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EXCERPT FROM BROKEN
by Traci L. Slatton (Parvati Press, 2014)

I am walking home in a cold dark night that follows a frigid winter of snowy, hopeless, dark nights. I am hurrying to arrive before the midnight curfew. It has been a little over eight months since the Germans marched in, and I am used to the curfew and restrictions, the bullying and the bureaucracy, the heavy, ominous feeling of being about to do something egregious for which I will be caught and cruelly punished. After a few moments, I grow aware of footsteps keeping pace with mine, like an acoustic shadow. I can feel a presence, a mind, a few minds, at my back. I am being followed.

I walk into La Coupole, to the bar. It is crowded with Germans, some in uniform, many not; they sit at tables with members of French society who are willing to socialize with them, and they stand around the bar, offering cigarettes and wine to French women. There is a band playing Beethoven, Wagner, and Bach.

“May I buy you champagne, Mademoiselle?” asks a young officer in very bad French. He is tall and broad-shouldered and blond of course, wearing the uniform of the Schutzstaffel.

“No, she is leaving,” says another soldier, tall and as slim as an adolescent. It is young Fritz, the guard from Knochen’s office, which is now at rue des Saussaies. Fritz is accompanied by another boyish German.

The first soldier chides him cheerfully in German, but Fritz shakes his head. He takes my arm, positioning himself between me and the back of the restaurant, blocking a specific line of sight. “He is here,” Fritz whispers into my ear. He angles his shoulder down, and I peer over it to see Knochen at a table with several conservative members of the French upper crust. They are jolly and well lubricated.

A strangled sound escapes me of its own volition.

Fritz jostles me ahead of him and out the door. His friend follows us and calls to him. Fritz leaves me and goes to speak to the other boy, leaning close, nearlycheek to cheek, and patting his shoulder. The other boy frowns but returns to the restaurant. Fritz rejoins me, and his young face is completely bland and unexpressive, like a doll’s ceramic head.

“Why is he here, just to amuse himself?” I ask breathlessly.

“No.He has a deeper motivation, as always. There is endless politicking about who will police Paris, the army or the Party,” Fritz tells me. “He has come up with a strategy whereby he frequents the Parisian salons and socializes with receptive members of the French elite. He is cultured you know, so they like him. He insinuates himself into their lives as a means of gaining information and control. He hopes to rise above the other would-be police chiefs that way.”

“I’m glad he didn’t see me.”

Fritz nods. “Are you going home? Shall I walk you there? It’s close to curfew, but no one will hassle you if you’re with me.”

“Thank you.” I don’t tell him that I was being followed. “You’ve been kind to me, Fritz. I am grateful.”

“I would hate for my sister to meet someone like Knochen,” he says, his baby face souring, as if he had sucked something tart and spoiled.

“Where is your sister?” I tilt my head in the direction of my street.

He nods and his face clears. “She is in our hometown, Amberg. In Bavaria. We have a small farm, and she helps our mother work it. I did, too, until I joined the army.”

“Your father isn’t around?”

“Died ten years ago. He was injured at Verdun and was never good afterward.” Fritz shrugs.

“I’m sorry.”

“He would have hated this, after his service to the Fatherland, what Hitler has done to Germany,” he confides in a low voice. He looks around to make sure we are alone on the street. It is an executable offense to speak aloud what he does. But he is heard only by the posters urging the French to volunteer for work in Germany.

“There must be many Germans who feel that way,” I answer, just as softly. I gesture for us to walk up rue du Montparnasse….

“They tell us to feel no pity for Jews. They tell us to feel no human mercy,” Fritz says in a voice of quiet anger. “I think such commands are inhuman. My father was the gentlest man I ever met. He showed pity and mercy for everyone, even for animals on our farm. He once nursed one of our horses for three days without sleeping through a bad bout of colic. When the depression took everything from everyone, he gave food to people who needed it. He used to read to me about Saint Francis who told us to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord showed mercy to tax collectors, prostitutes, and Samaritans. As He was tortured and crucified, He said, ‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.’ If we’re supposed to be like Him, doesn’t that mean we’re supposed to show mercy to everyone, too?”

I stop and slowly turn to face Fritz. “Yes. Jesus of Nazareth embodied mercy.”

“So why do the clergy watch Jews being led away, and say, ‘There go the Christ killers’?” Fritz bursts out, louder than he anticipated. He cranes his head around again, making sure we are alone. “They know, everyone knows, what is being done to Jews! And it will only get worse.”

 
 
SYNOPSIS
 
Power is pornographic.
Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in?
Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German Occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers, a bullfighter and a musician working in the fledgling Resistance. Can she save them and the Jewish widow and her child that she has come to love, or will betrayal take them all?
  Purchase BROKEN
 
The Author
Traci’s  Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Traci L. Slatton is a graduate of Yale and Columbia, and the award-winning, internationally published

author of books of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She is also the founder of Parvati Press, an independent press which was recently recognized by the IRS as a

501(c ) (3) not-for-profit corporation.

She lives in Manhattan and her love for Renaissance Italy inspired her historical novel IMMORTAL, which was published around the world and achieved bestseller status in Italy, Russia, and Brazil. BROKEN tells the sensual, heart-rending story of a fallen angel in occupied Paris from 1939-1942. Her novel THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR is a contemporary romp through the art history byways of vampire lore. Her novelFALLEN is the first of the acclaimed romantic After Series set during the end times. Its sequel COLD LIGHT and Book 3 FAR SHORE further the dystopian tale. The quirky, bittersweet sci fi love story THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE seeks to answer the question: What worlds would you move for your soulmate?

DANCING IN THE TABERNACLE is her first book of poetry; PIERCING TIME & SPACE is a non-fiction look at the meeting of science and spirit. THE ART OF LIFE is a photo-essay of sculpture history and philosophy written with her husband Sabin Howard, whose work is also showcased.

 
FOLLOW THE ENTIRE BROKEN TOUR HERE

 

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61XC2aC7g7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1]Noddy in Wonderland is a unique fantasy novel for all ages. It will keep the reader turning those pages. It is filled with romance and magic. What a great combination for a novel!

Noddy in Wonderland is a multifaceted drama, imbued with philosophical, social and psychological implications. Yet, one of the greatest aspects of the novel is that it never makes its connection with that genre completely explicit. I love the freshness and uniqueness of this story.

The story is about a former soldier, Noddy who returns to his hometown, Liverpool.  He dreams of becoming the king of Liverpool. When he shoots a government minister in the bottom, he accidently divides the country into two groups, a group of fans who approve of him and the entire government machinery who threaten to go against him. How does Noddy manage to turn this situation around and see his dream come true?  This is a very intriguing part of the story that the reader should explore for him/herself. And on this fantasy adventure he chugs along a large group of accomplices and friends including his brother Knobby, a beautiful girlfriend Meryl, and an elf and a talking dog. This is quite a combination of unique characters.

In this story, Bostock mixes satire and sarcasm into a delightful story. Turning this into a fantasy takes a lot of hard work. But Bostock pulls it off with honours.  But what is more, behind the hilarity lies a profound understanding of human nature and an in-depth contemplation of some pretty ineffable issues.  The book is also paced perfectly. I just love stories that have this kind of depth and meaning. 

Bostock’s novel is one of self-development and it will make the reader rethink and reassess some of his common frameworks and viewpoints. Being a philosopher interested in philosophical psychology, this book tweaked my interest quite a bit and held it until I finished reading it. What a GREAT book!  Now, I plan on rereading it.

I recommend Noddy in Wonderland to anyone who loves to read fantasies. Get ready to be transfixed by this book.

Rating: 5 stars 

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

 

Bev_mediumWhen Beverly Stowe McClure was in eighth grade, her teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and she was soon a published writer in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry. Today, Beverly is a cum laude graduate of Midwestern State University with a BSEd degree. For twenty-two years, she taught children to read and write. They taught her patience. She is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices in her head tell her. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps photos of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. She also enjoys visiting with her family and teaching a women’s Sunday school class at her church. Her articles have been published in leading children’s magazines. Two of her stories are in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ANTHOLOGIES, and she has nine novels published, two of them award winning novels at Children’s Literary Classics and other competitions.

Connect with Beverly on the net:

http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/beverlysmcclure

https://twitter.com/beverlymcclure

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. What was your inspiration for it?

A: One summer, on a visit to our son and his wife in South Carolina, we went to Folly Beach, not far from where they lived, to watch the sun rise over the water and lighthouse. It was a beautiful sight. But what caught my attention more than the sunrise was the lighthouse sitting in the middle of the inlet. It was deactivated years ago, but was used during the Civil War. A lighthouse must have a ghost, right? My mind started chasing different scenarios as to who the ghost was and why he was a ghost. What kept him from finding rest? A blockade runner worked nicely, since the ships came into the harbor bringing supplies to the city. Other ideas popped up, too. Pirates were quite active in the area although in earlier years. But, if they were ghosts they could have been around for years. So I added a couple of pirates to the story. And what’s a good ghost story without a cat? My MG/Tween novel APirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat was born.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks is a typical young teen. He plays baseball and likes to hang out with his friends. When his dad leaves home, Erik’s life changes in ways he could never imagine. First, his mom takes Erik from Texas to South Carolina where they move in with her sister. Second, he meets the weird twins that live down the street and that claim they’ve seen a ghost ship in the harbor. Third, Erik doesn’t believe that ghosts exist. Fourth, he soon discovers he might be wrong.

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-333x500Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I had fun creating Erik and the twins, typical teens, if you count a girl who can read mind dreams typical. The ghost pirates are based on real pirates, and I did a lot of research to learn about them and their ships so the historical facts would be accurate. I am a slow writer and it took probably two years to write and edit the story. No major bumps along the way. I had visited some of the places in the story, like the lighthouse, and tried to remember what they were like.

Getting the pirate language just right took some research too, but was a lot of fun. Avast, matey. I discovered fascinating information about the two pirates that ended up in the story.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I try to put the characters in exciting circumstances. In novels for MG readers, the kids like action. They’ll stop reading if they’re bored. Forget description unless it moves the story along. I let the characters get in trouble so the reader will wonder if they’ll get out of it. At this age, friendships are important. And they need trouble. Lots of trouble. Ghosts are just right to cause trouble, along with a cat that Erik hates, and the feeling is mutual.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Sometimes, I look at the blank screen on the computer and think, Okay, where do I start? Will anyone like this story? Can I even write it? The only way to deal with anxiety is to start typing. Yes, there will be many changes, at least for me. I usually rewrite the beginning a jillion times. If I don’t get those first words down, I’ll never have a story. So I go for it and hope I’m headed in the right direction.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: I’m a morning person. Usually I work on my WIP from 9:00 AM to 11:30 or 12:00 noon. Then I take a lunch break and maybe check emails or look at blogs. (I’ve done some mail early in the morning before I started writing.) Around 2:00 PM I do edits if I have a manuscript that’s been sold, or else I check my blogs and post on other blogs. Evenings, I write reviews, do critiques for my critique groups (I’m in two), and whatever else needs to be done.

I’m retired from my teaching job, so I have no outside work to interfere with my writing. I’m a playmate for my cats, but other than that, my time is my own.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Success to me is writing novels that help young people enjoy reading, and if they take anything away from the story that makes their lives happier or more understandable, that’s an added bonus.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: It’s hard when your family doesn’t support you, but I feel we each have the right to pursue our dreams. I’m not saying neglect your significant others. Don’t neglect yourself either. Let them know how important your writing is to you. They may surprise you and understand. If they don’t, find time when you’re alone, or make time to be alone, even if it’s only 30 minutes or an hour. Maybe while they’re at work, or anytime they go out for whatever reason. Don’t give up. Follow your dreams. You only have one life.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Oh, yes. A writer has to be driven; otherwise, why would we sit in a chair for hours a day, typing our hearts away, for pennies a day (at least in my case)? Perhaps we’re a little insane. And the beauty of it is we don’t care. We’re doing what we love.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Just thank you for hosting me today. Thank all you awesome readers for your comments and thoughts. You’re the ones that keep us writing, you know. If you have a chance, stop by my blog and see what’s happening.http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com.

Why I Love (and Write) Sci-fi Novels

By Peter Darrach, author of Second Skin, Second Skin Too, and the Tavern on the Edge of Time (www.peterdarrach.com)

What child does not dream of fantastic places to color the drab everyday world all around, to people it with extraordinary creatures involved in Tavern on the Edge of Timeamazing exploits? As a youth in London, I found my solace in fairytales, and then, in New York, in science fiction, devouring fanatically everything that came to hand.

Adolescence has a way of derailing one’s interests, of course, and so, for a while my love of the genre lay dormant, only to spring alive after decades of executive drudgery in the work-a-day world, and again afford me the pleasure of pure, unadulterated fantasy.

To be sure, those working years added a strong foundation of fact-based description, to explain the opportunity to mine metals in space, an asteroid’s mineral composition, or even particle physics, for example, which all lend a hand in forming a realistic setting… a stage on which the action can play out.

And now the hand that draws those characters, that framed those familiar but still exotic worlds was my own—the figures in the stories, my friends, with souls, and dreams of their own, living to love, to fight, to attack and protect—a whole universe, or indeed, multiple cosmoses at my command through the purest of creative forms, where virtually everything is possible.

Better yet, to hear back from fans, who agree that I have succeeded in transporting them to this space for a time, so that they might claim that “reading my books is like dreaming with your eyes open”—that’s why I enjoy science fiction, especially writing it.

About the Author

Peter DarrachPeter Darrach has lived in New York, London, Prague, Munich and Vienna. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Master of Arts degree in German Literature, both from Pennsylvania State University. Darrach pursued a career in sales and marketing in fields as diverse as amusement parks and retail before moving to Europe in 1991. Since then he has worked in Eastern and Western Europe, holding a series of executive positions with blue chip FMCG companies. Most recently he has returned to the U.S. to pursue his career as a business coach and fiction author and currently lives in Florida.

His latest book is the sci-fi, Tavern on the Edge of Time.

For More Information

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GodsBankerbanner

 

EXCERPT GOD’S BANKER by Chris Malburg

       The young SEAL slowly raised his right hand in salute. All 243 of America’s Squadron saluted their President at the same time.

“Oorah, son,” said the President.

The young lieutenant hadn’t expected that from America’s chief executive. “Oorah, Mr. President,” he said back in a loud and proud voice that did justice to any man or woman who ever wore the uniform.

“Oorah,” thundered 243 voices behind him.

The President stood in the summer sunshine of Washington DC. At this moment, he realized there was no place on this earth that he would rather be than right here. The finest examples of courage and bravery in the American people he had the privilege of serving stretched before him. These people had taken time out of their busy lives to come here to the White House to see him. About what the President still couldn’t say. But he could smell the ribs already beginning to smoke next to the hastily erected canopies that shaded picnic tables off to the side near where they land Marine 1, the presidential helicopter.

A White House staffer had already brought a microphone and plugged it into the permanently installed outlet. They often used this spot for events when the weather was nice. The President stepped up and said, “America’s Squadron, I salute you and the American people salute you. I am…” he bowed his head for a moment as it slowly began to dawn on him why they might be here. “…I am humbled that you have taken the time to come here to what is truly your house. You have fought for it and have bled for it. Your families have paid dearly for it. I am just its temporary caretaker. But make no mistake, it is yours and by God always will be yours.”

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

 

God'sGod’s Banker

Publication date: May 14, 2014

Cardinal David Caneman took just three years to engineer his ascension into the CEO’s office of Vatican Bancorp. His cabal of fundamentalist zealots now quickly moves to seize the world’s largest institution. First by publicly assassinating the Pope. Next by replacing him with Caneman. Finally by giving the masses a common, everyday object—unquestionably used by their savior—to rally behind. For centuries, folklore has claimed the sacred item laid in wait sealed within the Church’s lost treasury vault. Caneman races to unearth the vault—if it exists. He has bet everything that he can find the blessed object, surely buried within. He intends using it to sweep the faithful from their ungodly ways and into his personal standards of piety.

The Taliban took just two years to overthrow Kabul. Armed with over a billion faithful worldwide and a $200 billion war chest—and the sacred Broom Of Formia—Cardinal David Caneman figures it will take him just half that time to conscript the hearts and minds first of Europe, then…

Jackson Schilling enjoys his happy, early retirement. He attends minor league ball games near his home in Elkhart, Indiana. He’s an amateur chef. And Jackson Schilling is a hunter. Then the SEC drafts him. Come on, Jack. One last audit. It’s mandatory after an attempt on the Vatican Bank Chairman’s life. But Jackson Schilling is no ordinary auditor. And it was his Commander in Chief who personally ordered him drafted. Schilling exhaustively uncovers Caneman’s deadly purpose. First he must stop a professional assassin from completing his mission against the Pope. Now the hard part—derail a fundamentalist faction led by a brilliant, ruthless [and some would say] saint to over a billion faithful. Jackson Schilling battles a force growing faster and more deadly than the Crusades, the Inquisition or the Taliban ever were. Legitimate governments will surely topple, becoming answerable to one man and his band of strict fundamentalists if Schilling fails.

 

 Purchase God’s Banker

Amazon – Kindle

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The Author

Chris’s  Website / Twitter Facebook Goodreads 

Chris Malburg is a widely published author, with work spread over 11 popular business books–includingHow to Fire Your Boss (Berkley) Chris Malburg Photoand Surviving the Bond Bear Market (Wiley, March 2011).  In his other life, Chris is a CPA/MBA, a former investment banker and now the CEO of Writers Resource Group, Inc., providers of professional financial literary content to corporations (www.WritersResourceGroup.com).  That’s the professional side of Chris’ career.  The fun side began when UCLA’s Writers’ school taught him to transition from biz-speak to fiction. GOD’S BANKER and the first installment in the Enforcement Division series, DEADLY ACCELERATION, both combine Chris’ natural talent for story telling with his professional command of the high-stakes investment world and what money and power do to some people.

GOD’S BANKER  came to fruition from Chris’ hospital bed while recuperating from an athletic injury.  As a long-time endurance athlete, Chris is no stranger to the surgeon’scalpal.  Over 130,000 words later,GOD’S BANKER was complete.  “It just poured out me,” says the author.  “I carried my note pad to physical therapy; made plot notes during the hours in the gym doing rehab; even while on my long bicycle rides through the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we live.  Slowly endurance returned and with it, GOD’S BANKER.”

Chris Malburg lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Marilyn.  Their hobby is raising service dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind.  As of this writing, they have raised eight Labrador retrievers and have had three make the cut for placement with their disabled partners.

Follow the entire God’s Banker tour HERE!

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Title: What is Growing Out of Your Ear

Author: Angela Graham

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Pages: 24

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

It is summer and Angela eats a bowl of cherries. After she swallows some cherry pits, her Grandpa warns what will happen — “A cherry tree will grow out of your ear.” Angela thinks that is silly. Do you believe a cherry tree can grow out of Angela’s ear? 

amazon

 Angela Graham lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband, two lively children and their dog. She has enjoyed writing stories for her children since they were young to inspire the love of reading. Angela’s stories add a humourous twist to real life. This story is motivated from Angela’s own childhood.

 

Angela is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins September 1 and ends on September 13.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, September 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

bible bandsBible Bands is a fun, educational how-to book for children who love making jewelry. Not only does it teaches how to make lovely designs, but it also strengthens children’s faith by combining hands-on creativity with Bible verses and stories.

Rubber band jewelry seems to be the hottest new craze, so Eden’s book comes at the right time. Though at first glance, when you look at the jewelry, it might seem complicated and difficult to make, especially for kids, the author demystifies it with simple step-by-step instructions accompanied by colorful photos. I found the language and descriptions clear and straight-forward, easy for most kids to understand, though the younger ones will need guidance from an adult, at least at first. There are over 12 designs, from the simplest to the most elaborate.

Eden incorporates faith with verses and symbols, such as a blue and white pattern to symbolize Christ’s baptism, a heart design to remind you of God’s love, and a multi-colored weave to match Joseph’s coat of many colors, among others.

Bible Bands doesn’t come with the looms or bands, but you can find these at most craft shops. This will make a lovely gift for any child, especially those who are into crafts. It is also a good book for those long summer and Christmas holidays, as it will keep children entertained for hours. Recommended!

Find out more on Amazon.

My review was previously published in Blogcritics.

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