books

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

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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: , , , , ,

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.

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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: , , ,

The Wanted Lawman: Book Review

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The Wanted Lawman by A.C. Smith

Deputy Jesse Morgan has a dark past and will do almost anything to keep his secrets safe—especially from his fellow lawmen. After all, he’s a wanted man.

But when he’s tasked with helping the sheriff’s sister in law, Cecilia Drake, move to town, the simple task becomes more than he bargained for. The feisty reporter captivates his attention but leaves him feeling betrayed when he discovers his picture published in the local paper—with his name.

Jesse fears it will bring the wrath of the law, or worse, his old gang upon his head. For the last ten years, they have been looking for him and want to settle their score in blood. The safest bet is to get out of town and keep running, just like he’s always done. But he loves St. Elmo, and more than that, he’s fallen for Cecilia. Hard. When a bounty hunter comes sniffing around town, it kicks off a chain of events that could jeopardize the lives of everyone he loves.

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MU1SUQP/

************

My Review:  Jesse is lawman with a secret in his past. It’s a secret that has shaped his present and prevents him from planning his future. He never knows when everything might come crashing down around him, so he lives his life always wondering when his good luck might run out. When he meets Cecilia, the feisty sister-in-law of his sheriff, it sets off a series of events that make it impossible for him to continue on the path he’s on. For the first time, he is thinking in terms of the future and the kind of life he could have if he were able to settle down. Unfortunately, his past is dangerously close, putting him and those he cares about in danger.

The Wanted Lawman is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a historical romance, but so much more. Romance is at the heart of the story, but it’s also a novel about friendship, loyalty, and facing your inner demons. Because of Jesse’s past and the trauma that has shaped who he has become, there are times when he can be ruthless and even dishonest. Though he comes across as cocky to some, there is an underlying insecurity that comes from more than just his fear of being caught. He’s an extremely complex and endearing character who evolves tremendously throughout the story.

Cecilia is a determined, independent heroine who is strong-willed but still vulnerable. She isn’t afraid to show her emotions, nor is she afraid to fight for the people she loves. She drives Jesse crazy – in more ways than one. He finds her infuriating, but infatuating at the same time.

In addition to the two amazing main characters in this book, there are also many secondary characters I absolutely fell in love with, particularly Tracker. He provides much needed comic relief throughout the story, but he also gives us a unique glimpse into Jesse’s character that we otherwise would not see. Tracker and Jesse have a friendship that endures despite challenges that would normally destroy a relationship.

This is the type of story romance lovers will swoon over, but history buffs will love this book too. The story is very well-researched and full of rich descriptions that bring the past and the Colorado landscape to life. Filled with action, adventure, and passion, The Wanted Lawman is a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to book lovers of all kinds.

My Rating:

5 star

Categories: authors to watch, book feature, book review, books, historical fiction, historical romance, new release | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Book Review: One Woman’s Island

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One Woman’s Island (Bequia Perspectives Book 2) by Susan M. Toy

Running away from Canada, Mariana hopes to forget a failed marriage and the death of her husband by embarking on a whole new life. She moves lock, stock, and two cats to the small Caribbean island of Bequia. But the move brings more than she could have imagined. New friends ask her to help solve a recent murder in the expat community. And then there’s the problem of her neighbours, a young woman and her children. Seemingly abandoned by family and friends, Mariana believes they need her help! By becoming involved, Mariana is carried along from wanting to simply “live with the locals” to being overwhelmed by their culture, one so vastly different to what she had left behind in Canada that she doesn’t know who among her expat friends she can turn to for advice. So she carries on regardless and discovers that Bequia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise it had promised to be.

One Woman’s Island is the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives series that picks up again a few months in time after the first novel, Island in the Clouds.

Available on Amazon

My Review:

Recently widowed, Mariana escapes to Bequia for a much-needed retreat. Almost immediately, she is swept up into the lives and dramas of those around her—locals and expatriates. Mysteries abound, from the theft of her personal belongings to the unexplained, sudden deaths of expatriates. Fascinated by her neighbors, she vows to help them, but will this prove to be more of a challenge than she expected?

One Woman’s Island provides a candid look into the small island of Bequia. Mariana and the diverse cast of characters in this book provide a glimpse into a world where expats and locals interact in a very unique way. The hired help often call the shots and while there is interaction between the two groups, there is an unspoken set of rules in the way the locals and expats interact. Mariana, like many expats who have come before her, sets out to help her neighbors, but some of her more experienced friends warn her of the pitfalls of crossing that line. Her North American perspective of right and wrong isn’t necessarily an appropriate guide on Bequia. Western standards and moral codes don’t always apply.

I don’t always agree with the steps Mariana takes on her journey toward self-discovery. She can be stubborn and headstrong, but this is what makes it a good story. The author allows her main character to make mistakes and to face some of her misconceptions head-on. It’s worth mentioning that some of the greatest insights in this book come from secondary characters, and from those whom you’d least expect to carry such wisdom.

This book is definitely worth reading. Thought-provoking and well-written, One Woman’s Island was a captivating and enjoyable read from beginning to end.

My Rating:

5 star

Categories: authors to watch, book of the day, book review, books | Tags: , , , , ,

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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Autumn Reads: Island of Lost Forevers

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When a mysterious island appears off the coast of San Francisco, two intrepid academics risk everything to discover its secrets. Literature professor Catilen Taylor has struggled all her life with the ability to sense others’ emotions. The only person comfortable with her eccentricities is Damian Cooke, who studies an ancient art he calls ‘magic.’

Beyond the military barricade they discover paradise unspoiled by modern advances, ruled by the enigmatic Sentomoru, who invites them to share the wonders of his bathhouse. But as the travelers strive to unravel the island’s secrets, danger stalks their every step. Is the island the paradise it promises? Or does a nightmare lurk beneath the surface?

Island of Lost Forevers Purchase Links:

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About Megan Cutler:

Megan grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania where books offered an easy escape from the mundane life of a rural highway town. She started taking books to the playground with her and, later, started sneaking a second notebook into class to write stories. In 2003 she married the love of her life and moved to Canada, though she has yet to develop proper ice crystals in her blood. Megan started writing full-time in 2011 and has since published three novels and several short stories. Her characters keep her up late and wake her up early, but she loves them anyway.

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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.

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

Need a New Read for Autumn?

There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, especially when the days are short and the nights are longer. When there’s a chill in the air. When that first early snow begins to fall… Oh, who am I kidding? It’s always a good time to read a good book! This week, I’ll be featuring some excellent Autumn Reads. If you’re looking for fantasy or science fiction to fill your lonely bookshelf or e-reader, here’s a sneak peek at the books we’ll be featuring this week:

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New Release: Secret Places Revealed

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By Paulette Harper

Genre: Inspirational Fiction Romance

Single and content, Real Estate Developer, Aaron Blackman is determined not to be in another relationship. His ex Macy, gave him enough heartache to last a life time. The only thing that has his attention right now is his growing business, that’s until Simone Herron comes along. Fighting to keep his promise to himself, he soon learns that when it comes to love some rules are meant to be broken.

After losing her fiancé to an untimely death, Simone Herron is relocating and trying to put the past behind her. A new chapter in her life is what she is hoping for but what happens when her past and her present collide? Will she let the walls she has built come down?

Simone must learn that in order to love again, she must conquer her past fears and allow God to put all the broken pieces together.

Available August 9th! Pre-order on Amazon https://amzn.com/B01G1CP1OA

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About The Author

Paulette is a multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, who writes Christian fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. She has been writing since 2008. Paulette is also the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and as a book writing coach she enjoys assisting aspiring authors navigate through the process of publishing books, marketing and creating an online presence.

Paulette lives in Northern California.

Buy Link

Amazon e-book: https://amzn.com/B01G1CP1OA

Social Links

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/authorpauletteharper

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pauletteharper

Amazon author page: http://amzn.com/e/B004FEJKCQ

Website: www.pauletteharper.com

 

 

Categories: authors to watch, book feature, book launch, book of the day, book release, books, new release, romance, women's fiction | Tags: , , , ,

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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Now available!

Amazon   |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  |  Barnes & Noble

Categories: authors to watch, book deals, book excerpt, book feature, book launch, book of the day, book release, books, new release, women's fiction | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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