Archive for March 13th, 2015

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Apron Strings

Title: Apron Strings

Author: Mary Morony

Publisher: Mary Morony

Pages: 252

Genre: Literary Fiction

Format: Paperback/Kindle/Audio

When a grown-up tells you not to worry, you had better start—first rule of thumb, Sallee Mackey, age seven. She is already more than a little bit wary of the adults

in her segregated, Southern world with good reason. Sallee’s mother Ginny is flat out dangerous; her father Joe is on his way out the door; and Mr. Dabney the bigoted neighbor seems to be just a little too interested with the goings on at Sallee’s house—like he knows something no one else does.

The only adult to be trusted is Ethel, the family maid, who has known Sallee’s mother since Ethel and Ginny were both girls. That complicated relationship started the day Ethel spied Ginny kissing the black stable boy years ago.

While Ginny has conveniently forgotten that she even knew Ethel back then, Sallee has not as she constantly lobs questions at Ethel about her mother’s girlhood.

From Sallee’s oft times humorous and always guileless vantage, grownups have a most mixed up view of the world.

Ethel gives her very own biased account of her shared history with Ginny while Sallee hones her vigilance and stealth, skills she and her brother and two sisters have acquired in an attempt to understand the drama that swirls around them.

Rocks are thrown through windows, a car filled with angry white men shout racial slurs at the children at play and a tragic poisoning threatens the entire family’s sense of security. When Joe Mackey asks Ethel to testify on his behalf

in a custody suit, her conflicted loyalties throw the entire family into even more turmoil. Fortunately for Sallee no one took the time to teach her to hate a person based on the skin color.
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Life has a way of folding back on it self. I love that about it.

Thirty-five years ago pregnant, recently widowed I was dragged to an art show luncheon by a well-meaning friend. “Come, please! Getting out will do you good,” she wheedled. I finally acquiesced in order to save my sanity and the friendship, since it was obvious she wasn’t going to stop until I did.

While we lunched, the conversation drifted to a promising artist who had died young. I made the remark that the good tended to that. At which point, the gallery owner and my host said, in a most hail-fellow-well-met bonhomie manner that some men have with each other, “Well, if that’s the case…” As if by design and the way with these sorts of moments, silence descended like a shroud as he said, “that son a of a bitch you married to will live forever.”

The sucking in of a collective breath was the only sound as time stopped for the briefest of milliseconds. I started to laugh until a solicitous luncheon companion at my host’s elbow whispered in his ear the details of his faux pas. The flush that enveloped the unfortunate soul was truly epic.

I wanted to crawl across the table and hug the man. Thank him for the insight because until that point, I thought I was the only person capable of making a social interaction so excruciatingly awkward. I can’t remember how we extradited our pride, and ourselves but we did, because as my friend said, “Life goes on.”

Thirty-five years later my youngest daughter called me bubbling over about her new job in a gallery.  I bet you can’t guess whose.

Mary Morony

Mary Morony author of Apron Strings is one of six children. She was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and had the good fortune of being raised by her family’s maid Lottie. She taught me love and acceptance with warm, loving humor and unending patience. It was a time and place of segregated schools and water fountains, as well as restaurants and movie theaters that prohibited black customers. She remembers the hurled epithets and smashed windows of a society boiling in hatred.

Besides five siblings she had four children of her own. As if that didn’t provide sufficient material about family chaos, at the age of forty-something, with a high school daughter and a four-year-old girl still at home, she decided to get a college degree. Mary likes to say she earned, and she does mean earned, a bachelors of arts in English at the University of Virginia, with a concentration in creative writing. More recently she has pursued additional studies under the tutelage of her seven-year-old granddaughter. Her refresher course in childhood perspective was invaluable in writing this book.

The author lives on a farm in Orange County, Virginia, with her husband, four dogs, and her daughter’s cat.

Mary says, “The relationship I was privileged to experience taught me much about the human heart and the redemptive power of love, especially between races.”

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Visit Mary’s website.

Connect with Mary on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn


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Title: Grace of Gratitude Journal

Author: Deborah Perdue

Publisher: Applegate Valley Publishing

Pages: 104

Genre: Self Help

Format: Paperback/Kindle

Grace of Gratitude is an exquisite journal that has lined pages for the reader to express their own thoughts of gratitude. Inspiring examples of gratitude by the author Deborah Perdue, and beautiful illustrations by Tara Thelen are interspersed throughout. Gratitude is a valuable spiritual practice, and through this journal, one can reap the benefits of appreciation of life to feel more joy and more peace on a sustained level. This journal is not only for the novice, but also for anyone who is already experienced at the spiritual practice of feeling gratitude in his or her life.

For More Information

  • Grace of Gratitude is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Deborah Perdue has been a licensed practitioner for the Center for Spiritual Living in Medford, Oregon since 2006. She practices gratitude as an integral part of her spiritual path, and attributes it to being the primary key to transforming her own life. In 1994, she received two Bachelor Degrees (Cum Laude) from Sonora State University, in English (emphasis: creative writing) and Studio Art (emphasis: photography) Deborah Perdue is the owner of Illumination Graphics where she works full time as an accomplished graphic designer with over 20 years experience. Deborah specializes in designing spiritual book covers.

Tara Thelen is an American artist living near Amsterdam. The inspiration for her work is emotion in all its various forms. As an artist, Tara’s drive is to create art that elicits strong, positive emotions – art that leaves an impression and truly touches those who view it.

She teaches art lessons to children and teens at Museum Kranenburgh in the beautiful village of Bergen, near the North Sea, where she lives with her husband Paul and their two teenage boys.

Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout the US, Europe, and the Pacific.

For the past six years, Tara has been working closely with Deborah Perdue on various projects, mostly book covers, as well as CD cover designs, posters, and other promotional works. Her artwork in the Journal is integral to the beauty of it!
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Visit Deborah’s website.

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Title: Reflections of a Successful Wallflower

Author: Andrea Michaels

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Pages: 340

Genre: Business Memoir

Format: Paperback/Kindle

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower can only be compared to reading the diaries of Andrea Michaels, considered to be the backbone of the special events industry. This multiple award-winning business woman shares openly and candidly, not only the public wunderkind but the inner woman. Discover the workings of one of the foremost event producers in the world. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll be in disbelief and fascinated at the same time. Andrea is a storyteller, and her stories and her life are great lessons for everyone.

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Winner of 39 Special Events magazine Gala Awards, Andrea was honored as the “Pillar of the Industry” during The Special Event Gala in 2014. This unique one-time-only achievement award, on the heels of the 25th Anniversary of Extraordinary Events, recognized Andrea for a lifetime of elevating the quality, integrity, creativity and impact of the events industry, as well as spearheading its international outreach. Andrea is also the first inductee into the Special Event Industry Hall of Fame and the recipient of the coveted Special Event Award of Excellence and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, she has won the M.P.I. Global Paragon Award and a SITE Crystal Award, among many other such honors. Andrea has planned and produced events since 1973, expanding from local Los Angeles based events to a dominant international presence.

How does Andrea stay ahead of the competition and consistently exceed her clients’ expectations? She listens. To her clients. To her vendors. To the industry. Then she integrates that very precise information in order to achieve her clients’ individual goals through creative marketing and integrated special events. What does this mean and how does it benefit you? It means that Andrea will promise that your needs are understood, your goals are met, and your budget is respected. All achieved through listening.

Andrea thinks of each event like a play…with an overture, acts, and finale, which brings a satisfying experience to all who attend her events. She believes in intense communication through marketing strategies designed to fulfill the goals of each individual project.

Whether it’s a multi-day festival at Mall of America, the opening of G.M. Place in Vancouver, hybrid events for MINI, the holiday spectacle for Go Daddy or multi-day programs throughout Europe, Asia or Latin America, no event is too small or too large. All are given equal attention.

Andrea’s conceptualization skills, logistical savvy, and ability to produce the mega-event for thousands of guests are legendary. Each event presented to her is analyzed for its specific needs. Her ever-growing clientele is loyal, and many clients have been with her for more than 20 years. These sought-after relationships are based on proven performance and enriched with trust and ethics. She listened carefully 25 years ago. She listens now.

Andrea is now a published author. Available on Amazon as a hard-bound book or on Kindle, as well as at Barnes & Noble book stores, her book, Reflections of a Successful Wallflower; Lessons in Business, Lessons in Life, is a tell-all, in-depth glimpse into her personal and professional life and is quite a read! Other books co-authored by Andrea include: Stepping Stones to Success with Deepak Chopra and Jack Canfield;

Yes You Can! Reaching your Potential While Achieving Greatness with Dr. Warren Bennis and Jim Rohn; Bushido Business – The Fine Art of the Modern Professional with Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy and Stephen M.R. Covey; and Mastering the Art of Success with Mark Victor Hansen, Les Brown and Jack Canfield.

Follow Andrea on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Extraordinary-Events/; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reflections-of-a-Successful-Wallflower-Lessons-in-Business-Lessons-in-Life/ and Twitter @extraordinaryev.
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Title: Corsican Justice

Author: Bluette Matthey

Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing

Pages: 284

Genre: Travel Mystery

Format: Kindle/Paperback

In Bluette Matthey’s first novel, Corsican Justice, we are introduced to Hardy Durkin, an American tour outfitter who seems to experience a mystery at every stop.

Hardy is visiting Corsica for the first time to explore the possibility of arranging a hiking tour for   segments of Corsica’s infamous hiking trail, the GR20.  He was also seeking closure from the fact that his father was killed in a highway accident on the island of Corsica several years earlier, Hardy learns his father was actually murdered.  The truth of his father’s murder lies among arms smuggling, Russian mobsters, and judicial corruption.

For More Information

  • Corsican Justice is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Title: Abruzzo Intrigue

Author: Bluette Matthey

Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing

Pages: 310

Genre: Travel Mystery

Format: Kindle/Paperback

Bluette Matthey’s latest novel, Abruzzo Intrigue, embodies mystery, thievery, and spiritual encounters in this entangled plot, all set in the landscape of rural Italy.

Hardy Durkin, an American tour outfitter, leads a hiking tour into Italy’s Abruzzo region where they experience the area’s culture, food, and history.  There is a good deal of exposure to the region’s religious and spiritual past, and one of the tour group members struggles with an odyssey of the soul that ends in redemption.  Some of the cast of characters are who they seem to be, but most aren’t.  A member of the group, a grieving widower, plans to steal one of the Vatican’s most precious religious relics, The First Eucharistic Miracle, from the Church of San Francesco in Lanciano.  The book is a collision of values and traditions while hiking through the oft-overlooked beauty of ancient Abruzzo.

For More Information

  • Abruzzo Intrigue is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Trek the Transhumance in Abruzzo

Trek the Transhumance in Abruzzo
The tiny (population 50ish) fortified hill town of Castrovalva, Italy is perched on a knife-edge mountain overlooking the Sagittarius Gorge in Anversa degli Abruzzi. Made famous by M.C. Escher’s lithograph in 1930, the village has changed little since it was built in the Middle Ages. For sure, there is electricity and running water, and the road has definitely been widened, but it over flows with old-world charm.

Castrovalva is situated on an off-shoot of a Transhumance route, a narrow, pre-Roman trail used to move flocks of sheep spending their summers pasturing the mountains of Abruzzo in the warm months to the more-southern region of Puglia during winter. Although the trails are used less for sheep these days they make great hiking trails in a world of wild, spectacular beauty.

So, join outfitter Hardy Durkin on a trek through Anversa degli Abruzzi. Visit Abruzzo’s rich heritage, enjoy the butterflies, try some juniper-smoked ricotta, and have a good read: Abruzzo Intrigue. Bluette Matthey.com

Bluette Matthey is a third generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she keeps a mystery with her to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, faithful dog, and band of loving cats.

You can visit Bluette’s website at www.bluettematthey.com
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Squishy face is a little girl in a big world, which often frightens her. Luckily, she has Big Mama to guide her and show her the way. In this book, Big Mama teaches little Squishy Face about the moon.




Amazon – Paperback



The Author

Jennifer’s  Website / Goodreads / Twitter / FacebookAuthor Photo2014

Jennifer Oneal Gunn Was Born January 2, 1979 In Carthage, Missouri, To Parents Who Would End Up The Parents Of Three Children. At An Early Age, She Started Learning And Knowing Her Imagination. It Was Evident, There Was Always Something Inside Her, Waiting To Get Out. Today, A Single Mother Of Two, Jennifer Writes In A Plethora Of Different Genres; From Nightmare-Inducing Horror To Feminine Poetry. She’s Studied The Art Of Writing Since She Was Fourteen. She Also Uses Her Passion For Reading In Her Career As A Freelance Editor, Formatter, And Cover Art Designer. Recently, Jennifer Has Also Given Way To Her Artistic Side. She Illustrates Children’s Books Sometimes, Too.

Her Titles Include Mystik LegendsDevil’s In The Details- RebootFire, Ice & Blood-The Story Of Jake And Holly Book 1(Revenging The Evil Series)The Heart Of A Woman(Poetry), Squishy Face And The Moon (Children’s) And Some Free Reads On Her Website.

Follow the entire Squishy Face Tour!

Brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours


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Forty Days At Kamas


Chapter 2

“Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state has its roots in the street.”

—Joseph Goebbels

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Our stone farmhouse atop a forested knoll commanded a sweeping view of the hills along the Ohio River to the southwest. The south end of the house projected just beyond a line of towering maples, the French doors of our old glassed-in porch opening onto a flagstone veranda. Beyond the boxwood hedge that enclosed the veranda on three sides, the hill sloped gradually at first, then more steeply, past our neighbor’s horse paddock to the two-lane state road that connected downtown Sewickley with Interstate 79.

I finished my mug of tea and joined my wife on the veranda. Juliet had begun covering the boxwood with burlap slipcovers and called me over to shovel mulch around the roots. I pulled a long-handled shovel from the wheelbarrow to join. Meanwhile, our two daughters, Louisa and Claire, aged three and nearly five, busied themselves collecting fallen twigs for the woodpile. The sun was already high in a cloudless sky and the morning frost had melted nearly everywhere.

It was the second Saturday in November, only four days since the national elections in which the President was re-elected under the banner of his newly formed Unionist Party. The Unionists also took both houses of Congress, which had come as a complete surprise to me. I had been spending sixty-hour weeks at the office and had not paid much attention to the persistent reports of large-scale voter registration fraud, voting machine hacking, pre-stuffed ballot boxes, and voter intimidation at polling places in major cities across the country. Even with a government blackout on live television and radio coverage at polling places, rumors of a stolen election had quickly spread to nearly every household with a phone or a computer. But like too many others, I did not understand what was happening until the damage had already been done.

“Where do we put the sticks, Daddy? “ my older daughter Claire asked, bringing my thoughts back to the present.

“By the woodpile, sweetie,” I replied. “Break them up in pieces about so big and make a stack with them.”

“This one’s too big to break.” She was dragging an eight-foot branch across the grass. “Will you help me?”

“Of course.” I lay down my shovel to give her a hand, but when I reached her, Claire had dropped the branch and was pointing toward the road at the bottom of the hill.

“Who are those people, Daddy, and where are they going?” she asked. “Are they going camping?”

I looked up and saw the road clogged with a slow-moving procession of cars, pickup trucks, trailers, Amish-style horse carts, bicyclists, backpackers, even big-wheeled garden carts pulled rickshaw-style. Those on foot were trailed by a pack of underfed dogs. It reminded me of World War II newsreels of the Dutch fleeing the bombing of Rotterdam, or German refugees retreating from the advancing Red Army. Most of the cars and trucks were far from new and many of the foot travelers shabbily dressed, though most gave the impression of being strong, hardy people who had once belonged to America’s middle class.

A trio of deer peered out from behind a copse of trees near the road and hesitated, unable to find a break in the uninterrupted stream of traffic. A few of the dogs looked up, as if catching a scent, but none gave chase.

“Where are they going, Daddy?” Claire repeated.

“I think some are headed north to Canada, darling, like the Moores.” The Moores were our neighbors who, having lost their savings to inflation and having failed to sell their horse farm before the mortgage company gave notice of foreclosure, abandoned the farm and their unpaid tax obligations and moved in with their son in Ottawa.

“The ones in the fancy cars are probably driving to the Toronto airport to catch a flight overseas. The rest are probably headed south, where there are more jobs and it’s cheaper to live.”

“Are we going away, too?” Claire asked, turning to me with a look of disapproval.

I heard footsteps behind me and felt my wife grip my arm. She held on with both hands as if what she saw on the road had given her a chill.

I looked into her eyes and saw the fear of losing our business, our savings, our house and everything in it—and not being able to start over. Not in America, anyway. Not with the Unionists in power. I glanced over to Claire, hoping that she had not sensed Juliet’s fear.

“Not today, sweetie,” I replied. “We’re staying right here at home. Mommy and Daddy have work to do. And so do you and Louisa. Here, let me pull that branch over to the woodpile for you. Now, break up the small twigs, like this.” I used more force than necessary to break one of the tender twigs in half. “But leave the big sticks for me, okay?”

My wife squeezed my arm once more and let go to take my hand.

“Jeff’s car just pulled in,” she said softly. “I’ll brew a fresh pot of tea. Why don’t you carry some chairs onto the veranda?”

Inspired by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s account of a Soviet labor camp revolt in Gulag Archipelago, Volume III, the story of FORTY DAYS AT KAMAS follows political prisoners and security officials at a corrective labor camp in Kamas, Utah, where inmates seize control during the summer of 2024.

Kamas, Utah. 2024. In the totalitarian dystopia that America has become after the Unionist Party’s rise to power, the American West contains vast Restricted Zones dotted with ghost towns, scattered military garrisons and corrective labor camps where the regime disposes of its real and suspected enemies. Kamas is one such camp.
On a frigid March night, a former businessman from Pittsburgh, Paul Wagner, arrives at a labor camp in Utah’s Kamas Valley, a dozen miles east of the deserted resort town of Park
City, which prisoners are dismantling as part of a massive recycling project.
When Wagner arrives, he is unaware that his eleven-year-old daughter, Claire, has set off to Utah to find him after becoming separated from her mother at the Philadelphia Airport. By an odd quirk of fate, Claire has traveled on the same train that carried her father into internal exile.
Only after Wagner has renounced all hope of survival, cast his lot with anti-regime hard-liners and joined them in an unprecedented and suicidal revolt does he discover that Claire has become a servant in the home of the camp’s Deputy Warden. Wagner is torn between his devotion to family and loyalty to his fellow rebels until, on the eve of an armored assault intended to crush the revolt, he faces an agonizing choice between a hero’s death and a coward’s freedom.
In FORTY DAYS AT KAMAS, author Preston Fleming offers a stirring portrait of a man determined to survive under the bleakest of conditions and against formidable odds. Fleming’s gift for evocative prose brings the characters and events to life in a way that arouses emotional tension while also engaging the reader’s intellect with fundamental questions about the future of American society.
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The Author

Preston’s  Website / Goodreads / Author Central / Twitter / Facebook

Preston Fleming was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He left home at age fourteen to accept a scholarship at a New England boarding school and went on to a liberal arts
college in the Midwest. After earning an MBA, he managed a non-profit
organization in New York before joining the U.S. Foreign Service and serving in
U.S. Embassies around the Middle East for nearly a decade. Later he studied at
an Ivy League law school and since then pursued a career in law and business.
He has written five novels.


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