Archive for the ‘Virtual Book Tour Guests’ Category


New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 13 books, ranging from narrative nonfiction to memoir and crime fiction. Her latest titles are the true-life thriller Hunting Charles Manson and her memoir short, Secrets, Lies, and Shoelaces. A former investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 19 years, Rother has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe and Daily Beast. She has appeared more than 200 times on TV, radio and podcasts internationally, including Australian Broadcast Corp’s “World News,” “Crime Watch Daily,” “People Magazine Investigates,” “Nancy Grace,” “Snapped,” and dozens of shows on Netflix, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, A&E, Reelz, C-SPAN and various PBS affiliates. Rother also works as a writing-research coach and consultant, leads writing workshops, and plays keyboards and sings in an acoustic group called breakingthecode. She is working on two new books, one titled “Justice for Rebecca,” about the Rebecca Zahau death case, and one about the San Diego Zoo’s Frozen Zoo. Please visit her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or visit her website at https://www.caitlinrother.com.


Website → https://www.caitlinrother.com

Blog → https://www.caitlinrother.com/blog

Twitter → https://twitter.com/CaitlinRother

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

Goodreads → https://tinyurl.com/y3oy4cwp


Would you call yourself a born writer?

I have been writing stories ever since I was a little girl. I also used to speak them in different voices, talking to each other, to keep myself amused when I was growing up as an only child. I read a ton of books, too, which is crucial to learn how to be a good writer. That said, even after 13 published books, I’m still learning and growing as a writer. And because all but one of those books are narrative non-fiction, I don’t create, exaggerate or embellish any details. With the exception of one mystery novel, NAKED ADDICTION, all my books are deeply researched true accounts. Because, as they say, truth is often stranger than fiction.

What was your inspiration for DEAD RECKONING?

This true crime story tells the story of the murders of Tom and Jackie Hawks by transgender killer Skylar Deleon and a crew of twisted misfits. Skylar, who was still presenting as a man at the time of the murders in 2004, was married to a woman named Jennifer. They had a 10-month-old daughter, and Jennifer was pregnant with their second child. They used their daughter and their pregnancy to gain the Hawkses’ trust, posing as a family that wanted to buy the Hawkses’ boat and run a charter business on it. When Skylar came back with two other men for a sea trial, they forced the Hawkses to sign power-of-attorney documents, tied them to the anchor of their yacht and threw it overboard, drowning them alive. Skylar’s primary motive was to get money to pay for gender confirmation surgery, which she is still trying to get on death row at San Quentin, a men’s prison, where she has transitioned to a woman, using hormones. She just legally changed her name and gender to female, and wants to be transferred to a women’s prison. You can’t make this stuff up.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

My true crime books explore murders involving addiction, mental health issues, psychological manipulation for financial and emotional gain, predators and sexual deviancy, and sociopathy. I try to educate people with this information to help protect them and to place a spotlight on flaws in our systems that allow these tragedies to occur, so we can learn from them. My hope is that we can prevent such tragedies from happening again, or at least catch the bad guys (and women). In addition to writing memoirs both for myself and with my co-authors, I always enjoy finding non-fiction topics that will have a positive influence or inspiration on readers, such as my current project about the San Diego Zoo’s Frozen Zoo.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

This is not a novel, it’s a true crime book, and I’ve been covering this case for longer than any other one in my entire career as a professional investigative journalist and author. The first edition, which came out in 2011, involved going to three trials over several years and then a couple more to research and write. I’ve continued to gather fresh material for this latest updated editions, which brings me to 15 years total.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Yes, very much so. It’s imperative. But being a professional full-time author of non-fiction is far more involved than just writing. Each book has a series of phases, and with non-fiction, I can go for months just doing research and interviews, while I plan the narrative structure and story arc of the book. Only then do I start writing, because otherwise, I will just have to rewrite entire sections. I first do research to put a book proposal together, which may entail going to an entire trial for months at a time. Then my agent has to sell the proposal to a publisher. After that, I do more research and interviews before I even start writing the book, which usually takes about nine months. But books don’t sell themselves. Once I get going on the next book, I still have to promote the one that just came out. So depending on where I am in the process, I do different tasks all day long, dedicating a certain number of hours to writing or editing, some hours to continued research and follow up calls and emails, until I finally finish the manuscript. Toward the end, I will spend entire days writing and/or editing.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

There are a lot of moving parts to this story, many characters, and a large span of time to cover. I had way more story than I had space for, which meant I had to cut 35,000 words from the first draft. This time, because the book was long already, I had to go through it again to find ways to cut 4,000 more words to make room for the updated, fresh material. The trick is to make the story seamless, fast-paced and suspenseful, and still maintain accuracy. I also felt it was important to be sensitive to the victims’ families as well as to the LGBTQ community, which was a tough thing to balance.

What do you love most about being an author?

I enjoy the freedom of being able to choose the stories I want to write about vs. when I was a newspaper reporter and often got assigned stories I didn’t care about. I also enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working for myself. I’m busier than I’ve ever been, but I’m constantly stimulated by my varying tasks and by always learning new things.

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 original version of this book was with a traditional publisher. When it let the book go out of print, I got my rights back and did this re-release with WildBlue Press, which is an indie press. For the first time, I got to have input into the cover design, which was great fun, and I think the book and cover turned out very nicely. Statistics show that 70 percent of readers buy their books online vs. in bookstores these days, so this publisher is geared more toward those readers.

Where can we find you on the web?

My website and blog are at https://www.caitlinrother.com. This book is sold at wbp.bz/deadreackoning. The photo gallery, with tons of color pics of the key players, is at wbp.bz/deadreckoninggallery. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Just type in my name.

Author: Caitlin Rother
Publisher: WildBlue Press
Pages: 504
Genre: True Crime


Tom and Jackie Hawks loved their life in retirement, sailing on their yacht, the Well Deserved. But when the birth of a new grandson called them back to Arizona, they put the boat up for sale. Skylar Deleon and his pregnant wife Jennifer showed up as prospective buyers, with their baby in a stroller, and the Hawkses thought they had a deal. Soon after a sea trial and an alleged purchase, however, the older couple disappeared and the Deleons promptly tried to access the Hawkses’ bank accounts.

As police investigated the case, they not only found a third homicide victim with ties to Skylar, they also uncovered an unexpected and unusual motive: Skylar had wanted gender reassignment surgery for years. By killing the Hawkses with a motley crew of assailants and plundering the couple’s assets, the Deleons had planned to clear their $100,000 in debts and still have money for the surgery, which Skylar had already scheduled.

Now, in this up-to-the-minute updated edition, which includes extensive new material, New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother presents the latest breaking developments in the case. Skylar, who was ultimately sentenced to death row for the three murders, transitioned to a woman via hormones while living in the psych unit at San Quentin prison. Recently, she legally changed her name and gender to female, apparently a strategic step in her quest to obtain taxpayer-subsidized gender confirmation surgery and transfer to a women’s prison. Combined with Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent moratorium on executions, this only adds insult to injury for the victims’ families, who want Skylar to receive the ultimate punishment for her crimes.

“Rother gives readers compelling insight to an unthinkable American nightmare. A gripping read… frank and frightening… it sizzles.”

Aphrodite Jones, host of True Crime on Investigation Discovery and bestselling author


Amazon → https://tinyurl.com/y3jr7mk3

 WildBlue Press → https://tinyurl.com/yyj9xlvk


Book Excerpt:


Alonso Machain was unemployed, with bills to pay, so he took up his friend Skylar Deleon’s offer to help restore a family boat at the Cabrillo yard in Long Beach, California.

As they were sanding the Hatteras together, Skylar boasted about his plans for fixing up his new toy, which he’d gotten from his grandfather. Then Skylar offered his twenty-one-year-old buddy a much more lucrative job.

“How much are you talking about?” Alonso asked.

“A couple million dollars,” Skylar said.

“Wow. How do you make a couple million dollars without it being illegal?”

“Well,” Skylar said, “it’s not really illegal, unless you get caught.”

As Skylar’s plan evolved in the coming days of October 2004, the promised payoff for Alonso soon increased to “several million” dollars to help Skylar “take care” of some people who had done something bad and pissed somebody off.

Skylar wasn’t usually paid for these gigs, he said, but he got to keep the assets of the “targets,” who were typically well-off. His first contract, for example, was a guy who’d been selling drugs in Huntington Beach schools and owed money to the wrong people.

Skylar said he’d split the proceeds of his next job with Alonso, but didn’t give him much time to mull it over.

“So, you want to do it or not?” Skylar asked a couple days later.

Alonso wasn’t really sure what to think. Skylar was always talking about how rich he and his family were, and Alonso believed him. Although he knew Skylar liked to tell stories, he never stopped to consider that the few times Skylar had thrown him a mere twenty dollars for the boat restoration work, they’d had to drive to an ATM to get it.

After Alonso decided to take the job, Skylar went into more detail about the plan, showing him photos of a yacht called the Well Deserved, whose wealthy owners had put it up for sale. Alonso’s role was to help Skylar get “in” with the owners, Tom and Jackie Hawks, then hold them down.

The fifty-five-foot trawler was moored in the upscale community of Newport Beach in Orange County, a sharp contrast to the sprawling mix of urban, industrial, and suburban areas of Long Beach, where Skylar lived with his wife, Jennifer, in neighboring Los Angeles County.

Unlike the spacious homes in Newport, decorated in the mute beiges and sandstone of the wealthy, home for Skylar and Jennifer was a cramped converted garage behind her parents’ duplex. Space was so tight the Deleons had to stack their belongings on the floor and hang their clothing from a pole lodged between two dressers next to the bed. It was a far cry from the opulent mansions featured on The Real Housewives of Orange County and The O.C.

Contrary to the story he’d told Alonso about the $3 million a month he’d earned working with Ditech Funding, Skylar had been fired from his job as appraiser’s assistant there and looked at his wealthier neighbors in “The O.C.” with envy. He coveted their waterfront homes, boats, and private planes that he couldn’t afford, and he lied to persuade folks that he could.

Although he wasn’t anywhere near as smart or capable as Bernie Madoff in building a complex financial scheme, Skylar’s scam was just as—if not more— deceitful. And when it came to lying and manipulating people, Skylar was pretty good at that, too.

The next time he and Alonso met, Skylar said he’d analyzed photos of the boat’s interior for radios and weapons, such as spearguns, and had determined the best way to overcome the couple. Using stun guns and handcuffs, Alonso would grab Jackie in the galley while Skylar took down Tom in the stateroom, where no one could hear him scream.

Skylar said he’d considered taking Tom scuba diving and finishing him off underwater, but he’d realized that would preclude the Hawkses from signing over the boat title and power-of-attorney documents he was going to draw up.

“What I’ll do is just take them out to sea and toss them overboard,” he said.

They purchased two stun guns together, then Skylar sent Alonso, a former jail guard he’d befriended while serving time for armed burglary a year earlier, to buy two pairs of handcuffs.

The next day, November 6, Skylar said it was time to do the deed. By now, Alonso felt it was too late to extricate himself from the situation. If twenty-five-year-old Skylar really was a hit man, what would prevent him from harming Alonso?

As they drove to the dock, Skylar stopped a couple blocks away to scope out who was aboard, then called Tom to pick them up in his dinghy. The Hawkses were expecting them.

On board, Tom proudly gave them a tour of his home, but Alonso could see from Skylar’s tone of voice and body language that he’d changed his mind. Skylar seemed far too relaxed to kill anyone as he chatted with Tom for forty-five minutes about possible modes of payment. Before they left, Skylar made sure that Tom and Jackie knew he was definitely interested in purchasing the vessel and would be back for a lesson on how to operate it.

Skylar told Alonso afterward that he’d changed his mind once he’d realized that Tom was too muscular for the two of them to overpower alone. They really needed a third man. Skylar also sensed some discomfort on the Hawkses’ part, so he called Jennifer on his cell phone as soon as they got back to the car.

“Hey, you need to come down, take a look at the boat, to make these people feel a little more at ease,” he told her.

After sending Alonso on his way, Skylar and his pregnant wife went back on board, pushing their ten-month-old daughter, Haylie, in a stroller, to do just that.




Read Full Post »

Author: Shami Stovall
Publisher: Capital Station Books
Pages: #437
Genre: YA Fantasy


While protecting the newborn griffins on the Isle of Landin, Volke Savan and his adopted sister, Illia, run afoul of the Dread Pirate Calisto, the same cutthroat who carved out Illia’s right eye. As a master manticore arcanist, Calisto’s strength and brutality are unrivaled. When Illia suggests they bring him to justice, Volke wonders if they’ll have what it takes to fight the corsairs on the high seas.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Praise for the Frith Chronicles!

Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the Homas Wildus series, and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.”

Seattle Book Review

An addictive series. Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerizing story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.”


Absolutely brilliant.”


Now continue the Frith Chronicles with the second book, Dread Pirate Arcanist!

Amazon —-> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WK2H37L




Today the griffins of West Landin would choose who to bond with. The city officials gathered before the dawn, prepping for the evening celebrations. I watched from afar, on a rocky cliff that overlooked half the isle, the pre-morning winds disheveling my inky black hair. I had never visited the Isle of Landin before now, but I had heard amazing tales of their fearsome griffins since I was old enough to remember stories.

My pulse quickened with anticipation. For fifteen years I had imaged bonding with a mystical creature and becoming an arcanist. Eight months ago it had become a reality, but it hadn’t yet sunk into my heart and gut. Giddiness twisted my insides with each new breath.

While the citizens of West Landin would have to prove themselves to the griffins in a Trial of Worth, I had already been tested and found worthy.

I turned to the shadows next to me, well aware that my mystical creature—my eldrin—lurked in the darkness.

“Luthair,” I said. “Do you know much about griffins?”

“They are stubborn beasts,” he replied from the void of my shadow, his voice more sinister than his true demeanor. “And griffin arcanists are strong, courageous, and skilled at combat.”


As a knightmare, Luthair lived among the darkness, merging with it like salt in water. He didn’t need to materialize to speak, and he could slink along next to me without anyone knowing. While some would consider that creepy or unsettling, I enjoyed his presence and trusted him in all things.

I returned my attention to the sprawling city. Unlike the Isle of Ruma, where I grew up, West Landin housed thousands of people, had a massive port, and had constructed a seaside fortress to deter pirates. Their cobblestone roads, twice as wide as home, snaked beyond the city limits to a valley filled with sheep, goats, and horses.

When the sun rose, the oranges and reds of dawn cascaded over the island, washing it in a familiar glow. The Isle of Ruma had wonderful dawns, just like this one. The nostalgia overwhelmed me for a moment, so powerful it almost hurt.

I missed my adoptive father, Gravekeeper William.

The days spent as his apprentice seemed torturous at first, since I had never wanted to be become a gravedigger, but now I understood how much he had influenced my life. He had been the best father I ever could’ve hoped for. I last saw him after I bonded with Luthair, a short time after my fifteenth birthday.


“Yes?” I replied, recognizing Illia’s voice straight away. I didn’t even need to turn around. I knew she would walk over to speak with me.

Sure enough, she ambled to the edge of the rocky cliff, one hand on the brim of her sailing cap. Then she offered me a smile.

“Are you out here daydreaming?”

“No.” I slipped my hands into my pockets. “I wanted to spot some of the griffin cubs. I’ve never seen one in person before.”

Illia sarcastically lifted an eyebrow. “You weren’t thinking about the Isle of Ruma?”

“W-well, I might have thought about it for a moment.”

“Yeah. I know.” She stared down at West Landin, her one eye unfocused. “I’ve been doing the same thing.”

The wind played with her hair, revealing the twisted knife scars on the right side of her face. Her sailing cap kept everything in place, so I didn’t catch sight of the old wound for long, but I knew it was there.

I still remembered the first night that Gravekeeper William had brought her home. She had been five years old, and the injury hadn’t yet healed. The pirate fiend who had taken her eye had cut in deep, damaging the socket. She had to rest in bed for weeks, her skin pale and dappled with sweat.

Illia glanced over. “Volke?” She frowned. “What’s wrong? You’re not thinking about home anymore, are you?”

“It’s nothing,” I said as I stared at my boots. Illia didn’t like having attention brought to her scars, and I didn’t want to upset her.

“You can’t hide things from me.” Then she smacked my shoulder and half smiled. “You’ll tell me sooner or later.”

Instead of arguing, I nodded and allowed the conversation to end. The morning sun warmed the isle, and the breeze brought ocean mists. I could’ve stayed on the rock cliff with Illia for the entire day, enjoying the atmosphere.

A small ferret-like creature—a rizzel—bounded up toward us, hopping along like only weasels could. His snow-white fur shone in the morning light, and his silver stripes had a metallic sparkle.

“Illia!” he cried out as he scampered over to her feet. “Why would you leave me?”

In a flash of sparkles and sorcery, the rizzel disappeared and then popped into existence on Illia’s shoulder. She stroked his head as he curled around the back of her neck, hiding in her wavy brown hair.

“What is it, Nicholin?” she asked.

“Master Zelfree wants us all to gather near the edge of the woods.”

“Right now?”

“He said before dawn, but it took me forever to find you.” He arched his back and squeaked. “I can’t believe you left me! I’m your eldrin! Arcanists don’t leave their eldrin—it’s unheard of!”

Illia chuckled, but gave no explanation.

All arcanists had a mark on their forehead—a seven-pointed star etched straight into their skin. Illia’s, while faint, had the image of a rizzel intertwined with the star, symbolizing her connection with Nicholin. When I touched my own forehead, I could feel the cracked arcanist star just below my hairline. Unlike Illia, my star had a sword and cape, representing my bond with a knightmare.

“Did you see any griffins?” Illia asked.

I had almost forgotten the reason I perched myself on the cliff. I shook my head. “No. I can’t see their aerie from here, and the bonding ceremony doesn’t start until dusk, so I’m sure they’re still resting.”

“Do you want to wait until you see one? I bet they’ll wander around town before the Trials of Worth begin. We can always tell Master Zelfree that Nicholin got lost or something. It won’t be a big deal.”

“I wouldn’t want to lie. Honesty. Without it, we cannot learn the truth about ourselves.” I said the last bit with dramatic emphasis.

Illia groaned. “Please, Volke. For me. Stop quoting that damn staircase.”

“You know I like the lessons from the Pillar. I think they’re good rules to live by.”

Nicholin crossed his little ferret arms. “You’re wrong. They’re lame.”

“What?” I balked. Then I turned to the darkness. “Luthair, back me up. They’re good, right?”

“Indeed,” he said, his gruff voice echoing from my shadow.

“See? Luthair agrees with me. They’re definitely awesome.”

Nicholin and Illia exchanged knowing glances and huffed in sarcastic exasperation. If it were anyone else, maybe I would be bothered by the mocking, but I knew Illia didn’t mean it. She gave me hard time, just like when we were kids. With all the nostalgia in my veins, I welcomed the teasing.

“I guess we have to find Master Zelfree,” Illia said. “C’mon. Let’s go.”

We walked away from the cliffside, seagulls serenading the dawn with a symphony of caws. The rocks created a natural path, making the trek down an easy one. Illia kept close to me—closer than usual—and I wondered if she was awash in sentimentality as well.

Today would be easy. As members of the Frith Guild, we had been called to the Isle of Landin to protect those attending the griffin bonding ceremony. Until the celebrations began, however, we didn’t have much to do. Perhaps Illia and I could convince Master Zelfree to allow me to reminisce in town.

“I’m glad we became arcanists together,” Illia said. “That’s how I always imagined it when we were younger.”

“Yeah. Me too.”

She smiled and took in a breath, as if she might continue the conversation, but the words never came. We got all the way to the edge of the trees before she turned her attention back to me. She met my gaze with her one eye. I think she wanted me to say something. Maybe about our past? I didn’t know, and the longer she stared, the more disappointed she looked.

Illia lifted a hand and covered the scars over her damaged eye socket.

“Uh,” I began.

Illia waited.

Nicholin perked up, his ears erect. “Hm? What’s that?”

My breath caught in my throat. What did Illia want me to say?

Thankfully, Master Zelfree emerged from the woods, saving me from the awkward moment. He sauntered over, bags under his eyes, his black coat and pants wrinkled from long hours of work. He ran a hand through his black, shoulder-length hair. His fingers caught in a few places, betraying the fact he hadn’t brushed it in a while.

If I didn’t know he was a master arcanist from the Frith Guild, I would’ve assumed he was a hungover drunkard who stumbled away from the festivities.

“Master Zelfree,” Illia said, her eyebrow high.

Unlike me and Illia, Zelfree had a strange arcanist mark—his star had nothing intertwined with it. His eldrin, Traces, was the shape-changing mimic, after all. The bangles on his left wrist were most likely her. That was how she had hid herself in the past.

“You two finally decided to show up, huh?” Zelfree said. “You’re late for the exercise.”

“What exercise?” I asked.

“Don’t worry. It’s something simple.”

Zelfree’s shirt—black, like the rest of what he wore—was open enough to expose his bare chest and guild pendant, a silver symbol that marked him as a master arcanist. My bronze pendant told the world I was an apprentice, but I wasn’t ashamed of my low status. I loved my pendant with every ounce of my being.

“You all have been through a lot,” Zelfree muttered. “And your training as arcanists has been erratic. For the next couple of months, everything will be simple. We’ll take it slow while I assess your abilities, and then we’ll work our way to more challenging assignments.”

“I thought we didn’t have to do anything until dusk?” Illia asked.

“We don’t have to do anything official until dusk.” Zelfree pulled a flask from inside his coat and unscrewed the top. “But I want you all to practice your magic in the meantime. I split the other apprentices into pairs and sent them on their way.”

Nicholin bounced on Illia’s shoulder. “On their way? Where?”

“I hid apples around the daisy woods and I want you to collect them using your magic and your magic alone.”

“What? That’s kids stuff! My arcanist and I can handle anything. We took on Gregory Ruma’s leviathan. We stared into the jaws of death and survived!”

“As an arcanist of the Frith Guild, you won’t always be fighting giant leviathans in the waves of the ocean.” Zelfree cocked half a smile. “Sometimes we’ll be asked to find missing mystical creatures or locate hidden caches. Since none of those things involve traumatizing duels to the death, I figured this would be a relaxing exercise to practice your basic magic.”

“They’re hidden throughout the entire wooded area?” I asked.  The daisy woods covered a few acres of the island. The task felt daunting, even if it didn’t involve combat.

Zelfree shrugged. “Apples aren’t native to the islands. They’re bright red, and I’ve placed them in precarious spots. It shouldn’t take the six of you long to find them all.” He took a swig from his flask. “Whichever team comes back with the most apples will get to spend time with the griffins before the ceremony.”

My chest tightened. “Really?”

“And the pair who finds the least amount will have to wipe down the deck of our ship.”

Illia and I both groaned. No one wanted ship cleaning duty, especially since the sailors would get a good laugh at our predicament. Arcanists stood at the top of social hierarchy, and seeing one swab a deck was a novelty—like watching a crown prince take out the garbage, or a knight commander cleaning all the training weapons. We’d be mocked for the entire journey home.

“Interacting with the griffin cubs sounds amazing,” Illia said.

Zelfree nodded. “The mayor of West Landin asked the Frith Guild to protect the new arcanists until they reached the mainland. We’ll be sailing with them all the way there.”

“Protecting them from what, exactly?” she asked. “You never told us why they wanted the Frith Guild.”

“Pirates are in the area.”

The statement killed all mirth in the conversation. Illia grazed her fingers over the scars on her face. I had seen her react that way a million times before, every time someone mentioned nearby pirates.

The last thing I wanted was to deal with sea thieves and cutthroats.

“Any questions?” Zelfree asked. He swirled his flask as he spoke, and I couldn’t help but take note of it.

I pointed. “I thought you said you were cutting back on the drink.”

He downed the rest of his “breakfast” and walked past us. “Don’t worry. I’ve limited myself to a single serving. Soon I won’t need it to wake up.”

Normally I was the tallest person in any group—six feet—but when Zelfree went by, he straightened his posture, standing an inch or so higher. I never noticed before, probably because he slouched most times. It surprised me.

“Okay,” I muttered. “I suppose we’ll get started with the apple hunt then.”

“Treat this like an urgent mission. The apples are baby mystical creatures. Recover them quickly and efficiently.”

My thoughts didn’t dwell on his statements long. The idea that I could see the griffins up close—before the ceremony!—excited me more than anything else. We had to find enough apples. It would make for a perfect day, and an amazing tale to write to William about.

Illia took my elbow and pulled me toward the trees, a smile on her face.

The slender daisy trees grew sixty to ninety feet into the air, and in dense clusters. Their wide canopies caught the humid breeze and rustled with excitement. The white trunks, striped with brown, would make it easy to spot something crimson.

I kept my gaze up, hoping to catch a glisten of fruit among the branches.

“I’m going to make sure you see those griffins,” Illia said as she let go of my arm.

“Me?” I asked. “But aren’t you excited too?”

“Of course.” She smiled, more to herself than to me. “When I was younger, griffins were my favorite mystical creature. I used to daydream that one would hear I escaped from pirates, and that it would think I was so courageous it had to fly to our island just to bond with me.”

Nicholin swished his tail. “I don’t know if I should feel jealous or sad that I’m not a griffin.”

“No, no, no,” Illia said as she hugged Nicholin close. “That was me as a little girl. Now I know I wouldn’t want to be bonded with anyone but you.”

He made an odd purring noise, like he wasn’t built for it, but still attempted regardless. “That’s right! We’re meant to be together.”

Still—I had heard the excitement in her voice. If Illia wanted to meet a griffin, I would make sure that happened.


Thirty feet into the daisy tree woods and I spotted a rodent hole. While Illia went off to check some shrubbery, I knelt on the dirt and examined the burrow. I had dug enough graves to recognize when soil had been freshly tossed, so it was clear to me the entrance had been tampered with by human hands. Would Zelfree hide an apple here, of all places? I thought he had said they would be clearly visible. Best to check, regardless.

“What’re you doing?”

The snide voice snapped me out of my concentration. I glanced up and all excitement curdled in my system. Zaxis Ren. He stood with his arms crossed and his green eyes narrowed in a condescending stare.

“I’m searching for apples,” I said.

“In the dirt? Like an animal?”

I got to my feet and brushed the soil off the knees of my trousers. “Sounds like someone hasn’t had breakfast.”

“Heh. You think you’re so funny.”

Zaxis confused me more than anyone else. We had known each other our whole lives, and while it had been antagonistic when we were young, I thought we had worked past that during our time in the Frith Guild. Still, he fluctuated back and forth on whether we were being cordial.

Today wasn’t one of those days, it seemed.

His phoenix, Forsythe, glided through the trees on scarlet wings edged with gold. Occasional dustings of soot rained down from his body as he moved, and he swirled around us once before elegantly landed on the ground next to Zaxis. Phoenixes had the bodies of herons, with long necks and delicate frames, but their majestic tails appeared similar to a peacock, with vibrant designs and curved feathers.

Zaxis’s arcanist mark had a phoenix laced between the seven points of his star. I admired it for a moment, remembering the Trials of Worth of our home isle. I had wanted to bond with a phoenix more than anything back then.

Forsythe’s gold eyes stared at me for a moment. “Good morning.” His voice was imbued with a regal cadence.

“Morning,” I replied.

Zaxis huffed and then motioned to a cloth sack of apples sitting behind him. “Forsythe, don’t bother talking to this biscuit. We have a game to win.”

From what I could see, Zaxis had already gathered four apples, all glistening red, almost the same dark shade as his hair.

“I’m not stopping you,” I said, motioning to the woods. “You can leave and keep searching if you—”

Illia stood from the nearby shrub, an apple in hand. “Volke, look. I already found one!”

“Oh, Illia,” Zaxis said as he brushed off his coat. “I didn’t see you.” He straightened his posture. “Beautiful island, right?”

She acknowledged him with a quick nod and then smiled at me. “I think we should hurry. If there was an apple here, I think the others might not be searching as thoroughly as they should be.”

“Okay,” I said.

Before I could return to searching the rodent hole, Forsythe investigated the burrow with his long neck and beak, rooting through the fresh soil. He grabbed the stem of a hidden apple and plucked it from the dirt. He set it at Zaxis’s feet and fluffed his feathers, revealing the bright glow of his fiery body underneath.

“I found one, my arcanist. Aren’t you proud?”

Zaxis flashed me a smirk as he stroked his phoenix’s head. “Oh, yeah. Good job.”

I gritted my teeth, half-irritated at myself and half-irritated at Zaxis. I should’ve ignored him and focused on my searching. Then I would’ve had another apple for mine and Illia’s collection.

Illia walked over and took me by the elbow. “C’mon. What’re you waiting for?”

“This is nice weather we’re having,” Zaxis said to her, smiling wider than usual. “Pleasant and cool without too much wind.”

“Uh-huh,” she muttered. She tugged my arm. “Volke?”

I nodded. “Right.”

I shot Zaxis a look before walking off, amused by his failed attempts at engaging Illia. Did he really think the weather would interest her? He wasn’t as suave as he thought, though I did feel sorry for him. Not many people tried to strike up a conversation with Illia. For both their sakes, I wish he had done better.

Once we had left Zaxis’s presence, I turned my attention to the shadows. “Luthair, help us look for the apples.”

“By your command, my arcanist.”


About the Author

Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.


Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

Blog: https://sastovallauthor.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GameOverStation

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


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Pattie Palmer-Baker is a recognized award-winning artist and poet. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest. Locally and nationally she has won numerous awards for her art and poetry.

An accomplished poet, Pattie had been nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in many journals including Calyx, Voicecatcher, Military Experience the Arts, Minerva Rising and Phantom Drift. In 2017 she earned first prize in the Write to Publish contest, and in 2019 she won first, second, and the Bivona prize in the Ageless Poetry contest.  She has served as the poetry co-editor for VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions.

Del Sol Press awarded MALL first prize for the most promising first novel in 2017.

Pattie lives in Portland, Oregon with her beloved husband and rescued dachshund.

Her website is www.pattiepalmerbaker.com/.

You can follow her at Facebook at https://tinyurl.com/yykrz36e.

About the Book:

A Novel by Pattie Palmer-Baker Winner of the Del Sol Most Promising Novel, 2017

MALL is a sparkling alternate world where everyone is beautiful, employed with enough income to consume and to experience a myriad of pleasures including drugs, gambling, theater, holographic adventures. No poverty and little or no crime. A lot of sex.

But what about the Mall Code? And what happens when Sara, a 21st century woman, accidentally finds her way into this alien yet familiar world? Nona, a MALL mental health practitioner treats Sara upon her arrival and goes against the Code to help her acclimate. Sara seems to be just what she needs, an antidote to Nona’s secret and growing boredom.

At first Sara desperately wants to get home, and, as she seeks a way out as well as answers about her new reality, Nona begins to see MALL in a new light. Is abundant gratification enough?

Things aren’t all beauty and pleasure. Sara experiences dancing in a dangerous orgiastic dance club on a lower level. She attends a gambling session where people bet on living more years when their “number’s up” and a “passing ceremony,” where Mallites are supposedly resurrected into a new life.

Junkers, outsiders lurking on the fringes of MALL, have been fighting Mall Management’s control by creating increasingly dangerous disturbances. For years they have struggled to discover an exit, based on rumors of those who made it Outside and were never heard from again. Through them Sara and Nona meet someone who might help them escape. They both must make the choice that will change their lives forever.

Who will risk leaving and who will decide to stay?

MALL by Pattie Palmer-Baker was recently published by Del Sol Press and winner of the Del Sol Press Most Promising Book, 2017.

ISBN: 978-0-9998425-5-3.


What a suspenseful journey Mall was—a real “page-turner”-  imaginative with firm command of psychological expression and dialogue! Pattie Palmer-Baker captures some of the sexual contradictions, insecurities, and darker motivations of her female characters, and the complex relationships between women. The “surface” allusions to sex and violence throughout the story line work well with the superficial world she describes. Sex all the time—and yet, really, not much explicit writing about actual sexual encounters—the same for violence. This tension of content and form works well for me. What gives pleasure? What gives pain? The many hallways and mirrored rooms give the setting a creepy fun-house effect and increase the sense of a closed world and claustrophobic doom. Her descriptions of the Mallites’ physical appearances and their individual choice of costume in this strange place is creative—a breath of lightness in this frank examination of our quandary about the meaning of freedom in an existential existence. What is real? I was “on the run” with Sara for the entire read! And what a turn at the end!

— Cathy Cain, Portland poet and artist


Would you call yourself a born writer?

No, although I wrote poetry when I was a child. However, I have always had a vivid imagination. I made up stories all through my childhood and sometimes still do. It wasn’t hard to come up with the idea of an alternative world.

What was your inspiration for MALL?

Years ago, a city planner friend and I were talking about different ways to organize cities. He mentioned grouping residences close to malls. And it came to me. What would it be like if people lived inside malls? The more I thought about it, the more complicated this alternative world became. Too unwieldly to keep straight in mind, I decided to write my ideas. And before I knew it my writing took on the form of a novel.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

MALL is the only novel I have written. I explore all kinds of themes in my poetry. I do tend to write a lot about my mother and father; in fact, I have recently finished a chapbook of poems examining the effects of my father’s alcoholism on my mother and myself. In Mall I wanted raise some questions. What is the effect of rampant consumerism? Would a place offering endless and diverse amusement attract you even if you had to give up close relationships? Are deep attachments worth the pain involved? Do we really know what we want and why?

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Twenty years! Well, not really because I spent great swathes of time away from MALL to work on my artwork and poetry.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

No, not really unless I have a deadline. I write a little after coffee in the morning and then a little after a walk, sometimes in the evening before dinner. I write in spurts. I admit anxiety causes me to avoid writing, especially something new. I really have trouble getting the first words on paper. I do enjoy revising, often wondering how I wrote the first draft. Where did it come from? I think I and many other writers have to be in a kind of altered state to write, especially fiction and poetry.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The final revision. I had a demanding, no nonsense editor, but did she ever know her stuff! Sometimes I felt like giving up.

What do you love most about being an author?

This is my first time as an ‘author.’ It’s hard to believe I actually wrote a novel and had it published. I sort of like talking about it. What I love and sort of hate about writing poetry is how much each and every word matters.

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 never thought about publishing until a couple of friends read a draft and encouraged me to try. I don’t think I was very serious about the process.  I submitted to a few small presses and a few contests. Winning the Del Sol Prize for Most Promising First Novel, 2017 absolutely shocked me.

Where can we find you on the web?


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Author: Ross Victory

Publisher: Independent

Pages: 268

Genre: Memoir


Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son by Ross Victory is a memoir born from pain. Intimate journal entries morph into a phenomenal dialogue of tender father-son memories, loss, strength and turbulence in a young boy’s life on his journey into manhood. When the author discovers that his father is terminally ill and a victim of elder abuse, he embarks on a journey of reflection and discovery which soars and nosedives, chapter by chapter. Decorated in airplane analogies, with writing you can feel, Views from the Cockpit serves as a catalyst for readers to take perspective of their lives from the highest point. Views is a narrative that provides emotional assurance that readers’ unique experiences of pain, love and loss cannot be recreated or erased, but can be processed in order to not lose sight of their life journeys.



 Barnes & Noblehttps://tinyurl.com/y2ydegrg

Book Excerpt:

Dried diarrhea and urine were splotched across the carpet of the bedroom floor. Sections of bed sheets were stained in indistinguishable yellow marks and unknown fluids. The final stages of his disease were in full bloom. Bowls of half-eaten split pea soup, days-old Cream of Wheat, and withered apple cores lay abandoned throughout the room. A crusty, half-full, portable urinal with traces of blood crowded his side table. The room was stale and reeked of body odors. This is how I found him—in a crime scene of filth and neglect.

He had been living for nearly six months in a home nestled in the hills of Northern California. He rented

two rooms in the home of an Iranian used-car salesman. Serene views of San Francisco Bay illuminated the backyard patio every night. The home was encircled in blooming shrub roses, in shades of yellows and ruby reds, with an overgrown tomato garden along the property border. A giant oak tree and three dusty used cars greeted visitors as they approached the large double doors. The double doors unveiled a living room with a cream-colored chaise lounge and matching love seat. Oversized Persian paintings leaned graciously against the white-washed walls. A tangerine sunset sparkled o the bay and beamed through the pane glass doors of the lavish, unused living room. The smell of Persian spices and beef kebab filled the home. Mysterious gray soup bubbled in the kitchen next to large bags of rice, plates of Chinese pan-fried pancakes, and frozen bags of what appeared to be thawing chunks of flesh-colored meat.

I walked down a narrow, dimly lit hallway that connected his room to the living room and bathroom. Shoes and blankets tumbled peacefully in the dryer. A ray of light flickered from underneath the bathroom door.


About the Author

Ross Victory is an American Marketing professional, travel enthusiast, and author of the new memoir, Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son. He spent his early years collecting pens, notepads and interviewing himself in a tape recorder. With an acute awareness for his young age, he was eager to point out hypocrisies and character inconsistencies in children and adults through English assignments. He delighted in provoking a reaction from his English teachers with writing that seemed to wink and smile.

He enjoys writing non-fiction and fiction projects–stories of captivating, complex characters expressed in all their dimensions usually on a path to self-discovery through suffering. After the loss of his father, Ross has married his love for writing to create a compelling memoir to inspire the world. Ross received his B.S. in Business Administration & Marketing Management.

Website: http://www.rossvictory.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/rossvictoryofficial

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rossvictoryofficial/


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I’m not on holiday, she told herself, but it’s my first time out of Germany, and I’m not going to waste it. She’d wanted to help with the war effort, and now she had her chance. Even after the invasion, everyone back home still thought Germany would win—Hitler told them so, and the propaganda films left no doubt. Why wouldn’t she believe it as well?

–From Wolves At Our Door by Soren Paul Petrek

Soren Paul Petrek

Soren Petrek is a practicing criminal trial attorney, admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1991. Married with two adult children, Soren continues to live and work in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Educated in the U.S., England and France Soren sat his O-level examinations at the Heathland School in Hounslow, London in 1981. His undergraduate degree in Forestry is from the University of Minnesota, 1986. His law degree is from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota 1991.

Soren’s novel, Cold Lonely Courage won Fade In Magazine’s 2009 Award for Fiction. Fade In was voted the nation’s favorite movie magazine by the Washington Post and the L.A. Times in 2011 and 2012.

The French edition of Cold Lonely Courage, Courage was published January 2019, by Encre Rouge Editions, distributed by Hachette Livre in 60 countries. Soren’s contemporary novel, Tim will be released along with the rest of the books in the Madeleine Toche series of historical thrillers.

Wolves at Our Door

Book Description:

The Allies and the Nazis are in a deadly race to develop the ultimate weapon while supersonic V-2 rockets rain down on London. Madeleine Toche and Berthold Hartmann, the German super assassin who taught her to kill, search for the secret factory where Werner von Braun and his Gestapos masters use slave labor to build the weapons as the bodies of the innocent pile up. The Allied ground forces push towards Berlin while the German SS fight savagely for each inch of ground.

Finding the factory hidden beneath Mount Kohnstein, Hartmann contacts his old enemy, Winston Churchill and summons Madeleine to his side. While she moves to bring the mountain down on her enemies, Hartmann leads a daring escape from the dreaded Dora concentration camp to continue his revenge against the monsters who ruined his beloved Germany.

Together with the Russian Nachtlexen, the Night Witches, fearsome female pilots the race tightens as the United States and the Germans successfully carry out an atomic bomb test.

Germany installs an atom bomb in a V-2 pointed towards London, while the US delivers one to a forward base in the Pacific. The fate of the Second World War and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

Welcome, Soren! Your new historical/action/adventure novel sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?

Soren: Wolves at Our Door is a sequel to the anchor book of the Madeleine Toche Series, Cold Lonely Courage. In Wolves, I wanted to directly address aspects of the Holocaust, the race for an atomic weapon and to feature Madeleine and her mentor in the field fighting together.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters?

Soren: Madeleine Toche is a young French woman who found her way into the Resistance during WWII, helping Jewish children escape the Nazis. Later, after she’s raped and has exacted revenge by killing the German SS officer who raped her, she escapes to England and finds her way into the British Special Operations Executive, Winston Churchill’s army of the shadows.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Soren: I try to keep the readers hooked from the beginning. I have hundreds of reader and editorial reviews that mention, I couldn’t put the book down. What a joy it is to read that and know that those readers will remember my books fondly.

In Wolves, when we first meet Madeleine Toche her remarkable talents, skills and courage capture readers who then cheer for her, worry about her and most of all wonder what she’s going to do next.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

Soren: I use Grammarly and have a professional editor who works for major publishers both as a freelance editor and ghostwriter. Her name is Hannah Eason. I couldn’t have a better fit for the way I write.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Soren: The cover needs to draw attention but should have a clear connection to the storyline. I like covers that are unique.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

Soren: A Marine Biologist. I loved everything Jacques Cousteau.

What is one thing you’d like readers to know about you?

Soren: I want people to be happy. If I can contribute to their joy of reading, then I’ve accomplished a great thing.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

Soren: I write for everyone. My characters appeal to men and women alike.

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by Gina Heumann
* Memoir *

Author: Gina Heumann
Publisher: MadLand Press
Pages: 246
Genre: Memoir
WHACK… At three in the morning Gina was sound asleep, yet somehow she
was smacked in the head. She looked over at her husband, thinking
perhaps he accidentally rolled over and flopped his arm on top of her,
but he was sleeping soundly and facing the opposite direction. She
turned to the other side and glaring back at her was her eight-year-old
child.“Did you just hit me?”

“Yes, and I’d do it again.”


“Because you took away my video games.”

“That was EIGHT HOURS AGO. And you’re still mad about it?”

“I wish I could kill you.”

This is the true story of the hell one family lived through parenting
a child with reactive attachment disorder, a severe diagnosis related
to children who experienced early-childhood trauma.

This inspirational story covers over a decade of daily struggles
until they finally found resolution and made it to the other side. The
family remained intact, and this once challenging son is now achieving
things never thought possible.



So let’s talk about this diagnosis
that we now suspect: Reactive Attachment Disorder. RAD is a fairly
controversial diagnosis as far as psychological afflictions are concerned, but
one that is extremely serious. Although this is not a diagnosis that is solely
reserved for adoptees, it is by far more prevalent in children who had some
sort of disrupted attachment. The
Attachment and Child Development defines Reactive Attachment Disorder
as “a disorder in which children’s brains and development get disrupted by
trauma they endured before the age of 3. They are unable to trust others and
attach in relationships.” Since adoption is a result of a disrupted attachment,
it is most common in children who are adoptees, foster kids, and step children,
but it can also occur in biological children who’s primary caregiver was
hospitalized, in prison, deployed, or had some other traumatic event that
separated them, even for a short time. Not all adopted children have RAD. And
not all children who suffer from RAD are adopted.
Symptoms of RAD include: severe
anger, lack of empathy, inability to give or receive affection, lack of cause
and effect thinking, minimal eye contact, lying, stealing, “mad peeing”
(urinating all over the house when angry or bedwetting into the teen years),
indiscriminate affection with strangers, inappropriately demanding,
preoccupation with fire, blood, and gore, hoarding food, abnormal eating
patterns, learning lags, and lack of impulse control. These can be more serious
in some patients than others, of course, but over the years, Maddox suffered
from most of these. In extreme cases, symptoms can include verbal, physical,
psychological and emotional abuse of the mother (yes), self-harm or threats to
others (yes), and hurting or killing pets (thank god, no). As hard as things
were for us, I read this list and know it could have been a lot worse.
RAD was in the news recently as
one of the descriptors of Nikolas Cruz, the school shooter at Stoneman Douglas
high school in
Parkland, Florida. Internet support groups for parents dealing with Reactive
Attachment Disorder were a buzz with comments like “that could be my kid
someday.” Honestly there was a time I thought the same thing. And of course,
the comments about the school shooter were focused on the parents: “why didn’t
they spend more time with him?,” “they should have given him more hugs/love,”
“why wasn’t he in therapy?,” “he needed more discipline,” “a good spanking
would have whipped him into shape”… judgments, judgments, judgments. I was so
accustomed to judgments from other parents, strangers, and even my own family.
Relatives gave us books on “Love and Logic,” gave Maddox timeouts that only
made him angrier, and yelled at me for my lack of mothering skills. No sticker
chart was going to resolve this issue.
In the heat of a rage, a child
with Reactive Attachment Disorder seems to be afraid of nothing. Maddox didn’t
respond to typical parental requests, bribes, or threats. If we would yell, he
would yell back, louder and meaner. “Go to your room” was never met with compliance,
and running away from home was an ongoing issue.
But underneath it all is a
powerful sense of fear. Fear of never being loved or accepted. Fear of not
making friends. Fear of not fitting in with normal society. As a mother, I
feared he might grow up to be the next school shooter.
Starting even before he was born,
his birth mother, desperately poor and managing a special-needs child at the
age of 17, was sending stress hormones to his brain in the womb, setting him up
for a lifetime of anxiety.
After his birth, he went directly
to a foster home, where he was neglected. Mistrust of adults and caregivers was
ingrained in his brain, and anger was his primary emotion.
It is hard to believe that the
first six months of life can have such a profound impact on a child and make it
so difficult to lead a normal life without serious intervention and extreme
love and care.
Being a RAD parent is one of the
hardest and loneliest jobs on earth, and that’s true without even counting all
the judgment.







Gina Heumann is a true Renaissance woman: wife, mother, architect,
designer, instructor, author, speaker, and sales rep for an
award-winning Napa Valley winery. She and her husband, Aaron, adopted
Landrey in 2001 from Guatemala and then went back for Maddox three years
later. Gina’s love of learning and dedication as a mother inspired her
research of different treatments and therapies that eventually led to
this inspirational success story about conquering Reactive Attachment
Disorder.Her latest book is Love Never Quits: Surviving & Thriving After Infertility, Adoption, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.


Website Link: www.ginaheumann.com

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/loveneverquits


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Vernon Ennels grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and now makes Arizona home for he and his family. After a long day at work in the business world…he found that writing his book was most productive in the evening hours sitting by his swimming pool. Vernon holds a BS and an MBA in Business Management.  “I was inspired to write my book thinking of my own six-year-old son,” he asserted.


Author website: www.vernonennels.com

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/vernon.ennels

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

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

About the Book:

Page six of Vernon Ennels, Jr. book, THERE’S SOMETHING YOUR SON NEEDS TO TELL YOU, reads, “I still remember his face, his breath, and hear his voice demand me to lie on my stomach. He would down my pants my mother so proudly dressed me in. And then my Superman underwear…When he was done, he walked me to school and warned me, ‘If you tell anyone, I’ll kill your mother.’”

Author Vernon Ennels, Jr. lived with the horrible secret of being sexually abused and ashamed for some 40 years before he was able to recently summon the courage to tell his own family. “Studies show that one in six men have been sexually abused,” said Mr. Ennels. “Most are afraid to talk about it.”

This book reflects the experiences of males, specifically black males, but encourages both men and women and those from various racial backgrounds to recognize the signs of sexual and mental abuse and to combat the epidemic. “My book,” emphasized Mr. Ennels, “is a mirror of my abuse to shed light on an on-going issue to inspire others to take immediate action when they suspect child sexual abuse. #Saveoursons is my mission to help spread awareness and spark change to save current and future victims of sexual child abuse.”

Forty-something Vernon Ennels, Jr. says his new book THERE’S SOMETHING YOUR SON NEEDS TO TELL YOU  is an “open letter” that prompts other men to step forward and share their very own experiences of child sexual abuse in order to save other young boys from the hands of an abuser.

My moniker ‘Save Our Sons’ encourages discourse and social activism to help boys and men who have been sexually abused,” said Mr. Ennels. “Many, many people believed these victims were lying, making up a story for attention. Since I am a certified ‘non-celebrity’ I wrote my book for every child abuse victim out there who is terrified of stepping forward.”


Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ROniJL

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/30fPMzh

Xulon Press: https://bit.ly/2Ns26L6

Would you call yourself a born writer? 

No, this is my first book. Never thought I’ll ever write a book.

What was your inspiration for There’s Something Your Son Needs To Tell You? 

My 6 year old son. When I look at him I saw myself at his age and realize I was abused at 6 years old.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Sexual Abuse, Childhood Trauma, Mental Illness, Masculinity, Christianity, and Empowerment

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I completed the novel in 3 months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

In order to stay focus I had to cut a few people off. Because I travel for work I found myself writing at night in the hotel room or next to the pool when no one was around.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Reliving my experience was extremely difficult.

What do you love most about being an author?

Hearing others stories and how my book gave them a voice to share their story.

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 decided to self-publish my first book. I was happy with my decision at the end but it was a little stressful during the process. When you self-publish the all the weight falls on you.

Where can we find you on the web?

Website: www.vernonennels.com

Instagram: @vernonennels

Facebook: Facebook.com/VernonEnnelsOfficial


Twitter: @VernonEnnels


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