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You have made it all the way here, so you may as well sit down, take a minute to look around, and enjoy. What you will find, depends on the day and my mood. You just never can tell.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Captain's Sortie - Blog Tour


Welcome to another week at my blog.  I've been gone the last few weeks enjoying a very much needed holiday away from it all.  But like all grand things, my holiday must end and so here I am, back to the ole grind of life.  





This week, I'd like to welcome author, Mike Fuller, to my blog.  He has a new book release, that I'd like to share with you.  As with most blog tours, make sure to comment, as Mike will give a digital copy of Captain's Cross to one randomly drawn commenter.



Title: Captain's Sortie
Deland Sea And Land Adventure Novel Book 2
ISBN: 978-1-62420-300-8
Author: Mike Fuller
Genre: Historical, Action, Adventure
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2



TAGLINE
Captain Ben Deland sails north from the Caribbean to join the English and provincial forces moving to stop the French from control of the frontier. But Ben becomes the only hope for the rescue of loved ones snatched by Indian and French raiders.


BLURB
The American colonial frontier is at war and stained in the blood of farmer and soldier alike. French generals have filled the land with armies of white uniformed troops and their north woods Indian allies. No one is safe from the perils of this conflict that seems to have no end. Captain Ben Deland sails north from the warm Caribbean with more than one mission to accomplish. The war is not going well for the British and Americans in the late winter of 1758 and Ben once again must lead his loyal crew ashore and into the dangerous forests and mountains to face the French and Indians.
But the British have undertaken a great task to stop the French from overwhelming the Hudson and splitting the colonies in two. Captain Deland is drawn to their aid and then has to launch a desperate rescue into the dangerous wilderness filled with enemies to find the victims of the war raging all around them.
Sea and shore action and adventure told through the stories of the men and women who face overwhelming obstacles and evil characters. Real history mixed with rich descriptive portrayals of nature and man set in the violence and uncertainty of war on the colonial frontier. Another thrilling novel from the author of Captain's Cross.


EXCERPT
Thomas had done the same thing when he was younger. He lay next to Paul just behind a moss-covered log. He could see Paul’s hand quiver just a little as the boy cocked the hammer of his short rifle. Thomas had been surprised and a bit overwhelmed when Ben presented an almost identical rifle to him years ago. Thomas had since outgrown it and now had his own full sized long rifle. So, it was his turn to pass along to Paul the knowledge of the mountains as Ben had done to him before.

“Just where the shoulder rounds over the front leg,” Thomas whispered. The shot would drop a little over the distance and put the ball in the vital spot of the doe whitetail on the opposite bank across the stream. “Take a breath and let part of it out. Just touch the trigger, don’t pull it…”

The little rifle roared and through the smoke Thomas could see the doe crumple to the ground. Paul tried to see where the deer had gone and rose up on his knee to look over the smoke. As he started to move over the log, Thomas reached out and put a firm hand on Paul’s shirt.

“What did you forget?” Thomas had heard the same thing from Ben in the past.

Paul looked at Thomas for a moment and then frowned. “Yes, Sir, to reload.” Paul stood and began the process of powder and ball, finishing with priming the pan of the flintlock. It took longer than Thomas would like, but the lad was still learning.

The meat from the doe would fill out the load on their pack horses and send them back to the smoke camp. Paul was out with Thomas on this trip. Paul had been sent out with several members of the crew, each adding their own woods wisdom to his education. The summer was full and they had to be careful where they stepped as they moved through the thick forest. There were other hunters in the warm woods now and some of them had very poisonous fangs.

Ben was less than a mile north of them and leading the mare and his pack horse down a ridge following an Indian trail too narrow and overgrown to ride atop the mare. Horses were sometimes more of a burden in the thick woods and Ben decided he would leave the mare behind next trip and only walk with the pack horse.
The warm southerly wind carried the sound of the gunshot to him and he stopped for a moment trying to place the direction of the sound. He listened for any follow on shots, but none came. The meat they brought in was feeding boat builders and soldiers south of them at the head of the Mohawk. They would have to move soon. 

The army was loading the boats on wagons and going to the west. Another part of the war was off to the northeast. The French and the British fought over the lakes and forts there without much progress for several years. The farmers on the frontier suffered the most though. Raids from the north continued with bloody results. The French relied upon their Indian allies and did little to hold back their murder and torture. Thomas had lost his family to it.

Ben kept moving. He likely would cross with the shooters when they got closer to the smoke camp. The summer heat meant that they had to turn around their hunts quickly lest the meat spoil. It was good they were moving west again to new hunting territory. They would have to venture farther every day that they took game around the camp.

Just the smallest bit of red color in the distance ahead brought Ben to his knee and the long rifle up and aimed at the spot. He dropped the leather rein to the mare and slipped sideways into the thicker brush aside the narrow trail. It would hurt his soul if the mare took a ball meant for him, but that may have to be. With skill refined to the highest level over twenty years in the woods, he moved toward the swatch of color angling out away from the horses.

The red swatch was joined by another of a less bright hue and another of gray feather. The top dressings of northern woods Indians. He counted three, but knew more could be just behind these three. It would come to confrontation soon. They had not seen the mare and pack horse yet, but in only a few more steps…

~ * ~

Draco had the scent. The wolf dog appeared just as Paul was tying off the meat on the pack horse and circled the small piece of forest the two men and four horses occupied. Thomas stopped his digging at the front foot of the gelding and let the hoof drop back to the ground to watch the dog.

“Something’s wrong,” was all that Thomas said before he mounted and slipped the buckskin cover from his short rifle. He tapped the gelding’s sides with his moccasins and the horse was gone into the trees in only a moment behind the dog. Paul was confused, but regained his thoughts and gathered the leads of the pack horses and once on his own horse, set off after Thomas.

Thomas hadn’t gone far to the north when he pulled the gelding to a standstill. Draco was walking with his nose to the ground and the gray and black hair standing almost straight up on his back. Dismounting and loosely tying the horse to a sapling, Thomas followed on foot. Each step was thought out. It slowed him, but he knew silence was putting favor to his cause. He still carried the short rifle. He lost little in range and nothing in caliber with the smaller weapon. In the thick woods, he was satisfied his first rifle served him well. A turned leaf, an oak dropped this spring after the winter, showed the wetness from its underside where a careless foot pulled it over revealing passage. Thomas examined the forest floor and was able now to see the slightest trace of a game trail. Another leaf and a thin branch pulled forward then caught in the crook of another betrayed more of the man or men that had moved through. Not many White men would leave so little of a path behind. These were woodsmen, White or no.

Thomas scarcely breathed and within a few more steps saw Draco down on his belly and pointing his nose straight ahead. Only the soft swish the small breeze made as it passed through the upper leaves added to the stillness. Not a bird sound. Something or someone, more likely, was just beyond the pines blocking the way. Thomas tried to will his eyes to see through them, but it would not be.

It happened together. Paul crashed ahead through the trees from behind leading the horses atop his own and Draco lunged just as an Indian showed himself through the pine boughs and fired his musket past Thomas’s head toward Paul. The Indian died only a second later and Thomas hesitated deciding if he was to reload the rifle or go after Draco with his pistol and sword.

The sound of the dog roaring, as only Draco could do, within the pines and Paul hitting the ground with a cry of pain gave Thomas no choice. He spun and covered the distance to Paul and as he got close enough to see the boy awash in blood, he heard a gunshot then another from the pines. Thomas grabbed Paul’s collar and drug him back behind the horses scooping up Paul’s short rifle as he passed. A thick beech sheltered him as he put his body between Paul and the pines and began to reload his own rifle.

“Where?” he whispered to Paul. He heard no answer and did not dare take his eyes from the place the Indian had emerged. Thomas nudged Paul’s shoulder and said again, “Where?”

“In the pine trees, Thomas. The Indians are…” Paul coughed and went silent. Thomas meant to learn of Paul’s wound, but the boy went past that to the threat before them.

Thomas had his rifle reloaded and judged the distance to the long rifle in the scabbard on the gelding behind them. With both short rifles, his pistol and his long rifle, he could answer well for them. But then he had Paul to deal with. He took time to look down at the boy curled up beneath him in the lee of the beech. There was a lot of blood on the boy’s summer shirt. Most of it was near his waist and on the right side.

“I know where they are. Are you still with me, Paul?” Thomas again whispered.

“It hurts, Tom. So bad. My side hurts.”

The Abeneki was only about Thomas’ age and had a war club in his hand as he burst from the trees toward them. Thomas was looking down at Paul and could not see the look of pure and concentrated rage in the Indian’s eyes. The sound of the Indian’s buckskins against the pine boughs is what drug Thomas back into the fight, but it was too late to bring the short rifle to bear. Thomas was knocked backward and was underneath the warrior before he could even begin to defend himself.

The Indian swung the club down and caught the flinching Thomas with a glancing blow to the side of his head. Thomas felt the strike, but it didn’t hurt. He was too full of fight himself by then and the Indian was launched up and over Thomas, the club falling away. The warrior was well trained and rolled to his feet with a rather substantial trader’s knife in his hand. Thomas reached for the pistol in his belt, but it was gone and he didn’t bother searching for it, instead coming to his feet with the short sword in his hand.

More snarling dog sounds came from behind, but Thomas was otherwise occupied at the moment. The Abeneki did not know that Thomas’ family had been butchered by Abeneki raiders when Thomas was only thirteen. It may have not made a difference, but it did to Thomas. With a fierceness that overwhelmed the Indian, Thomas charged and swung the sword at the very last moment. The Indian died as his body hit the ground, the sword finding the heart of the attacker and ending the fight.

Thomas dove back to Paul and scooped up his rifle, ready for the next threat. But only a bloody faced Draco appeared followed a moment later by Ben and three Mohawk warriors.

AUTHOR:
Mike Fuller





Keywords: history, action adventure, colonial America, war, French and Indian War
Twitter: @mikefullerwrite

Tuesday, June 27, 2017





This week I'd like to welcome, Julie Beekman, the author of Two Trees to my blog as one of her stops for her tour. For Julie's blog tour, she will give a digital copy of Two Trees to one randomly drawn commenter. 





Title: Two Trees
ISBN: Ebook 978-1-62420-326-8
Print     978-1546754114
Author: Julie Beekman
Genre: Memoir/Trauma/Adoption/Therapy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: Mention of sexual abuse

TAGLINE
Children who experience trauma always need an advocate.


BLURB
Julie is adopted by the Beekmans in the late 1960’s and at first, brought up in the idyllic town of Grand Haven, Michigan. When her father dies, her mother, Marge decides to sell everything, leave town and provide Julie and her brothers with some “cultural awareness” which includes enrolling Julie in an all black school in the south. Over the years, Marge becomes more abusive and ultimately Julie seeks help. She begins to confide in a young Art Therapist who helps uncover a barrage of secrets. While the book covers some dark times and tragedy, there is a strong sense of humor running through it that will keep the reader reading to see just how Julie manages to pull through it all, not only in one piece, but as an adult well able to survive in this world.


EXCERPT
I don't remember the baby showers family and neighbors threw for Marge after the Beekmans adopted me, or that I refused to eat anything other than lima beans. I was nine months old when Warren and Marge brought me home. I listened to stories about how it all came to be. "We kept having boys and, after three, I just wanted a girl, so bad." These were the moments when I loved listening to Marge, when she was just being my mom. 

She was endearing and it reminded me she meant to love me. "I just told the caseworker we wanted a girl with blue or green eyes. I mean, no one in our family has light eyes!" she explained dramatically. The speech was always the same; Marge telling me it took four years for the adoption agency to approve them, that I cost three-hundred and fifty dollars.

"When we went to visit with you for the first time, you were wearing a little pink dress. You held out your arms to Warren and said, Da Da." She raised her arms out and made a face that looked helpless. "We knew then, we just had to have you." She seemed to always refer to him as Warren and not my dad.

"Did Randy, Scot and Dan want a sister?" I asked like it was the first time I heard the story.

"Oh, of course." Marge lit a cigarette, took a short drag, and then held it near her coffee mug. I hated when she just held her cigarettes and didn't smoke them or take the time to tap the ashes into the ashtray, because I couldn't focus on her. I could only stare at the long cylinder of ash, wondering when and where it would fall. 

"We came home after meeting you and told the boys all about you. We were especially concerned when it came to Danny because he was only five and used to being the youngest." Marge took a sip of black coffee without the slag of her smoke even moving slightly, although I could see the slight orange glow move fast toward her fingers. "I don't want to be the youngest, Mama! I want a sister, is what he told me." Marge pushed her cheeks out to imitate her idea of what Dan looked like when he was a kid and she laughed. "He was so damn cute! All you kids..." She smiled, stamped out her cigarette and looked far away like it had been some other lifetime and now she was let down. It felt the same to me because I didn't remember any of it.

My first memory is my third birthday and that Grandma Beekman made me a cake in the shape of a lamb. The white sugared icing was thick and billowy, like wool. The lamb's eyes stared back at me with chocolate glare. It was also the first year of many that Grandma made me a baby purse. She washed out old dish detergent bottles, cut out the bottom half and punched holes along the edges. Then she crocheted the holes so that she could build a purse with drawstrings from the plastic base. She showed me how to pull the drawstrings and yarn over the plastic sides, to reveal a crib with a tiny doll baby inside. The crib had a pillow and knitted blanket, too. She demonstrated over and over. It seemed she rather liked talking about her own creations and it drove Marge over the edge sometimes. Thankfully, Marge allowed Grandma to stay on my birthday and the cake didn't end up on the floor.

Grandma didn't come over too often. My dad would go to her house every week and sometimes take us kids. I especially liked to go, because Grandma gave us sugary treats and we rarely got sweets. Once, I spent the whole day with Grandma and we made church window cookies. We melted butter and chocolate, stirred in mini colored marshmallows, rolled everything out into a log coated with coconut, and refrigerated it in wax paper. Once the cookies were chilled, we sliced the log to find all the colors like on a stained-glass window. Grandma cut a lot of slices for me to take home.

When Marge picked me up and we headed for the car, she threw the bag of cookies into a snowbank. "How many times do I have to tell you and that woman, no sugar. You're fat enough!"

I huddled against the passenger door on the way home.

Wherever I wandered, there was Blackie. Blackie was adopted about a week after I was. She was the runt from a litter of short-haired mutts. She was a sweet little dog that, right from the start, tried jumping into my crib. She ate everything I didn't want and protected me as best she could. At night, she slept under my covers and growled when anyone entered my room.



AUTHOR BIO AND LINKS:
Julie Beekman is an avid runner, hiker and skier and lives in Boulder, Colorado with her dog, Francesca. 

Website: Authorjuliebeekman.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Unmasked - Blog Tour Stop



Welcome to another week.  This week I have Maggie Mundy on my blog as part of her blog tour for her new release, Unmasked.  She will be giving away one copy of her new release to a random commentor along her tour.  So, what that means is, comment!  What do you have to loose? 



Title: Unmasked
Author: Maggie Mundy
ISBN EBOOK: 978-1-62420-323-7
ISBN POD: 978-1547054831
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4


TAGLINE
Corrupted magic is hard to fight when you’re the only one who believes something is wrong. Daria faces a battle to save her world.


BLURB
Six hundred years of peace are destroyed when Daria’s settlement is attacked. It is the start of problems for the land of Majura. Daria saves people with magic and must join the magic wielding Mask wearers who rule the land. Her dreams have warned if she became one it would be the end of Majura. Are the Mask wearers keeping secrets or is she the only one who can see the power in the land is changing. A Mask wearer called Alenze believes her and offers to go on a quest with her to fix the Essence where the magic comes from, but he is keeping secrets from her that could be the death of them all.

EXCERPT
If most of the other Masks were like Alenze, then she was never going to fit in. He didn't have a hair out of place. His clothes were grey but of the highest quality, with a beautifully fitted long tunic and breeches and well-made knee-high leather boots.

"During the travelling, you'll be placed in a trance. This is done so you're not alarmed by the experience. I'll be in control, and you'll not be aware of what's happening around you."

He spoke to her as if she were a child. The fact he was at least a head taller than her didn't help matters as he peered down.

"I assure you growing up here has made me resilient." Daria crossed her fingers behind her back at the lie.
"Many people struggle with the experience. I myself was glad I wore brown britches the first time. I agree though. I sense you'll not be alarmed easily," Alenze replied.

For a second Daria saw a smirk on his face. He had a sense of humor, who would have thought. He even almost looked handsome when he smiled.

"Traveler Quatrome, the sun is setting," her father interrupted. "The Chamber is ready." He bowed his head to both of them.

Alenze offered his arm to escort her into the Travelling Chamber. Daria stared at his hand as her heart pounded in fear, but knew she had no choice but to eventually take it. Pell stopped outside the Chamber and smiled at her, then looked to Alenze.

"Take care of her, and warn your fellow Masks to watch out for her temper; she didn't inherit her mother's green eyes and red hair without reason," Pell warned.

"You have my word, Master Gallo," Alenze replied as he shook her father's hand.

Atia and Chelle hugged her with tears streaming down all their faces.

"It won't be long, and I'll be back, especially if they don't want me, which is highly likely," Daria soothed them as she tried to get her tears under control.

Alenze coughed and Daria couldn't delay any more. Again, his arm was offered and this time she accepted. He escorted her into the chamber and as the doors shut behind them, she could hear Rumus howling and her breath caught in her throat.

Alenze let go of her arm and walked into the center of the circular, windowless room. With the doors closed, there was an oppressive feel to the space, with the only illumination coming from the oil lamps placed about the walls. The floor was covered with a beautiful painting. The tales were that the settlement had been built around this place.

Alenze was studying the markings on the floor. Daria's breath was catching in her throat and the room was getting smaller. She couldn't go through with this, they couldn't make her go. Her chest was getting tight as her panic increased. She ran to the door of the chamber and raised her fists, thumping hard again and again. The yells coming from her throat blanked out the pain as her fists started to redden and bleed.

"Let me out."

A hand touched her shoulder, causing her to spin around screaming, her clenched fist aimed at Alenze. Placing his hand over hers, he brought her fist down. He stared intently at her with his dark grey eyes as he spoke.

"When I went to the Domain in Denarius, I believed no one would want someone like me. Those who came with me at that time were filled with a confidence I never had. I didn't feel I'd ever belong, but now I do. 

Becoming a Mask has given my life meaning beyond what I would ever have thought possible. I've grown to love what I've become. You must trust me, and believe you'll feel that, too." He paused. "Are you ready?"

Daria nodded as he let go of her hands and walked over and stood over the open mouth of the winged serpent painted on the floor. She stood on the outside of the circular floor painting and thought her eyes must be playing tricks on her. The painting was starting to move as the serpent's coils began to entwine one upon another hypnotically.

"We can delay no longer. Stand on the mark of the moon." Holding out his arm, Alenze beckoned her to move forward.

She took the step, her breath coming in gasps. The outer circle had symbols of the sun, moon, stars and the Goddess Ikrar. The Goddess stood with her hands clasped around a crystal.

Alenze removed a small, plain brown mask from a pouch hanging around his neck and put it on his face. It had no hooks or fastenings, but melded to him on contact.

"Enter the circle, Daria."
Daria stepped forward onto the moving picture. Alenze took her hands in a firm grip, and needing something to hold onto, she gripped equally as hard around his wrists. She wondered if he could hear her heart beating. He should, as it felt as if it was going to explode through her chest.

"I don't want to do this. My life is here, Crane is here, I love him and I want to stay." Tears flowed down her face.

"Trust me, Daria, and you'll be safe," Alenze instructed.

"I don't want to trust you. I don't want to go and no one there will want me. They think I'm bringing doom with me because I touched the crystal," Daria sobbed, but Alenze wasn't listening anymore. His eyes were shut and he was chanting strange words over and over. There was a humming noise making her dizzy, and then something touched her foot. She jerked her knee up. Peering down, she let out a scream as the coils of the snake picture on the floor started slithering over her feet and around her ankles - where was the trance Alenze had promised? The Mask was no longer solid on his face; the flat surface was bubbling as though something was trying to erupt. Then the small heads of two snakes broke free from the surface and bit into his temples. If he felt any pain he didn't react.

More snakes oozed from the Mask until the whole of his head was a wriggling mass moving down his back and entwining around his arms. Two vipers separated from the others encircling his arms. The snakes stopped their movements at his wrists and raised their bodies up as though to get a good look at her. They swayed hypnotically. Daria tried to pull free of Alenze's grip, but he was too strong. Then without warning, both snakes struck at her wrists in unison.

"Alenze," his name burst from her mouth as the pain hit her arms and the poison burned into her. His eyes opened, looking first to her face and then at the vipers injecting their venom. She could hear his thoughts.
Forgive me, Daria.




AUTHOR BIO & LINKS:
I live in Adelaide, Australia with my husband, one cat, two dogs and a snake. I have a motorbike that I would like to ride more than I do and I love walking at the beach and listening to the waves. I've always loved reading all forms of fiction from high fantasy and paranormal to contemporary and decided the stories in my head needed to be written down. It was either that or start on medication. Unlike many, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until a few years back. I started off doing a degree in drama but soon realized my love was in writing, though there is a play lurking somewhere on my computer. My day job is as a nurse in the operating room. I believe romance can be fun to read and write but it’s exciting to spice it up with the uncertainty that comes with suspense where the rules can be broken. 

Website URL: www.maggiemundy.com


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Blog Tour Stop - My Last Sunset, by Christian Chiakulas

Welcome to a new week.  I'd like to welcome Christian Chiakulas to my blog with her new release., My Last Sunset.  I have not as of yet read this book, but it is on my TBR list.  I'm sure I will let you all know what I think once I have.  



Title: My Last Sunset
Author: Christian Chiakulas
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-62420-322-0
POD ISBN: 978-1546836339



Genre: Mystery/Crime
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3

CONTENT WARNING
Although it is not described in detail, this book deals with sexual abuse.



TAGLINE
An antisocial teen sets out to solve the mystery of why Jessica Carpenter killed herself in the halls of their high school.


BLURB
My Last Sunset is a hardboiled detective story set in a contemporary American high school. Damon Riley is an angry, antisocial teenager with a penchant for solving mysteries. His life is shaken up when Jessica Carpenter, a girl in the grade below his, shoots herself in the halls of the school, leaving behind a note that names him as the culprit for driving her to suicide. Taking the bait, Damon embarks on a quest to find out what really happened to Jessica, leading him through a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and brutality. Along the way he learns more than he ever dreamed possible about the girl he could never have saved.


EXCERPT
Michael might be having the same idea as me, because he says, "Hey, you hear about that freshman who killed herself?"

"She was a sophomore," I say, staring ahead at the blackboard.

"Oh," Michael says. He's a senior, so it makes sense he wouldn't know. "That's right, I knew that." Liar. "You heard she did it here?"

"Yeah, in the bathroom downstairs," I say. This class is on the fourth floor. Jessica killed herself on the second. The music was so loud from the dance that nobody heard the gunshot, and she didn't get found until a janitor came in the next day. She'd been absent from school Thursday and Friday last week, and I heard her mom had reported her missing to the police. Then, for whatever reason, she came back to school to end her life.

What the hell, Jessica.

It's not that I can't believe it. Jessica was a nice girl, I think, and seemed happy a lot of the time, but seeming happy and being happy aren't the same thing; you don't have to be smart to know or even articulate that. Like I said, I didn't know her that well, but I knew her a little; enough to see that, like the rest of us, she had shit going on she didn't talk about. What I didn't see was that she was the kind of person who couldn't deal with it, like we all do.

Or that it was the kind of shit that can't be dealt with.

"Heard she left a note," Michael says, and now I'm aware that he's looking at me even though his face hasn't moved. His eyes moved.

I didn't hear anything about a note. Whatever was going on with her, she definitely wanted to be found, wanted somebody to know.

Or maybe everybody.

Half a dozen more people stream in over the next two or three minutes; this class is pretty small to begin with and there are four absent. The eight o'clock bell rings just as Goldman appears in the doorway. Behind him is Panzer, one of the school's security guards (not his real name, but it should be).

I raise an eyebrow as Goldman enters the classroom and the talking dies down. Then he looks right at me and says, "Damon, could you please go with Mr. Cousins to the dean's office?"

A low "Oooooh..." goes through the small class, and I stand up, wondering what the hell I did. Usually when I'm in trouble, I know exactly why. As I cross the room to where Panzer is standing, arms folded across his chest, I notice the two girls who'd been in the room early shooting me nasty looks, like I personally wronged them. I don't even know their names.

Panzer steps aside to let me exit the room first then closes the door after us. I throw my messenger bag over my shoulder and look at him.

"What's this about," I say, a little worried.

"Just walk."

The halls are deserted, and I stare at the floor as we walk to the main nexus where the stairwells are, passing over the blurry reflections of the fluorescent lights in the freshly-waxed floor. The dean's office is on the second floor, right down the hall from the girl's bathroom. I stare at the door as we pass it.

The dean's office is small, considering there are three deans that share it along with a secretary and the school's sole counselor. The hub is a yellow-painted room with the secretary's desk, several file cabinets, a large wooden conference table, doors to the private offices of the deans and counselor, and plastic bins hanging on the walls filled with handouts and leaflets about substance abuse, sexual abuse, good ol' fashioned domestic abuse, birth control, STDs, juvie, and there at the end—
Suicide.

The three deans are all sitting at the conference table along with the counselor, Mrs. Mullen, and the school's police liaison, Officer Pasture. A pit drops into my stomach. Whatever I did, it must've been bad.

"Damon, please sit," Dean Goodfellow says. He's a pudgy man with long blonde hair and a face like a bulldog; if you're picturing him comically, stop, because everyone in this school is terrified of him, including yours truly. 

The other two, Dean Haskins and Dean Washington, are serious men, but none attack their jobs with the rage-filled passion of Dean Goodfellow. He runs this school like it's the streets of Baltimore in The Wire, keeping detailed, ever-growing files on every student with the misfortune to cross his path and trading favors to some of them for information. I'm not gonna lie, I've gotten out of more than one detention this way. Wouldn't you know it, he's in charge of students with surnames P-Z.

But they're all three here, which means this is really serious. I pull up the blue plastic seat across from him, willing myself not to break eye contact, and Panzer disappears outside. The secretary isn't here either. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. What's going on?

"Damon," Goodfellow says, shifting in his seat and locking his fingers together on the table in front of him. Everybody else at the table is staring at their laps; they know the drill. When Goodfellow is working...
interrogating, more like...you let him be.




AUTHOR BIO & LINKS:
Christian Chiakulas is a writer, musician, political activist, and single father from Chicago. His writing has appeared in the Huffington Post and he writes the “Radical Christian Millennial” blog for Patheos.com.


Website URL: blogspot.com/christianchiakulas
Twitter handle: @ChrisChiakulas

Monday, May 29, 2017

Blog Tour - Before the Dawn



This week I'm on a blog tour for...me!  The third book in the A Howl in the Night series, titled Before the Dawn, has officially released.  Stop over along the tour stops and ask a question, or just say hello, but I will be giving away a free ebook of Before the Dawn for one random commenter.  The more stops you go to and comment on, the better your chances of winning.

Here are the stops with easy to access links.  I hope to see you on the tour.

MAY 30 ~ David Cairns ~ http://dacairns.blogspot.com.au
MAY 31 ~ Rosemary Indra ~ https://rosemaryindra.blogspot.com.
MAY 31 ~ Rogue's Angels ~ http://roguesangels.blogspot.com
JUNE 1 ~ Tamara White ~ https://alternativeblackchick.com 
JUNE 1 ~ Andrew Richardson ~ http://andrewjrichardson.blogspot.co.uk/
JUNE 2 ~ Maggie Mundy ~ http://maggiemundy.blogspot.com.au
JUNE 2 ~ Christine Young ~ https://christineyoungauthor.com

Edit:  A new stop has been added.
JUNE 2 ~ NICKIE FLEMING ~ http://nickieflemingswritings.blogspot.com


Also, if you have any questions or would like to purchase a copy of my newest release, let me know!  I'll get back to you ASAP.

Have a great week everyone.
ctny

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Blog Tour - Grayson by Tamara White


Welcome to another week at the blog.  I'd like to welcome Author Tamara White to my blog with her new release, Grayson.
As part of the blog tour, Tamara will give a digital copy of  her new book, Grayson, to one randomly drawn commenter. Therefore, please play along.  Drop us a hello or a comment.  You never know what you may win.



Title: Grayson
Author: Tamara White
ISBN: 978-1-62420-343-5
Genre: Contemprary Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble
Website URL: under construction launch in app. three weeks.
Twitter handle: @twhitebutblack (recently launched)


REVIEW:
Grayson
By Tamar White
5 Stars
Reviewed by G. Lloyd Helm

Grayson is a book about family history, secrets, and rivalries. Families can be complicated enough, but if you mix in race and egotism they become even more so. Grayson explores the connections between mothers and daughters and what daughters don't know about mothers and mothers don't know about daughters. Each character is keeping explosive secrets in this story, from who is whose father and who is actually related to whom and, more interestingly, why the characters are so at odds.

I can't say I enjoyed this book, but I was awed by the Ms. White's ability to make her characters come right off the page. She is a hell of a writer. It was well worth the read for the people in it.


TAGLINE
 Unable to shake off her past and the destruction colorism played in her childhood, Grayson returns to Lakeland in an attempt to reconcile her past.


BLURB
The Harrow family is a family that has spent generations hiding behind the illusion of perfection and lineage. Grayson thought she had escaped the dysfunction of the Harrow Family until the shock of an unplanned pregnancy forced her to return to Lakeland. Grayson must confront her color struck mother, Vivianna, about her childhood at Lakeland and the real reason why her biological father was never apart of her life. Grayson learns how twisted her mother’s version of love is, and how the truth is more complex than she could have ever imagined. Her husband David is there to support her every step of the way, and when Grayson reconnects with her sister, Gigi, she learns the price Gigi paid for being their mother’s favorite.


EXCERPT
Grayson took a moment to soak up the quietness of the afternoon before they headed inside. The country air tickled her nose. Grayson had forgotten how clean air could smell. The sweet smell of the honeysuckle lingered over the slight breeze and settled her stomach as it occupied her lungs. She enjoyed how the crisp air danced on her skin, and brushed away the city of Boston's lingering aroma. Grayson turned her eyes towards the estate she had grown up in, and saw Lakeland in a way she never had before.

The unusually harsh winters over the past few years had abused the hand-made clay shingles and caused a distinct discoloration. The landscaping was neat, but not kept to the same standard it had been when her grandfather was alive. 

Grayson knew her grandfather would have never allowed the forsythia bushes to expand and move about the grounds freely. He would have demanded the gardeners control the beautifully bright yellow shrubberies and conform them to the Harrow standard. Wild is for the wilderness, Grayson's grandfather would have said. Grayson smiled at the absence of the ancient oak tree she'd fallen out of when she was ten. The enormous oak tree with the giant knock hole had shaded her bedroom, and helped her sneak out when she was sixteen to Elizabeth Brownsworth's end of the year party. The white washed bricks demanded a thorough cleaning, and the cliché, Gone with the Wind pillars pleaded desperately for a fresh coat of cloud white paint. Lakeland looked miserable. It was as if Lakeland knew her final chapter was already written.
"Lakeland is really showing her years." Grayson stared at the midnight black, heavily ornate front door with the bulky lion head doorknocker, and equally obnoxious doorknob she swore she'd never enter again, every time she walked out. Grayson picked up her laptop bag and started her pilgrimage towards her past.

"Relax," David whispered from behind her. "Everything is going to be fine."

Her mother, Vivianna, opened the front door and stood in the archway like a Grand Duchess impatiently awaiting the arrival of her audience. "Grayson, put the bag down!" she snapped in an egotistical tone. "We don't carry our bags. We have them carried. Has city life caused you to abandon your upbringing? Ladies of means do not carry bags."

Five seconds. That's how long it took Grayson to go from a strong, accounting firm executive, to the shy, chocolate-skinned, frizzy haired, correction-shoe girl of her past.

"Mother," Grayson retorted in the stiff flat tone she reserved for addressing Vivianna. "So nice to see―"

"Never mind all that." Vivianna motioned them towards the front door. "Inside quickly. No need for some of us to get any darker than we already are, darling." Vivianna paused in the foyer to admire her creamy beige skin in the mirror before entering the sitting room. She never passed on an opportunity to admire what she perceived as her greatness. "Grayson, I don't see how you're able to endure. I don't know what I would do if my skin was permanently darkened by the sun." The physical differences in Vivianna and Grayson went beyond skin tone. Vivianna was thin in stature. She never had an issue maintaining a hundred and ten pounds on her five foot three frame. Her nose was narrow, her lips thin, and her eyes were almond shaped. People, mostly women, assumed her green eyes were fake, but they were indeed real. Vivianna was everything a color-complex struck Black man found irresistible. She was their must-have. Grayson, on the other hand, possessed curves for days, full lips, and a round face with a button nose to match her high cheekbones. She had the type of body hip-hop artists paid homage to in their lyrics, minus the chocolate-colored skin.

"Come, Grayson ... sit. I want to know how things are going. Was the flight enjoyable? I hope you flew first class. I've heard people in coach can have an odor to them."

Grayson rolled her eyes behind Vivianna's back. And so it begins...





AUTHOR BIO:
Tamara White is married and lives in Illinois with her husband, children and dogs. She enjoys photography and reading.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Welcome to another week on the blog tour circuit.  I was going to do a non-blog tour last week about the coming months, but the week got away from me.  So far so good though, in the writing area.  I'm another year older, thanks to a birthday last week, and a little bit wiser thanks to life and it's fickle ways.  All in all, the coming months of warm weather look promising.  

Today, I'd like to welcome author, Jonathan Dimmig to my blog with his new release, Today's special.  Please note that Jonathan will be giving away a free digital copy to one random commenter on his blog tour, of this new release.  So, be sure to comment and say hello in order to be put into the pot.  

Have a great weekend everyone.



Title: Today's Special
Author: Jonathan Dimmig
ISBN: 978-1-62420-318-3

Genre: Inspirational Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3



REVIEW:
Today's Special
Author: Jonathan Dimmig
Reviewed by Catherine DePino
Five Stars

Today’s Special touched my heart. The plot kept me reading, and the characters were realistic and engaging. The book showed the indomitability of the human spirit and its resilience in the face of the grave difficulties life can bring, often unexpectedly. I felt that I knew each character personally and would enjoy sitting with them at the restaurant to get to know them better. The book is full of surprises and will keep you glued to the page until its satisfying conclusion.


REVIEW:
Today's Special
Author: Jonathan Dimmig
Reviewed by Jeffrey Ross
Five Stars—Eerie and very interesting!

Readers of author Dimmig’s Today’s Special may be hard-pressed to place it in a specific genre. On one level, this text is a case study of the Gilded, a struggling restaurant in Buffalo. The lives and relationships of the major characters are intertwined both in the past and present—and at work and play. But this thoughtful book is far more than a slice-of-life-study of chefs, servers, food critics, menu boards, and invoices. The tragic death of the owner’s wife inspires him—and the restaurant gradually moves forward because of his amazingly-creative homage to her. Jonathan Dimmig proves to be quite knowledgeable about recipes, community, support, and enduring love in his powerful—and pleasing—novel.


TAGLINE
We’re sometimes forced to face impossible circumstances. Tom’s story shows why true love is the answer to life’s most difficult questions.


BLURB 
What’s your version of an ordinary day?

For Thomas Danielson, it’s the constant strain of keeping the restaurant he owns from going under. His friends and family depend upon his success but the outlook is dismal. It demands his entire focus until tragedy strikes and his soul-mate is ripped from his arms.

Can Tom recover from the absolute worst event that could possibly happen?

A twist of fate crushes Tom’s world and sends him on a journey of discovery for what’s truly important in life. With guidance from friends, loved ones, and an unassuming chalkboard there just may be some hope in his struggles.

Nothing in life is guaranteed and we are sometimes forced to face the impossible. Tom’s story shows how, even in the darkest times, there is a ray of light shining though the clouds.


EXCERPT
A thunderous roar erupts from the Camaro's engine. Tom puts the pedal to the floor and races past traffic on the highway. There's no destination in sight. Speeding through obstacles is the only outlet within immediate range to channel the anger and frustration pumping through his veins. He weaves left then right. After finding a straightaway in the right lane, his rage comes to a boil as he attacks the steering wheel with a barrage of blows from his fists. Nearly clipping a semi-truck with his driver-side mirror, the escalating danger of the situation suddenly floods his mind. Confronted by this realization, he jerks the wheel and swerves onto the shoulder in an attempt to slow things down. While his vehicle comes to a skid in the dirt, a horn from the car traveling behind him blares loudly into the night as it passes by.
He shuts down the engine.
"Why can nothing work out the way it's supposed to? This was the last good thing left that was ours."
Tom's words echo in the car. The silence that answered was a reminder of just how alone he was. Defeated, he crosses his arms upon the steering wheel and lays his head between them.
Several minutes pass and the only sound that can be heard, apart from the distant highway traffic, is the rhythmic cooing of an owl. He lifts his head and peers out the windshield to find the source of the noise. In the faint moonlight, he can barely make out the shape of a bird perched upon a tree branch. He flicks on the headlight switch and the blast of light causes the owl to take flight and come to a landing on top of a sign about thirty yards to the front left of Tom's car. The sign, now illuminated by the headlights, reads "Allegany Mountains – 30 Miles".

It was immediately clear where he needed to go. With a turn of his key, Tom starts the engine and pulls back onto the highway.

~ * ~

The sound of twigs snapping, combined with the rustling of leaves, was cause enough to scatter a pair of foraging squirrels. Tom clears a path through the dense forest and emerges from the bushes to the small lake.

He pauses and scans the area, remembering the many times he's visited this place. It was as if the unrelenting force of time was rendered powerless in this one speck of earth. Throughout his entire life, not one shade of detail had changed in any discernible way. The placement of the rocks, the slope of the water bank, the positioning of the trees; all remained unyielding to time's grasp. Digesting the thought left a pit in his stomach.

How can it be that God has the power to leave this spot unchanged but does nothing to keep the good things in my life untouched?

The stars were shimmering brightly upon the lake. Tom approaches the water's edge and squats down to look into its glassy surface. The stars surround his reflection and he's soon enveloped in a blanket of sky. He slowly becomes lost in the space. His eyes close and the melding of space and time becomes a cozy bed that he wishes he could remain in forever.

Michelle leans down beside him to gaze into the abyss. She's so close that he can feel her next to him. The hint of familiar perfume and warmth radiating from her body is overwhelmingly comforting. He instinctively reaches to caress her face but she disappears into ripples of water.





AUTHOR BIO:
Jonathan Dimmig was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He earned a BA and MBA from the University of Rochester. After graduating, he worked in the field of Corporate Finance for nearly a decade before quitting his job and moving to Las Vegas to become a professional poker player. In 2014, he won a World Series of Poker event that had almost 8,000 players. Around that same time, he had an unusually vivid dream that inspired him to write "Today’s Special". He hopes the story in this book will impact others as much as it has impacted himself. Jonathan currently resides in Las Vegas, NV. He is often found at the poker tables, playing ice hockey, or working on creative inspirations that can positively impact the world. He can be reached at zpuckman@gmail.com.