Blog Tour: Embracing Entropy by Jessica Marie Baumgartner

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Available: March 15th, 2016

Title: Embracing Entropy
Author: Jessica Marie Baumgartner
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

As Earth dies, leaving its inhabitants struggling to survive, an alien race offers an unimaginable option: to relocate humans to their own planet on the far end of the universe. The Campbells, one of the last surviving families, quickly realize humanity’s hope for survival may come with a price. Accepting a new way of life, acclimating to a new atmosphere, and trying to fight against a universe that seems set on tearing them apart offers many struggles. Can the Campbell’s make it through, together?

I used to have nightmares about this. I would wake up screaming as they forced me to leave. People giving up; abandoning Mother Earth. The thought alone caused my heart to race, my under arms to sweat.

Here I stand clutching my children, one on each side, as we prepare to be torn away from everything that’s tangible. Before me, a gargantuan structure glares from above. This beast, this ship is supposed to save humanity, or at least what’s left of it.

I’ve lived through mass devastation. It’s hardened me enough. But leaving? It still scares me.

We have no idea what’s out there for us.

My husband has faith in the alien colony that is aiding us. They made contact just in time. Said they had revolutionized their space program and stumbled upon our signal.

I don’t know what I believe.

As the line moves forward, I pull my girls along. They stumble ahead with fright, carrying their backpacks strapped to their bodies. Our packs are the only human luggage allowed on the crowded craft. But that’s not what they’re worried about.

It’s not the new race they fear. Or even the new world. It is the missing presence of their father.

He has his duty. He’ll stay with his men until we pilgrims are secure, then meet up with us in a smaller craft. I’m glad for it. They’ve already had to break up some fights. People get pretty riled up in situations like this. It’s good to have someone who remains behind to keep order for a while, and to try and find any last survivors before leaving.

Finally we’re ascending the dock and I’m able to see our temporary home. It’s nothing like I imagined. The smell is what draws my attention first.

“Eww mommy.” My youngest daughter, Gwen, pinches her nose.

The odiferous enclosure is beyond human comprehension. I’ve smelt plague pits, leaking sewage, the rank smell of sea life left to rot on beaches. Although this isn’t as horrendous, it does make my eyes water. Despite the nausea I’m fighting, I grind my teeth. “Gwen, these people are saving our lives. Don’t insult them.”

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JessicaMarieBaumgartner.JPGThe Author:

Jessica is the author of: The Embracing Entropy Series, Siren’s Snare, Tale of Two Bookends, and My Family Is Different. Her stories have been featured in numerous publications such as Everyday Fiction, The Lorelei Signal, Fiction on the Web, The Horror Zine and many others. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and is always weaving new worlds in the webs of her tales.
You can check her out at

Embracing Entropy is a Printed collection of a series of three novellas.
This printed collection includes the novellas By the Stars, Wish for Survival, and Perfect Chaos.
The novellas are available in electronic format on Amazon.



Seeking ARC Reviewers for Five High School Dialogues

Calling all book bloggers!

Five High School Dialogues will be released on February 26th! If you are interested in receiving an e-ARC, please fill out this form or e-mail me at FHSD cover social media.jpgNote: sign-ups are for book bloggers and Amazon, B&N, and/or Goodreads reviewers!

Thank you so much for your support. As a reminder, both Five College Dialogues and Five More College Dialogues are still only .99 cents on Kindle. The Dialogues are very unique reads that provide a refreshing change of pace. Enjoy!


Why You Should Make Your Children Read

I recently had the opportunity to guest teach my sister’s high school freshman English class, where I discussed poetry. To my perhaps misguided surprise, I stumbled upon the revelation that only three people in her class had even heard of Jane Austen (I didn’t ask if they’d read her). While I don’t think that fourteen year olds in the year 2016 should necessarily read Victorian literature that many adults can’t get through, I didn’t see a majority of hands raised when I asked if they’d read the Harry Potter books either. This lead me to a question I’ve been pondering ever since.

Do children read enough?


Many possible answers come to mind. There’s the straight no, the naïve yes, and the “no, but their schedules are too structured to allow for that.” Then there’s the “do any of us read enough,” which is a fair point. What is enough?

Whenever parents ask me about the SAT, I always give the same answer. “Get a tutor if you can afford it, but start encouraging your child to read more.” Math is hard, but it can be taught. How does one teach words? Prefixes, suffixes, and all of that are helpful tips to keep in mind, but I see way too many people put stock into the concept of the SAT flash card as if memorizing word meanings isn’t the standardized testing version of the needle in a haystack.

There are a lot of excuses out there for why children don’t read. They’re lazy. They don’t have the attention spans. TV has replaced books. No, no, and no.

Some children might be lazy. Some may have short attention spans. I’m sure many prefer TV to books. Blanket statements are both insulting and ignore the fact that children do work hard and have plenty of dedication toward activities they enjoy.

Think of how many hours it takes to finish a video game or maintain a YouTube channel. We can take technology out of the equation and expand it to building Legos or even putting on makeup. Children understand what effort is.

The real problem lies with desire. Not reading books does not necessarily reflect a hatred of books, but rather the lack of motivation to do so. In order to become invested in a book, one has to seek it out. There’s a book out there for everyone (like my books). Some “force” (noun, not verb) needs to exist to unite the person with the written words that pertain to their area of interest. Doesn’t sound too difficult right?

Which is why you should force your children to read. That’s right, I said force. Make them. Take away the iPhone if you have to. Why?

The fate of the world depends on it. We’re more connected than ever, but what good is that if we can’t communicate? Books help us form vocabularies. Video games don’t.

While the students in my sister’s class didn’t really know who Jane Austen was, they were able to identify the cultural importance of books. You may not need to know who Jane Austen is to do well on a job interview, but you might get some puzzled looks later on in life if you can’t identify a figure of immense cultural significance (I actually provided a similar example in Five High School Dialogues). Culture matters.

There has been a recent push for computer coding to be taught in public schools. I think that’s a great idea that will position American students to be very competitive in the workforce. We can’t however, forget the basics of education. Children need to read to be able to communicate articulately. It doesn’t matter how good of a coder you are if you can’t send grammatically correct e-mail that conveys your thoughts.

So force your kids to read if you have to. It doesn’t really matter what books they’re reading, as long as they’re engaging in something. They may put up a fight at first, but they’ll think of you twenty years down the road when they’re laughing at a poorly worded e-mail sent by a coworker whose parents didn’t force them to read.

Cover Reveal: His Confession by S. Valentine

HIS CONFESSION by S. Valentine
The Black Door Trilogy, #1
GENRE: Erotic romance.
RELEASE DATE: 16/02/16
PUBLISHER: Limitless Publishing
COVER DESIGNER: TOJ Publishing Services
When Gabriella Woods finds matches from a gentlemen’s club in her fiancé’s pocket, her suspicions require a search for answers.
At the club, she realizes it’s not her fiancé’s fidelity that can’t be trusted…
It’s her own.
Darion Milano is daring, intriguing, and unpredictable…
Unable to get him out of her head—and against Darion’s explicit warning—


Gabi begins a torrid affair. No longer fighting the urge to enter the depth of his dark and mysterious lifestyle, she indulges in his most intimate desires.
They become the most exciting, wild, infatuated couple everybody knows.
Until his confession changes everything…
Her heart is telling her to stay.
Her instinct is telling her to run.
She can never match his outrageous ex-wife and become the fun, fearless woman he craves…
Or can she?
Discover a world of sex, secrets, and seduction.



“His Confession was a surprisingly engaging read with believable characters who were easy to connect with.It dealt with subjects a little different to what I’m used to, but the author did a great job of pulling me into her world.” – Mia Hoddell, YA/NA author.
”His Confession pulled me through from the first paragraph! The enigmatic Darion practically leapt off the pages and I could picture his every move and facial expression clear as day in my head! This story is definitely one to add to your “want-to-read” list-especially if you love a captivating plot as well as scenes so hot that they fog up your glasses. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it for future readers but DARION and GABI put Christian and Ana to SHAME! Enough said. LOL.” – Kiarra M. Taylor, contemporary romance author of THE QUARTER CHANGE.
”I loved it and I’m excited to read more to find out what happens. Darion is a great guy who was hurt badly and doesn’t know how to handle, which in steps Gabi. Love love love her! Hopefully she fights for him! When does the next book come out, as I’m dying to know what comes next! I also hope the girls get their own stories.” – Susan Flynn, Beta reader Writers club.
”S. Valentine does an exquisite job at creating a dynamic between two characters, both from different worlds, that goes beyond a physical attraction. His Confession is book one in The Black Door Trilogy. It is a fast paced story that is full of hotness and anticipation that heats you up from your head to your toes. Gabi, is tired of always playing it safe. Darion, has demons that he can no longer control. When these two get together, boundaries are pushed, control is tested and emotions run wild.” – AV. Scott, author of High Heels & New York.
“A brilliant book which leaves you wondering what happened in Darion’s past that has left him so wary and so afraid to put himself and his heart out there not to mention to put his faith and trust in Gabi, the one woman whose managed to penetrate the walls he’s built. I can’t wait for book 2 and I’m hoping that Darion and Gabi can overcome the obstacles that stand in front of them, including Eva, Darion’s ex wife.” – Rebecca Barber, author Nobody’s Obligation.



S. Valentine grew up in England. Studying English language and literature, as well as law, she worked in a solicitors for many years before moving to Spain. She does however still visit the UK, which in a way, will always be home.
Returning to her lifelong passion of writing books, she’s also a weekly columnist for The Ibizan newspaper on: lifestyle and fashion. Her other interests include reading, shopping and a nice glass of wine. She’s a social media addict, and loves connecting with new people.
For more information, please visit: If you join her newsletter, you will be the first to receive sneak peeks of chapters, teasers, news, giveaway prizes and more!
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Utilizing The Meisner Technique in Crafting the College Dialogues

When I was faced with the decision as to how to spend my summer in 2010 after my freshman year at Boston College, I decided I wanted to do something a little different. As I say in Five College Dialogues and Five More College Dialogues, those four years are best spent outside one’s comfort zone. On the recommendation of a friend, I enrolled at the Ted Bardy Acting Studio in New York City.sanford2

The Ted Bardy Acting Studio is world renowned for its curriculum, The Meisner Technique, named for its architect, Sanford Meisner, who was part of the legendary Group Theatre back in the 1930s, which also included Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. Repetition, a core pillar of The Meisner Technique, ended up drastically transforming the way I approached writing.

It’s a bizarre and practically unexplainable concept, so here is a video of repetition in action with Sanford Meisner himself, courtesy of Contemporary Arts Media:

Repetition is simple in nature and yet painfully difficult at the same time. It requires the participants to be fully active in the exercise, but not in a way that artificially steers the course of the “conversation.” Laughter is common and perhaps crucial to understand the concept.

One bit of advice offered by Ted Bardy and fellow teacher Glen Vincent in practically every class was to avoid using “tit for tat,” in repetition. I found this bit of advice to be crucial in writing my dialogue. People and characters need to respond to what’s been said to them. They don’t need to spit it back in the other person’s face.

That’s the inherent difficulty in writing fictional conversation. Unlike practicing repetition, scripted dialogue is created with specific purpose. The dialogues in FCD and FMCD are thematic in nature as the characters are there to discuss a specific topic. The flow of conversation needs to serve the purpose of the dialogue, but it needs to be real. When characters speak to each other, they need to process what’s been said.

Writing and acting are obviously very different, but they share one important similarity. Both mediums set out to make the inorganic real. When an actor is performing, it is their job to extract genuine emotion out of a scripted scenario. When I set out to write a dialogue, I need to take my characters on a purpose driven journey that resonates with the readers.

FCD & FMCD are unusual books because they’re all dialogue. I found that what I’d learned from Meisner Technique played perfectly into Socratic Method as I could implement repetition in my efforts to create authentic contemporary Socratic Dialogue. The characters constantly question each other but they aren’t merely working to advance the subject matter. Repetition helped me to avoid something that came across as stale and inorganic, even if you may not commonly find students walking around casually conversing in Socratic Dialogue.

Which is why I recommend that all artists dabble in forms outside of their comfort zones. I haven’t done many auditions since my time at the Ted Bardy Acting Studio. If that doesn’t change, I’ll still be forever grateful for the lessons I learned. Creating emotion requires immersion. To achieve immersion, you need depth and that’s only possible if you push your limits. I’m of the belief that creating art must at least be a little scary. Whether or not I was successful with that is up to you, the reader.

The ebook versions of Five College Dialogues and Five More College Dialogues are still just .99 cents for a few more days. Pick up your copy today!

Author Don’ts: The Author Photo Selfie

These days, anyone can be an author. You can type gibberish into a document and upload it to Amazon and voila, you’re an author. Which isn’t to belittle those of us who actually put effort into our work, but rather to provide an accurate view of the playing field. Some authors put no effort into their bios/product descriptions, leaving blatant typos/errors for all potential customers to see.12118933_10153258251404091_1352673674225516874_n

The first step toward building a fanbase is to look professional. You’re someone who has set out to convince people to pay money to read your work. It’s important to show that you take pride in that opportunity.

Making an Amazon author profile is important, but also incredibly easy. The whole process can take five minutes if you want it to. The question is, should you want it to?


Of course not. It’s easy to spot the lazy ones. So don’t be one of them.

So where does the selfie come in?

People like selfies. The selfie stick will likely grow to be a billion dollar industry. Chances are, your phone or computers has some selfies on it. When you’re making an author profile, which requires a picture, it can be awfully tempting to put a selfie up there.

And really, why not?

The answer is simple. Professionalism. You know, the thing that shows you’re serious about providing a quality product that people should pay hard earned money for.

Many authors work on shoestring budgets and simply don’t have the money to hire a photographer for headshots. You don’t need to hire a professional to look professional. All you need is an Instagram filter and another human being.

I mean that. If taking an author photo was harder than asking someone to take your picture, I wouldn’t write this article. I get that it’s harder to ask someone for something than doing it yourself, but is that really an excuse?

Am I overthinking this? You may think so. You might have a selfie as your author photo. But consider this.

Would you have a selfie as your LinkedIn picture? If the answer is yes, then fine. Leave the selfie.

Your author picture isn’t really for you. It’s of you. It’s for your readers. In many ways, it’s the first connection you make with your audience. Regardless of what you choose to do, be aware of that.

Five College Dialogues & Five More College Dialogues Are Live

My first book and its sequel have been rereleased! To celebrate, both books are .99 cents on kindle for the week. Join the fun and support the founder of A Song of Books and Whiskey


Five College Dialogues is a philosophic comedic treatise on college life told through the eyes of George Tecce, a graduate student working as a teaching assistant for an eccentric English professor. Told through Socratic dialogue, George, his students, and his mentor explore all the ins and outs of college life as they examine the state of post-millennial academia. Humorous and thought provoking, the Dialogues are the perfect resource for students, especially those with a philosophy requirement, as well as anyone who wants to relive their four years in an entertaining fashion.

“A must read for students and nostalgic alumni”

Five More College Dialogues follows George Tecce’s return to academia as he travels to the West Coast to pursue his Ph.D. The intriguing graduate student is teaching a class on his own for the first time. George continues to help students navigate the ins and outs of college life while poking fun at the often-fickle nature of the collegiate system. He mentors them in a range of diverse subjects including social dynamics, resume building, and relationships. The learning doesn’t stop in the classroom as George even makes his way to a party! Humorous and philosophical, the Dialogues are a perfect resource for students to maximize their college experience.

Early Praise:
“Ian Thomas Malone has written the next must have, “how to guide” for college survival. He breaks down complex college issues with simple rapport. I wish something like this was written when I went to college and will make sure my two daughters have it packed in their trunks when they leave for school.”
–Sasha, Amazon Reviewer

“Ian Thomas Malone has written an accessible beginners’ guide for college students – and possibly those who pay the bills – that suggests as much how to ask questions as how to get the answers. Malone shows the continued relevance of Socratic dialogue as a tool to move the reader in small questions, and the choice itself of Socratic dialogue points readers to methods and opinions that beg to be remembered. Through well-penned contemporary dialogue and lighthearted examination of common opinions, Malone offers insights that young and old students will find funny and valuable, if not always comforting. Malone’s captivating style establishes an enjoyable pace, and Malone’s unique, often ironic, exploration of college life in America, and its frightening shallows (of which there are many), enlightens as well as entertains.”
–J. Eric, Amazon Reviewer

“An excellent series of dialogues giving an accurate portrayal of the issues a typical college freshman will face.” –Maura, Amazon Reviewer

About the author:
Ian Thomas Malone, a graduate of Boston College, founded the publication The Rock at Boston College. He is a certified yoga instructor and a Meisner trained actor. Ian will be pursuing a Masters in English Literature at Claremont Graduate University starting fall 2015, where he has been awarded a writing fellowship. A lifelong resident, Ian lives in Greenwich, CT with his golden retriever Georgie.

“I wrote The Dialogues as both a resource for current students and a humorous reflection for alumni. You’ll find plenty of information out there that tells you how to survive college, but few that really tell you how to enjoy it. The Dialogues explain college in a way that no RA would think to tell you.” -Malone

Here are the amazon buy links for both books.

Five College Dialogues

Five More College Dialogues

Stephanie Meyer’s Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined Is Pathetic

I get asked about Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey more than any other books, including my own. Given that Fifty Shades started off as Twilight fan fiction (I kid you not), the two will always be linked. Unfortunately, it appears that with Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, Stephanie Meyer is the one taking a leaf out of E.L. James’ book, who published her own reimaging, Grey, earlier this year.

Though I don’t begrudge anyone who loathes these works of “literature,” I don’t mind that they exist. Anything that gets people reading is fine by me. There’s no doubt that Twilight played a major role in the rise of young adult fiction. In a time where young people have more distractions than ever, it’s good to have books that they’re genuinely interested in reading.

The problem comes with the aftermath. Twilight was a tetralogy (a potentially confusing word to Twilight fans, also known as “Twihards”) and Fifty Shades was a trilogy. They’re finished. Done. Those series had a beginning, middle, and end. Now if you want to go and make more, fine. Hollywood does that all the time.

Was there really a need to reimagine Twilight with swapped gender roles? Granted, Meyer previously attempted a reimaging with Midnight Sun, an unpublished work that was going to retell the story through Edward’s point of view that was abandoned after the first part was leaked on the internet. It’s not like there’s absolutely nowhere to go with this story. Edward and Bella did have a kid.

Some people may point to money as the predominant reason. I’m not buying that. According to several sources, Meyers is worth $125 million. She doesn’t need the money.

Now, I don’t know her, but I’d be willing to bet that she misses the fame. Twilight is what she’s known for. Her only other book, The Host, was a hit, though the film adaptation didn’t do very well at the box office. There are apparently plans to do more Host books, but The Host isn’t Twilight and it never will

She wants people to talk about her. Mission accomplished. Problem is, the reaction isn’t really all that positive.

This is lazy. Meyer is lazy and what she is doing is bad for the industry. She is drowning out talented authors with this lazy, pathetic, crap. You could argue that everything she does is crap, and I won’t fight you, but she has a right to publish.

She has a right to do this as well, though it’s no different than if I were to not flush the toilet in my apartment after taking a dump when I had company over. I have a right to leave brown trout stewing in my own bathroom, but people aren’t going to like me if that’s the kind of respect I choose to show toward my peers.

People have asked me to do a version of Courting Mrs. McCarthy from Jackie’s point of view, which would sort of be the same thing. I get it. Even though she’s the title character, Mrs. McCarthy probably only appears in about a third of the text. I’m not going to do that. Why? It’s lazy. A sequel would continue the story. Who really wants to backtrack?

I hate that the publishing world seems to only get excited when books like Grey or Harper Lee’s highly controversial Go Set a Watchman surface. Why are we celebrating other people’s scraps when there’s so much out there? It’s sad.

Did I fuel the fire by writing this? Maybe, though I don’t imagine Stephanie Meyer would be too please to read this. If she likes it, maybe I’ll swap genders and write it again wearing lululemon leggings and a crop top.

Five Creative Ways to Stop Procrastinating

Authors like to spend a lot of time not writing. We even made a term for it, writer’s block! People say the internet made it worse. That’s probably true, but mankind has always been good at putting off important things.

It is hard to truly get away from the internet. Many coffee shops and libraries have free wifi. What to do when a new pinterest board is only a few clicks away?

Here are five unconventional ways to unplug. They may strike you as odd, but then again you are the person reading presumably because you procrastinate. You’re probably doing it right now.

I’ve arranged these in the order in which they should be attempted. Proceed with caution.

Taco_Bell_Night1. Do Your Work at Taco Bell

Taco Bell doesn’t have free wifi. Who would want it? It’s a place where seats are almost always available and no employee is going to complain about you spending hours typing away at your laptop. The only real downside is that you might get diarrhea.

2. Have Your Partner Punish You For Procrastination

Sounds juvenile doesn’t it? So does frequenting the internet for ways to fix an easily fixable problem. Tell your partner to do bad things to you if you do bad things to yourself. Remember spankings? Adults can find that kinky though. Instead, have them pluck leg hairs or be forced to watch whatever they want to watch on TV. You might get divorced, but you might also finish your book!

3. Unfollow Interesting People

Facebook is a big time suck. There is a reason people look at it though. There can be plenty of fun stuff to look at. Simple solution, get rid of the fun stuff. You don’t have to unfriend anyone, just unfollow them. They’ll never know unless you’re a serial liker.

4. Get a Diaper

Bathroom breaks are dangerous. That walk to the toilet is filled with distractions. It sounds gross because it is gross. Therefore, you’ll be more likely to get stuff done when you’re at risk of having to clean up your own feces.

5. Become a Bigot

This is the most extreme one and should be used as a last resort. If you can’t avoid friends or loved ones, lose them. Act offensive and mean so they’ll leave you alone. You might have to write under a pen name, but again, at least you’ll have your book.

So there you have it. You might think this is terrible advice and it might be in your case. Procrastination can be tough to conquer and desperate times do call for desperate measures. Now get back to work!

Are We Really In This Together?

The Internet is filled with inspirational stuff for you to look at instead of doing whatever it is you should be doing. That’s okay. I imagine it works for some people.


Being an author is tough, especially in the year 2015. There are a lot of us. The market is flooded and that’s really not a great thing. I’m not suggesting that we should do anything to buck the trend, but the simple truth of the matter is that there’s a lot of stuff published that isn’t worth reading.

It’s true. The only people who can truly be blamed are those who put error ridden crap up on Amazon, and no, I’m not singling out self published people. Which brings me to the question presented as the title of this article.

Here is an image I see on the Internet at least once a week. “Other authors are not my competition. I stand with them, not against them.”


Other authors are your competition. When a person buys a book that isn’t yours, they chose someone else over you. They may not know who you are, but it doesn’t matter. A book was sold and it wasn’t yours. You lost out on that.

The reason I hate that picture is because of the second sentence. It implies that treating your fellow authors as competition means you’re against them. That’s just silly.

I get tons of requests from people who want me to plug their books. If I don’t know the person, I almost always say no. If I do know the person, I almost always say yes. So here I am, Ian Thomas Malone, saying, “other authors are my competition. I stand with some of them, the ones I like.”

Now this might anger you if you don’t know me. “How could he possibly say such a thing? Madness.” Not at all.

Saying “we’re in this together” is comforting for many people, especially since most publishers offer next no marketing support. Your buddies can do wonders for your career. I care about my author friends.

Do I care about the rest? Sort of. I don’t mean that facetiously either. Only that, I don’t particularly care if authors I don’t know succeed. I don’t wish them ill, I just want to be better than them.

The only real catastrophic disaster that would ensue if all publishing stopped for a year would be that bookstores would likely all go under. Readers wouldn’t run out of books. We don’t need any more authors.

That’s not to say I’m not supportive of people who aspire to be authors, though I’m naturally skeptical until they actually start writing. I just acknowledge the facts of the world we live in. There are rankings for a reason. Many of us want to be number one. That means someone else has to be number two.

I love my author friends and know that none of them will take offense to any of this because they know it’s true just as well as I do. The theme song to Pokemon starts off with “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was.” Children’s cartoons are usually right.

Other authors are your competition. That doesn’t mean it’s all out war like The Hunger Games. Although in keeping with that, we can learn something from Suzanne Collins.

You can be friends with your competition. You should be friends with some of them. Learn from them and strive to be better. That’s how you really support other authors.