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Kiran Bhat was born in Jonesboro, Georgia to parents from villages in Dakshina Kannada, India. An avid world traveler, polyglot, and digital nomad, he has currently traveled to more than 130 countries, lived in 18 different places, and speaks 12 languages. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Website  → http://iguanabooks.ca/

About the Book

The Internet has connected – and continues to connect – billions of people around the world, sometimes in surprising ways. In his sprawling new novel, we of the forsaken world, author Kiran Bhat has turned the fact of that once-unimaginable connectivity into a metaphor for life itself.

In, we of the forsaken world, Bhat follows the fortunes of 16 people who live in four distinct places on the planet. The gripping stories include those of a man’s journey to the birthplace of his mother, a tourist town destroyed by an industrial spill; a chief’s second son born in a nameless remote tribe, creating a scramble for succession as their jungles are destroyed by loggers; a homeless, one-armed woman living in a sprawling metropolis who sets out to take revenge on the men who trafficked her; and a milkmaid in a small village of shanty shacks connected only by a mud and concrete road who watches the girls she calls friends destroy her reputation.

Like modern communication networks, the stories in , we of the forsaken world connect along subtle lines, dispersing at the moments where another story is about to take place. Each story is a parable unto itself, but the tales also expand to engulf the lives of everyone who lives on planet Earth, at every second, everywhere.

As Bhat notes, his characters “largely live their own lives, deal with their own problems, and exist independently of the fact that they inhabit the same space. This becomes a parable of globalization, but in a literary text.”

Bhat continues:  “I wanted to imagine a globalism, but one that was bottom-to-top, and using globalism to imagine new terrains, for the sake of fiction, for the sake of humanity’s intellectual growth.”

“These are stories that could be directly ripped from our headlines. I think each of these stories is very much its own vignette, and each of these vignettes gives a lot of insight into human nature, as a whole.”

we of the forsaken world takes pride of place next to such notable literary works as David Mitchell’s CLOUD ATLAS, a finalist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for 2004, and Mohsin Hamid’s EXIT WEST, which was listed by the New York Times as one of its Best Books of 2017.

Bhat’s epic also stands comfortably with the works of contemporary visionaries such as Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Dick.

 

Order Your Copy

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2DQIclm

Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/2Lqe9Fi

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Joyce Carol Oates once called me a born writer, so I would rather she say it, not me. But, yes, at the risk of sounding vain, I see myeslf as the only person who can do the things I do, and this space belongs very much to myself.

What was your inspiration for we, of the forsaken world…?

we, of the forsaken world… came to me in 2011, when I was on a bus between Dubrovnik and Zagreb. A tall, brunette woman with a lingering stare sat down next to me on one of the stops. We began to talk about a host of things I can’t remember now, but the one thing that she told me which did remain in my head was the following: Croatia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Something about that sentence inspired my imagination. After we reached the bus station, I had to sit on one of the metal benches for a few hours, and write. I was starting to imagine different countries, completely imagined in my head. One was a half-rich half poor megalopolis, the sort found in most third-world countries. Then, there was a town that wasn’t so different looking from my grandmother’s place, the southern Indian city of Mysore. There was a tribe in the middle of nowhere, not to mention a town of great touristic importance, destroyed by an industrial spill. I also imagined hundreds of voices. Though, over the course of time, those two hundred-so voices became around sixteen; the most distinct and boisterous of the lot.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I started it in 2011, and I finished it in 2017. So, I would say about 6-7 years.

Are you disciplined?

Describe a typical writing day. I am quite a disciplined writer. I tend to work continuously for about 3-4 hours from the moment I wake up until it is time for lunch. In that time, I am usually able to do about 2,000 words. Sometimes, my writing is good, and sometimes it is bad, but I think that what is most important is getting it done.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Trying to make sure the structure worked. I wanted to merge the narratives of unrelated voices into a seamless narrative using the power of language, in the same way that digital networks blur the minds of billions of people into a place-less interface. I had to keep playing with the structure until I found something that worked (in this case, it was these poetic interludes, switching from one narrative to another).

What do you love most about being an author?

I think one thing that makes me really happy these days is feeling like I am being recognized for something which I have been doing for ages; people, from friends to family members, are finally eseing me as an author, and giving my art and vision respect, and that feeling of validation is simply priceless.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I had finished the book in 2016. One of my friends, who was an editor at a small press in New York, gave me a list of agents to contact. Most of them responsed stealthily and quickly, but after some months, they did not find my book – experimental, ambitious, overtly literary – to be a quick fit for the market. They had to turn it down. After about a year of waiting for these agents to respond, I started submitting to small presses. It was in 2019 that I got a response from an editor at Iguana Books. They were interested in publishing the book. I told them that I was still waiting for some other publishers to respond, so I asked them to wait for some weeks so that I could get some responses. Within two weeks, this same editor emailed me, asking me to follow up. He really liked this book, and wanted to publish it.

Before my work with Iguana Books, I hadn’t had a publisher respond to me so positively. Admittedly, Iguana Books is a hybrid press. This means that they vet every book project that they take on, but they ask the author to take on the financial burdens of publication. This still did not mean that they had to care so much about my writing. They did a lot of work, from the editorial stages, to the design of the cover, and the maps that I asked to have tailored onto the book itself, to make sure that the book was aesthetically enriched. They spent a lot of time with me talking on the phone, making sure all of my needs were met, from last-minute changes to a sentence or two, to having my books flown to Hong Kong or Delhi for the sake of book festivals. I do not think having been published by a hybrid press has downgraded the quality of my work in any way; if anything, I am glad to have had people who believe as fondly in my vision as I do. It makes me look forward to later publications, as well as the future of my career.

Gordon Campbell is a Winnipeg born Canadian who’s spent most of his life in Japan. He’s worked as an English teacher, a market entry consultant with a focus on the medical and sporting goods industries, and as a sales director for a corporation with multiple product lines.

He’s presently working on the second novel of a series initiated with The Courier, and its protagonist, Gregg Westwood.

Gordon leans on his experiences built around decades working and traveling in Asia. He’s trained at several karate dojos, run full marathons, and skied black diamond hills in the Japanese Alps.

He played American football at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and started in the Canadian championship game known as the Vanier Cup. Gordon is a member of Psi Upsilon Fraternity, Sinim Masonic Lodge, and the Tokyo Valley of the AASR.

When he’s not writing, working, attending one of his daughter’s vocal concerts, pumping iron, or at a lodge meeting, you’ll find him dining with his wife Mako at their favorite local bistro.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS

Website → https://www.gordonjcampbell.com/

Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/gordonjcampbellauthor/

Twitter → https://twitter.com/GcampbellGordon

BOOK BLURB:

An expatriate businessman, Gregg Westwood, leaves the Officers’ Club at an American Air Base in Japan unaware about the impression he’s made on two intelligence agents. They sized him up as someone with potential for strategic deployment, and more importantly, he’s under the radar.

Gregg’s exploits start with what he thinks is a one-off assignment as a courier, and the straightforward task spirals out of control. He’s forced to rise to the occasion and use every resource available to survive. Even his family is jeopardized which forces him to return to Japan to settle scores.

The Courier is one man’s struggle to fight for survival in a world that he’s not been trained for and where violence and retribution are the names of the game.

 

Praise:

 

“The Bottom Line: One of the year’s best thrillers.”

–BestThrillers.com  ​

“With such fine attention to detail in creating some amazing scenes, I give The Courier 4 out of 4 stars. Campbell creates an amazing and well-edited adventure that could even someday work on the big screen. Readers that enjoy action adventures or thrillers will likely enjoy this one as well.”

–Official review by Kendra M Parker, OnlineBookClub.org

“The Courier is an exciting ride from start to finish. I couldn’t put it down and wanted more when it finished.”

–Gyle Graham, entrepreneur and longtime Tokyo expatriate

“The Courier would transform well from a thriller novel to an action movie.”

–Michael Harrison, marketing expert and martial artist

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07W89JND1?

 Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47808197-the-courier

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Shall we answer with a qualified “yes.”

Thousands of hours of my life were spent behind the keyboard developing marketing material, short stories for Japanese English Radio, and my blogs.

These exercises kept the artistic flame burning until focused time and energy was committed to writing The Courier.

What was your inspiration for The Courier?

The people met, and places visited while working over two decades in Japan inspired The Courier.

I asked myself what would happen if a salesman without military training entered into a dangerous situation unfamiliar to anything in his world. Could he stand up, persevere, and protect his family and friends?

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

The novel’s drafts were written and rewritten for three years. My editor pushed me to “kill my darlings” and create “new darlings.” I’m hoping some of the characters cut from The Courier will be resurrected as the “Gregg Westwood” series develops.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I wake up early and brush Oliver, my cat. This rewarding task is followed by a cup of coffee, and at least one hour of writing before the family wakes up. More time is spent writing on weekends when the day job doesn’t impede my creative time.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Most people love to learn but hate to be taught. There were honest and sometimes brutal critical evaluations received during the developmental phases of The Courier. I learned to take the hits and bounce back with improved work.

What do you love most about being an author?

There’s something magical about being genuinely into a story. The characters seem to act on their own accord, and the dialog will sometimes surprise you.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self-publish? What was the process like, and are you happy with your decision?

The Courier was submitted to some first novel competitions and received encouraging professional evaluations. I sent early drafts of The Courier to agents who replied with well written and mostly kind rejection letters.

It’s easy to contract developmental editors and copy editors. My collaboration with editors resulted in the final version of The Courier. It’s currently available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book, paperback, and an audiobook performed by Kevin Stillwell.

Self-publishing through Amazon expedited the book launch and made The Courier immediately accessible to the American military and expatriate communities in Asia. The results have been encouraging and we are enjoying the journey.

Thank you for your consideration of The Courier.

 

When attorneys Vernetta Henderson and Neddy McClain are tapped to take on the biggest case of their careers, they are less than thrilled about working together. Their strained relationship, however, is the least of their problems. Their socialite client—charged with the brutal murder of her husband—is demanding an immediate dismissal of the case. But a ruthless prosecutor is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen. Forced to fight a common enemy, the two women close ranks and, in the process, develop a bond that sees them through the uncertainties of trial, the pain of betrayal and pressures neither could have imagined.

cLICK BELOw TO GET YOUR FREE COPY!

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2WNlraB

______________________

 

 

 

Prologue

If Max Montgomery ever had to commit to monogamy to save his wife’s life, she would just have to come back and haunt him from the afterlife.

Max rested his forearm on the registration desk as his eyes anxiously crisscrossed the lobby of the Beverly Hills Ritz-Carlton. He watched as people milled about, dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. He made eye contact with a short, brown-skinned cutie who sashayed by in a dress so tight he could see the faint outline of her thong. Max smiled. She smiled back. Too bad he was already about to get laid. Otherwise, he definitely would’ve taken the time to follow up on that.

“Here’s your key, Mr. Montgomery,” said a cherub-faced girl with a shrill voice. “You’ll be in room 502. One of our most elegant suites.”

When he reached for the key, his fingertips accidentally brushed her hand and she nervously looked away. She wants me, Max thought. But she was way too young for his taste.

He thanked her and headed for the bank of elevators in the rear of the lobby. Max tapped the elevator button and the car to his left instantly glided open. Some of the tension eased from his body once he was safely inside. He had waited nearly a week for this night and his wait was almost over.

The anonymous invitation to a “private evening of intimacy” had intrigued him and he had immediately decided to accept. No questions asked. A man like Max didn’t make hasty decisions very often. On the rare occasion that he did, it was only because he was banking on a huge payoff.

Max stepped off the elevator, studied the sign directly in front of him, then turned left down a long hallway. He walked with a distinctive, self-assured stride, like a male model taking a slow stroll down the catwalk. He stopped in front of a door near the end of the hallway and fished the plastic card key from his breast pocket.

A huge smile of anticipation spread across his face as he entered the lavish suite. The place was a classy ensemble of muted colors, luxurious fabrics, and calming scents. From the flowing silk curtains to the massive mahogany sleigh bed to the sleek suede comforter, everything in the room spelled class with a capital C. And that pleased him.

Max made his way over to a nightstand near the window, his feet sinking into the plush, caramel-colored carpet with every step. He examined a champagne bottle sitting near an antique lamp. Dom Pérignon, vintage 1995. Definitely his style. He only hoped his host was familiar with some of his more erotic personal preferences.

The sight of a red teddy hanging from the corner of the headboard triggered a twinge of arousal that warmed him inside. He rubbed the soft fabric between his fingers, smiled again, then tossed it onto the bed. On the floor near the nightstand was a large wicker basket with three packages of rose petals, twelve scented candles, two champagne glasses, and a book of matches. He set the basket on the bed and read the fancy gold card inside. It provided additional instructions for the evening.

Max glanced at his watch. He didn’t have much time. He scooped up the basket with one hand, began undoing his tie with the other and proceeded into the bathroom. It was just as dazzling as the rest of the suite. The marble floor, the shiny granite countertop, the extravagant gold fixtures were all symbols of an affluent lifestyle Max knew well.

As the card commanded, Max filled the oversized Jacuzzi tub with water, sprinkled it with the rose petals and positioned the candles about the room. He lit each one, then turned off the lights to admire his handiwork. Yes, yes, yes. He was about to have himself one big ball.

Max ripped up both the invitation and the card and flushed them down the toilet. A married man could never be too careful. Just as he was about to head back into the bedroom, the enormous mirror on the wall directly across from the tub stopped him in his tracks. Max grinned. He would get to watch.

Marching into the bedroom, he stripped off his Hugo Boss suit and draped it over the back of an armchair near the bed, making sure his pants were carefully folded along the crease line. After removing the rest of his clothes, he grabbed the champagne bottle and strutted naked into the bathroom, where he eased into the steaming hot water and waited.

All day long he had tried to figure out who his freaky little hostess might be. He had instantly ruled out Janice. A single parent with three kids didn’t have the time, not to mention the energy, to plan something this elaborate. She could barely escape from her solo law practice for their once-a-week lunchtime romps. That left Paula, a stewardess who had served him on a flight to New York three months earlier, and Natasha, the big-breasted Swede who was temping as a receptionist at his firm’s Newport Beach office. She had straight out boned him with her eyes when he walked up to the reception desk to find out her name. Yeah, both Paula and Natasha were kinky enough to plan something like this.

Max poured himself a glass of champagne and took a slow, satisfying sip. The air jets pelting his back with spurts of water felt great. He closed his eyes and slowly twisted his head to the left as far as it would go, then repeated the move on the opposite side. The muscles along the base of his neck felt like dense, knotted fists. Maybe she would give him a massage afterward.

At the sound of the hotel room door opening, Max bolted forward, causing rose petals to splash onto the floor. He could feel his pulse racing as he waited for his mystery date to appear, and when she did not, he settled back into the tub and tried to calm himself down. She was probably just slipping into that sexy little teddy. He was so hard now he had to fight the urge to jack himself off.

Max reached for the champagne bottle to refill his glass just as a sharp, searing pain attacked his left temple. He hoped it wasn’t another migraine. There was a time when he could almost will them away if he concentrated hard enough. But that wasn’t working anymore. He sat the bottle back down. He would wait and share the rest with her.

Max leaned back, sucked in a long, deep breath, and closed his eyes for several seconds. When he reopened them, he could not focus. A thick curtain of haze had suddenly filled the room. He tried to sit up, but his head felt heavier than a bowling ball and fell backward, slamming hard against the tiled wall. He was now blind, dizzy, and in excruciating pain.

By the time the bathroom door opened, Max could feel the presence of someone else in the room. He could even hear a voice. A voice he was too dazed to place, speaking words he could not quite make out. Max had never had a migraine like this one before. He tried to speak, but his lips spewed nothing but gibberish. Had the champagne been spiked?

Without warning, a powerful jolt of pain pierced the right side of Max’s chest at the same time that his head seemed to explode.

His visitor, hovering over him now, plunged a knife deep into Max’s chest, then repeated the motion. A second time, a third time, a fourth time. The stabbing continued until the rose petals disappeared into a pool of deep, dark red.

______________________

Award-winning author and attorney Pamela Samuels Young writes mysteries that matter. Dubbed “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” by one reviewer, Pamela’s fast-paced novels often tackle important social issues.

Her most recent legal thriller, Failure to Protect, takes on the bullying epidemic and its devastating aftermath. Pamela won the prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter, which provides a realistic look inside the world of child sex trafficking. Her courtroom drama Abuse of Discretion centers around a troubling teen sexting case. #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult editions of the two books. A young adult version of Failure to Protect goes on sale in December 2019.

Pamela also writes dangerously sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Her first foray into the romance genre, Unlawful Desires (2017), was awarded Best Erotic Romance by Romance Slam Jam. Her second book, Unlawful Seduction (2018), was honored as a finalist in Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume contest in the Best Contemporary Erotica category.

The prolific writer is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, bullying, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or to read excerpts of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com and www.sassysinclair.com .

website & Social links

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorpsy

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorpsy/

Title: CHRISTMAS IN NEWFOUNDLAND: MEMORIES AND MYSTERIES

Author: Mike Martin

Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing

Pages: 113

Genre: Mystery/Memoir

From the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries comes “Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries,” a welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books.

Christmas in Newfoundland is a special time. In the depths of long winter nights memories are made and stories are told. Of Christmas by candlelight and horse and buggy rides to church. Of shopping on Water Street in St. John’s before malls and the Internet.

In later years, Sgt. Windflower came to work and then to stay in the quiet town of Grand Bank by the Atlantic Ocean where the salt air froze in the wind and the Mounties were welcomed to warm themselves by every fire.

Come and warm yourself by the fire and hear their stories. Some memories and some mysteries. Enjoy some holiday time with Sgt. Windflower and all the familiar characters that you’d come to know and love. Good food, good friends and always another chair at the table.

Book Excerpt:

A Windflower Christmas

It was just days before Christmas, and Sergeant Winston Windflower only had one big problem. That was what to get his girlfriend, Sheila Hillier, for Christmas. Other than that, life was good for the RCMP officer in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Crime was low, if not non-existent, and spirits were running high as the holiday neared its peak in this little seaside town.

Of course, being the holiday season, the Mountie was concerned about impaired driving. But Windflower and his team had been out on the roads for the past two weekends with the R.I.D.E. program. He figured that meant everyone would be on their best behaviour for the next couple of weeks. That was especially true since one town resident had been charged with impaired driving and two others had received suspended licences because they were just over the legal limit of alcohol.

Fortunately, even the weather was cooperating. They hadn’t had any snow in Grand Bank for almost two weeks. That was a relief to not only the snow shovellers catching a break after a series of early winter storms but also to the RCMP officers, as they had already worked several overnight shifts because of storms. The best news was that there wasn’t even any snow in the short-term forecast.

All of this meant the town could be festive and safe during the holiday season already well underway.

The old Town of Grand Bank went all out to pretty itself up for Christmas. Almost every house had some form of decoration, and Christmas lights were aplenty all over town. Some people went old-fashioned and just had a wreath on their front door and a couple of strings of lights hanging from their eaves. Others decided to splurge on nativity scenes and blow-up Santas, as they held nothing back in their gaudy and joyous celebration of the season.

Old Saint Nick had already made one visit. That was last weekend during the Santa Claus parade led by the antique pumper truck from the volunteer fire department. Local RCMP vehicles were decked out in flashing lights and ribbons as the Mounties collected toys and gifts along the parade route for the Salvation Army. Sheila had rounded up a few extra dollars from local businesses to ensure that even the abandoned buildings near the wharf were gaily festooned with ribbons, bows and the essential Christmas lights in time for the parade. Now, Saint Nick’s return engagement on December 25th was eagerly anticipated.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/32hC9zY 

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series.is Darkest Before the Dawn which won the Bony Blithe Award in 2019. A new book in the series, Fire, Fog and Water is being released in October.

Mike is currently Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers.

Website → www.sgtwindflowermysteries.com

Twitter Link: → http://ww.twitter.com/mike54martin

Facebook→https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkerOnTheCapeReviewsAndMore/

Title: Failure To Protect
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 414
Genre: Mystery/Legal Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

When the classroom is no longer a safe space for her child, the outraged mother of a bullied nine-year-old is determined to seek justice for her daughter. An ambitious school principal, however, is far more concerned about protecting her career than getting to the truth. She flat out denies any knowledge of the bullying and prefers to sweep everything under the rug. But just how low will she go?

 

When the mother’s two hard-charging female attorneys enter the picture, they face more than an uphill battle. As the case enters the courtroom, the women fight hard to expose the truth. But will a massive coverup hinder their quest for justice?

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2PXwixo

 

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“Please, Uncle Dre, let me stay home with you today. Can you homeschool me? Please!”

Dre stroked his goatee and laughed. “Unfortunately, I’m not smart enough to homeschool you or anybody else.”

“I’m serious,” Bailey pleaded, her face twisted in terror. “Please don’t make me go!”

As his Jeep inched along behind the long line of cars dropping off kids in front of Parker Elementary School, Dre peered over his shoulder at the cute little girl sitting in his back seat. Bailey’s stress level was way too high. She’d had a few run-ins with a bully at her old school, but he assumed the transfer to Parker had fixed everything.

“What’s going on? Why don’t you want to go to school?”

Bailey hugged her book bag to her chest as if it were a life raft. “I just don’t.”

“C’mon, talk to me. Is somebody bothering you here too?”

After a long beat, Bailey slowly bobbed her head.

Dre had purposely used the word bothering, not bullying. He was tired of hearing all the hoopla about bullies. Kids getting picked on was nothing new. It happened in his day and would keep happening until the end of time.

Truth be told, today’s kids were too damn soft. People turned backflips to protect them from the realities of life. Like everybody getting a freakin’ trophy just for participating. That was the stupidest crap he’d ever heard. Sometimes life is hard. Kids need to know that sooner rather than later.

“Please don’t tell my mom,” Bailey begged, her brown eyes glassy with tears. “She’ll fuss at me for not standing up for myself.”

Dre reached back and gave Bailey’s foot a playful squeeze. “No, she won’t. But you do have to start standing up for yourself. If somebody’s being mean to you, you have my permission to be mean right back.”

He wasn’t condoning violence, but if another kid started some mess, the only way to show ’em you weren’t no punk was to clap back twice as hard. Most bullies were wimps. Once you got in their face, they backed off. That’s what he’d taught his son to do and, to his knowledge, Little Dre had never had a problem. He would teach Bailey to do the same.

“You don’t get it,” Bailey huffed, her shoulders drooping. “That won’t help.”

They were almost at the drop-off point, when Dre steered his Jeep out of the line of cars and made a hasty U-turn in the middle of the street.

Bailey’s upper body sprang forward. “We’re going home?”

“Nope.” Dre pulled to a stop along the curb. “I’m walking you inside. I want you to show me who’s messing with you.”

Bailey slumped back against the seat, her lips protruding into a pout. “That’ll just make it worse.”

Turning off the engine, Dre hopped out and jogged around to open the back door. “Let’s go.”

He took Bailey’s hand as they stepped into the crosswalk. The closer they got to the school doors, the slower Bailey walked. By the time they reached the entrance, Dre felt like he was tugging a sixty-pound bag of potatoes.

“Please, Uncle Dre,” Bailey whispered, glancing all around. “Please don’t make me go!” Her tiny hand clutched two of his fingers.

Dre led Bailey off to the side, squatted until they were at eye level, and caressed her shoulders.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s no reason for you to be this stressed out about going to school. If somebody’s messing with you, I need to know about it. What’s the kid’s name?”

Bailey hung her head as a tear slid down her right cheek. For a second, Dre thought she was about to come clean.

“It doesn’t matter,” she mumbled, hoisting her book bag higher on her shoulder.

“Yes, it—”

Bailey jerked away from him and dashed inside the school.

He was about to go after her when a woman stepped in front of him, blocking his path.

“May I help you, sir?”

The woman’s chin jutted forward like an accusing finger pointing him out in a lineup. “And you are?”

“I’m Bailey’s”—he paused—”uh, I’m Bailey’s godfather.” He’d started to introduce himself as her uncle to make himself sound more legit but changed his mind.

“Your name?” Her tone conveyed all the warmth of an icicle.

“Andre Thomas.”

Dre pegged the woman to be in her early forties. Her thick, black hair fell a couple of inches below her ears in a blunt cut that matched her funky disposition. Her sleeveless, form-fitting, red dress hugged every inch of her curvy frame. Actually, she was kinda hot. Kerry Washington’s classy style with Cookie Lyon’s bad attitude.

“Bailey’s mother didn’t tell us someone else would be bringing her to school today.”

She looked him up and down like he was some pedophile on the prowl for a new victim.

Dre couldn’t seem to pull his eyes away. Despite an innate seductiveness, the woman still managed to carry herself with the spit-shine polish of a CEO. If professionalism had a smell, she would reek.

“Erika had an early meeting in Irvine and asked me to drop her off.”

Dre ran a hand over his shaved head. Rarely did anybody—especially a female—make him feel this degree of uneasiness. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get your name.”

“I’m the principal. Darcella Freeman.”

He should’ve guessed. A sister with a little power.

“I’ll be dropping Bailey off and picking her up from time to time,” Dre said, anxious for the chick to move out of his way so he could go after Bailey. “Erika got a big promotion. Her job’s a lot more demanding now.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep, that’s right.” What’s up with this chick?

“Please ask Bailey’s mother to email the office authorizing you to pick her up from school.”

Dre nodded. “Will do.”

He still wanted to go inside, but the woman stayed put like a queen guarding the gates of her castle.

Without saying goodbye, Dre pivoted and headed back across the street. As he opened the door to his Jeep, he made a mental note to have a talk with Erika. She’d been thrilled about getting Bailey into Parker Elementary because of its stellar reputation. But the place might not be any better for Bailey than her old school.

Dre also couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. And not just with Bailey.

About the Author

Award-winning author and attorney Pamela Samuels Young writes mysteries that matter. Dubbed “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” by one reviewer, Pamela’s fast-paced novels often tackle important social issues.

Her most recent legal thriller, Failure to Protect, takes on the bullying epidemic and its devastating aftermath. Pamela won the prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter, which provides a realistic look inside the world of child sex trafficking. Her courtroom drama Abuse of Discretion centers around a troubling teen sexting case. #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult editions of the two books. A young adult version of Failure to Protect goes on sale in December 2019.

Pamela also writes dangerously sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Her first foray into the romance genre, Unlawful Desires (2017), was awarded Best Erotic Romance by Romance Slam Jam. Her second book, Unlawful Seduction (2018), was honored as a finalist in Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume contest in the Best Contemporary Erotica category.

The prolific writer is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, bullying, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or to read excerpts of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com and www.sassysinclair.com .

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorpsy

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorpsy/

Kathy Holmes grew up in Southern California near Disneyland and the beach with a book in one hand and a transistor radio in the other. She began writing stories about family and wrote her first song with a childhood friend. They called themselves the “Screamie Birds.”

Books have always spurred her love for travel, especially to places she’s read about, and location is often a character in her books.

After an exciting career in Silicon Valley, she is now combining her love for both books and music at Screamie Birds Studios. You can find out more about her books and music at http://www.kathyholmes.net.

Website: http://www.kathyholmes.net

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/screamiebirds

Inside the book

Nikki Durrance escaped the worst nightmare of her life when she fled Las Vegas for San Francisco, leaving her abusive husband Jeff behind at the Blue Diamond Saloon. Rebuilding her life in San Francisco with the help of her closest friend Sally, Nikki draws the line with one thing: men. But when she accompanies Sally on a business trip back in Las Vegas, Nikki meets Dr. Mike Fischer, a sexy and desirable pediatrician also from San Francisco.

After a whirlwind courtship followed by a proposal, Nikki panics and jumps on the nearest cruise ship to Mexico. Realizing she must face her fears rather than run from them, she returns home and accepts Mike’s proposal. Life picks up even more speed with Mike’s plans and Nikki panics once again, imagining that everything Mike does mirrors her ex-husband Jeff. Attempting to sort out what’s real and what’s not, Nikki begins to question everything, including her sanity when everything with Mike feels like déjà vu.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/32vYGZV

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/33yNop4

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes, I started writing short stories about my family in elementary school, dabbled with writing fiction, and wrote a song with a childhood friend. I was so curious about how books were printed, and my questions were answered when I got to tour my first print shop with my junior high Journalism class.

What was your inspiration for Déjà vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon?

Actually, the first chapter came to me in a nightmare when we were living in Florida. I woke up, heart pounding, sweating, and knew I had to write it down. When we moved to Las Vegas, I saw this place called “The Blue Diamond Saloon” and I knew I had to write the story with a Las Vegas setting.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It might have been a couple of years because after living in Florida, we lived in Oregon briefly before being relocated to Las Vegas for my husband’s job. I dabbled with it a bit in Oregon with an Oregon setting but changed the location to Las Vegas once we were there. I released the book first on Kindle and have now just released it in paperback

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

These days I’m also writing and producing music, so my daily schedule varies as far as what I’m working on. But I usually get up around 7 (or earlier if the cats wake me up), have coffee with my husband before he leaves for work) and then head out to my writing and music studio. I’m blessed to have a casita (separate building) set up for my studio so I can immerse myself in my books and music. My most productive working hours are from morning coffee until lunch. I usually have a short nap and then head back out to the studio in late afternoon for another hour or so until my husband gets home. I tend to get a second wind in the afternoon, maybe because early in my publishing career, I worked swing shift for a graphics/printing company for several years in San Francisco. I still love the smell of a print shop in the fall.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Deciding on the ending was challenging with this book. I usually write the beginning and the ending right away, but I wasn’t sure for a long time how it would end, who would be the bad guy, etc.

What do you love most about being an author?

I have a rich internal life, being an introvert and people-watcher, both good qualities for a writer. So writing, for me, is the joy of being in the company of strangers. When I spend too much time creating music, I start to miss them.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I’m a bit of a hybrid—I have published with small publishers, and independently, depending on the book and the situation. My first book found an agent and a small press, but they soon went out of business. So I then self-published it and discovered the joy of independence. Since then I’ve published with other small publishers and independently.

This book was published independently. I have to say, I love being an Indie Author, retaining control over the book. The downside is it’s a lot of work, either doing it myself or obtaining the services of others such as editing and cover art. But I have a background in technical publishing in Silicon Valley, so I have a lot of experience formatting, editing, and other production tasks.

James D. Bell - PhotoJames D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live in Brandon, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell practices law in Jackson, Mississippi, but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments. Visit the author’s website at www.judgebell.com.

About Maximilian’s Treasure:

Maximilian’s Treasure is inspired by an encounter I had 40 years ago with an elderly Choctaw gentleman who believed Civil War gold was buried on his farm.  In the novel, rumors of treasure incite a legal battle over possession of a Choctaw family farm.  Two young lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley, agree to help the family keep their farm.  Early legal success prompts the drive-by murder of the patriarch of the family.  The grandson chases the suspects whose bodies are found on the farm, scalped.  At the same time, clues to a vast treasure are found on the farm.  Jackson, pursued by fortune seekers, adventurers, an exotic beauty and a homicidal maniac, follows the clues to a Caribbean reef and the Chiapas jungle.  John stays behind to defend the grandson and continue the fight for the farm.  His efforts are complicated by arson, murder, race riots, and the realization that he lost his one true love.  The adventures of John and Jackson rush toward an intertwined triple climax that could shake the world and will leave you breathless.

INTERVIEW:

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

I fell in love with law practice the first time I stepped into a courtroom.  The life changing drama unveiling before my eyes gripped my imagination.  Almost immediately I wanted to write about my experiences.  I wanted to share my passion for the law with others.  My friend Jack and I were young lawyers defending citizens charged with crimes.  We attracted more than our share of attention because we kept winning cases.  Jack was a loyal friend, intrepid investigator and skilled researcher.  We were an unbeatable team.  Jack died twenty years ago.  I miss him, so I brought him back to life in my novels.  It has taken me way too long to write these stories.

maxstreasure-forprint

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I know the beginning and the end of the story.  I use an outline to sketch the route I plan to take to get to the end.  The outline keeps me focused, but sometimes the story starts telling itself and I just run with it.

Did your book require a lot of research?

I read books on Maximilian and on Cortez, and articles on Quantrill’s Raiders, Jesse and Frank James and the legend of their connection to Maximilian and a vast treasure.  That led me to research Aztec mythology and hummingbirds of all things.  You’ll see why when you read the book.  I even explored the places described in the book.  The research was enough to make me think my old friend may have been right!

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?

A vivid imagination is vital, but I use actual experiences to give depth and realism to my writing.  I cross-examined witnesses like those in the book.  I’ve been to the swamp and the jungle.  I’ve climbed the cliff, hung by my fingertips over the precipice, entered the cave behind the waterfall, dodged bullets, investigated my own cases, elicited confessions on the witness stand, and won impossible cases.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

I am embarrassed to say that it took 35 years from conception to completion and 7 years to write.  I started Maximilian’s Treasure right after finishing my first novel in 2012.  I have the same problem most writers have; I have two full-time jobs and I’m a full-time husband.  That leaves little time to write.  I usually write when I travel on business.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Absolutely.  I wrestle with a hundred excuses to delay writing.  Then, I finally get to work, and nothing:  Writer’s block.  I got over it by passing it to one of my characters.  In Maximilian’s Treasure, Jackson wants to get away to write about his recent spectacular case, but the blank computer screen stares at him and he gets writer’s block.  He doesn’t notice that he’s being followed by a crowd of fortune seekers and a homicidal maniac.  While he can’t think of anything to write, he’s living a fast paced, high risk adventure.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t let the blank computer screen intimidate you.  Just write, even if you don’t feel like it.  After a couple of pages, the story will start telling itself.  When you’re done for the day, you can delete the first two pages.  Find a reason bigger than yourself to write.  Make that your purpose.  I want to enrich the reader with truths that can change his or her life for the better.

 

 

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