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Archive for the ‘Virtual Book Tour Guests’ Category

 

 

Join us for H. Peter Alesso’s CAPTAIN HAWKINS Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!
Title:
Captain Hawkins
Author: H. Peter Alesso
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 207
Genre: Science Fiction
Jamie Hawkins was living on an obscure planet in the twenty third-century when on one fateful night—his life changed forever. His heroic effort to save the lives of innocent women and children, caught in the cross-fire of war,
placed him squarely in the crosshairs of avenging soldiers.
A former marine, Hawkins was stunned when his rescue effort was seen as treachery. Unfairly convicted of treason by a corrupt judge, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor on an infamous penal colony.
Once in prison, his courage and perseverance won him the admiration and trust of his fellow convicts. While he was plotting his escape, an enemy attacked the planet–giving this daring warrior his chance. Together with his fellow prisoners, he launched a bold assault and high-jacked an enemy warship.
From then on, the rebel ship Indefatigable, engaged in multiple ship-to-ship and fleet actions until the exploits of Captain Jamie Hawkins became legendary.

PURCHASE:

Amazon

Book Excerpt:

The black of night had fallen, but Jamie Hawkins couldn’t sleep. Though the surgeons had patched up his many wounds, the remorseless pain persisted, even now, months after his medical discharge from the Marines.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Despite his desire to ignore the unwelcomed thundering blows, he answered the door to his country home and found his neighbor, tall scrawny seventeen year old Joshua Morgan, gasping for breath.
“Captain Hawkins, come quick! Come quick, or they’ll all be killed!”
“Who? What are you talking about, Joshua?”
“I’ve just come from the city—it’s a war zone. People are dying,” Joshua’s voice broke. “The hospital is taking care of the wounded and sheltering women and children, but its force shield is buckling.” He finished in a breathless rush, “It’s only a matter of minutes before it fails.”
A troubled frown creased Hawkins’s face. Their mothers had been friends and he had known Joshua since he was born.
Has the boy been drawn into the turmoil? He wondered.
Hawkins had listened to the broadcasts throughout the day, absurd in every detail; demonstrators declared that they were only protesting injustice, while the government insisted the violence was a last resort against rebels.
Which is the greater lie?
I told one of the doctors, I knew someone who could help. My flyer’s right outside, sir. You must come,” begged Joshua, his expressive eyes pleading.
A more kindhearted man, who possessed his insight, might have agonized over what was happening in the capital city, but though Hawkins was not unsympathetic, past adversity had left him more hardboiled and cynical than most.
“That’s not my concern anymore,” he said.
Joshua’s desperate voice squealed, “You’re a veteran. You could make a difference, sir.”
Hawkins put his hand on his hips, threw his head back, and barked, “Ha!”
Then, giving vent to a deep inner passion, he demanded, “What difference can one man make?”
As a Marine, Hawkins had been a hot-blooded warrior, always quick to action, so at this moment of great upheaval, while frenzied violence was playing out in the capital, he surprised himself with his reluctance to act. As he ran his hand over the long jagged scar that marred his chest, one thing was certain, the foolish mutinous passions of the people could only lead to ruin.
But the look that spread across the boy’s face was indescribable—it was as if he had just lost his hero.
“Alright, if you won’t come, at least tell me how to maintain the shield,” said Joshua, showing a daring and persistence beyond his years. “I’ll go back alone, but you must tell me what to do.”
“You have no idea what you’d be getting yourself into. All hell has broken loose. Can’t you see, you can’t contribute anything worthwhile, and most likely something terrible will happen?
“I must go back, my mother is a volunteer at the hospital,” said Joshua. Throwing back his shoulders with a determined jerk of his chin, he challenged Hawkins’s jaded gaze, pleading, “Please. Tell me how to fix the shield.”
Hawkins opened his mouth, but the words froze on his lips. The boy’s courage was a splash of cold water in his face, stinging his sense of honor. It wasn’t in his nature to send this boy to certain deathfor Joshua could never accomplish what had to be donenor it was in his makeup to let innocents be condemned to death with the hospital’s destruction.
A gritty resolve washed over Hawkins. He said, “Let’s go.”
***
Wearing a brown pilot jacket, tanned rawhide trousers with knee-high leather boots, calfskin gloves, and goggles, Hawkins skillfully maneuvered the single seat flyer at breakneck speed. Joshua desperately clung to him to stay on the back of the motorcycle-like vehicle–his arms wrapped tightly around Hawkins’s waist.
What they saw was a madhouse–Newport was ablaze with savage fires that lit up the horizon–scores of them. Just hours before it had been a vibrant city, the capital of Jaxon, renowned for its culture and history, thriving with
business and commerce, home to over a million inhabitants going about their ordinary daily lives, now it was a battlefield.
Though his home was a mere two dozen kilometers outside the city, it was impossible for him to fly directly there. There were several sharp mountain peaks in their way, one tremendous one, flanked by two smaller ones, causing
Hawkins to race the engine of single-seat turbojet to gain altitude. The noise and vibration of the straining sputtering engine roared into the dark rainy night until they were able to ascend to three thousand meters.
When they reached the outskirts of the city, they descended to a hundred meters, but skyscrapers rose in their path causing them to fly directly over a paved highway that connected the planet’s capital to the suburbs. It was swollen with traffic–pedestrians, motorcycles, trucks and cars–choking the road. There were people of every description; disheveled housewives and construction workers, unskilled laborers and local tradesmen, reeking hobos and sharply dressed businessmen, young and old, men and women alike, all seeking safety. Some carried cherished possessions while others brandished antiquated bullet guns, since the government had already confiscated most laser and plasma
weapons. This crowded mass of human unhappiness snaked its way along its ill-chosen path intent on escaping the terrifying violence.
Is Joshua’s mom in that mob? Hawkins wondered.
Those remaining in the city suffered under a shower of high explosive aerial bombs intermixed with artillery shells. With sirens wailing, Hawkins saw bombers overhead dropping death from the skies and heard the repeated firing of artillery in the distance. He couldn’t tell who was doing the shooting.
After his initial reluctance to come, he agonized over whether he would arrive in time. A nearly impenetrable wall of smoke, flame, debris, and explosions added extra heart wrenching minutes to the journey.
Every two minutes a new wave of jets would be overhead and a new barrage of artillery shells would join in. The roaring fires pulsed, like the blind fury of an agitated buzzing beehive. Little fires grew into big ones, right before his eyes. Big ones died down under the valor of firemen, only to break out again a few moments later.
Hawkins saw the panic in the street. The city’s civil-defense included shelters that were now overflowing with refugees. Many had left their homes and defied the flames to run to the bomb shelters distributed throughout the city, only to find there was no room for them. In addition to the death and injury, everywhere there was evidence of psychological trauma–children sat in rubble–their dead parent’s bodies nearby. It was impossible to gauge how much more the citizens could take. Panic and raw nerves grew tighter with each passing minute. The people prayed for a respite–but there was little hope for mercy on this night.
Hawkins heard the crackling of the closest flames and the screams of victims and firemen, alike. Smoke blurred his vision and seared his lungs.
Nevertheless, he kept going with Joshua clinging to his waist.
“Arf! Arf!” choked Joshua.
“Here cover your mouth with this handkerchief,” yelled Hawkins over the uproar around them.
EEEEEEERRRR!!!
The sirens wailed.
Hawkins cursed.
“Oh, no,” said Joshua. “Are we too late?”
“We’re almost there,” said Hawkins.
They heard detonations high in the air. The sky was alive with a deadly dance of destruction.
BOOM!
Then another–
BOOM!
Farther down the street, Hawkins could see soldiers breaking through the defensive ring of some diehard demonstrators, sending them fleeing in every direction. He couldn’t quite make out what the people were yelling, but he could see one oversized banner fall to the ground.
It read, “Beware the Wrath to Come!”

 

 

About the Author

 

As ascientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of ten books.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS

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beethoven-in-love

Title: BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139
Author: Howard Jay Smith
Publisher: SYQ
Pages: 385
Genre: Literary Fiction/Biographical Fiction

At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past.

As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Purchase Information:

Amazon

First Chapter

Prologue:

The Death of Beethoven

Vienna, 5:00 pm, March 26, 1827

Outside Beethoven’s rooms at the Schwarzspanierhaus, a fresh measure of snow from a late season thunderstorm muffles the chimes of St. Stephens Cathedral as they ring out the hours for the old city.

Ein, Zwei, Drei, Vier… Funf Uhr. Five O’clock.

Beethoven, three months past his fifty-sixth birthday, lies in a coma, as he has now for two nights, his body bound by the betrayal of an illness whose only virtue was that it proved incurable and would, thankfully, be his last. Though his chest muscles and his lungs wrestle like giants against the approaching blackness, his breathing is so labored that the death rattle can be heard over the grumblings of the heavens throughout his apartment.

Muss es sein? Must it be? Ja, es muss sein. Beethoven is dying. From on high, the Gods vent their grief at his imminent passing and hurl a spear of lightening at Vienna.

Their jagged bolt of electricity explodes outside the frost covered windows of the Schwarzspanierhaus with a clap of thunder so violent it startles the composer to consciousness.

Beethoven’s eyes open, glassy, unfocused. He looks upward – only the Gods know what he sees, if anything. He raises his right hand, a hand that has graced a thousand sonatas, and clenches his fist for perhaps the last time. His arm trembles as if railing against the heavens. Tears flood his eyes.

His arm falls back to the bed… His eyelids close… And then he is gone…

Chapter One:

Plaudite, Amici, Comoedia Finite Est

Applaud My Friends, the Comedy is Over

By all accounts my funeral was a grand success.

Despite the snow and slush soaking through their shoes, all Vienna turns out. Twenty thousand mourners or more, accompanied by the Imperial Guards, guide the grieving to my grave. Streets crowded, impassable. My coffin, lined with silk, covered in flowers, rolls through the chaos on a horse drawn bier. Paupers and princes; merchants and mendicants; menials and musicians; clerics and commoners; they all come for this, their Beethoven’s final concerto.

As if they ever owned me or my music…

Plaudite, Amici, Comoedia Finite Est. Applaud my friends, the comedy are over. Inscribed herein rests my final opus.

Ja. Yes, they are all patrons and lovers… Lovers of my music, the very music the gods have forbidden me to hear. How cruel. To suffer my last decade without sound – any sound except the incessant surge of blood pounding through my veins – an eternity inscribed on the calendar pages of my life.

And so it is, these celebrants, anxious for one last encore, crowd the alleys and streets of the Hapsburgs capital in throngs not seen since the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Grande Armee oh so many years ago.

The cortege rolls on past the taverns and cafés of this fair city where dark beer, schnitzel and sausages reward the day. Ah, the saints and sinners of Vienna have always loved a good party, never mind the excuse.

Are they singing? Alle Menschen werden Brüder. All men will become brothers. They must be, yet I hear nothing.

I wonder if she is among them. My muse; my love; my passion; my sacred fire; will she be there to safeguard my voyage through Elysium?

Or is she too denied me as was the sweet sighs of love and the embrace of family stolen by gods capricious and uncaring? Are they so vengeful? So embittered by spite? Like Prometheus, have I dared too close to revelations reserved for them alone?

The clouds grow ever darker, ominous.

Must I embrace death silently ere my last symphony suffuses the stage? Is this my end? To be cast out as by our Creator as history’s cruel joke, a deaf musician? A composer unable to know the vibrancy of his own scores?

Tell me why your Beethoven, your servant whose hearing once surpassed all others in sensitivity and degree, must suffer such humiliation and torment?

Are the crowds laughing? Ja oder nein? Yes or no. I know not. Am I such a failure, such a disgrace to be shoved off the stage without your mercy or compassion?

As surely as the warmth of summer vanishes and the leaves of autumn crumble beneath the crush of winter, has all hope been stolen? Can I escape this fate? What path must I travel? What tasks of redemption are to be mine and mine alone?

Come death; am I to meet your shadow with courage? Must I depart in this winter of anguish before the renewal of spring?

Can I not find release from this cycle of sufferings like a saint or a Hindoo holy man following the dance of Shiva or a Bodhisattva, back bent upon the path of the great Buddha?

The last echoes of joy inside my heart are already fading. Will I never hear or feel those vibrations again? Never? Nein. Forever. Lost for eternity in the fog on the road to Elysium; that is too hard, too harsh.

But surely a loving father must dwell in the starry canopy above. Are you there, oh sweet Isis, my goddess of compassion? Help me, help guide me.

Please Providence; grant me this, my final wish… Grant but one day, just one day, one day of pure joy to your poor Beethoven.

Is this too much to ask before I embrace darkness forever? Oh, to be in her arms once again.

About the Author

howard-j-smith-2

Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139 is his third book. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony – “The Best Small City Symphony in America” – and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.

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wanna-besTitle: WANNA-BE’S
Author: Mark Connelly
Publisher: Mark Connelly Productions
Pages: 188
Genre: Literary Fiction/Humor/Satire

With his new girlfriend – a soccer mom with a taste for bondage – urging him to “go condo,” failed screenwriter Winfield Payton needs cash. Accepting a job offer from a college friend, he becomes the lone white employee of a black S&L. As the firm’s token white, he poses as a Mafioso to intimidate skittish investors and woos a wealthy cougar to keep the firm afloat. Figure-skating between the worlds of white and black, gay and straight, male and female, Jew and Gentile, Yuppie and militant, Payton flies higher and higher until the inevitable crash. . .

For More Information

  • Wanna-be’s is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

First Chapter

INSIGNIFICANT OTHERS

 

Winfield Payton awoke to a mother’s voice.  Not his mother—but someone’s mother. It was the commanding yet compassionate voice mothers develop, stern but apprehensive.  It was a voice rarely heard in Downer Estates, a brick apartment complex housing the usual collection of upscale “singles” who live within Frisbee range of urban universities, attend jazz concerts in the park, practice safe sex, drive alphabet cars (BMWs, SUVs, VWs), cybersex on company laptops, faithfully recycle Perrier bottles, and sip low-cal cappuccino in Starbucks while checking the fates of their mutual funds.

            It was a suburban voice, a beach voice, a picnic voice.  The voice of a concerned mother directing her brood.  “Now, look, Brandy, I told you before.  Mommy will be home in just a little while.  You can have cereal.  Where is Heather?  OK, tell Heather to give you some raisin bran.  Take your vitamin.  And don’t go near the pool until I get back. Do you understand? Don’t go swimming until Mommy comes home.”

As yet Win had not opened his eyes; he was too exhausted. Confronting daylight would be painful. Feeling the sun warm his naked back, he buried his face in the pillows.  For a moment he imagined he was at Bradford Beach, snoozing while mommies and kiddies trooped over him, sprinkling his blanket with sand and popsicle drippings.

But no, he was in bed.  His bed.  His fingers felt the familiar smooth lacquered headboard. The pillow bore the scent of Old Spice, his cologne—mundane but reliable.

Home. He turned his aching neck. This simple movement triggered intracranial alarms. Now everything hurt.  His head throbbed. His neck tightened. His back ached. Streaks of raw flesh burned across his chest and thighs.

Oh!  His body bore the imprint of what his clouded mind failed to recall. Opening an eye to the sun, he saw a gleaming bottle of Absolut on the bedside table.  The bottle was nearly empty.  Oh!  A ceramic ashtray held the twisted remains of weedy joints.  Oh!  Two broken poppers lay on the carpet.  Oh!  Leaning over, he saw—amid the tangled debris of his clothes—three lipstick-stained balls of Kleenex, each containing a spent condom.  Oh!

Rolling over, Win groaned, feeling like a crash victim.  The female voice in the other room called out to him.  No longer the mommy voice, it was the supportive, deferential, eager-to-please voice of a Sixties sitcom wife.  Mary Tyler Moore exuding “Oh, Rob!” compassion. “Do you want Motrin?” she asked, “I’m making coffee.”  He heard the sounds of housewife bustling in his bachelor kitchen.

“Motrin,” he croaked, like a wounded GI begging for morphine. Motrin, hell. He needed intensive care. IV’s.  Oxygen. And Band-Aids. Sitting up, blinking in the sun-light, Win noted the thin, blood-lined scratches and nicks across his chest and thighs. Steve McQueen tangled by barbed wire in The Great Escape.

“Here, baby.”

The woman standing in the doorway bore no relation to the voice flowing with flight attendant charm.  Despite the black eye makeup, false eyelashes, and hooker-red lipstick, she was clearly pretty. Her sensibly short blonde hair was cutely, boyishly cut. It complemented the husband-bought Mother’s Day earrings. No doubt she had been trying to look like Debra Harry since fifth grade.

Below the chin she was decidedly dissimilar.  Her neck was gripped by a two-inch leather choker studded with steel points. Metal chains led to a leather corset which maximized her cleavage and girdled her waist with tight belts and more chains. Handcuffs dangled over a thigh encased in torn fishnet. Her wrists and ankles sported matching leather cuffs.

Instinctively, Win drew back.  Only her soft voice re-minded him that he was not in mortal danger.

“Oh, baby, look at those scratches.  I’m so sorry!  I for-get about these nails.”  She wiggled the fingers of her right hand, their dagger-like points flashing blood-red in the sun-light.  Her left palm cupped three red caplets.

He took the pills, then, reaching for a water glass accidentally gulped three and half ounces of Absolut.  God!

“Oh, honey!”

Sitting up, Win rubbed his eyes and brushed his unruly hair.  The woman sat on the edge of the bed and began un-buckling her cuffs, dropping them into a black leather shoulder bag.

“Mind if I take a quick shower?  I have to get home to the kids.”

“Go ahead, Barbie.”  Barbie.  Gratefully her name came back to him. She disappeared into the guest bath. The architects of Downer Estates had thoughtfully equipped each two-bedroom apartment with two full baths.  Single tenants and their partners of choice could shower at the same time, going through their customary after-sex hygienic rituals in private.  Alone in the main bath, Win gargled with Scope, doused his sore member with hydrogen peroxide, then drew a bath.

 

Sitting in the steaming water, he felt his muscles un-wind. Since his thirty-seventh birthday, a loosening morn-ing bath had become a necessity before he could take a shower and actually wash. Rubbing his neck, Win heard water running in the next room.  The grip of alcohol fading, the night’s events played over in his mind.

Win had naively assumed that one had to call an escort service, troll BDSM dating sites, or stalk FetLife profiles to locate someone like Barbie Monreal. It seemed highly un-likely to run into a woman with her tastes at a real estate seminar.

Normally, Win avoided attractive professional women with wedding rings—unless he met them in a singles bar.  A real estate seminar held in the student union of his own college was an improbable place to get lucky. Money rather than lust was on his mind that afternoon. He accepted Barbie’s Century 21 card gracefully enough and was pre-pared to move onto the next booth when she suggested a rendezvous at Henri’s for drinks.

Barbie Monreal reminded him of Doris Day in Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.  Attractive.  Cute.  But too domesticated to arouse any libidinous interests—until her third white wine spritzer, when, suitably lubricated, she calmly announced her motives.

“Now that the kids are older, and I have some time, I’d like to get back into psychodrama.”

“Acting?” Win asked naively.

“In a way,” she smiled, giving him a patronizing nod.  “Role play.  Fantasy.  I like the tension, the intimacy.  I like power. Both asserting and receiving. Strength and sub-mission.  It’s like sexual I Ching.  Give.  Take.  Dominate. Submit.  But nothing violent, you understand.  I play it safe, sane, and consensual,” she said as if repeating radio jingle.  “Nothing too perverse.”

“Nothing too perverse?”

“Consider it a hard massage.  I like it both ways, but nothing painful.”

“Nothing painful,” Win repeated, recalling his dentist’s reassuring lie about the ease of root canal.

“Not at all. I mostly like the costumes. It’s like adult Halloween.”

“Halloween?”

“Sure. Like playing dress up. Gives you a chance to let your mind go, explore the dark side. It’s the ultimate safe sex. You can’t even consider it cheating. Not really.  I never do straight. Well, maybe oral,” she added quietly, sounding like a dieter surrendering to a Weight Watcher sundae.

“I have the rest of the afternoon off,” she said, fixing her eyes on him with Nancy Reagan admiration.

Thus began the first of many encounters, most of which Win could only perform or endure under the influence of alcohol.

 

Lying in the tub, Win rubbed his temples, then forced himself out of the warm embryonic water to shower and, more tentatively, shave.

Clad in a bathrobe, Barbie was making his bed when he returned. She fluffed the pillows, smoothed the comforter, then collected the accouterments of modern romance—body oil, vibrator, adult DVDs, and five-inch spike heels.

“Honey, you really shouldn’t drink so much.”  She smiled, offering him coffee.

He nodded, taking burning gulps of Eight O’Clock French Roast.

As Winfield dressed, he watched Barbie slip into white pantyhose, cream skirt, white blouse, sensible heels, and gold Century 21 blazer.

“I’ve got to buzz home to check on the kids,” she said, consulting her smart phone. “I’ve got appointments the rest of the day.  Do you want to get together Thursday?  Around two?”

“Sure,” Win agreed, feeling like a casual user sliding in-to addiction.

 

The July morning was cool. He walked Barbie to her car.  “You know, I lived in New York right after college,” she said. “West Seventy-Second. I love that town. Went to Hellfire once.  Didn’t like it.” She wrinkled her nose as if recalling a disappointing dessert at Le Cirque.

Still the neophyte, Win volunteered an apology, “I hope I didn’t hurt your wrist.”

“Oh, this?” She pulled back her sleeve, revealing a circle of darkened flesh.  “My bruises fade.  I tell Jerry they come from aerobics.”

They reached her car, a dark blue Volvo bearing a “Have You Hugged Your Kids Today?” bumper sticker.  She opened the trunk and dropped in the black shoulder bag with a heavy thud.

Donning sunglasses, she smiled at Win. “Until Thursday.  If something comes up, text me.”

Win nodded, the fresh air reviving his headache.

“Look, Win, I’ve just gotten to know you.  I realize I shouldn’t make any judgments or tell you how to live your life, but I am beginning to care about you.  As a special friend.”  She paused, grating the steel tip of her heel against the curb.  “Win, I think you should seriously consider going condo.”

 

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We’re happy to host Dani-Lyn Alexander’s BATTLE FOR CYMMERA Book Blast today! Dani-Lyn is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  Enter
below!
Title: Battle for Cymmera, Kingdom of Cymmera Book Three
Author: Dani-Lyn Alexander
Publisher: Lyrical Press/Kensington
Pages: 226
Genre: YA Fantasy
With Chayce Maynard on the run, Ryleigh and Jackson can finally begin rebuilding their kingdom. But when a cryptic message suggests Chayce was seen in Argonas, chaos creeps back into Cymmera once more . . .Jackson knows Cymmera will never be safe until Chayce, guilty of treason, is detained and executed. After ordering
Cymmeran guardsmen to scour the land, he and the Death Dealer team brave wild Argonas in search of the informant who spotted his foe. And in his absence, Jackson not only leaves the throne empty, but the kingdom vulnerable to attack. . .As a vicious army descends on Cymmera, Ryleigh is forced to flee to an uncharted realm with a small group of survivors—a place Jackson has no chance of discovering. Alone, but for the few people she was able to save, Ryleigh
must decide whether to reclaim her kingdom or remain in the new realm forever, forsaking all she left behind . . .

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Excerpt:

As she slid past her throne, Ryleigh’s sword caught on the
arm, and she took a step back and untangled it. She’d never get used to wearing
the stupid thing everywhere she went. If not for Jackson’s
insistence, it’d probably be stuffed under her bed beside the baseball bat she
kept hidden there.
She pulled open a drawer on the side table behind her throne
and rifled through the papers she’d stuffed in there in search of her leather
appointment book. If she couldn’t find answers, may as well get some work done.
It was either that or dwell on Jackson’s
mission and the terror it brought. She pressed a hand against her heaving
stomach. No. She couldn’t think about that. She had more immediate problems she
might actually be able to do something about.
Several meetings had to be scheduled, and without writing
them down, she’d never keep track of where she was supposed to be. Especially
with her mind so jumbled with images of Jackson
going up against Chayce.
She snatched the book, shoved the drawers shut, and turned to
leave.
Ryleigh’s vision blurred. The air shimmered in the center of
the throne room, and her ears popped.
She ripped her sword from its sheath even as the portal
opened.
A seven-foot-tall beast built of solid muscle tore through
the portal. A triple headed flail swung from one massive hand.
About the Author

 

Dani-Lyn lives on Long Island with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She loves spending time with her
family, at the beach, the playground, or just about anywhere. In her spare time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and shopping—especially in book stores.
Some of her favorite things include; Bernese Mountain Dogs, musicals, bubble baths and soft blankets. She’s an incurable insomniac, and she has an addiction to chocolate.

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            Giveaway Details:

Dani-Lyn Alexander is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • This giveaway ends midnight November 22.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on November 23.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

 

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We’re happy to present to you Lena Gregory’s DEATH AT FIRST SIGHT Book Blast today! Lena is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Enter below!

 

 

Title: Death at First Sight
Author: Lena Gregory
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 304
Genre: Cozy Mystery
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that something’s
not right on Bay Island…
Since she left her psychiatric practice in New York City to open up a psychic
shop in her hometown on Bay Island, Cass Donovan has given her fair share of
readings to conflicted customers. But what she sees in Ellie Callahan’s future
doesn’t bode well.

When Ellie’s mother, Marge, publicly confronts Cass about the reading, the
embarrassment makes her want to curl up and die. And when she later stumbles
across Marge’s body—and is a suspect in her murder—Cass is suddenly the star of
Bay Island’s
rumor mill.

Cass is determined to prove her innocence and save Ellie from meeting the fate
in her unfortunate vision. But even with the help of her friends Bee and
Stephanie, Cass will have to channel some serious sleuthing instincts to find
the real killer…

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Book Excerpt:

Cass sucked in a breath, the gasp audible in the silence of the small room. Oh no . . . The walls pressed in on her, loomed over her, threatened to suffocate her. This cant be happening again.
Is everything all right?
Umm . . . sure.” Darkness encroached, tunneling her vision. She forced itb ack, counted to ten, took deep breathsanything to fight back the blackness. She struggled against the urge to push the glass ball away from her. “Sorry. I must havez oned out for a minute.
She averted her gaze, hoping the other woman wouldnt catch the lie.
The womans eyebrows drew together, a frown creasing her forehead.
Are you sure youd idnt see anything bad?
Cass forced a laugh as she shoved her chair back, stood, and moved away from the table. “Of course not. I told you I would only allow good spirits to enter.Liar.
About the Author

 

Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.  When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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Lena Gregory is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • This giveaway ends midnight November 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on December 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

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girl-within-girlTitle: Girl Within Girl: An Erotic Thriller (Book 1: Unraveling)
Author: S.P. Aruna
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 170
Genre: Erotic Thriller

Katrina is never alone. She is bound to others inside her, tighter than any Siamese twins could ever be: Cherry, the freewheeling photojournalist, Anisa, the covert spy-assassin, and others as yet unknown, all sharing her body and mind as she goes about her work in a psychiatric hospital. But she is starting to unravel, and her sole hope is the handsome Dr. Sean Paisley, the only one who can make her whole again.

Girl Within Girl is a dark erotic thriller that wanders through a sensual maze of mind control and torture.

For More Information

  • Girl Within Girl is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

First Chapter:

That morning, April 11, 2016, could very well have been a turning point in my life, the morning I awoke and didn’t know where I was, and even more frightening, who I was.

In my bed, I was rising out of a foggy void that separated dreams from drowsy wakefulness, when, in a flash of alarm, I bolted upright to sit up, frantically looking around me. I could almost hear the whirring of the cogs in my head as my mind searched its recesses for the answers. My surroundings slowly focused into a scene of familiarity: my Hemnes six-drawer dresser, my Morvik wardrobe with the full-length mirror, the Gaugin print hanging on the white stucco wall just beside it; the cream-colored low-pile carpeting covering the floor up to my bathroom door, and the window to my left adorned with the lace curtains I had bought at Jack’s Second Hand Furniture.

My name is Katrina. I’m in my apartment. I think it’s a Monday.

I got out of bed and stepped over to the full-length mirror with a curious urge to examine myself. The first thing I noticed was my dirty blonde hair flowing in waves to my shoulders. With my not-too-wide forehead I have no quarrel with, but my bushy eyebrows get away from being too distracting only because of the fair hair. My eyes though, I hate them, cold and grey, even spooky, making me look away for a moment.

But then I had to look again.  My sharp nose, like a bird’s beak, pointed at me from the reflection. Nondescript lips told me that I was plain. My pointed chin only bolstered that impression.

Yet my body wasn’t too bad: softly sloping shoulders, my breasts the shape of delicate bowls, a waist that flared into wide hips, and legs that were shaped into long perfect curves. And why shouldn’t my body be so ideal, after all I’m only…I’m only…shit…twenty-three…twenty-four?

My surname is Novak. In Czech that means, “The New One.” That’s what somebody told me once.

I turned abruptly and went into my kitchenette, hoping that a cup of coffee could bring me to a more functional state. While brewing it, I fell into an instinctual routine mode, somehow intuiting that I had to be at work by nine.

I’m a nurse at a psychiatric hospital.

That’s not exactly a pleasant job, I agree. Even the building I work in, the Gottlieb Memorial Institute, is spooky in its Gothic, horror castle type architecture: roughly hewn grey stone capped by roofs that slanted at ridiculously sharp angles; and yes, I mean more than one roof, each corner having its own tower-like extension melding into the main one, each pointing like spikes into the sky.  Inside is not much better; with the reception room painted a drab grey, and the corridors leading to those unfortunate souls interned within enveloped in white ceramic tile and neon strip lights. The place was noisy as well: shrieks and moans always serving as a background clamor which we staff regularly ignored. But still, I like my job because it fills me with the satisfaction that I’m doing something meaningful.

Entering the hospital, I faced the day with stoic acquiescence.

Sometime in the afternoon, at the nurse’s station on the third floor, I encountered Dr. Babcock. Tall, balding, a long face highlighted by a pencil thin silver mustache, his scholarly spectacles giving him a fatherly look, his lips severe, I felt an inexplicable attraction to him, as if pleasing him was a priority. “Yes, Dr. Babcock?”

“I think it’s time we transfer Mrs. Wheaton to the Sleep Room.”

“Yes Doctor.”

If there was a place in the hospital that I loathed more than the Electro-Shock Room, it was the Sleep Room, and as I wheeled Mrs. Wheaton, already out of it to the point of drooling, her head rocking back and forth with every slight turn of the gurney, an icy shudder zipped through me. With one hand on the gurney, I opened the door. Inside were eight other patients, comatose as zombies, some having been unconscious for three months or more. After depositing her there, I spent the rest of the day engaged in my usual duties of administering drugs, taking care of bedpans. and shuffling patients to and fro.

But then, while I was in the female staff dressing room, something strange happened to me. I lost track of time and felt myself a participant inside a sexual fantasy. I was naked upon a bed… my breasts were tingling as if they had just been bitten and suckled, and a hairy brute of a man was looming over me, snarling and growling and even shouting at me, and I could feel a pleasurable hammering in the middle of my body, and even though it hurt, it was giving me an incomparable gratification. A sharp sensation pierced me, stole my breath, and caused me to wake up gasping, where I found myself back in the hospital changing room, my loins embarrassingly moist.

“Tough day, I bet,” said one of the nurses who was also coming off-shift, a bleach-blonde called Sheila.

I was ashamed to be so discombobulated in front of her, so my only response was, “Yeah.”  I really didn’t want to talk to her. In fact, I hardly ever want to talk to anybody.

People describe me as distant, shy, aloof… I am what I am: a cautious, sensitive person who avoids contact with others at all costs. I don’t know what made me so; I just accept my nature as it is.

“So where were you last week?” she asked.

Where was I? Wasn’t I here?

“At St. Lukes?” she proposed. “I heard that you rotate between here and there.”

Do I? “Yes, St. Luke’s’,” I said, only because I didn’t want to prolong the conversation.

After that, I made haste to get dressed, anxious to head back home. Before I left, though, I checked my duty roster from last week. There was nothing unusual about it – it documented that I was here. Silly woman must have been confused.

Back in my apartment, I was still disturbed by these events. First, that strange reverie I had, so sudden, so unexpected…and yet, it was somehow familiar. Pain and pleasure, a sweet feeling of submission, a breath-taking fascination at being dominated…now where did that come from? And Sheila’s impression that I had been absent last week was disturbing to say the least, and that too still continued to hound me.

After a shower and a chamomile tea, I finally felt relaxed. Then the phone rang. The only phone in the apartment is on the wall of my kitchenette, where fortunately I was sitting nearby at the foldable metal card table. I got up and reached for the receiver. “Hello?”

“Tick-tock… tick-tock… tick-tock.”

About the Author

s-p-aruna

Half French, half Khmer (Cambodian), I’m a woman whose head is filled with fantasies and intriguing stories, and who wants to share them with others.

S.P. Aruna’s latest book is the erotic thriller, Girl Within Girl: An Erotic Thriller: Book 1: Unraveling.

Visit the author on Facebook.

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your-body-your-style-amazonTitle: Your Body, Your Style
Author: Rani St. Pucchi
Publisher: Koehler Books
Pages: 150
Genre: Nonfiction

Rani St. Pucchi, a trend-setting designer whose designs have been recognized in Entertainment Tonight, Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, Town and Country, Bride’s, Cosmopolitan Bride, Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot, can help define the style that flatters you most — no matter what age or stage of life you are in or what your body type is.

Women from all over the world have clamored to have a private consultation with Rani so they may benefit from her expertise and regain their self-confidence and shine.

In Your Body, Your Style, Rani shares with you her knowledge of the female form and guides you to find simple solutions to your most pressing body concerns. The focus is on you — and how you can make yourself more confident and appealing in almost every situation — simply by making a few changes and different choices in planning your wardrobe.

Once you embrace your unique attributes and dissolve your bad relationship with your body, you’ll be amazed to find how irresistible you are to others!

This simple and friendly guide reveals:

* What clothes and silhouettes are best for your specific body type

* Simple techniques to determine which colors flatter you most

* Solutions to common lingerie issues and the importance of fit

* The one dress that is a chameleon, and how to transform it into different looks

* How to travel stress free by planning your wardrobe well

* 101 styling secrets, professional tricks and fashion tips

RANI ST. PUCCHI  is an award-winning fashion designer, an author and relationship expert. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

PURCHASING LINKS:

AMAZON   *   B&N

Chapter One

If there is a seminal moment in my relationship to fashion and designing, the occasion that springs to mind is a summer in Bangkok, Thailand. I must have been about four or five years old. My cousin and I were running feverishly from the ground floor of our townhome to my mother’s bedroom on the fourth floor to get dressed for the movies and we were very late.

I looked at the choices I had and was very disappointed. Even though there were so many options I kept trying and tossing the frocks one by one on the floor. The cupboard now bare, I hit a wall: I’d run out of clothes. I remember so well the frustration and at the same time an ah-ha moment. I decided from henceforth I would choose my own fabrics and design my own clothes. After all who knew better than I what looks good on me?

I thank my parents for drawing me into the magical world of luxury fabrics and laces. As the largest purveyor of fine laces in Thailand their ateliers and showrooms became my playground where I would spend all my spare time. I had the opportunity to be around fine fabrics and get to touch and feel and know them well. I actively participated with my tailors in transforming these fabrics into unique designs for myself.

Fast forward to 1984. I was still living in Bangkok, Thailand and running my small tailoring shop in a prominent hotel, specializing in ready to wear and evening gowns, along with men’s tailored suits. A rare opportunity came my way when a client asked if I would be wiling to bring my collection to showcase at her charity event in San Antonio, Texas.

I was an avid fan of the TV sitcom “Dallas” and always fantasized living the life of such opulence and outrage as the characters depicted in the series! My wish to travel to the United States was a dream come true.

With great enthusiasm I prepared a collection of 54 pieces, comprising of jackets, skirts, blouses and dresses and some evening sheaths. I also thought it would be nice to have a finale piece, and so I designed my very first bridal gown for this purpose.

It was a blush colored wedding gown made of pure Thai Silk, entirely hand embroidered and hand beaded. Little did I know that the one wedding gown would receive so much attention as to catapult my whole life!

Next thing I knew I had already committed to showing a Bridal Collection in Dallas at the Dallas Apparel Mart, which was the ‘go to’ fashion platform where buyers from all over the world congregated. I registered my company on a wing and a prayer, and St. Pucchi was born.

When I launched my first bridal couture collection at the Dallas Apparel Mart in April of 1985 I was unsure if what I had so lovingly put together was of any value to the US bridal market. I was also clueless to the fact that white was the only color worn and accepted by the American bride at the time.

They say ignorance is bliss! By the time I learnt it was too late. My collection had already shipped from Bangkok to Dallas and there was not a single white dress among the sixteen styles I had designed. The colors ranged from ecru, blush, butterscotch and even pale blue.

I comforted myself into believing that perhaps the US bridal industry as it was could use a fresh perspective and hopefully my collection would, at the very least, bring some excitement.

It was pure pleasure to be totally immersed in an unfolding story, on a journey that is never forgotten. My first collection produced in me an intensely emotional and cathartic experience. After all I had invested all my resources and had used up my credit cards to the max. There was so much riding on my success that I could not fathom what the future would look like if…

The Dallas Apparel News ran a front-page story about my premier bridal collection and how it was a harkening of things to come. I was applauded for being a pioneer not only for using pure silks in bridal, which was unheard of at the time, but also for being so bold and daring as to introduce color to bridal wear.

The US bridal industry as we had known it would change forever.

Today, 30 plus years later, with more than 10,000 designs under my belt, I find myself very fortunate and humbled to write this book. The amazing women I’ve had the pleasure to work with during trunk shows, fashion shows, and on my travels across the globe have taught me much.

I have witnessed again and again how looking good can change a woman’s life. I have worked with numerous women, young and old, women getting married, mothers with teenage daughters, women going thru midlife crisis and those going thru menopause. The story they tell themselves is the same. Most are not happy with their bodies and wish they could change something or the other so they can feel confident in themselves.

A woman’s form is the most beautiful, most complex and the most intriguing. Yet we don’t appreciate it enough. We tend to hide parts that we feel are not attractive and we berate ourselves for being too much of this, and not enough of that. Rather than being in awe and working with the form we are blessed with, we spend more time and resources than most of us can afford, on diets and procedures that are rarely long lasting.

We’re on this constant merry-go-round and obsess about our body during every waking moment. Not only that, but the way we talk to ourselves we would not allow anyone to say those words to either our best friends or even our worst enemies!

This book does not pretend to be your road to perfection. The purpose of writing it is to guide you thru simple techniques and suggestions on how to look at your body and see what you can make better.

You are asked to assess and appraise your body type so that you can learn about the most flattering silhouettes to dress in.

You will learn how to dress your body in a way that will enhance your best assets and camouflage areas that you feel uncomfortable about or find lacking in any way.

You realize why it is so important to invest in the right lingerie. You learn the importance of fit and simple solutions to your common bra issues.

You are invited to learn a simple process to determine what colors flatter you most and which ones to part with. Color being one of the key elements that makes a woman look more interesting, more self-confident, more self-assured and in control.

You will learn about the one color that is a must staple in every woman’s wardrobe. The one piece of clothing that is a chameleon and that can be transformed into any myriad number of looks.

You are taken on a journey on how your style and taste evolves as you transition from your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, to your 60s and beyond. And you learn that sexy is never out of fashion, nor is it outdated. That in fact the older you get the more confident you become. And you realize that ultimately confidence is really what makes a woman sexy.

You become savvy on how and what to pack for your travels, whether you’re going on a month long vacation, a weekend romantic getaway to an exotic tropical island, or a short business trip.

You learn the simple four step process to sort-and-purge and organize your wardrobe so that no time is wasted in choosing what to wear each day allowing you time to become more productive in life.

You will be able to define your personal style, and become clear on how you wish to be seen in the world. This knowledge will help you embrace your own unique personality and shine.

In this book I share 101 tips and tricks on fashion fixes that help you gain self-confidence, on how to accentuate your strongest features, on dressing sexy. You will receive smart shopping hints and simple style advice for your body type and more…

In these pages I share with you the knowledge that I have garnered and reveal those secrets you will now learn so you too can look like a million regardless of the body you have, or the resources, to access trends that are so fleeting as to make our heads spin!

Thank you for the opportunity to share my knowledge. I hope it serves you.

About the Author

rani-st-pucchiThirty years ago, Rani St. Pucchi took the bridal world by storm, despite having no formal training in fashion. She is an award winning couture fashion designer and founder of the world-renowned bridal house St. Pucchi. A passionate and dynamic entrepreneur who launched her global empire in the United States in 1985, Rani’s vision was to create an avant-garde bridal and evening couture line with modern styling and classic details. That vision has been realized today.

Renowned for infusing her creations with touches of magnificently colored jewels, exquisite hand embroidery, delicate beading and sparkling crystals on the finest silks and laces, these inspired designs with innovative draping evoke the timeless elegance every woman desires. As one of the foremost designers to introduce exotic silk fabrics and hand embroidery, Rani is applauded for being a pioneer in bringing color to the United States bridal scene, having learned that white does not flatter everyone.

Rani has been recognized and nominated on multiple occasions for her design talent and won numerous awards as a Style Innovator. In addition, she has been honored with the Best Bridal Designer Award at the prestigious Chicago Apparel Center’s DEBI Awards (Distinctive Excellence in Bridal Industry).

Rani is famous for designing the wedding dress worn by “Phoebe” as she captured the hearts of millions when she said “I Do” in a unique St. Pucchi Lilac corset bodice A-line gown on the finale of the hit television show Friends.

Her range of avant-garde designs are worn by the world’s most discerning brides, including celebrities and style icons such as New York Giants’ player Aaron Ross’ wife, Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards; Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo’s wife Candice Crawford; Actress Tara Reid; Jason Priestley’s wife Naomi Lowde; actress Candice Cameron and Grammy Award winning country music singer Alison Krauss, who donned a specially designed Chantilly lace and silk gown at the Country Music Awards.

Rani has enjoyed much media attention. Her signature designs have been recognized in high profile media such as Entertainment Tonight, Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, Town and Country, Bride’s, Cosmopolitan Brides, Inside Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot.

Rani’s real passion other than the world of design is to help women who have suffered abuse and those who are struggling to find themselves. On her quest to empower women to be their best selves, she is passionate about helping them find their voice through building their self-confidence. She believes that confidence must start with a woman’s love and acceptance of her body.

Renowned for her savvy knowledge of a woman’s form and fit, Rani is eager to share her knowledge of more than three decades with all women so they can make better styling choices. In addition to the book you are reading now, Rani is the author of four upcoming books: The SoulMate Checklist: Key Questions To help You Choose Your Perfect Partner; Seven Types of Men To Avoid: Recognizing Relationship Red Flags; Designing with Heart: A to Z Guide to Bridal Designing; and Unveiling: A Celebrity Fashion Designer’s Story, a Memoir of her Life Journey.

Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Rani now happily lives in Los Angeles, California.

Her latest book is Your Body, Your Style: Simple Tips on Dressing to Flatter.

 

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