DJ Martin – Stressed! Ogre’s Assistant Book One

Stressed-Final-smallTitle:  Stressed! Ogre’s Assistant Book One

Author: Deborah “DJ” Martin

ISBN: (Smashwords) 9780988854710 (Amazon) 9780988854703

Page count: approximately 206

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Price: US $1.99

 

Author Bio:

Deborah J. “DJ” Martin left the frozen tundra (Minnesota) many moons ago and now lives in the north Georgia mountains with her husband, their crazy cats and numerous woodland creatures. If she’s not clickety-punching numbers for her accounting clients or writing, you can probably find her in the garden, visiting her grandchildren or in her recliner with her nose stuck in a book.

 

Tell us about your book:

Mundane Amy’s boring life takes a turn for the interesting when she gets a job as an administrative assistant at a company with high-profile clients. Despite the fact that her boss is a malodorous, temper-tantrum-throwing ogre who works with other non-human species, she manages to keep everything on an even keel. This includes hiding the fact that she writes paranormal romance books at night under a pseudonym, basing her characters on people she’s met through her job.

DJ36KBHer well-ordered existence is threatened by a sexy werewolf, a lovesick vampire and a demon who blackmails her with exposing her author identity. How does she get her life back on track without magic of her own?

 

How long did it take to write the book?

Something over a year … in between my regular job and writing non-fiction.

 

What inspired you to write the book?

It was a short story that just popped into my head one day. Not that I’m pointing fingers, but I may have been thinking about my former boss. My husband read it and said it was “the makings of a novel”. After that, it sort of wrote itself.

 

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

Due to the demands of life, I don’t have a regular writing routine (I wish I did!). I write when I have time. This particular book required no research, except for ensuring I didn’t use a real street address.

 

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

I hope they finish with a smile on their face, and perhaps the feeling that their job might not be that bad.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Available through all Amazon outlets (US= http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B8FIVBQ ; UK= http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stressed-Ogres-Assistant-ebook/dp/B00B8FIVBQ/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1359645305&sr=8-11) and Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/280617

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
My website, including contact info, my blog & links to other books, is http://www.herbylady.com

 

Excerpt from book:

Chapter 1

 

An ogre, a vampire and a werewolf walk into a bar … Someone more creative than me could make a joke of my life.

My day started out normally. The sun woke me up at 6:00am as it shone through the bedroom window of my garden-level apartment. I originally had room-darkening drapes, but they were expensive and didn’t stay intact for long. My cat, Fudge, climbed anything he could reach and since the window was at waist height, he shredded anything hung there. The curtains were as cheap as I could find – just enough to prevent any peeping tom from getting an eyeful. I replaced them about every two months when Fudge had finally ripped them to the point they were see-through instead of opaque. Everything in my apartment was geared towards a “me first” cat. Instead of the usual ceramic or glass knickknacks most of my female friends had around, the window ledges only held my collection of stuffed animals. They didn’t break when Fudge swept them off to make room for basking.

I made the best of the situation by being a quasi-morning person. The timer on the coffeepot was set for 5:50am so when I was rudely awakened by so much light, there was at least an immediate infusion of caffeine to make the morning bearable. Although I hate needles, I always wished someone could figure out how to inject caffeine intravenously. I needed the morning jolt. After a half-pot of coffee, inhaled while checking email and social networking, I was awake enough to do my stretching. I showered and headed off to work, just three blocks away.

Living in the heart of the city had its advantages. I didn’t have to own a car. Most everything I needed was within walking or biking distance, or a fairly inexpensive cab ride. Although my building was an older one, it had been completely renovated just before I moved in. It was still considerably less expensive than the high-rises a mile or so away and I didn’t need all the fancy stuff like a concierge service, anyway. I have twice the space for half the cost. My building came with a bonus: unlike those high-rise buildings, the owner had also put up good wards – something I needed due to the people I worked with on a regular basis. Magic just isn’t my forte.

The same advantages turned into disadvantages when your boss figured you were always available since you were very single and lived so close. After about a year of him calling me on a Saturday or Sunday morning to come in for one “emergency” or another, we compromised. I’d get no more weekend calls and he wouldn’t sing soprano.

My boss, Evander Angelich, is an ogre. No, really. Not just a grumpy person but an ogre. He stands a little over seven feet tall; weighs somewhere around 500 pounds; has a very large, round head; small eyes set too close together; a caterpillar for eyebrows; a mop of brown hair on top; and doesn’t have the best personal hygiene. Think sewer backup. Yeah, that bad at times. Unlike Shrek, his skin isn’t green; it’s sort of puce. He also wears beautifully-tailored, custom-made suits instead of too-small breeches and vest. But like Shrek, he’s pretty much a nice guy. I guess Hollywood gets some things right.

Ev owned the largest personal security business in the Midwest and the bulk of the client list would make the paparazzi go ape if they could get their hands on even one itinerary. Most of the guards were ogres or dwarves (short but tough little bastards with no sense of humor) with a couple of wizards thrown in for good measure. Ev chose these species because they can’t truly be harmed by vampires, weres or other predators. Although wizards are human in the greater sense of the word, there is something about their aura that makes bloodthirsty species either not want them or be unable to seduce them.

He owned it, I ran it. Ask any executive and if he’s telling the truth, he’ll admit his secretary does nearly all his work. Going into the office at 7:30am gave me a chance to read the reports from the previous night and start wading through all my paperwork before the phone started ringing off the hook around noon. Everyone knew Ev hated rush hour traffic so they waited until later to call him. (That was a lie. Ev didn’t even have a drivers’ license. He had a limo with a driver. He just wanted an excuse to sleep late.) By that time, I had a list of things for Ev to know about and/or do and when the agents and managers started calling, he could play the all-knowing big shot. It was a comfortable relationship that had lasted something over seven years.

Anyways, as I was saying, my day started out normally enough. Ev’s odor preceded him into the office shortly after eleven. Mario, one of the wizard guards, was waiting to see him. He was unhappy with his current assignment – a pert blond movie star who thought she was a witch but in reality hadn’t a clue about magic. Mario’s comment was, “she has every episode of Charmed and all the Harry Potter movies on DVD. Therefore, she thinks she knows everything there is to know about magic.” He was pretty much over being dragged into “rituals” and then being whined at when nothing happened. My notes suggested switching Mario with one of the dwarf guards currently following a foreign author around. She wouldn’t be dragging a dwarf into anything!

Noon saw my lunch delivered from the deli downstairs. I had a long-standing friendship with the witch that ran it. She could really cook, whether in a cauldron or on a stove! Apart from anything containing peas, she had carte blanche to send up whatever she wanted. This day, lunch was a pastrami-on-rye sandwich with a side of some of the yummiest potato salad I’d ever tasted. The paper that wrapped my sandwich had a note, “Watch your back. I’ve got a bad feeling.” Cassandra wasn’t often wrong with her feelings but when I looked at the mound of paperwork and my calendar, I didn’t see anything that could go any more haywire than usual.

Things went fairly normally until a phone call came in about 3:30. When I answered the phone, the voice on the other end sounded like it was coming from the bowels of Hel. I was used to the echo sometimes generated by cell phones but this positively vibrated through the wires.

“May I speak with Mr. Angelich, please?” growled the voice.

“May I tell him who’s calling?” I answered back.

“Just tell him Happy is on the line. He’ll speak with me.”

Happy? With a voice like that? I buzzed Ev on the intercom and after a rather pregnant pause and a sharp intake of breath, he told me to put the call through. Tempted though I was to eavesdrop, I had other things I needed to do before I called it quits for the day so went back to my own work.

Ten minutes later, the light for that line winked out. Ev slammed his office door open, stormed straight past me without a word and out the door. I didn’t think anything of that. Ev often had temper tantrums and went for a walk to cool off. He usually returned after about a half hour, much quieted.

One of the benefits of starting work early is I got off early, too. Ev took the late shift, often working until nine or ten at night to keep track of all the guards that were out on assignment and be available if anything went awry. Although he hadn’t yet returned, I assumed he would and at four o’clock I shut off my computer, locked up the office and headed home for my standard two-hour nap. It made up for getting up so early. Sort of.

I had just put my pajamas on and snuggled into bed, Fudge deserting his spot on the window ledge for a piece of my pillow, when the phone rang. Damn and blast! I’d forgotten to turn it off. Caller ID said it was Ev’s cell phone. “This had better be good,” was my not-so-cheerful greeting.

Without so much as an “I’m sorry to disturb you”, Ev hurriedly said, “I need you to go to John’s party for me tonight”. In that split second where all sorts of stuff goes through your mind before you answer, I was thinking he sounded out of breath, whiny, and what the hell? I had a nice evening planned with a decent dinner, maybe a bottle of wine and my word processor.

(I forgot to mention: I write paranormal romance novels on the side under a pseudonym. Don’t tell Ev. He’d never let me hear the end of it.)

“Ev, it’s Wednesday. I had plans for tonight and besides, you know I can’t go to one of those sorts of parties and be into work early the next morning,” I replied.

“Whatever your plans were, you can change them. I’ll cover the morning. Just do this, Okay? Gregory will pick you up in the limo at nine thirty. Stay for a couple of hours, schmooze folks the way you know how and leave. It’s not like you’ve never done this before.”

Guys, ogres in particular, really had no idea what a woman had to go through to get ready for an upscale party – especially if we weren’t in the mood to do so. But he sounded like this was a real emergency. I sighed, said yes, hung up the phone and determined I could at least get my nap in before I’d need to eat dinner and then start to get gussied up.

I set my alarm and settled back down. I had to move Fudge – he’d spread over the entire pillow during my conversation. He resettled himself and started kneading in my hair, making it entirely possible it would take another fifteen minutes just to comb out the snarls he was creating. I was used to it and had built an additional quarter-hour into my routine after he came to live with me.

It was getting dark in the apartment when the alarm went off, which suited my mood. My dreams had been off-kilter for some reason and the thought of having to go to a party, much less a late one, didn’t improve my disposition. Still in my jammies, I padded into the kitchen, flipped on the light and started rummaging through the fridge for the makings for a quick dinner. I settled for a salad with leftover shrimp as a garnish. There was enough shrimp for Fudge and me to share without argument. An argument, I might add, that I would invariably lose.

Two hours after that, I was as gussied as I was going to get. My dress was a full-length emerald green satin that fit well in all the right places and complimented my waist-length copper-red hair. I wasn’t pleased with Fudge’s coiffure attempt but it had only taken ten minutes to comb out his snarls before washing my hair. I was, therefore, five minutes ahead of schedule. Matching shoes and clutch completed the ensemble that wasn’t quite au courant but still looked good. While silently thanking the fashion maven who declared pantyhose unnecessary, especially in summer heat, I watched out the window for Ev’s limo.

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Thomas William Shaw – The Silhouette

The-Silhouette---copyright-owned-by-Thomas-William-Shaw--2Title: The Silhouette (Alan Quinn and the Second Lifes Book One)

Author: Thomas William Shaw

ASIN: B00BDUV0D2

Page count: 265

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

Price:  .99(Kindle)

 

Author Bio:

Thomas William Shaw is an author and actor from Helena, AL. He currently lives outside of Birmingham, AL with his fiance’, Melissa, and their puppy child dachshund, Delilah

 

Tell us about your book:

The Silhouette is a Young Adult fantasy title that is all about action, adventure, explosions, and the supernatural  on the surface but about a boy searching for love and acceptance from his father underneath. 

 

How long did it take to write the book?

It took me four months to write, but about 8 to 9 months to edit.

 

What inspired you to write the book?

Bits of my love for fantasy and parts of real experiences helped inspire my pen to page. 

 

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

With a full time job and life, I had to make time to get my words out. I would wake up at 5 or 6 every morning and write non-stop for an hour. 

 

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

The feeling that they truly got to know my MC. I want them to feel like Alan Quinn has taken them along on this journey.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon, Createspace

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
www.thomaswilliamshaw.com

 

Excerpt from book:

Thirty minutes and an awfully boring lesson plan later, the bell rang. I prepared to receive another hall pass to miss the first fifteen minutes of my next class, but the way Mr. LeCarre closed and locked the door did not make me feel like it was going to be a brief encounter. 

He looked over at me and then back to Lathon, “Does he know?”

“Know what?” I said.

Lathon giggled, “More than most.”

Mr. LeCarre nodded. He turned his head down towards his feet and raised a finger to the center of his forehead. When he removed it, a hole the size of a bullet took its place. A cloud of smoke seeped out until his body fell to the ground. The smoke particles swarmed around each other until they formed the shape of a man.

 Lathon was anxious to return the favor. He poked a similar hole on the top of Vick’s head and came seeping out until he was back in his own Silhouette form. Luckily, Vick didn’t turn into a pile of skin. He held his spot in his desk, but his eyes were rolled into the back of his head. I thought I should check to make sure he hadn’t been turned into a vegetable but I am not sure that there would have been much of a difference. 

I was still too freaked out by the fact that if Mr. LeCarre was a Silhouette, who else was one? Coach Cyrus? My bus driver? I just didn’t know anymore.

The two Silhouettes spun around each other, sizing each other up. Lathon was slightly larger than Mr. LeCarre in form. If they were to start fighting, I wasn’t sure what kind of damage they could cause. Would one of them die? Can they die?

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John Hunter – Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability

management-mattersTitle: Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability

Author: John Hunter

Page count: 230

Genre: Non-fiction – Business, Management

Price: $5 – $15 (the web site lets you you set the price from within that range)

Author Bio:

 John Hunter combines technology with management expertise to improve the performance of organizations. He has served as an information technology program manager for the American Society for Engineering Education, the Office of Secretary of Defense Quality Management Office and the White House Military Office.

John created and operates one of the first, and most popular, management resources on the internet – Curious Cat Management.  He continues to use the internet to aid managers in their efforts to improve their organizations.  His blog is widely recognized as a valuable resource for leaders and managers.

He is the founder and CEO of curiouscat.com, managing over 20 web sites on management, software development, investing, engineering, travel and other topics.

See www.johnhunter.com/plife.cfm for more details.

Tell us about your book:

john_at_arches_7 Management Matters provides an overview for a systems view of management. My views are largely based on those of Dr. Deming, along with natural outgrowths and extensions of his ideas such as lean manufacturing and agile software development.

To achieve great results a continual focus on both achieving results today and building enterprise capability to maximize results over the long term is needed. Managers have many management concepts, practices and tools available to help them in this quest. The challenge is to create and continually build and improve a management system for the enterprise that leads to success. This book helps managers do that.

The book provides a framework for management thinking. With this framework the practices and tools can be applied to build enterprise capability and amplify positive results.

How long did it take to write the book?

 6 months, once I decided to write a book.  A great deal of the material is taken from my blog which I have been writing for 5 years.

What inspired you to write the book?

 A combination of several things caused me to pursue writing my book.  The success of my blog was a big factor in providing me evidence that people were interested in what I had do say.  Also the blog allowed me to gain confidence in my writing.  Another inspiration that help spark the desire was my father’s book: Statistics for Experimenters.

 Another factor was my desire for a complete systems view.  One of the challenges I have in writing my blog and talking to people is that I see the question of what should be done now (in managing and organization) is dependent on the state of many interdependent components of the organization.  This systems view of management seems ideally suited to a book (versus the blog I have been writing).

 The opportunity was provided by my move to Malaysia for what is probably best compared to a sabbatical (while not a completely accurate description it is the best I can come up with).  When One of the ideas I had in the move was to consider writing a book.  When I decided to decide if I really wanted to get started my plan initial thoughts were for more focused books (on specific management tools or practices) I could hopefully complete fairly quickly and potentially market well (as targeted solutions to provide immediate, visible improvement).

 But in thinking about those potential books I kept finding myself wanting to place that practice within the proper context – determining when to use it, how to do so (depending on other factors) etc..  So I decided I would first write a overall management system book that then I could refer to in any specific application book.  I also knew working on the complete management system would force me to consider a few ideas that I have left somewhat undeveloped in my thoughts; which I though would be a good thing to do.

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

 I started by taking my blog posts and filtering them (I used maybe 30% of them) and then organizing them into chapters for a book.  I then saw several big gaps and several places where I had multiple posts to merge.

 I started editing, and in some cases rewriting, the content from the blog.  This took far longer than I imaged it would.  Writing new content for the gaps was a big task.  A big part of the reason they were gaps in the first place was the topics were more complex and were a challenge to think and write about.

 I found an editor online and had them start editing the book as I was continuing to write.  I also found a graphics person to create several graphics I wanted to use.

 I didn’t have a set routine, I wrote when I felt like it.  Some days I would write for a couple hours others for 10 hours or not write at all.  The main research I did was verifying some details and confirming the accuracy and source of quotes.

 The whole process has been quite rewarding but it also was much more work than I imagined when I started.

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

I hope they are able to improve to the performance of their organizations.  I hope they can find useful ways of thinking and tools to help make them more effective and take joy in their work.  I hope they can help create systems that provide those they work with the chance to take joy in their work. More details: http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2012/11/07/respect-for-everyone/

Where can we go to buy your book?

 The LeanPub website.  http://leanpub.com/managementmatters  The book is available in epub, mobi/kindle and pdf formats.

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

 Book web site: http://curious-cat-media.com/management-matters/

 Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog: http://management.curiouscatblog.net/

 My personal web site: http://johnhunter.com/

 Curious Cat Travel Destinations: http://curious-cat-travel.net/

Excerpt from book:

 The web site for the book also provides a free sample (about 70 pages from the book).

Building enterprise capability is similar to constructing a high rise building. A foundation is important, but not much value by itself. The frame of the building is important, but again, by itself not of much value. The electrical and plumbing are critical, but without the rest of the building would just collapse onto the ground. Stairs and elevators are needed, but without electricity the elevators won’t work and without rooms there is not much need to go up and down (other than maybe as a nice view).

As with building a high rise, building enterprise capability requires making a concerted effort across a range of areas. As skills are developed, people can better take advantage of tools to improve. As trust is built, the organization can rely on people to give honest data and feedback. As processes are continually improved less fire fighting is needed and more resources are available for innovation and customer focus. As less time is wasted explaining normal system variation (common cause variation), more energy can be devoted to developing skills and innovating. As systems are improved and variation reduced, systems become more robust; fewer customers are disappointed and less time is spent dealing with failures. As people apply management concept, practices and tools, they learn how to do so more effectively. As more resources are available to focus on process improvement the process of improving increases.

Each of the building blocks makes it possible to build even higher. But failing to address critical areas (for example, respect for people, will limit what results can be achieved). Human systems are dynamic and interrelated. Just applying tools that aid with process improvement without building the capacity to understand system thinking or variation can help, but gains are limited.

The most profound gains will only be achieved with a comprehensive focus on developing all the critical elements of the management system. As each area is developed, new opportunities become available. Improving processes is good. But improving the process by which you improve is better.

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