book excerpt

Book of the Day: Death is Not the End, Daddy

teddy(noblur)halfandhalf color final cover template (no text)

John Doe

John Doe is a killer. Fourteen children in the last twenty six years. Teddy tells him to and he listens. He has to listen. He is parked across the street from the elementary school in Payne, North Dakota, waiting for Teddy to tell him the name of the next child. He hasn’t yet, but he will…

Matthew Mills

God is good. It’s the only truth Matthew Mills needs. But, pain is still pain. It has only been a week since his wife had her second miscarriage in the last three years. She has become a shell of who she was. Only his daughter Marcy is a light in his life.

What would happen if she was taken away?

“A revolutionary piece of fiction that expands far beyond the Christian market.”
-Clover Hogan (Smashwords Review)

“An incredible work of art.”
-M.J. Elliott (Smashwords Review)

“By far the book I’ve ever read.”
-Amit Sharma (Smashwords Review)

Excerpt:

John Doe

I don’t remember much before Teddy, but I do remember the laced leggings I found in the backseat of dad’s Buick. They weren’t mom’s. She was already sick by that time. Sick and dying. But, he was out sticking his piece in someone else…

He stuck his piece in me, too. That was the day Teddy came into my life. He wasn’t just my faded brown bear anymore. He was Teddy. He understood the pain of watching mom die; he understood the hate growing in me after daddy stuck his piece in me. He helped it grow.

Even before mom died, Teddy told me daddy didn’t deserve to live. At her funeral, he cried. The fake! Those tears attracted someone else, who he stuck his piece in later that night.

After mom died, I only had Teddy. He has never spoken in the way a person does. But, he does talk. His voice is constantly in my head. The bear just sits. And when I look into his eyes, I see blood. Lots of it. Blood and pain. I fill with tingles. Teddy says that’s as normal as the hatred I still feel for daddy. Sometimes I question it, though. And sometimes, Teddy gives me horrible nosebleeds, where my eyes feel ready to pop.

Teddy told me to come to Payne, North Dakota, and park across the street from the elementary school. He hasn’t given me the name of the next child yet. But, he will. He always does. My identity is what Teddy tells me to be. When I question it, he makes the blood I see in my head come out of me. He told me to kill daddy. With mom gone, there was no one else. It was just Teddy. Daddy didn’t even say a word to me anymore. He was gone most of the time. And when he was home, he scared me.

Teddy promised me that it would help. I listened. He was only protecting me. Teddy told me when to kill him, and what to use. There was blood. Lots of it.

Matthew Mills

God is good. It is the only truth I need. It has kept me afloat through my wife’s second miscarriage in three years. But, pain is still pain. It’s only been a week since she lost the baby.

Sometimes I wonder how Job felt when everything was taken from him. He made it through and came out a better person. The Lord uses pain to mold us—

I worry about my wife. The light has left her eyes. She used to profess her faith. Now it seems like she is drowning, and no matter how much scripture I read, the light doesn’t return. I am the pillar of this house. The Lord gave me that job, and I will stand even as everything else crumbles around me.

The devil has filled my head with thoughts of suicide. He tries to convince me that the razors from her shaver will be the death of her. He tells me to leave the bathroom door open when she showers, just in case. And I do, just in case. There is weakness in me. I’m not afraid of the enemy. My victory is through Jesus Christ. But, sometimes I fear her death is in His plan. Anyone who tries to tell me He would never allow that, I refer them to Job. The Lord takes away, sometimes for reasons we can’t understand.

My bible is out; the highlighter has already run across a few Proverbs, and a comforting piece in John. I have found quite a few verses that reassure me of my place in Him. I believe I have two sons in heaven.

I cling onto my Marcy. She is eight and a bundle of silly and sweet. I feed her the Lord daily. And His light shines from her in every way. I love her more than I thought possible. She is my little princess, and I try my hardest to make her feel that way, especially now that Janet has shut down…

Something is stirring tonight. I can feel fear trying to slip into my house. It’s trying to claw up the back of me, and enter through the front. I have a job to do tonight. My bible is highlighted on mostly every page. If a battle is coming, then I will win, because greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. I am the pillar, and I can feel the pieces beginning to crumble. Help me stand tall, Lord. Help me stand tall.

*****

Death is Not the End, Daddy is currently available for FREE download at the following retailers:

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/485063

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-is-not-the-end-daddy-nate-allen/1120604119?ean=2940046349535

 

Connect with Nate Allen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cloudsdweller/

 

Categories: authors to watch, book excerpt, book feature, book of the day, books, christian fiction, thriller | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with Robert Eggleton

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Robert Eggleton, author of Rarity from the Hollow, which was our featured Book of the Day last week. Please be sure to stick around after the interview, as there will be an excerpt from the novel. If you would like to visit the Book of the Day feature and read a different (but very insightful!) excerpt from Rarity from the Hollow, please click HERE.

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Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

Interview with Robert Eggleton

Robert: Hi, Tricia! Thanks for inviting me to tell your readers a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. 

Tricia: Thank you so much for stopping by! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Robert: I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist with over forty years working in the field of children’s advocacy. I grew up as the oldest child of an impoverished family in West Virginia, became active in human rights movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s as a teen, and went to college as an alternative to being drafted and sent either to prison or to the Vietnam War. I remained active in the anti-war movement during college, graduating with a Master’s Degree in 1977.

My father was a disabled Vet suffering from shell shock and anger outbursts that he self-medicated with alcohol. My mother was a downtrodden survivor of domestic violence who kept our family together any way that was necessary. My family would fit within an Appalachian subculture that emphasized hard work and fundamental Christianity. I was the third member of my extended family to graduate from high school and the first to graduate from college. My grandparents farmed, were poor but highly respected within their communities – always with a helping hand out to anybody less fortunate. Love abounded and still does despite profound generational differences in social and political values.

T: When did you begin writing?

Robert: Perhaps to disassociate from a harsh reality filled with alcoholism, domestic violence, and not enough food on the table, I began writing short stories as a child. At the time, paper bags were used by grocery stores. I would tear them open and flatten them out to use for writing stories that I would share with anybody – store clerks, peers, gas station attendants…. During the tumultuous times of the civil rights movement, I switched to writing poetry, and was especially inspired by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as well as early rock music, such as by Pink Floyd. During college, a few of my poems were published in alternative zines and one was accepted by the 1971 West Virginia Student Anthology. I also wrote dozens of handouts for antiwar protests. During college, between working to pay for tuition and books and studying, I started a few short stories and drafted poetry, but never seemed to find time to finish anything.

After college, I concentrated on writing nonfiction. It was a very exciting time for children’s rights. It was the beginning of an era during which children were no longer regarded as chattel. Instead of being locked up with no due process as I had been as a little boy, courts were recognizing that parents could not just dump their kids into jails and big institutions for punishment, or because the parents just didn’t want them any more. I wrote socials service and treatment models, policy, staff training materials, drafted legislation consistent with social services thinking, published research on the correlates of child abuse and delinquency…. Dozens of my investigative reports about systemic deficiencies and how children were treated in jails and institutions were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where I worked until the end of 1997. Many of these reports are now archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

In 2002, I accepted a job as a therapist at our local mental health center. It was the first job that I’d performed since college that did not involve a great deal of producing written materials. Something started churning inside of me, subsequently identified as a personal need to write. I returned to writing fiction and poetry in 2006. Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel.

T: Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Robert: Rarity from the Hollow is literary fiction with a social science fiction backdrop, filled with tragedy, comedy, and satire. The final edition was released to Amazon on December 5, 2016, after circulating as an Advance Review Copy (ARC) for an extended period of time. This novel was the first, if not the only, science fiction adventure to predict the rise of Donald Trump into political power. While there is no political advocacy in the story favoring one side or any other, the story covers many issues being faced today – the refugee crisis, illegal immigration, sexual harassment…. In a nutshell, an empowered victim of child maltreatment, a most unlikely savior of the universe, heads a team of zany characters on a wild adventure. The early tragedy in the story feeds and amplifies subsequent comedy and satire.  It is not for the prudish, faint-of-heart, or easily offended.

T: How did you get the idea for the book?

Robert: I’ve mentioned going to work for our local mental health center and how my psychological need to write started churning deep inside me. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions for children with mental health concerns, most having experienced maltreatment, some of them having experienced sexual abuse. One day, sitting around the table used for written therapeutic exercises, a skinny little girl with long stringy hair began to disclose. Instead of just speaking about the horrors of her abuse, she also spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future – finding a loving family who would protect her. My protagonist was born that day – an empowered victim who takes on the evils of the universe: Lacy Dawn.

T: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Robert: I have a love – hate relationship with each character in Rarity from the Hollow. They all have character flaws and wonderful attributes, including the abusive father and Lacy Dawn. Personally, I most like Brownie, the family mutt who plays a very important role in saving the universe. He was the only character on Lacy Dawn’s team to have empathy for what was then presumed to be a vile invading enemy. His empathy skills opened the door for conflict resolution. He was a positive role model for all. Plus, while every character prompted a laugh every now and then, Brownie was outrageous when his internal dialogue was shared with readers.

T: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Robert: Writing itself comes easy for me. The hard part is the self-promotion that follows. The most difficult aspect of writing the story was cutting out great scenes that didn’t advance the plot. I wanted to make them somehow fit since some of these scenes were powerful. It took a while, but I cut, cut, and cut some more.  Again, however, nothing to do with writing is nearly as hard as the hard work that follows after a manuscript has gone past final editing.

T: What is your primary goal as an author?

Robert: This project has a larger mission than a personal goal as an author – contributing to the prevention of child maltreatment. Half of author proceeds are donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/

My goal as the author of Rarity from the Hollow was to write about tragedy but within a story that was fun to read. The ARC of my novel was awarded two Gold Medals by major book review organizations, was named one of the best releases of 2015 by a Bulgaria book critic, and received twenty-six five star reviews and forty-three four star reviews by independent book review bloggers. The review that caused me to feel like I had approached my goal as an author:

“…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them. In fact, the rustic humor and often graphic language employed by Lacy Dawn and her compatriots only serve to highlight their desperate lives, and their essential toughness and resilience…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” http://www.awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

I don’t want to sound like I’m fixin’ to die, but, especially as I’ve aged late into the world of books, another goal became heartfelt. I wanted to write something that would outlive me. Yes, that sounds grandiose. Yet, it’s probably the deep down goal of every writer. On 1-6-17, the first review of the final edition was published, five stars. The closing lines will be on my tombstone (just kidding!): “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/

T: What projects are you currently working on?

Robert: I’m very much looking forward to taking down the shingle that reads, “Marketing.” Self-promotion with no budget to do so has kept me very busy. Thanks to the kindness of book bloggers like you, Tricia, I have persisted to give Rarity from the Hollow the best shot possible in this highly competitive marketplace.

I have short stories in the works, and will be pressed to make the next deadline for a magazine that I have a strong interest in submitting. The next Lacy Dawn Adventure is Ivy, an almost forgotten town and the headquarters for an invasion of Earth by addiction to drugs – another satire. This novel has been almost ready for editing for quite some time but self-promotion of Rarity from the Hollow has gotten in the way.

T: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Robert: I don’t feel competent to give advice to aspiring authors, but I will share a little common sense based on my observations of this marketplace. Don’t expect to be discovered overnight like you were Elvis singing on the front stoop of an apartment located in a low-income neighborhood. Before you publish, make sure that your work as been professionally edited, or as close to it as your finances will allow – not by a friend or anybody with whom you have a personal relationship. If published, to the extent possible, prevent generic one line reviews from being posted on Amazon – they always look like they were written by your friends and detract from other reviews that appear more legitimate. Commit to the long haul by keeping in mind that the majority of those entering the world of books stay there briefly and then drop out never to be heard of again. And, last, never buy a book review and don’t invest more than you can afford in anything. I’ve heard of aspiring authors placing themselves and their families at financial risk by becoming overcommitted to a book that they had written. Hard work pays off, but working smart has better outcomes.

roberteggleton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

Today, he is a retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. The Advance Review Copy of Rarity from the Hollow received considerable praise through Robert learning about the world of books as a novice. The final edition was released to Amazon on December 5, 2016. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert worked for this agency in the early ‘80s and stands by its good works. He continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group psychotherapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Connect with Robert Eggleton at the following links:

Purchase links for Rarity from the Hollow:

 

Please enjoy this selection from Rarity from the Hollow, selected by the author:

Excerpt from Chapter 13, “Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé”

Scene Prologue: At this point in the story, Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, is twelve years old. An android named DotCom (his name is a recurring pun throughout the novel) installed a port in her upper spine and has directly downloaded data into her brain for the last several years. His ship is hidden in a cave in the Woods behind the family’s house in the hollow. DotCom was sent to Earth to train and recruit Lacy Dawn to save the universe from an imminent threat, but was recalled due to slow performance. In this scene, DotCom has returned to Earth and Jenny, the mother, meets him for the first time.

*****

         …..…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn’s name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.

I hear her voice. Why won’t she answer me? 

“Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods.

Nobody responded. The trees weren’t supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.

I will always love you guys. 

Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.

Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 

Jenny looked to the left of the path.

There ain’t no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 

She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn’t exit and into a blue light that did.

“All right, you mother f**ker!”

“Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you’re supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story).”

DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.

“Grrrrr,” emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn’s dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.

“Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”

“You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.

Stay between them.

“Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I’m old enough — like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend — what you call it — my fiancé.”

“You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce.

“MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”

Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.

He ain’t got no private parts, not even a little bump.   

“DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”

Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.

“Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.”

I will need much more training if I’m ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.

“Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”

Jenny’s left eye twitched.

DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…

…(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There’re a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain’t complained since the shots started — not even with an upset stomach.”

“He’s a doctor?” Jenny asked.

“What’s your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that’s different — even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”

“Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.

“So?”

Mommy’s right. Maybe I need a different argument.

            A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.

“What’s that?” Jenny asked.

She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.

“But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.

“Mommy, I’m so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn’t talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain’t had no chance to talk. All I know is that he’s home and I’m sooooo happy.”

“Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more….

It’s unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that’s a good sign. Maybe she’s right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They’ve been together for a while and I ain’t seen a mark on her. That’s unusual too. He ain’t got no private parts and that’s another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. Id better play it smart. I don’t want to lose my baby.

“What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.

“I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”

“My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition — the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said.

They both glared at him.

“Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said.

“Okay, Mommy.”

“I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her.

“I love you too,” DotCom said.

Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile — at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.

Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”

*

Rarity from the Hollow is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44

 

 

Categories: author interview, authors to watch, book excerpt, book feature, books, interview, literary fiction, science fiction | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Book of the Day: Rarity from the Hollow

Today’s Book of the Day is RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW by Robert Eggleton. In addition to the book feature and excerpt, we will also have an opportunity to find out more about the author and his writing next week when he’ll be back for an interview! I would also like to note that author proceeds from this book support the prevention of child maltreatment: http://www.childhswv.org/

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Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.” —Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.” — Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” –Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

“…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” — Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth

5star-flat-web

Excerpt from RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW:

(Chapter 32: “The First Sexual Harassment Complaint on Shptiludrp”)

Scene Prologue: Rarity from the Hollow includes political allegory, parody, and satire. Long before Donald Trump was on the political radar, it predicted his rise to political power. In the story, Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, is a most unlikely savior of the universe. At this point, readers have learned that the universe faces an imminent threat. An android named DotCom (a recurring pun in the story) was sent to Earth to recruit and train Lacy to fulfill her destiny. She changed the android’s name to “Bucky” to cover-up its true nature, assembled and prepared a team to diagnose and address the threat, and took her team to planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance for the universe. The following scene is the team’s first meeting with the Manager of the Mall and takes place in the only high rise office building on the planet, now easily identifiable as Trump Tower.

…Lacy Dawn scanned across a desk larger than her bedroom and lowered her gaze until just above the desk top. In an oversized swivel chair behind the desk sat a humanoid…. Mr. Prump stood up…. He extended a small hand with six fingers, each of which had at least two overly large golden rings.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Lacy Dawn,” he ignored the others….

“He looks almost just like that short guy on those taxi cab reruns,” Dwayne whispered. “What’s that actor’s name?” (Dwayne, Lacy’s father, is an Iraq War damaged Vet who suffered from PTSD, night terrors and anger outbursts until cured by the android since he had refused treatment by the VA hospital. Dwayne, an expert used car salesman, plays an important role on the team and worked very hard to save the universe in an effort to achieve Lacy’s forgiveness past abusive behaviors.)

“Shhhh,” Lacy Dawn glared.

“I have a complaint to make,” Lacy said to Mr. Prump.

“Oh?” Mr. Prump sat down, opened a drawer, and shoved a form across his desk in her direction. “Please call me Mr. Prump.”

Hospitality has been extended to her entourage.

The form ran out of momentum half-way across the desk. Lacy Dawn extended and retracted because it stopped well short of her reach.

That’s too far regardless of obligatory respect.

“I was not aware of any dissatisfaction of any type, sir,” Bucky reverted to his role as DotCom in the presence of his long-term authority figure. Lacy Dawn gave him The Look and trumped.

“Your elevator operator just told me that I have a nice ass,” she said.

Dwayne started for the office exit to get the offender. Lacy Dawn pushed him toward one of the chairs in front of the desk. Tom grabbed Dwayne’s arm. (Tom is Lacy’s neighbor. He is a wealthy “back to the land” marijuana dealer who relocated to The Hollow when he concluded that city life aggravated his Bipolar Disorder.) Then, Tom and Lacy Dawn had to restrain Bucky’s attempt to go after the offender.

Lacy and Jenny stood alone in front of the desk while the males sat. Jenny moved to her daughter’s side. (Jenny is Lacy’s formerly downtrodden mother whose self-esteem had been enhanced after the android had replaced her rotting teeth with new ones.) Brownie growled. So did Bucky. (Brownie is the family mutt and the only member of the team with enough empathy skills to communicate with, at this point in the story, vile invaders of the universe.)….

Mr. Prump shoved another form in her direction with the same result. The complaint forms were the only papers on the desk….

“Tree says that to me all the time,” the receptionist said from the doorway. “Would anybody like something to drink or a snack?”

Nobody responded except Mr. Prump. He extended a cup that had been on his desk, but the gesture was ignored.

“That’s different, you…” Tom started but Lacy Dawn’s look cut him short.

“The females of those people got no figures at all — straight up and down,” the receptionist said. “I wouldn’t take it personally, Lacy. All males from that planet become infatuated with any curve on any body that they think is female. He’s a nice person once you get to know him.”

“Regardless, it was inappropriate for him to tell me that I have a nice ass.”

“Yeah,” her team said in unison. DotCom was the loudest except for Brownie’s bark followed by another growl.

“I ought to kick his ass for talking trash to my little girl,” Dwayne said.

I’m such a juvenile.

Lacy glared at him again.

“Sorry,” Dwayne hung his head.

“Further,” Lacy Dawn continued. “I’m not about to do business with any planet that permits the sexual harassment of its visitors or employees to go undisciplined.”

Jenny sat down.

“Yeah,” the receptionist said.

Mr. Prump sank deeper into his seat….

“I’m never going to sit on your lap again unless I want to,” the receptionist said. “And, as for anything else, you can just forget it from now on unless you take care of this. Take care of the whole problem on the whole planet — equal respect for all people — within their financial means, of course.”

“Take a memo to Division Managers with a copy to All Staff.”

Lacy Dawn stood alone before the desk. He dictated the memo and she listened.

It’s pretty good. There’s procedure for making sexual harassment complaints, investigation, due process, and penalty.

“That’s all for now. I’ll contact you tomorrow to begin negotiation of terms,” she said.

Mr. Prump asked her what time but she didn’t answer. Lacy Dawn had concluded her first meeting with the most powerful being in the universe and had beaten him in negotiations.

Purchase links:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/robert-eggleton/rarity-from-the-hollow/paperback/product-22910478.html

http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44

http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow 

Public Author Contacts:

http://www.lacydawnadventures.com

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32993259-rarity-from-the-hollow

https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/

https://twitter.com/roberteggleton1

https://plus.google.com/b/108662084126982201049/108662084126982201049/posts

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-eggleton-909b154b?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

 

Categories: authors to watch, book excerpt, book feature, book of the day, comedy, excerpt, literary fiction, science fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover Reveal: Malevolent Mind

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Malevolent Mind

A Horror Novel by Misty Harvey

 

A story so dark, twisted and unfinished has a way of driving the sanest to the brink of insanity.

Between the constant state of bullying from Heath and his friends, and the unrest of not knowing what happened to her twin, Raven seeks revenge. Years later, she becomes the nanny for Heath’s young son, Kade. She helps him start a horror story with the plan to bring the horrible creature Kade created into the real world to torment Heath and his friends. It was perfect, until everything began unraveling. When Kade’s creation no longer wishes to do Raven’s bidding, it becomes a fight for life or death. The only way to survive is to figure out how to finish off the creature before she finds her freedom. Will Kade find a way to stop the creation of his malevolent mind? Or will Raven’s revenge consume them all?

Excerpt from Malevolent Mind: 

Kade sat there in the middle of the room. He pulled his legs up against his chest, wrapping his arms around them. There was nothing to see now that his head cowered there in the darkness of his own lap. If tonight was the night that he’d die, he wasn’t so sure he’d want to see either of the girls coming for him.

His ears perked up. Behind him came the sound of wet clothes slapping together. He lifted his head, unable to keep it down. It was just his imagination. That was all.

The feel of icy breath slid over the back of his neck. Each tiny hair stood at attention as the stench of decay washed over him. Was it the girl from the river or was it Zilla? Kade flipped onto his knees, the beam of the flashlight straight forward.

There, inches from his face, was Zilla. She stared at him. Her mouth was open at an angle as her tongue flicked out against the air. It was too late to run anywhere.

Death stared him right in the face. Part of him felt relief that it was only her. Of course, that was if the other one wasn’t waiting for him as well. He didn’t dare move the flashlight beam to find out. Zilla had appeared out of nowhere so who knew what would happen once the light wasn’t on her?

Kade watched as her blue-tinged hand reached up for him. She held her hand for him to take. Something told him that doing so would be the end of him. Panic gripped his insides and he knew he had moments to make the first move. If he didn’t react soon, she’d overpower him.

He swung out with the flashlight, catching her on the side of the head. Her body rolled across the floor with a sickening thud. Kade was sure that the magnum flashlight had cracked her skull. It had nearly broken his foot when he’d dropped it one time. He jumped across his bed, darting into the hallway. His gaze moved around the hall as he tried to make out anything.

The sound of her rapidly skittering toward him had him running down the hallway. He stopped at Raven’s door, trying her handle, but the door wouldn’t budge. Instead, the old wood rattled in the frame.

In a flash of lightning, he watched Zilla skitter into the hall on her hands and feet, her body parallel to the floor as she let out a sickening hiss. Half of her head remained dented in from where he’d clocked her with the flashlight. It was a terrifying image to behold. The fact that she continued to chase him regardless turned his stomach.

Kade looked back only briefly before he ran. She was close on his heels. In the distance, he could just make out his father’s door. His bare feet padded against the wood flooring.

Goosebumps raced up his spine as her icy fingers wrapped around his ankle. The weight of his body hit the floor with a loud thud. His head bounced against the hard surface blurring his vision. Tears filled his eyes making it even harder to see. At least now, he wouldn’t have to worry about seeing his death coming.

The cold sensation crept up his leg, over his knee and toward his waist. He could feel the weight of her above him as she crawled up his body. Time slowed so that each second felt like eons. The stench of her undead body burned at his nostrils. Kade gagged on the smell that was so strong he could almost taste it.

He didn’t want to die. Life was too short for him. There was still so much that he wanted to do. Besides, he wasn’t sure who would take care of his father if he wasn’t there any longer. That thought rolled inside of him. He wasn’t going to go out like this, a cowering lump of fear on the floor. If she wanted to kill him, she’d have to fight a lot harder for it.

Kade grabbed her arms, rolling them over as he kicked out with both his legs. Her body smashed into the wall across from them, freeing him to run. He scrambled onto his feet, darting for his father’s room.

The bright light blinded him as he ran for it. That was it. He’d found his end and now he was headed into the light. Just as he’d read in another book. It was his time to cross over.

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Misty Harvey loves writing spine-tingling horror novels sure to thrill readers. The psychology behind such tales has always been a fascination for her since she was younger. Even to the point that she once contemplated taking up psychology as a profession. Still, her love resides in the art of storytelling. An art she wishes to continue to share with readers for the rest of her days.

After climbing out of her writing cave and searching the house for the sound of the latest creak or pop, Misty can be found doing one of many things. Often times she spends the remained of her day with her amazingly supportive husband and youngest daughter. While she has two older children that are out there spreading their wings around the world, including giving her a few grandchildren.

Her favorite things to do when not writing are crafts, wrestling with her dog, avoiding her cat’s bite or generally making her husband and daughter crazy. Often times she can be found creating vivid tales with her daughter about whatever mundane thing happened in their day and turning it into a crazy story. She is also an avid gamer, crochet goddess (we shall pretend there), domestic queen, and animal tamer (it’s a work in progress).

Stalker Links:

Website: Mistyharvey.com

Facebook: Author Misty Harvey

Twitter: AuthorMDHarvey

Goodreads: Author Misty Harvey

 

 

 

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Autumn Reads: Dragon’s Fall

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Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order

Three vampyrs. Three lives. Three intertwining stories.

Bearing the guilt of destroying the holiest of books after becoming a vampyr, the Dragon, Lord Desmond searches the world for lost knowledge, but instead, discovers truth in love.
Born a slave in Ancient Greece, Alexandra craves freedom above all else, until a vampyr sets her free, and then, she must pay the highest price of all … her human soul.

An assassin who lives in the shadows, Roquelaure is cloaked even from himself, until he discovers the power of friendship and loyalty.

Three vampyrs, traveling the world by moonlight—one woman and two men who forge a bond made in love and blood. Together they form a band of mercenaries called the Scarlet Order, and recruit others who are like them. Their mission is to protect kings and emperors against marauders, invaders, and rogue vampyrs. In the end, they must confront their ultimate nemesis, Vlad the Impaler.

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Excerpt from Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order

Soon after Draco is turned into a vampire, he confronts Wolf, the vampire who made him:

“You brought me into this life that’s not life?” My words were clipped and I took several short steps toward him.

Again, he shook his head. “No, I merely fed off you. My only intention was to slake my thirst. You chose to attack me.”

Slowly, I sat down on the rocky ground. Even more questions churned and roiled in my mind. Finally, I practically screamed the one that kept coming to the forefront. “Am I doomed to live this way forever?”

For the first time, I saw something like a smile spread across Wolf’s features. “Perhaps not and perhaps fortune has led you to me.” He bade me come closer to the fire and he told me the story of an encounter he had had almost four hundred years before. He met a man traveling to Britain called Joseph of Arimathea. “Are you familiar with the one they call Christ?”

I nodded, remembering what my father told me about the Christians of his youth and about the teacher called St. Patrick. I recalled my conversation with Arthur about his shield and the image of Christ’s mother emblazoned on its front. “Those who follow him consider him a god, do they not?”

“Those that follow him say he is an incarnation of the one and only God,” corrected Wolf. “They say he has the power to forgive even the most heinous sins.” He went on to tell me about a cup and a scroll that Joseph of Arimathea carried. “The cup was used during Jesus’ last Passover feast. Some say it holds the blood of Christ himself, even to this day. Others say that you pour wine into it and it transforms into His blood. You are but a fledgling, but could you imagine what it would mean for one such as us to drink of that cup. If that is the blood of a god – of the God – and it contained forgiveness of the magnitude that is claimed.”

“You said there was also a scroll?” I asked. My mother had taught me to read Latin and that knowledge served me well. No doubt it helped bring me to the attention of Ambrosius, his daughter, and the first Dragons who instructed me. I loved to read but there was little of value to read.

“Joseph said that it contained the writings of Jesus himself.”

I let out a breath. Through my father, Arthur and others, I knew a little of the writings about Jesus. However, I’d never once heard that Jesus himself had left behind any writings. That would, indeed, be a treasure. “Why didn’t you simply take the cup when you had the chance?”

“It was guarded,” he said bitterly. He went on to describe the eagle-like creature that attacked him, preventing him from taking the chest that contained the scroll and the cup. “Over the centuries, I have encountered and heard many stories of creatures like that. Many take elemental forms, such as flames or water. Others take animal forms like this creature. Some people worship them as gods. I believe the Christians call these creatures, angels.”

“What can one do against such a creature?” I asked.

“They say these angels are immortal,” said Wolf, barring his fangs, “but I believe they can be wounded or even killed. I have been studying them over the centuries and I think I know a way. That’s why your becoming a Neuntoter may be particularly fortuitous.”

“So, where do we find this cup? This scroll?”

“All I know is that it’s here on the islands of Britain. I don’t know where to begin the search.”

“I may know someone that can help,” I said. Even as I thought of enlisting Bran and Arthur’s aid and seeing Guinevere again, I worried what she would think of my new sharp-toothed countenance along with my need to drink blood in order to survive.

Purchase links for Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order:

 

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About David Lee Summers:

David Lee Summers is the author of nine novels and over sixty published short stories. His writing spans a wide range of the imaginative from science fiction to fantasy to horror. David’s novels include Vampires of the Scarlet Order, which tells the story of a band of vampire mercenaries who fight evil and The Solar Sea, which imagines humanity’s first voyage to the outer planets aboard a solar sail spacecraft. His short stories and poems have appeared in such magazines and anthologies as Cemetery Dance, Realms of Fantasy, Human Tales and Gaslight and Grimm. He’s been twice nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award. When not working with the written word, David is a creature of the night who operates telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

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Categories: authors to watch, book excerpt, book feature, book of the day, book sale, books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Reads: The Dead Planet

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A dead planet. A rogue AI. A secret mission.

Tara Royce’s first day as the Academy’s newest Earth Defense Engineer was anything but ordinary. If humanity has any hope of returning to the dead planet in the next few thousand years, that is assuming it regenerates at all, they must first protect it from alien attack – and the Defense Engineers are its first and last line of defense. Aliens aren’t the only thing the new Engineer needs to look out for, though, and she soon discovers that the stakes are much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Amazon reviews:

“This is a great intro to what promises to be a very interesting scifi series. It’s got a little bit of everything without going overboard on anything, and more than that, it’s a solid premise with far-reaching implications to a future society we’re not even introduced to yet. Fans of scifi without all the hard science or too much techno-jargon, that focuses more on character and crisis will enjoy this for sure.”

“I didn’t except so much action and mystery in such a short story.”

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KCQF86M

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Excerpt:

“I want to thank you.”

The hatch closed behind her with a snap-hiss and she started down the handrails to the bottom level. “Thank me for what?”

“For not disclosing the parameters of our mission.”

“I don’t think this is ‘our’ mission, Aiden. That would have to mean that you let me in on it from the beginning. Instead, you’ve kept me in the dark this whole time, remember?”
He was silent until she opened the door to the bottom levels. “Then I want to thank you…for keeping my secret from Engineer Tyrese.”

“Sure, Aiden. Whatever.” The hall down here was dimly lit, with strips of light on the floor that led to the separate sections.

“I would not have liked Tyrese to know what we are doing.”

The armament section was the first door on the right. “Why would you care what Tyrese knows or doesn’t know?”

“Because…I do not like him.”

A sense of forbidding creeped up her spine. Aiden was doing it again. Sounding far too human and far too…interested in her. “You don’t like Tyrese?

“No.”

“Aiden, you don’t know him.”

“I know he wants to see you. I don’t like that.”

She bit down on her lip. She was definitely going to have to inspect Aiden’s programming, whether he wanted her to see him naked or not. For the moment, she chose very carefully to not ask any more questions. She didn’t want to know what he was going to say next.
Instead, she opened the door to the section where the weapons tubes were charged and loaded and maintained. Usually an Engineer would never have to come down here. The flash lasers were maintained by the droid crawlers on the rare occasions when something went wrong. Only Tara wasn’t looking for something wrong. She was looking for something that shouldn’t be there.

Inside, among the standard configuration that she expected to see from the simulations and technical data specs, among the massive cable lines and sleek black tubes that carried the energy for the flash lasers, was something that definitely should not have been there.
Twice as long as she was, sheathed in a spiraling metal shell, with four direction jets built into the fins at the back. A device perfect for launching through a planet’s atmosphere to the surface, and then retrieving it from there again.

“Beautiful,” Aiden’s voice said to her. “Isn’t it?”

She had to admit, it kind of was.

“All right,” she said after another moment’s consideration. “Let’s go find out if the Earth is worth saving.”

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KCQF86M

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Author bio:

TJ Ryan is a Canadian author, born on the rainy West Coast (or is that wet coast?) of British Columbia. He spent his early years travelling the world, obsessing over new cultures and culinary experiences. Preferring spaceships to airplanes, he has now settled into his little slice of rainforest paradise, escaping reality through Science Fiction.

He is known for packing high levels of action and mystery into his writing, and his latest book The Dead Planet has a growing number of 5 star reviews. TJ has a number of exciting new sci fi books planned for this year, including the second book to his Broken Earth Saga space opera series.

Contact:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorTJRyan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortjryan
Blog: www.tjryan-author.com

 

Categories: authors to watch, book excerpt, book feature, book of the day, fantasy, science fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Reads: Till Death

 

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In a world where rogue necromancers control the dead and turn them against the living,
The Independent Necromancers’ Bureau works to keep law and order.

This first introductory short story in the Independent Necromancers’ Bureau series, plunges you in to the world of Cassie Dune, a world filled with ghosts, zombies, and necromancers.
When some uninvited guests show up at a wedding party, Cassie Dune— an agent with the INB— must fight to stop them. With the aid of Detective Inspector Luke Baron, Cassie must stop a rampaging horde of zombies before it’s too late— an act that causes her to learn more about her power and its origins.

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Excerpt from Till Death:

Working as an agent for the Independent Necromancers’ Bureau had its perks, but spending the night in a haunted house, miles away from civilisation, wasn’t my idea of one. Easy job, Thomas had said. Yeah, sounded great until you considered the angry shade screeching and snarling in my face. I’d rather face a horde of zombies.

At least, enclosed within my circle of protection, no harm could befall me. I might cook—I could swear the temperature in the room was so high, I started to smell like bacon— but the spirit couldn’t touch me.

My brow furrowed and my head pounded. The throbbing echoed through my bones, and I wanted nothing more than to call it a night, head home, and curl up in bed with the cat. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Instead, I set my shoulders and kept my focus on the link Jim Maybin’s spirit still had with his remains.

With the realisation that his tactics of fear and intimidation were failing, Jim attempted a new trick. Images of a young man and woman, too young to comprehend the future that awaited them, bombarded my mind. They stood on a balcony, as close as two people could be. The couple smiled and laughed underneath a purple dusk sky, wrapped up in the moment, storing every detail within their minds, and etching it into their souls. The memory was so complete, I felt the slight breeze that caressed their skin and brought with it the sweet scent of lavender. Crickets chirped, and the wind rustled through the leaves of a great oak, standing as a testament to the perseverance and resilience of life.

The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a box before dropping to one knee and presenting the ring. ‘Rachel,’ he said as her hand flew to her face in shock. ‘I have loved you from the second I laid my eyes on you. You are my whole life and I can’t imagine spending a second of it without you by my side. Will you marry me?’

Jim shared with me one of the happiest moments of his life. His memory burned with emotion and tears streamed down my face, a mirror of those that flowed from Rachel’s eyes. Sure, having your heart ripped out of your chest and fed to you on a platter along with some cheese and pineapple was emotionally draining, but this wasn’t my first day on the job. No way would I buckle. My determination strengthened. With each breath, I drew the shade closer to his cremated body. The thread that linked Jim’s spirit to his ashes grew stronger, drawing him in and containing him within his remains.

I opened my eyes and looked at the man before me. He wore the khaki brown battledress he had died in. A remnant of the war that robbed him of his life.

‘This is the way it needs to be,’ I said to Jim. ‘You can’t stay here any longer. Rachel needs to know you are gone, so she can follow.’ With those final words, I allowed the intricacies of his existence to flow through my mind, and then severed the thread connecting Jim to his mortal body and the world of the living. His spirit left instantly, free to go to whatever afterlife awaited him.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I8IB7KC

 

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Discover other books in series:

A Matter of Death: A second stand-alone short story in the Independent Necromancers’ Bureau Series. Available for FREE through newsletter signup.

When Dylan turns up at agent Cassie Dune’s house just before sunrise, she knows something is up, and anything that bothers a two-hundred year old ghost, is sure to be bad news for Cassie. A necromancer has imprisoned the spirit of Dylan’s friend Elizabeth. Can Cassie find her and save her soul?

The Death of a Friendship: The first full-length novel in in The Independent Necromancer’s Bureau series will be available November 2016.

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About Victoria DeLuis:

Victoria DeLuis has been writing since a young age, but never had the courage to pursue writing as a career. When her daughter was born in 2010, Victoria decided that she wanted her daughter to grow up and follow her dreams, and the best way to ensure this was to have parent who followed theirs. Victoria, therefore, returned to University part-time, to study creative writing. After graduating in June, it was time to put all her study and hard work into practise, and the Independent Necromancers Bureau was born.

Victoria lives in Wales with her husband, daughter, three cats, and one dog.

Connect with Victoria: 

Categories: authors to watch, book deals, book excerpt, book feature, book of the day, books, fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Release: The Encore

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The Encore by Christine S. Feldman

When Jane married her college sweetheart and the love of her life, she never dreamed she would lose him to leukemia before either of them reached forty. A year later, she’s struggling to move on and create a new life for herself, a second act that she never expected to have to follow the first. Picking up the pieces is hard enough—it’s even harder when those closest to her don’t understand or support the way she’s trying to put them back together again.

But while the curtain may have come down on the life she originally had planned, life itself certainly isn’t finished with her yet.

And neither, as it turns out, is her heart.

Buy now for only $0.99 at the following links:

Amazon   |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  |  Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt from The Encore:

Mother Nature cut them a break: no humidity today.  Instead the air was clear and balmy, complete with a mild breeze that was enough to feel good on Jane’s skin without blowing her hair into her eyes.  She breathed it in with a sense of relief.  Strange how even a house that had no memories of Noel could somehow remind her of him, or at least remind her of the plans they’d never had the chance to bring to fruition.  Family kinds of plans in particular.

But maybe it only hit her hard today because of Bobby and Anna being there.  Maybe the silence of the house would seem peaceful again rather than empty when she got home, and things would be fine.  Soothing, even.  Comfortable.

Maybe.

She turned her attention to the sidewalk on which they ambled, and to the dog trotting obediently if disinterestedly next to her.  It was a quiet street with no traffic at the moment, so she was more than willing to let him lead her wherever his nose and his curiosity took them, but he only kept to the straight line of the cement in front of them instead of sniffing at shrubs or grass or even—surely the dog equivalent of catnip or a ball of yarn?—the lone fire hydrant that they passed.

Nothing.  His ears twitched once at the sound of a car horn that blared for a moment in the distance, but once all was quiet again, Otto’s only movements were those of his legs, keeping a slow and steady rhythm that Jane didn’t have the heart to push any faster.

Her mind was less on their path as they rounded a corner and more on what might be the least ridiculous way to ask a veterinarian about therapy for her dog when she finally realized just how far they’d already walked.  They were only a stone’s throw away from the good doctor’s driveway.  A small voice in the back of her head—the same one that often tried to get her to rein in some of her more impulsive decisions—suggested that this might be a mighty fine time to turn back.  She would have sworn that voice sounded an awful lot like Lizzie’s at the moment.

And Jane might have considered listening to it if it wasn’t for a damnable and familiar spark of curiosity that often overshadowed that cautionary voice and that flared up now at a glimpse of movement in the doctor’s driveway.  A dark grey car that was parked there—his car, presumably—had its hood up, and someone who was half-hidden by that hood was working on something beneath it.  Home on his day off, or had he perhaps been sent home by a superior after his actions the other day?

None of your business, Jane…

No, of course it wasn’t, and yet any alternative must have seemed better than facing the loudness of the silence waiting for her at home, because her feet were still headed in the doctor’s general direction as if they had a mind of their own.  And then they stopped, just as autonomously, in front of the rear bumper of the parked car.

She studied it while the clinking sound of metal against metal marked the activity of the as of yet oblivious would-be mechanic at work at the other end of the car.  Some kind of sedan.  It wasn’t exactly old or beat up, but neither was it the kind of vehicle one might expect to see a physician driving.  Maybe she was unjustly pigeonholing doctors in thinking that way, but she would have thought he’d have something more like a shiny BMW or Mercedes with a vanity plate that read something like #1 DOC or HLN HNDZ.

Well, no, maybe not this doctor, she thought, remembering the coolness of his eyes and rigidness of his posture.

And then before her mind could stray too far after the sudden thought that PP DOC would be a great license plate for a urologist, Jane cleared her throat and said, “Hi.”

The clinking of metal stopped.

Jane put her free hand up to shield her eyes from the sun and peered around at the quiet street.  “Nice day for a tune-up.  Or are you just checking its vitals, Doc?”

Nothing but silence answered her, but after a moment, the face of Dr. Cullen Douglass appeared at one side of the car’s hood to look at her.

Jane offered him a flick of a wave not unlike the one she’d offered him on Moving Day.  She got pretty much the same response this time as she had then, which was to say, none at all.  Undeterred, she countered with a blithe smile.  “I’m Jane Freeley, your new neighbor—”  She nodded her head toward the far side of his house.  “Thataway.  And unless you have an evil twin running around out there, you’re Dr. Cullen Douglas, right?  We kind of sort of didn’t meet at all at the hospital the other day.”  Refusing to let her smile falter, she waited patiently for a reaction, any reaction.  And she was prepared to wait as long as it took to get one.

Maybe he sensed that, because finally she got a curt nod that could actually have just been an involuntary twitch of some kind, but she preferred to be optimistic.

Instinct told her not to stick out her hand, because he was not likely to take it.  Snap it off maybe, but not take it.  Fair enough.  “So you work with my sister-in-law, Lizzie Berkoff.  Well—work, butt heads with… one or the other.”

Nothing.  No reaction at all.  Really?  But she found it less off-putting than intriguing.  He stood there and stared back at her as if waiting for her to come to her point.  Deliberately turning up the wattage on her smile, she waited him out again instead.

Finally, he gestured at his car’s exposed engine.  “Look, Miss Freeley…”

Mrs., she nearly corrected him out of habit, and even after a year it still felt strange somehow to swallow the word back.  “Jane,” she corrected him instead.

He continued as if she hadn’t spoken.  “I have an engine to fix, and I’m really not interested in whatever it is you’re trying to do here.  Scout out prospects somewhere else, please.”

Prospects?  She blinked.  It was a cutting remark, the kind designed both to leave the recipient with no doubts that the conversation was over and to discourage any future attempts at one.  Any normal woman would huff with indignation and perhaps hurl an insult before spinning on her heels and marching off to fume.

But no one had ever accused Jane of being normal.  Instead of taking offense, she started to laugh, and it wasn’t a laugh that was intended to put him in his place and show him just how insignificant he was to her; it was one hundred percent pure, genuine amusement.  “Scout out prospects—You think I’m hitting on you?”  And as she said the words aloud, they seemed even funnier to her.  Although maybe the good doctor did have his share of admirers, because some women really went for the whole dark and broody kind of thing, not to mention the medical degree.  Some women.  But that he had cast her in that role…  “Really?  Because I’ve gone around to introduce myself to at least half a dozen other neighbors this week, and I’ve got to say, none of them seemed to interpret it as sexual harassment—unless I’m really doing it wrong.  I only tore the clothes off the one, after all.”

His expression was guarded, but not quite guarded enough to mask his initial startle at her cheerfulness, and her teasing.

“Oh, don’t look so worried, Doc.”  Unable to help herself, Jane patted one of his grease-stained hands.  “Your virtue is safe with me, I promise.”

The look he gave her was wary, and it tempted her to be playful.  Prickly people often did.  Be good, Jane.  And she tried, she really did.  But when Otto sniffed the toe of Dr. Douglas’s shoe and gave it a quick lick, she couldn’t help but add, “Just so we’re clear, he’s not hitting on you either.  But if it would make you feel better, I’ll be sure to have a long talk with him about boundaries when we get home.  Which should probably be sooner rather than later, I suppose—”  She glanced at her watch and spoke more to herself than to him.  “—since I’ve got stacks of work waiting for me.”  Figuratively, at least.  The stacks were all in the form of computer files.  “But… A chi vuole, non mancano modi.”  —Where there is a will, there is a way—  “Come on, Otto.  Good luck with your car, Doc.  Thanks so much for the warm welcome to the neighborhood.”

Tugging a surprisingly reluctant Otto away from both the man and the car, Jane led him back the way they’d come, still fighting back mirth and with the odd thought that if anyone else would have appreciated the humor in the situation, it would have been Noel.

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When a Man Loves a Woman: A Love Divine

When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine

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By Tumika Patrice Cain

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When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine, is a story of hope, accepting love, embracing one’s personal truths, and making no apologies for it.

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man loves a woman

 

Jacquie remembered a time when she was once a tender, caring, hopeless romantic. But happily-ever-after’s and once-upon-a-time fairytales, proved over time to be just that – fairytales. After what she feels has been “a lifetime” of true love eluding her, she loses all hope, resigning to live a single (and loveless) existence. As time passes, she shifts her focus, choosing to concentrate on her career and makes the best of it…alone.

Gorgeous, artsy and charismatic was the man who Jacquie’s eyes fell upon, causing her heart to beat in a rhythm she’d forgotten existed. Michael was more than enough man to make her lose herself inside dreams of a future interwoven with the very fabric of all that defined the beauty of being in love.

But just like in fairytales, there’s always something out of place. For alas, this knight in chocolate armor, was twelve years her junior – an age gap that defined a cultural difference and a major problem for Jacquie’s overbearing mother. Will pressure from family and other obligations turn their love into a nightmare? Or can Michael and Jacquie tune out the rest of the world, embrace the sweetness that they share, and build a foundation that lasts?

In book two of the series, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Love Divine, is a story of hope, accepting love, embracing one’s personal truths, and making no apologies for it.

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Meet The Characters

Meet Jacquie: She’s a beautiful, single, almost 40 year old BBW who has never been married, has no children and has given up hope that it will ever happen for her. A real salt of the earth type of woman, she’s gentle, loyal, loving…and unfortunately, unfulfilled in her carefully controlled existence. Will she ever be able to see her dreams fulfilled?

Meet Michael: He is young, gorgeous, artsy and free. A real solid individual, he’s all about his business and not playing any games. Having a relationship is also the farthest thing from his mind! And then he meets Jacquie…

For Jacquie, Michael is everything she’s been told she should stay away from. For Michael, Jacquie is the dream he didn’t even realize he was waiting to come true.

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Excerpt

Jacquie didn’t know exactly when it happened. She just knew that it did. She found herself in love. And what was funniest of all was how different he was than what she’d always thought she wanted or been told she should want. He was twelve years her junior, but more man than anyone who had ever come before him. Dealing with him was like a welcomed cool lakeside breeze on a scorching summer day.

Michael was everything she’d ever dreamed of, but didn’t know that she needed or wanted. Tender. Sweet. Attentive. Strong, but not overbearing. All things cool. So opposite of her in many ways, yet so like her in many ways that mattered. It was a perfect fit.

There was a vibrancy about him that instantly caused everything in her to perk up and take notice. He made her want to wear bright colored clothing and flowers in her hair. Big hoop earrings and sexy sandals to show off blood red toenails and fresh pedicures. This was such a huge shift for her. Always prone to muted colors and conservative clothing, she had been raised to subdue everything about herself, almost to the point of extinction of her authentic self. At times she didn’t quite know what to make of the changes taking place in her life. When it became scary, she urged herself to press on pass the fear. This was such a great time to be alive, and for the first time in her life, she actually found that she was happy to be in the land of the living.

It’s funny, but she hadn’t realized how much of a drag her life was until being in his presence made her feel so alive. Made her wonder how long had she been walking around half dead just waiting on someone to breathe life into her. Well, whatever he had, made her spirit soar high above the clouds. In his presence, she became a bird; free to roam, to fly unhindered, to just be. He was the key that unlocked the cage she’d lived in her entire life. Suddenly, she felt years younger. Almost how the teenage years should have been if she hadn’t been so bogged down with responsibilities and pressures. Finally, she felt like other girls looked: youthful, carefree, lovely. She was loving every minute of it!

Old behaviors didn’t just disappear overnight. The practicalities making up her personality were still very much alive and at work. What was different was a newness to get out from under the mundane and do something…anything!…new. This new found state put her in a place where she could dream again. Come to think of it, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d dreamed about doing anything. Clueless as to how to change her life, the dreams slowly faded away like the last refrain of a song. Repeat, repeat, then fade, fade, fade until finally it was gone. Over. Finito. That’s what happened to Jacquie. Her dreams had died into the empty pause that lives between songs. He was her new song.

This season would start with a fresh hairdo. The signature wrap, although lovely and perfectly coiffed, would have to go. Surely she could find some sort of sweeping updo that could be versatile enough for both day and night, work and play. Until the right look came along, Jacquie found herself really studying the looks of other women who had some of what she felt being birthed in her spirit. That’s what made her decide to finally let the soft coral nail color go in search of something vibrant and popping. Yep….fire engine red. How about that?! She found a similar color for her lips, as well as a plum, bronze and a translucent shade to switch up her looks.

Clothing was next. Flirty skirts, fitted tops, and big belts replaced stiff suits and pleated pants. And for leisure, she went all out. Wide-legged pants, fitted jeans, long tops, high heeled boots, funky jewelry. She was absolutely loving this transformation. Her new colors were extreme. Orange, fuchsia, lime green, hot pink, reds, plums, emeralds, bronze, cobalt – even in the winter. A host of jewel tones to help celebrate her new found Queendom. Yes, it was high time a daughter of royalty looked like one. She had been a King’s kid living beneath her privilege for far too long.

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Meet Tumika

Tumika Patrice Cain is an award-winning author and media personality whose works center around the complexities of the human experience. Through her writing she takes a global look at issues that affect women and crafts authentic, well-rounded characters and plots so rich that are so relatable they feel like personal friends to the readers. She is also the founder of Say What?? Book club, book reviewer, contributing writer for The Belief Magazine, and former columnist/book reviewer for PEN’Ashe Magazine. Her works center around the complexities of the human experience and in uplifting the spirit. An assignment for a second grade class sparked her interest in writing that would quickly become her raison d’etre. As an educator, she wholeheartedly believes that each one should reach one; each one should teach one. Tumika is also a respected editor and publisher. When she is not writing, she may be found teaching writer’s workshops, blogging, volunteering, and otherwise beautifying the world around her. She is the author of the award winning novel, When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change; After the Rain…a Poetry Collective; and The Heart of a Woman: Poetry, Short Stories & Tekaisms. Book 2 of the When a Man Loves a Woman series will be released in April 2016. Her works have been published in a number of anthologies, magazines and periodicals. You may follow her on Facebook: Tumika Patrice Cain and on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & Goodreads: @TumikaPatrice. http://www.TumikaPatrice.com

Tumika Patrice Cain is changing lives one word at a time…

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Purchase Links

Order When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine
US: http://amzn.to/1p45slD
UK: http://amzn.to/265w2wo
CA: http://amzn.to/1Xzs9tZ

Categories: authors to watch, book excerpt, book feature, book of the day, books, contemporary fiction, contemporary romance, excerpt, romance, women's fiction | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Book of the Day: Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

By Deborah Fletcher Mello

 

guilty pleasures

Former NBA star Alexander Barrett has slam dunked his career into second gear with the grand opening of his hot new gym in Boulder, Colorado. But his excitement is tempered when his estranged twin brother, MMA title holder Zachary “The Hammer” Barrett returns home from Thailand. Alex has never forgiven Zach for marrying his college sweetheart. And while they’re now divorced, his bitterness lingers.

Zach hoped to re-connect with his brother, but when his personal assistant and trainer, Sarai Montri, arrives, their rivalry is soon reignited. Highly educated, not to mention gorgeous, the former Miss Thailand captivates Alex for the first time since his heartbreak. But Sarai’s devotion to Zach only stirs up the past. Will the brothers’ competitive natures tear them apart once more–with Sarai caught in the middle? …

“Mello dishes up rich emotions, memorable characters, and family intrigue.” –Publishers Weekly on Craving Temptation, Starred Review

“An author who consistently delivers a strong story, complex characters and scorching love scenes.” –RT Book Review

 

Excerpt

Alexander stood beneath the spray of four, bronze-colored, shower heads, the hot water like little piercing needles against his skin. His body hurt, and the heated shower massaging his muscles was welcomed. His early morning workout had been a bear, but the exercise was needed to alleviate the anxiety that had been with him since the grand opening of Champs. As he thought about the hard work and effort that had gone into creating and building his dream gym facility, he wanted to smile but didn’t have the energy or the wherewithal to make the effort.

He was emotionally exhausted, and if he were honest, he didn’t see that changing any time soon. Thoughts of his brother and the woman who’d called the man her friend flooded his mind. Alexander hadn’t been able to stop thinking of either, imagining the unfathomable. How was it possible that his twin had gotten to another woman who’d caught his eye, the two actually living together? For a brief moment he’d been excited at the prospect of taking her to dinner to get to know more about her. There was something about Sarai Montri that he couldn’t quite put a name to that had him curious, and Zachary had once again beaten him to the punch. It felt like high school, and college, all over again.

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About Debra Mello

 

For Deborah Fletcher Mello, writing is as necessary as breathing and she firmly believes that if she could not write she would cease to exist.

Her first novel, TAKE ME TO HEART, earned her a 2004 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Best New Author. In 2005 she received Book of the Year and Favorite Heroine nominations for her novel THE RIGHT SIDE OF LOVE. In 2008, Deborah won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Series Romance for her ninth novel, TAME A WILD STALLION. With the release of her second literary work, GRAYE in 2012 and her fifteenth romance novel, PASSIONATE PREMIERE in 2013, Deborah knows that there are no limits to her writing career.

A true renaissance woman, Deborah’s many career paths have included working as a retail buyer and size model for a national women’s clothing chain, a finance manager for a well-known beverage organization, a sales manager for an infamous candy company, a telecommunications administrator and corporate trainer for a hotel-owning company, an art gallery director for a world-renowned artist, and an administrative consultant for multiple organizations throughout the United States. Deborah is also a licensed real estate broker and general building contractor.

Born and raised in Fairfield Country, Connecticut, Deborah maintains base camp in North Carolina but considers home to be wherever the moment moves her.

Purchase links

http://amzn.to/1TOQ75M

http://bit.ly/1OTLJgf

http://www.harlequin.com/author.html?authorid=1235

Contact Links

http://deborahmello.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahFletcherMello

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/172159.Deborah_Fletcher_Mello

https://twitter.com/debbmellowrites

 

 

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