- Friday, May 31, 2013
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Favorite quote … "Now you're mine and you will give me sons, many tall sons.” This scene was bittersweet and almost creepy but this was the part in the book I was pulled in. It came at a time when Gabriela was running away but found herself caught in an uncertain position. Would her 'saviour' give her a better life or was she worse off?
If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know? On the dedication page of the book, the author says the book dedicated to his mother and her caregiver which got me thinking, is this a true story? Or at the very least, are some scenes based on real life?
What problems does one of the characters have, and how does he or she solve it? Gabriela was very poor and struggled to make ends meet. It didn't help that her skin color is different from most and she is also trying to fit as best as she can. She took care of La Viuda for two years. La Viuda died and left Gabriela everything. This was a beautiful tale of young and old, lust and love, life and death.
Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.
View all my reviews
Horses and Heroin - Bev Pettersen
Genre - Romantic Suspense
Rating - PG
4.6 (153 reviews)
Free until 4th June 2013
JOCKEY SCHOOL IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS.
A talented rider disappears without a trace.
His frantic sister poses as a student.
A private investigator's plans for quiet recuperation are shattered.
Megan is determined to find her missing brother even though no one else at the illustrious California Jockey School seems to care. Her only ally is a recuperating PI who unfortunately is the owner's best friend. Soon she is caught between a blossoming romance and a far-reaching conspiracy...where misplaced trust can be deadly.
Some Techniques and Tips - Writing Tips for the Committed Novelist
by Jack Remick
I want to share with you a few words about how I write. Every Tuesday and Friday, I sit down with a bunch of writers at Louisa’s Bakery Café in Seattle. We write for forty-five minutes under the clock. For years I wrote alone until Robert Ray introduced me to Natalie Goldberg and timed writing. Working with other writers—especially writers who know more than you do—gets you outside your head. You get feedback faster, you get to the rewrite quicker. The way I see it, the art is in the rewrite so the sooner you get a working draft the better you’ll write. With timed writing you don’t die in Act Two.
Timed writing—what Natalie Goldberg calls “Writing Practice”—is either the devil’s design to stifle your creativity or the gateway to a paradise of writing. For me, timed writing is liberation. Timed writing is easy: you get a kitchen timer, set it for five, ten, fifteen minutes and write as deep and rich as your hand will let you. I like the physical connection of the fountain pen on paper, so I write longhand. Some writers at Louisa’s write on laptops. That’s okay. The idea is to finish what you start—that’s the major discipline. Finish what you start.
I use “start lines” to get going. If I’m working on a novel, I might use—“Today I rewrite the scene called…
If I’m with my group at Louisa’s and I’m not locked into a novel or a story, the start line “today I’m writing about…” gives me plenty of room to explode. I use timed writing to write treatments, scene summaries, memoir moments, short stories, screenplay scenes. The big thing with timed writing is that you can use it to go nuts on the page, or you can use it in a very structured way to create tight, hard, clear, clean sentences, scenes, stories. I don’t think in terms of paragraphs, but I do think in terms of “action” and “image.” When I’m writing in a more structured way, I use a directed set of start lines. For instance, to write a three-act treatment for a novel here’s a set of start lines you can use:
- Act One opens when….
- Act One ends when….
- Act Two opens in a scene called….
- At the middle of my story, my protagonist….
- Act Two ends when….
- Act Three opens when….
- My story climaxes in a scene called….
- My story ends with this final image….
I keep a blog with Robert J Ray, author of the Matt Murdock detective novels. We’ve posted everything we know about writing there—http://bobandjackswritingblog.com. Take a look. It’s there for the asking.
The Widow (La Viuda) is ninety-two years old. She lives in a house filled with photos and coins, jewels and a sable coat. Aware that her memory is failing but burning with desire to record the story of her life on paper, she hires Gabriela, a nineteen-year-old Mixteca from Mexico. Gabriela is one of the few survivors of a massacre and treacherous journey to El Norte. Gabriela and the Widow is a story of chaos, revenge, and change: death and love, love and sex, and sex and death. Gabriela seeks revenge for the destruction of her village. The Widow craves balance for the betrayals in her life. In the end, the Widow gives Gabriela the secret of immortality.
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Genre – Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Jack Remick on Twitter
A Brand-New Madison Westin Novel, with More Craziness in Tarpon Cove…
Remember Madison? What she had to go through… inheriting her aunt’s cottages was peanuts compared to what awaits her in TROUBLE IN PARADISE, the latest addition to the Paradise Series.
What is big news in small town Tarpon Cove? An accidental drowning or maybe even a ruthless murder? When a dead fisherman rolls up on the shore of Tarpon Cove, Madison cannot resist but to jump into her new role as Private Investigator, with only one goal in mind: to solve this intriguing mystery of the dead guy. But things do not go as Madison wants as she discovers that people in small towns are usually tight lipped, and that is certainly the case for the residents of Tarpon Cove. Although a hot bed for gossip, in a town where everyone knows everyone’s business, what is safer than keeping your mouth shut?
But that is not all…
With Madison’s tenant assessment skills not shaping up, her cottages are still full of riffraff, and it has become Tarpon Cove’s hotbed for illegal affairs. Madison teams up with her best friend and Glock-carrying Fabiana… Together they take on cases no other investigators would ever dare to touch in Tarpon Cove or anywhere else. Sometimes a girl needs a bubble bath and a fun book. So draw your bath and dive into Madison’s adventures!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
- Thursday, May 30, 2013
What’s in This Book?
Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK, has 160 NEW jobs, 200 jobs from Killer Work from Home Jobs 1, and 100 jobs from Killer Work from Home Jobs 2. There’s no story. No lessons. Just jobs! Economical too – it’s three books in one. SUPER BOOK identifies Fortune 500 & Legitimate Work at Home Jobs from global, national, mid-sized and start-ups with wings.
Why You Need This Book!
Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK will help you accomplish your dream.
- Is it finally time to find a job so that you can work from home?
- Do you really want to trudge hours to work every day?
- Are you looking for an honest work from home opportunity?
The idea for the Killer Work from Home Jobs Series came from the fact that I trudged to my job, as manager of someone else’s business, wondering why I wasn’t happy. I was good at what I did, achieved the company’s goals, made good money, received accolades, but something wasn’t right, there was no sense of fulfillment.
I can’t convey the melancholy I felt, I worked hard to achieve success, earned every academic credential, had a resume to swoon over. But I wasn’t a happy camper. Was this all there was?
Once I decided to work at home, it was amazing, I jumped in the air and clicked my feet! Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK is dedicated to all those who just can’t go back to work. In addition to the “I can’t take it any mores” of the world, this book will help many who have other compelling reasons, as well. The need to work from home runs deep. Taking the first step to working at home will make you jump for joy.
How is This Book Different?
How is Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK different from other work from home books? It is the largest compilation of home-based jobs available on Amazon today.
- Is the company financially healthy?
- Has the company been around for awhile?
- Does the company have a global footprint?
- Does the company have “money in the bank?”
My months of research answered these questions, to provide you with key company data.
My Promise to You
I verified all links in Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK at publication. Since companies change web pages, and job needs, if any of the links don’t work, simply contact me at Free-Job-Search-Websites.com, I’ll provide you with revised link info & you can get notice of new books, too.
You’re not just buying a book, you’re buying my promise that I’ll tirelessly provide you with the most up to date info at my disposal. I want to help you make your dream come true!
Learn how to find Killer Work from Home Jobs
Genre – NonFiction / Business / Job Hunting
Buy Now @ Amazon
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Lee Evans on her
Still Fine at Forty - Dakota Madison
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Rating - R
4.6 (7 reviews)
Free until 1st June 2013
It all started with a Girl's Getaway Weekend in Sedona, Arizona...
It's been a year since Jennifer Ellis's ex-husband left her for a much younger woman and Jennifer still hasn't dated. Now turning 40, Jennifer wonders if she'll ever find love again. So Jennifer's best-friend, Melanie Malone, books them on a Girl's Getaway in picturesque Sedona, Arizona in hopes of inspiring Jennifer to have a vacation fling.
Jennifer gets more than she bargained for when she meets the ruggedly handsome 29-year old tour Jeep guide, Cody Miller, and the two begin a passionate romance. What Jennifer doesn't know is that Cody has a secret past that not only threatens to destroy their new love but also expose a tragic event from Jennifer's past that she has tried desperately to forget.
- Wednesday, May 29, 2013
How I Wrote 2 eBooks in 21 Days - Glen Stanford
Genre - Non Fiction
Rating - PG
4.6 (55 reviews)
Free until 2 June 2013
Ride a hilarious roller coaster with Glen Stanford as he follows Steve
Scott's plan in "How to Write a Nonfiction e-Book in 21 Days!"
Not one to let the writing process cramp his style, this ukulele-playing,
bluegrass-singing YouTube sensation (32 views and counting) juggles his
new-found fame with astonishing persistence to produce not one, but two
works of genius. This is the true story.
FIVE CRITICAL Reasons you MUST read this book
1. America's Funniest Recipes want you to read this book
The (secret) recipe for success:
Writer's buzz - 1 oz
Sleepless nights - 2 oz
Tenacity (and beer) - 7 (units left deliberately vague)
Irreverence and political incorrectness - to taste
Espresso - administered intravenously - 55 gal
Pizza (1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 mushroom) - 37 slices
Humility - a whole bunch
Blend and enjoy.
2. Chuck Noris wants you to read this book
You gonna argue with Chuck? I'm not! He is a huge believer in the power of
laughter because it leads to the lowering of stress hormones. This is
the carrot AND the stick - lower your stress by laughing and you won't
have to worry about Chuck getting angry with you at the same time.
Chuck Noris is from Dubuque, Iowa and is in no way related to Chuck
Norris, the consummate actor karate-guy who would probably kick my ass
if I used his name without permission.
3. The Bible wants you to read this book
The Good Book says "A joyful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).
Then again, it also says "Judas hanged himself" (Matthew 27:5) and "Go
and do likewise" (Luke 10:37) so you gotta be kind of selective when you
pick your quotes from this 1700-year-old classic.
4. It's flipping funny and Rated PG, too
While I might dance around some edgy subjects, I never want my readers to squirm. I leave that to the Ben Stilers of the world.
Ben Stiler is in no way related to the incredibly funny Ben Stiller,
whose masturbatory comedic genius (when he's not meeting some Fokker)
always leaves you with a chuckle.
All of my books are swear-word-free. I tire of today's "comics" who resort to f-bombing
their material as if dirty words are the main ingredient instead of an
The worst word you'll ever hear from me is "crap." Feel free to substitute something stinkier if it makes you feel
better, but honest humor shouldn't have to rely on shock jock laziness.
Then again, Howard Stearn made $100 million with his lesbian obsession and I
sell my books for the price of a cup of coffee, so what do I know?
When you see the word "flipping," you are also free to substitute something
racier, like "freaking." It's your theater of the mind, and you are the
only one taking the tickets.
That is, unless you object to me using the word "Damn" in the subtitle. That's just too funny to pass up,
and I'm #%$#&! using it.
P.S. Howard Stearn is in no way related to the radio professional Howard Stern, for whom I have only the
greatest respect. Baba Booey. Oh, and "lesbian" isn't a dirty word
5. For Writers only
You will uncover nuggets of resources that will be incredibly helpful on your journey to write
and publish your own book. You'll just have to suffer through the fun
stuff to uncover them. Think of it as a treasure hunt.
Chuck, America's Funniest Recipes and the movie Rating Board all want
you to read this book (and probably Ben and Howard, too). I wouldn't
mess with any of them. So it's no coffee for you today - you have a
hormone level to lower.
Raffaello (Rafe) Palazzo takes what he wants with no regrets. Arianna (Ari) Lynn Harlow has led a charmed life until tragedy strikes her family. He’s looking for a no-emotions attached mistress, she’s looking for redemption.
They are not a pair that should ever work, but undeniable attraction and devastating tragedies bring them together in the city by the bay where he fights to keep their relationship nothing more than an enjoyable way to meet his needs, and she battles to not lose herself in him. Spending time with Ari starts cracking the hard shell that Rafe has built around his heart, but he denies the affect she has on him until it’s too late to stop the inevitable conclusion that their relationship is headed for.
Rafe once believed in happily ever after, coming from a large Italian family. He’s got the Midas touch, since every endeavor he tries turns to gold. That all ends when his wife walks out the door and leaves him blindsided. His devastation quickly turns to steel when he decides no woman will fool him again. From that point on he treats relationships as nothing more than business transactions where both party’s come out mutually benefited.
Just when Ari has sunk to the lowest she’s ever been she finds an ad in the paper announcing a job that’s too good to be true. It turns out she’s right. She makes it through the intense rounds of interviews only to find out the job is for a mistress to the powerful Rafe Palazzo, owner of Palazzo Enterprises. Rafe gives her a day to think about whether she wants the position or not, and she’s sent on her way, only to find out her mother’s near-terminal position has taken a turn for the worse. Her mom’s only in the hospital because Ari messed up, and her mother’s the one who paid the price. Is Rafe her savior, or will he take her with him straight to the depths of hell?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – 18+
More details about the author
Vaudeville From Honest Sid
by Ronald Probstein
My father, Honest Sid, was a booker in smalltime vaudeville for a short while during its heyday before the First World War. As a boy I had gotten the idea that vaudeville was off-color but when I asked him about it, pages 22-23 of Honest Sid, he replied:
“ “Dirty? Don’t be nuts. It was cleaner than a baby’s behind.” His descriptions of vaudeville generally left me speechless. In the big-time there might be Gillette’s Monkeys, an act that included Adam and Eve, the twin bowling monkeys. Adam would make a strike or a spare and Eve acted as the pin boy, setting up the pins and returning the ball. After each play Adam ordered a drink and got progressively more drunk as the game went on until finally he tore up the alley. “Kid, you wouldn’t believe the acts I saw. Those animal ones were the craziest. Dogs that did tricks, pigs that played games, and monkeys I swear could have beat me at gin.”
Booking acts for a show required skill, although the smalltime format was patterned after the bills at the Palace. As the booker, my father set the number and kinds of acts, their balance and sequence following the Palace blueprint. It was like a fence operation, since the performers had stolen most of the acts and gags from the big time. Generally there were nine acts with one intermission. “Closing intermission” was a big act with a name star perhaps featuring the Jewish comedienne, Fanny Brice. The Marx Brothers or Will Rogers might star in the top bill following the second act after intermission. The finale was called the “chaser”, also known as “playing to the haircuts,” reflecting the last performer’s view as patrons headed up the aisle. Such line-ups would have been big-time dream shows, my father dealt with pale copies.”
If you’re going to live outside the law, you’d better be honest. This seeming paradox was the operating principle of Sid Probstein’s life. Guileless and endlessly optimistic, he was known as Honest Sid around his stomping ground of New York’s Broadway. Sid wasn’t a tough guy, or even a bad guy. He just never had the patience for the “straight” life, grinding out a living at some monotonous desk job.
He was the quintessential American dreamer, always sure that the good life was just one big score away, a man who never stopped believing in his own good luck, even when the evidence said otherwise. He had all the tools, he was charming, good-looking, quick-witted and decent, but he had an obsession he couldn’t escape.
Honest Sid is the story of an American archetype as seen through the eyes of his son, Ronald, who loved him, and who almost lost him. It follows Sid’s adventures in the world of bookies and bettors, fighters and fixers, players and suckers set against the often-romanticized backdrop of Depression-era New York. It is also the passionate tale of the great and tempestuous love between Sid and his wife Sally, and of his son Ronald whom he idolized.
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Genre – Biographies & Memoirs
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Waves of nausea overwhelmed me as I rushed into Turley’s Restaurant at noon that icy December day. A blast of hot air smelling of fish, burgers, onions and such sent me careening to the ladies room to avoid puking on the dining room floor. Amazingly, once I was inside the safety of the stall, I managed to avert the worst, containing my sickness to dry heaves. I hurried out to the sinks to make myself presentable for my lunch meeting with Bruce, the local dot-com millionaire who funds an experimental project that is a major part of my grief-therapy practice. I was a wreck. I'd had a miserable morning, I was late to a meeting with Bruce who prizes promptness, and my shaky queasiness exacerbated my anxiety about why Bruce had summoned me.
As I calmed my breathing and dabbed at my face with a wet paper towel, the ladies room door flew open, letting in a tall blond woman wearing designer jeans and a red ribbed turtleneck, topped with a necklace of multicolored glass beads. My best friend Elisa, looking stunning as always. We both jumped in surprise, then she darted over and enveloped me in a welcome hug. “Cleo? Honey, you look under the weather. Is the morning sickness getting worse?”
“Shhh,” I said. “Let’s not spread the news all over Boulder.” I wasn't ready to tell the world about my pregnancy, since I was only three months along, and Pablo and I aren’t married. So far Elisa and Pablo are the only ones who know.
Elisa pulled back, looking up and down the room. “Sorry for the blabbing, but you know me. Sometimes my mouth works faster than my brain. The good news is it looks like we’re alone in here. Now let’s fix you up a little,” she said, straightening my sweater. She grabbed a comb out of her bag and worked some magic on my hair.
I felt better right away. Elisa is like a big sister to me. The kind of sister who knows how to do stuff you don't, but never makes fun of you. She just helps.
“You’re a lifesaver,” I said, “but I have to run. I’m already late for my lunch meeting with Bruce.” I headed for the door.
Elisa waved me on. “Oh—you’re meeting Bruce! Well hang in there, honey, and call me later with the scoop.”
Back in the dining area, I scanned the room a couple of times. Didn’t see Bruce. Deep breath. Maybe I’m not as late as I thought? But no, there he is sitting with a petite dark-haired woman in a booth next to a brick wall. Unexpected. Bruce is a brilliant guy who works all the time. Divorced. No social life. Who is this woman and why did he bring her?
I hustled over to their table and slid into the booth across from them, my mind on autopilot running through possible menu choices that my gut would be willing to tolerate. “Sorry to be late,” I muttered, hoping my winning smile would distract from my tardiness. “Good to see you, Bruce.”
“Hi, Cleo, I thought you forgot. This is my sister, Gayle. She needs your help.”
Whew! A relief on that score. Good to know he hadn’t summoned me to talk about problems with the funding for my Contact Project.
Gayle gave Bruce a poke. “Whoa, Bruce. This isn’t a computer-programming job. It’s personal. Let’s take a few minutes before we dive in.”
“Okay, let’s order first, then talk,” he said, burying his face in the menu.
As we perused our menus, Gayle’s cell phone rang. She answered, and jumped up. “No,” she said sharply into the phone. “That’s not acceptable.” She turned to us. “I have to take this,” she said. “Be right back.” She dashed toward the door, talking intently into the phone with her hand over her other ear to block the restaurant noise.
“Gayle’s a real estate agent,” Bruce explained. “Her phone is her life.”
We sat quietly looking at our menus. Bruce isn’t much of a talker. He’s a techie. Brainy, but basically shy. Even though he’s forty-five and a self-made multi-millionaire, his social skills aren’t well developed. He’s one of those guys who goes around looking at the floor or off into the distance so he doesn’t have to make eye contact. Small talk is definitely not his forte.
Gayle darted back across the room to our booth. “Sorry,” she said. “I’m ready to order if you two are.”
I took a last look at the menu. Turley’s trademark is its healthy food, and in addition to more traditional lunch and dinner entrees, they serve breakfast all day. Knowing I needed protein for the baby, I decided on a garden omelet with mushrooms, spinach, and tomato with toast on the side. Hoped I could get it down with the help of a ginger ale. Bruce ordered a buffalo burger with a side of fresh fruit, and Gayle ordered the sesame spinach salad with the dressing on the side.
“So like I was saying,” Bruce began as the waitress left to turn our orders in, “Gayle needs some help from you.”
I turned to her. “Would you like to tell me about it?”
She took a deep breath and launched in to her story. “You’ve probably heard about the woman who went missing from the Rainbow Lakes Campground in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area a few weeks ago.”
“I did,” I said. “Do you know her?”
Gayle looked down at the table silently for a couple of minutes, her shoulders slumped as if the weight of her problem was a burden too heavy to lift. When she finally looked up, tears streamed down her face. “She’s my best friend, Sabrina—or maybe I should say she was my best friend. She’s probably dead. But they can’t find her and we don’t know what happened to her and that’s even worse.” She wiped her face with a tissue, but her tears continued to flow.
Bruce put his arm around Gayle’s shoulders and hugged her. More empathy than I would have expected from him, but then again until today I didn’t even know he had a sister. All I know about Bruce is what he told me in his grief therapy sessions after his eighteen-year-old daughter died from a drug overdose. He’s such a private person, he would have never come for grief counseling except that his business partner—who saw how paralyzed Bruce was after his daughter’s death—insisted. Bruce’s relationship with his daughter had been stormy for several years before she died, and his deep regrets that they hadn’t made peace had intensified his grief.
Gayle continued wiping her face as she struggled to regain her composure. But I could see grief winning out. "Take your time," I said gently. "I know it's hard to talk about."
Her face crumpled. “I’ve cried so much in the past few weeks that I’ve made myself sick,” she sobbed. “I’m totally devastated about Sabrina.”
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and collected herself. “Okay. I’m ready to tell you the story,” she said quietly. “I was part of the group at the campground—there were six of us who’ve been friends for years. We each went off separately on our personal journeys and Sabrina never came back. We searched, the rescue groups searched, the dogs searched, the helicopter searched. But no one has found her. And now they’re calling off the search.” She closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat.
The waitress showed up with our lunch. I took a quick bite, which actually tasted good. Bruce spread mustard on his burger and bit in.
Gayle picked at her salad. “I was blown away when Bruce told me about your Contact Project—that he actually talked to his daughter Charlene after she died and how he resolved things with her,” she said, her voice perking up a little. “At first I didn’t believe him when he said you put him in your apparition chamber. It’s so unlike Bruce to have anything to do with the paranormal. He debunks everything. When he told me he reached Charlene, and they forgave each other and said goodbye, I knew it was real for him.”
Bruce put his burger down. “I don’t debunk everything,” he said.
“Ha!” Gayle said. “Remember when I played the DVD of that movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? for you last year? You went on and on about how it misrepresented science, that it was pseudoscience, and quantum mysticism. You weren’t open to it at all, even though so many people liked it that it’s made over $16 million.”
Bruce scowled. “Gayle, the science was unsupported and incorrect. New Age hogwash. One of their so-called experts turned out to be a 35,000 year-old spirit from Atlantis.” Bruce gave her a self-satisfied grin as he speared a chunk of pineapple with his fork and returned to eating.
She laughed and gave him another poke. “Bruce, I’ve told you before, you totally missed the point. The movie is supposed to blow your mind, not engage it in an analysis. It’s about learning to become the creative force in your own life, instead of being a victim of circumstances. My friends and I have watched it over and over. We know group consciousness can change reality. If you looked up from your computer now and then, you’d see.”
They were off the track here, but I hesitated to break into habitual brother-sister banter. Also, I figured Gayle needed a few minutes to relax before we talked more about her missing friend. I focused on my lunch, thankful I could eat without gagging.
Bruce ignored Gayle’s jeers and turned to me. “Here’s the thing, Cleo,” he said. “Gayle needs to go into your apparition chamber and try to contact Sabrina to find out if she’s dead or alive. She needs to know and the sooner the better.”
Uh oh. As soon as Gayle said they didn't know whether or not Sabrina was dead, I should have guessed this was what Bruce wanted. But my apparition chamber is for grief-therapy clients who want to reach a loved one to resolve an issue, not for solving missing-person cases. I didn't want to refuse Bruce's request, but I had concerns about Gayle. “I understand that it’s hard not knowing what happened to your friend,” I said. “But the contact process may not make you feel any better.”
Gayle looked straight into my eyes. “It’s not about how I feel,” she said intensely. “It’s about how Sabrina’s sister Brandi has taken over Sabrina’s house and her son Ian. Sabrina would be furious. She expressly didn’t want that to ever happen. If she’s dead, everything is in trust for Ian, and I’m Ian’s guardian. But Brandi jumped in as soon as Sabrina went missing, and right now she has control. So I need to know if Sabrina is dead or alive.”
“I’m not sure the contact process can answer that question,” I said. “You could try to reach her, but if you do, it wouldn't constitute legal proof of her death, and if you don’t, that doesn’t mean she’s alive.”
Bruce broke in. “Actually I’d already thought of that,” he said. “I want you to do a thorough job. If Gayle can’t reach Sabrina, then the other women who were up there should try. In fact, why not start by meeting with all of them and telling them about the process. Get some of that group consciousness going. I’ll pay for your time—whatever it takes.”
Before I had a chance to think about how else to voice my reservations, Bruce slid out of the booth, stood up, and picked up his coat. “I have to go. You two can go on from here. Gayle can keep me updated.” He nodded at us and headed for the door.
“Oof!” Gayle said. “That’s my brother. Makes his point, and ducks out before the discussion gets complicated. But I suppose you’re used to his tactics.”
I shrugged. I'd have to go along, at least for a while. Not only had Bruce been very generous in funding my Contact Project, all he’d asked of me was that I operate professionally and that he remain anonymous as a funder. So even though the timing wasn’t ideal for me to get involved in a situation that smelled like trouble, I didn’t see any other options. “No problem,” I said. “Here’s my card. Call me and we can set up a time to talk more.”
Genre - Mystery
Rating – PG
Connect with Lynn Osterkamp on Twitter
- Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Sam’s Top Secret Journal – Book 1: Sam Spies by Sean Adelman. Join Sam as she embarks on her first big adventure in this middle-grade mystery full of fun, suspense…and just the right amount of spying! Sam is a middle school girl living a normal life-except when she is occasionally bullied for the differences kids perceive in her. Sam has Down syndrome. See how she and her brother John work together to find some stolen money, help a new friend and escape real danger in this exciting adventure!
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Genre – Middle Grade Mystery
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Sean Adelman on Facebook
Orangeberry Free Alert - Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar Chronicles: Book 2 by Jeff Gunhus
Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar chronicles: Book 2 - Jeff Gunhus
Genre - YA, Fantasy
Rating - PG
4.6 (14 reviews)
Free until 30 May 2013
After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.
“So you are really going ahead with the roommate thing?” Matthew’s voice crackled over the telephone.
Blake wasn’t sure if her brother’s words were garbled due to her faulty cell reception or if they were laced with emotion. She had, of course, announced with a flourish approximately six months ago that it had been the appropriate time in her life to purchase her own place. Up until then, they had been roommates themselves. But her wildly independent streak as well as a buyer’s market had persuaded her to take the leap into homeownership. That and the fact that Matthew was still best friends with her ex.
She just never expected to feel so alone.
“Yes, I guess I am,” she replied as she paced her floor.
“And you’re sure about this?” he pressed.
Blake sighed. No, not really. But posting a room for rent online and actually having someone sign a lease for it were two entirely different things. So what if someone was coming to look at the place tomorrow morning? If things didn’t feel right, she could always lie and say that she had been fielding a lot of calls and that, unfortunately, she had chosen someone else.
“You’re not having money problems, are you?” he continued.
“No,” she responded quickly. Now that had upset her a little bit.
“Just be careful.” Matthew warned.
Despite herself, Blake chuckled. If anyone should be giving that advice, it should be the other way around. Matthew’s indiscretions had been the whole reason that they themselves had been roommates. Although it had been a terrible, uncomfortable time in both their lives, it had been the beginning of their beautiful friendship. There was no one else that she trusted as wholly and completely as her brother. Their past had forced them to lean on each other in a way she never would have imagined when she was younger, and they had ended up on the other side as better people for it.
Matthew either chose to ignore the giggle or he found the irony in the situation. There was silence on the other end of the line until Blake whispered her response.
Genre – Romance / Chick Lit
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
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- Sunday, May 26, 2013
Can you tell us about your main character? Marcus Tegerius Castimus is a relatively noble kind of guy. His family is wealthy, but they have lost the clout they once enjoyed as contributing members of Roman society. Castimus wants to serve in public office, work in politics, restore his family name. He longs for the mob’s adoration for serving them well. For all intents and purposes, Castimus isn’t all that different from young people today; he wants fame and power. The problem with Castimus is that he wants others to give him what he wants. He is always looking for that angle, rubbing elbows with the powerful who can say a word and grant his desires. Castimus is a pretty green guy. Naïve only scratches the surface. Shallow would be a good term to use if you took away the negative connotation. He has a long road to travel… and a lot to learn about himself and his place in the world.
How did you develop your plot and characters? As I researched story structure and such, I came across a wonderful resource called Dramatica. The book is very detailed and breaks down the elements quite comprehensively. I recommend it to anyone looking to understand the components of story. So, I worked almost eight months just on plot, character makeup, themes, issues, etc. It was a lot of work up front, but by the time I came to actually write the text, it was a piece of cake since all the heavy lifting was already done.
Who designed the cover? The book cover was designed by the Publisher, Delizon International Book Publishers.
Who is your publisher? Delizon International Book Publishers
Why did you choose to write this particular book? This story represents something that is very dear to my heart. It is the idea of being true to yourself in the face of stressful pressure. Situations like these always bring out the worst in people, but there are those who do it with tremendous grace. Naturally it wasn’t always so. There was a process behind finding the strength to be that strength for others. That is what this story is about: finding the personal balance of self and sacrifice.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? The hardest part about writing this book is making the protagonist so green and naïve. Every story has to start somewhere and go somewhere. But starting at the beginning, Castimus is in a place that I found myself in many years ago. Reliving those feelings and experiences for Castimus was rather uncomfortable. But, like Castimus will find, these experiences form the foundation of who we become and why.
How do you promote this book? I have taken the digital road mostly for promoting the book. While there have been signings and meet-and-greets, the bulk of my platform has been online. Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, etc. Of course, coming from a filmmaking background, I have also made a book trailer and commercial. The screenplay adaptation is complete and being shopped around as well.
Will you write others in this same genre? For Gods and For Men is book one in a nine volume series. Not only will I write again in the same genre, but I’ll carry the story forward. Beyond this series, it is still too early to tell if I’ll write more urban fantasy.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? The point that readers should walk away with after reading the novel is that your goals and dreams are important, but you need to work hard to achieve them. There isn’t a team of professionals who sole purpose in life is to give you what you want. If you have a dream, find a way to make it happen yourself. Initiative and instincts, everyone has them but not everyone uses them.
How much of the book is realistic? Well, if you can get past the immortals, the werewolves, and the vampires, yes, the book is realistic. It is realistic in terms of character. The way people are behaving and reacting to their circumstances and situations is true to life. Of course those situations are a bit fantastic. Then there is the actual location. I attempted to portray Rome and Alexandria, Egypt, as authentically as I could. I wanted the reader to feel the pressure of everyday life, the solace people turn to in that day, and the society they faced.
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Genre – Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG13
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- Saturday, May 25, 2013
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bette Lee Crosby
1) Bette Lee reads and personally answers every bit of fan mail and every note readers send her.
2) Her neighborhood book club meeting is the one thing Bette Lee will absolutely never miss.
3) A sucker for cuddly white dogs, Bette creates her own calendar using pictures of her Bichon Frise Sugar.
4) She is a bona fide night owl, and you can catch Bette meandering through Facebook, Pinterest and her Twitter feed in the wee small hours of the morning.
5) Bette teaches Sunday School to first grade kids.
6) Being kind is the most important personality trait a person can have, Bette believes.
7) She also thinks after two glasses of wine, everything is funnier.
8) She claims there is considerable truth in Elizabeth Taylor’s words “The problem with people who have no vices is that you can generally be sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”
9) Bette’s desk is way too small and always cluttered with notebooks, papers and planners.
10) Before becoming a novelist, Bette lived in shivery cold New Jersey and was co-owner of an advertising agency.
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Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG13
Twenty-something accountant Matt Warner enrols at an exclusive weight loss resort with his career on the line should he fail to shed the pounds from his paunchy frame.
Before long the accountant realises that his girth is the least of his problems as there is something deeply wrong with the Phoenix Resort where it’s no gain and all pain.
It’s a serving of full fat fear for the guests who must fight for their lives to survive the week.
Matt Warner is going to lose weight, or die trying.
Killer Abs is an 11,403 word short body (pump) horror comedy, with content for mature audiences.
Previous praise for the Author’s work:
“I think that you will enjoy the way Mr. O’Brien ties everything together and pits some of, if not the most famous characters in literature against each other. The story is fast paced with lots of action and adventure: a very enjoyable read and I wholeheartedly recommend it”
FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND
“Luckily for is it seems that D R O’Brien is tainted with just enough craziness to pull this task off. O’Brien has breathed new life into these well known and well loved characters. Thrilling, horrific, and funny at the same time which is no mean feat… O’Brien is a talented writer.”
GINGERNUTS OF HORROR BLOG
“Shakespeare’s characters duking it out with Lovecraft’s creatures? Sign us up immediately!
“All very inventive, clever and ghoulishly entertaining… Bizarre, baroque and amusing…”
CONTAINS MODERATE PERIL
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Genre – Horror
Rating – 18+
Orangeberry Book of the Day - For the Future Generations (For a Generation) by Anastasia Faith (Excerpt)
For the Future Generations
[Book 1 of the "For a Generation" series]
Alamogordo, New Mexico
The sun set over Alamogordo, New Mexico and night fell in the desert. Thick black clouds shifted over the horizon, contrasting the orange sky above, and casting shadows on the barren landscape.
In one mound of sand and rock sat an underground house with a tan roof protruding from the top of the hill. The residents had built a door in the side of the roof. This remained locked during daylight hours. Inside this house, the Channing family had just finished their evening meal. The women in the family cleaned the last of the dishes, the father worked in his office, and a ten-year-old boy grew restless. The boy had a head of strawberry curls, a round face, and deep blue eyes.
He scampered down the hall and pounded on his father’s office chamber door. His father, Kelvin Channing, a college professor, would be grading the day’s homework or preparing assignments for the next school day.
“It’s Declan,” he called.
“Yes, Declan?” Kelvin answered through the door. “What do you want?”
“Laken, Chaslyn, and I want to go outside.” Declan said. “Is it safe?”
“It’s 8:00,” Kelvin said. “I don’t see why not. Remember to wear your coat.”
Declan glanced at the clock on his touch screen music device. He and his two sisters had to stay indoors until after dark because his sisters, being conjoined twins, were frowned upon in the eyes of the culture.
In Declan’s day, “handicapped” individuals were those who could not contribute financially. They required government assistance and were considered a burden to society. These handicaps could be something as simple as inseparable conjoined twins, or as severe as major cerebral palsy or quadriplegia. Benevolent medical professionals would simply deny them healthcare, while the majority would euthanize them, with or without a caretaker’s permission. At their doctor’s warning seven years before, Kelvin and Ayla Channing had relocated with their three-year-old triplets—Declan, Laken, and Chaslyn—from Kansas City, Missouri to a desert in New Mexico, hoping it would be safer. Several families who were close friends with the Channings had also come to ease the adjustment. They had scheduled their days so the triplets would be able to spend time with their friends at night.
Removing his coat from a hook near the front door, Declan slipped into it. His sisters came into the living room after they had finished cleaning the kitchen. They too were becoming restless, and the Alamogordo evening beckoned them.
“Did Dad give us permission?” Chaslyn asked.
Declan nodded and assisted Laken and Chaslyn into a special joining coat tailored for them, since they joined at one of their forearms. They piled into an elevator that led to the roof. The elevator opened, and Declan unlocked the door. They stepped out onto the sand and raced down the side of the hill to their “fort”, a crude structure constructed of logs stacked so they overlapped each other. As the evening progressed, the children’s friends arrived and joined in the imagination games.
Over their playing and laughter, Declan could hear a transporter door slam shut and then footsteps approaching. As they grew louder and came closer, Declan became increasingly concerned. All of their friends were with them, and others rarely visited the deserted area.
“Wait here,” he cautioned his sisters. “I’m going to see where that noise is coming from. Guys, keep your guard over them for just a minute.”
Fearing the worst, he left them in the fort and stole away to track the source of the footsteps. He scampered a few feet down the path behind their house. He saw a silhouette several feet in front of him, standing in the glow of a transporter’s headlights. As it came closer, he perceived a middle-aged man holding a flat nylon case.
“Who are you?” Declan demanded. “Don’t come any closer.”
“Declan, I can’t tell you much,” the man replied hurriedly, as if in a rush. “You need to trust me. My name is Mr. Wilcox; I’m a time traveler.”
Mr. Wilcox handed Declan the case. He unzipped it and found an electronic notepad. Opening a side compartment, he pulled out an automatically recharging payment card or ARPC for short. Declan searched his face for an explanation, both of the contents and of the fact this stranger knew his name.
“Keep this book a secret.” Wilcox instructed. “When the time comes, you’ll know who it’s for.”
“What about the ARPC?” He questioned. “Dad opened an account for my sisters and me, but only because he has a job; they’re linked to his. This card’s number isn’t the one on mine.”
“It will be in about thirteen years.” Mr. Wilcox said, “Remember, I’m a time traveler.”
Declan powered up the book so he could read the content, only to find it blank. He flipped it over in his hands and toyed with it, trying to discern why it would not grant him access. He pressed the bottom of the device. It squawked and a negating red light flashed.
“What happened?” He asked the man.
“I set the privacy so only the future recipient can open it. Underneath the electronic device is a fingerprint reader. It’s programmed for only my fingerprints and the person who will receive it.” Mr. Wilcox explained. “There’s an unlocked note at the beginning that I addressed to you.”
With these words, Mr. Wilcox vanished into the night and Declan focused his attention on the unlocked message.
“Declan Channing,” it instructed, “return to the place where you met me at 7 in the morning on May 1st, 2130, when you are twenty-seven. Bring this book with you. On June 30th of 2130, leave the ARPC I gave you—and your FBI badge—at the Indianapolis, Indiana branch of the bank where your account is.”
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Genre - Christian YA Fiction
Rating – PG
- Friday, May 24, 2013
“Heartrending and humorous.” Kirkus Reviews
“Highly recommended.” Dr. Alan Gettis, Ph.D., author of The Happiness Solution
“An unforgettable memoir.” San Francisco Book Review
In the tradition of Frank McCourt and Angela’s Ashes, Don Dempsey uses Betty’s Child to tell the story of life with his cruel and neglectful mother, his mother’s abusive boyfriends, and hypocritical church leaders who want to save twelve-year-old Donny’s soul but ignore threats to his physical well-being. Meanwhile, Donny’s best friend is trying to recruit Donny to do petty theft and deal drugs for a dangerous local thug.
Young Donny is a real-life cross between Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield as he tells his story, with only his street smarts and sense of humor to guide him. Donny does everything he can to take care of himself and his younger brothers, but with each new development, the present becomes more fraught with peril–and the future more uncertain.
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Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG13
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Artful Dodger - Nageeba Davis
Genre - Romantic Suspense
Rating - PG13
5 (4 reviews)
Free until 26 May 2013
Take one funny, wise-cracking artist, one gorgeous, sexy detective, throw in a grizzly murder, a little amateur sleuthing, and you have the makings of a wild, romantic, mis-adventure.
Art teacher and sculptor Maggie Kean thought she was having a rotten day, burning her toast, stubbing her toe, and all before eight in the morning. Things just couldn't get any worse. At least, until the dead body clogs up her toilet. To make matters worse, Maggie becomes the prime suspect. Now all she has to do is evade the police, clear her name, trap a killer...and deal with one mouth-watering, hunky detective who drives her crazy while making her hormones do the happy dance.
- Thursday, May 23, 2013
American Ghoul - Walt Morton
Genre - Horror
Rating - PG13
5 (12 reviews)
Free until 24 May 2013
AMERICAN GHOUL tells the story of seventeen-year-old Howard Pickman, a boy with odd problems. He just got dumped into the worst high school in the state of New Jersey, but that's nothing compared to his secret family history of digging up corpses for dinner. This is a novel filled with the creepy funkiness of the 1970s, a bygone age of punk rock, bad disco and muscle cars roaring through hot summer nights. AMERICAN GHOUL explores the good times of teenage friendships and the darkness at the heart of American youth. It's a fun, scary, and zany look at a time when being a teenager was so dangerous you just might have to be a monster in order to survive.
AMERICAN GHOUL is recommended for readers from age 13+ on up. If you lived through the 1970s, a few flashbacks are guaranteed, both pleasant and shocking.
“You know who I am and you know what he is, so you better start talking. I saw him come in here earlier.” The stocky man slams his hand down on the table. He keeps his eyes locked forward and squeezes his hand, making the veins in his forearm pop.
This elicits the desired response, and James has to fight back a smile. The owner of the grungy little shop nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of the hand slamming on the dirty laminate counter top. It’s the typical type of place a sympathizer might own. Funneling black market goods might pay the bills, but this guy certainly isn’t getting rich off this line of work.
“Look man, I don’t know what you’re talking about. So you better buy something or…” James’s hand shoots out and grabs the shop owner’s neck. A slight squeeze cuts off his voice with a gargle.
“Don’t you lie to me. The smell in here is enough to make me puke. One warlock doesn’t smell up a joint like this,” James says through gritted teeth. “I saw him leave here earlier and have been chasing him since. I lost him when he jumped off the fifth floor of the parking garage over on Beaubien Street and took off toward the river. Tell me where he stays and maybe I’ll let you live.”
He squeezes just a bit tighter and the shop owner’s eyes bulge just slightly from his now-purple face. A noise squeaks from his collapsing throat that sounds enough like agreement to allow James to release his grip. The shop owner rubs the red area where the incredibly strong hand was affixed and clears his throat loudly.
“He’s gonna kill me. Ya know it’s true, hunter,” the shop owner says in his new, gravelly voice.
“Either him or me.” James opens his jacket and taps the gun sticking out of his waist band. Surprisingly, this doesn’t get a rise out of the man behind the counter.
“That supposed to scare me? You know what that warlock can do. He’s not normal. The things he will do to me will hurt far worse than getting shot. Maybe I should just let you shoot me and get it over with.”
James looks at the mousey man and puts his hand on the butt of his gun. The man might be afraid of the warlock but he is clearly more afraid of dying. He can barely stop the words from spewing from his mouth.
“Alright, alright. Ya better get him though, or we’ll both be dead. He hangs out in Milliken Park down on the river. It’s off Atwater Street. Not that I care if you live, but you better be careful, hunter. Like I said, this warlock is different. Got some powers I haven’t seen in a long time.”
“Oh, dontcha worry about me. Believe it or not I know what I’m doing.” James walks to the door. “And if he isn’t there, I’ll be back. No need to worry.”
The air outside the shop is cool, even for September in Michigan. James regrets not dressing warmer. His body shivers, partly from the cold but mostly from frustration. He does not usually have this much trouble and rarely has to run like he has today. The air burns his lungs like he is breathing boiling coffee. The money he was paid isn’t worth all the trouble this warlock has given him and the thing doesn’t look much older than JC. Should have asked for hazard pay, he thinks to himself.
James heads down the street toward the area he believes is the park. His mind is preoccupied with thoughts of JC and his first day at yet another high school. He bumps into an older couple walking with bags of groceries. Cans and boxes scatter all over the sidewalk. He scrambles to help the folks clean up their food and moves on quickly. He can’t let anyone get a good look at him. If things get ugly with the warlock, he can’t have the local news putting his description on TV.
He generally prides himself on staying anonymous. No one will mistake him for a body builder, but James is sure that most people would not want to run into him hiding in an alley unless they have some sort of power. Despite his stocky frame, there is nothing particularly striking about James. Most would say he looks fairly ordinary. Not strikingly handsome but not ugly either. He could be an accountant when he isn’t wearing army cargos and a black hooded sweatshirt. Hopefully the old couple was so startled they forget everything about him.
It’s nearly dark when James reaches the park. The acidic stench of the warlock hangs on the air and almost ruins the beautiful park set inside the city. The park is completely out of place. Trails lead in every direction and trees line numerous lush green clearings. It would be easy to forget about being in the city altogether.
James heads toward a raised walkway at the edge of the river, letting his nose show him the way. This would be the perfect place for a warlock to hide out. Plenty of space to watch potential victims. It would be easy to snatch someone, drag them into the woods and perform a spell without anyone seeing. Wouldn’t matter how elaborate the ritual, the trees would provide ample cover. One day having a nice picnic in the park, the next kidnapped and waking up to a nightmare–a warlock having stolen their identity or, worse, having made them do terrible things all while they were completely unaware.
This sentiment makes James shudder. He shakes his head and moves further up the river walk. The cold has driven most people out of the park. Only a few people stroll down the walkway, fighting the strengthening breeze. About fifty yards ahead, James sees someone that sparks his interest.
Sitting alone on a bench is a young-looking man wearing an oversized coat. James stops and breathes deeply, but the wind at his back makes it hard to tell if the warlock is close. He takes a step forward and the man bolts off the bench. James rips the gun from his waist and levels it at the young man.
He begins to squeeze the trigger but feels a rumble under his feet. Before he knows it, his shoes are no longer touching the ground. The river walk crumbles into the water below. He hits the water with arms and legs still trying to find steady ground. He surfaces as quickly as possible, gasping for air.
Thankfully, the water is still warm from the summer. James looks up and sees a huge hole in the walkway twenty feet above him. He looks around, sees a ladder 100 yards down the river and lets the slight current drag him toward it.
The wind bites at him as he reaches the top rung and pulls himself onto the walkway. He strips off his soaked hooded sweatshirt and scans the area. He sees movement in the distance between some trees and reaches instinctually toward his waist for his gun but comes up empty. He stares into the river knowing his favorite piece is long gone.
He turns and walks away from the tree line, back toward the city. He doesn’t know what to do without his gun. Hunting has evolved in the last 200 years or so to the point that he has become reliant on shooting as an answer to his problems. It’s no longer necessary to burn a witch, and using a pail of water always had its problems, anyway. Fire does a fine job just like it would with any animal, but a bullet does the trick a lot easier. It takes a hunter a long time to realize they do not need to stock up on garlic and wolfsbane to ward off evil spirits. Silver bullets do work a bit better than the junk from the sporting goods store and nothing beats a wooden stake up close, but who really wants to get that close? Plus, there isn’t always time to drive a stake in the ground or spread a salt ring to protect yourself.
The problem is everyone thinks witches and warlocks are busy running around a castle in England fighting bad wizards with wands, but that just isn’t true. If people knew how heartless these creatures are, they wouldn’t let their kids dress up like them on Halloween or stand in line to see movies glorifying them.
James moves quickly away from the park, putting as much distance between himself and the warlock as possible. After ten blocks, he sees an alley and ducks in to rest and get his bearings. This wasn’t supposed to be so difficult. It’s just a young warlock, he thinks to himself as he crouches next to a dumpster.
A few smaller trashcans help hide his position but are too small to hide his broad shoulders. He sits down on the dirty ground and takes in his surroundings. He could not have picked a worse place. This is the kind of alley even a bum wouldn’t sleep in. Whoever is dumping trash here doesn’t care if it ends up in a dumpster or not. At least the smell of rotten fish is a welcome change from the warlock.
Something crashes off to his left and James shakes his head to clear the cobwebs. He glances down the alley but nothing appears out of the ordinary. Just a bunch of kids horsing around out on the street. A boy picks his grimy body up off the ground and starts after his friend. James’s heart beats way too fast and he takes a deep breath. It rolls out of his mouth like smoke and he pats the area where his gun should be again.
“Getting way too old for this. I guess this will have to do,” he whispers as he slowly pulls the six inch blade from his boot.
Suddenly, his nostrils fill with a depressingly familiar smell. Even the rotting fish in the dumpster can’t cover it up. He looks around but sees no one in the alley. His body tenses at the eerie lack of movement out on the street. People should be moving about at this time night, especially in a busy town like this. Maybe they are all down the street a bit. Daylight is gone now and he cannot see much beyond the edge of the buildings. That smell is strong. It seems to come from all around him. He inches slowly around the trashcan and into the alley. He turns toward the main street at the end of the buildings and takes one step forward, quickly glancing over his shoulder.
A blinding pain shoots through James’s throat as a thin, but incredibly strong, forearm slides around it. He lets out a terrified yelp for the first time in years as he loses the grip on his knife. It clanks on the concrete like a church bell ringing. James struggles to get out of the warlock’s grasp. He can feel its hot breath on the back of his head and the smell begins to burn his nostrils. If he could breathe, he would puke. James’s head whips back and he can see an old, broken fire escape above him. He did not notice it before. Such an obvious hiding spot, he can’t help but think.
“What do you want with me, hunter?” The warlock hisses in his ear.
Rancid breath fills his nose, and he can feel heat radiating off of the warlock’s body. He does not understand why the warlock would have a conversation at this point. He has been shooting at it all day. He did not hesitate to try to kill, why would this creature give him this type of courtesy? If he could get to his knife he would stab straight through the thing’s heart. Instead of killing him, the warlock is more concerned with James’s job description. Compassion is not their strong suit. No negotiating with a hunter or with a monster. The rules of war are being broken. The forearm begins to release a little pressure in anticipation of his answer and he gasps for air. His lungs are really on fire now.
“It’s nothing personal. Just a job,” he chokes before the blinding pressure returns to his throat.
James sees the witch’s mark on the creature’s forearm move as the muscles strain to block air from his lungs. Curious things, those marks. Often they look like any ordinary tattoo, with criss-crossing in varying patterns depending on the clan. This particular one is in the shape of the letter “Y” with two lines running through the curved stem. It is the only way to be certain that you have a witch or warlock on your hands and not just an extraordinarily smelly person. Every one of these creatures is born with the little symbol. It really would be fitting if this mark is the last thing he ever sees.
“JUST A JOB,” the warlock snarls. “IT’S NOT A JOB, THIS IS MY LIFE! You hunters seem to think you are the only things on the planet with a life. I did nothing to no one. Understand that? You need to learn that things bigger than you are going on all the time. Maybe in the future you won’t be so quick to shoot at someone who isn’t bothering you or your family. Next time the consequences might be far worse than today. Next time I will rip your heart from your chest. Believe me, I better not see you ever again.”
Everything goes black as something thuds against James’s head.
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Genre – YA Supernatural Thriller
Rating – PG13
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- Wednesday, May 22, 2013
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
~ Robert Frost
*Evie’s family has been holding out on her … Big time.
On an unexpected visit to her grandparents’ house in New Hampshire’s secluded North Woods, the sixteen-year-old literally runs into the truth of the long-hidden family secrets, and finds herself thrust without warning into the clandestine world of the Great North Pack—a wild and exhilarating world of rugged beauty, heart-pounding adventures, and long nights running under a sea of stars … but as she’s set to discover, a world also fraught with potential dangers lurking in the shadows.
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Genre - YA / Fantasy / Paranormal
Rating – PG to PG13
More details about the author
Unintended Consequences by Marti Green
Genre - Legal Thriller
Rating - PG
4.4 (180 reviews)
Free until 23 May 2013
How much would a father sacrifice for his child?
Nineteen years ago, Indiana police found the body of a young girl, burned beyond recognition and buried in the woods. They arrested George Calhoun for murdering his daughter, and his wife testified against him at the trial. The jury convicted him. Now his appeals have been exhausted, and his execution is just a few weeks away.
George said he didn’t do it. That the body isn’t his little Angelina. But that’s all he’s ever said – no other defense, no other explanation.
Dani Trumball, an attorney for the Help Innocent Prisoners Project, wants to believe him. After all, there was no forensic evidence that the body in the woods was George’s daughter. But if the girl isn’t Angelina, then who is it? And what happened to the Calhouns’ missing daughter?
For nineteen years, George Calhoun has stayed silent. But that’s about to change, and the story he tells Dani—if it’s true—changes everything.
S'wanee: A Paranoid Thriller - Don Winston
Genre - Suspense, Thriller
Rating - PG13
4.4 (37 reviews)
Free until 23 May 2013
A spellbinding campus. A new family of friends. A semester of death.
High school senior Cody's prayers are answered when he's recruited on scholarship to the college of his dreams: a stunning and prestigious school tucked high in the Tennessee hills.
But the dream turns living nightmare when his classmates start to die off mysteriously. Is it Cody's imagination, or are his friends' tragic deaths a sinister legacy handed down through the generations? And is he next on the roll call?
A coming-of-age, paranoid thriller in the vein of Ira Levin, "S'wanee" weaves psychological suspense with dark humor in its brutal descent to a shocking climax.
Make Me a Match
Achichi decorator came up with the color of one of the walls in my Beverly Hills office by matching paint swatches to the silky dark chocolate Godiva heart-shaped ganaches that sit in a crystal dish alongside Teuscher Irish Cream truffles, and chocolate cordials of cherries soaked in black port and wrapped in gold foil. We do pamper our clients. I mention this so you’ll know that there are many aspects of my job that I absolutely adore. Such niceties distract me from fantasies of . . . dismemberment.
Hi Marla, Scott, here. I’m so glad I joined your dating agency; I can see this is going to be verrrrry interesting. . . . Hey, the gal you lined me up with last evening was gorgeous, but I would really like my matches to be a 10 or, ideally, a 10+. And the gal needs to back up her beauty with an income of her own and her own living quarters. No roommate situations. I don’t waste my time with someone who doesn’t live up to my expectations—you know, long legs, firm small butt, double-D’s, thin arms, blonde hair.
To paraphrase the deathless sentiments of Roseanne Barr, I’ll get my wand. Oh, wait, it’s in the repair shop, utterly depleted. I’m having to make do with our back-up magic lamp, but the genie keeps laughing and muttering about peace in the Middle East being an easier request as he disappears in a puff of smoke. He’s such a joker. But since you have so much to offer, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the woman of your fantasies since all the 10+s in our database say that a man willing to plough up his bald scalp with those cute little tufts of implanted hair is a real turn-on. And most “gals” don’t mind giving up their stilettos to avoid towering over a man of your stature.
Of course, I don’t write this. This is my first email of the day at Double D Dating Service here in Beverly Hills where I’m the head matchmaker. Double D is not the company’s real name, as you may have guessed, just my own special pet name for it. I dash off a breezy professional response to Scott as if diplomacy were my mother tongue.
I’m so glad you enjoyed your evening with a gorgeous woman. A new and interesting experience, huh? Well, we do have an ever-growing list of many stunning women, eager to meet you. I’ll get back to you later in the day with another name.
Something is nagging at me. Oh, my conscience. It’s not bothering me at all about the direct lie: eager to meet you. I’ve left in a little dig. I change that one snarky line about dating gorgeous women being a new experience to simply “An interesting experience indeed,” and hit send. Next email.
I really found Sandy to be attractive, fun, intelligent, and cultured. We had a great time. The only thing is, I am wondering if she has a big butt. She was wearing one of those puffy dresses. She says that she does all kinds of activities like dance classes, working out at the gym, and hiking, but I just can’t be sure how big her butt is. Is there any way you can let me know if it’s big or if the dress she was wearing just gave that illusion?
Joe, don’t you know that when we bring a woman into our service, it means that we have carefully inspected her butt from every angle and therefore certify it is also a 10 along with the rest of her? I’m so glad you asked though, because you must never ever consider dating a woman with flesh on her butt. Oversized curves belong above the waist only. Makes perfect sense. How could nature have created such a serious design flaw?
Sigh. I find it so comforting to type out what I truly want to say to some of these clods before writing the response I must write. God forbid Gary should ever see this stuff. I am, after all, good at what I do. Pictures of my successes hang on the chocolate-colored wall above fresh pale pink hydrangeas: two of happy couples at their respective posh wedding receptions and several more couples on honeymoons at places like Bellagio on Lake Como in Italy, or snorkeling with humpback whales off Vava’u, Tonga, in the South Pacific, or skiing in Aspen. I do still believe in love—the soul-mate kind of love. I think deep down, the Scotts and Josephs do too. They just rarely know it.
Sandy’s dress probably created the wrong illusion. Call her for another date; I think you will be pleased to find that in addition to being beautiful, intelligent, and a most remarkable woman, she’s also fit and trim.
I polish off my vanilla soy latte, ready for the next email, when I hear Gary, my boss, barking at Charlotte, the other matchmaker in the office. She hangs her head as she follows him into his office. He doesn’t usually come in on Thursdays, so this isn’t looking good for Charlotte.
I step outside the artistically etched glass double doors of my office to check with Alana at the front desk. “What’s going on?” I ask in a stage whisper.
Alana, a petite blonde in her twenties with big brown eyes and a gorgeous smile, is just about to say something when Gary strides over. “Back to work!” he tells me. Then to Alana he says, “Find the Harrison file. . . . And never wear those shoes here again. If you want to look like Peter Pan, work somewhere else.”
I can’t help but turn to check out Alana’s shoes. Ohh, they’re darling: green flats with little cut-outs of stars.
“Marla, I hope you have some makeup in your bag,” Gary says. “You’re looking washed out again. Do you go to the gym before work or something? Don’t you two get it that we’re all about glamour and sex appeal here? Our clients don’t want Peter Pan and Miss Grundy lining up their matches.”
“Right,” I say, feeling my face redden to the roots of my already red hair. “I’ll touch up.” Gary can be a nice guy, but he does go on rampages.
Back in my office, I pile all my black matchmaking catalogues on my desk to hide from Gary’s view. I eat a chocolate. Then another. One more. Call it an early lunch. Mmmmm. Better. Deep breaths, a few affirmations. I am young and hot-looking. I am a terrific matchmaker. I am lucky to have this job.
Back to work. Next email.
Denise looks like she’s pushing forty. Not to say there’s anything wrong with that. I live in Newport, so I can’t help but date forty-year-olds occasionally, but when it comes to being set up with someone through an exclusive agency such as yours, I don’t want to waste “matches.” And we need to talk about Natasha, the last gal you lined me up with—a bit low-brow, don’t you think? I will send you a few photos of females that I find attractive so hopefully that will help you see the caliber of beauty I’m seeking. I want to date ONLY beautiful women, and I just won’t settle for anything less.
Let me know if anyone in your stable meets my criteria.
I had matched him with Natasha because of the astonishing bounty of her bosom. But as to Denise—she’s nowhere near the accursed four-oh. But if she were, how could any man in his fifties possibly be expected to tolerate a crone of such advanced years?
His comment reminds me that I haven’t “touched up” yet. I pull out my compact and scrutinize time’s deepening etch in the tiny lines around my eyes. I pat them over with mineral powder, add a dusting of blush to my cheeks, a brighter lipstick, and heavy gloss.
I sit back and ponder the photo of Denise, a gorgeous twenty-eight-year-old woman, and all I can do is shake my head. This beautiful young woman is Dave’s fourth reject. Before I worked in the matchmaking field, I honestly had no idea how shallow, picky, selfish, and entitled some clients could be. After six years of feedback, demands, and expectations, I’m still thrown for a loop now and then. I don’t want to pass judgment on people; I want to keep an open heart, but geez.
It’s times like this when I need an anchor, a sane voice, someone who lives far away from the zany nuttiness of Beverly Hills. I call my friend Shelly in Federal Way, Washington, where we both grew up—it’s a little suburb of Seattle, a land far away from this town’s obsession with age, looks, and perfection.
“Listen to this,” I tell her and then read her Dave’s email— anonymously, of course.
I hear a gasp on the other end of the line.
“My reaction exactly,” I tell her.
“What is he? Some rich stud?”
“Well, rich anyway. I’m supposed to find matches for these guys. They all want perfect 10s—even if they’re dweebs who’d be lucky to rate a 5!”
“What about the women?”
“Yeah, some days the gold-diggers and airheads get to me too.”
“Guess I don’t have to envy you anymore, thinking that you have the perfect life in Los Angeles,” Shelly teases. “At least you’re not still a waitress in Chicago.”
Shelly is referring to my life seven years ago. Memories of my fourteen years spent waiting on tables jolt my sense of perspective, spurring me to work ever harder and continue with the exasperating emails,.
I see Charlotte walk past my door, head held high, but I can tell she’s gotten the ax. She starts cleaning out her office. We weren’t close, so I won’t be going over and chatting. I’ll get the scoop later from Alana. After Charlotte leaves, Gary sticks his nose in my door.
“You look better,” he says. “You’ll have to meet Charlotte’s noon appointment. I’m not replacing her, so you’ll be taking her people.” He closes the door and leaves before I can say anything.
In other words, double the work, same pay. Oh boy!
Dutifully, I meet Andy and take him into the “selling office” with its stunning wall fountain sheeting water over pink-veined slabs of granite and pooling in a pink copper basin beneath two spotlights angled to form a soft heart-shape. The arty painting on the opposite wall captures dancers, hungry with passion, a slash of pink light falling on the woman’s tan face and cleavage. Its subtle eroticism is designed to inspire rich guys to pay top dollar for what they imagine will be the world’s classiest women. I offer the new client something to drink, and we settle in to chat about what he is looking for in a lady and what his lifestyle is like.
Andy has just flown in for the day to buy a sex life, I mean meet someone, and then he’ll jet back to Dallas. He has the most charming Southern accent.
He’s forty-six years old with three kids: aged eight, ten, and twelve. He explains that he would like to meet women under thirty because he’d like the option of having another child.
Uh-huh. Right. He’s eager to go through diapers and babysitters and soccer games for the fourth time. I’ve found that men usually claim to want one more kid as an excuse to date younger women.
I learn that Andy likes riding horses, racing cars, playing golf, working out at the gym, and traveling. He says that although he isn’t a redneck, he’s a redneck at heart—whatever that means. “Do you prefer a fresh-faced girl-next-door look, or more of a Pamela Anderson type of look?” I ask him.
He mentions blonde hair and nice legs, then pulls on his goatee and says, “Well, now I’ll tell you, my ex-wife wears a C-cup, but she has nice nipples.”
I stop taking notes. And so . . . ?
Then I get it. This guy expects me to know what a woman’s nipples are like! I focus on my clipboard and remind myself that he will be paying $40,000 to find the right woman. Maybe more. I manage not to hiss at him.
After the meeting, I walk Andy down to the taxi stand. He turns to me and says, “I want you to be honest. Do you think that I have a chance to meet the right girl? Am I going to be too difficult to match up?”
“Not at all, Andy! You’re a great catch with a wonderful lifestyle.” Lots of gorgeous L.A. women are closet rednecks. “I’ll start looking for matches for you this week. Have a safe trip.” I want to add: and I’ll be investigating nipple potential for you, sir!
I’m also remembering a recent client who broke up with a thirty-two-year-old woman he really liked because he said that she had big areolas. Yes, big areolas! She was perfect in every way: sweet, charming, financially secure, intelligent, cute as a posy with a rockin’ body, but he said that he dreaded when she took off her blouse. After dating him, she felt so insecure that she called a plastic surgeon to see if he’d take a look at her areolas. Yikes!
I guess I should change our questionnaire to include nipple preferences. I could put in something subtle like, “How do you feel about headlights on a Duesenberg?” I’ve seen older guys fall over themselves laughing at this line. I had to look it up. Fabulously snazzy old car with, you know, big headlights, wink, wink.
Something has gone too far though.
I don’t mind telling you that when I first took this job, I considered myself young and hot-looking, but after working with some of these guys and hearing their smug criticism over every aspect of a woman’s body, I’m a bit crestfallen. Getting bombarded with male mating preferences is very disconcerting. Now that I’m fortyish, I look in the mirror, and I see someone who looks pretty darn good looking back at me. So why are so many men obsessing over the extra ounce of flesh, the telltale frown line, and nipple perfection? Gimme a flippin’ break!
I push past the clueless effrontery of these men every day, but once in a while, I catch myself judging my most intimate anatomy by their standards. I get so many of these emails every week, they slither around in my head nagging at me about how I’m officially “undesirable”—according to what most of my male clients think they want and must have. How could these idiots close themselves off to the wonders of love for something so damn insignificant?
I take a deep breath or two. I’m already a little wired with caffeine, but I cannot get through the rest of this day without another soy latte. ’Bucks is just down the street, and I still have a few minutes left of my lunch break.
I need this job, I remind myself while in line for my midday fix. And, I mean, who doesn’t want an ideal mate? A dream lover is the stuff of fantasies. Yet, who among us is ideal? The pain of being dumped or disappointed is what keeps people going to shrinks, buying self-help books, bravely enduring elective surgery—and hiring us.
Bolstered by another caffeine infusion, I slog through the rest of the day, interviewing men who are willing to spend up to $100,000 to get the woman of their fantasies. (The women do not pay. This figures: If you’re a gorgeous woman, it is unlikely you are going to need to pay anyone to find you a date.) I keep current on the feedback. Both the man and woman are to report on how they found their date: strong mate potential? Problems? Did everyone “behave” themselves? I think you know what I mean.
Gary has left for the day, and Alana comes into my office with the scoop. “Charlotte was fired because two clients complained she didn’t pay attention to what they were looking for. You know what that means!”
“Yeah. They’ll now be my problem,” I say.
At six o’clock, I still have an hour to go before quitting time. I grab my cell phone and call my friend Bobbie in Del Mar. I’m not going to whine, I just want to hear her upbeat stuff. Her life is exciting. She usually picks up on the first call. I love that. Hate phone tag.
“Hi, it’s Marla.”
We chat a bit and Bobbie invites me to an upcoming social event—something to do with farm animals?
I’m so tired, I just say, “Sounds wonderful.”
“Are you at home yet?” she asks.
“No. Everyone else in our building gets off at five, but I still have another hour of work.”
“You work till seven? Marla, honestly, you deserve combat pay! Especially with the bizarro demands from some of your clients! Do something fun tonight!”
“I should finish chapter 4 of my new book, but I just don’t have the juice. Maybe I’ll do some window-shopping down on Rodeo. That’s always good for a lift.”
“Is Adolfo working?”
“Of course. My nights are pathetic, I know.”
“Marla, you should just open your own matchmaking service. You’d be fabulous and then you could make your own hours!”
“Thanks. People have suggested I do that, but honestly, I like being able to hand over the big problems to Gary.”
There is a pause. “Sweetie, something’s wrong. I can tell. I’m a little worried about you,” Bobbie says. “I mean, excuse me, your soul is limping.”
I chuckle. She’s doing a little riff off the title of my first book, Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate Is Waiting.
The office line is ringing, and Alana is long gone.
“I gotta go,” I say. “I love you. Talk to you soon.”
I pick up the office phone, schedule an appointment, and get back to the emails, back to the guys who are looking for gorgeous, starving waifs with double D cups—“tits on a stick,” as Bobbie calls them.
I am a terrific Beverly Hills matchmaker happily playing Cupid all day long.
I have many wonderful friends like Shelly and Bobbie whose friendship keeps me from screaming at highly inappropriate times.
Heaven has blessed me with perfectly lovely areolas, thank you very much!
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Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG13