Friday, 29 June 2018

Keyed Up: A #Romance #Novel by Laura M. Baird

Wife, mother, former U. S. Army, dental hygienist, and published author. After writing for many years, my publishing dreams came true in 2017, now with eight releases. I hope to provide readers with what I love: emotional romance with contemporary issues, laughter, and a variety of heat. When not writing, I'm a voracious reader. I love connecting and engaging with readers and writers and supporting my fellow authors.

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About the Book

Penelope Dixon is stepping out of the shadows of her father by becoming the resident pianist with the Seattle Symphony. But how will an unexpected reunion with her first love from years ago affect her plans? Composer Sebastian Mauer foolishly pushed aside his love for Penelope, thinking it was for her own good at the time. But one look rekindles the love that never dwindled, and he'll fight for a second chance at their once-in-a-lifetime love.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Penelope had been greeted by several people, and engaged in brief conversation before continuing to roam. Half the tables had already filled, and within the hour, the Symphony’s director, as well as the conductor would be making speeches before the merriment really got underway.

As she began walking toward the window, she continued to scan the room, admiring the women in their beautiful gowns along with their gentlemen partners in their handsome tuxedos and suits. Quiet conversation filtered around her as the melody of “Silent Night”, composed by Austrian Franz Xaver Gruber, added to the festive feeling.

After circling the tree, she stopped in front of the window to admire the snow blanketing the outside, the expanse of white gleaming under ambient light. Penelope then focused on watching the gathering behind her through the reflection of the glass, as if viewing it from another dimension. Patrons lingered, sipping from their flutes of champagne, while others flitted from group to group, making introductions and adding to the conversations.

As she continued to observe, movement caught her eye, and there stood Sebastian, encased in his tuxedo. He looks dashing! She chuckled to herself at her thoughts. And although with the distance she couldn’t see his eyes, she knew they were a light green and were no doubt sparkling. At least they had last night. Dark brown hair waved casually about, giving him a rakish look, as opposed to most of the gentlemen present with styled hair, slicked with gel.

As Sebastian greeted those who approached him, he smiled broadly with his full lips, making his matching dimples appear below his cheeks. The small cleft in his chin was somehow an enticing feature on his smooth face.

Penelope felt herself smiling just watching him, both eager and nervous for him to be near. He continued to slowly make his way throughout the room, and when he came within ten feet of the tree, he looked up, his gaze colliding with hers. She was dazzled by his smile as it grew even wider the longer he stared. She couldn’t help but blush and duck her head, and when she looked back up, he stood right in front of her. Her quick inhale preceded a gasp, and he was quick to apologize for apparently startling her.

“I’m sorry, Penelope, I didn’t mean to startle you. Are you here alone?”

“I am. Father wasn’t feeling up to attending, but insisted I come and enjoy myself.”

“And are you? Enjoying yourself?” She was certain his smile was one of mischief.

“I am now,” she stated boldly. She quickly cleared her throat and rushed on after seeing his brow inch up. “Don’t you think the ballroom looks magnificent? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so stunning.”

Sebastian looked around as if taking in the surroundings for the first time. “Yes, the decorators have certainly done well.” When his gaze landed back on her, his intense look sent shivers across her skin. “But nothing compares to the stunning vision in front of me.”

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

My Life As A Rock Album: A #Romance #Novel by LJ Evans

Award-winning author, LJ Evans, is known for binge reading, binge-watching, and binge writing. She is routinely inspired by music and will pull over the car to write a book scene when a particular song strikes her imagination. Her my life as an album series debuted in 2017 with my life as a country album which won The Independent Author Network’s Young Adult Book of the Year and was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. The second in the series, my life as a pop album, released in January. The third book, my life as a rock album, releases in June 2018. By day she’s a 1st-grade teacher in a public school in California’s Central Valley. By night, she’s a wife, mother, and pillow for the 3 terrors known as cats. Find out more about LJ and her books at

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About the Book

“They took broken and made it art”

I’m a trash artist.
I’m a recovering alcoholic.
I’m a rude bastard.

It’s why I was better of alone until feisty blogger PJ Hensley entered my life with her fairy-like quality. Suddenly I couldn’t imagine a life without her in it. And when she loved me and left me, it was what I expected but it isn’t what I wanted.

And because I couldn’t just let her go, I’ve spent the last five months writing her letters trying to convince her to come home even though I know she won’t. I don’t deserve for her to come back.

I was ignoring my screwed up past and a bunch of stalker-like texts while focusing on graduating college. The last thing I needed was a moody trash artist entering my world. But like all things Seth, he entered my life anyway with an intensity and focus that left me breathless.

And when the summer collided into one big mess, I ran. To try to heal. To try and escape. But Seth’s letters are tearing at my soul and slowly reeling me back in. He’s almost convinced me that he can weld our lives back together into something beautiful. Almost…

From award-winning author LJ Evans comes a novel inspired by Bon Jovi songs that shows how love and acceptance can heal even the toughest scars.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

PJ opens the letter from Seth with trepidation. She’d moved almost three thousand miles away from him on purpose. It wasn’t just to attend grad school. Although that was what she told him and everyone else in her life.

She’d walked way because she’d been drowning.

She’d been lost in a wave of Seth.

She’d been lost in her own past and her own mistakes.

She’d moved to New York so she could breathe.

And she is. Breathing. Living. She’s started school. She’s going out with Haley and Mina without having as many anxiety attacks. She’s enjoying her classes.

It’s why she’d waited two days before opening the letter. She hadn’t been sure she could handle the intensity of Seth. It was why she hadn’t given him her new phone number because she’d known he couldn’t resist calling and demanding that she respond. She’d known his voice would draw her back into the depths of the sea she’d just escaped.

She’d given him the address to the apartment instead. She’d assumed a letter would be safer. That she could read a letter and set it aside without feeling like she had to respond right away, if at all. And, if she was being honest, she hadn’t thought he’d write. Seth, artist that he was, was always a man of few words and letters seemed like more words than he was capable of.

She hadn’t counted on his need for her to counter his lack of communication skills.

As soon as she reads the letter it brings her back to him and everything that happened in the crazy three and half months that they were together.

What she hadn’t expected was to be filled with such longing. Longing to wrap her arms around his muscled torso. Longing to reassure the man with the broken kid inside of him that she did in fact still love him. Longing to feel beautiful, adored, and safe as she always had when she was with him.

But. That longing. All of those feelings. They were exactly why she had left. There was more to her than longing. There was more to her than being Seth’s whole world.

She needs to do this for her. She needs to do this for him. She needs to do this for them.

Monday, 25 June 2018

For the Love of a Gangster: A #Romance #Novel by MD Loveheart

M.D. Loveheart is not one author, but two. A husband and wife from Montana, Mary and Don first began writing together in late 2017 when working on the Konin Romances, a series of books set in the fictional kingdom of Konin. Since then, they have not stopped writing. Their love for romance literature and ancient cultures drives each and every word.

Though one member of the writing duo will have sometimes a stronger voice on a particular project, both actively participate in the writing and editing of each and every novel or story that shares their name.

When Mary and Don are not writing, they enjoy spending time outdoors and visiting their grandchildren.

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About the Book

Giuliani is the most powerful mob boss in the City of Angels... or at least he was until he was found dead in his home.

In the wake, the mob boss's surprise death, the members of Giuliani’s empire scramble to seize control of the organization.

Tony has always been a loyal gangster, but when he finds himself caught in the middle of the mob's squabbles, he no longer cares what his fellow mobsters have to say. He only cares about one thing: a former cop named Rachel, the unlikely love of his life.

Rachel is everything to Tony and when her life is threatened, he will do anything to fight for her.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Melanie walked to the long metal bar that stuck out from a wall in the large room. She had to edge her way around the swirling bodies of the obviously intoxicated people enjoying their night. There were smiling, happy people all around her. She felt a pang of sadness as she watched the crowd. She wanted to be one of them. She wanted to be out at the bar enjoying this night – New Year’s Eve. She desperately wished that her coming year had a bright outlook, but she wasn’t so sure.

This past year had been especially rough. Things at home had been less than ideal with her boyfriend, Chris. Their relationship had started out like a fairytale, but that changed over the three years they had been together. She wasn’t sure if they had just grown apart or if their love had truly ended.

When they met, Chris was charming and confident in himself. It was as if her life had been a romance novel. He wrote poems about her beauty and how much he loved her. He took her on dates that usually ended with them sitting by the lake and enjoying each other’s company and the setting sun. She remembered how handsome he looked in the orange glow as the sun started to disappear behind the skyline.

The night would usually end with them going back to his apartment, which was nothing special, but it was his home and she had always felt honored to be in such a private space. His walls were filled with posters of musicians he loved, though most of them were completely unknown to Melanie. He would sing her love songs while he played his guitar, making her stomach turn flips all the while.

It was easy for Melanie to fall in love with him. She was sure that any woman in her situation would do the same. His good looks were matched by his charming personality. He had a few black tattoos on his forearms and the rest of his body, not too many, but just enough to show his personality through art. His muscles rippled under his shirt and took her breath away when he bore his bare chest. His strong arms had always made her feel safe and comforted.

But without warning, things took a turn for the worst. Suddenly it was if his feelings for her changed while she slept. Gone were the days of music and laughter. Instead, there were arguments and cold shoulders. He stopped playing his guitar for her. He stopped reading her poems and passages from the books that lined his walls. The man that replaced him was a complete stranger.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Leah's Story: A #LiteraryFiction #Novel by C.M. Huddleston

Connie M. Huddleston loved history and dreamed of writing a book even as a child. However, she got sidetracked. She became an Army wife, a mother, an elementary school teacher, an archaeologist, and a historic preservation consultant, before publishing her first book! In 2018, she published her eleventh and twelfth volumes, all dealing with her first love, our nation’s past. Five are fiction, four for children and one for YA/Adult, all under the name C.M. Huddleston. Her other works are histories for adults on a variety of subjects including three about President Theodore Roosevelt’s maternal family.

Now a full-time author, Connie resides in a log cabin near Crab Orchard, Kentucky, with her husband and their Australian Shepherd Katie. They all enjoy the quiet of rural Kentucky. Except when Katie barks at deer, turkeys, and of course, the UPS truck!

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About the Book

Leah's Story tells of an African-American girl born on a rice plantation, who grows up serving her rich owners in Georgia. Her life, like so many others, could have ended there were it not for a bit of education and Emancipation, which gave her, and later her children, opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Told in journal form, taken down by the mysterious “Miss Elliott,” Leah’s personal history comes to life like the tiny birds she carves, revealing a lifetime of love and opportunity amidst a culture filled with hardship, pain, and loss.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

Writing was my childhood dream. I think many avid readers dream of putting their own characters in a book, telling their own story, and becoming known for making people want to read their books. Despite this dream, life got in the way, and I was almost 60 when I printed my first book. Now I have twelve in print!

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

Not until this most recent book, Leah's Story. I was told I was the wrong color to write about slavery. However, I felt that more than twenty years of archaeological and historical research into the South's African-American slave plantations gave me the necessary background to address the subject. My own imagination could fill in the rest.

Where are you from?

Currently, I live in rural Kentucky. I just recently discovered the very rich writing community in nearby Berea, a town and college known for its artistic ventures and support. I am now working to join that community.

Do you have a "day job"?

I'm a retired school teacher, archaeologist, and historic preservation consultant. Now I get to write full time!

What genres do you write?

Nonfiction history for adults. Middle grade, time travel historical fiction and historical fiction for teens and adults - Can you see I love history?

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

I think I'd just better finish up all the books I have started. No new genres for me, although, I joke with my daughter, a science-fiction author, that I'm going to write a steamy romance just so I can make some money!

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Oh, I would be Rose, the female lead in my Adventures in Time books. Rose and Greg can time travel into history. I think that's really every historian's and archaeologist's dream. What better way to explore and learn history than to see it happen.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

How to harness oxen to a wagon! Thank God for YouTube videos!

What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?

Slavery. Even after twenty years of reading first-hand accounts and scholarly research, I often find the information to be heartbreaking.

What authors have most influenced you?

Robert Morgan's "Boone: A Biography" Morgan was/is a novelist and his biography reads like a novel. It showed me how you can transform history into a readable subject.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

Before my first book, I was the author/co-author of over twenty archaeological reports. But I truly felt like an author when, in 2014, I published "Greg's First Adventure in Time." Of, course, winning a gold medal from Literary Classics in 2016 for the book certainly re-enforced that feeling.

What are you working on now?

I am finishing the edits of "Greg's Fourth Adventure in Time" and working on two new historical novels, one middle-grade and one adult.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Veznek: A #SciFi #Novel by Andrew Gates

Formerly an on-site educator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, Andrew Gates is now a Virginia-based science-fiction writer and magazine contributor. He is best known as the author of the Color of Water and Sky series.

Gates has always been fascinated by science-fiction and fantasy ever since he was a kid. His writing style has been compared to that of Isaac Asimov, author of the Foundation series. Gates's multiple POV writing style focuses on world-building and large scope politics. Though his stories take place in a fictional world, his characters are realistically portrayed and grounded in reality.

When Andrew Gates is not writing, he enjoys running competitively and watching films.

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About the Book

Kholvaria has been attacked. Its greatest city destroyed. A cloud of debris now covers the void once filled by Vigilant Behemoth. In the wake of this unexpected assault, the Chiefdom’s leadership is promptly evacuated to a fallback shelter beneath the surface. But the horrors of the Behemoth’s destruction cannot be forgotten. Here in the grimy confines beneath the Earth, Kho Veznek, second-in-command of the Chiefdom, will stop at nothing to claim vengeance on those responsible for his city’s destruction… even if that means going through his own people to do it. As tensions mount between the ranks of humans and Kholvari alike, the fate of the world comes to its ultimate tipping point.

Author’s Warning: This novel contains scenes of graphic sexual trauma and physical torture and is intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

Veznek is the third book in the Color of Water and Sky series by Andrew Gates.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

The biochemist held the stopped vial in his right hand, staring at the vivid color as it gleamed in the light. It looked so pure, like a cloudless sky on a sunny day. It was hard to believe this small sample of liquid could be the key to saving humanity.

It had been too long since there had been any hope.

“It’s beautiful,” Carla added, leaning in over David’s shoulder. She pressed her human hand against his back, comfortingly. “Now just don’t drop it.”

“Very funny, Carla. You know if I dropped this thing, that’s years of research down the drain.”

David carefully placed it back in the tray. Good, he thought, it’s secure.

“I know, I know,” she replied. “I’m just giving you a hard time. I know how much this moment means to you, to the world.”

“It means a lot. That’s why I made a backup. I put it in that case over there,” he said, motioning to a black box on a rack.

“And here you had me worried.”

David removed the safety goggles and turned to face her.

As always, Carla’s robotic left arm was first to catch his eye. It extended well past the sleeve of her lab coat, almost a full hand’s length longer than her natural right arm. The metallic prosthetic came in handy when working with hazardous or heavy equipment. If resources had been what they used to be, David would have gotten the same procedure for himself.

Today Carla wore a lab coat with a pink t-shirt underneath. He always liked the way pink looked on her. It complimented her rosy cheeks and thin lips. Carla’s short brown hair appeared unkempt, suggesting she had gone without a shower for far too long. David guessed his own hair did not look much better.

Vigilant Behemoth
“Now doctor, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were eyeing me up,” Carla noted.

David smiled as he stood to join her.

“Tracking my eye movements, are you? I know you have enhanced vision, but it’s not that good.”

“Oh, you can’t be so sure, mister.”

They leaned in and shared a kiss. Her lips felt soft against his. They held this moment for a few seconds. For the first time in a long time, David felt truly at peace.

“You did it,” she said, congratulating him as they pulled away. “Your formula… it’s done! It’s all done.”

“Mostly done,” David admitted. “Testing on squirrels is one thing. A live human is…” He shook his head. “Very different.”

“It’ll work,” Carla said, reassuringly. “I know it will.”

“It had better,” he replied. For all our sakes.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Broken Lives: A #Mystery #Novel by Cesario Picca

I'm Cesario Picca, I was born and bred in Salento (South Italy) thanks to my parents Francesco and Antonia. For 25 years I worked as a crime and judicial reporter, now I devote my time to my thrillers.

I have already published (2005) the juridical essay Ungagged - the developing concept of freedom of the press.

My love for thrillers blossomed with Murder in the Tremiti Isles (She, the other and death…) in which the main character is a reporter from Salento, Rosario Saru Santacroce, who is involved in a femicide. But you can also find Saru Santacroce in the thrillers Gioco mortale - delitto nel mondo della trasgressione (Because transgress also means dying…), Il dio danzante - delitto nel Salento (It is hard to deal with our own certainties…) and Broken Lives (The monsters from the past destroy the future…), a psychological thriller set in London, dedicated to victims of abuse and inspired by Criminal Minds.

In 2002 I was awarded the Piero Passetti prize for Chronicler of the year. I’m a speaker or moderator at numerous conferences and participate in many radio and television broadcasts.

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About the Book

The monsters from the past destroy the future…

A monster from the past reemerges in the present destroying the lives of three young students and engaging in a fight against time with the promising Scotland Yard detective, Sonny D’Amato, in charge of solving the difficult case. The suffering of someone who as a child doesn’t know about love but suffers only abuse can turn into the worst nightmare when it triggers that dangerous stress factor that makes anger push a person to cross the hellish threshold of no return. Thanks to the precious help of the coroner July Pence, the detective digs in the past in search of the logical thread that will allow him to solve the intricate enigma. He will most likely get the promotion that he feels he deserves, but without being able to rejoice. In fact, his soul will be hostage to the pain emanating from this sad inquiry that will make him lose sight of the difference between the victim and the executioner. Because, as Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being”. Set in London, Broken lives, the new thriller by Cesario Picca, sees once again the reporter from Salento Rosario Saru Santacroce looking for news to inform the readers about these crimes which are worrying a city already wracked by terrorist attacks.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I’m a crime and judicial reporter and I work breathing crimes, murders, thrillers and suspense so it was not difficult to start writing. But I think there’s always a turning point in our life, the right moment to start doing something and I was looking for it. I started in 2004. It was a frozen evening and I was waiting for police to explain what happened in an apartment where an old woman died. The real story turned the beginning on in my mind. So I started thinking about a thriller and I wrote it.

Do you have a "day job"?

Yes. I'm a journalist, I create events, I'm a problem solver so I work with lots of enterprises

What genres do you write?


Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

I love mystery and suspense so I've not still thought about another genre

What inspires you to write?

I’m a crime and judicial reporter and when I write I’m inspired by the reality, by my work, by what I see and I hear, by the life. I love hearing, seeing and feeling what happens around me and I write it in a romance way. I mix real-life experiences and imagination. But I think reality is the most important mine we can draw fully from

What books have most influenced you?

I always read thrillers but as I said the reality is a good mine.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Criminal Minds' creator because inspired me to write the psychological thriller Broken Lives

What are your goals as an author?

I will be very happy if I will be alive, and I can continue to enjoy my life, amusing readers of my thrillers

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

Yes, my family supports me.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

The best compliment is when readers tell you the liked your thrillers.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

I love footing. Until now I have run 12 marathons all over the world. A good way, in my opinion, to relax, feel good, think and avoid putting on weight especially if you love eating and cooking like me. I like travelling and knowing people, new point of view, new cultures, new feelings. In my opinion, the best way to spend money. Then I love reading. In the past I read lots of politics and historical essays, now I prefer thrillers. And, if I can, I love the other half of the sky…

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

I usually read classics and Bible. I don’t have a favorite author. It depends on the moment and on my readings. In the past, I read Edgar Wallace, Ellery Queen, Cornell Woolrich, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Jeffery Deaver, John Grisham, Ken Follett.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I don’t like the policy used by traditional editors. Particularly, I’ve never found a serious or professional editor and so I decided to become an indie author. In this case, I am grateful for the Internet and its revolution which is breaking the mortal grip of traditional editors where a connection can make the difference. I don’t think all indies will become writers like someone say because readers (and market) always give you your real value. But a good prayer and some luck can help to be successful.

What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author?

I think self-publishing is a challenge and I love challenges.

What is your writing process?

I write when I feel the story and I go.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise - A #SciFi #Novel by Paul Briggs

Paul Briggs learned to read and write when he was two, the same time he was learning to talk. He spent the next twenty years learning that nobody talks the same way they write, or vice versa.

He lives in Easton, Maryland, has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is the author of two middle-grade science fiction novels, "Locksmith's Closet" and "Locksmith's Journeys." He is working on the concluding volume of the trilogy, "Locksmith's War." Paul has also written several short plays, two of which ("The Worst Super Power Ever" and "The Picture of Health") have won awards.

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About the Book

An unexpected chain reaction in the climate creates a new weather pattern, bringing devastating floods every autumn after the droughts and heat waves of summer. Follow five people in their struggle with this new environment.

Carolyn Camberg is trying to save America.

Henry Pratt is trying to save his administration.

Isabel Bradshaw is trying to save her family.

Walter Yuschak is trying to save freedom.

Sandra Symcox is trying to save the world.

Who will survive? Who will succeed?

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

“So you’re the analyst,” he said. “What’s your name?”

“Isabel Bradshaw, sir.” Her mind raced. Had Martineau called her in here because he didn’t trust Eveland and the others anymore? Or was it just that the news was so bad he needed to hear it from as many different people as possible before he accepted it?

“Get over here.”

Sketch of Isabel
Isabel stepped over to his desk, trying to ignore the unmistakable aroma of real coffee coming from the cup on his desk. Then she glanced at the computer screen and made an involuntary noise in the back of her throat that sounded like “eep.” The screen was divided into four parts. The silver-haired man watching from the upper right, bronze-framed reading glasses perched on his nose… You have got to be kidding me, she thought. She’d just barely managed to work herself up to speak in front of the governor of Louisiana and the head of the Corps, and now they’d brought in President Pratt himself… and whoever those other three guys were? But then, the ORCS really was that important.

Martineau quickly introduced them. They were the secretary of the interior and the mayors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

“It’s an honor,” she said in a voice that came out a lot smaller than she’d intended. From the looks of the wall behind him, Pratt was on Air Force One right now. She thought about telling him she’d voted for him, but decided not to.

“You’re the one who’s been collecting the info and running the simulations?” said Martineau.


“Tell everybody what the situation is.”

“All right,” she said. “With near one hundred percent certainty, the water will crest over the top of the Low Sill tomorrow. As of noon today, we estimate a sixty-four percent chance some part of the ORCS fails.”

There was a long, long silence after that.

“This is the worst-case scenario, right?” the governor finally said.

Isabel glanced at Martineau, hoping he’d say something. He looked expectantly at her. She glanced at Roth and Horrocks. Roth kept his face neutral. Horrocks shook her head.

Crap. They hadn’t told him. Isabel sighed. For her next trick, she was going to make her career disappear. At least she had a hell of an audience.

“Actually, sir, this is the best-case scenario,” she said.

As one, Eveland and Hickman rose to interrupt.

“What she means is, it’s an aggregate of possible—”

“Our analysts are trained to think in terms of—”

“Quiet,” said Martineau, not loudly but firmly.

As one, Eveland and Hickman shut up.

Martineau stood up and clapped a hand on Isabel’s shoulder. “I want everybody but this young lady out of the room now.”

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Angel of Destruction: A #Fantasy #Novel by Virgil Debique

Virgil is an aspiring author who has travelled extensively and uses his experiences to build fantastic and imaginative worlds for his readers.

Using his own personal experiences and taking inspiration from his travelling, Virgil draws upon everything he has seen in his life to create fantastic worlds and insightful characters. An engineer by trade, Virgil has always enjoyed writing, but only recently found the time to follow his passion.

As a self-published author, he has several stories already available for the Kindle, but he has been concentrating on fulfilling his lifelong dream of publishing a novel. With the novel almost complete and several other ideas sketched out, he is on his way to achieving his goal.

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About the Book

We follow an assassin who was born of deceit and betrayal. Feeling bitter and angry against the world, Salabane decides to find the one responsible and bring him to justice for his actions. So starts his quest, from the floating city of Elysia to the caves in Dhandaruhm, his journey brings him face to face with his enemy. An enemy that has responsibilities to the people, but Salabane’s thirst for vengeance must be quenched.

This book is about those we look up to and how they should be held accountable for their actions. When in power, there is a responsibility to those you are responsible for. ‘If you want to know a man’s worth, ask not his equal, but those beneath him.”

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Salabane, a character from the book:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

Apparently, I was born in a small village called Lohlin. My earliest memories are of growing up in the Sanctuary with the priests.

Did you have a close relationship with your family?

I never knew any of my family growing up. For years I had assumed I was an orphan, my family gone.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

I don’t really have any. My time at the Sanctuary was pleasant and I was taught a lot, but there wasn’t really any time for fun. There were always chores to do.

Who was your best friend growing up?

I never had any, but if I had to choose, it would be the priests who taught me.

Who is your enemy?

My enemy is still unknown to me, but I will find him. It is the thing that drives me. He took away my chance of a normal life. He took away my family and made me what you see before you.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

My world is like most other worlds. We have kings and queens, witches, sorcerers, good people, bad people and then we have those that watch down on us from above. The angels.

Me? I’m just a small person in a large world looking for revenge. On my quest, I will have to face those who most people fear.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

That you can only depend on yourself. Trust no one and hold no one close to you.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone?

We all have secrets, it’s part of being human. Unlike most, my secrets are too horrific to discuss in polite company.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?

I would change everything. I was made this way through circumstance and brutality. I would want parents and friends, but that is never going to happen.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

I hope that happens after I have found my enemy. My only goal in life is to find the one who made me and hold him accountable.

Monday, 11 June 2018

The Illumination Query: A #SciFi #Novel by Sarah Baethge

I was born in Houston in 1982. I grew up in Texas and Louisiana. I was an intern for Lockheed-Martin out of high school and got to work on computers at NASA Houston. I graduated with a national merit scholarship in 2000. In November of 2000 I was in a car wreck that left me in a coma for 6 months. After waking, I have written and self-published short fantasy and science-fiction stories.

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The Eclipse is a company of evil.

Ronald Carpenter finds himself stuck helping them after they assist him.

Dr. Nigel Hunter gets caught up in mad experiments for The Eclipse, and doesn't know how he can escape once the company turns on him.

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To regard bats as evil is silly, or so I’d always thought. However, when I came upon that dark shrieking, flapping cloud of shadows, the parts of my life that I’m most ashamed of started.

Before I ever got into business with The Eclipse, most people who saw me at work would say I was a zookeeper. I worked at The Central Park Zoo, in New York City. I might not have ever studied as a vet, but I probably do know some less ordinary bits of animal care that are slightly beyond what is needed for your everyday pets.

I suppose some would have no qualms with calling me a trainer, but I didn’t really train anything. That sounds to me more like what you would call someone who is putting together circus or theme-park shows.

I have actually heard some people say that using animals in such a way is cruel, but those performance animals are generally more loved and better cared for than many a child’s small pet in a cage (you know, that fish or hamster who can get left alone to starve if, perhaps, it’s owner might become a little distracted by something unrelated...)

Because I can usually get along well with animals myself, I was more than happy to spend my time working to provide the feeding and cleaning up that their comfort and display requires. Sure I dealt with escapes a time or two, on a need-be basis- if and when it happened, but dealing with escapes could hardly even be listed as the description of what my job was.

And while you could say that my successful escapee-recovery efforts ultimately led to the change there was in my career, you might also argue that the resourcefulness I used in my problem-solving chained me inescapably into serving as a zookeeper wherever it was that I finally ended up.

My name is Ronald Carpenter. Back at that time, I’d lived in New York for all of my life. I happened to be working, like I said, at The Central Park Zoo, at the time when I first noticed that something had changed in my working environment. On that day, I had one of those automatic split-second thoughts that I felt slightly reluctant to try explaining to someone else.

Don’t make me ask you to get your mind out of the gutter- my thought can hardly be construed as anything other than innocent. The idea that whizzed through my head as I heard the short motor run for the automatic bat-enclosure food-dispenser was: ‘That sounds too green.’

Friday, 8 June 2018

Texas Banker/Oklahoma Hunter: A #Narrative #Nonfiction Book by Ken Mixon

Ken Mixon was raised in Atoka, Oklahoma and graduated from Atoka High School in 1974. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University and graduated in 1977 with a degree in business administration. He has an extensive career in banking that began in 1977 as an auditor with First National Bank in Oklahoma City. From there he worked at a variety of different banks and concluded when he became President and CEO of City National Bank in Corsicana Texas, where he remains today.

Ken is a member of First Baptist Church in Richardson and is very proud to be a Rotary member in Corsicana. One of his biggest passions is being involved in selecting the high school senior to receive the Corsicana Rotary Scholarship each year. Ken is a big fan of the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys, and Oklahoma Sooners. He enjoys hunting and fishing and being with family and friends.

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Who do you think of when you think of a banker? Perhaps you think of the bankers trying to foreclose on Kevin Costner's farm in Field of Dreams? Bankers are usually portrayed as jerks who are trying to foreclose on widows and orphans. I have been a banker for nearly forty years and I want to show you some different sides to one banker - me.

I come from a family of storytellers, from my father's mother's family, the Gillhams. When a Gillham told a story at the campfire, you could feel the heat of the sun beating down and hear the calling of an owl just as if you were there.

The stories in this book are half from banking and half from my hunting, my dogs, and my childhood. Some of the stories are humorous, some are serious, and some are a little of both. As you read, you will hopefully share my puzzlement as I listen to a loan request, feel the pounding of a buck's hooves on the dirt as it gallops toward me, and hear my father's whistle. If you do, I have accomplished my goal in writing this book.

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I discovered Roy’s con game when I reviewed a loan that the Garland bank had made three years earlier. The customer, Bill, had retired from a major corporation after working there for forty-five years. Bill had a nice retirement plan and he had managed to save quite a bit of cash over his lifetime. Bill had always wanted to own his own business and that is how he met Roy in 1985.

Roy had purchased a closed car wash a year earlier. He had replaced the equipment and put the eight bay, self-service, car wash for sale for $500,000.

Roy met with Bill and Bill agreed to purchase the car wash for $475,000. Bill came to the Garland bank and agreed to put 20% down ($95,000) so he could get the loan. He had a great credit score of 800 and a significant personal financial statement so he got the loan.

I got involved with Bill and this loan three years later. Bill came into the bank a few months after I became president of the bank. Bill sat down with me and explained that the car wash was not bringing in enough money to pay half of the payment on what was now a $345,000 loan. He had been withdrawing cash from his savings for three years in order to pay the bank. He said he did not want to default on the loan, but that he had exhausted his savings and that he did not see any other alternative. He was a good man and he was ashamed to be in the situation he was in.

We foreclosed on the car wash. It took me some time to piece together what had happened, but I did figure it out eventually.

Roy’s staff greatly inflated the income that the car wash would produce. Neither Bill nor the bank nor the appraiser had any expertise in car washes so no one questioned the income information. Later, I figured out that Roy had under $200,000 invested in the car wash when he sold it so he made a profit of $275,000 on the sale.

In Bill’s case, he purchased a car wash for $475,000 that should have sold for a price closer to $225,000 (based on the actual income figures we had after he owned it three years). Bill was a good man who was fleeced by an excellent con man.

If the cash flow projections had been based on real numbers, it would have been clear that the car wash could not provide the income to pay a loan of $380,000. The appraisal, based on real numbers, would have been closer to $225,000 rather than $475,000. Roy had figured out how to “game” the banking system.

Roy discovered that he could con the buyer and the bank if there were five key things in place when a buyer was purchasing a business from him. The keys were that (1) the purchaser had to have good credit, (2) the buyer had to have at least 20% cash to put down on the purchase, (3) the business had to have no current verifiable income figures, (4) the purchaser must have no experience in the particular business he is purchasing and most importantly, (5) Roy’s staff had to inflate the projected income to a number that would cover the payment at least 1.25 times.

The most amazing thing about this story is that Roy continued to con people in this manner for the next thirty years. In each case, it appears his company would use the same inflated projected income approach as well as the other keys mentioned above. He and his company would get sued on occasion when the businesses failed, but he continued to play his con game. You may wonder what finally stopped him after all those years? He died.

I would not wish death on anyone. Roy took people’s dreams of owning their own business and turned it into nightmares. He cheated many fine people and cost banks in North Texas millions of dollars in losses. He will not be missed by me.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

War Party: An #Action #Adventure #Novel by J Drew Brumbaugh

J Drew Brumbaugh lives in northeast Ohio where he spends his time writing sci-fi, fantasy and suspense novels, teaching, and training at the karate dojo he and his wife founded, building a Japanese garden in his backyard, and taking walks in the local metro parks. He has five novels in print, a collection of short stories, and a co-authored children’s book. He continues to work on his next book and seems to always have several stories in various stages of completion.

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A terrorist plot is underway on American soil. There are clues but the FBI remains several steps behind the sleeper cell. A determined journalist has clues too but can’t zero in on where or when the terrorists will strike. The only one who knows what is about to happen is a Native American high school boy who saw it in a vision. Who will believe him? What can he do?

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Chapter 1
Paiute Reservation, Utah, Thursday the 9th, Early Evening

Tommy Galiwee gripped the horse's ribs firmly with his knees and raised himself up high enough to scan the landscape ahead. His dark eyes burned with fire, his long black ponytail swished in the hot, dry breeze that kissed his dark cheeks, cheeks that already bore traces of weather lines. Legends of Geronimo filled his head. For the moment, Tommy envisioned himself as a proud warrior contemplating his enemy and the ensuing battle. Somewhere hiding among the rocks up the dry wash the white cavalry waited in ambush. An adrenaline rush surged through Tommy's veins. The thrill of battle seized him as it did every time he fought the enemy in Cavalry Canyon.

Glancing behind him at the imaginary war party waiting for his signal, he raised his right arm high, holding his bow proudly overhead. With a loud war whoop, he dug his heels into Chief's flanks and the dusty tan, old mustang charged down the dry riverbed. The horse still had some spunk in him and, drawing intensity from his youthful rider, was momentarily transformed into the warhorse of Tommy’s fantasies. While his body rose and fell in tune with the galloping horse, Tommy deftly brought his bow down to ready position. Expertly he pulled an arrow out of his handmade deerskin waist pouch and nocked it in his well-used Bear 60-lb compound bow. He drew back ready to fire on the first white soldier he saw.

Griping the modern bow, Tommy wondered whether the Apaches could have held off the white onslaught a bit longer if they had had bows like this.

Down the deepening draw they flew, the walls climbing up around them. Interspersed between the gray, dried scrub brush, black boulders of volcanic rock littered the dry riverbed forming a natural obstacle course. Tommy loved to race through the twists and turns on Chief’s back. The pair dashed down the center of the wash, gliding left then right as they weaved around the bigger rocks. Chief flowed over smaller rocks in the middle of their path, sailing over them as if he could fly. The faithful horse drew strength from somewhere; his old bones always seemed to grow younger when Tommy took him out for war games. Maybe the horse, too, dreamed of battle.

Monday, 4 June 2018

State of Grace: A #Romance #Novel by Elizabeth Davies

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There's usually death...

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A time-travel vampire romance.

Grace has a terminal brain tumour and will die in the next few months. Roman has an addiction to blood, and could possibly live forever.

Grace is twenty-seven years old. When they meet in the twelfth century Roman is several hundred years old.

And Grace has another problem - she's from his future and neither of them believe it.

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I didn’t need to open my eyes to know I was in the little bed in the cottage. I didn’t need to open my eyes to know I was alone. I knew what he was. All the pieces of the puzzle that was Roman fell into place and I accepted it with ease, surprised at how little fear I felt.

When I stretched, my bruised muscles protested. My throat was sore from Godfrey’s near strangulation, my stomach was tender from his punch, and my head ached, but I’d never felt so good, so absolutely at peace.

It was still daylight and I speculated on how long I’d slept. Although time appeared immaterial here, I missed the comfort and predictability of my watch. My life had been so bound by time I found it difficult to let go of the inexorable motion of the minute hand. It seemed important to know the hour, yet knowing the time was the least of my worries.


The knowledge echoed in my mind, lying in wait to ambush me when I tried to think about something else, catching me unawares. I analysed my conclusion, probing it for weak spots; he was incredibly fast – check; unnaturally pale – check; stronger than any human had a right to be – check. And he drank blood.

My hand strayed to my left breast. I gingerly touched the twin holes his teeth had made in my fragile skin. To my surprise they were partly healed. I craned my neck to look, pushing down the scratchy blanket. Yup – if I didn’t know better I would have thought they’d been made a few days ago. I wished I had a mirror because straining hurt my neck. It also made me cross-eyed.

I thought some more.

He was incredibly handsome, and the attraction was far more than just good looks. Wasn’t that supposed to be one of the signs of a vampire? Perhaps that was why there weren’t any mirrors in the cottage, because of the reflections. I put a tentative tick in another box.

I hadn’t seen him eat or drink anything, except me. And he had a sort of ‘alien-ness’, an other-worldliness about him. They both did. If Roman was a vampire, then Viktor had to be one, too. Then there was all that talk about ‘their kind’ and ‘humans’, and the mention of living for centuries. Weren’t vampires supposed to be immortal?

Friday, 1 June 2018

Drunken Angel: A #Suspense #Thriller by Charles Stoll

Charles Stoll was born on Long Island in 1956. He began to write seriously at sixteen as therapy when several friends died in a fire. In high school, he won a national award in writing (N.C.T.E.) and was granted a scholarship to Syracuse University. Charles was in the Honors Program and joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. A favorite writing professor challenged him to write three books in three years to hone his writing skills. He accomplished that goal forty years later when life stopped interrupting.

“My pet peeves: books I feel that I’ve read before, that repeat the same ideas ad nauseum, that don’t answer questions they pose and that have characters that are blatantly good or bad. In my books, I try to place all the truths I have discovered in my own life. My characters have not only bodies, but minds and spirits and their own philosophy of life. The novels all offer fresh perspectives, insightful observations and a deeper message. My objective is to leave the reader with a deeper sense of the wonder and the mystery we call life.”

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Daisy Perlman is the uneducated, unloved daughter of a whore. Lacking any comfort or trust in her life, she develops a philosophy of life from her walks through the woods. She makes many mistakes due to her circumstances, including murder, but she becomes the best-loved murderer and one of the most respected citizens in the town of Marmalade. Drunken Angel is the story from the eyes of a serial killer who regrets her actions later in life when she knows better. But it is precisely Daisy’s ignorance of the civilized world and her lust for life that will make you love her, too.

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* 1985 – Age 72 *

The old man sputtered and pointed a liver-spotted finger toward the door. "Get out of my room and let me die in peace." He sniffed at the air as if the sanitized smell would kill him.

"You don't mean that, Old Man," his niece said, mascara running down her cheek. “I'm too old to take your crap anymore.”

"Maybe it's my fault. I've always protected you from reality. I should have let you face the monsters that were always there." He mimicked a menacing animal to make her laugh. He realized she was forever lost to him.

She remained stoic. "You were the only monster I faced. If it weren't for you, I wouldn’t be walking with a limp today.” She pulled a hanky from her purse and blew into it.

“Stop your fucking crying. I wish you didn't react that way to every fucking little problem. I couldn’t just let you wind up a spineless faggot. You were too stupid to know how people would’ve treated you.”

“How dare you?” She spat at the man and threw her tissue at his face. Then she composed herself and faced him. “This is your last chance for forgiveness. I was the only member of the family who was willing to speak with you, but even I am at wit's end. So, if there're any regrets you wish to relay to your family, tell me now.”

"Yeah, my whole fucking life was regrets. None of it went the way I planned. Any satisfaction I ever got was cheap and fleeting. Your aunt was the bane of my existence. She demanded things I couldn't provide."

He looked around the pleasantly furnished room as if he was in hell. His niece nervously shuffled her feet, avoiding direct eye contact with him. He strained to lift himself up in the bed, but his muscles felt paralyzed. He continued, "I'm not sorry about what I did, Anna. I was the only one who had the balls to stop you before you made a big mistake."

Her face reddened, and she slapped the man hard. “You don't get to say that anymore. If I had the strength, I'd strangle you myself, right now. But it's better I just go and never think of you again. It's up to Daisy now to do the rest.” She started toward the door.

"What the hell do you mean by that? And who the hell is Daisy?" His face began to sweat profusely.

Her silence was his answer. Then her eyes darted nervously about the room, her face full of resignation. "Listen, is there anything I can get you before I leave?"

"No! It's a little late to start paying attention to my needs now. Just leave me here to die.”

His hand reached out for her, but she remained by the door. His speech grew more distant, but impassioned. “I only wish to know what lies on the other side now. Either I will fade into oblivion or all the answers to life's questions will be revealed to me." He looked giddy, repressing laughter. "I'm going on life's greatest adventure, far more daring than anyone can go on in this physical life." He laughed out loud and stared right through her. "But all of us take the ultimate trip in the end. Are you even a little bit jealous? Want to come with me?"

"You are a piece of work. You always manage to take me to a darker place. You never knew what love was." She fell into a chair and wept uncontrollably. “At least, I’ve found love in this world with Angela.”

He snorted. "You’ll never learn. Girls shouldn’t be with girls. But you’ll just continue to sniffle and blubber your way through life. Just acknowledge what has happened and move on.” He shot her a look of disgust and then looked away. “Most of all, never lie to family.”

"Sometimes people lie to you for your own protection," she cried.

"The truth doesn't always take you where you need to go. Sometimes, it just leads to pain…or even death.”

"You still should have told me—"

She walked back to the bed and reached over to grab his hand, but he pulled it away. “There are times when you just have to let others make the important decisions for you. I learned long ago I could never trust you."

"Not this place. I don't deserve this."

"It's for the best, Mr. Hoffman," she said.

"You should have told me—"

"I forgive you."

She ran from the room past Daisy Perlman who was lingering by the door, nodding her head in sympathy for the words she had overheard. Daisy, a large formidable woman with short orange curls and an innocent-looking face full of freckles that belied what lay beneath, entered the room and approached the man on the bed.

A frail, thin woman with short black hair accompanied her. She darted behind the man as Daisy commanded his full attention. The old man attempted to raise himself up on one arm to confront the larger woman. With nimble dexterity, the thin woman injected a small syringe into his left arm. He fell back and lay unconscious.

“Now you will be more compliant,” Daisy said.