Friday, June 28, 2013

OCD, the Dude & Me Book Tour with Lauren Roedy Vaughn

About the Author:
 


Ms. Vaughn is especially equipped to write Danielle’s story. She has been a special education teacher and a writer for nearly 20 years. In 2005, she received the Walk of Hearts Teaching Award, and she serves on the Board of the International Dyslexia Association’s Los Angeles Branch. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, when she was in elementary school. She came to California for college, met her husband at the University of California, Irvine, and they have lived in Southern California ever since. Together, they share a love of The Big Lebowski. When not teaching, reading, or writing, Lauren is usually on a yoga mat.

Her latest book is the contemporary humorous young adult fiction, OCD, the Dude & Me.

You can visit Lauren Roedy Vaughn’s website at www.laurenroedyvaughn.com



About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old Danielle Levine is your typical high school teen-ager – if you count having OCD and ADHD as typical. Danielle’s “special” conditions lead her to a school for students with learning disabilities, and, even here, she struggles to fit in.
How Danielle navigates her status as a “learning-challenged” teen pariah is told, with equal parts pain and hilarity, in Lauren Roedy Vaughn’s debut Young Adult novel, OCD, THE DUDE, AND ME, which Kirkus Review has hailed as a “must-read.”

Told through a mĂ©lange of Danielle’s class assignments, journal entries, emails, texts, and letters to the school psychiatrist, OCD, THE DUDE, AND ME chronicles Danielle’s efforts to fit into a world that, to her, can be as alien as a distant planet. Yet, Danielle will be recognizable to her readers, with her body-image issues, her crush on an unattainable boy, and her feelings of insecurity over the rigid social code of high school life.

Just as things seemingly couldn’t get worse for her, Danielle meets a new friend, Daniel, who turns her on to the Coen Brothers’ classic cult film THE BIG LEBOWSKI and its indelible main character, the ever-cool, ever abiding Dude. Daniel and Danielle end up going to the prom together and to Lebowski Fest, an annual event celebrating the Dude and his Buddha-like philosophy, which says that things will work out if you “abide.”

Vaughn is especially equipped to write Danielle’s story. She has been a special education teacher and a writer for nearly 20 years. She understands that each student with a learning challenge has a unique profile that requires specialized intervention strategies. Danielle benefits from the guidance of charismatic adults to learn how to socialize and accept herself. She is also able to leverage her affinities—reading and writing—in order to shift her perspective and grow.

Vaughn’s students “live with the stigma” of being called “lazy” and “different,” Vaughn explains. “It is my love for them, my understanding of their diversity that compelled me to write a fictionalized account of one of them and their world. I wanted them to see their value within the context of a story.”

The major reason for the presence of THE BIG LEBOWSKI and the Dude, Vaughn says, is that the Dude is “an iconic character who lived through a dramatic situation and kept abiding. He is a model for dealing with life’s difficult situations. There are other ‘dudes’ in my story who also affect Danielle.”

Vaughn herself says she is a “huge fan” of THE BIG LEBOWSKI. “When I was asking the story Gods to help me come up with what could help Danielle, that film popped into my mind. When Danielle witnesses the film, she realizes that life is unpredictable and often ridiculous … abiding is a saner choice.”

What critics are saying:

Publisher’s Weekly:  Pick of the Week

Kirkus Review:  “A must-read.” (Starred review)

Star Library Journal: “This one is sure to find an appreciative audience.” (Starred review)

Seventeen magazine online:  “The book’s fun format of traditional long-form, texts, letters, and emails make this book easy and fun to read.”

Purchase your copy online:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | BOOKPASSAGE

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Abundance Triggers Book Tour with Kanta Bosniak

About Abundance Triggers

Purchase at Amazon.com


Most people get that “happy” is the launch pad for personal and professional success. But, where’s the “happy button?” Author, minister and coach Kanta Bosniak has made a lifetime study of state-shifting and offers readers a whole toolbox of happy buttons she calls abundance triggers.”

“Abundance Triggers is a practical how-to for shifting negative thoughts and the emotions they produce to those good feelings which boost energy and support well-being. Bosniak begins with simple yet efficient physical awareness techniques and guides readers through a process of how to build their own more advanced and personalized triggers for relaxation, increased energy and sense of purpose.

Once the toolbox is built, she then delves deeper into disengaging those limiting beliefs and the habitual negative emotions they generate and replacing the old sad “stories” with more resourceful ones. Bosniak also shares entertaining anecdotes and personal stories. Her writing voice is warm, conversational and engaging and the book is filled with refreshingly lighthearted and whimsical doodle art as well as creative journaling exercises to help the reader anchor and habituate a feel-good new “normal.”


About Kanta Bosniak


Kanta Bosniak is an artist, writer and minister with over 40 years experience an educator in spiritual growth. She is a frequent speaker at churches, universities and conferences throughout the US. Venues have included Yale, Columbia, SUNY, Virginia Tech, UNCW, Camp LeJeune Midway Center for US Marines, The Association for Research and Enlightenment, Unity Churches, and many more. Kanta is the author of 12 books and 5 audio recordings and was twice Artist-in-Residence at Omega Institute. Collectors of Kanta's art include a Nobel Prize Winner, an Emmy-winning producer, a popular television actress, several authors, a U.S. National champion athlete and people of all walks of life. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Women.

Visit her at www.KantaBosniak.com

The Birr Elixir Book Tour with Jo Sparkles

About the Author:
 


A well-known Century City Producer once said Jo Sparkes “writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.”

Jo graduated from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program, forgot about writing totally, until she had a chance to study with Robert Powell, a student of renowned teachers Lew Hunter and Richard Walter, head of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.

She has written feature film scripts, scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, and commercial work for corporate clients. A featured writer on several websites, she was a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and (very unofficially) the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he came to the Arizona Cardinals.

Jo served as an adjunct teacher at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, and even made a video of her most beloved lecture.

Her book for writers and artists, “Feedback How to Give It How to Get It” has received glowing reviews.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.

Her latest book is the fantasy, The Birr Elixir.

You can visit her website at www.josparkes.com or connect with her at twitter at www.twitter.com/sparkes777


About the Book:


Marra had never heard of Birr Elixir.

But when Drail of the Hand of Victory saw the words in an old book, she found herself agreeing to make it. Even lacking the right ingredient.

And after drinking it, the Hand of Victory defeated a Skullan team, something no one had ever done before. Now Drail walked the path his grandsire had walked, and Marra was offered a place as Brista, his potions mistress. She doubted her ability, but took the chance to escape her slave-like existence.

When she found a way to wake the mysterious sleeper, Marra wondered if she deserved the title after all.

But with Tryst's waking, ill luck and bad things suddenly dogged their tracks. Drail, being a man of action, saw only the good in people. Marra lacked his faith, but was frozen by her own timidity. When the time came to confront these enemies, would Tryst stand with them or against them?

Would it make any difference?

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.  

First Chapter Reveal:

IT WAS A VERY dirty shop.

Marra had long since given up trying to keep it clean. The dust of San Cris was the stuff of legend – and not in a good way. It had to be cleared out of your nostrils at the end of the day, or sleep was impossible. It clung to your hair, which was a reason so many women wore it short. Men wore their hair long, seemingly not to care that the sand actually lightened the shade. Most females preferred being clean.

Marra's dark red hair was long, and she spent a lot of time brushing the sand out. Some thought she was vain, and perhaps she was about the one thing that proclaimed she wasn't born in San Cris. But long hair was strength, the strength of warriors. And for Marra, it made her feel safer.

She wanted to feel safer.

At least it was a beautiful day, with that intense blue sky the desert had in the early morning, before the sun bleached the air white. And it was a Comet day. If she hadn't already known there was a Comet match this afternoon, the bustling street outside would have told her so.

She listened to the crowd noises now as she scraped the tiny leaves off the crys bark. And managed to scrape her thumb. Quickly she yanked away from the bowl, before the blood could ruin the herb.

And as she stood there sucking her thumb, in walked Drail, Leader of the 'Hand of Victory'. They must be playing today.

She snatched the injured finger from her mouth, covering it with her other hand.
Drail strode to the counter, getting bigger with each step. “Do you have an energy potion?” His eyes scanned the shelves behind her. And she blushed at the lack of wares.

There were herb jars, of course, but few mixtures. Marra was supposed to be an apprentice, learning the power of herbs, the alchemy of powders and potions to heal and enhance. But Mistress Britta had died five weeks ago – just a year into her studies. And Snark, the Mistress's brother, had proved ignorant in the art.

“I'm sorry. Only a health tonic – to strengthen the digestion.”

Drail's eyes roamed the shelves slowly, as if expecting to find some great elixir hidden amongst the cactus needles and crys bark. Marra wished there was something there to satisfy him, but she knew there was not.

“How long to make one?”

She stared back, unable to think of a reply.

“Please.” He clasped both her hands with one of his, and she stared at the sheer size of his fist. There were rumors that Drail wasn't Trumen at all, but Skullan. Few really believed that, of course, for no Skullan would pretend to be other than Skullan. Besides, Drail had hair. Thick, brown hair tied in a long tail down his muscled back. Skullan had hairless bodies, and were much bigger than Truman.

Drail was certainly big. And persuasive. “Please,” he said, smiling at her. He leaned close enough she saw the brown flecks in his gold eyes. “Do you know what today is?”
“All of San Cris knows, sir. Comet Day.”

He shook his head. “All the Comet Days together would not equal this day. A Skullan team has entered the Game.”

Marra stared. “No Skullan would play a Trumen.”

He shook his head. “Actually, there were at least six known games where Trumen faced Skullan. All six losses.”

Marra had never heard such a thing. But she realized if anyone would know, it would be Drail. His whole family was legendary gamesmen.

“What's your name?” His eyes were sparkling – with excitement, she realized. No fear at all.

“Marra.”

“Marra, seven is my lucky number.”

Her own gaze dropped away from the sheer power of his. And alighted on the tome behind the counter.

It was Britta's Book, the mistress's handwritten collection of potions, balms, and notes. Snark had shoved it at Marra initially, but her reading skills were weak, and the old woman's handwriting poor. Marra now lifted the heavy book onto the counter.

The Book opened as it always did at Britta's leaf-mark. On the BIRR ELIXIR.

“Yes!” Drail said, pointing at it.

“Birr?”

“Exactly! With that we will win!”

Marra had always assumed Birr was some sort of herb. Drail must know otherwise. Scanning the recipe, she saw only herbs she had. Except for something called Myrrcleft.

“Thank you, little Marra.”

Her protest melted under his warm smile.

When she read it again, she realized that this Myrrcleft was probably the active ingredient. She could use basil. Basil had great mixing powers and could often be substituted, but if this was some sort of energy potion that may not be enough.

Then she remembered the Trevor seed. Mistress Britta had a two-fist sack filled with a tiny grain-like thing she called Trevor seed. Britta had said it 'boosted' things, made a potion more so of whatever it was to be.

Marra ran back to fetch one tiny seed. She crushed it with the mallet, releasing a sweet oily puff, and hastily dropped it into the elixir. Then she heated it as indicated, but not quite to boiling. Trevor seed lost potency in boiling, she remembered. 

She poured the steaming liquid into a glass flask. Glass was expensive, but Britta had marked it must be so.

Hands grabbed her shoulders – she whirled to see Snark behind her. Something in his eyes made her stomach plummet.

“Special order,” she nodded at the flask. “I have to take this to the field.”

“Later,” Snark stared at her blouse. He had been doing that lately, and it made her skin crawl.

“Drail said before the game – or no payment. It's for the Hand of Victory.”

Snark's fingers slid over her shoulders. “I'll take it. You wait here.”

“He said I must bring it myself.” That was her second lie, and she winced inwardly. She'd never lied in her life until Snark became her boss.

But the lie worked.

“I bet he did,” Snark grinned evilly. “Go, then. But don't be long. He's got game in an hour.”
Marra raced out into the sunshine.

Travelers often referred to San Cris as outlying, which to Marra's mind meant small. It was one of the Sandy towns, out on the Flats of Beard. San Cris's population was less than two hundred Trumen total. And today it seemed twice as many were crowding the street, laughing and eating baked cactus treats. It was a Comet day, and San Cris was the host.
For an instant Marra paused, weighing going back for her shoes against the possibility Snark would change his mind. To be barefoot marked one as poor indeed, but then that was pretty much what she was. So she defiantly tossed her long braid back over her shoulder, and hurried on.

She weaved her way through the crowd, then was suddenly snatched up off her feet as if she were a Comet ball herself.

“Cute little Truman,” a booming voice said. Marra found herself face to face with a giant of a man, his head bald and the hollows surrounding his eyes painted dark green. His skin was pale – with patches of burning pink sunburn on his nose. And he had a spider tattooed on his cheek.

He had to be Skullan.

She'd never been so close to one before. By the Desert Crane, she'd only seen three of them in her whole life. Skullan were said to despise the desert almost as much as they despised Trumen.

“What a nice little prize,” the Skullan leered. “You may warm my mouth now, and warm my lap later.”

He pulled her closer. Marra instinctively braced both her feet against his chest. “You defy me, girl?” he asked softly. And she saw Bender, the old shopkeeper from down the street, lower his head and scurry past.

No one, she realized, was going to do anything to help her against a Skullan.

Her feet thrust out again before her brain could stop them. One foot skidded down his massive chest, scraping his nether region. He doubled over; Marra dropped to the dust.
Startled at his reaction, she hesitated but a second before seizing her good fortune. She scrambled to her feet and took off as his companion laughed.

She didn't slow down until a rock in her heel demanded attention.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sweet Revenge: Dueling with the Devil Book 2 Book Blast

Sweet revenge: dueling with the devil book 2 


About the Book:
 

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. What if that woman is a demon, in fact Lilith's very own daughter? Isabella LaCoste vowed to get her revenge on her ex and his new human fiance. She didn't commit fifty years of her life to be thrown out like last season's runway fad. But taking vengeance on an upper level Shifter Demon and the newly crowned Voodoo Princess might not be a one demon job. She volunteers her services to Lucifer to deliver Angel and Jacque in exchange for his help. She never expected her new partner in crime would fill the void in her broken heart.
Not even death brought him peace. Xavier Toussant wanted out of his contract and the killing business. His last assignment was his own brother and he failed to deliver. Lucifer didn't appreciate his valor in dealing with his brother, Jacque. In fact, it only created more problems. Xavier's back on assignment to capture his brother and the Voodoo chick. Only this time, he's shackled to the craziest female in the Underworld. Xavier finds Isabella LaCoste might be the one thing to put his soul at ease.
Sweet Revenge: Dueling with the Devil Book 2 was a Finalist in the Music City Melody of Love Contest.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

About the Author:


Although Vivi Dumas grew up an Army brat, she calls Louisiana home, but have endured the hot summers and cold winters of Maryland for the last 16 years. She is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University with an MBA in Finance and Marketing. Her analytical side has honed a career in the financial industry for almost twenty years. To balance her logical, numerical day job, she unleashes her creativity in her writing.

Vivi pens multicultural paranormal romance, mixing the two genres she loves. Her steamy paranormal romances indulge in worlds inhabited by demons, werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural beings. She has published works with Decadent Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and Breathless Press.
Her latest book is the paranormal romance, Sweet Revenge: Dueling with the Devil Book 2.
Visit her website at www.ViviDumas.com.
Connect & Socialize with Vivi!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Seeds of Beauty Book Tour with Lakeysha-Marie Green

ABOUT THE SEEDS OF BEAUTY

Purchase at Amazon.com


What’s the real secret to radiant beauty? It may come as no surprise that how we look on the outside is directly connected to the beauty deep inside us. What’s more, when we are burdened with the weight of low self-esteem, it’s all-too-visible in our physical appearance. That’s why a truly successful makeover begins by reconnecting with who we are at our very core—long before the swipe of the credit card or snip of the shears.

Now, fashion stylist Lakeysha-Marie Green has written a groundbreaking new guide to developing show-stopping beauty from the inside out. Inspirational and easy to use, The Seeds of Beauty seamlessly joins the key elements of inner beauty with savvy, expert style advice on making the most of your own physical attributes. Addressing both of these all-important parts of true beauty, this gorgeous resource comes together in one illuminating journey that looks as fabulous as it feels.

In Part One, “Beauty Within,” you’ll learn to build a foundation of self-love, exploring subjects such as acknowledging your value, developing resilience and finding the courage to move forward. Part Two, “Beauty Reflected,” offers you practical advice on wardrobe fundamentals to bring out your beauty and create a winning style, such as working with your body type, selecting your best colors, choosing a swimsuit, and even building a shoe wardrobe.

Unlike other fashion and beauty makeover books on the market, The Seeds of Beauty challenges you to discover just why you are uniquely beautiful on the inside. Once you have embraced your own brand of beauty, you’ll be truly motivated to master the building blocks to accentuate your appearance—and glow with your own exquisite beauty from the inside out.

ABOUT LAKEYSHA-MARIE GREEN


Author Lakeysha-Marie Green is no stranger to tackling style dilemmas. A fashion stylist and former women’s fit technologist, her extensive experience in the fashion industry taught her the importance of fit, fashion, and effortless style.

Her penchant for creativity led to her work in editorial magazines, international film premieres, and advertising. Passionate about helping women to look their best, Lakeysha-Marie has contributed her style expertise on television and in print publications.

Inspired by her own roller coaster ride to self-discovery, Lakeysha-Marie began writing to illustrate the potential for transformation that lies within us all. She holds a degree in fashion design & merchandising, with continued coursework in styling & photography from the London College of Fashion.

Visit her blog at:
http://www.theseedsofbeauty.com

Book Review: Unsinkable by Nicole Bradshaw

Purchase at Amazon.com
Unsinkable
Nicole Bradshaw
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
5 Stars=None Stop Page Turner
Corinne LaRoche is a 15-year-old girl who strongly believes in family in Unsinkable by Nicole Bradshaw. After confronting her cheating boyfriend, Sebastien, Corinne arrives home to find her father being held by the police. Corinne’s father tells her and her sister, Astrid, they have to leave France for Canada as soon as possible but that their mother will not be joining them. Corinne can’t understand why her mother is not coming and why her father wants them to wait for him to explain later.
When they board the beautiful Titanic, Corinne and Astrid are hit with racism and evil looks, something that they were not used to. Both girls choose to ignore others behavior and plan to have a good time, so they decide to take a tour of the ship. Corinne meets Christopher who happens to be the captain’s nephew. Corinne and Christopher are attracted to each other and a bond begins. The union is frowned upon but Corinne and Christopher are determined to be together. Christopher has been promised to Sophia, a girl from an established family, but he has no interest in her. Sophia decides to make Corinne’s life on the Titanic hell if she cannot have Christopher to herself.
When Christopher and Corinne announce their engagement to their families, Sophia causes a disturbance which leads to Corinne’s father being detained and beaten. After the matter is cleared, it is announced that the ship has hit an iceberg. The ship is in an uproar and Corinne, Christopher, Astrid and their parents’ lives will never be the same.
Unsinkable is a well-written story about the first black family on the Titanic. This book is about true love, family secrets and racism. The author does a wonderful job developing characters that carry this storyline while keeping readers interested and anticipating the turn of events. I applaud this author for taking on such an historical event that touched many lives and putting her own twist and flare to it. However, I believe the author should have used another title seeming that many books related to the Titanic have this same title. I recommend Unsinkable to others.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Interview with Terrell Jones


Q & A with Terrell Jones




A&RBC: How did you become a writer?

Terrell: After Reading so many novels I got inspired to write my own.

A&RBC: What are you hoping readers take from your book? 
Terrell: Change and Fulfillment. Change due to what they read and it makes them want to change and fulfillment meaning that they are fulfilled from reading my story.

A&RBC: If you were to write a book about a controversial topic, what would it be? 
Terrell: Religion. It is one of the most controversial and influential topics in the world due to having so many.

A&RBC: Are you an avid or occasional reader?
Terrell: Both. Very avid but now since carrying the title of being an author I have slowed down.

A&RBC: If you could interview one of your favorite authors who would it be?
Terrell:Well my favorite author is resting in peace. R.I.P Donald Goines, so I have to say Michael Baisden.

A&RBC: If you could make a movie out of one of your books, which one would it be?
Terrell: My novel Homicide City.

A&RBC: Which marketing/promotions or publicity strategy has worked best in your favor?

Terrell: Social Media. Connecting with a lot of BookClubs online.

A&RBC: Which do you like better traditional or self-publishing? Why? 
Terrell: I never experienced either so I can’t really say. I’m signed to a Independent Publisher Johnson Publications.

A&RBC: What new projects are you working on? 
Terrell: Crossing over into Contemporary Lit with an Urban Love Story called Right Man, Wrong Time which is also a play I wrote. An Erotic E-book series titled Talkin Dirty After Dark. CockTales and Urban Erotic Collaboration with Co-authors Jewelze and Star from Johnson Publications. And to save the best for last Homicide City 2 (Mo Money Mo Homicide).

A&RBC: Where can readers find you? 
Terrell: Facebook/Author T.Real and Twitter @TRealDaAuthor and my publications website www.johnsonpublicationsbooks.com

Purchase at Amazon.com

About The Book

Welcome to Homicide City where everyone indulges in the fast life of sex, money and mayhem. Laws are broken and the rules are created as they go along. Dare to be a voyeur and watch as three worlds collide exposing corruption and murder. Erica Williams is an exotic dancer with big dreams. She pushes the envelope as she struggles with her straight & narrow up-bringing and her desire to walk on the wild side. Against all odds She is determined to make something out of her life as she dives deeper into the of world of Triple X Entertainment. Chase Money a rapper along with his entourage the Gwap Gang . They have their feet in the streets as they attempt a legal hustle pushing their way through the rap game. Sgt. Frank Moretti of the 18th District is connected to two worlds and he can t decide which one to fully give his loyalty too. Will it be his first family the Moretti s Mob or his black and blue family the Philadelphia 18th Police District? These three Key players are movers and shakers. When their lives intercept it causes a gigantic explosion! Lives will be lost and loyalty tested. We all live our lives based on the decisions that we make; now follow their stories and learn who will survive or die in the jungle known as Homicide City .

Friday, June 21, 2013

SOS National Book Tour with Sherry Burton Ways

Incidental Daughter Book Tour with Val Stasik

About the Author:
 


Val Stasik shares a home in eternally sunny Santa Fe, NM, with her aging mixed terrier, Sugar, who allows her to sleep in his queen-size bed as well as sharpen her culinary skills for his benefit. Stasik spent many years as a writing teacher, helping other writers find their voice and tell their stories, and is a consultant for the Northern Virginia Writing Project. INCIDENTAL DAUGHTER is Stasik’s debut novel.

Stasik studied drama and English at the University of Pittsburgh and then transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating with high honors and a B.S. in Secondary Education, Communication. The year she attended graduate school was filled with student protests, bomb threats, and military helicopters.

Stasik became an editorial assistant for THE PHARMACOLOGIST in Bethesda. She then moved to Harpers Ferry where she taught for five years and participated in the Old Opera House Theatre onstage and behind the scenes.

In Harrisburg, PA, she became a groom and mutuels clerk at Penn National Race Track and, later, a commercial lines underwriter for Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company. Right before her son was born, Three Mile Island happened. So far, neither glows in the dark.

In Virginia, Stasik enjoyed the enriching experience of teaching writing and literature in the Loudoun County Public School system, instructed other teachers in assessing student writings, and helped develop various English curricula. She also participated in the Fauquier Community Theatre on and off stage. From 2002-2004, she developed a part-time hypnosis practice. She then retired to Santa Fe where she has been writing—a few film scripts that have been produced (CafĂ© Destiny, on the Web,  Spring 2013, www.cafe-destiny.com) and a couple of award-winning play scripts.

Stasik is currently a member of the New Mexico Book Association, the New Mexico Book Co-Op; Southwest Writers; the Independent Book Publishers Association; the Small Publishers’ Association of North America; the Small Publishers, Artists, and Writers Network; and Pennwriters.

Visit her website at www.ValerieStasik.com.



About the Book:

When successful publisher Liz Michaels’ marriage to blue blood, Addison Tiffin Payne, fails after the loss of their baby and his growing alcoholism, she pours all her creative energy and passion into her work and finds comfort in her friendship with the co-owners of her company as well as the appearances of the spirits of her Polish mother and grandmother, who never speak except in dreams she cannot remember. Only her feelings from those dreams linger.

When Liz’s ex-husband plans to stage her suicide by pushing her off the balcony of her high-rise home in order to collect on a life insurance policy, he topples to his death instead. When the police arrive, Liz, the potential victim, becomes the prime murder suspect. She meets Pittsburgh Police Detective Jim Shannon, who may threaten her freedom or possibly gain her love. Her life is further complicated by her former mother-in-law’s attempts to destroy her reputation and damage her career. Her swirling feelings are complicated by the simultaneous appearance of a talented, familiar-looking intern at her workplace. He turns out to be her half-brother, but he is unaware of their connection. Although Liz is finished with a past that included a botched meeting with her biological father, the past is not done with her, for the intern and Shannon link her to that past. The cause of her ex-husband’s death is determined and Shannon and his partner, Santello, arrest the person responsible for what led to his death.

Internal conflict is soon compounded by external threats created by her former mother-in-law as well as someone seeking revenge on Shannon and his fellow detective. Just as Shannon and Liz are getting better acquainted, he is gunned downed, but survives. When Liz is leaving Shannon’s hospital room, she passes a woman whom she doesn’t realize is her dead father’s wife. The woman, Eileen, is also Shannon’s sister and notices the resemblance to her dead husband. Eileen did not learn of the existence of her husband’s daughter until after his death. This encounter sets in motion a series of touchy revelations and family get-togethers. All seems to be going well until Payne’s grieving mother decides to make Liz pay for Payne’s death. Warned by the mother’s housekeeper, Detective Santello and another detective rush to Liz’s office. In the shootout, Payne’s mother is killed but not before killing Santello who took the bullet meant for Liz. Will Liz be destroyed by this vortex, or will she use the crisis to open the door to a second chance at love and family?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE



Book Excerpt:


A FAMILIAR BELLOWING in the outer office captured Liz Michael’s attention. She slipped the contract for the purchase of William Penn Press back into its folder and navigated through the precisely-stacked piles of manuscripts to lift a slat of the blinds covering the door and floor-to-ceiling windows that faced the outer office. Addy Payne strained toward Mandy, pounded her desk, and demanded to see Liz. Paper clips, pens, and papers flew off her desk like hard rain.
Liz glanced at her watch. Only 2:17, but the flush of booze had already spread from her ex-husband’s face to his scalp in sharp contrast to his sleek, white-blond hair. This bloated caricature was not the man she had once loved. She shook her head. No, she could not possibly have fallen in love with that.
As he headed for her office, trailed by Mandy, Liz considered escaping through the other door in her office, but she knew he’d keep coming back—best to deal with him now. She whirled back to her desk, sat, and pretended to peruse the documents in the William Penn Press folder. Addy whipped the door open, but held it, and peered at Mandy as though she were the intruder. Mandy’s hazel eyes pleaded with Liz, and she shrugged her plump shoulders.
“It’s okay, Mandy. Call Miriam and tell her I’ll have the contract ready for her before four.”
Mandy scurried out of the room like a rabbit frantic for cover. Addy smiled, shook his head, and closed the door. He removed a stack of manuscripts from a tan guest chair, sat, and adjusted his perfectly pressed pants. “You look well,” he said.
Liz stood, marched to the blinds, and opened them. Mandy glanced up from her phone call to Miriam and nodded her readiness to call security at Liz’s signal. Liz returned to her desk, sat, folded her hands, and calmly stared at him a moment. “What brings you here today, Addy?”
He glanced back at the open blinds, raised his brows, and looked back at her with a slow, feline smile. “What? No ‘How are you? It’s good to see you, Addy.’”
Liz stared back at him, unsmiling.
He shook his head. “Poor sales technique, Lizzie.”
“I’m not selling anything. What do you want? I’m busy.”
Addy glanced at the stacks of manuscripts and nodded. “I can see that. You used to be a lot neater.”
She continued to stare.
He relaxed back into the chair, placed a leg over his knee, and rested his hands on the arms of the chair in one graceful movement. He considered her a moment. “I need money.”
“You’re wasting my time. Get a job.”
His gray eyes darkened. “Pittsburgh isn’t exactly the center of the advertising world.”
“Not my problem. I told you the last time, no more loans―as if I’ll ever see the money I’ve already given you.” She cocked her head to one side. “Tell me, Addy, whatever happened to all of your contacts? Why don’t you go to your family?”
He looked away from her and studied the awards on one wall and then the print of Cassatt’s The Boating Party on the opposite wall. The muffled ring of Mandy’s phone in the outer office underscored the silence.
“They don’t know, do they? They think you’re still the Great Ad Man, pulling off one outrageous magic trick after another.”
He returned his gaze to her. “I want to start my own agency.”
She gave him a tight-lipped smile and shook her head. “You don’t know you’ve dropped off the edge, do you? You had quite a run taking risks with your accounts. . . . Oh, you had us all fooled. Me. Your clients. We thought your three-martini lunches fueled your success, till your lack of follow-through took everything south. . . . Lay off the booze, Addy. Then go to New York, LA, Chicago. Find a job with an agency where they don’t know you.”
His whole body deflated. “It’s been too long since the last job. Even if I were hired, I’d have to start at the bottom.”
Liz leaned back in her chair. “Screwed everybody who could give you a good reference, huh? Why don’t you try something else? Maybe banking? Or drive a cab? Who knows? You could end up head of the company.”
He looked worse than he had the last time if that was possible. Now that he was sitting across from her, she could see tiny veins were beginning to sprout on his nose. “By the way, as I’ve said many times, AA has quite a history for turning people’s lives around. Why don’t you give them a try? What could it hurt?”
He sprang from his chair and, hands fisted, leaned on her desk. She scowled at the stink of whiskey on his breath. “Look, I’m not some jerk barfly from a dirty Pennsylvania steel town.” His eyes bulged. “You know I come from one of the oldest families in Ohio. I have an MBA from Harvard. I’ve made three different agencies big money. And I know I can create the best ad agency this town that thinks it’s a city has ever seen.”
Liz rose from her desk. “Then I suggest you create a business plan―they did teach you how to write a business plan at Harvard, didn’t they―and take it to the bank for a loan.”
She jerked the hem of her linen jacket. “Now, I have work to do.” She strode to the door, but before she could open it, he grabbed her arm.
“You’ve never forgiven me, have you?
She froze, her face a rigid mask. “Let go of me.”
Addy freed her and she opened the door. He left without another word.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Fulton Incident Book Tour with Jordan Ekeroth

About the Author:
 

Jordan Ekeroth is a young man with a clear voice, wisdom beyond his years, and always a story to tell. From a young age, you could find him either buried in books or bearing the adventure of his imagination into the great outdoors. He’s met some people and seen some things that have given him a radical desire to impact the world in a positive way. A person of deep faith, his dream in writing is to take people along on the adventure of a lifetime, while simultaneously creating a space for them to learn about themselves and the world around them.

You can visit Jordan Ekeroth’s website at www.jordanekeroth.com.

Connect & Socialize with Jordan!


About the Book:

 
International intrigue rooted in a secret history.
Mysterious and unlikely allies.
The memory of a lost love.
A race against time.

Josh Fulton is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame after catching a charismatic leader in an act of infidelity. But when he finds himself alone and hunted through the dark streets of a foreign city, he is forced to face the truth that he has found himself embroiled in a far deeper conspiracy than he'd ever imagined.

As his search for truth takes him across continents, he will be forced to confront inner demons that have been locked away for years.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON


FIRST CHAPTER:
Long Beach, California
1:27 PM, Friday
Instead of cutting across the asphalt parking lot, Josh Fulton took the long way back from lunch at the greasy beachfront taco joint. How could he have known that doing so would change his life? All he knew was that it was the cheapest food in a mile, and the salty ocean air and infinite horizon were free, even if he was paying through the nose to live and work so near to it.

Friday afternoons were slow at his small auto shop, and Josh was in no hurry to get back. He hesitated at the door of the office, taking one last moment to savor the baking California sun, when a glossy black limo pulled into view, rousing his curiosity. It pulled conspicuously up to the small hotel across the street.

The man who stepped out was almost unrecognizable; totally unaccompanied by security, wearing khakis, a plaid button-up, and sunglasses. But Josh never forgot a face. How could he forget one like George Mzwenga’s? It was more than the face of a man - it was the face of “Africa’s Hope” and it had been plastered all over every newspaper and magazine for weeks during Mzwenga’s incredibly rapid rise to prominence last December.

Josh didn’t recognize the curvy blonde figure that emerged after him. Whoever it was, it was certainly not Mrs. Mzwenga. This mysterious “she” hurried inside, clad in a deep purple track suit, all velvet and faux luxury.

Josh immediately thought of the camera that was gathering dust in his office. He wasn’t a paparazzo by trade, but he wasn’t about to lose the chance to make a quick buck. Whatever scandalous activity these two were about to engage in, he imagined that there would be someone willing to pay a good deal of money to have photographic proof of it, or perhaps to keep such proof in the dark.

 “Yo Dennis,” Josh hollered, walking into the shop. “What do you say we finish up? I’m about ready to call it a day.”

“Already?” came the stout reply.

“Yeah go for it. It’s damn hot out, and we’re not doing anything that can’t wait ‘til tomorrow.”
Josh popped open the door to the garage and walked in just as Dennis hauled himself out from beneath a pick-up he’d been working on. The two men regarded each other in silence for a moment.

Dennis was a tree-trunk of a man, with tattoos on his forearms and grease on his hands. He wiped most of the grease onto his black t-shirt, a memento of some recent metal concert, before wiping the rest through his short, brown, recently buzzed hair. He liked the feel of the stubble.

If they hadn’t been friends for so many years, Josh would have felt intimidated, cutting a much less impressive figure. He was average height, with the sort of face that was easily lost in a crowd. His sagging brown hair hung ragged, covering straight eyebrows that always hovered high above his cloudy blue eyes in an expression of bewilderment. His strong, mechanic’s forearms gave him an initial impression of physicality, but his pencil legs and growing love handles quickly belied the fact that he had really begun to let himself go.
There were plenty of excuses all right; plenty of reasons not to work out. There was the stress of running a failing business, the stress of paying off student loans for a useless degree in political science; and the stress of bearing all this weight with no one to talk to - especially not Dennis - because Josh was supposed to be the one holding it all together. His guilt was punctuated by an anxious interjection from Dennis.

“Lissen man, I know things have been slow lately, but I just wanted to say, you’re doing a’right by me.”
Josh stood nodding in silence, forcing himself to smile and look Dennis in the eye. He felt like a fraud, standing there acting like everything was alright. But he reminded himself that there was just a chance that if this bizarre opportunity paid off, then for once, things might actually work out.

Leaving Dennis to clean up and clear out, Josh walked into his office to make sure he had his facts straight. Mzwenga was a hero on global scale, the President of the East African nation of Tawezi, and the type of man who gets nominated for Nobel Peace Prizes. Josh needed to be absolutely sure that something scandalous was really going on before trying to blow the whistle. The office was a mess, littered with paperwork, magazines, old newspapers, and far too many overdue bills. He hesitated for a moment as he uncovered and gently cradled that old Polaroid of Angelica. It was the only picture he had left of her. He forced himself to tuck it away.

The sight was accompanied by the sound of two small televisions - both tuned to international news stations - that blared away in the corner. Giving them his attention for a moment, Josh checked to be sure he hadn’t missed any major developments. The US dollar was still strong against the British pound, an unusually short rainy season in Central America would be negatively impacting that region’s economy, and oh, Japan’s Prime Minister seemed to be recovering well from his recent stroke. None of this was news to Josh. He was always in the know.

Josh quickly dug through the mess of papers on his desk until he found it- the glossy old issue of Time which featured Mzwenga on the cover alongside a headline “Africa’s Hope.”

There was no mistaking it, it was him. There was the smooth, bald ebony head, the strong jaw, and that taut mouth, which always seemed to hint that Mzwenga had more to say, and the wisdom not to say it. Josh could only assume that behind the sunglasses that he saw lay those same brown eyes, dark and strong; always so hopeful, always so honest.

Josh paused to wonder if Mzwenga’s wife, Evelyn, knew. Because if she didn’t already, she would soon.
Certain that it was Mzwenga he’d seen, Josh went into full stakeout mode. Opening a dusty locker and looking over his collection of lenses, filters, and other photography paraphernalia, he was struck with a wave of nostalgia for those old high-school photojournalism days. He’d ditched it eventually; no money in that racket. Maybe there would be some in it now.

To this day, Josh loved his gadgets; though he kept reminding himself to unsubscribe from that stupid Skymall catalog that he’d signed up for on a whim. Just hadn’t quite gotten around to it yet. He loved figuring out how things worked, but his administrative abilities were severely lacking. And that’s why this shop isn’t going to last much longer, he reminded himself.

The auto shop was already set up with a CCTV security system that normally just recorded to a hard-drive, but could be plugged in directly to his small televisions. One of these cameras was on the roof. Normally it was directed at the small parking lot, but it was a simple matter of repositioning the camera to face the hotel entrance, in case Mzwenga decided to take his fancy lady love out on the town. Next, digging out his old telescope, Josh equipped it with a motion detector which would in turn trigger a notification on his smartphone whenever it detected movement. This was his surveillance piece de resistance - it would be ideal as a sort of long-distance alarm – perfect to alert him whenever Mzwenga slipped up and did something dumb, like open his blinds. Finally, Josh owned a good old-fashioned film camera. He had purchased it before the days of digital, but it was reliable, and the massive zoom lens that Josh picked up during his days of shooting high school football games would guarantee some great “action shots.”
Putting on a fresh pot of coffee, Josh settled in for the long haul. His mini-fridge held enough hot pockets and energy drinks to last several days. He was prepared for anything. Except one thing.

He realized his mistake and simultaneously burned his mouth on the first bite of scalding ham and cheese. The problem was that he would only be able to monitor a single room at a time. And he had no way of knowing which room he needed to watch. A cursory scan didn’t reveal George in any of them.
Josh cursed himself up and down for this oversight. Left with no other choice, he prepared to go behind enemy lines.

Popping a handful of Tic Tacs in his mouth and checking himself out in the mirror, Josh pushed his swoop of boring brown hair over to its proper place. He needed to look presentable for this next part.

The hotel lay directly across the street from Josh’s shop. The place was old. A long, flat white building with faded brown trim, it had once been considered luxurious. Apparently some movie stars had stayed there back in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Whatever it once was, it now had a quaint bed and breakfast feel to it. It had two stories and every room had a window facing the ocean.

Josh casually sauntered across the street to the hotel. Stepping into the comfortable, cool lobby, he was greeted by the scent of coconut air freshener and the muted rhythms of a vaguely tropical soundtrack, full of steel drums and ukuleles. An aging receptionist sat at the desk. She hadn’t greeted him, obviously distracted by the latest celebrity gossip jumping out of the cheap magazine she clutched in her leathery hands. And those hands. They had clearly spent far too many hours over the years applying suntan oil to her unnaturally darkened skin. She finally glanced up as Josh neared the desk and coughed politely, shooting him an exasperated look with her glazed blue eyes. Josh thought that each one looked like a Fruit Loop, floating in a bowl of milk. Not wanting to come across as too eager, Josh contented himself with silently thumbing through a series of brochures, grimacing at the sound of the receptionist absently clacking her teeth together.
Finally, she grated out two words.

“Whaddaya want?”  

Casually glancing at her nametag (it read “Shirley”), Josh asked absentmindedly if he could find out which room his “large dark friend was in.”

“Does ya friend have a name?” came the expected reply in an unidentifiable drawl. Half Brooklyn, half southern; Josh wondered if she was faking the accent.

“Well, Shirley, I’m willing to bet you know who I’m talking about.” Josh replied with a wink. “And anyway, I want to surprise him, take him out to dinner. He’s only in town for the weekend isn’t he?” Change the question, catch her off-guard.

“Ya know what hun, let me check on that.” She started pounding on the keyboard, which was far louder than a keyboard should be.

“You said it hun,” she droned. “He paid fer his room ‘til Sunday.”

She lowered her voice conspiratorially and gave Josh a knowing nod. “He paid in cash. Hundred dollar bills.”

Josh had to keep her talking, had to keep her distracted from the fact that she wasn’t supposed to be telling him any of this information.

“Say, do you know if he’s in right now? Maybe I’ll just run up and say hi.”

“Well, I haven’t seen him leave this way, though I suppose he could have gone out the back. But listen here hun. Do you know that lady that was with him? I think she mighta been a real movie star, but I mean it’s always real tough to tell behind those big ol’ glasses.” She was a chatty one - wrinkly old Shirley.

“Well I’ll just run up and check right now. And I’ll tell you what -“ Josh was ready to seal the deal. “If he’s with some real-life movie star, I will come right back and let you know who it is.”

The lady let out a ghastly, gasping squeal of delight. Josh turned and strode purposefully around the corner towards the rooms before poking his head back out sheepishly a moment later.

“Sorry, can you remind me of his room number?” he said, nonchalantly.

She had bought the whole con: hook, line and sinker. “Didn’t I tell ya already? He’s up there in 217.”

Josh walked down the hallway feeling like an international man of mystery; fantasizing about robbing banks and toppling government agencies. He was whistling to himself as he reached the back exit of the hotel and swaggered out into the baking heat and the coastal breeze. He took a deep breath of that salt-sprayed air, then strode confidently back to the shop.
--
He lasted a few hours before the stakeout excitement faded and the second guessing began.
Have I even got the right room? Curtains are shut, lights are off. This is a waste of time. No one’s in there. The doubts came one at a time, each more convincing than the last.

But Josh waited, and waited, and waited.

The sun started setting in a particularly dramatic fashion and as it did someone flung open the drapery and stood prominently in the window, absorbing the colors of the sky. Josh knew immediately, before even looking through the camera viewfinder, that it was him, George Mzwenga. Who else could it have been?
But he was alone. A single light was turned on next to the bed and all it revealed was that the room behind him seemed to be empty. Not that Josh could see it all from the angle of his current hideout, but no one else appeared to be in sight. Josh lowered his camera. This wouldn’t do. Mzwenga by himself meant nothing.
Then a sliver of light shone quickly through the room, seeping from the slightly-opened bathroom door where a woman’s silhouette stood, not wearing much of anything. Josh dragged the camera up in a heartbeat, twisting the room into focus and simultaneously snapping a series of photos.

As the figurative dust settled and Josh calmed his rapid breathing, he found himself gripping the body of his camera and staring at a wall of curtains, still swishing from the force with which Mzwenga had whipped them shut.

Had Josh gotten anything? He couldn’t be sure. He would have to develop the photos first. But he didn’t have any equipment here in his shop and he couldn’t afford to take any chances. Josh decided to stay and wait for another opportunity.

The sky darkened, no longer illuminated by the sun, but by the bright lights and sounds of the nearby city center. Josh waited.

The midnight hours dragged into a grey dawn. The rising sun was a silver dollar and the early morning fog was a magician’s handkerchief; covering it, hiding, preparing for the grand reveal. Josh waited.

The sun’s grand reveal came mid-morning when it finally burned through the clouds and cast dangerous shadows from everything it touched. Josh waited.

Saturday passed, minute by aching minute, and still Josh waited. Sometimes he felt delirious; other times he caught himself just waking up. It was torture, but it would be worth it. These photos could be worth a small fortune, meaning he would finally be able to pay off those old debts. He would finally be able to make it through an entire day without having a panic attack about the future of the shop. This was his chance to make it; to maybe be normal again. He might even become rich.

Then what?

It was the million-dollar question. If he became rich overnight, what would change in his life? Would he travel? Would he move? Would he just start buying nicer things? Would he become a more interesting person? It always frustrated him that he couldn’t think of a good answer.

“Snap out of it,” he said to himself. “You spend too much time daydreaming, not enough time doing things. That’s why you’ll never be rich.”

Saturday passed uneventfully.
He hadn’t noticed that he was falling asleep in his shop chair, but he did notice the rays of sunlight glaring in at him as his beeping phone woke him with a start on Sunday morning.

A glance at the security feed on his TV showed two cars pulling up to the hotel and a glance out the window showed two people walking to meet them. Josh clumsily grabbed at his camera, which was lying on a nearby counter, nearly knocking it to the floor in the process.

It was George Mzwenga and his mysterious lover, and Josh snapped an entire roll of them walking to the car with interlaced fingers, embracing and kissing passionately. Mzwenga and his companion each entered a vehicle and each vehicle drove its separate way. Josh couldn’t believe his luck.

He smiled as he lowered the camera. He had photographic evidence that one of the most famous men in the world was having an affair. He knew someone who would pay a pretty penny for these.

Josh Fulton’s life had just taken a turn for the better.