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Archive for October, 2015

Somewhere I Belong by Glenna Jenkins

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SYNOPSIS

somewhereIn Somewhere I Belong, we meet young P.J. Kavanaugh at North Boston Station. His father has died, the Depression is on, and his mother is moving them back home. They settle in, and P.J. makes new friends. But the P.E.I. winter is harsh, the farm chores endless, and his teacher a drunken bully. He soon wants to go home; the problem is how.

A letter arrives from Aunt Mayme announcing a Babe Ruth charity baseball game in the old neighbourhood. But Ma won’t let him go. P.J is devastated. The weeks pass, then there is an accident on the farm. P.J. becomes a hero and Ma changes her mind. He travels to Boston, sees his friends, watches Babe Ruth hit a home run, and renews his attachment to the place. But his eagerness to return to the Island makes him wonder where he really belongs.

PURCHASE

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EXCERPT

…from a scene where PJ and Uncle Jim hitch up Big Ned and go off on a rescue mission. There has been a violent storm and the old man across the road hasn’t been heard from in days.

 

From behind Uncle Jim, all I could see was Big Ned’s huge hind end lumbering forward and show blowing all around him. Beyond us lay a stark, freezing whiteout. I know our route headed due east. But I wondered how we could navigate blindly and find the open gateway at the end of the drive without the horse getting a hoof snagged in the barbed-wire fence.

Uncle Jim guided Big Ned along what remained of the path we had dug across the yard the day before. When the path ended, he slapped the reins and urged the horse into deeper snow. His pace slowed, but he kept pulling us. Snow kept falling over him, sticking to his thick, winter coat. His legs seemed to sink into it as he pressed onward. I huddled under the blanket, my arms hugging my chest, my head  bent behind Uncle Jim, shielded from the wind. It was like sleepwalking, it felt so directionless.

My uncle said Big Ned’s blind obedience was the Percheron’s nature. But there was something in the way he pushed steadily onward, in the way his ears perked forward, his neck straining and pumping, that said there was much more to him than that. There was a sense of urgency about him. It was as it he knew we were on a rescue mission and he was an important part of it. I’d never before thought of animals as being smart, but this one surely was.

Uncle Jim and that big old horse must have made that trip a thousand times. We reached the end of the drive, turned right onto Northbridge Road, travelled about a hundred yards, and then took a short left turn. Soon, we found the path that connected the old mans’ house to the road. Uncle Ed had managed to shovel it clear. Show-laden branches of evergreens brushed us on each side. We entered a clearing. A lone, leafless apple tree stood to the right, covered in ice. To the left, across the yard, posts of an open gateway to Mr. White’s field poked from a drift. Beside it, the outline of the barn was barely visible. I knew Mr. White’s tiny, slope-roofed house was somewhere nearby, but I couldn’t see it. The snow swirled so hard, it was difficult to tell field from sky.

ABOUT THE AUTHORglenna

Glenna’s Website / Goodreads / LinkedIn

I am a writer, editor and indexer who lives in historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. A true Maritimer, I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and my Prince Edward Island roots hail back to 1830. My short stories have been published in Jilted Angels: A Collection of Short Stories (Broad Street Press), and Riptides: New Island Fiction (Acorn Press Canada), the latter which was nominated for best Atlantic book of 2012 and won the 2013 Prince Edward Island Book Award. In addition to placing first in the 2014 Atlantic Writing Competition’s literary non-fiction category, I received a mentorship from the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia to study under award-winning writer, William Kowalski. I am also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, where I studied novel writing under two-time Governor General Award winner, David Adams Richards. My first novel, Somewhere I Belong, is based on a true story and was released on November 1, 2014 by Acorn Press Canada.

As a published author and fiction writer, I offer developmental writing services, coaching, and copy editing, structural editing to emerging writers of fiction and non-fiction in short-story, novel or book format. As an editor, I revise scholarly works written by academics whose first language is not English and who wish to complete their master’s theses, PhD dissertations, or publish in English-language academic journals. I also completed an indexing course at the University of California at Berkeley and index books on economics, politics, history, and topics of general interest.

Follow the entire Somewhere I Belong TOUR HERE

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Title: In Sheep’s Clothing
Author: L.D. Beyer
Release Date: August 2, 2015
Publisher: Old Stone Mill Publishing
Genre: Political Thriller
Format: Ebook/Paperback

One man holds the reins of power. 
One man vows to protect him. 
One man vows to destroy him.


Caught in a game of chess he didn’t know he was playing until it was too late, the President makes the only move he can, plunging Washington and the nation into chaos. Stunned and reeling, Vice President David Kendall takes the oath of office and tries to heal a nation in mourning. But what the new president doesn’t realize is that things in the White House aren’t always what they appear to be, and sometimes what looks like the best option may turn out to be the worst. When one fatal decision triggers consequences he never envisioned, President Kendall finds himself caught up in the same game that cost his predecessor his life.
Although there was nothing he could have done, Secret Service Agent Matthew Richter is haunted by the death of the man he had vowed to protect. When his girlfriend dumps him and his boss tells him that his job is on the line, he thinks his life cannot get any worse. He soon realizes how wrong he is when he finds himself fighting to save another president from the deadly forces that he has unwittingly unleashed.
This new release by L.D. Beyer is a fast-paced, action-packed political thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
ORDER INFORMATION
In Sheep’s Clothing is available for order at  

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 How I became a writer by L.D. Beyer

We are a product of our environment. I am an avid reader of thrillers and suspense novels, from authors like David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Michael Connolly, Mike Lawson and Brad Thor. My first novel, In Sheep’s Clothing, is a political thriller and I’m certain that it was influenced by the works of these and many other fine authors. But in many subtle ways, it was also influenced by my own experiences: the places I’ve lived, the events that took place, both in the broader world and in my own back yard.
This is my journey.
As a young child, one of my most vivid memories is moving every few years to a new town, to a new house, as my father climbed the corporate ladder. Little did I realize at the time that my own life would follow a similar path.
By rights, I could call myself a southern boy, but that wouldn’t be accurate. I was born in Georgia and a few years later, we moved to Louisiana. My early child years were during the 1960s, a turbulent time for America dominated by the struggle for racial equality and the Civil Rights movement; the growing threat of the Soviet Union, both in the race to the moon and in the race to bear arms; civil unrest and riots in Watts and Newark, and later, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; and by the war raging in South East Asia.
The decade was marred by the growing body count in Vietnam and by the assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother, Robert, and Dr. Martin Luther King. The British invaded, Beatle Mania swept the nation and while we listened to Rock and Roll, we watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. With the exception of the moon landing, it wasn’t until I was much older that I learned of many of the events that had occurred during what I had viewed as my carefree childhood years. Still, the events of the 1960s, in many subtle ways, would have an effect on me.
By the end of the decade, my father’s job took us to Pennsylvania and as the 1970s began, we relocated again, this time to New Jersey. The turbulence continued with the still-unexplained shooting of innocent students at Kent State, the Watergate Scandal and the resignation of a president, and the final withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. All three would weigh heavily on the nation for years to come. Oil embargoes left us waiting on long gas lines, the Beatles broke up and Elvis, after a long public struggle to escape his personal demons, finally did.
Life moved on and, even in the midst of a rash of kidnappings and hijackings, technology leapt forward with the introduction of microprocessors and computer chips, VCRs and floppy disks, and the start-up of something Bill Gates called Microsoft. As the decade ended, a peanut farmer from my birth state became president and his only notable accomplishment was brokering a peace accord between Israeli and Egypt. Meanwhile, students in neighboring Iran stormed the US embassy and took Americans hostage.
Despite having moved so many times as a young child, most of my childhood was spent in the Garden State, less than an hour from New York City. My life consisted of Little League baseball in the spring, Pee Wee football in the fall, summers at the town pool and winters sleigh riding. On Thanksgiving Day, we stood on 34th Street in Manhattan and watched the parade in front of Macy’s. On July 4th, we watched the fireworks over the East River.
Outside of school, life was trouble free and I spent many hours biking around town, hiking, playing in the streams near our house and building forts in the woods. In high school, my athletic pursuits switched to soccer and ice hockey. Long gone was my thick, southern accent.
I attended college in New York during the 1980’s, which began somewhat prophetically when a group of kids my own age defeated the seemingly unstoppable Olympic Ice Hockey Team from the former Soviet Union, ending their twenty-year Gold Medal streak. Suddenly, there was a renewed pride in America ending the collective funk from Vietnam, Nixon’s disgraced presidency and the stagflation of the Carter years.
For me, nothing exemplified America’s renewed strength better than President Ronald Reagan, who shortly after he took office, defied an assassin’s bullet and, despite being seriously wounded, walked into the hospital unassisted. Reagan survived and, several years later, challenged the Soviet Union again, not to hockey this time, rather to tear down a wall in Berlin. By the end of the decade, the wall, symbolic of the Iron Curtain, did fall, and with it, one by one, the communist governments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as well.
As I began a career in accounting and finance, writing was far from my mind. Although I had written a short story or two in both high school and college, earning praise and publication in school anthologies, I never thought of myself as a writer. It wasn’t until many years later that I began to wonder whether something was missing from my life.
I met my wife shortly after college. Strangely enough, we had attended the same school but it wasn’t until a Halloween party several years later that we finally met. We married and not only worked full time in our respective careers, but we both attended Grad school at night as well. Starting a family was put off, but kids soon joined us and while my wife doted on them, I continued my journey up the corporate ladder.
Our journey took us from New York to Michigan to Illinois, then back to Michigan again. One day, after we had been in our house for about a year, my youngest, in his third house in four years, asked if it was time to move again. Little did he or I know at the time, but, several years later, we did, this time to Mexico.
We lived in an old colonial city several hours north of Mexico City where we met many fantastic people and enjoyed the country and the culture in a way that a tourist never could. Although Mexico was, and still is, embroiled in a war with drug cartels, and security has become a growing concern, it was a wonderful experience for me, my wife and my three children. Three years later we were back in Michigan again and, by this time, I was a senior executive for a Fortune 500 company.
I was living the American dream: wonderful wife, great kids, nice house, rewarding career. Still, when I thought about my life, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something I needed to do, a creative urge I needed to explore. In my chosen field, accounting and finance, bouts of creativity are usually followed by a prison sentence. I don’t look good in prison stripes, or so I kept telling myself, so one day, I decided it was time to do something different. With the support of my family, I began writing.
It has been a long, rambling journey full of many unexpected twists and turns while the broader events of the world seemed to unfold on their own around me. All of this somehow found its way from the dark recesses of my brain to the pages of my book. I hope you enjoy the read.

L.D. Beyer spent over twenty-five years in the corporate world, climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. This meant a lot of time away from his family, extensive travel, a half dozen relocations, and the opportunity to live and work in Mexico for several years. In 2011 he decided it was time for a change—he was tired of moving every few years, he wanted to spend more time with his family and he wanted to chase his dream of being a writer. LD Beyer is an avid reader and although he primarily reads Thrillers, his reading list is somewhat eclectic. He believes a few hours with a good book beats a few hours in front of the TV any day. LD Beyer lives in Michigan with his wife, three children and a dog named Tope (pronounced Toe-Pay), which he adopted in Mexico. He enjoys cooking, hiking, biking, working out and fixing just about anything that breaks in the house. With 3 kids, a dog and an aging house, he always seems to be fixing something!


For More Information

Visit L.D.s website.
Connect with L.D. on Twitter and Facebook 

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frontsmallcoverGeorgia native Donald Joiner is a veteran who served during the Korean War era. A retired school superintendent and a lifelong student of history, Joiner has been married for fifty-two years and is a proud father and grandfather. He has taught Sunday school in his church for forty years. Joiner has also authored two previous books about antebellum churches in Georgia. Connect with the author on Facebook.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Antioch Testament. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?  

A: When the novel begins, it’s 2004 during the height of the insurgency in Iraq. An American army patrol manages to rescue a frightened group of Iraqi Christians fleeing Islamic militants. The refugees’ severely wounded leader, a priest, carries with him a mysterious bundle the group brought with them from an ancient Christian monastery in northern Iraq. Barely clinging to life, the priest insists on handing over the carefully guarded bundle to an American chaplain stationed at the army base.

When the bundle is unwrapped, the chaplain finds a large, scuffed, leather-bound ancient manuscript written in an unknown language. Fearing for the manuscript’s safety in war-torn Iraq, the chaplain arranges to have the manuscript sent back to the states. Eventually, the manuscript winds up in an Eastern Orthodox monastery where internationally-recognized linguists begin the arduous task of translating it.

What the linguists discover is absolutely astonishing; the manuscript is a first century AD testimonial in ancient Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, describing what happened to Jesus’ apostles after his Resurrection. But time is running out. What the linguists do not know is that a fanatical Iraqi insurgent cell is bound and determined to retrieve or destroy the manuscript before its secrets can be revealed.

I’ve always been intrigued by the remarkable transformation that occurred among Jesus’ apostles after his Resurrection. The bible tells us that before that event they had a motley collection of fishermen, laborers, and revolutionaries seeking to drive out the hated Roman occupiers and the restoration of  David’s earthly Jewish kingdom. The New Testament tells us quite a lot about them before the Resurrection, but very little afterward.

What happened to them? Where did they go? What did they accomplish? How did they die? From the fragmentary evidence left to us in early Christian traditions, I decided to tell the rest of the story. The Antioch Testament is a work of historical fiction, but it is based on early church traditions.

Q: What do you think makes a good work of historical fiction? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: 1. The historical setting is very important. Events that take place in your story must be based on actual events of that particular historical era. If you get these events, dates  or characters out of historical sequence, rest assured some of your readers will point this out and discredit you.

  1. Characters in historical fiction should reflect knowledge available to individuals at that time. You don’t want characters of the first century AD, for example, carrying firearms centuries before firearms were invented or writing on paper centuries before paper was available.
  2. The plot in historical fiction should be based on actual events that took place in that era or surrounded by known historical situations particular to the era.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I tried to develop the individual characters of the apostles based on evidence about them available to us through their depiction in the New Testament as well as what ancient church traditions had to say about them.

Ignatius of Antioch. the character responsible for telling the story of the apostles, is believed by Syriac Christians to have been appointed bishop of that city by St. Peter himself and Antioch was in fact a central by way for early Christian disciples on their various missionary journeys in the East. Tradition tells us Ignatius was a companion of several apostles and because most of them traveled through Antioch I decided that Ignatius would be the ideal character to tell the story.

Early traditions guided the plot of the story. If tradition said an apostle carried out missionary activities in Persia, I placed him there in the midst of events going on in that era in that location. Once I placed an apostle in a specific location, actual historical events guided the plotting of the story.

As an example, since tradition said St. Peter was martyred in Rome, I had to get him there and have him arrested while preaching in the catacombs, and taken to prison, then to trial by a magistrate, then to a place said by tradition to be the location of his execution.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: The army chaplain, the one responsible for sending the ancient manuscript to America, is a composite of several ministers I have known. Though very severely wounded in Iraq, he convinces his unbelieving brother to accompany him on his quest to have the manuscript translated. The character of the brother is based on someone I knew personally.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: The antagonist character  was easy to create. Osama bin Laden hated the West in general and the US in particular; despised Christians and plotted the events of 9 – 11. I modeled Zaid Al Rifia, the leader of the fanatical Iraqi cell, on what we know of bin Laden.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: Throughout the book I placed telephone conversations between Zaid and his agent in America telling about the efforts of the insurgent group to track down and get their hands on the manuscript. Something outside the regular storyline can add tension and excitement to the main theme of the story.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: I utilized a map of the Roman Empire with place names of the first century AD. I also inserted large chunks of historical events such as the Jewish revolt against Roman rule in Judea, the struggle of Queen Boadicea against the Roman legions in Britain, and the war between the Romans and Persians in the East. I also inserted Emperor Nero, Roman General Vespasian, and other historical characters to lend credence to the story.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: My theme all along was to demonstrate the incredible sacrifices made by Jesus’ apostles in order to be obedient to his last command that they carry the Good News to the far corners of the world.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: I think writing is hard work. Writing historical fiction can be especially difficult. You better get the historical events in the story right. There are many history buffs out there who pride themselves on knowing intricate details about various historical eras. The author may be writing historical fiction, but he can count on his readers knowledge about the historical events surrounding the characters in the novel. If he gets dates wrong or mishandles historical characters or events, the reader will be sure to share his errors with others and cross him off the ‘must read’ list.

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Title: THE ANTIOCH TESTAMENT

Genre:  Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Suspense

Author:  Donald Joiner

Publisher: Seraphina Press

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Donald Joiner, a veteran who served during the Korean War era, is a lifelong student of history.  Joiner’s passion for history shines through in his debut novel, The Antioch Testament, a sweeping, suspenseful novel resplendent with rich historical detail.

When The Antioch Testament opens, it’s 2004 during the insurgency in Iraq.  An American army patrol manages to rescue a frightened group of Iraqi Christians fleeing Islamic militants. The refugees’ severely wounded leader, a priest, carries with him a mysterious bundle the group has brought with them from a northern Iraqi Christian monastery.  As he clings to life, the priest insists on handing over the carefully-guarded package to the American army chaplain. When the bundle is unwrapped, Army chaplain Charles Monroe finds a large, scuffed, leather-bound ancient manuscript written in an unknown language. Fearing for the manuscript’s safety in war-torn Iraq, the chaplain arranges to have the manuscript sent to Augusta, Georgia, his hometown.  Eventually, the manuscript winds up in an Eastern Orthodox monastery where internationally- recognized linguists begin the arduous task of interpreting it. What the linguists discover is absolutely astonishing: the manuscript is a first century AD testimonial in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, describing what happened to Jesus’ apostles after his Resurrection. But time is running out.  Unbeknownst to the interpreters, a fanatical Iraqi insurgent organization is bound and determined to retrieve or destroy the ancient manuscript before its secrets can be revealed.   Some secrets may be worth dying for—but these secrets might even be worth killing for.

Imaginative, inventive, and intriguing, The Antioch Testament explores the lives of the apostles after the resurrection. A thoughtful and thought-provoking page-turner, The Antioch Testament is a carefully-crafted page-turner with a pulse-pounding plot, and engrossing storyline.

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Steve Caputi caputi_author_pix300is best known for his involvement in the creation, building and management of successful nightclub and hospitality businesses. Decades of experience in the industry and the good fortune to work with a succession of the best performers in the world gave him a broad base of skills… skills that were instrumental in his entrepreneurial quest and subsequent sparkling career.

As an Ivy-league student-athlete, he graduated from the renowned Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1979. Rostered as the ‘smallest player in NCAA Division 1 football’, he lettered under George Seifert, world-champion coach of the San Francisco 49’ers and played centerfielder on Cornell’s EIBL championship team of 1977, led by hall of fame coach Ted Thoren. Steve set several all-time team and NCAA records, one of which still stands 37 years later.

His career experience was equally as fortunate as he was trained by the best club management experts in the business while managing the Texas billionaires’ favorite watering hole – the ultra-private, magnificent Houston Club. In the early 1990’s, Steve was President of Michael J. Peter’s gentlemen’s club empire, featuring the world-famous Solid Gold, Thee Doll House, and Pure Platinum. It was during that era that adult clubs became legitimized. After redesigning and opening Club Paradise in Las Vegas, Steve became a partner in South Florida’s most successful long-term nightclub chain ever, Café Iguana. Over the decades, businesses under his direct control amassed nearly a billion dollars in revenue.

Steve was blessed with everything a man could want until he got tangled up in Scott Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme in 2009, at which time everything was lost… including his freedom. So began his most recent quest upon his release from the Federal Bureau of Prisons… to find out what happened, how it happened, and why!

About the Book: 

Stephen Caputi’s memoir, I Should Have Stayed in Morocco, is not just another forensic account of billionaire Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein’s life. Caputi opens his heart and soul as he takes the reader on a journey through two decades rife with personal experiences, misadventures and wild escapades with Rothstein, climaxing with their now-infamous ramble in Casablanca. It’s a frighteningly true story of how friendship and loyalty was dedicatedly served to a master-manipulator, just to be rewarded with deceitful betrayal and a prison sentence.

Website: http://www.stevecaputi.com

Read the First Chapter

Purchase from Amazon / OmniLit

Q: Congratulations on the release of your memoir, I Should Have Stayed in Morocco. What made you decide to write your own biography?

A:  It was kind of a happy accident, the result of an unfortunate circumstance. I was stranded in the “Hole”, (slang for solitary confinement) in a dingy federal prison in Jesup, Ga., with literally nothing to do but ponder the past. I had nothing to read, nothing to do, nothing to look forward to until the next bowl of gruel was tossed into the cell through a flap in the door, and nothing to watch since the tiny three-inch window slit was old and yellow and glazed. Total emptiness, which was driving me crazy. For a career claustrophobe, being thrust into a seventy two square-foot space that contained only a bed, toilet and sink constituted the worst case scenario. My worst nightmare had materialized, and there was no getting away from it. No relief. I knew why I was in prison, but I didn’t know why I was in the Hole.

I began writing out of desperation. My mind was still scrambled from the shock of being thrown in the Hole. As a last resort I started to chronicle everything that happened… which wasn’t much. I wrote down every item served at every meal, everything that the guards did and said, and kept a diary of sorts that was chocked full of their shenanigans. I figured that there was no way people knew how inmates were treated in prison… and wondered if anybody cared.

Morocco_medThe process of reflection prompted me to search for answers… about my life, about the sequence of events that led me to federal prison, and about the system that put me away. It evolved into a full-fledged quest for the truth.

Q: Did you write by the seat of your pants, or did you structure the book in advance? 

A:   Actually, I wrote this by the seat of my orange jumpsuit!

Q: How would you describe your writing process? Did you find the process easy or difficult?

A: Tormented is the first word that comes to mind. Writing from a prison cell was far from idyllic. I wrote after every meal, and started by chronicling every mundane event—like the trips marching to and from the ‘recreation’ cage in handcuffs. Or the shackled treks to the showers, or after delivery of every meal. Every night I’d write for an hour before crashing, after the last of the day’s insipid counting rituals were duly completed.

For my protection, I was forced to stash the written notes I was taking in-between pages of books that I was reading. I couldn’t risk mailing them out from the Hole, so I waited until after I left to transport them out. Which presented another challenge, since everything we mailed out was subject to being inspected and read. Due to its content, my writings were extremely risky. If any of the brass got wind that I was keeping a diary of their antics, there were no imaginable limits to how they might retaliate.

As an example, an inmate buddy of mine had been the unlucky recipient of “diesel therapy”—an intimidating tactic so commonly used by the Bureau of Prisons that it commanded its own nickname. Since his arrival, he was overly insistent that his rights not be violated. Because of his annoyance, he’d been kept suspended on a perpetual road trip for a year and a half. The guards would transport him in chains in a Twilight-Zone-like ride to nowhere, on an endless bus ride from one federal prison to the next. It took months and a dozen letters from his Congressman to get him anchored somewhere. Their explanation was that they “lost” his paperwork. No apology. Acting with impunity was a routine… a matter of policy for the gatekeepers who harbored little or no fear of outside pressures or intervention.

Q: Did you suffer from writer’s block at any given time? If yes, how did you overcome it? 

A:    It was more like “cell-block” than writer’s block. The biggest challenge I faced in my writing exploits was finding the best way to properly and effectively communicate the emotion of the roller-coaster ride I was on… while I was on the ride! I had no alternative but to write about all the horrible things that were happening—to me and other inmates—while I was suffering the indignities that I was writing about in real time. The awful physical conditions, inedible meals, harsh treatment, lack of medical attention, arcane and oppressive rules and regulations, lack of exercise, heavy-handedness and the calculated, dehumanizing protocols of the Federal Bureau of Prisons were overwhelming. I struggled every day to balance giving an accurate representation of what was happening… without it being overridden with emotion and dripping with hate by the time my thoughts were scribed to paper. Controlling my own emotions was of paramount importance, since I had to keep my sense of humor intact and my wits about me in order to maintain at least some semblance of objectivity.

Q: That’s an interesting title. Did you choose it? 

A: It kind of chose me… but I knew it would be the perfect title the second I wrote the first line of the prologue. I was reliving the experience of the train pulling away from the station, on my way to federal prison, as my girl waved goodbye. It was a devastating moment for me, and that short sentence that I muttered to myself captured the essence of the book. In that singular moment, the trauma and drama of everything that I’d been feeling for the twenty-three months prior to my incarceration collapsed upon me. I was engulfed in a quagmire of heartbreak, despair, frustration, regret… and fear. It was the first moment that I really believed that I Should Have… Stayed in Morocco.

Q: Why should anyone read your book? What do you think they will gain from the experience? 

A: For one, the book gives a human portrayal of Scott Rothstein, the fourth largest Ponzi-schemer in U.S. history, from the perspective of a close friend… not from social media posts. I lived the experience with him, which was very much different than reading about him through regurgitated internet blogs. My experiences with him spanned several decades, and most of my stories are still unknown to the general public. What happened to me could have happened to anybody that was vulnerable enough to have complete trust in a valued friend of many years. A friend that suddenly went ‘AWOL’ and betrayed everyone around him without any conscience. This makes my story relevant to anyone who has close, trusted friends or business colleague whose integrity seems to be unimpeachable.

Additionally, I used my misfortune to fuel a truth-seeking mission. I wanted to know why and how the current prison system evolved into the monstrosity that it is. How millions of our citizens have been corralled into prison, and why there had been 518,000,000 arrests in this country since 1970. Why seventy million men and women now have criminal records. I was living in a prison population that consisted mainly of drug dealers, the vast majority of whom were non-violent marijuana ‘offenders’. The injustice of it all struck a nerve, and I decided to do a bona fide journalistic investigation of the subject. My findings are part and parcel of the book… and the truth is ugly. People need to know what’s really going on in America today—as well as what happened yesterday to facilitate it—and not rely solely on the mainstream media for information. The time for sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring the truth is over.

Q: How was your experience working with an editor? 

A:  Outstanding… and humbling, to say the least. Their input was just what I needed. The process enabled me to view things from different perspectives, and to visualize alternative (and improved) ways to effectively communicate my thoughts. I also enjoyed being challenged and forced to defend my positions regarding different elements of the story that I felt were important. The editing process required me to validate and support the facts as I presented them. It was actually as much fun, as it was constructive.

Q: What have you learned from the writing of this book? 

A: Writing the book forced me to sharpen my focus on all the subjects I was writing about, since I was determined to keep my objectivity despite my environment. I didn’t want to write anything resembling most of the propaganda and drivel that had been written about Rothstein. I became better at stepping back from my emotions, and took great care to substantiate my conclusions (or disprove them) based on solid research of the issues. I trained myself to look for the facts behind the apparent reasons, and to be open-minded to whatever truths I found.

Q: What’s on the horizon for Stephen Caputi? 

A: I am going to finish the last two books in the I Should Have Stayed in Morocco trilogy, and then reenter my career as a nightclub and restaurant entrepreneur. The next book will be the second in the I Should Have Stayed in Morocco series, entitled Club Fed Confidential: Inside the Perpetual Prisoner Money Machine. It will be a more in-depth look at what really goes on inside prisons. The final (untitled) book will provide a professional analysis of the real cost of the criminal justice and prison systems, and a critical look into the skullduggery of the prison industrial complex.

Q:  If there’s one thing you wish readers will take away from your book, what’s that? 

A: Despite what happened to me, I haven’t given up on friendship, love and trust… which doesn’t have to be treated as if it were a four-letter word. However, people who have a trusting nature (like I do!) need to learn to place limits, keep reasonable checks and balances intact, and listen to their instincts—their ‘guts’. If you’re in tune with your intuition, you cannot go wrong.

This equates to making the conscious choice of not ever engaging in any kind of behavior that you feel might be illegal, or just doesn’t feel right for any reason—or no reason. Not for friendship, love, or money!

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Krampus


Title:
Krampus: The Yule Lord
Author: Brom
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Paranormal/Mythology
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover/Audible

Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murder, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood.

You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming to take your head. I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide…

The author and artist of The Child Thief returns with a modern fabulist tale of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and mortal enemy of Santa Claus.

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets earthward, a magical sack that will thrust the down-on-his luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, and how half a millennium ago, the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.

Now Santa’s time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself to his family, to save his own broken dreams…and help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.

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Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best selling role-playing worlds.

He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film. Most recently he’s created a series of award winning horror novels that he both writes and illustrates: “The Plucker”, an adult children’s book, “The Devil’s Rose”, a modern western set in Hell, “The Child Thief”, a gritty, nightmarish retelling of the Peter Pan myth, and his latest concoction, “Krampus, the Yule Lord”, a tale of revenge between Krampus and Santa set in rural West Virginia.

Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere in the drizzly Northwest. There he subsists on poison spiders, centipedes, and bad kung-fu flicks. When not eating bugs, he is ever writing, painting, and trying to reach a happy sing-a-long with the many demons dancing about in his head.

For More Information

Visit Brom’s website.

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Snowflake Bay
Title:
 Snowflake Bay
Author: Donna Kauffman
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Holiday Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback

There’s no place like seaside Blueberry Cove, Maine, at Christmas–and there’s nothing like a wedding, the warmth of the holidays, and an old crush, to create the perfect new start…
 

Interior designer Fiona McCrae has left fast-paced Manhattan to move back home to peaceful Blueberry Cove. But she’s barely arrived before she’s hooked into planning her big sister Hannah’s Christmas wedding–in less than seven weeks. The last thing she needs is for her first love, Ben Campbell, to return to neighboring Snowflake Bay…

As kids, Fiona was the bratty little sister Ben mercilessly teased–while pining after Hannah. But Fi never once thought of Ben like a brother. And that hasn’t changed. Except Fi is all grown up. Will Ben notice her now?  More importantly, with her life in a jumble, should he? Or might the romance of the occasion, the spirit of the season, and the gifts of time ignite a long-held flame for many Christmases to come…

Something old might just become something new…
 


Includes a wedding cake recipe!

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Donna KaufmannUSA Today bestselling author of the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series, Donna Kauffman has been gratified to see her books get rave reviews in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia, where she is presently applying her crafty DIY skills to decorating her new mountainside abode. Well, when she isn’t busy trying to keep the bears from hanging out in her flower and vegetable garden all day and night! With her new Brides of Blueberry Cove series, Donna’s been having a blast applying those same restoration and design skills to doing some fictional wedding planning. Of course, if that means haunting all those lovely antique shops and flea markets that are so plentiful in her new neck of the woods, well, it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make. When she’s not finding ways to take her love of all things rustic and vintage and give them a fabulous seaside, coastal Maine wedding party twist, she loves to hear from readers! You can contact her through her website at http://www.donnakauffman.com.
For More Information
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Just Want Somebody to LoveTitle: Just Want Somebody to Love
Author: Keri Ford
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Swept off her feet by a charming restaurateur, Whitney Chester envisions a delicious happily ever after—until her prince turns into a total toad. There’s no way she’ll agree to another date with Justin Rawlings, despite their unforgettable night together. But when Justin insists on helping out on her family-run farm in exchange for another chance, it’s an offer Whitney can’t refuse…if only to get revenge on her sweet-talking suitor.

Justin needs a girlfriend to prove to his business partner that he isn’t all work and no play. Romancing Whitney should have been pure pleasure, if a work conflict hadn’t caused him to stand her up. Now he’s determined to win her back—and win his partner’s approval of their restaurant expansion. Keeping Whitney by his side until the deal closes should be easy—if he doesn’t do something foolish. Like fall in love with the small town beauty…

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Keri Ford

Keri Ford brings sexy contemporary romance to the American South. With a sprinkling of men in suits and women in high heels, you’ll most likely find four-wheeler riding, ball cap wearing fellas trying to sweet-talk sundress wearing ladies in Keri’s books. Raised in the country in South Arkansas, Keri shares this flavor of life in her books. Glass of sweet tea at your elbow while you read is not required, but strongly recommended.

Keri is represented by Louise Fury and Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency. She’s multi-published, including the popular Through The Wall from An Apple Trail Novella Series. Her full length series in Bella Warren, Arkansas continues in 2015 from Lyrical Press. Be on the lookout for a new town—Turtle Pine, Alabama, coming soon! To keep up with this busy author, join her newsletter to catch all her new releases.

For More Information
Visit Keri’s website.

Connect with Keri on Facebook and Twitter

Seeking Carolina

Title: Seeking Carolina
Author: Terri-Lynne Defino
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Johanna Coco is finally home in Bitterly, Connecticut, to attend her beloved grandmother’s funeral—only to be confronted by the very reason she’s stayed away to begin with–Charlie McCallan. Her high school sweetheart is now divorced, and no longer the skinny boy Johanna once loved. Hometown handsome and dependable as always, Charlie is the kind of man she needs to lean on as she and her sisters grapple with their grief—as well as the mystery of their long-missing mother, Carolina. But Johanna’s heart isn’t only haunted by her ghosts; it’s haunted by what happened between her and Charlie…

Charlie is determined to do things right this time, and he has to do it before Johanna vanishes from his life again. First he needs to prove to her that the past is past, and they can overcome it–no easy task when he’s up against the ghosts lingering in her life, trying to convince her that happily-ever-after is not in the cards for any of the catastrophe-prone Coco sisters, least of all Johanna. But her fearless first love is ready to do whatever it takes to win her back—ghosts be damned.

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TeriLynne definoWriter, cat-wrangler, sparklequeen. My first fantasy novel, Finder, was published by Hadley Rille Books in October, 2010, followed by: A Time Never Lived in 2012, Jingle in 2013, and Beyond the Gate in 2013. October 2015 will see the release of Seeking Carolina (first in The Bitterly Suite) from Lyrical, an imprint of Kensington Publishing, my first step into contemporary romantic fiction. 

For More Information
Visit Teri-Lynn’s website.

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gnomon

Title: Gnomon
Author: Luchia Dertien
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: DSP Publications
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Emile Delaurier is a beautiful militant revolutionary, a living beacon of righteous justice for the world. For Renaire, an artist in a constant battle against the demons in the bottle, it was obsession at first sight. His devotion led to two years of homicidal partnership as Renaire followed Delaurier in his ruthless quest for equality through the death of the corrupt, like a murderous Robin Hood.

Then Delaurier breaks his pattern, leading Renaire into Russia to kill a reporter with no immoral background, and gives no explanation for his actions.

When Interpol contacts Renaire, he already has enough problems―keeping Delaurier alive, dealing with the shift in their relationship, and surviving the broken past that still haunts him. But when he learns what Interpol wants from him, Renaire must face the truth about Delaurier: that a noble man isn’t always a good one. He’s left with a choice no man should ever have to make―to follow his heart or his morals.

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Luchia Dertien is a 27-year-old white cis female living in the United States. She desperately wants to be petting a dog right now. Writing genuinely is her passion, which she has been doing since the age of 3. Her first written work is titled “Castle Castle” and is generally considered to be the greatest piece of literature she’s ever produced. In middle school, she wrote a story called “Death By Mud,” which is her second best piece of literature. “Gnomon” is usually ranked somewhere near 13th.

For More Information

Visit Luchian’s website.

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Being an avid, life-long fan of classical music and having studied the violin in my later years, I jumped at the opportunity to review this ambitious work put together by internationally renowned guitarist Steven Hancoff.

Hancoff 3CDBach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello, a project that took Hancoff eight years to complete, is a fascinating, immersive multimedia extravaganza that combines music, history and art, a gem for classical music enthusiasts.

The ebook has four volumes:

VOLUME 1: THE LIFE OF J. SEBASTIAN BACH

VOLUME 2: THE LEGACY OF J. SEBASTIAN BACH

VOLUME 3: PABLO CASALS AND THE SIX SUITES FOR CELLO SOLO

VOLUME 4: FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANSCENDENCE

Volume 1 is all about Bach’s life; volume 2 is about Bach’s death and the following 80 years of total obscurity until his music was discovered by Felix Mendelssohn; volume 3 focuses on Pablo Casals, his heroic life, and how serendipity brought him to Bach’s music; finally, volume 4 consists almost entirely on nine videos about the mystery and greatness of Bach, and how he didn’t allow his personal tragedy to define his music. Over one thousand illustrations grace the pages of the volumes, including three hundred works of contemporary art. There’s also a scholarly bibliography.

The four-volume ebook is available on iTunes and is accompanied separately by a 3-CD set recording of Hancoff’s acoustic guitar transcription of the suites. Readers may listen to samples here.

Like some other famous creative artists in history, Bach led a harsh life, losing his siblings and parents by the time he was ten, then having to work for years in an environment that didn’t support his music talents. He was even thrown into jail at some point. He never recovered from the death of his wife, whom he loved dearly. It was in times of deep pain and hardship that he created his sublime masterpieces, Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and then his Six Suites for ’Cello Solo.

The cello suites are a testament to the tragedy in his life, to all the pain and sorrow, but also to his determination and transcendence—a gift to his then gone beloved wife. Particularly interesting and surprising is how Bach’s prodigious music almost fell to oblivion if not for the efforts of Felix Mendelssohn’s great aunt, and how Pablo Casals discovered the suites in a little shop in Barcelona and how he studied them for over a decade before performing them in public.

Steven Hancoff’s passion and reverence for Bach and his music resonate throughout and shine through the pages of these volumes. He’s done an admirable job presenting “the miracle of Bach,” as Casals once put it. Moreover, his transcriptions of the suites in acoustic guitar are a pleasure to listen to: serene, bitter-sweet at times, filled with emotional power and depth, always sublimely beautiful.

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello is a feast to the senses, a testament to the greatness of Bach and comes highly recommended from this reviewer.

Useful links:

Listen to a samples Steven Hancoff’s transcription of the six suites here:http://www.stevenhancoff.com/music.html

Watch Hancoff’s various videos on the subject: http://www.stevenhancoff.com/videos.html

Connect with Hancoff on Facebook and Twitter @StevenHancoff.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

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The Red BookTitle: The Red Book
Author: Andrew Barbour
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 252
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ebook 

This is the culmination of what began on October 6, 2013, at 8:12 a.m.

It was to be The Blue Book: The Ultimate Project.

In increasing clarity, these books show first the preparation and then the arrival in the first book—which, I freely admit, is not easy to read.

But any change that I made, made it nearly impossible to continue until I reversed the change that I had made.

It was realized that things had to be effectively translated. This is what led to the creation of The Red Book. So using what I had learned and figured out, I applied the same technique to a digital camera, and the results speak for themselves.
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Accepting the impossible or impossible to accept The Red Book; Project Complete is the second part of the Extra Terrestrial Disclosure Project, beginning with the hard to read and hard to grasp Blue Book; The Ultimate Project and an attempt to disclose the presence of other races along side humanity on this planet. What began initially as a translation of The Blue Book it soon became apparent the two books were connected in ways I could never of expected, but leading to the most basic understanding, The Blue Book set the stage and The Red Book introduces the players in a purely visual manner. Impossible, not in this life time, it will never happen, are you wearing a tin foil hat? and the implication that I was regarded as being to ignorant and uneducated for this to of happened to. All this and more from the people who all professed to have a desire to help and understand in these matters, and it struck me, how many more people have had an experience that left them feeling vilified,ridiculed and mouths forced shut by the pressure to conform?
The Red Book:Project Complete in part attempts to correct some of this by revealing that there is an Extra Terrestrial presence that is far beyond what we are told and forced to accept. Not to cause panic,or alarm, just to inform. We know there are creatures living at the bottom of the deepest oceans and in the darkest jungles that we know nothing about except for an image. Why? Because there was a photograph taken by an explorer who belived he could find it and take a photograph but all we know is what it looks like. Not knowing what it is, where it is from?, where it is going?, what does it want? will it accept a friend request on Facebook? Never finding the answers to these questions does not change the fact that the creature simply exists. The Red Book attempts to work on the same principle but takes it a stage further as a basic visual language, not in the ocean or jungle but in the skies.
The use of intuition is a useful ability when viewing The Red Book, to think outside the box and put the pieces together into a form that can be understood by the reader, falls to the reader, but I can open the door. I will state is that none of the obviously apparent and visible bird forms were physically seen. As well as some forms that I am glad I did not see physically. Just realising that the objects are there, then question where object appears to be, on the roof, on the ariel, in the sky or in the cloud cover, even to the point of what is it? and what shape is it? in some cases.
One easy leading question is this, if something that appears to have a bird form has just left distant cloud cover or a dark object can be seen in the distant cloud cover, far beyond the range of a camera for it to of been in any way a bird,and just how large would that object or bird form have to be to be photographed at such a distance. This is what the attempt to convay is in the first five images in The Red Book, page 1 just the cloud, page 2 the bird form, to continue the bird forms implied, which started at the end of The Blue Book; The Ultimate Project. Page 3 just the cloud, page 4 has the image of a creature that looks more like a yellow penguin with arms,not wings, page 5 the anomalous object in the cloud, as if to attempting to suggest something has travelled in a circular pattern to try and establish the concept that what is being seen is outside the realm of the known.In essence an attempt at a basic form of visual communication. As a further attempt to imply this, page 12, one hour 54 minutes after the first unknown apparent creature there is two more apparent creatures with one of them looking more like a giant fish than a bird and these were definitly not seen despite their apparent size and location. These and other images through out the Red Book attempt to keep the readers mind frame focused on the unknown, to think outside the box.
The timed sequences in The Red Book: Project Complete, which are 3 seconds apart, also appear to demonstrate that some of these have the ability to change their form and size in relation to need and proximity, pages 86 and 87 attempts to demonstrate this, what could be the same object going from an apparent bird form to something that appearing to be an shape that was unseen,attached to the side of the chimney like a form of limpet, this is not the only example of this, page 151 appears to be just a bird on the ariel but in 152 there appears to be something attached to the side of the ariel that looks nothing resembling the bird seen on the previous page. Within The Red Book there are hints that what is in the pages are not birds but bird forms, another example of this is the sequence for pages 199 and 200. Page 199 appears to just show what appears to be two birds but page 200 shows another apparent larger creature that appears to be following them, if these are birds why is the other apparent creature following them?
The size of some of these objects in the most part is impossible to judge but there are several attempts to demonstrate to this, one in particular is page 175 what could be seen as just an insect, but on closer scrutiny looks to give the impression like an insect, appearing to have similarities to the apparent creature on page 5, this appears to be in the gap in the cloud cover very high and very large. Another attempts at suggesting the size of some of the anomalous objects are on page 194, a large object that appears to be exiting the distant cloud cover and page 236 another insect type form just beneath the cloud cover. The final part on the apparent size and shape of some of these objects is exemplfied on page 249, a black object just in front of the tv ariel looking like a jigsaw piece with a dark red line across it,to an object that is apparently entering the cloud cover in a different form on page 250 in the final image and drawing to a close to the Red Book; Project Complete.
To borrow a well used blanket phrase used by individuals who profess to be involved in contact and investigation in these matters,’ When you are dealing with these beings, you just know’. I found that this is the case, but in the pages of the Red Book; Project Complete is the oppertunity for the reader to discover this for themselves.
A. Barbour

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Title: Flip This Love
Author: Maggie Wells
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle

Nothing draws a magnate like a steel magnolia…
 

Harley Cade is back in town—and the former bad boy is downright irresistible now that he’s donned a hard hat and set to work restoring the South’s finest homes to their former grandeur. While wealth may have gained Harley entry into high society, it’s going to take a lot more than a fat bank account to win the lovely Laney Tarrington.

Laney isn’t open to giving the self-made magnate a second chance—no matter how much she needs him. With her family fortune gone, Laney finally has to stand on her own two feet. The last person she’d ever lean on is Harley, the man who left her behind with nothing more than memories of the passion they once shared….

With the attraction still burning hot between them, Harley isn’t above seduction—or secretly buying Laney’s bankrupted family’s estate. After all, he no longer has to prove himself to anyone, least of all the daughter of Mobile, Alabama’s most prestigious family. But will pride keep Harley from gaining the biggest prize of all—a place in Laney’s heart?
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Maggie Wells is a deep-­‐down dirty girl with a weakness for hot heroes and happy endings. By day she is buried in spreadsheets, but at night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, this mild-­‐mannered married lady has a naughty streak a mile wide.

Fueled by supertankers of Diet Coke, Maggie juggles fictional romance and the real deal by keeping her slow-­‐talking Southern gentleman constantly amused and their two grown children mildly embarrassed.

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