BEYOND REALITY SERIES

by Susan Stoker
Romance

Book 1: Outback Hearts


Sam travels to Australia to take part in a reality show to find her true love. She doesn’t expect to find that the other contestants are all model-beautiful and ready to lie their way into the bachelor’s heart. Sam desperately wants to be loved for who she is, plain and simple.

Alex never expects to find his one true match on a reality show, but figures he’s got nothing to lose. Spending a few weeks with beautiful women won’t be a hardship. At least, until he meets the contestants and realizes things will be harder than he thought.

Sam struggles through the Australian wildlife and crazy competitions while Alex struggles to figure out what is real and what isn’t when dealing with the contestants. Sam and Alex fight to find true love while beating back the odds, producers, contestants, and deadly animals to find each other and their destinies.

"Whether or not you enjoy reality tv (I do!), the characters kept you captivated. It was interesting to see a "behinds the scenes" look at reality dating shows."~Amazon reviewer

"Sweet story. I fell in love with Sam and Alex."~Amazon reviewer

"The more I read, the more I wanted!!!!"~Amazon reviewer


Book 2: Flaming Hearts


Becky and her mom used to watch reality shows together all the time. Her mom passed away before she could see Becky on her very own show.

Dean always knew he’d find the one woman meant for him, but he had no idea he’d find her competing on a reality show. He’d have to find a way to make sure she didn’t choose any of the prospects on the show, but would decide to be with him instead.  

Becky has to figure out a way to trust Dean to help her, and Dean will do whatever it takes for Becky to realize she’s his… forever.


"I read the complete book in one sitting, unable to put it down. It had me smiling like an idiot, it bought a tear to my eyes, it had me on the edge of my seat."~Amazon reviewer

"Really cuts in to my sleep time but, I love it!!!"~Amazon reviewer


Available on Amazon

CIR: What gave you the idea for this series about reality TV?
STOKER: The Beyond Reality series came about because of all the reality shows on television today. I think there's a little part in all of us that watch those shows that think about what it's really like. My books give a behind-the-scenes look at what they might be like. 

CIR: What do you hope your readers will get out of the books? 
STOKER: Outback Hearts is a feel-good story about two people who somehow have to get to know each other and wade through all the social niceties that are thrown down our throats all the time. I hope readers can be entertained for a few hours.

CIR: What are the main characters like?
STOKER: Sam is an ordinary woman. She isn't rich, she isn't an actress or model or former beauty queen. She's just like most women today. She would love to find a man to love her, and that she could love in return. Alex is a guy who would like to be loved for who he is. He doesn't really think he'll find that woman on a reality show, but goes along with the premise anyway. 

CIR: Are they based on anyone you know?
STOKER: Sam in this book has a lot of me in her. One of my friends read the book and said she could tell right away that a lot of the things in the book were things I have done, or said, or that I like. (i.e. the movie Speed, swimming, etc.

CIR: Is there any content that some readers might find questionable despite the overall clean feel of the book?  
STOKER: The second book, Flaming Hearts, has an implied attack of the main character. She is beaten up, but not sexually assaulted. 

CIR: Is there more coming? 
STOKER: Frozen Hearts (book 3) is completed and is at the editor. So hopefully by September that one will be published as well.


THE SOMETHING TRILOGY

by Christopher Shennan
Young Christian Adventure

Something Beautiful


Sandy Johnson is not beautiful, at least not as beautiful as Amanada and Helen, her two archenemies who are making her life miserable. All three must pass through a great deal of trouble and heartache before they can discover what it really means to be beautiful. Two Christian friends, Shane and Ali come alongside to support Sandy. But it will take an almost fatal accident and a string of near-tragedies before something beautiful emerges for all concerned.

Something Good

Can anything good come out of a family given to crime? This is the question Leon deBruyn and the residents of the small town of Paulpietersburg will have to answer. Having spent time in a reformatory and with his father and two brothers in jail for robbery, Leon comes to town with a gift for street fighting to face residents eager to believe him as criminal as his family. Throughout, Leon has to ask himself what everyone he meets is asking: “Can anything good come out of the deBruyn family?” Even more critical is the question, “Can anything good come out of Leon deBruyn?”

Something Special

In a country and time where a person's value is determined by the colour of their skin, only trouble can result when a Coloured boy meets a beautiful White girl.

Drawn together by a love for music, Klaas and Amanda find their friendship threatened even further by a riding accident. Amanda is thrown from her horse and is confined to a wheelchair. A great deal of trouble ensues before they, and a small band of Christian friends discover there is “something special” in everyone.

Three-in-One Book Available through author website.

CIR: What gave you the inspiration for this trilogy?
SHENNAN: As an evangelist to children and teens, I wanted to communicate key issues that young people face. What is the true nature of beauty? Can I be truly good? Does my race or physical disability determine whether I can be special or not? I think my book gives a satisfying answer to these questions.

CIR: What do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
SHENNAN: That they will gain an understanding of some of the key issues of life, and that they will be drawn into a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

CIR: What makes this trilogy unique?
SHENNAN: It describes life for young people in the years prior to the end of Apartheid in South Africa. The third book in the trilogy, in particular, addresses the challenges of life in a society in which a person’s value was determined by the colour of skin.

CIR: What would you compare these stories to?
SHENNAN: Some of the episodes in the Anne of Green Gables spin-off: the Road to Avonlea series.

CIR: What was the writing process like for your book?
SHENNAN: I felt motivated and excited to reach young people through the written page. Familiarity with the town and people where the stories took places helped me to write within my comfort zone.

Learn more about Christopher Shennan and his writing at his blog.


TURN OF THE TIDE

by Margaret Skea
Historical Fiction


Scotland 1586.

Ordered to murder by his clan chief, Munro does so because to refuse would threaten his home, his wife and children and his own life. However he, and in particular his wife Kate, are seeking for a better way, and so are in the vanguard of the huge changes that are about to take place in Scottish society. 

As Munro says of King James VI, ‘The King has this notion of a nobility at peace and I’m thinking it shouldn’t be discounted.’ His personal dilemma is that his chief demands and expects unquestioning loyalty, and Munro, no longer happy to murder in the name of that loyalty, must ultimately choose between doing what is right and what is expedient, knowing that every member of his family may suffer as a result of his choice. 

"This is an emotionally gripping story about a man caught between duty and conscience at a time in history when a man's livelihood depended upon his loyalty to family and clan."~Amazon reviewer

"It transported me to Scotland of the 16th century."~Amazon reviewer

"Turn of the Tide has it all - a rich sense of time and place, characters worth caring about, plot surprises, evocative language, and a pace that never lags."~Amazon reviewer 


CIR: Where did the inspiration for this novel come from?
SKEA: I was researching the  Ulster-Scots dialect and came across a footnote in some 17th c Montgomerie family papers mentioning the murder of  a group of Montgomeries at the Ford of Annock in 1586. That ‘nugget’ lodged in the back of my mind, and years later when I was thinking about writing a novel, up it popped. Perhaps it was growing up in Ulster at the height of the ‘Troubles’ that drew me to writing about the pressures that living within a conflict situation  places on family, on relationships and on personal integrity. 

CIR: Given the story idea origin, how did you go about writing it?
SKEA: I am passionate about quality in writing and so this novel went through five drafts before it saw the light of day! Every day before starting to write, I re-read and lightly edit what I wrote the previous day, but if I feel that there is a part needing a more comprehensive edit I highlight it in red and move on. (Otherwise I wouldn’t ever finish!) The first draft is definitely the hardest for me. Once I have that then I can begin to enjoy the serious editing process. I look first at the story arc, assessing where it may be a little flat, and looking for plot holes, inconsistencies, and chapters or paragraphs that don’t contribute anything to the story, or that may not be clear etc. Then I examine the writing itself. My next step is a grammatical sweep searching for errors of grammar and punctuation. My final edit involves reading the whole book aloud to myself in as large chunks as I can manage, marking the text with a red pen anywhere that I feel something isn’t quite right. For Turn of the Tide, that final micro-edit ended up reducing my word count by a whopping 5000, mostly in one or two words at a time. It also resulted in my putting in a completely new incident at a point where I felt something was lacking in dramatic terms and interestingly that incident is one readers often pinpoint as the most moving event in the book. (So glad I did that final edit!) My first draft came in at 127,000 words, and the final published version is 102,000, and given that I put new material in as well as (mostly) taking out, that means that I removed  20% of the original text. I’m sure that it is a better book as a result. 

CIR: What makes this saga outstanding?
SKEA: I have been both delighted and humbled in equal measure with some of the lovely review comments I have received, on Amazon and elsewhere, and particularly pleased that Jeffrey Archer, commenting on the Alan Titchmarsh Show, (a UK TV programme) said that both the quality of writing and the quality of research were outstanding. 

CIR: Is there any content readers should be aware of?
SKEA: There is an ambush which takes up 1 ½ pages of Chapter 1 and which, due to the level of violence, should probably be rated 12. Other than that there shouldn’t be a problem with content.
        
CIR: Is there more coming?
SKEA: This book is the first in a trilogy, or possibly a longer series of novels, that will follow the fortunes of the Munro family through the latter years of the 16th century and into the 17th century in Scotland, Ireland and beyond. Each of the subsequent books will be loosely based on the history of the Montgomerie family, particularly those who went to Ulster as settlers from 1607 onwards. The second book should be published early next year and hopefully the third the following year. 

Learn more about Margaret Skea and her writing at margaretskea.com