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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Kindle Countdown Day 4

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 9, 2014

Kindle Countdown Deal: Get a copy of Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller today only for $3.99! Free on Kindle Unlimited. Edited by Nancy J. Cohen:

True adventures of a hitchhiker on a 12,000 mile journey across the U.S. in 1929

Excerpt #4 from Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

The enthusiasm with which I had started to climb Pike’s Peak gradually died as time passed. My progress slowed as my strength ebbed away. The strenuous climbing began to show its effects on my legs. More and more of an effort was required to raise and lower them as I gained altitude. The grades became steeper and steeper. In order to surmount them, I had to bend over so far that it seemed, at times, as if my forehead would touch my shoes.

Pikes Peak

The day blended into an inky night whose black curtain seemed to cut me off from the rest of the world and left me alone in a wilderness. Silhouettes of high mountains reared their heads into the very heavens and hemmed me in on all sides like a prisoner. Escape lay in reaching the very pinnacle of them all.

On and on, ever upward, I urged my leaden feet. At the end of every struggle to ascend a few more paces, I stopped to allow my overtaxed and pounding heart to recuperate. How good it felt to lie on the bare and windswept ground, but over the enjoyment of these rest periods, just like a sword of doom, hung the thought that they were brief interludes in an agonizing attempt to gain more altitude. Hour after hour, I continued to struggle onward.

Intermittent flashes of blinding lightning turned the night into weird day before they faded. The only sounds to be heard in all the emptiness were the threatening rumble of thunder and the occasional patter of rain. I came around a curve and there before me was a big orange moon that scurrying clouds soon hid.

Sitting on a rock high up on the mountainside and away from the civilized world, whose lights blinked faintly in the valley below, I realized the insignificance of a puny human in comparison to the rest of the universe. Many questions framed themselves in my mind, but I ran against an unassailable stone wall when I tried to answer them.

When I got above the timber line where the earth is strewn with boulders, the clouds broke and the moon came out in its entire cold splendor. A frigid wind howled, searching for victims to assault. My nose became numb, and my ears followed suit. It was necessary to massage them vigorously to keep the blood circulating.


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Kindle Countdown Day 3

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 8, 2014

Kindle Countdown Deal: Get a copy of Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller today only for $2.99! Free on Kindle Unlimited. Edited by Nancy J. Cohen:

True adventures of a hitchhiker on a 12,000 mile journey across the U.S. in 1929

Excerpt #3 from Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

Cars  Harry_Heller2

At seven o’clock, after a hearty breakfast, I was again engaged in my duties in the kitchen. Dishes piled up in an endless stream. As soon as one batch was cleaned, a new one replaced it. The chef yelled continuously for pots and pans, and I felt like crowning him with one of them.

Lunchtime came and passed. The rush gradually decreased so that I was able to catch up with my work. When the chef saw my present job would soon be completed, he gave me another assignment that I undertook with a great deal of pleasure and anticipation. I was shown a big electric ice cream freezer and a tub full of crushed ice and told to feed the latter, mixed with salt, into the opening of the machine. The ice was cold, and when I saw a closely meshed wire tray on a nearby table, I had the bright idea of using it to convey the ice from the tub to the freezer.

What followed as a direct result would surely mean the separation of an efficient worker from his position. The tray slipped out of my hands and into the opening where it caught in the revolving cylinders of the machine. After a noisy squawk of protest, the machine gave up its ghost and stopped. It was a predicament that called for deep thought, and I wondered what story I could invent that would sound credible to my boss.

I decided to tell him part of the truth and said that shortly after the freezer had started, it made a funny noise and stopped. Circumstances helped to support my story. It seemed that an unsatisfactory employee had been discharged the previous evening. The chef, upon being informed about the presence of the tray by a mechanic who examined the machine, immediately blamed the ex-employee for having purposely caused the damage in a spirit of revenge.

I felt greatly relieved when the chef accepted his own explanation, and I returned to my dishes and attacked them with much energy. I continued the freezing operations after the machine had been repaired, but since the crushed tray was no longer serviceable, I had to use my hands to transfer the ice. The freezer, as if to punish me for my carelessness, liberally sprayed me with icy salt water, and I was not sorry when the ice cream was frozen.

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Kindle Countdown Day 2

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 7, 2014

Kindle Countdown Deal: Get a copy of Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller today only for $1.99! Free on Kindle Unlimited. Edited by Nancy J. Cohen:

True adventures of a hitchhiker on a 12,000 mile journey across the U.S. in 1929

Excerpt #2 from Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

We had been advised to take the trail homeward that passed Vernal and Nevada Falls. Although it was eleven miles long, the greater part of that distance was downhill. Our informant, well acquainted with the trail, told us it should not take more than three hours for the trip.

It was early afternoon when we began the hike back to camp. We were convinced we would have no difficulty in reaching our destination before dark. We made good speed to the bottom of the first hill, and the sign there indicated we had already covered nearly a third of our trip. Under the impression that we were heading in the right direction, we continued straight ahead and, as the sign told us, over the Buena Vista Trail.

Waterfall  Yosemite2

The bed of the forest we passed through was strewn with leaves, pine needles, and cones, and made a soft and silken carpet for our feet. We had eaten the two boxes of fig cakes early in the morning and had not had anything to eat since. As a result, we were ravenously hungry. However, we were in excellent spirits and thinking we were not far from food, we teased each other by describing various tempting dishes that appealed to us.

Three and a half hours passed without a sign of the Falls. Another hour followed, and we began to get worried. If our information had been reliable, we should have already reached Yosemite Valley. Another thing that entered into the situation was the fact that we had been, for the last few miles, gradually going uphill. Of course, we thought it was only a temporary change and that before long we would be going downgrade again. Nevertheless, the fact that we were ascending did not help our peace of mind.

Not a sign of habitation could be seen in any direction, but only an endless stretch of forest whose deathly silence was scarcely disturbed by the noise of our progress. Freshly-made impressions of horseshoes showed us that a number of humans had been in the same neighborhood recently, and that fact bolstered our hopes. Each time we came to a clearing in the woods, we thought we had reached the top of the trail, but upon traversing the open space we were invariably mistaken. After we had repeated the same experience an untold number of times, we began to feel disheartened.

When we had been pushing forward for five hours, we knew for certain something was wrong, and that we were as far from home and food as ever. How gladly we would have welcomed a sign post assuring us we were on the right path, but such things evidently did not exist in this part of the park. We began to have difficulty finding our way. The trail was not well defined, and we had to depend upon the blazed trees for guidance. Things did not look very promising, but we moved steadily ahead.

Night gradually descended and covered everything with its mantle of darkness. The trees assumed vague and, at times, terrifying shapes. Our searchlight at first brightly penetrated the black void and then, as if weary of life, it slowly expired and died. Still we blundered on. We continuously kept peering into the darkness with the hope of seeing a glimmer of lights but in vain. Only the crackling of dry branches upon which we stepped disturbed the calm serenity of the lonesome forest.

It had become very cold with the setting of the sun, and we were dressed in our shirt sleeves without any other protective covering. As we subsequently learned, we were nine thousand feet above sea level and to sleep at such a height without plenty of blankets was attempting to do the impossible. Fortunately, my companion in misery had three matches and with one of them, we built a big, roaring, crackling, cheerful blaze and took turns watching it and sleeping.

I was jumpy and super sensitive to noise. The least disturbance in the surrounding woods startled me. My imagination worked overtime, and I seemed to see, just beyond the fringe of the clearing, big grizzly bears whose tongues hung from mouths that watered as they looked at their two prospective victims separated from them by a frightening red monster.

The few times that I slept during my reliefs, I dreamt we were continuously running into cowboys who told us how to return to camp. Upon awakening from such pleasant wanderings of the mind, it did not take me long to realize we were about a million miles from nowhere.

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Kindle Countdown Deal

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 6, 2014

Get a copy of Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller today only for $.99! Free on Kindle Unlimited. Edited by Nancy J. Cohen:

True adventures of a hitchhiker on a 12,000 mile journey across the U.S. in 1929

“I felt like I was on the road with Harry. There were places he went that I had never heard of so I had to look them up to get more information. It was fascinating to travel the world by foot though the eyes of someone back in 1929.”

Harry Heller

Excerpt #1 from Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

When I stood between the rails upon which the caboose rested so as to get a better look through its open rear door, it was without realizing the roadbed was a hazardous place on which to stand.

The car contained a young man who, judging from his attire, was a member of the crew who occupied the home on wheels during its travels. He obligingly answered my questions pertaining to his business. Then an unknown duty summoned him to the front, and he disappeared from view behind a partition. Thinking his absence would be temporary, I waited for his return. However, he had forgotten all about me.

As I stood there, no ringing bell or whistle warned me of impending danger. One moment all was quiet and peaceful. The next moment, I was face-to-face with death.

A terrific crash shattered the silence. Simultaneously, the caboose seemed to leap toward me.

Being a few feet away from the end of the car at the time it had started to move, I instinctively raised my hands as if to thrust it back. Extending outward from the end of this caboose was a short, thick iron bar that resembled a battering ram. As this met my hands, the same thing happened to me that might occur to a person shoved backwards by a playful friend. I staggered, tried unsuccessfully to recover my balance, and then fell heavily to the ground between the rails.

A person’s mind is never more alert than when he is in physical danger, and mine was no exception. In this emergency, I thought and acted with lightning speed. The caboose was so close when I fell that I was unable to rise to my feet and run out of its way. I had fallen on my side but managed to turn over on my stomach. Extending my feet toward the North Pole and my hands in the opposite direction, I hugged the ground closely and tried my best to imitate a pancake. If it not been for my pack, still strapped to my shoulders, the imitation would have been a perfect one. I had a chill of apprehension as my pack, scraping along the bottom of the caboose, caught on a projection. With a feeling of relief, I heard the sound of tearing canvas, and it jerked free.

A feeling of unreality attached to the whole adventure until I heard the puffing of an engine. It seemed to be someone else lying between the tracks and hugging the ground so fervently. But the noise, connected with the progress of the engine, penetrated my mind and made me realize the seriousness of my predicament. There is very little clearance between the undercarriage of a locomotive and the road bed. Perhaps there is enough room for an outstretched person but hardly enough space for one as burdened as I.

These were my thoughts as I watched, through the corner of an eye, the passage of two more cars overhead and saw a third approach. It was when this last one was directly above me that a way of escape presented itself.

On the bottom of this car was a row of brake rods, something the other cars had lacked. What I did, when I became aware of their presence, was done intuitively. By twisting my body around, my hands were able to grasp the rods. My legs were dragged for some distance over the wooden ties before I managed to twine one of them around the rods and then the other. With my pack bumping along the ground, I held on for dear life and rode the brake rods in a new and novel manner.

I heard the sound of pounding footsteps on the wooden platform alongside of which the train was passing, and my attention was attracted to a runner keeping up with the train under which I swung. A white face appeared, and I recognized the horror-stricken features of my friend from the caboose. When he saw me unharmed, his worried look was replaced by one of surprised relief. He was not very coherent when he spoke to me, but I gathered he was making inquiries regarding my injuries. I assured him I had none. He had expected, he later informed me, to find my dismembered body strewn along the tracks.

The speed of the train was gradually decreasing. When it had almost ceased moving, the brakeman succeeded in relieving me of my pack and then helped me from my precarious perch to my shaking feet. He then hurriedly explained how his absentmindedness had nearly resulted in my premature demise. Upon making his abrupt exit from the caboose, he had gone to signal the engineer of a nearby locomotive that the track was clear. The latter, being ignorant of my presence on the tracks, had immediately backed into the cars.

Upon returning to his caboose, the brakeman had suddenly remembered me and realized the probable consequences of his forgetfulness. He had jumped to the moving ground at the same instant that he signaled the engineer to stop the train and, not at all enthused with the task, had gone to look for my remains.

Probably not more than two minutes had elapsed between the beginning and end of this experience. Because of the fast-moving action, it was not until afterward that I was able to appreciate the narrowness of my escape from a frightful death or serious injury. When I thought of what might have happened and listened to the brakeman’s stories concerning individuals less fortunate than myself, it was hard to believe I had suffered only a few scratches.

Thumbs Up

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A Hitchhiking Adventure

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 18, 2014

Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

As August is my father’s birth month, it is appropriate that I announce the publication of his book-length travel journal at this time. Harry I. Heller wrote a 70,000 word account of his adventures in hitchhiking 12,000 miles across the United States in 1929. I’ve edited his work and added a selection of photos from his album. It’s a project dear to my heart. In his waning years, my dad asked me to help him publish his book. As I explain in the foreword, it took me this much time to satisfy his wish. It is with great pride that I announce the publication of Thumbs Up. If you’re a history buff, armchair traveler, or Americana enthusiast, or if you like reading about adventure travel and exploration, this is the book for you.

Thumbs Up

Story Blurb

After taking his exams for the New Jersey Bar, twenty-four year old Harry I. Heller set off on a hitchhiking cross-country adventure. Relying upon his wits and not his wallet, he traveled across the United States without paying a dime for transportation. In the days when a job paid one dollar and seventy five cents per day and seeing a movie cost ten cents, he hitchhiked his way from New Jersey to California. Among his many escapades, he got lost in the Yosemite Mountains, confronted hungry bears, raced downhill in a moving van with burnt-out brakes, jumped on a speeding train, and climbed Pike’s Peak on foot. This true coming-of-age tale shows the courage, fortitude, and determination of a young man following his dream and learning to rely solely on himself.

Excerpt 1

Suddenly, I found myself wide awake. Something had disturbed me. I listened intently but heard only the rustling of the wind through the trees.

I felt certain an unseen presence lurked nearby.To investigate and assure myself of the absence of visitors was the proper course to follow. Although I realized the tent held no protection from danger, it nevertheless gave me a false feeling of security. The prospect of leaving the canvas covering was an uninviting one. I therefore remained stationary and hoped my nervous condition was due to an overactive imagination.

I soon discovered this was not the case. The breaking of a dried twig, as if by the weight of a heavy object; faint sounds resembling the movements of a body through the woods with a minimum of noise as if to avoid detection; and the unmistakable grunts of some animal, abruptly brought me to a sitting position. A short interval of silence followed. My uncertainty regarding the identity of the intruder, the possibility that perhaps a wild animal was sneaking to within striking distance, were not conducive to feeling calm. I became more and more frightened.

The disturbances were repeated but this time, as if the unknown had succeeded in its efforts to gain ground quietly, the sounds emanated from uncomfortably closer quarters. By then, I was not only very thoroughly scared but also paralyzed with fright.


Excerpt 2

When I stood between the rails upon which the caboose rested so as to get a better look through its open rear door, it was without realizing the roadbed was a hazardous place on which to stand.

The car contained a young man who, judging from his attire, was a member of the crew who occupied the home on wheels during its travels. He obligingly answered my questions pertaining to his business. Then an unknown duty summoned him to the front, and he disappeared from view behind a partition. Thinking his absence would be temporary, I waited for his return. However, he had forgotten all about me.

As I stood there, no ringing bell or whistle warned me of impending danger. One moment all was quiet and peaceful. The next moment, I was face-to-face with death.

A terrific crash shattered the silence. Simultaneously, the caboose seemed to leap toward me.


Thumbs Up is an inspirational travel adventure about a hitchhiker’s journey across America that offers a glimpse into our nation’s past. It’ll make readers nostalgic for this era and more appreciative of family, friends and home.

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New Release Day!

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 1, 2014

Today is the official launch day for Warrior Lord, book #3 in the Drift Lords series. Join my LAUNCH PARTY today only 10am – 4 pm at   Giveaways all Day!

Warrior Lord

Pottery sculptor Erika Sherwood has no idea her televised wedding in Las Vegas is for real until an official confirms she and the stranger she’s just met are legitimately wed.

A Drift Lord and warrior of the Tsuran, Magnor tricks the redhead into marriage because she’s one of six women prophesied to save Earth. But as he’s forced into her company in their race against the apocalypse, he wonders if he risks his heart more than his life.

Can a free-spirited ceramic artist and a fierce swordsman trust each other enough to prevent disaster?



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How to Have an Adventure and Survive It

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 31, 2014

How to Have an Adventure and Survive It by Pepper O’Neal

If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I’m an adrenalin junkie. Even as a child, I always had the urge to move on and see what was around the next bend in the river or down a lonely country road. I blame that on my nomad Cherokee ancestors. My family moved around a lot when I was growing up as my father was never content to settle down in one place. My mother and sisters hated all the moving. But I loved it. For me it wasn’t being in a new place that excited me. No, it was the “getting there” that was the thrill. Once I was “there” and saw whatever there was to see, it was time—at least as far as I was concerned—to move on. I’m afraid I drove my poor family crazy—everyone except my father who had the same degree of restless feet syndrome that I did. I was never one of those kids asking, “Are we there yet?” Oh no, I had my nose glued to the car window so I could watch the world go by. But after we’d been in a new place for a few weeks, I was asking, “Can we go now?” Even today, driving by a lonely county road makes me yearn to turn the car around and find out where that road goes. Doesn’t matter where I’m going or how late I am, I want to know what’s OUT THERE! Thankfully, I also have the luck of my Irish ancestors, so not only have I had to opportunity to have adventures, few of them have cost me much financially. Of course, there’s all kinds of adventures—some are good, some bad, and some ugly. (Sounds like the title of a spaghetti western, doesn’t it?) But, hey, an adventure is an adventure, right?

So how do you have an adventure yourself without paying a fortune? I’m not talking about going first class here. That’s a vacation, not an adventure. Vacations are fine, as far as they go. And some might even classify as adventures. But if you want an experience to remember—fondly, or not so—for the rest of your life, take a chance and don’t go first class. You’ll have some experiences money could never buy.

Okay then, how do you start? Once upon a time, you could work your way around the world. But that’s no longer easy or even advisable. Too many unscrupulous people out there. And human trafficking is a real problem. In fact, that’s the main plot point of my new book Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don’t, which came out in June. My heroine wasn’t looking for an adventure, but sometimes the best adventures happen when we aren’t looking for them. And anything you survive can be classified as a “good” adventure, which you will someday look back on and laugh about. Of course, this takes time—and with some adventures, it takes more time than with others.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to have an adventure fall into your lap, there are still inexpensive ways to travel. If you like boats, or think you might, contact the marinas along the closest coast to where you are and/or join the local yacht club. Most communities have a yacht club. Both of these things will put you in contact with boat owners. You’ll usually find at least one or two privately owned pleasure cruisers that are looking for crew. Sometimes, a single person sailing to someplace specific may want some company for the trip, as sailing by yourself is a lonely proposition. If you’re a male, handy with your hands, and willing to work, it’s fairly easy to snag a ride to almost anywhere in the world. If you’re female, it’s a bit harder, not to mention riskier, but it’s still a possibility. Especially if you can cook. While I was working as a researcher in Mexico and the Caribbean, I met a number of people who had hitched a ride on a yacht as a cook or crew member. Something to remember: some yacht owners can’t afford to keep their boats as pleasure yachts all year round. So they hire the boat out and provide the crew, including the cook. And some of them pay you fairly decent wages. You would live aboard the yacht, crew, or cook for the paying customers and get well paid for it. And see some really beautiful places. Just check out the boat owner, or renter, carefully. Talk to other crew or ask for references. Or both.


Don’t want to get on a boat? No problem. Check ads in adventure magazines for jobs in foreign countries or for people traveling who want a companion. A lot of people still do, especially the elderly. And don’t forget the internet. But check the jobs and/or people out carefully before you commit. And if you’re already visiting in a foreign country, go for the cheaper modes of travel to get around, like trains and buses. One of the most memorable adventures I had was when a friend and I took a train trip across Mexico. (I don’t recommend going there these days as it’s gotten way too dangerous, but there are other places you can go where this information applies.) We paid for first class, which was very cheap. But for the whole three-day trip, we spent most of our time in second class, fascinated by the people and the things they had brought with them on the train: live chickens and pigs, baskets and barrels of exotic fruits, and whatever they’d bought at the market wherever they’d been and were dragging home with them. I remember one guy even had a toilet (new and unused, thankfully) he was taking home. My friend spoke excellent Spanish and translated for me, so we got to know some of our fellow passengers and heard some amazing stories of survival. As a writer, I gleaned a wealth of characters and story material for my novels.

Now whether your idea of an adventure is the same or different than mine, I’ll share the following tips with you that I believe apply to all adventures:

1. Don’t Go Alone. Whether you’re male or female, but especially if you’re female, don’t go off alone. Bad things can happen to people in that situation, and I’m not talking just about getting mugged, though that can happen, too. Plan to take a friend or two with you when you go if at all possible. If not, make some friends going your way and tag along. That way if something happens, you have some help.

2. Make Sure Someone Knows Where You’re Going. People can disappear while traveling, so make sure that someone knows where you are, where you’re going when you leave Point A, and when you’re expected to arrive at Point B. That way, there’s a chance if you get hurt, stranded, or abducted, someone will notify the authorities.

3. Don’t Put All Your Money in Your Wallet. Wallets can get lost or stolen. So have a money belt (or a money pouch you wear under your clothes) to keep your money (and ID) in and transfer it in small bits to your wallet as you need it. Then if your wallet goes missing, you aren’t stranded without any funds or ID.

4. Leave Your Prejudices at Home. Strive to have an open mind about the people and places you encounter. Yes, they’re going to be different than what you’re used to. And they may well seem primitive and crude by your standards. But hey, if you hadn’t wanted to experience something different, why did you go there in the first place? If all you’re willing to experience is what you already know and are comfortable with, you might as well stay home. Give the people and the experiences a chance. You won’t regret it.

5. Know Where the Nearest Consulates and Marinas Are. Whatever your nationality, know where your nation’s consulates are located in whatever country you’re visiting. Shit happens, folks. Believe me, I know. So before you leave, get on the internet and find out what cities have one of your nation’s consulate’s offices. The consulate is your main representative when you are in that country. If you get into trouble (lose your money or passport, unintentionally commit a crime, etc.), they are your best (and sometimes only) source of help. Also find out where the marinas are if you’re going to be on or near the coast. Marinas can collect mail for you and put you in touch with people who can help you out in an emergency. Write this important information down and keep it with you. You may never need it, but at least you have it if you do. And it may not be possible to access the internet if you need the information later. So be prepared.

6. Mix with the Natives. The beauty of immersing yourself in the culture you’re visiting is that you truly get to experience what life is like for the people who live there. If you’re friendly, most people will respond and, when they do, they’ll not only tell you where the real bargains in lodging, food, and entertainment are, they’ll take you to some of the private places that tourists never get to see or experience. If you don’t speak the local language, try to find someone who does to translate for you. Even if you have to pay them a few bucks, it’s worth it.

I’ve had some wonderful adventures following these rules. Of course, I also had some I hadn’t expected. I nearly got mugged in St. Thomas, spent a night in an abandoned motel in the middle of nowhere in southern Mexico, cowered in a hotel bathroom during a fierce tropical storm in St. Martin, broke my leg in Cozumel and my ribs in Tecamachalco, had to climb a mast—at sea in the middle of a hurricane—to repair the misen boom on a boat, took more than one shower with cockroaches the size of small dogs, and was medevac’d by helicopter during a gale after being creamed in the head by flying debris. As a friend once told me, if most people knew what was in store for them when they set off on an adventure, they’d never have the courage to start out on one. But, hey, I survived, so that makes them all “good” adventures. And now I can laugh about them—or at the very least, chuckle.



A strange man has come to save her…but is he friend or foe?
Anderson Merritt’s been kidnapped, but when a stranger comes to rescue her, she isn’t sure he is who he says he is. He claims to work for her father’s boss. But someone close to Andi set her up, and now she doesn’t know who to trust. Every man she’s ever known has seen her only as a tool to get to her father or his money, so why should this one be any different? As the sparks between them ignite, and the danger escalates, Andi has to choose—go off on her own, or trust that some men really are what they seem.

He doesn’t want to hurt her…but he may have to if she doesn’t come willingly.
Ex-CIA black ops specialist Levi Komakov doesn’t believe in hurting women, but when the place is set to blow and Andi won’t cooperate, he has no choice to but toss her over his shoulder and carry her out of danger, determined to keep her safe in spite of herself. But the beautiful little spitfire doesn’t make it easy for him. With her abductors seemingly always one step ahead of him, Levi suspects there’s a rat in the woodpile, but who? Could it be someone close to Andi’s father, someone in the FBI, or someone in the family Levi works for? When a new threat appears, and even the CIA can’t help him keep Andi safe, Levi puts everything on the line—but will it be enough?

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Award-winning author Pepper O’Neal is a researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad.

O’Neal attributes both her love of adventure and her compulsion to write fiction to her Irish and Cherokee ancestors. When she’s not at her computer, O’Neal spends her time taking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure.


Posted in That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Warrior Rogue on Kindle

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 2, 2013

Warrior Rogue, #2 in the Drift Lords Series, has been released early on Kindle. This title will still follow its official release date of April 26 for various digital formats and a print edition. But in the meantime, if you have a Kindle, you can get it now at   WarriorRogue_w7578_750

She seems like everything he despises—until her beauty challenges his warrior’s heart.

When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both. Will she be able to keep her heart safe from the sensual man beside her?

When space ops warrior Paz Hadar falls through a spatial rift onto Jen’s set, he soon realizes she is essential to his mission. Not only must he protect her, his success depends upon her special powers. But as they struggle to stay one step ahead of the enemy, he discovers that fighting his attraction to the lovely Jen is as much a challenge as keeping them both alive.

And here is a brief excerpt after Jen and Paz make an emergency landing in their business jet on a remote Pacific island:

“Come on, we can’t waste time.” Paz signaled to her from the open hatchway.

She staggered toward him. Peering outside, she was glad to note they didn’t need the emergency chute. They could easily jump the short distance to the ground. Holding her long skirt, she leaped after Paz onto the beach.

He caught her in his muscular arms and gently eased her down. His tousled hair, determined jaw, and ocean blue eyes had never looked better.

“Thank you. You saved our lives.” On impulse, Jen rose on her tiptoes and kissed him.

She’d only meant it to be a brief expression of gratitude, but Paz’s gaze intensified. He swept her into his arms and gave her a passionate kiss that left her breathless.

“We’re safe now.” He broke away with a regretful expression. “At least, for the moment. But we shouldn’t linger.”

“For the moment? What does that mean?” The memory of those ugly men who’d attacked them returned with full force. “You know who assaulted us, don’t you? When are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

“Let’s summon help first. I need to put my comm unit back together. If we can hook it into a local network, you can call your people.”

“I have my cell phone.” She patted her purse.

His hand clamped onto her arm. “We should scout around. Our landing probably attracted attention, and we don’t want the wrong people to find us.”


Vision Board on Pinterest:
Book Trailer:

Think of it as Project: Runway meets Lord of the Rings. The action begins in Tokyo and zips to Hong Kong, New York, and Palm Beach in this fast-paced paranormal romantic thriller.

Remember, if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app for other devices: Or, you can convert between formats using the free Calibre program:

Also, watch for my Valentine’s Day Bonus Special to share with your friends.

And if you haven’t yet picked up Warrior Prince, book #1 in the series, here are the links:

The Wild Rose Press:
Amazon Paperback:
Amazon Kindle:

Are you more likely to buy a book if it’s part of a series as opposed to a stand-alone?

Posted in Book Excerpt, Business of Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Religion as Inspiration for Writers

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 29, 2011

Keeper of the Rings, my fourth science fiction romance, was inspired by the Jewish New Year. As the shofar, a ram’s horn, is blown on this holiday to celebrate the new moon in the seventh month and the creation of the world, so is the sacred horn blown at the annual Renewal ceremony on the planet Xan in my story. But something goes wrong in my fictional tale and disrupts the harmony.

Not so the service I attended earlier today. As I sat listening to the soaring music, a sense of comfort and peace washed over me. I’d heard these same tunes every year for decades now, and they still inspire a spiritual uplifting. However, as a writer, this is where my imagination took flight several years ago.


My backlist title, Keeper of the Rings, was originally published by Dorchester and written as Nancy Cane. Recently, I’ve revised it and converted it into digital format, so the story is still fresh in my mind. I thought back to that other Rosh Hashanah service which inspired Keeper of the Rings.

“What If” —These are the words every writer thinks. What If… I was so devoted to my religion that I became a follower, like a nun? What If… in my world, everyone worshipped the same god, Lothar, and the religion was called Sabal? What If… I’d joined the inner circle known as the Caucus to learn the truth, because I suspected the ruling priests were keeping information from the populace to maintain power? What If…everything I knew about my world turned out to be false?

Leena, my heroine, joins the religious body to clear her father’s name after he has been discredited and to discover what the priests are hiding. She learns something is dreadfully wrong at the Renewal ceremony when it’s time to blow the shofar…uh, I mean the horn:

Leena held her breath. The sound of the horn was more than a symbol for ushering in the new year. It summoned Lothar, and when he awoke, he reset the climatic cycles of Xan for another year. Without his beneficence, her world would revert to the wild, untamed fury of the past. No one ever wanted that to happen. It would mean the end to civilization as they knew it. Renewal was the pinnacle of all the seasonal holidays.

“Show us the horn,” Dikran shouted as he faced the rear.

Karayan and Eznik drew the doors apart, and a collective gasp went up from the congregation.

Emptiness yawned from within the richly lit interior.

“Dear deity,” Leena whispered. Where was the sacred horn?

Dikran had a stunned look on his face, while the other members of the Synod wore horror-stricken expressions.


Yep, you guessed it. The horn has been stolen. Thus begins an adventure mixed with mystery as Leena, an archeologist, is assigned the task of locating the missing artifact. You can learn what happened to it along with Leena for only $2.99:




Backlist Ebooks

See? You never know when inspiration will hit. To a writer, nothing is sacred.

L’Shana Tovah! Have a sweet and healthy new year.

Posted in The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

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