Saturday, January 11, 2014

Look! A Facelift with a Giveaway!

Okay, now read carefully: If ya wanna win a FREE COPY of one of my books, do the following:

  1. Read the blog post.
  2. Go to the bottom of the blog post and leave a comment.
  3. I will select my winner from the people who leave a comment.

Now, that's done. Onward!

This week to commemorate the facelift on Distant Shores, I want to give away a copy of one of my eBooks (winner's choice).

I'd like to give you all a quick tour of the blog first.

  1. I wanted to make the blog easier to read, and the white-on-black color scheme wasn't cutting muster (yes, it's muster, not mustard, LOL). So I changed the color scheme to something hopefully a little lighter on the eyes. Let me know what you think, and if you have suggestions to improve, I'm wide open.
  2. Notice the Google Translate gadget at the right. That's right, I have picked up some followers from non-English-speaking countries, and I want to expand into those areas. So I checked this out, and I think it does a fair job of translating from what I know of the languages I tested. Pretty cool, huh?
  3. I fixed the gadgets and widgets on the side to make everything fit just a little bit better. I think it gives the whole thing a little more professional look, don't you think? By the way, if you've seen something you like here on the Shores, feel free to follow me via email. You won't get SPAMMED, I promise.
  4. I added the rest of my books to the footer on the page. I'll get the sizes and shapes fixed, I promise. We're a work in progress.
I hope the new look fits, and like I said, if you have any suggestions on how to make it better, let me know. We're going to keep on setting off the occasional Blog-Bomb, and we will continue to destroy stereotypes as we expand the Civility Movement. I can't promise I won't say anything that will set you off, but I want everyone to think, as well as offer tools for making our world a little easier place to get along in.

Now, for the fun part: What follows is an excerpt from my latest book Lies and Paine. You can buy it by clicking on the link on my BOOKS page.


Jenna Paine doesn’t know how “special” she really is. Raised by her scientist mother and a Japanese tutor named Mama-San, her special abilities go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of her schoolwork and training. However, other eyes are watching as well, from behind a veil of secrets. And they have plans for someone with precisely Jenna’s talents.

In college, she meets a group of people who introduce her to a new vision for world peace, and a way to realize it.

But when the cost for peace is measured in blood, can Jenna get out before it’s too late?

 When Jenna woke again, it was dark. The security light in the parking lot sprayed stripes through the blinds and across the floor. All was quiet, save for the swish of loose cotton scrubs as the night nurse made her rounds in the hall. As her steps faded off, another sound captured Jenna’s attention: a soft breath from nearby. She shifted her head to home in and her gaze caught on a shadowed figure sitting in the chair in the darkest corner of the room. She sniffed the air, confused.

No one she knew. Not Steven…! As the other options beat against each other in her mind, Jenna's body stiffened in alarm.

She lay tense and waited, hoping the man in the room didn’t notice she was awake. He just sat in the chair watching her. His breathing remained slow and steady, and no scent of fear or alarm reached Jenna’s nostrils. He was either a non-threat or insane. So the move was hers to make.

Jenna took stock of her body. The lingering soreness would limit her only a little. If he intended harm to her, this man would find no helpless victim. He might not mean her ill, but then again, he had no business in her room in the dark. “What do you want?” she growled.

The voice was smooth and comfortable, a rich baritone. “I wanted to see you firsthand.”

“Who are you?”

“A sponsor.”

What the hell does that mean? “Sponsor me during the day. Now get out.”

He shifted in the chair. “I’ve waited too long. I think I’d like to stay for a while.”

Jenna reached for her call button. No distant chime answered her push. The light above her headboard stayed blank. She threw the cord and handle down and shot to her feet. “You can leave on your feet or on a slab, buster—”

“I know what you want, Miss Paine.”

“And what might that be?”

The man reached deliberately into his jacket and drew out a dark, blocky object. He raised it above his head as he rose to his feet in slow motion. “This wrong you have suffered. You want that to never happen again. You’ve learned a hard lesson, Miss Paine. But the issue is not closed. Leonardo Cabrizzi is still out there, and he wants you dead. There’s only one way to make sure he never comes after you again.” He stepped forward. His hand reached out from the shadows and into the wedge of light from the window. Clutched in his grip was a 9mm Beretta equipped with a silencer. With care he laid it on her nightstand and backed away.

“We can protect you up to a point. But only you can make it stop.” He reached back into his jacket and brought out a small envelope, which he laid next to the pistol. “Make it stop. Good luck, and goodbye.”

Jenna waited until he left before turning on her light. Inside the envelope she found an address scrawled on a piece of paper and a candid photograph of a slim, proper man with a long, aquiline nose and sharp features. She stared at it for a long time, memorizing every wrinkle, every corner of that hawkish face. He glared at something off the camera, like an angry crocodile about to lunge.

She closed her eyes, and the pain flooded back into her memory. Again, she felt the frigid splash that woke her in that basement, heard those men laughing and cheering each other on. The taste of blood, the smell of her own fear. Make it stop.

Opening her eyes she snatched the pistol from her nightstand and racked the action. Anger collided with anticipation. She was stupid once. It damned well wasn’t going to happen again.


  1. I really like the new look of your blog, Mr. Keith. Kudos. The color scheme is easier on the eyes and I also find the blue background soothing. I checked out the Google translator for Indonesian, I can tell you it does a decent job translating the gist of your prose into Indonesian, although it doesn't catch all the nuances of your language. Which can't be helped, I suppose, since you would need a living, breathing human translator to do that.

    I would also love to read more about the sides of Jenna not revealed in your awesome trilogy. She is so deliciously complex. I think you do that very well - painting complex, multi-dimensional villains. Something I hope to learn to do myself someday :)

  2. Well, I'm not a blogger; but this looks very nice and easy enough that I can navigate it as well. I very much enjoy your books and continue to check your facebook page. I have read the first two and could not put them done until I was finished. Please keep up the good work. God Bless, Jill

  3. Interesting excerpt. I was wondering why only Jenna could make it stop? She was determined at the end of the excerpt, making me think I want to know what she is going to do next. One hook after another, this is how I write also and for the same reasons. Well done Cyrus.

  4. Wow. The blue is a bit blinding for me. What's wrong with the old-fashioned black text on a white background? I'd type more, but I feel a headache coming on.