holds a $73 million lottery ticket that will expire in about 24 hours. Years ago, the media destroyed Emma and her family in a bitter recall election. Emma wants to stop the media from publicizing her name as the winner of the lottery. If Dianne wins Emma’s case, her money troubles will be over. If Dianne loses, Emma will lose $73 million.

How long did it take to write the book?

The first draft of “24 Hour Lottery Ticket” took about two years. The editing was the hard part. I had to delete chapters, add chapters and tighten up other chapters. That process took almost three years.

What inspired you to write the book?

A former co-worker who is an avid writer asked me to join her writers’ group.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I was a member of a writers’ group in which we met on a regular basis. We were required to write pages for our sessions and read our pages to each other.

I perform best when I am under pressure.  I also am a procrastinator. On the morning before our meeting, I would write several pages and bring my pages to share with the group.

As for research, I decided to let my imagination rule rather than doing countless hours of research.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I hope readers find the book both hilarious and suspenseful at the same time.

Where can we go to buy your book?

“24 Hour Lottery Ticket” is available at online bookstores. Local bookstores also can specially- order the book.

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

To read the first three chapters of my book, please visit my web site  http://www.24hourlotteryticket.com. My email address is gayletiller@yahoo.com.

Excerpt from book:

Chapter One
April 19, 2009 1:37 p.m.
I stared at the stack of bills in front of me. After being in law practice as a sole practitioner for three years, I still had a hard time. There were times when I wanted to shut down my office, but I couldn’t. I had no place to go.

The county refused to promote me after I had passed the bar. My boss wanted me to stay at my old job as a housing specialist. She said I didn’t have what it took to be a good lawyer.

I then applied at numerous law firms in Silicon Valley and not one single firm was interested in me. Maybe it was because it had taken me five times to pass the bar and I had graduated with a C average from a fourth tier law school.

Taking hypothetical tests and getting good grades never had been my thing. I was better at real life projects. And for some reason, law firms were more interested in academics than my twelve years of housing experience with the county.

I wanted to practice law so I had no choice but to start my own business. I left my $60,000 a year job and opened an office in downtown San Jose.

I thought clients would come in droves because of the location. It took almost three months before I got my first client. After that, clients trickled in, but not enough to make any real money. I tried everything to increase business: a web site, ads, joining nonprofit boards, and a referral panel but nothing worked.

After three years, my savings and 401k were gone. I was living off credit cards and they were almost maxed to the limit.

I heard a knock at my office door. I glanced at my calendar and it showed that I did not have any appointments. I didn’t want to answer the door. It could be bill collectors and I had nothing to give them.

I ignored the knock and went back to looking at my bills. The knock became louder. I walked to my door, peered out my peephole and saw an older woman.

“I know you’re in there,” she said as she banged on the door. “Open the door now.”

Jesus Christ, these bill collectors were getting bolder. Why couldn’t they leave me alone?

“Ma’am, it’s Sunday. We’re not open,” I responded.

“Dammit, I need to see you,” she snapped.

“I don’t have anything to give you.”

“Stop playing games,” she hissed. “Open the door now.”

“No.”

“It’s an emergency and I need you to help me on my case.”

Did she say case? Oh God, I hope I hadn’t pissed her off. I opened the door for her and told her to come inside.

The woman walked into my lobby. She was about 5’2″ with a slender figure. Her reddish brown hair was styled in a short cut with wispy bangs that accented her dark brown eyes and diamond shaped face.

The woman’s white cotton pants and lavender short-sleeved polyester-blend blouse complemented her olive skin. Her face looked like she was in her early fifties, but I could tell from her hands and neck she was somewhere in her sixties.

The woman’s face fell as she took in a quick view of my small, narrow lobby. There were a couple of chairs with discolored grayish-white cushions and an old cheap brown metal table that had a few of last year’s magazines on top of it.

She glanced at the peeling brownish-green wallpaper and stained beige carpet. When she made a wry face, I wanted to apologize.

When I had started practicing, my first law office was a lot different. I rented a beautiful loft with large glass windows and hardwood floors. My furniture had been state-of-the-art. Two years later, I moved and sold my furniture, because I wasn’t making enough money to pay the high rent.

I found my current office through a friend. The landlord agreed to rent to me for free in exchange for managing the six office spaces in the building. I was on the bottom floor with two other units and three were above me.

I made a gesture to the woman to sit down. She refused. The woman walked toward me. She then looked me up and down to take in the full length of my 5’10″ height.

“You’re Dianne Canton the lawyer, right?” the woman asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I wasn’t sure because you look a lot heavier than your picture.”

Picture? She must mean the picture on my web site. It was over three years old. It was taken when I was in decent shape. But after my break-up with Shawn, I stopped exercising. Luckily, my scale was broken. So I had no idea what I weighed. I was sure that it was a lot, because rocky road ice cream was the only thing that gave me pleasure these days.

“I guess I need to get a new picture,” I mumbled.

The woman made a sour face when she gazed at my stomach. Her look made me wish that I hadn’t worn light-colored jeans, which emphasized my thick thighs and belly and a red t-shirt that tugged against my ample breasts.

She stared at my thick, curly dark hair that fell just below my shoulders. The woman almost formed a smile, but she couldn’t for some reason. She then looked down at the stained carpet and grimaced. She looked back up at my face and focused on my emerald green eyes.

“I can’t believe you thought I was homeless,” she huffed.

“No, I didn’t,” I replied.

“Then why wouldn’t you open the door?” she asked.

“Because I don’t do business on Sundays,” I lied.

“You need to make an exception for me,” she demanded.

“Maybe,” I countered.

“You will,” she snarled as she pulled out an old newspaper.

“Were you in a story?” I asked.

“No, I wasn’t. Just read the numbers.”

I peered at the newspaper. “These are winning lottery numbers from a long time ago. What does this have to do with anything?”

She pulled out an envelope from her purse and removed a faded ticket. She then held it with both hands.

“Look at the numbers,” she said as she showed me the ticket.

I peered at them and smiled. “It looks like you’re the winner.”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” she sneered.

I glanced at the newspaper again. “But this newspaper is six months old. Have you filed a claim?” I asked.

“No. It’s due tomorrow.”

My eyes widened. “Tomorrow!” I exclaimed.

“I have 180 days to turn in the ticket and tomorrow is the deadline.”

“But why have you waited so long?”

“Because I didn’t want the publicity,” she replied.

“And now you want to file a claim?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she responded as she put the lottery ticket back into the envelope.

“Why are you afraid of publicity?” I asked.

She inhaled and her hands trembled. She tried to speak, but her lips would not move.

“Ma’am, are you wanted for a crime?” I asked.

“No, it’s nothing like that,” she replied.

“Then I don’t understand why you won’t file,” I said. “The lottery ticket must be worth millions.”

“73 million,” she responded.

“Tell me why you would walk away from 73 million dollars.”

“Because the media destroyed me once and I won’t allow them to destroy me again,” she responded.

“How did the media hurt you?” I asked.

She wiped tears from her face. “They took away everything I had worked for.”

“What is your name?” I asked.

“It’s not important,” she answered.

“I can’t help you if you don’t give me your name,” I said in an irate tone.

“Did you grow up in San Jose?” she asked.

“No, I didn’t,” I replied. “I came here in the late 80s.”

“When in the 80s?” she asked.

“1989, after I graduated from college.”

“Then you wouldn’t know anything.”

“About what?” I asked.

“What happened back in 1986,” she replied.

“No one would care about something that old.”

“You don’t understand,” she snapped. “The media never forgets.”

I wiped my brow. “Ma’am, did you kill someone?” I asked.

“Absolutely not. I’ve never committed a crime in my life.”

“Have you ever been charged with or indicted for any crime?” I asked.

“No,” she responded.

“If you don’t have a criminal history, I don’t understand why you have a problem with turning in your lottery ticket.”

“I told you why,” she murmured. “It’s the media.”

“You won’t tell me what happened and you won’t  tell me your name,” I said as I folded my arms. “I can’t help you without this information.”

“My name is Emma Watkins,” she said while glaring at me.

“That name sounds a little familiar, but I can’t place it.”

“I told you that you wouldn’t know who I am.”

“Mrs. Watkins, you have until tomorrow to turn in the lottery ticket,” I said. “What exactly do you want me to do?”

“I’m divorced so it’s Ms. Watkins,” she responded. “And please call me Emma.”

“Okay, Emma. But you still didn’t answer my question.”

“I need you to research whether I can legally avoid publicity. If I can, I will file the claim along with a restraining order that will prevent my name from being released to the media.”

“Why would you need a restraining order? Is there any domestic violence involved in your case?” I asked.

“No, there’s not.” Emma frowned. “Restraining orders aren’t just for domestic violence cases. They’re used in other cases in which the court orders another party not to do something. In my case, the court would order that the lottery is restrained from releasing my name.”

“Now, I understand what you want,” I said.

“Good.” Emma smiled.

I took a deep breath and said, “Emma, I need more information before I can commit to taking your case. Tell me what happened.”

Emma stared into my eyes. She exhaled deeply. “Give me an hour and I will tell you everything.”

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This week’s Featured Authors – May 31-June 6

Monday: Gayle Tiller – 24 Hour Lottery Ticket
Tuesday: Dave Conifer – Man of Steel
Wednesday: Keith Kekic – Nightwalkers
Thursday: Ronnell D. Porter – The Pocket Watch
Friday: Martin Sharlow – Storytellers
Saturday: Jessica Billings – The Girl Born of Smoke
Sunday: Mina V. Esguerra – Fairy Tale Fail

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Gus Flory – GALAXY OF HEROES

Title: GALAXY OF HEROES

Author: Gus Flory

ISBN: 1449563899

Page count: 313

Genre: Science Fiction

Price: $9.75 paperback; 99 cents on Kindle

Author Bio:

Writer, soldier, reader

Tell us about your book:

A conspiracy against humanity. A breathtakingly beautiful cyborg. A battle like no other. An adventure you won’t forget!

The lives of four space drifters intersect on a planet of hope as the most powerful war machine in the galaxy approaches, threatening to consume them all in a storm of metal and fire.

Capt. Jace Spade is a fighter pilot from the Roga System. He is determined to find his maker-the enigmatic Dr. Zander-even if his search means risking all in the conflagrations of the Inner Galaxy.

Capt. Mina Casey is also a fighter pilot, but from an advanced human civilization that arose in the Heliac System. Capt. Casey has drifted through the void for eons as visions of a warm planet where she can sink her feet in the sand and watch the sunset filled her dreams.

Sgt. Joe Grimes-a Heliac Ranger who once lived for the thrill of the fight-is now disillusioned after the total defeat and destruction of his home world. He would leave all humanity behind if he could only get away.

Genie is a beautiful and indestructible cyborg constructed by a technologically advanced civilization for the purpose of interacting with humans. Genie is programmed to love Joe Grimes, but she longs to be free.

How long did it take to write the book?

I wrote the first third of the book over a couple months several years ago. Then I added the second third over about a three-month period while I was away at a training school for the Army. I finished the last third over about a six-month period in 2009, writing about 500 words a night after work.

What inspired you to write the book?

During a creative writing class, the instructor gave us a few minutes to speed write a short story, and then the person sitting next to us would critique it. I wrote a quick story about an AWOL soldier and his cyborg girlfriend sitting in a spaceship trapped in an asteroid belt. I don’t know why that was the first thing that popped into my mind since everyone in the class was into serious fiction. But then, I’ve always been a big sci-fi fan. I liked the characters in that story so much that I kept adding to it and it grew and evolved over time.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

While I was working on the book I developed a routine where I would write 500 words late at night after my wife had gone to bed. That was just enough writing to make progress, while leaving time to edit and get it looking clean, and still get enough sleep to function at my day job.

As far as research, I relied heavily on personal experience and a lifetime of daydreaming.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I hope I can take readers on a grand adventure with some wonderful characters that they will want to meet up with again. My characters attempt to drive on in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles and cosmic unfairnesses, and they keep their sense of humor about things. Maybe that can inspire people in some way. I have to say that I really enjoyed spending time with my characters and I hope to hang out with them again, if I can somehow find the time.

Where can we go to buy your book?

http://www.amazon.com/Galaxy-Heroes-Gus-Flory/dp/1449563899/ref=tmm_pap_title_0/187-7430647-7099211

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
No other links yet.

Excerpt from book:

Subaquatic

Capt. Casey rode a hover transport through downtown Portogallos, zooming through the city corridors, skimming over bustling streets and zipping between walkways.

The hover transport shot out of the city and then along a sandy beach lined with newly built human habitations. She circled around over the jungle and then alit on the roof of a two-story bungalow that overlooked the sea.

She stepped off the hover transport and then walked down a stairwell into the dwelling. She walked over the cool tile floor to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water.

This home was a dream, but returning alone to an empty bungalow only pulled her down further into the dumps.

Genie and Joe were gone. She realized she would never see them again.

And Jace.

As much as she hated to admit it, she missed him acutely. It pained her to think of him suffering, even though she had often wished for it.

She knew that Jace was most likely dead by now.

All those restless years searching one corner of the galaxy to the next, and he never found his Dr. Zander.

Capt. Casey looked out from her airy living room at the view of the sea. It was beautiful outside—just the kind of day that had filled her fantasies during all those eternal voyages through the void.

“This is what you wanted, Mina,” she said to herself. “It’s what you’ve always wanted.”

She wanted to believe that Jace had sacrificed himself to the Craaldan Empire for her. She prayed it hadn’t been in vain. A tear formed in the corner of her eye. She wiped it away.

She stepped outside into the warm air. She vaulted over the rail of the veranda and landed barefoot in the warm sand. A small 15-foot boat was propped against the wall of her bungalow.

She dragged the boat down the beach and pushed it out into the waves. She hopped aboard and gunned the engines, shooting forward, hopping over the oncoming swells.

The small, open boat skipped as it sped across the violet water. She savored the sea air and the warm sunshine.

High above in the clear pink sky, a line of glowing spacecraft descended toward the spaceport beyond Portogallos. The city’s gleaming towers receded behind her as she accelerated toward the horizon—the tops of the towering structures eventually disappearing into the distance as she traveled out of sight of land.

She cut the engine and the boat slowed to a drift. The little boat rocked gently against the breeze and swells.

The silence out here on the open sea was heaven.

She stripped off her black jumpsuit and leaned back and absorbed the sunrays on her naked skin.

Way up in the cloudless sky, hundreds of reptilian creatures with rigid wings circled lazily on warm updrafts. She knew the creatures were enormous, but they were so high up that they looked like seabirds, maybe like the ones humans used to see while sailing over the oceans of ancient Earth.

This planet was better than Earth, she thought. Primitive humans had ruined that planet, but this one was still in a natural state.

Humans had come far since leaving Earth, in both distance and development. As a species, humans had progressed to such an extent that it was almost as if she were a different species than the humans of Earth. She had about as much in common with them as they had with an australopithecine.

On Earth during those last days, science had become debased by false theories promoted by well-financed propagandists and cults of personality.

But on Mars, a scientific renaissance had arisen due to sheer necessity. Great leaps forward were made in physics and engineering. And in the field of biology, the scientists of Mars had mastered the genetic code and conquered disease and learned how to extend the human lifespan indefinitely.

Capt. Casey had recently turned 100 Earth-years old, but her body could out perform that of any elite Earth athlete. She was well-muscled and had smooth skin and a drop-dead figure.

Her body had suffered severe wounds in Craaldan attacks, and it had been bombarded with radiation and subjected to all manner of extreme conditions on numerous hostile worlds. On countless occasions, she had survived death-defying scrapes. The physical abuse she had been subjected to would have killed any Earth human, but she was still alive and looked great.

She wasn’t perfect, like Genie. But then, she was fully organic, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Capt. Casey stood up and dipped her hands over the side and splashed the warm, salty sea water over her hair. She ran her wet hands through her cropped, black hair and looked out with dark eyes at the white-capped sea.

She recalled days similar to this on her home world of Nebas in the Heliac System.

Nebas was the most Earthlike of the three hospitable planets of Heliac. Those three planets–Smythe, Nebas and Jing, named after the ship captains that first landed settlers on each–were all roughly Earthlike in size. Smythe was arid and hot and the closest of the three to the Heliac sun. Nebas, where she was born and raised, was cooler than Earth, but pleasant enough. Jing was icy and cold with a thin atmosphere. Fortunately, out beyond Jing, the Heliac System had a second, smaller sun that kept Jing hospitable enough for humans.

As a ship captain, Capt. Casey often traveled to each of the three Heliac planets and always enjoyed the cool air of Nebas the most. It was a pity the Craaldans had to destroy that wonderful system and all that humans had built there.

But here, this planet of Gallos put Nebas to shame. Gallos was magical–too magical to last, she thought.

She thought of how differently things were unfolding here. The humans of Heliac were determined to protect themselves from attack. They had built an ordered and disciplined society.

But on Gallos, disorder reigned. It was as if the humans here realized that all the discipline, training and preparation in the galaxy would not stop the inevitable Craaldan onslaught.

The people here knew that they were just too developmentally behind the civilizations of the Inner Galaxy and could never hope to catch up. There was no reason to even try.

So in this benign climate with no martial motivation, the humans here had decided to indulge their vices while they could. And Verman Jod, like a greedy profiteer from ancient Earth, was too eager to gratify them for his own ends.

Capt. Casey had believed that humans had evolved beyond such petty behavior and weaknesses, but Portogallos was proving that this was not the case.

There would be no repeat of the Heliac experiment here. This was a place to enjoy while it lasted, and then make a run for it when the walls caved in.

Capt. Casey strapped a utility belt around her waist. She dove head first over the side of her small boat into the sea.

She swam down deeper and deeper, kicking downward to dark depths.

Golden beams of sunlight glowed and refracted in the clear water. Warmth gave way to cold. Beneath her was inky blackness. Above was light. She floated motionless, deep down where darkness met the light.

In the quiet weightlessness, she sensed motion beneath her. Something big was moving swiftly upwards from the dark depths. She could make out a shadow rushing up to her.

It was something enormous. A monstrous behemoth slithered upwards through the water as fast as a torpedo. She saw its large reptilian head—as big as a battle tank. Two huge eyes were focused on her. A gaping mouth revealed teeth like sharpened tombstones. Capt. Casey reached in her belt and pulled out a small cylinder. She pressed the top of the device, which emitted a piercing sound, although inaudible to her.

Just as the leviathan was upon her, it abruptly turned away as if deflected off a wall. Capt. Casey was hit by a swirling wall of water that pushed her back several meters and spun her around in powerful eddies.

The enormous creature slowly dove back down several hundred meters, and then cruised away. Capt. Casey followed above, swimming over the giant animal, studying it.

It had a huge, scaly body ringed with four paddle-like fins. Its long, flat tail snaked through the water. Stretching from its torso was an extremely long, thin neck that ended in its monstrous head.

A school of a dozen smaller, fish-like reptilian creatures cruised alongside the torso of the giant beast. Capt. Casey felt as if she were a tiny bug swimming above this scaly colossus. She watched as it slowly descended between glimmering columns of golden sunlight.

Despite its size, she knew this giant marine carnivore had a brain the size of a nut. She observed it keenly before realizing that her lungs were desperate for air. She kicked upward and pulled for the light. She broke the surface, gasping in the warm, life-giving oxygen.

Capt. Casey pulled her nude form back into her boat. She felt exhilarated to have seen such a primitive creature close up. She wished someone had been here with her to share the experience.

She imagined Joe with her—his scarred and muscled torso gleaming in the sunlight—a sparkle in his pale blue eyes as he recounted how he had saved her from being eaten by the giant beast.

Or Jace—his black hair slicked back as he flashed his cool smile—teasing her about her willingness to let the monster swallow him whole.

Even with all their faults, which often drove her up the wall, both men had been wonderful companions. Both had stolen her heart.

But there had been something about Genie that they couldn’t resist. Their weakness for that cyborg pained her.

Both men were gone now and once again she was all alone.

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