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    postheadericon Book Blast: The Moreva of Astoreth by Roxanne Bland

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    We’re happy to be hosting Roxanne Bland’s THE MOREVA OF ASTORETH Book Blast today!

     The Moreva of Astoreth

    Title: The Crumbling Page
    Author: Roxanne Bland
    Publisher: Blackrose Press
    Pages: 607
    Genre: Science Fiction

    Moreva Tehi, scientist, healer, priestess of the Goddess of Love and three-quarters god, is a bigot. She hates the hakoi who are the Temple’s slaves. When she misses an important ritual because the enslaved hakoi are participants, her grandmother, the Goddess Astoreth, punishes her by exiling her for a year from her beloved southern desert home to the far north village of Mjor in the Syren Perritory, (where the hakoi are free) to steward Astoreth’s landing beacon. But Astoreth forbids her from taking with her scientific research on red fever, a devastating scourge that afflicts the hakoi. She does so, anyway.

    The first Mjoran she meets is Laerd Teger, the hakoi chief of the village, who appears to hate her. She also meets Hyme, the hakoi village healer, and much to Moreva Tehi’s surprise, they form a fast friendship. This friendship forces her to set upon a spiritual journey to confront her bigotry. While doing so, she falls in love with Laerd Teger, who returns her love. She eventually has a revelation about the meaning of love, and rids herself of her bigotry. And she develops a cure for red fever, and is the first healer to do so.

    But there is a price for her love for Laerd Teger, and that is her certain execution by the Goddess Astoreth upon her return home because she has broken her sacred vows. But then, through Laerd Teger, she learns a terrible secret about her gods, that they are not gods at all, but aliens, and rather than being part god, she is part alien. Her world destroyed, she turns on Laerd Teger for showing her the truth. They eventually reconcile. But there is still the problem about her love for Laerd Teger. Astoreth will know what she has done and will execute her. She formulates a plan, involving the erasure of her memory, in which she will bargain for her life by giving Astoreth the formula for red fever. Astoreth agrees. For breaking her vows and disobeying a direct order not to take her red fever research to Mjor, Astoreth strips her of her morevic status and exiles her again to Mjor. Back in Mjor, she recovers her memory and sends the red fever formula to Astoreth. Now freed from the constraints of being a Moreva, Tehi and Teger embark on a new life together.

    For More Information

    • The Moreva of Astoreth is available at Amazon.
    • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    Book Excerpt:

    The airship landed on its pad. After the pilot, a Devi lesser god, gave the “all clear” I stepped out the machine onto the stone slab and walked away.

    The trip to the Syren Perritory had been awful. I’d never flown in a Devi airship, and I was sick the entire time. Seeing my distress, the pilot took pity on me and handed me a bag. I promptly threw up into it. Then he turned in his seat and peered at my face. Reaching behind him, he handed me a stack of bags. I took one and vomited into that, too. Two bags later, I thought I’d finally be all right. Then we flew into something the pilot called turbulence. Despite its leviathan size, the airship was buffeted about, and I was sure we would die. I picked up another bag. I don’t know how many bags I used.

    At long last, we reached our destination. Even during our descent, I could see the landing beacon. A colossus, the beacon sat on its tower of white kyrolite, its stationary dish resembling a silver flame in the twin sunslight. On the ground, I could see alongside the tower two late-model tanks. Dwarfed by the tower’s size, they looked insignificant.

    After getting off the airship, I walked toward a large group of people standing in the distance. I took in the place where I would stay for the next year. All I saw was a wall of grayish-black stone, with two huge and closed stone doors set in its middle. At least eighty šīzu high, the wall was crenelated at the top with deep, narrow slits. A steep-pitched roof partially covered it. Two towers, much smaller and shorter than the beacon, anchored the wall at each end. A short, covered kyrolite bridge beneath its roof connected the top of the smaller tower on the right to the beacon. On the ground, the tower was connected to the beacon itself. I straightened my neck and looked directly ahead. Next to the fortress, the enormous beacon tower looked out of place.

    I reached the first of three people standing out from all the rest. Morevi Eresh, the morev who’d been on duty for the past year, stood before the garrison. Eresh and I couldn’t have looked more different. His skin was three shades lighter than my medium-hued, blue-violet Devi coloring. He had long, tight curls like mine but whereas mine were white—like the Devi—his were black. He was tall and slender like all morevs, except me. I had the jutting breasts, small waist and flaring hips of the Devi, but instead of being statuesque like them, I was short.

    I liked Eresh. He was funny and irreverent, unlike the rest of the morevs serving the Temple. He was my best friend. He was my only friend. I’d missed him terribly.

    The forty-one person garrison stood at attention. Wearing a solemn expression, Eresh placed his hands together, palm to palm. I did the same. We gave each other a deep bow. “Moreva Tehi, may the Most Holy One turn Her face to you.”

    “And to you, Morevi Eresh.”

    Our formal greeting accomplished, Eresh smiled a little. “Welcome to the Syren Perritory and the Mjor village.” Then he turned to a blue-uniformed hakoi standing a step behind him. “This is your second in command, Kepten Yose.”

    I nodded once. “Kepten.” Kepten Yose was short, too, but not as short as me.

    “Moreva Tehi.” He inclined his head and clicked his heels, a proper military salute to a superior officer. “Garrison ready for inspection, Moreva.”

    I looked sideways at Eresh, who gave me a nod. “Very well, Kepten. Lead the way.”

    We walked along the ten orderly rows of four troops each. They looked straight ahead, their eyes never veering from whatever it was they were looking at. Craning my neck, I peered into their faces. They were blank, but there was something in the eyes I couldn’t place, a look the hakoi in Uruk didn’t have. I wondered about it for a moment, then dismissed it. It was probably my imagination. At least they didn’t smell.

    Inspection completed, I turned to meet my host. My gaze, starting at his brown fur vest-covered midriff, slowly traveled up, and up some more. He was the biggest hakoi I’d ever seen. His muscular shoulders looked as broad as the mountains that surrounded us. His skin, deep bronze, wasn’t like that of the Kherah hakoi, who were pale. His long, thick golden hair, ruffled by the breeze, was the same shade as the third, summer sun. He had light-colored brows—almost white—and a short beard of the same color. But it was his eyes that intrigued me most. All the hakoi I’d ever known had brown eyes. His eyes were blue, like the stars, and just as cold.

    I didn’t like him. Judging by his scowl, he didn’t like me, either.

    About the Author

    Roxanne Bland

    Roxanne Bland grew up in Washington, D.C., where she discovered strange and wonderful new worlds through her local public library and bookstores. These and other life experiences have convinced her that reality is highly overrated. Ms. Bland lives in Rosedale, Maryland with her Great Dane, Daisy Mae.

    Her latest book is the science fiction novel, The Moreva of Astoreth.

    For More Information


    postheadericon Book Spotlight: Soulshifter by Barbara Pietron

    About The Book
    Title: Soulshifter
    Author: Barbara Pietron
    Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
    Publication Date: November 24, 2015
    Format: Paperback – 290 pages / eBook  / PDF
    ISBN: 978-0991602124
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Book Description:
    Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it. Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track star, Natalie Segetich, until her best friend Emma disappears. Natalie swears something took Emma, and though most people write Natalie off as traumatized and confused, Jack is a soulshifter and he knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell’s messengers—are real. As a soulshifter, Jack can cross into the underworld so he sees Emma’s rescue as an opportunity to prove himself a valuable member of his transcendental sect—and a way to secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Although he needs Natalie’s help to prepare for the mission, Jack intends to go to the underworld alone. But as a viable plan takes shape, it’s clear the best chance of success means Natalie must accompany him. On the eve of the quest, when Jack is promised the hand of a respected elder’s daughter—a dream come true—he realizes he’s no longer sure what he wants. But it’s too late to back out, not with the sect and Natalie counting on him. Pursued by the dark lord’s henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.
    Book Excerpt:
    Chapter 1
    Revelations from the Dark Realm
    Feedback shrieked from the electric
    guitar amp, annihilating the harmonious blend of drums, bass guitar and
    electric piano. Jack winced as he fumbled for the volume knob on his guitar,
    pretending he didn’t see Tommy, the lead singer, shoot him a furious glare.
    Head down, Jack concentrated on the next few chord progressions, until Tommy
    launched into his signature vocal screaming. Then Jack stole a glance to his
    left and caught the eye of his best friend, Wes, who skillfully delivered the
    pulse of the track on his bass guitar. Wes lifted his eyebrows and Jack
    answered with a slight shrug and an apologetic frown.
    It was one thing if Jack screwed up
    this opportunity for himself, but Wes had talked the band into giving Jack a
    chance this summer when they’d lost their lead guitarist to college. Jack
    didn’t want to embarrass Wes, or give Tommy a reason to give his friend a hard
    time. The singer hadn’t wanted Wes in the band either, but when the other
    members heard Wes play and realized he was a wizard on the bass guitar, Tommy
    had been out-voted. It had taken two years for Wes to earn the lead singer’s
    grudging respect and Jack hated to mess that up.
    They finished the set and Jack
    ducked out of his guitar strap, leaning the instrument against the cinderblock wall
    of Fletch’s—the drummer’s—basement. He ran both hands through his thick curls,
    for the first time thankful that his mom had insisted he get a haircut before
    school started. Shoulder-length for most of the summer, his dark brown mane was
    now tamed to a mass of loose curls that ended at the base of his jaw—not as
    rock and roll, but certainly cooler.
    He turned and nearly collided with
    Tommy. “What’s up with the feedback, Ironwood? We’ve got a gig in two
    “Sorry, man.” Jack shook
    his head. He noticed John, the keyboardist, give him and Tommy a wide berth as
    he beat a hasty retreat. “Just having an off day. I’m low on sleep.”
    “Well you better get it
    together by Monday. A lot of people come out to the park on Labor Day, and we
    don’t need you making the rest of us look like amateurs.” He spun on his
    heel and stomped up the steps before Jack could reply.
    Fletch offered Jack a sports drink.
    “You’ve been playing good all summer. Just don’t choke when you get on
    stage.” He laughed, but his eyes were serious.
    “Thanks.” Jack took the
    plastic bottle and cracked the lid open. “I’ll be fine. I promise.”
    He took a long drink, letting the slightly salty, citrusy liquid soothe his dry
    tongue and throat before bending to put his guitar into its case.
    An intermittent chink of metal on
    metal sounded from the base of the stairwell. “Ready?”
    Jack glanced up to see Wes tossing
    a bundle of keys into the air and then catching them. “Yep.” He
    noticed that Wes had decided to leave his guitar at Fletch’s. They were going
    to rehearse again tomorrow, but Jack felt like he ought to go home and get in
    some extra practice. He followed his friend out to the minivan, which smelled
    like the burgers and fries they’d eaten on the way to rehearsal, and loaded his
    gear into the back.
    After Jack plopped into the
    passenger seat and closed the door, Wes spoke up. “Dude.” He drew out
    the solitary word and added a sigh, conveying both disappointment and sympathy.
    “I know,” Jack said
    quickly. “I’m not a hundred percent today. Yesterday was my end-of-summer
    Buy The Book:
    Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking here:
    About The Author
    After years in the corporate world, Barbara Pietron found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her technical writing experience, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication before trying her hand at her true passion, fiction. In addition to Soulshifter, Barbara is also the author of Thunderstone, Book One of the Legacy in Legend series and a prequel to ThunderstoneHeart of Ice, is available in e-book format. Book Two of the Legacy in Legend series is slated for fall of 2016. You can visit Barbara’s website at
    Connect with Barbara Pietron:
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    postheadericon Book Spotlight: Lethal Game by Julie Rowe

    About The Book


    TitleLethal Game
    Book 2: Biological Response Team Series
    Author: Julie Rowe
    Publisher: Carina Press
    Publication Date: October 12, 2015
    Pages: 270
    ISBN: 978-1459290198
    Genre: Romantic Suspense
    Format: eBook, PDF
    Book Description:
    Book Two of Biological Response Team Series
    As the nation’s youngest virologist and hematologist, Captain Sophia Perry has always been one step ahead of her peers. But there’s one thing she can’t beat—cancer. She wants to make a difference in the time she has left, so when she’s sent to investigate a breakout at a Syrian refugee camp, she goes, saying nothing of her diagnosis. But saving the masses isn’t easy when the man tasked to protect her is so irresistible.
    Communications Sergeant Connor Button is back on active duty after a deadly explosion, but he doesn’t feel whole again until he meets Sophia. Assigned to keep her safe, he’s prepared to die for her, but for the first time in months he truly wants to live—if only she wasn’t so determined to put them both in danger.
    With a secret to keep and nothing to lose, Sophia is determined to find the source of the breakout at any cost. Violent attacks on the camp convince her that someone wants her to pay dearly. But as Sophia’s health deteriorates, Connor must find a way to help her defeat her enemies before her body defeats her.
    Book Excerpt:
    Security is mostly a superstition ~
    Helen Keller
    It had taken him three airplanes and over twenty-six hours
    to travel more than seven thousand miles, and now he was going to have to kill
    Ten feet from his room in the Navy
    hotel at the American Naval base in Bahrain.
    All Special Forces Communications
    Sergeant Connor Button wanted was to find a bed and crash for a few hours.
    What he did not need was witnessing
    some idiot striking out with a hot blonde and not taking it well.
    She’d just removed his hand from
    her waist.
    The man put it on her shoulder and
    tried to bring her closer. “Aw, come on, sweetheart.”
    She slid away, her voice clear
    across the short distance. “No.”
    dude, time to retreat.
    Only, the guy didn’t. He grabbed her by the back of
    the neck, hard enough to make her gasp in pain, and leaned down, his mouth
    aimed for hers.
    She slapped the moron, but he
    didn’t get that hint either, just grabbed her hand and twisted it behind her
    Con had to make himself stand still
    for a second. One second, so he could throttle back the instinct to beat the
    stupid fuck to death.
    His jaw flexed. He wouldn’t kill the asshole, but he could hurt him real bad.
    Con dropped his duffel on the floor
    and stomped toward the woman and the moron whose arm he was about to break.
    Into several pieces.
    Small ones.
    The stomping got the moron’s
    attention. He glanced up, saw Con coming and his eyes went wide. He let go of
    the woman so fast she wobbled off balance and fell to the floor. Con stopped to
    help her while the moron ran like a track star down the hall and around a
    call, asshole.
    Con bent down and offered his hand
    to the woman. “Are you okay?”
    Her head jerked up and she stared
    at him with eyes that didn’t miss a thing. She scooted away, leaving his hand
    hanging in the air, then stood. Her shoulders went back and her chin rose.
    He almost smiled. She was so not
    interested in another man getting all up in her business. He’d make sure she
    was all right, then he’d back off.
    “Ma’am, did he hurt you?”
    “I’m fine,” she said, retreating a
    Blue-green eyes stood out in a face
    framed by white-blond hair hanging in a sheet down to the middle of her back.
    She was also stacked, though she wasn’t showing it off. She was following
    military clothing requirements, wearing long pants and a collared shirt one
    size too big, buttoned up to her neck. An asshole had just tried to sexually
    assault her, but Con would bet a year’s pay that had he not come along, the
    moron would have had his hands full with a pissed-off female trying to smash
    his balls into paste.
    He glanced down.
    Her mouth was pressed into a thin
    angry line, but her hands were shaking.
    For the first time in months
    something other than anger or despair slammed into him.
    He knew just how she felt. Hyped up
    on adrenaline and looking for a target.
    It surprised him so much he opened
    his mouth to make some inane comment or other to show her he was no threat, but
    she raised a hand to stop him.
    She spoke a quick, firm “Thank
    you.” And then she was gone, inside the room closest to her. The click of the
    lock being engaged echoed down the hall.
    He blinked at the empty hallway. He
    wasn’t sure she was okay, but those shaking hands and that locked door sent a
    pretty clear signal that she didn’t want another man anywhere near her.
    Sometimes other people just made
    things worse.
    He sighed, strode back to his bag,
    checked his room number again and discovered he was next door to the blonde.
    At least he wouldn’t have to go far
    if Moron came back.
    So much for getting some sleep. He’d lain awake, alert for
    any noise that might indicate a problem in the room next door, but it had been
    church-quiet. He got up at 0700 base time, then went in search of his new
    commanding officer, Colonel Maximillian. The man had an interesting reputation,
    but he trusted what his buddy, Jacob “Sharp” Foster, a former Special Forces
    soldier, had to say about him. Everyone else said the colonel was one bullet
    shy of a magazine. Sharp had warned him that the colonel wasn’t exactly regular
    army, but he gave a shit about his people, and that was number one for Con. If
    your CO had your six, at least you didn’t have to take your attention off what
    was coming at you.
    The colonel had a fancy lab that
    didn’t exist on the base, according to official records. Officially, the lab
    that did exist on paper was rated for level two containment. Good enough to run
    the sort of tests any big city hospital conducted. In reality, the lab was
    capable of level four containment testing. The stuff you needed to wear a
    bio-suit for and breathe your own oxygen supply.
    Con had to pass through two
    internal checkpoints to gain entry to the nondescript building that was his
    destination. Colonel Maximillian’s office was the first one inside the prefab
    rectangle that housed the lab and offices. A soldier who didn’t look a day over
    sixteen sat typing on a computer facing the entrance to the building.
    The kid’s gaze darted over Con’s
    uniform, then he stood and saluted. “Private Eugene Walsh.”
    “Sergeant Connor Button, Special
    “Yes, sir. Colonel Maximillian is
    expecting you.” Walsh extended his hand in the direction of the first office.
    “Go right in.”
    Con gave him a nod, then walked
    into the office.
    He saluted the
    salt-and-pepper-haired man, who stood and saluted back. “Sir, Sergeant Button
    reporting for duty.”
    “Welcome, Sergeant.” The colonel
    came around his desk and offered his hand.
    Con shook it once, twice, then
    released a hand that hadn’t tested him beyond what would be considered polite.
    “Take a seat,” the colonel said,
    gesturing at one of the chairs facing his desk. “I’d like to go over your
    assignment and answer any questions you might have.”
    “Thank you, sir.” Con sat and
    adopted a neutral body posture, back straight and hands resting lightly on his
    thighs. It was harder than it should have been.
    The last time he’d been in the
    Middle East he’d been deployed with his unit, attempting to ascertain the
    military strength of two groups of extremists in Northern Iraq and Syria. Both
    groups had threatened multiple American and allied targets, as well as calling
    for sympathetic citizens to carry out terrorist acts inside their own
    The last time he’d been in the
    Middle East, he’d been the only survivor of an IED that took out their vehicle.
    Fortune had smiled on him that day. He’d been thrown clear.
    More and more often, he wished he
    hadn’t been so lucky.
    Colonel Maximillian continued to
    stare at him and seemed content to not say anything for several moments.
    Con waited with the patience of a
    man who’d waited days for just the right moment to take a shot at his target.
    Finally, the colonel asked, “How
    much do you know about your mission here?”
    “Probably not enough.”
    Maximillian’s face didn’t change.
    “Sharp said you were smart. Are you, Sergeant Button?”
    “That would depend on your
    definition of smart.
    “Observant, creative, organized,
    able to see unusual relationships between people and information.”
    “Sir, you’re looking for Sherlock
    Holmes. He’s a fictional character.”
    A brief smile crossed the colonel’s
    face. “How would you describe yourself?”
    “Flexible, determined, fuck the
    Colonel Maximillian’s forehead
    lowered over his eyes. “Were you aware General Stone had some reluctance in
    assigning you to this mission?”
    “Not directly, but it doesn’t
    surprise me.”
    How many conversations like this
    had he had recently? Five, six? “Sir, I received injuries in an attack that
    killed all the men in the armored vehicle with me. I’d be surprised if he
    wasn’t hesitant.” No officer wanted to have a suicidal or homicidal soldier on
    a mission. Survivor’s guilt could lead to either one. Or both.
    “Do you consider yourself fit for
    “Yes, sir.”
    Goddamned why-questions. Why judged, weighed and measured what
    was in a man’s head. What was in his head was not pretty, and not to be shared.
    “Sir, I signed on to serve my
    country. My service isn’t done.”
    Maximillian tilted his head to one
    side. “That is one of the best non-answers I’ve ever heard.”
    . Con leaned forward and said in a less civilized tone, “I got thrown off
    the horse. I need to get back on and finish my ride.”
    “And if you don’t?”
    Con’s throat closed up. “That
    thought can’t be in my head.”
    The colonel’s face lost its sharp
    inquisitiveness for a moment, replaced by a surprising level of comprehension.
    A second later it was gone and he was flipping through pages on his desk.
    “You’ve had some problems with your temper since you returned to duty.”
    “I’m working on that.” Anger was
    easy. Acting on it was even easier.
    The officer considered Con for a
    couple more seconds, then nodded briskly. “My Biological Response Team is
    tracking a very dangerous man who’s created his own extremely deadly strain of
    anthrax. We managed to prevent an attack on a base in Afghanistan, but not
    before nearly one hundred people died of the infection. We think he’s not done.
    We think he’ll continue to strike at high-quality American or allied targets,
    and we don’t know where he is or where he will attack next.”
    Con straightened. Hunting down a
    homicidal nutcase wasn’t the sort of duty he’d taken on before, but it sounded
    dangerous. Good.
    Holy fuck he was messed up.
    Maximillian continued. “We were
    successful in preventing the last attack because we had one of our infectious
    disease specialists embedded with an A-team training members of the Afghan
    military. General Stone agrees with me—until this man is found, we need more
    cooperation between my team and army Special Forces. I asked for specific men
    to work with my people. Men who are not only well trained and smart, but also
    creative and who can take a step back and support his teammate or take charge
    of a situation if that’s what’s needed. Jacob Foster says you’re that kind of
    man. Are you?”
    It might be nice to have a specific
    enemy, with a face and a name, rather than a faceless one who could be anybody.
    The need to kill, to avenge his dead, was a relentless voice in the back of his
    head. This mission could get him the opportunity to give himself that, and
    maybe a measure of peace.
    “Sir.” He paused, trying hard not
    to come on too strong. If he lost this chance, he might not get another. “I’m a
    team player. That means I’ll play whatever role is needed by the team.”
    Colonel Maximillian smiled. “Do you
    mind working with a woman?”
    “No, sir. Sharp mentioned the
    possibility I’d be paired with a woman.” Man, woman, two-headed alien, he
    didn’t care as long as they shared a common enemy.
    “You’re okay with that? No
    The colonel seemed unusually
    the hell?
    While he might smack down a fellow Special Forces soldier, he’d never lay a hand on a woman.
    “Sir, I’m the youngest of five
    children with four older sisters. Working with or for a woman is nothing new to
    “Good.” Maximillian nodded. “I
    don’t mean to sound paranoid, but the doctor you’re going to be working with is
    somewhat high-strung.”
    The colonel shook his head. “That’s
    the wrong description. She doesn’t trust…people. I’ve been trying to find a
    suitable partner for her, but I’ve been unsuccessful.”
    “Most people look at her and see a
    young woman who looks as if she’d have trouble with breaking a nail. Coddle her
    in any way and she’ll find a way to make you miserable.”
    The bottom of Con’s stomach grew
    cold. “So why me?”
    “Growing up with sisters is part of
    This interview was a personality test.
    “You’ve also been through some
    challenging combat situations and I think that will give you a level of
    experience she’ll respect.”
    Con had to work to keep a growl out
    of his voice. “I’m not going to sit around the campfire telling her war stories.”
    What he’d seen wouldn’t instill confidence in anyone.
    “I don’t expect you to. She works
    best with people who are highly competent, who don’t brag or try to impress.”
    First time he’d been complimented
    on his ability to keep his trap shut.
    “Another issue is her age. She’s
    young, she’s a genius and she has absolutely no idea how to talk to anyone who
    isn’t a scientist or doctor.”
    That didn’t leave a whole lot of
    people. “Genius, as in graduated from medical school really young?”
    “She’s twenty-four and is the
    youngest physician in the USA to have a double speciality in virology and
    “Virology, I get. Hematology?”
    “The study of blood cells.”
    If she was an overachiever, he
    could work with that. “So, work is her life, and before that, it was school?”
    “S’okay. My second-oldest sister is
    married to a physicist. He speaks math, and we get along just fine.”
    Maximillian quirked an eyebrow.
    “You speak math?”
    “Nope. I speak barbecue. Everyone
    has something to say about properly grilling a steak.”
    The colonel laughed. “You’ll do.
    Time to meet her.” He stepped out of his office and led the way down a hall.
    “Oh, and call me Max. It’s shorter.”
    “Thank you, sir.”
    Max sighed as he opened a door with
    a key and preceded Con inside.
    The room they entered was part
    office and part lab, with a couple of desks and two tall microscopes set up on
    the end of each. Papers and boxes of slides littered both surfaces. Only one of
    the desks was occupied.
    A woman sat looking through the
    lens of one of the microscopes. Her hair was white-blond and pulled back into a
    severe bun. She wore an army uniform with a lab coat over top. When she saw
    Max, she pushed away from the scope, stood and moved to meet them.
    The blonde from last night. With
    her hair pulled back, she could have passed for even younger than twenty-four.
    He took that thought, hog-tied it and shoved it into a dark
    corner. His personal mission left no room for anything beyond a professional
    She also looked ready to rip
    someone’s head off.
    “Sophia,” Max said. “This is your
    new partner, Communications Sergeant Connor Button.” He turned to Con. “Connor,
    this is Captain Sophia Perry.” Her mouth, pressed into a thin line, convinced
    him to pretend last night hadn’t happened. He nodded at her respectfully. “Good
    to meet you, ma’am.”
    “Ma’am?” she asked, crossing her
    arms over her chest and displaying a huge bruise on her right hand.
    Must’ve hurt.
    “This is who you found to babysit
    me, Max? A fossil?”
    Damn, she came out swinging. Maybe
    he’d let her win this bout. Con managed to keep a straight face and said in a
    hesitant voice, “I’m only twenty-nine.”
    “Would you rather I pair you up
    with someone who follows all the
    rules and regulations?” Max asked her, irritation showing in his rigid posture.
    “This guy—” he pointed a thumb at Con “—hates inside-the-box thinking as much
    as you do.”
    “Oh yeah?” she said, looking Con
    full in the face. A challenge. Why was she so pissed off? Because she didn’t
    think she needed a babysitter?
    He shrugged, then coughed to hide a
    chuckle. If he laughed now, she’d think he was laughing at her. “I don’t like
    boxes. They’re never big enough, and they’re too…square.”
    She blinked at him, then narrowed
    her gaze. “What did you do to draw this duty? It had to have been bad.”
    Max opened his mouth, but Con
    didn’t want to escalate things, so he spoke first, and went with the
    unvarnished truth. “I got blown up. I spent almost seven months in hospitals
    and physical therapy. The last three or four months I’ve been instructing and getting
    back into shape.” He smiled at her. “When I found out what my first mission was
    going to be, bodyguarding some army doctor, I thought what the fuck? I sure as shit didn’t want easy duty. But having talked with Max here, I’ve changed my mind.”
    He shifted his gaze to Max’s face. “This isn’t easy duty, is it, sir?”
    “No. It’s not a matter of if there will be another biological
    weapon attack somewhere in this part of the world, it’s when.”
    “My role isn’t just to bodyguard
    Dr. Perry, is it?”
    “No.” Max began pacing back and
    forth between Con and Sophia. “We have intel that points to the Biological
    Response Team as a specific target. I don’t want you to just protect Sophia, I
    need you two to be a team. All of us are being paired with Special Forces
    soldiers, even myself.”
    “Assassination?” Con asked. The
    idea of it made the back of his neck itch.
    “Very possible. Sabotage is another
    “Have any attempts been made?”
    “Yes. Dr. Samuels and her Green
    Beret were nearly killed in a trap I believe was set for them. We have an enemy
    who is intelligent, ruthless and fearless.”
    “Can I get everything you have on
    this guy?” Con asked.
    “My assistant will have it ready
    for you in an hour or two.” Max turned to him. “Have you been assigned
    “I’m going to have you moved to the
    room next to Sophia’s.”
    The woman in question opened her
    mouth to say something unpleasant—he was sure from the way she’d screwed up her
    nose—which is why Con spoke first again. “Are you sure that’s necessary?” He
    looked down, like he was thinking hard. “Do you want to advertise to the whole
    base that I’m her bodyguard, or would you like to keep it below the radar?”
    Max gave him a dirty look. “Whose
    side are you on?”
    “Hers, sir.”
    “Fine,” Max said, with bit of an
    impatient edge to his voice. “I’ll check to see where you’re housed now. If
    it’s not too far, you can stay where you are.” Max pressed his lips together,
    glared at them both, then stomped off.
    Con looked at Sophia.
    She looked back at him, snorted and
    went back to her microscope. “Nice attempt to come to my rescue. Again. But I
    don’t need anyone to rescue me.”
    She needed to talk to someone about
    the moron. To prevent fear and anger from getting too deep a hold on her brain.
    Despite how fast things had
    happened, the human mind had a way of warping events so the memory of them
    seemed to take a thousand times longer than the reality had.
    Hell, he was a walking testament
    for how three seconds of hell could totally screw up the rest of a man’s life.
    Or take it.
    Listen to him passing judgment on
    her mental state, when he’d done his level best to keep the shrinks out of his.
    Right now, he just had to convince her he was on her side. He wanted this assignment. “I know.”
    “Really?” Sarcasm turned the word
    into something sharp and heavy. “You just met me. How would you know that?”
    “I saw you in action last night.”
    She froze, and for a moment the
    expression on her face was a mixture of anger, fear and disgust. A second
    later, it was gone, smoothed away as if it had never been there.
    What was that?
    Without looking at him, she said,
    “Babysitting me is going to be a complete bore for a soldier’s soldier like
    you. I’ll tell Max to find someone else.”
    Buy The Book:

    Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking here:

    About The Author

    Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”.

    In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living.


    Connect with Julie:
    Virtual Book Tour

    postheadericon Interview with Dr. Gabrielle Francis, author of ‘The Rockstar Remedy’

    The Rockstar Remedy banner

    Gabrielle FrancisDr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.

    She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist. She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour.

    Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali.

    Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women’s Health. She’s co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.

    Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.

    For More Information

    About the Book:

    The Rockstar Remedy 2

    Title: The Rockstar Remedy
    Author: Dr. Gabrielle Francis with Stacy Baker Masand
    Publisher: HarperCollins Wave
    Pages: 330
    Genre: Health and Wellness/Rock n Roll
    Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

    Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

    As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr.Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day.

    In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results.

    Now you can reach for the stars too!

    For More Information

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Dr. Gabrielle Francis! Can you tell us where you are from?

    A: I am from New York City. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. I have lived in many places and have traveled the world a few times. So when people ask me where I am from I am not always sure how to answer.   But I live in New York now!

    Q: How did you come up with your title?

    A: My practice name is The Herban Alchemist. This is a natural medicine practice. I wanted to tie the Rockstar theme of getting healthy into the platform of my current brand and it just seemed like a perfect fit. I work with real Rockstars and I see most of my patients as living like Rockstars. The book is a prescription for living healthy despite a life of indulgence and intensity…The Rockstar Remedy!

    Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

    A: The art director at Harper Collins designed the book cover. It was the first art that was offered and I loved it! I like the “smoothie gone wild” look. It basically shows a wild approach to health. And it looks a little like what happens in the morning when I make my smoothie without having my coffee first!

    Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

    A: It is a health book for people that love to enjoy life and celebrate. It shows you that you can be healthy and have fun too. The book is packed with harm reduction tricks that show you how to neutralize your vices. There are health tips from over 80 Rockstars as bonus tracks.

    Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about? 

    A: “ You can have your shake and eat cake too!”

    Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

    A: I love writing the stories about my experiences backstage.   The stories come so easily and they transport me to the time and place of the adventure. It is like reliving the life on tour.

    Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

    A: Most health books are so rigid and boring that even I can’t read them or follow the recommendations and I am in the business.   They also only appeal to one audience. I felt like there were so many people that secretly want to be healthy but were intimidated by health platforms because they are fairly judgmental. I wanted to get “more people to join the church” not just “preach to the choir”.

    Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

    A: I am not a Saint or an Angel, even though I was named after a Saint and an Angel!

    Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

    A: I have been to so many countries already. I am a world traveler. I would return to India in a minute. That country is like another planet! I have never been to Mongolia. I would love to experience the vastness and remoteness of that country. I am also fascinated by the shamanic medicine that originated there.

    Q: Are you a morning person or a night person? 

    A: I am definitely a night person. Perhaps 30 years of working in the music business has thrown off my circadian rhythms. You can say I am on the Keith Richards plan of sleep all day and party all night. I feel sorry for the patients that see me at 8:00am!

    Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

    A: My niece, Rachel, has a gift of writing. She is also a lot like me. She loves people and adventures. She has the same gift of story telling that I do.

    Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

    A: Most definitely! I have 5 planets in Pisces! It is all about dreaming, creativity and healing.

    Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

    A: My wish is to take the message of healing and transformation of Body, Mind, and Spirit to the world. I want to contribute to peace on this planet!

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

    A: Thank you for this opportunity and for the thoughtful questions. This was fun!


    postheadericon Spiney The Unwanted Christmas Tree Book Feature – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

    Title: Spiney The Unwanted Christmas Tree

    Author: Wayne Mclendon

    Publisher: AuthorHouse

    Genre: Children’s Fiction

    Format: Paperback

    This was Spiney’s Christmas. He was almost eleven feet tall and much bigger than the other trees. He began getting ready weeks before Thanksgiving. He would shake his branches to remove all of the dead nettle and old bird nests that had been used in the spring. Spiney still let the birds perch in his branches. He really liked that because they were his friends.


    I am a grandfather who graduated from Auburn University in fisheries in December of 1969. I have owned and operated a fish farm for over forty-five years. I wrote the book Spiney: The Unwanted Christmas Tree page by page on a long trip hauling fish from Auburn, AL, to Lake Village, AR. I have never written a book before. The book, Spiney, was written for my grandchildren. I wanted them to realize that Christmas trees do not always come from a tree farm or a tree lot. Finding the perfect tree was always a special event for me, my brother, my sister, and my dad. The story, Spiney, was written about trees that were not perfect and were never chosen to be someone’s centerpiece for the Christmas holidays..


    Wayne is giving away a $25 Gift Card!


    Terms & Conditions:
    • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
    • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
    • This giveaway begins November 2 and ends on November 13.
    • Winners will be contacted via email on November 14.
    • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

    Good luck everyone!


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    postheadericon Patricia Burroughs’ THIS CRUMBLING PAGEANT BOOK BLAST

    This Crumbling Pageant banner

    We’re happy to be hosting Patricia Burrough’s book blast today!


    This Crumbling Pageant

    Title: The Crumbling Pageant (Volume One of the Fury Triad Series)

    Author: Patricia Burroughs

    Publisher: Story Spring Publishing

    Pages: 607

    Genre: Dark Young Adult Fantasy

    The people of Ordinary England are unaware of a hidden magical England existing alongside–the world of the Magi. Their cathedrals are temples to the old gods. They are ruled not by poor mad George, but by the ailing King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon. The wars of the Magi, however, are no less deadly.

    The Furys are known for their extraordinary music, their powerful magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. But the Furys have their secrets as well, none so dangerous as the Dark daughter whose Shadow magic spills from her unchecked. Unless Persephone Fury’s powers are concealed, she’s marked as a target for those who would use and abuse her power.

    But these are desperate times, and this frightening daughter must make a good marriage. On the night of her debut, her world crumbles around her when she is abducted from the man she loves by the man she most loathes.

    Evil powers circle, calling her to the destiny foretold at the moment of her birth, drawing her to the source of her power, to the one place she can finally be free. That can only happen, though, if she embraces the Dark magic within her.

    Persephone is ruthless, devious, and clever, but when confronted with the truth, she must make horrifying choices. Can she defy destiny and seize her own fate?

    For More Information

    Book Excerpt:

    Inside this rustic cottage she heard nothing but—

    Her heart stopped.

    She was not alone.

    Whoever was with her was as still and watchful as she. Her fingers longed to flex in defence, but she kept them still. Was it someone she could overcome? With her magic tingling in her veins and her rage at what had been perpetrated upon her, she knew she could. She could overcome anyone who dared stand in her way.

    She allowed her eyes to open completely and, after a moment, saw beyond the feeble light from the small window and into the gloom of the dark corner. Another blink, and shape emerged. Long legs stretched forward. Elbows were planted on the arms of a chair. Long, pale fingers steepled and glittering black eyes stared over them at her. A predator, watching. Waiting.

    She shot up, the pain in her right shoulder tearing through her. “How dare you!”

    His wand flicked out, aimed at her heart, though beyond the movement of that one agile hand, the rest of his body remained as still and dangerously relaxed as before. “Quite easily,” he purred.

    Her purple gown, once a source of horror and then of wondrous pride, now was ripped open with a bandage and too much skin showing beneath it. She covered herself with both hands, enraged. “What sort of blackguard watches a young lady sleep?” she demanded, her heart pounding. “And… and…” She found herself unable to voice her shock and alarm at being faced with a wand again, much less the sort of man who would possess one.

    A shudder of revulsion rippled through her.

    “I’ve not been watching you sleep. I’ve been watching you awaken.” The wand twitched. “Consider carefully any move you make, because if I even suspect that you are about to attack me again, you will be chastened. Again.”

    Chastened? Was that what he called it?

    His voice was silky and menacing in the gloom. “Unless you’d like a wound in your left shoulder to match that on your right?”

    She drew back in fear, despite herself.

    “Ah, so we have an understanding.”

    He twirled his wand through his slender, nimble fingers and then back into his palm again.

    About the Author

    Patricia Burroughs

    Patricia Burroughs had insomnia throughout her entire teen years. This meant she read books in the middle of the night, and slept during class in the middle of the day. Unless, of course, she was hiding a novel inside a physics textbook. Who needed physics? She believed in magic. Eventually she turned her propensity for daydreaming and scheming into storytelling, which manifested in award-winning screenplays and books. She still can’t sleep at night, but now it’s her own characters keeping her awake.

    For More Information

    Giveaway Details:

    Patricia is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

    Terms & Conditions:

    • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
    • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate
    • This giveaway begins November 2 and ends November 2.
    • Winners will be contacted via email on November 3.
    • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

    Good luck everyone!


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    postheadericon Book Spotlight: Between The Cracks She Fell by Lisa de Nikolits

    Between The Cracks She Fell Banner


    About The Book

    Between The Cracks She Fell


    Title: Between The Cracks She Fell

    Author: Lisa de Nikolits

    Publisher: Inanna Publications

    Publication Date: September 15, 2015

    Format: Paperback / PDF

    Pages: 350

    ISBN: 978-1771332255

    Genre: Suspense Thriller



    Buy The Book:







    Discuss this book at our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads by clicking HERE



    Book Description:


    The award-winning author of the Hungry MirrorWest of WawaGlittering Chaos and The Witchdoctor’s Bones delivers an original and riveting new novel about societal betrayal, familial loss and religious jihad. A suspenseful and lyrical read, Between The Cracks She Fell is a powerful – first person narrative about the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times and the pervasiveness of religious domination.


    When Joss finds herself having to make mortgage payments without help from her depressed, stoner boyfriend who has just moved out, and the company she works for folds leaving her suddenly unemployed, she is forced to sell her house, on which she takes a financial loss. She decides to camp out in a vacant complex of school buildings to give herself time to decide what to do next. It turns out the building is used by a gang of teenagers for wild, drug-fueled parties and Jess soon finds herself both repelled by their charismatic evil leader, as well as sexually attracted to him. She knows he is dangerous even before she finds his girlfriend’s dead and violently abused body in the school library. During this time, she meets and befriends two other people in difficulty: Emma, a narcissistic thief living with her dog in a stolen car and Ashley, a young homosexual who is heartbroken by the fact that he has been expelled from the Jehovah’s Witness church because he is gay. When her former boyfriend reappears as a born again Christian, Joss is immersed in a journal she found that contains the thoughts of a Muslim teenager who becomes increasingly radicalized. Her struggle to understand her former boyfriend and this young man’s spiritual quests prepare her to make some hard decisions about her future. Between The Cracks She Fell is about a woman who falls off the grid and the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times, and the pervasiveness of religious domination.



    Book Excerpt:




    I reached my destination with no great sense of joy but at least I wasn’t crying.


    A purple, red and black pentagram marked the path ahead of me and the sea of grass rolled this way and that and my throat closed and my eyes stung but I swallowed the tears.


    I tried to pretend I was Gibreel Farishta, a hero bigger than me; that tuneless soloist tumbling out og thin air; what an entrance, yaar.


    First you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! How to ever smile again, if first you won’t cry?


    But there would be no more crying for me. My former life was dead. I needed to escape for a while, hide out and then, once I got my energy back. I would figure out what came next.


    Right now all I could say was that I was alive, and that is the point I guess, much like Gibreel, standing, with pigs falling out of his face and no God to help him.


    I held my arms aloft and waded through the knotty field, as if paddling through an upward flowing river, pushing forward against the current.


    The summer offered shoulder-high fragrant grasses laced with thistles and weeds and despite the misfortunes of past events, I was not blind to the beauty of the tiny lilac flowers or the red roses that grew wild and free.


    I could see the buildings in the distances. It had been a while since I had seen them but they sprawled low at the other end of the playing fields, just as I remembered.


    I had packed for the task at hand; knife, bottled water, flashlight, pillow. Kind of funny really, how natural this solution felt, like it was some kind of okay. It wasn’t the first time I’d purposefully left the grid; my first solo adventure had taken place when I was eleven. Tired of school, friends, mother, swimming lessons, and tuck shop lunches, I hid out in a farmer’s shed, armed with books and apples and bars of chocolate. i stayed for two nights and two days, sleeping in a hairy horse blanket that I shook free of cobwebs and drew close around me, breathing in that rich scent of dry sage, dust, leather, sweat and all the other good things that horses smell of. I returned home when I ran out of food and reading material. Mum was furious but I wasn’t sorry; I’d done what I needed to do and it was the same this time, although there was less choice in a sense, as I had in fact lost my house to the bank and my job to the recession and my boyfriend to a nervous breakdown.


    I could think of no other way to heal, to regroup and to find the solo me that I could rely on. I had made a mistake, relying on Shayne but I would get over that. I would get over everything.



    Book Trailer:




    About The Author


    Lisa de Nikolits


    Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.


    Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was ling-listed for a Relit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa, won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks. West of Wawa is available in bookstores and online.


    Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to reader and review acclaim, and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry.


    Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones was launched Spring 2014 to reader and literary acclaim. The Witchdoctor’s Bones is a thriller about the darkest secrets of African evil; the novel seamlessly weaves witchcraft and ancient folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue and a holiday becomes a test of moral character.


    Her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell, was published in Fall 2015 and has been called “a whirligig-ride into the dark recesses of “what-next?” It is a compelling and multi-layered penetrating and twisty tale of insurrection.”


    “A lyrical and deeply moving examination of emotional pain and faith on a collision course with organized religion. Lisa de Nikolits highly believable and human characters are outsiders struggling to find meaning, and perhaps hope, in contemporary urban society. With a deft and confident clarity of style, she explores the complex interplay of faith, crime and social isolation. Highly recommended.” – M.H. Callway, award-winning author of Windigo Fire (Seraphim Editions).



    Connect with Lisa:


    Author Website:






    The Mesdames of Mayhem:





    Virtual Book Tour Event Page




    Between The Cracks She Fell Banner

    postheadericon First Person: A Matter of Perspective by Christine Amsden, author of Madison’s Song

    Title: Madison’s Song

    Author: Christine Amsden

    Publisher: Twilight Times Books

    Pages: 275

    Genre: Paranormal Fiction

    Format: Kindle

    Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.

    Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

    Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished! Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

    Praise for Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective

    “In this entertaining series opener, Amsden (The Immortality Virus) introduces readers to the eponymous Cassie, a decidedly mundane member of a magical family. …Readers will enjoy Cassie’s fish-out-of-water struggles as she fights magical threats with little more than experience and bravado.” ~ Publishers Weekly


    Madison’s Song is available for order at  




    First Person: A Matter of Perspective


    Whether a writer is a panster or an outliner, there is one question she must answer before getting started: First or third? For some the answer is simply a matter of personal preference, but even if that’s the case it’s important to think through the implications.


    First person is a compelling viewpoint for many authors because it is easy to imagine ourselves as “I” and to tell a story that way. It’s sort of what we do, isn’t it? Play an elaborate game of make believe? But unless you’re a dedicated hobbyist, you’re not just telling this story for your own amusement. You’re writing to an audience, and your audience may have a different perspective.


    As a reader, I usually prefer third person – and I don’t say this lightly because my Cassie Scot series is told in the first person (I’ll get into why in a bit). I enjoy third person because in my readerly games of make believe, it is a little easier for me to pretend to be “he” or “she” than “I.”  It also has the clear advantage of allowing me inside the heads of more than one character, deepening the story by bringing in multiple perspectives.


    The third person limited omniscient is a great point of view which eliminates the distance between readers and characters. It puts us straight into their heads in a way that makes it a more intimate reading experience than first person. First person used to be the “close” point of view, but that’s when it was competing with an omniscient version of third person. Nowadays, we have better options. Modern limited omniscient third person gets as intimate with the character as first person, but it eliminates distance in time. A first person narrator has, presumably, already lived through the events of the story and is telling them from the future. A third person narrator is right there in the moment.


    But don’t take this to mean that first person doesn’t have a place. Of course it does! There is power in the first person narrator, but it has to be harnessed well and used wisely. As a reader immersing myself in a first person novel, it’s more like a close personal friend is telling me their story in intimate detail. To get into it I have to like not only the story, but the person telling it and the way it’s being told. Or to put it another way: Your narrator had better have character.


    I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say this: If you can substitute “he” or “she” for “I” in a first person story and it’s still basically the same, you’ve chosen the wrong point of view. If this is the case then you’ve thrown away all the advantage of first person while embracing all the disadvantages.


    A first person narrator isn’t just a narrator. He or she is a character telling a story. Their character will influence how they tell the story – including voice, style, and presentation method. First person narrators can get away with asides to the audience, or drop dark hints about what is to come (since they have already lived through it). A first person narrator can be unreliable – he can even lie to himself and believe it. He can also withhold information from the audience.


    You can get away with breaking more rules in the first person than you can in the third. Ironically, this makes it harder to write. It’s easier to effectively break rules once you know them and understand what they’re for.


    The power of a first person narrator is freedom of style.


    I chose first person for Cassie, after a lot of agonizing deliberation, because she needed to tell her own story. It helped that the story (by which I mean the prominent series arc; the individual books are mysteries) is entirely about Cassie coming into herself as an adult. But you can tell a great story in the third person, even if it belongs to only one character. A first person story needs more.  It needs a character who desperately wants to tell her own story. Cassie’s got attitude, and she’s talking right to you. “My parents think the longer the name the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Cassandra Morgan Ursula Margaret Scot. You can call me Cassie.”


    I said earlier that as a reader, I usually prefer third person. I put the “usually” in there for a reason – I usually prefer third person because I run across too many first person stories that don’t harness the power of first person. That don’t have the right style or perspective, or that differ from a third person story only in the pronoun choice.

    Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

    At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

    Visit Christine’s website.



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    postheadericon Roped in Book Blitz

    Roped In blitz banner

    We’re happy to be hosting K.D. Hays’ ROPED IN BOOK BLITZ today!

    Roped In

    Title: Roped In
    Author: K.D. Hays
    Publisher: K.D. Hays
    Pages: 140
    Genre: Cozy Mystery

    Life has settled into a more stable pattern for fledgling investigator Karen Maxwell of DS Investigations, but that stability is precarious. At work, she has an uneasy truce with Rodney, the “office maximizer” hired by her brother to do some of the administrative work she used to do. Her brother has not assigned her any real cases and she thinks it’s because he doesn’t trust her after she was fired from her last major assignment.

    But she soon gets her chance. The firm’s insurance agent calls in a favor and asks them to investigate whether a valuable parrot was killed as a result of snowfall damage to a house. Karen is pretty sure Dave will assign this to her, since the investigation will involve no money or prestige. But it may help earn back his confidence.

    Then Gina Callaghan hires DS Investigations to find out who sabotaged her daughter Hayley’s rope at a jump rope competition. Hayley competes in power jumping events, and she failed to make the top four in the regional tournament. If Karen can prove that one of those top four jumpers behaved unethically, then Hayley, (who was fifth) will have a spot at the national competition, and a chance to go to the World tournament. Dave assigns Karen the lead role in this case, so now she has a chance to prove to her brother that she can conclude an investigation before the client is ready to pull the plug.

    Karen bribes her son to take a jump rope class on the day when the jumpers she needs to watch have their practices. Initially, Hayley Callaghan does not want the matter investigated so Karen has to be a subtle as possible. Meanwhile, in the parrot case, Karen’s investigation seems to indicate that the parrot’s owners are telling the truth and not trying to defraud the insurance company. But the picture they offer as proof somehow arouses Karen’s suspicion.

    At jump rope practice, she finds a lot of masked hostility and a host of possible suspects, but no one who saw anything. Then Hayley’s sister steps forward and admits that she saw someone rummaging through her sister’s rope bag. Circumstances point to two possible suspects, in addition to the sister herself. But Karen can find no proof of wrongdoing and thinks the break was most likely an accident. Then Hayley changes her position and urges Karen to follow through with her initial suspicions. She immediately wonders why.

    But she doesn’t have time to wonder. Her brother insists that she stop working on the insurance case and her client insists that she write up suspicions against one of the other jumpers so they can file a complaint with the national sanctioning commission. Working against the clock, Karen finds proof that the picture is fake, proving that the insurance clients were trying to defraud the agency. But time runs out on the jump rope investigation—once again the dissatisfied client fires Karen before she solves the case. This time, she knows an innocent girl is going to face blame and could be banned from the sport she loves. So she digs on until she uncovers the truth —and possible destroys a family in the process.

    For More Information

    • Roped In is available at Amazon.
    • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    Book Excerpt:
    “And you promise that you can be discreet?”

    “Of course.” We’d never mingled with nobility or the rich and famous, but we had done work for the old moneyed families in Maryland and knew some of them could be passionate about maintaining their privacy.

    “Good,” she murmured, and again I had the sense that she was going through a checklist. I wondered if she might be the personal assistant to a rich woman who needed us to find missing heirloom jewels or locate the beneficiary of a testator’s unexpected bequest.

    “I need to hire an investigator,” she said, rather redundantly.

    “Yes,” I said, trying to be patient as my gaze strayed to the clock. I was going to have to flat-out run down to Main Street to make it to the salon on time. But it would be worth it if I was able to rope in a new client. With this woman’s educated voice and concerns about discretion, I thought we might be looking at something substantial. Even if it was just a woman wishing to keep tabs on her husband, she might be a client with enough money to pay for a extensive investigation. So I didn’t want to make her feel rushed.

    “Why do you want to hire an investigator?” I asked gently.

    “I need an investigator. Your best investigator,” she said firmly. “To find out who broke my daughter’s jump rope.”

    About the Author

    K.D. Hays

    Kate Dolan began her writing career as a legal editor and then newspaper columnist before she decided she was finally ready to tackle fiction. As the author of more than a dozen novels and novellas, she writes historical fiction and romance under her own name and contemporary mysteries and children’s books under the name K.D. Hays. When not writing, she enjoys volunteering as a living history interpreter and riding roller coasters with her daughter.

    Her latest book is the cozy mystery, Roped In.

    For More Information

    postheadericon Interview with Bluette Matthey, author of Black Forest Reckoning

    Black Forest Reckoning Book Banner

    blackforesFrontB-3Title: Black Forest Reckoning
    Author: Bluette Matthey
    Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing
    Pages: 299
    Genre: Travel Mystery

    Outfitter Hardy Durkin and company are visiting the Black Forest area of Germany, staying in the guest wing of a local castle, Schloss Haeflin. In the midst of hiking the Black Forest, enjoying all things Swabian, and spending a day in Baden-Baden, the hikers find themselves at ground zero for coeds disappearing from the nearby University of Freiburg and foul play is suspected. Unresolved personal issues of several members of the group threaten the tour’s cohesion, and Hardy discovers the Baron, who owns the schloss, has stolen someone’s identity as well as his fortune. Ever the sleuth, Hardy untangles the web of deceit, madness, and murder in ‘The Black Forest Reckoning’.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Can you tell us where you are from?

    I grew up on a farm in Ohio, but I’ve spent the last almost thirty years living in North Carolina, with lots of travel throughout.
    Q: How did you come up with your title?

    All of my travel mysteries are set in a specific, unique location, and this one was ear-marked for the Black Forest. My goal is to write my way through the alphabet my title. The ‘A’ book is Abruzzo Intrigue, this one is ‘B’, Black Forest Reckoning, ‘C’ is Corsican Justice, and I just completed ‘D’, Dalmatian Traffic.

    Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

    I chose the cover design: a castle dungeon, manacles, a skull, and German Polizei crime scene tape.

    Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

    It stars my serie’s protagonist, Hardy Durkin, some really vile bad guys, a plot with kinks and twists, and all set in a great region of the world.

    Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

    Several, but it’s probably best to leave those for discovery …

    Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

    I enjoyed writing about the Stolperstein stones, which are brass-topped paving stones placed in front of houses to commemorate the residents who were dragged from their homes and sent to death camps in World War II. One stone for each person who lived there. The stones are the work of artist Victor Demnig, who has placed the memorial stones in hundreds of towns and cities spanning more than eight countries across Europe. The idea is based on the Jewish belief that a person cannot be forgotten if his name is known. Many of the stones start out “Hier Wohnte” (Here Lived), followed by the person’s name. The stones commemorate all minority victims of the Holocaust: Jews, gypsies, gays, Christians, the mentally and physically disabled … they are powerful statements.

    Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

    Once I’d decided on the Black Forest as the setting with all its mystique it just evolved. The area has always enchanted me with its lore, history, natural beauty and fantastic cuisine. I mean, it’s ground zero for werewolves! There are some incredible castles in the region and the lure of a dungeon playing a key role became a given. The story rolled along in the midst of it all.

    Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

    I’m addicted to dark chocolate! I’ve pretty much tried to get sugar out of my diet, but I get these cravings and periodically make a chocolate run to Whole Foods for my cacao fix. My rationale is that dark chocolate has anti-oxidant properties.

    Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

    Confining my answer to one location is impossible. I love traveling, and have done a good bit in Europe, but there are so many places to explore, so many adventures to be had! We’re in the process of moving to Europe so I will be closer to the settings for my books, but I also need to squeeze in a rather long trip to China to visit my middle son and his family. China is so old and such a repository for knowledge! I’ve recently become interested in acupuncture and the ancient Chinese healing arts … their knowledge of the human body is incredibly profound.

    Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

    Both; it depends when I get my sleep.

    Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

    My father was a master story teller and in his later years he started writing down his tales. I also have a brother who is a bit of a poet, and a Gene Stratton-Porter (A Girl of the Limberlost; Laddie; Keeper of the Bees) is a distant relative.

    Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

    Oh, yes. I always envisioned living in Paris, emulating Audrey Hepburn.

    Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

    That we could be translated to our new home in Europe without the stress of packing and shipping, pets and all.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

    Take a trip somewhere! Savor the culture, history, and food. Have a grand adventure! And if you can’t travel, read a Hardy Durkin travel mystery.


    Bluette Matthey Bluette Matthey is a third generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she keeps a mystery with her to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, faithful dog, and band of loving cats.

    You can visit Bluette’s website at
    For More Information


    postheadericon First Chapter Reveal: I, Mary by Mike Hartner

    I, Mary 2Title: I, Mary
    Author: Mike Hartner
    Publisher: Eternity 4 Popsickle Publishing
    Pages: 266
    Genre: Historical Romance

    Mary Crofter’s first trip on the water was just after her first birthday, when her parents came from her birthplace in Kilwa to Portsmouth. She’s been on several trips from Portsmouth to London and other places since. She loves the water and the water seems to love her. Can she survive on the water? Will people ever take seriously a GIRL as a sailor? Will she ever come off the water? If she does, will the lure of the ocean draw her back?

    For More Information

    First Chapter

    I looked upon the gray waters that surrounded me. To the west it was dark and cloudy, the wind blustering. But as I braced myself against the gale hitting full force against my peacoat, I smiled.

    It was fitting that I was here, and nothing could ever convince me otherwise. I’d been birthed on land but it wasn’t long afterward that I was on the water—and acquiring my sea legs. From the time I could walk, I learned to balance myself on the uneven deck. And later to climb the gnarly spars and ultimately the sayles. My parents taught me my numbers and to read and write as well. Numbers, well, was my best subject, and I was good at that. But my time at sea was what I loved the most. In truth, the only fun I remember in my childhood was when they took me on our merchant ship from our home in Portsmouth to London or to Bristol. It wasn’t the location that I liked or the end of the journey; no, for me it was the sayling, standing on the deck, listening to the wind, watching the ocean and the clouds and . . . late at night . . . the stars. I wanted to be on the sea forever, and I knew this from my very first time aboard ship.

    I remember very well every one of those trips, because during each voyage I would close my eyes and concentrate, and it was as if I were talking to the water. And through a combination of waves and the ship’s motion, it felt as if the sea was in turn communicating with me.

    I recall all of the journeys with my father and his good friend, Captain Jose. The saylors on those ships were always good to me, and I came to respect all of them. They taught me sayling while they went about their own jobs. Even as a little kid I was taught how to tie knots. And when I was eleven they instructed me on how to throw knives and swing a cutlass. Soon afterward I was taught how to prime, load, and shoot a musket. But I turned up my nose at the musket, even the smaller flintlock pistols. To me, there was no honor in this sort of fight. No great talent was needed to shoot somebody. Any idiot could pull a trigger. In my mind, it required real skill to defeat a man, or woman for that matter, with a cutlass.   And, yes, I will take up swords against a woman. Because, you see, I am one also.

    Captain Jose had been a friend of the family since before I was born. He’d sayled with my father, James, and my mother, Rosalind. I heard the stories of the trip from Kilwa, where I was born, and then to Portsmouth, where we now live. I don’t know how they originally met because I haven’t been told that yet, but Captain Jose is so close to the family that I’ve always called him Uncle Jose or Uncle for short.

    Currently, I am not quite twelve years old, thin as a rail, a little over eleven hands high, and maybe weighing four stone soaking wet. My hair is long enough to wear tied behind so it looks like the tail on a pony, but many men wear their hair the same way, so no one would know I was a girl just by looking at me.

    I was in the office of Crofter Shipping Yards one day when Uncle Jose called me to him said, “Come over here and sit down.” He was always so nice to me that I never hesitated at any request of his, so I took a seat next to him. He gave me a funny look, kind of sly but not really since he smiled right away. “I’ve already talked to your parents, and both James and Rosalind agree with me.”

    I looked at him and fidgeted, not having a clue what he was going to say next.

    “You’ve sayled with your father and me all your life. We brought you to Portsmouth on a carrack many years ago. You’ve been on the caravel we sayled to Le Havre and on a special boat too, a cog—the one with just one sayle—when we sayled to London.”

    I nodded at him, but I was confused. Had I done something wrong?

    “Mary, there is a caravel that will be leaving these shipping yards in a little over a week. It’s headed to the north of Scotland. Seldom do pirates sayle these waters, so other than weather it will be relatively safe and . . .” My eyes widened. Was I getting the right message? Was he really doing this? Was he really going to make my dream come true? “If you should be interested, I can schedule you to take your sayling tests in the next few days so you can be on that caravel and start out as part of the crew on this trip. This way, you can see if sayling is really what you want to do.”

    I threw myself at Uncle Jose. “Yes, yes. Please, yes.”

    He laughed. “Then let’s go get you some sayling clothes and set you up to crew on your very first ship. Then I’ll introduce you to the captain.” I jumped up from my chair but Uncle Jose pointed to me so I’d retake my seat. His face turned solemn, almost to a frown. “There’s something we need to discuss, and this won’t be easy to talk about. I brought this up this with your parents, and they told me to go ahead and tell you.”

    Uncle Jose’s change of attitude was so great that I was startled. “I don’t understand.”

    “I’ve already spoken to the captain, since I assumed you’d say yes. And he assured me that his main crew will respect you as a girl and also as a Crofter. But there are always new men brought on board. And even though the regular crew is honorable as far as this captain knows, they are still men of the sea. Mary, do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

    “Your crew was always wonderful to me.” As soon as I said this I started to think back to all the times the men had helped me.

    “You were a young girl who was the daughter of the owner of the ship, and I was the captain who knew each man well. If anyone had stepped out of line, he would have been run through or thrown overboard. This will be different, and you must understand that you are older now, almost a woman if you aren’t already. I don’t know how else to put it, but to say you will have to be on your guard at all times. The captain will have a couple of his most trusted men watching over you, but even a caravel is a big enough boat that . . . well, no person can be looked after day and night.”

    I hadn’t given what Uncle Jose was talking about a single thought, but I wasn’t scared. “I’m not saying I can take down a saylor, but I know how to defend myself, and Mother has taught me how to hurt a man where it hurts the most.”

    Uncle Jose let out a muffled laugh that might’ve been a groan. “Always know who’s around you, and be aware that you’re going to constantly have to prove yourself.”

    “Because I’m a girl?” I snapped, mad that I’d done so at Uncle Jose.

    “Yes,” he came back just as fast, but then he smiled and showed his big teeth. “Just be aware that nothing I have said was with the intent of trying to talk you off the boat. I just don’t want you—”

    “Uncle Jose, I’ve heard the men talk on the boats since I was first able to walk the decks. Sometimes I’d hear things that I know I wasn’t supposed to, and as I got older many saylors didn’t even think I was not one of them, so I’m not unaware that men are going to be men at times. I can handle myself, I promise.”

    “Let us hope you don’t have to.” He stared hard at me. “At least with the crew.”

    postheadericon A Conversation with P.I. Alltraine, author of ‘Heartbound’

    P.I. AlltraineP.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

    She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

    Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

    Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

    For More Information

    About the Book:

    Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a Heartboundway to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

    However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

    For More Information

    • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
    • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
    • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview, P.I. ! Can you tell us where you are from?

    I live in London, but I was born in the Philippines. I’ve lived in London for most of my adult life, and I love the place and the people and the culture, but I’ll always be proud to be Filipino. I think living in the Philippines, a place where myths and legends are embedded in the culture, really sparked my imagination at a young age.

    Q: How did you come up with your title?

    I wanted something that encapsulated the fantasy as well as the romantic elements of the book. It came to me, like everything else, when I was minding my own business, not thinking about it.

    Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

    Like the title, I wanted a cover that would accentuate the romance, the fantasy, how out of place Petyr was in this world, but I wanted it to be enchanting. There were many, many drafts. The cover artist, Melody Pond, did a magnificent job with the cover (and being very patient with me).

    Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

    To quote a recent review, “It’s romantic, enchanting, yet deliciously dark.”

    Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

    At its core, Heartbound is about questioning and finding one’s own identity, trying to find a resolution between who you’re meant to be and who you want to be. It’s about finding the bravery and courage to go against the tides, refuse to conform, and fight for something that means everything to you but means nothing to everyone else.

    Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

    Chapter 3. This is when the darkness becomes apparent.

    Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

    The story came to me and demanded to be written. I know, I know. That’s the most clichéd answer ever, but writers keep saying it for a reason. It’s hard to describe the impact of a powerful idea. When it hits a writer, it’s no longer a choice. You have to write it, or it will drive you mad. In my case, I was minding my own business, and all of a sudden, there was this image in my head. It hit me so hard that I had to stop what I was doing. I picked up a pen and paper and started to scribble. My husband walked in and found me on the floor with pieces of papers around me. At that point, the outline of Heartbound was completed—chapter by chapter, from beginning to end.

    Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

    I was raised in the Philippines where belief in supernatural creatures (e.g. dark mythical creatures, vampires, etc.) was embedded of the culture. A part of me still believes.

    Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

    I’ve been to some of the most beautiful places in the world. Right now though, I would love to go back to the Philippines and just enjoy the nature, the food, the people… I always get inspired to write when I’m over there. It’s such a magical place.

    Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

    I’m definitely a night owl. I feel more awake—and alive—in the dead of the night.

    Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

    My mother used to write my speeches for oratorical competitions and debates when I was at school. She’s a talented woman. She used to make up most of the bedtime stories she told us, and her father did the same when she was a child. I definitely got my interest in storytelling from them.

    Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

    Belief in myth and supernatural is massive part of the Philippine culture. Growing up over there, I was always fascinated by the possibilities of other worlds and enchanted creatures. I believed in magic, fairies, mermaids, ghosts, engkanto, vampires… you name it. The writer part of me still believes.

    Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

    For everything to stay exactly as it is.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

    Thank you so much for having me. It’s been lovely sharing my thoughts with you.

    postheadericon Interview with Kim Boykin, author of ‘A Peach of a Pair’

    Kim BoykinKim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in CrazyTown or somewhere in the general vicinity.

    Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

    As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

    Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of A Peach of a Pair, Palmetto Moon and The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley/NAL/Penguin; Flirting with Forever, She’s the One, Just in Time for Christmas, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

    Her latest book is the southern women’s fiction, A Peach of a Pair.

    For More Information

    About the Book:

    A Peach of a Pair

    Title: A Peach of a Pair
    Author: Kim Boykin
    Publisher: Penguin Random House/Berkley Books
    Pages: 304
    Genre: Southern Women’s Fiction

    “Palmetto Moon” inspired “The Huffington Post” to rave, It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find. Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina.

    April, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can’t wait to return to her family and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks, in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.

    Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she’ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home.

    For More Information

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kim! Can you tell us where you are from?

    I’m originally from New Ellenton, SC, a little one stop light town near Augusta, GA, but I live in Charlotte, NC now.

    Q: How did you come up with your title?

    My first writer friend read part of the story several years ago. She loved the elderly sisters and said, “I have the perfect title.” She was right, and my editor loved A Peach of a Pair too.

    Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

    Berkley Books at Penguin always does such a lovely job with my covers. They’re kind of like pretty dresses.

    Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

    Nettie Gilbert is two months shy of graduation when she receives a wedding invitation to her baby sister’s wedding, only her own fiancé is the groom. The last thing she wants to do is go home to Alabama, so she goes to work for two ailing sisters who know a thing or two about betrayal and forgiveness.

    Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

    The book is an examination of sisterhood. Lurleen talks about the indestructible sisterhood her and Emily have, but the book is a good hard look at love and forgiveness.

    Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

    I don’t think there is one particular chapter, but Emily and Lurleen, the spinster sisters was so much fun. They’re such big characters and threatened to hijack the story away from Nettie.

    Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

    There’s a long line of people, or what other might call characters, in the ether waiting to tell their stories. I hear their voices in my head and dutifully write down their stories. They get a little testy and noisier if I don’t.

    Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

    My husband is buried in my back yard on some days, but only in my imagination.

    Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

    I don’t know why, but I always say Montana. It’s gorgeous, and something inside me keeps saying I need to go there. Hopefully, I will some day.

    Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

    My normal body clock says go to bed at 12-1:00 am get up at 8:00am, but I’m more productive when I get up at 6:00 ish and get to work by 7:00.

    Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

    My sister, Joan Gray, is a Presbyterian minister and writes non-fiction.

    Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

    If I had one wish, it would be that my family would live happily ever after.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to share with your readers. This was fun!


    postheadericon Interview with ‘Not in God’s Name’ Paula Fouce

    Paula FoucePaula Fouce is a critically acclaimed filmmaker and author. Her film credits include Not in God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama, Song of the Dunes: Search for the Original Gypsies (PBS stations), Naked in Ashes, Origins of Yoga, and No Asylum. Her new book, NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT, delves deeper into the subject of religious intolerance and offers solutions that are aimed at uniting all faiths. She was partner and director of KRCA TV Channel 62 in Los Angeles and served as co-chair of the Southern Asian Art Council at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

    Fouce is the owner and president of Paradise Filmworks International, a production company based in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. She is currently working on a book that chronicles her experiences living and traveling with the yogis in the Himalayas.

    For More Information

    About the Book:

    “We’re all praying to the same Divine, which is called by many names or no name at all.” In her new book, NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT(based on award winning film that aired on PBS “Not in God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama”), Paula Fouce searches for solutions to end the escalating violence between religious groups. She has lived and worked in many South Asian countries including India, Tibet, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir, where she experienced a variety of vast cultural and religious diversity. But Fouce came face-to-face with the destructiveness of religious-based conflict while in India when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.

    As a result of Gandhi’s murder, thousands of Sikhs were massacred. Fouce escaped unharmed, but she was shaken by the explosion of violence from a people who had treated her with care and compassion before the death of their leader. The experience prompted Fouce to undergo a personal quest to understand the reasons behind the intolerance. What was the genesis of violent religion-inspired conflicts – the underlying chaosthat has led to majorviolent conflicts such as the Crusades (1095–1291), the Partition of India in 1947, the 2009 Mumbai attacks, the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the 2015 Paris attacks, and other religion-inspired conflicts?

    In NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT, Fouce shares her journey for spiritual enlightenment that began after she survived a car crash in which she was thrown from the vehicle. After her recovery, Fouce traveled to India in 1974 for a semester of study focused on Hindu and Buddhist art. During an early trip, Fouce met Mother Teresa. She returned to India after graduating from college to continue her spiritual exploration, export art, and guide luxury tours.

    NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT discusses the histories of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity, as well as Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, and other religions. Fouce spoke with several leaders in the religious tolerance movement, including the Dalai Lama; Mark Juergensmeyer, professor of Religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Dr. Karan Singh, a member of India’s Upper House of Parliament; and Dr. Joseph Prabhu, a trustee of the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. In the book, the author asks probing questions of faith leaders and scholars in order to devise solutions for ending the violence among religious groups.

    “Although there are differences, we can develop a deep respect for all faith traditions that contribute untold richness to our civilization. Religious tolerance is our greatest tool for promoting world peace,” Fouce says. She identifies specific causes of religious intolerance and offers solutions for bringing the world’s faiths together.

    After escaping the Indian religious riots in 1984, Fouce was “was struck with how religion had been twisted and used to create dissention and violence, the antithesis of its intention. My point of view is focused on how to bridge our differences; and my book goes into detail, even describing the compassion training that is now taught in many top universities.” Over the three-year period that Fouce worked on NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT, she used the transcripts from interviews for the film documentary of the same title (which was aired on PBS stations nationwide) and researched news stories of current religious conflicts. “Education is sorely needed to ensure a peaceful world where it is understood that diversity is not a threat or a detriment to one’s own good. Diversity is to be celebrated,” Fouce says. “Our unquestionable right as human beings is to freely worship the God of our understanding and to follow that spiritual path whose practices support our doing so.”

    Fouce’s purpose for writing NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT is to help the reader to understand that there are solutions to religious intolerance. “How do we change the minds of violent fundamentalists? This is the real task ahead, together with preventing people from being attracted to such ideology in the first place. Can we find a middle ground, a live-and-let live coexistence? Herein lies the only answer to the challenge of creating a peaceful future with acceptance. The continued existence of the human race depends on it.”

    For More Information

    • Not in God’s Name: Making Sense of Religious Conflict is available at Amazon.
    • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
    • Download your copy at iTunes.
    • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Paula! Can you tell us where you are from?

    I am from Los Angeles and now also live in Las Vegas.

    Q: How did you come up with your title?

    Not in God's NameThe book is named after a film I produced and directed, Not in God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama, that aired on the PBS stations.

    Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

    The cover is designed by a wonderful artist, Jan Evans Bowman, and it a pair of hands in prayer, with bullets hanging as if they are a rosary. In the background there are temples and churches of many faiths, with blood dripping down.

    Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

    Leaders of many religions including Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama share their insights into religious intolerance, and their solutions.

    Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

    That there are solutions to hatred and war waged in the name of God and religion. Solutions to teach young people are detailed in the book.

    Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

    The chapter about going to a huge Hindu festival with the Yogis, because people embraced me as if I was one of them.

    Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

    The subject of religious intolerance is so prominent in the news today. Our world is confronted with terrorism being waged in the name of God.

    Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

    That writing and film making can become a real passion.

    Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

    To Romania Hungary, and Bulgaria, because I have not yet been there, and long to visit the “Gypsy” Roma people.

    Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

    A morning person.

    Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

    That our world would be truly peaceful.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

    Thank you so much for your interest in the issue of “killing in the name of God.”

    postheadericon Book Spotlight: The Unseen Kingdom by Daniel R. Mathews

    About The Book
    Title: The Unseen Kingdom
    Author: Daniel R. Mathews
    Publisher: Lost Legacy Press
    Publication Date: September 19, 2015
    Format: Paperback – 562 pages / eBook  / PDF
    ISBN: 978-0990710721
    Genre: YA / LGBT / Horror / Science Fiction
    Book Description:
    A group of friends must band together to defeat an ancient evil in Daniel R. Mathews’s terrifying debut, The Unseen Kingdom.
    In a small New England town, thirteen-year-old Tommy Wilson’s biggest worry is coming out to his close-knit group of friends. All of that changes, however, when the boys discover a dream portal to R’lyeh—home to the Titan god Cthulhu himself.
    Inhabited by monstrous creatures and eerie children who have appointed Tommy and his friends their new “apostles,” R’lyeh becomes a horrifying yet darkly fascinating world that proves to be increasingly real.
    Meanwhile, the town’s population is suddenly overrun with a mysterious epidemic that threatens everyone. As the boys struggle to cope with what is happening, Tommy comes closer than ever to discovering the dark secret that lurks within R’lyeh itself—but will the price prove to be too costly? And, can the boys unlock the link between the secrets of R’lyeh and the devastation of their town’s population before it’s too late?
    A truly unique work of fiction, The Unseen Kingdom is an LGBT coming-of-age novel skillfully infused with edge-of-your-seat horror, resulting in a wildly entertaining novel that will leave you guessing until the very last page.
    Book Excerpt: 

    CH A P T E R 1The dust covered yellow school bus rumbled down the cracked asphalt road,
    shaking the children inside. Tommy’s body was inclined back against his
    seat, his feet planted at the top of the green vinyl covered seat in front of
    him. He alternated between glancing at his best friend Brian and peering
    out the window at the blur of the fading autumn colors along the road.
    Kevin was sitting rather imperiously at the back of the bus, grimacing down
    at his cell phone that he removed from his pocket every couple of minutes.Unable to resist commenting, Carlos leaned across the aisle. “Alright,
    what’s the deal, Kevin? You got a hot date or something?”

    Kevin’s face flushed slightly. “Uh…yeah! Jealous much?”

    Despite his retort, his hands were shaking. Sunlight streaming through
    the windows revealed a rather puffy ring of black and blue flesh underneath
    his right eye. Tommy spotted the clumsy attempt to hide the bruise with
    makeup. For an instant, the two boys’ eyes met but Kevin cast his eyes
    downward, looking ashamed. He looked at his phone again, and Tommy
    knew why.

    A smirk curled across Carlos’ lips as he quipped, “Yeah, right. Your left
    hand isn’t a date!” A chorus of chuckles emanated from the kids sitting in
    front of the group of boys.

    Kevin turned to face him and punched the boy in the shoulder with a
    dull thwack. Before he could say anything, Kevin leaned back in his seat
    and said, “Just FYI, it’s my right hand.” The children in earshot giggled at
    Kevin’s assertion.

    After rubbing his shoulder, Carlos looked back at Kevin. “Seriously,
    dude, what’s up?” Tommy looked over at him and discreetly touched his
    own face, to draw Carlos’ attention to Kevin’s bruise. After Carlos had realized
    what he meant, the group became quiet.

    Kevin put his phone away, leaned back against the window facing his
    friends and forced a smile. “The only problem I have is your ugly face.”
    Carlos flipped Kevin off, and poked Jacob who was giggling at his expense.

    Tommy glanced at Brian and smiled. When he returned the smile,
    Tommy looked down, his face brightening. Carlos and Jacob nudged one
    another and pointed at the pair. Carlos was dozing in the sunlight, while
    Jacob leaned against him listening to music on his headphones, watching
    Tommy and Brian with bemused interest.

    Kevin shook his head and grinned knowingly back at Jacob. Tommy
    caught the boys’ conspiratorial glances and turned his head to the side. He
    felt he was the punch line of an inside joke sometimes, but wasn’t quite sure
    why. His curiosity was interrupted by his cell phone vibrating in his pocket.
    He dug the phone out and read the text message from his mother.

    “Yeah! It’s here!” Tommy exclaimed as he pumped his fist in the air

    His voice rousted Carlos from his slumber. “What’s here? Another My
    Little Pony?” he asked.

    “Your birthday was last month, dork. No, my Halloween costume,”
    Tommy responded matter-of-factly.

    Kevin spun his hand around in a circle. “Uh, and…”

    “It’s a surprise!” Tommy said with a mischievous grin, staring into
    Brian’s grey eyes.

    Carlos huffed with annoyance. “Dude, if you wear the same costume as
    me again this year I’m going to kick your ass.”

    “You’re still going as the red Master Chief, right?” Tommy asked with
    sudden concern.
    Carlos nodded affirmatively. “You’re going as a Templar, right,

    Brian responded affirmatively, “I got some chain mail, and Mom
    bought me a historically accurate tabard and helmet to go with it! Now if I
    could use Dad’s old sword, the outfit would be perfect.”

    “Even with the sword, I’m still going to own you,” Carlos said confidently.
    He looked over at Kevin. “You decide on an outfit yet?”

    Kevin shrugged, breaking eye contact with the others. “I don’t know if
    my father’s going to let me go.”

    “He’s gotta! There’s going to be ten thousand dollars in prizes. This is
    going to be the best Halloween ever!” Tommy said exuberantly.

    “And, you know, nobody does Halloween better than us!” Brian proclaimed

    “Alright…alright. I’ll come up with something, I’m sure,” Kevin assured
    his friends.

    “What about you, Jacob?” Kevin asked.

    Jacob smiled. “It’s a secret.”

    “I’ll take care of this,” Carlos said, poking him mercilessly in the side,
    causing him to squeal. The bus driver cleared his throat loudly, glaring at
    the boys through the rear view mirror.

    “Quit it!” Jacob protested, his face turning red enough to mask his pale
    freckles. “I’m going as a vampire,” he surrendered begrudgingly.

    “God, another sparkly vampire!” Carlos teased.

    “No way, dork! A real vampire!” he retorted. Tommy and Brian laughed
    and applauded.

    Tommy leaned back and peered out the window again. The bus sputtered
    to a stop, letting a few children out. He sang under his breath, “Eight
    more days to Halloween, Halloween. Eight more days to Halloween, Silver
    Shamrock.” Brian’s reflection in the window beamed at him while Carlos
    and Kevin simultaneously rolled their eyes.

    As the bus rounded a bend adjacent to the swamp that surrounded
    much of the town, Tommy caught a glimpse of a boy wearing filthy blue
    denim overalls and a wool beret. However, the boy disappeared behind the
    veil of swirling white smoke left by the bus’s exhaust. There was something
    inherently disquieting about the boy.

    The bus ride grew progressively quieter as the bus approached the end
    of its daily journey. His eyes widened when he saw the same boy from earlier
    emerging from behind a row of wild hawthorn bushes. This time he
    made direct eye contact with the mysterious boy. A wicked smile danced
    across the child’s otherwise emotionless face, causing Tommy’s body to
    shudder involuntarily. There was something terrible in the child’s visage,
    forcing him to look away from those hollow, soulless eyes that invaded his
    consciousness. Tommy looked up to see the bus driver staring intently at him through the rear view mirror. The rest of the group had fallen into
    their own little worlds, lulled into virtual slumber by the constant droning
    of the engine and swaying of the bus. He sank down in his seat, trying to
    avoid the bus driver’s penetrating stare. He glanced over at Brian, who was
    playing with his phone.

    Tommy felt some relief when the final stop was reached and it was time
    to offload. Carlos, Jacob and Brian were already halfway down the aisle
    before the bus reached a stop, leaving Kevin and Tommy as the last passengers
    to disembark. As Tommy descended the stairs, the bus driver reached
    out and grabbed his hand. “You’ve seen them, haven’t you?” he asked.

    A startled Tommy gave the bus driver a bewildered stare as he struggled
    to withdraw his hand from the man’s tight grasp. “Seen who? What are
    you talking about?” he asked, growing fearful of the man’s narrowing eyes.

    “The children of the Great Unseen have revealed themselves to you,
    and now it’s your turn to hear HIS call,” the man whispered in a raspy
    voice. He tried to back away as the man’s eyes darkened, much like the boy
    he had seen earlier.

    “You’re hurting me!” an increasingly flustered Tommy stammered, trying
    to pull away from the man’s grip.

    Like a passing summer storm, the man’s face brightened, and he released
    Tommy’s wrist. “Well, what are you waiting for, boy? It’s Friday night. You
    got the whole weekend ahead of you. Now git!” He smiled warmly at the astounded
    boy. Tommy stepped off the bus, confronted by Kevin and Brian.

    “What the hell happened?” Kevin demanded.

    Tommy could do little but shrug his slender shoulders. “I don’t know.
    He was mad about something; it didn’t make any sense. Whatever it was,
    he got over it quickly.”

    Kevin watched with concern as the bus disappeared down the road, before
    turning his attention to the dilapidated two-story greyish white house
    in front of him. “Well, I can’t stall any longer,” he said with a sigh.

    “What are you doing guys doing tonight?” Tommy asked.

    Kevin shifted his weight. “I think I better stay in and work on

    Brian said, “I promised Mom I’d clean up around the house tonight,
    but I’ll have the rest of the weekend free after my homework is done.”
    Tommy looked a little dejected, but at least this afforded him some time to
    check out his Halloween costume.

    “We’ll see you tomorrow morning, right?” Tommy asked Kevin

    Kevin forced a smile and gave him a playful push. “Yeah, Bro, I’ll see
    you guys tomorrow. We’ll go into town or something.” Tommy and Brian
    said their good-byes and the boys parted company for the day.

    Tommy’s house was a little larger than Kevin’s, painted a similar
    weather-beaten white although clearly more care and maintenance has been
    put into his house than Kevin’s. He bounded through the front door, his
    eyes scanning the entranceway and hallway for any signs of his package. He
    poked his head into the kitchen, spying the nondescript brown box sitting
    on the table between his mother and father.

    He made a beeline for the package before his mom intercepted him.
    “Not even an acknowledgment of us being in the room?” she mockingly
    admonished him, wiping the curly locks of blonde hair from his face.

    “Stop, Mom! Hi, Dad!” he blurted out as he reached for the box.

    “So, remind me why you needed to spend six months of your allowance
    for this?” his father asked while Tommy tore open the package

    “It’s a surprise for…” Tommy cut himself short. “I mean, I’m just
    looking forward to Halloween.” The boy delved into the contents of the
    package, procuring large sheets of fine brown fur wrapped in translucent

    “Is there something you’d like to talk to us about?” his father asked
    softly, casting a glance at his wife.

    “You know, you can talk to us about anything,” Tommy’s mom said

    Tommy pulled out the lower jaw of the werewolf costume, running his
    fingers along the jagged teeth as he looked up at his parents with confusion.
    “What are you talking about?”

    “Well, we thought maybe you’d like to talk about someone,” Tommy’s
    father said.

    Tommy thought for a moment, unsure where his parents were going
    with this line of questioning, though admittedly he felt embarrassed as a
    sloppy grin crossed his face imagining Brian’s reaction when he sees the
    costume. Before he could assemble the pieces in his mind, he blurted out
    Kevin’s name.

    “Kevin? What about him?” his mother asked, casting a confused gaze
    over at her husband on this unexpected subject.

    “I think his dad beat him up last night. He was wearing makeup to
    cover up a black eye, but he didn’t have it yesterday,” Tommy said, looking out the kitchen window toward Kevin’s house. “I’m worried about him,”
    he added.

    “That’s a serious accusation, Tommy. Has Kevin given you any indication
    of this?” his father asked, looking troubled.

    Tommy shook his head. “No, but he acts afraid to go home. Every day
    on the bus you can see him start shaking the closer we get.”

    “That’s a worrying sign, Tommy, but we need to know the whole story.
    Kevin is lucky to have you as a friend. I think the best thing you can do
    right now is be there for him, and let him know that when he’s ready to talk,
    you’ll listen,” his father instructed.

    “Is there anything else, anything Kevin’s said that would make you feel
    there’s trouble with his father?” his mother interjected.

    Tommy thought for a moment. “Kevin’s mentioned his dad drinks a
    lot. I think that’s when he gets in trouble.”

    His mother rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Isn’t it always?” she
    whispered to no one in particular. “Your father is right, Tommy. Let know
    Kevin that you’re there for him. There is a counselor at your school trained
    for this kind of thing, so Kevin has options if he’s in trouble.”

    “Couldn’t you talk to his dad, make him stop?” he asked his father.

    Tommy’s father leaned back in his chair and sighed. “It’s not that easy,
    kiddo. Nobody likes to be told how to raise their child, and I’m afraid if we
    stick our noses into his business, he might take it out on Kevin. It would be
    best if the school became involved in this.”

    Disappointed, Tommy knew this was a problem that couldn’t easily be
    solved. He pulled out the remaining mass of soft brown fur and the upper jaw of his werewolf costume. “Some assembly required,” he moaned, pulling
    out a plastic bag full of plastic claws.

    “I hope you’re not expecting me to do all the work,” Tommy’s mother

    “Uh, no, of course not, Mom!” he replied, his bright, blue pleading eyes
    belying his underlying intent.

    “Well, if you like I can take the measurements and help you get started
    this weekend,” his mom offered diplomatically.

    His face brightened. “Thanks, Mom, that’d be awesome!”

    “Alright, go get started on your homework. Dinner will be ready in
    about an hour,” she concluded, sending the Tommy and his costume out
    of the kitchen.

    His father shook his head and laughed. “I have a feeling this is going to
    be an unforgettable Halloween.”

    Tommy bounded into his room, and spread all the individual components
    of the werewolf costume across his bed. The macabre mass of soft
    fur, jaws and claws melded naturally with the horror movie posters hanging
    on the far wall, above the shelves filled with rows of horror movie
    DVDs and a couple dozen similarly themed novels. He plopped himself
    down in his wooden desk chair and rummaged through his backpack for
    his homework assignments.

    Buy The Book:


    Barnes & Noble:


    Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking here:
    About The Author
    An avid reader of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, Daniel R. Mathews is a novelist and nonfiction writer whose books feature LGBT youth braving danger with honor and dignity, including his personal memoir, The Demons of Plainville, and debut horror novel, The Unseen Kingdom.
    For the past two decades, Mathews has worked as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified ground instructor, meteorologist, and a member of the web development and Internet technical support community. He currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
    Connect with Daniel R. Mathews:
    Virtual Book Tour

    postheadericon Interview with Lisa McDonald, author of children’s books ‘Little Boy Gan From Passion-Filled Everland’ & ‘Reimburse the Universe’

    Lisa McDonaldLisa McDonald is an author and radio host. Her children’s books, LITTLE BOY GAN FROM PASSION-FILLED EVERLAND and REIMBURSE THE UNIVERSE, take readers, young and old, on journeys with diverse characters that teach lessons of acceptance, understanding, and sharing. Lisa’s radio program, Carpe Diem, promotes personal empowerment and showcases world-renowned authors, speakers, and musicians.

    Writing has been a long-time passion for Lisa. “I have been writing since the age of five. I always wrote poetry, short stories, anthologies, essays. My maternal grandmother foresaw me being a writer/author from a very young age and encouraged me to pursue it. As a result of reinventing myself due to a change in personal/familial circumstances, it became clear to me that writing was not meant to be a hobby but rather my vocation.”

    Lisa’s third and fourth books, PLANET POME-GRANITE and KISMET TALES FROM HAPPY TRAILS, are forthcoming in late 2015 and early 2016.

    For More Information

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Lisa. How did you come up with your titles of your books?

    My first book, Little Boy Gan from Passion-Filled Everland, was written in Gananoque, Ontario, Canada. Given the main character, Gan, was the voice within the story whom was imparting important life-lessons to the other characters within the story, I believed it important that the main character have a name which stood out in its uniqueness. I have often been asked Little Boy Ganwhere the name, Gan, had originated from and my reasons for choosing it.

    Reimburse the Universe, is the title of my second book. The title of the book very much encapsulates the direct message within my book, and that message speaks to our own individual relationship we have with the universe – that what we energetically, and karmically emit is often times what comes back to us hence, Reimburse the Universe.

    Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

    My illustrators, Paul Shultz and Lara Aiken ( website for their business, Jaded Dragon Studios, are simply phenomenal. They are salt of the earth people – a married couple who live local to me. Paul is the illustrator of the duo and Lara does the colouring. I will not use anyone else for my children’s books, and I highly promote and recommend them – everywhere and to everyone. They have now become friends for life. Our creative synergy is off-the-charts, brilliant. The covers of both my books, very much speaks to not only the content of each individual story itself, but is also inclusive of much of where I derive my creativity and inspiration from – nature – animals – where I do most of my processing, thinking, conceptualizing, writing and visualizing – outdoors.

    Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

    It is not only my own personal belief but also that of others as reflected in feedback and reviews, of my books, and that is that there is no shortage of positivity, inspiration, wisdom and warmth within the pages of my stories. My books are a back to basics reminder of the grass-root principles of all that is right and pure and good about humanity and the importance of reclaiming, rediscovering, and remembering our own inner-child, for it is the childlike spirit, which is most curious, most passionate, most adventurous, and most loving. When we return to our childlike spirits, it is in that space, we remember that anything is possible, and that life is magical. This is why I and others, believe that my books are a must for your children, for yourselves, and for others. Treat yourselves!

    Reimburse the UniverseQ: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

    I want everyone to be reminded that everything good in this world derives from love. That the more we give back, and be of service to others, the more we continue to operate from a place of WE and US and TEAM – the more authentic and abundant our own lives, hearts, souls and spirits.

    Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

    My first two children’s books consist of 36 pages each. Chapters have not been inserted into my children’s books. I loved writing very single page and loved it even more when the phenomenal illustrations, further brought each page to life.

    Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

    I have always felt compelled to write and I have throughout the duration of my entire life. It is one form of me choosing to honour myself and the life journey I believe I am intended to be on and to live fully and wholeheartedly. I love writing, I love children, and I love life. It felt only right to merge all of these magical ingredients together so as to celebrate and share with others, the brightest aspects of my life.

    Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

    I believe in unicorns.

    Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

    Shillong, India. My maternal Grandmother, was born on an Assam Tea Plantation as a young girl before emigrating to England with her Brit father and Indian mother. It was my dear Grandma whom always encouraged me to stick with the writing – to continue to pursue my passion and to turn it into something spectacular. Sadly, my Grandma passed away prior to this having all come to fruition for me. I do however, believe she is forever with me in spirit while energetically navigating me on this beautiful journey. So grateful to my Grandma, Molly!

    Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

    I am both a morning and a night person. My children are very early risers, therefore my built-in alarm clock. I love what I do and love how I spend and fill, each day of my life, therefore, I am always excited and full of anticipation with the prospect of beginning anew, each night I hit the pillow. It is in the stillness of the evening, after my children have retired to bed, that I reflect upon my day, visualize about the next, focus on the intentions I am forever setting for myself, and strategizing my next creative move.

    Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

    My Mum, who passed away June 27th of last year (2014) used to write poetry for many years. She had also won poetry reading contests on radio and in newspapers. My Dad, a former professional musician, continues to write songs to this day. I consider myself very fortunate and blessed to have been greatly influenced by such creative parents.

    Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

    Yes, I truly was. I was forever using my imagination when at play or when writing. I have always aspired to do something meaningful and purposeful with my life and have continually held lofty goals for myself. I was always drawn to the arts and very much enjoyed taking not only English and writers craft courses at school, but Drama as well. I once received the role of Gretel, in the school play production, Hansel and Gretel.

    Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

    For my children and all children of the world to be spared from fear, hate, hunger, violence, and oppression. For all children to thrive and prosper and to only know love.

    Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

    I always take full advantage of any provided opportunity in which to once again extend my eternal gratitude to everyone who has lovingly played a role in my journey. I truly could not be where I am today, and am continually going to go, without the support, kindness, encouragement and positivity of so many. Love & Gratitude to all!

    postheadericon Book Blast! Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things by Martina McAtee today!

    We’re thrilled to be hosting Martina McAtee’s CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS Book Blast today at Literarily Speaking!

    Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
    Author: Martina McAtee
    Publisher: Martina McAtee
    Pages: 450
    Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

    17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.

    They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.

    As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

    For More Information

    • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
    • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    Book Excerpt:

    She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.”

    She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response.

    She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.

    Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”

    There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed.

    He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin.

    She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first.

    They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too?

    She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.

    She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own.

    “What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?”

    He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?”

    She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.”

    Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.”

    He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.

    “We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other.”

    Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.

    She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.

    He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.

    He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”

    “I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”

    He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch, “You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”

    She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”

    She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.

    She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.

    But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do?

    Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.

    “What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.

    He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”

    “Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.

    “Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.

    “Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”

    He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.

    She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”

    He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.

    “Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”

    He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.

    “I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”

    He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”

    He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”

    Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.

    “Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.

    He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”

    Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”

    “I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.

    She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.

    “I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.

    She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.

    She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say.

    About the Author

    Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she’s reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.

    For More Information


    postheadericon Heartbound Book Blitz

    Heartbound Book Blitz Banner 2

    We’re happy to be hosting P.I. Alltraine and her HEARTBOUND Book Blitz today!

    About the Book:


    Title: Heartbound
    Author: P.I. Alltraine
    Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
    Pages: 177
    Genre: YA fantasy romance

    Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

    However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

    For More Information

    • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
    • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
    • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    Book Excerpt:

    I defied my fate the moment I leapt out of my apartment’s third-story window. I landed on the pavement without a sound. In the same instant, my feet blended into the measured pace in which humans carried themselves.

    Gazing up at the sky, I tried to find something to remind me of my home, of my duty. The future leader of a realm in peril cannot be overcome by irrational desires, I thought.

    Thick smoke obscured the heavens so much even the brightest stars were dull and barely visible. A reminder I was trapped in this city, in this realm. Too far away from everything I knew, too restrained, too human.

    Through the chaos in my mind, I captured the image of the girl with brown and dark-auburn tones in her hair, the shine that bounced from her loose curls, the depth in her hazel eyes, and even the awkward half-smile when she caught me looking at her. But the memory wasn’t enough. I needed to see her again.

    I kept walking until I reached the riverbank in the heart of London. The water rippled with a disheveled mesh of gold and red, reflecting a large architectural structure. My gaze lingered on the clock tower adjacent to the building, gauging its height. A temptation to feel even a fraction of my true nature became a need in every fiber in my body. No longer able to rationalize, my muscles coiled, and I let go. Wind enveloped me with its familiar warmth as I sprang across the River Thames. I aimed to land on the lower portion of the tower, to indulge in the pleasure of my ascent. Though too fast for human eyes, each maneuver, each somersault, each back flip was slow enough for me to savor every moment of my liberation.

    On a part of the roof concealed from the passersby below, I was closer to the heavens than I’d been since arriving in the city. Still, I didn’t belong here. Hundreds of lights sparkled below me, each representing a life I didn’t comprehend. Allowing myself to break free from my human façade had made me a liability to the others. For a few moments of freedom, I let myself forget the importance of my purpose here—the lives that depended on it.

    Somehow, having the girl’s image in my mind brought calmness within me. One that felt permanent. One that extinguished the sense of entrapment, despite the thick layer of smoke that was still very visible to me. I held on to the calmness as I regained the confidence to face the others.

    Watch the Book Trailer!

    About the Author

    P.I. Alltraine

    P.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

    She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

    Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

    Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

    For More Information

    postheadericon Book Spotlight: Trail Mix by Paulita Kincer

    About The Book
    TitleTrail Mix
    Author: Paulita Kincer
    Publisher: Oblique Presse
    Publication Date: August 30, 2014
    Format: Paperback / eBook (.mobi format for Kindle)
    Pages: 220
    ISBN: 978-1312462502
    Genre: Women’s Fiction / Travel / Adventure
    Buy The Book:

    Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

    Book Description:
    In the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, comes a novel of two suburban women who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail, escaping their lives as moms and wives in search of nature, adventure, and the ultimate diet plan.
    How does a woman know what she wants after spending 20 years thinking about her husband and children? Sometimes it takes a distraction from everyday life, time to examine the forest before the trees become clear. With no previous camping experience, Andi and Jess begin the 2100-mile odyssey from Georgia to Maine. The friends figure life on the trail can’t possibly be worse than dealing with disgruntled husbands, sullen teens home from college, and a general malaise that has crept up in their daily lives. At the very least, the women are bound to return home thin.
    Book Excerpt:
    trickled down
    Jess’ nose. Her
    sodden boots plodded along, squooshing the mud with each step.
    “Why did I do this?” She threw her head back,
    her face raised in lament to the sky. The hood of her rain poncho slipped off.
    The empty forest around her offered no answer, just a steady rain. Then, far
    above the treetops, she glimpsed a bolt of lightning streaking toward a nearby
    mountain and heard an answering boom of thunder. She cringed and scuttled
    faster down the trail.
    For nearly two hours, since the wind first
    whispered its urgency through the leaves, and the raindrops began to fall, Jess
    had been hiking through the thunderstorm with no place to stop and dry off. No
    place to get warm. No offer of coffee or a dryer where she could heat up her clingy
    socks. She walked alone on the Appalachian Trail.
    Like being in the middle of labor and deciding
    she didn’t want to give birth after all, Jess could not turn back. Well, she
    could turn back, but she would find only more of the same — woods and rain and
    an endless trail.
    This adventure
    was all Andi’s idea. As Jess trudged through the forest in the unrelenting
    rain, she blamed her best friend and hiking companion, Andi, who had pushed the
    hike as a great way to lose weight. And, when Jess’ teenagers took off for the
    summer leaving a big gap where the role of mother used to be, she thought a
    hike with Andi might fill that space. Andi, who, with her long legs, strode
    ahead, maybe miles away by now, claiming she had to hurry to the nearest
    shelter to keep the tent dry. Andi had tucked Jess’ poncho around her pack
    before presenting her back for Jess to return the favor.
    “See you at the shelter,” Andi had called.
    “Only about three miles farther.”
    In the city, a three-mile walk might take 45
    minutes, an hour if she stopped to window shop. Here, in the mountains, it
    could last days as she climbed up peaks and descended into valleys. Oh, who was
    she kidding? She would never walk three miles in the city. She would get in her
    car and drive.
    The thunder crashed louder, and Jess eyed the
    spiky greenery of a large fir tree. She could take cover under the tree, be a
    little bit sheltered. Even as she considered taking refuge, she stumbled past
    the tree, walking, walking.
    Tears joined the rain on her face. She felt
    trapped. No exit ramps in sight. She could only continue to walk.
    The wind ripped at her poncho as she climbed
    slippery stones that had been placed to form stairs. At the top, the wind gusts
    grew stronger and tried to push her back down. She hurried on along the ridge.
    Her walking poles dug into the mud that edged the rocks along the path.
    On this crest, she stood exposed to the wind
    and rain and lightning. Rhododendron bushes lined the trail below, but the only
    plant that dared to peek through the crevices on this crag was a lone sycamore
    tree. If Jess could escape this bare slope, the trees ahead would provide an
    arching umbrella across the trail. As she started to descend with the trail,
    her boot slid across a slick stone, and she toppled backward in slow motion.
    She wheeled her arms, trying to right herself, but could not stop the plunge
    until her backpack hit the ground, and she landed – thump – on top of it.
    was supposed to be a diet plan, not a death sentence
    , she thought, lying on her back like a turtle
    on its shell, her arms and legs sprawled helplessly at her side. I may drown. The downpour pummeled her
    full in the face, but she lacked the
    energy to sit up, free herself from the 30-pound pack, heft it onto her back,
    and start the hike again.
    As the rain doused her face, she slipped one
    arm from her pack and turned onto her side, away from the sky. For just a
    moment, she allowed herself to rest, curled into the fetal position beside her
    pack. A tingle began in her spine, and, in the moment she pondered why—everything
    went black.
     About The Author

    Paulita Kincer is the author of three novels, The Summer of FranceI See London I See Franceand Trail Mix. She has an M.A. in journalism from American University and has written for The Baltimore Sun, The St. Petersburg Times, The Tampa Tribune, and The Columbus Dispatch. She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three children.


    Connect with Paulita:
    Author Website:
    Virtual Book Tour Event Page

    postheadericon First Chapter Reveal: Stop the Diet! I Want To Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen

    Stop the Diet 2Title: Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
    Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen
    Publisher: J. Murray Press
    Pages: 350
    Genre: Nonfiction/Nutrition/Health

    The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?

    Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

    For More Information

    • Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! is available at Amazon.
    • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
    • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    First Chapter:

    The idea for this book began at a wedding.

    Who doesn’t love a good wedding? The clothes, the flowers, the romance, the food…

    Ah, the food. As we moved into the banquet hall, the culinary feast was on everyone’s minds. It was all anyone seemed talk about. But for some reason, guests weren’t conversing about the dishes being served; they were swapping stories of diets they had heard about from friends, magazine articles, even celebrities on talk shows.

    I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science and years of clinical and health education experience. I’ve counseled thousands of patients and clients on all of these diets. But hearing the guests only momentarily distracted me from my horrible faux pas of wearing white (gasp!) to a friend’s wedding.

    “I’m on the Blood Type Diet,” said a woman with an impossibly high bouffant hairdo. “You’ve heard of that, haven’t you? It’s the one where you choose your foods based on your blood type. I’m an AB, so I’ll be having the fish.”

    “Really?” her friend replied. “I swear by the gluten-free diet. I’m on it, my daughter’s on it, and my granddaughter’s on it.”

    I happened to know her granddaughter was six and didn’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

    Then there was the stocky guy who was trying to impress one of the bridesmaids. “I’m a paleo man myself,” he said, piling his plate high with beef kebabs. “It gives me more stamina, know what I mean? It puts me in touch with my inner caveman. There’s a restaurant near my apartment that’s paleo friendly. Maybe we can grab a bite there sometime, or…Hey wait, where are you going?”

    And there were three Weight Watchers sisters who typed furiously on their phones and argued over their meals’ point values. Apparently there was some discrepancy between their various apps, and the sisters’ discussion was becoming more heated by the moment.

    I’m past the point of being surprised by the wide range of weight-loss strategies—

    some worthless, some crazy, some quite reasonable—being tossed around. In the past few years, there has been a tidal wave of diets washing up on the shores of our nutritional consciousness. Celebrities prance across our screens, promoting a variety of weight-loss schemes on talk shows and infomercials. Medical doctors star in their own syndicated television programs, exposing millions to weight-loss techniques, often unsupported by medical research. Other diets get traction on the Internet, racing all over the globe in social media posts, YouTube videos, and annoying spam e-mails. It’s hard to walk past a shopping center vitamin store without being approached by salespeople trying to pitch the latest weight-loss supplements. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie; the American diet industry tops $60 billion annually.

    It’s classic information overload. You can’t blame people for being confused by all the diets out there, even as crazy as some of them may sound. I didn’t speak up to my fellow wedding guests that day, but it occurred to me they would benefit from some hard facts about the diets they so ardently follow.

    So during the toasts, I thought to myself, I should write a book.

    I counsel clients on these matters each week, giving them information they need to make the best choices for their health and waistlines. I find that all too often there’s nothing to the diets that are presented to me in my counseling sessions and classes. They just plain don’t work, particularly over the long term. And some of them are harmful, even potentially lethal. But it’s also unhealthy to carry extra weight on our frames. So how do we separate good diets from the bad?

    In the chapters to come, we’ll take a good, hard look at the various weight-loss plans out there. I’ll pull no punches in my professional evaluation of some of the most wildly popular diets, both bad and good, of the past few years. And along the way, I’ll explore tried-and-true strategies for losing weight, based on my years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars, and community outreach efforts. More often than not, the best answer is not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but instead a few easy-to-follow guidelines that I’ve seen work in literally thousands of cases.

    Enough is enough. It’s time for the madness—and the diets—to stop.


    Dieting…Who Hasn’t?

    “I feel like banging my head against the wall when I am asked what I think about the HCG Diet, Grapefruit Diet, or the Atkins Diet. Have we become so naïve as to believe that taking some homeopathic HCG drops will fix 20 years of poor eating? The sales say we have.”

    —Josh Hodnik, staff writer for VPX sports and Muscle Evolution

    Holy cow, I’m fat! I’ve turned into a completely out-of-shape blob. I’m standing here looking in the mirror, and some stranger is staring back at me. Surely that’s not me. Maybe if I put my glasses on…No, I’m still the same tub of lard. Bummer.

    I don’t know how this happened, or maybe I do a little bit. But it just doesn’t seem possible. I feel like just yesterday I was slim and trim, but now I can’t button my pants. Aha, now I know why I’ve become so fond of stretch pants, baggy shirts, and sweaters…and Spanx.

    This weight crept up on me, and now no matter what I do I can’t get rid of it. I don’t feel good about myself or like the way I look. And I think my health may be suffering because of it. I’m so depressed. I think I’m just going to go eat cake.

    Sound familiar? Could that be you talking? If it is, join the club. A club, by the way, with many members. It’s ever expanding. For some of us, this may be a scary first experience. You’ve been at a healthy weight all of your life…until now. Or you’ve had to watch what you eat, but still managed to maintain a comfortable weight. For others, this isn’t your first go-round with this type of self-talk. There are many of us who’ve been up and down this path more than once. You might be in that vicious circle we like to call “yo-yo” dieting (a dieter’s carousel, if you will)—repeated weight loss through dieting followed by a regain of the pounds lost. A 2012 study found the following:

    • 26 percent of dieters in the United States adhered to their diets for less than a month
    • 36 percent followed theirs for a period of one to six months
    • 11 percent stuck to their diets for seven months to a year
    • Only 27 percent stayed the course on their diet plans for over a year

    And it’s not a surprise that almost 40 percent of Americans make their New Year’s resolution about weight. And it’s not shocking that only 8 percent keep it.

    Weighty Matters

    Dieting. It’s almost easier to count those who haven’t been on a weight-loss regimen sometime in their life than those who have. Have you ever gone on a diet? How about two, three, four, five, or more? I know that more than a few of you are nodding your heads vigorously. Or perhaps you’re shaking your head in frustration. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

    The word diet means more than just what we do to lose weight. It also refers to what we eat and drink every day. It includes a prescribed diet, such as what a doctor or dietitian recommends for someone with, for example, diabetes or hypertension. And, of course, diet also means changing and/or cutting back on our regular food and drink habits in order to lose weight. We’ll talk about all of these definitions in this book.

    Just because I’m a dietitian doesn’t mean I’m not human. I come from a family where many of us struggle to maintain a healthy weight. It definitely takes work for me to do so. And as I’ve aged, it has become harder. If I’m not diligent, I seem to expand almost overnight.

    So, I’m in the weight management game with all of you. I know how you feel and the questions, challenges, and concerns you face. And with a master’s degree in nutritional science and my licensure and experience as a registered dietitian, I know what works. I can help you.


                Recently I had quite the unpleasant shock. I have a doctor’s scale at home. The weights weren’t set correctly, and I thought I weighed seven pounds less than I actually did. Ouch! I knew my clothes were a bit snug, but I’d chalked it up to a combination of temporary bloating and shrinking clothes. If only…



    Weight-loss plans and diet products are a huge business in the United States. In 2012, Americans spent approximately $60 billion in their quest to lose pounds. Yes, you read it correctly. We spend a lot of dough in our effort to avoid being doughy. And over half of Americans (63 percent of females and 48 percent of males) would rather lose $1,000 of their own money than gain twenty pounds.

    The desire to lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it’s a really good one. But we don’t always choose the best route to achieve this often elusive goal. Consequently, many of us are unsuccessful in our weight-loss attempts. Let’s look at some statistics:

    • Three in ten Americans (25 percent of males and 32 percent of females) are currently trying to lose weight. About 55 percent of males have attempted to lose weight an average of four times each, while 73 percent of females have tried to shed pounds on average around seven separate times.
    • A 2011 Gallup poll reported that about 52 percent of all US adults were successful at losing weight sometime in their life.
    • In Britain, the average forty-five-year-old has already been on sixty-one diets.
    • And while 62 percent of Canadians in one survey reported losing five or more pounds over a five-year period, most didn’t maintain it; 70 percent of those who were overweight or obese gained back all, or sometimes more, of the pounds they shed after their initial weight loss.

    So many of us go round and round on the diet wheel. Do you remember when you weren’t on a diet? Has it become a way of life for you? And how many different diets have you tried? Are you already looking for the next new thing? Perhaps you’re one of the 35 percent of “occasional dieters” who move on to what’s been termed “pathological dieting,” or disordered eating. If that’s you, aren’t you tired of it?

    There are certainly good reasons to lose weight. Carrying too much weight on our frames isn’t healthy, but that’s not stopping a lot of us from packing on the pounds. Obesity is also a negative trend we’re seeing around the globe. The highest rates are in Oceania and the Middle East. Oh, and in the United States two-thirds of us are overweight or obese. It’s a very dubious distinction. Here are the top-ten heaviest countries in the world, based on their 2013 overweight and obesity rates:


    #1 American Samoa (94 percent)

    #2 Kiribati, Central Pacific (82 percent)

    #3 French Polynesia (74 percent)

    #4 Saudi Arabia (73 percent)

    #5 Panama (67.4 percent)

    #6 United States (66.9 percent)

    #7 Germany (66.5 percent)

    #8 Egypt (66 percent)

    #9 Kuwait (64 percent)

    #10 Bosnia and Herzegovina (63 percent)

    Kudos to the eight countries in Asia that have the lowest worldwide obesity rates. They are Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Singapore.

    The obesity epidemic is a problem that must be dealt with. In 2013, the American Medical Association took a major step by labeling obesity as a disease. While this brought on some controversy, it should result in a change in how health care providers look at and treat obesity in individuals. That’s a good thing.

    Fad or Fallacy

    Carrying extra body weight can be quite bad for our health. It puts us at risk for a variety of diseases such as prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, joint problems, heart disease, sleep apnea, certain cancers, and more. Who wants that?

    So what do so many of us do to combat our expanding girths? We go on a diet, often what would be termed a “fad” diet. And we’ve been doing this for a lot longer than you might think.

    Fad diets go back to at least 1087 when William the Conqueror came up with the alcohol-only diet. What was he thinking? Maybe he was too drunk to construct a more balanced one. Not surprisingly, this diet didn’t work out for William. He died a year later after actually gaining weight.

    The fad diet as we know it today arrived on the scene in the nineteenth century, when Sylvester Graham came up with the Graham diet. It focused on caffeine-free beverages and vegetarian meals. Not a bad idea, but it gets a bit weird. Part of the diet actually included eating graham crackers (go figure), as not only a way to assist in weight loss, but also to inhibit masturbation and the supposed blindness it caused. I’m not making this up.

    In 1876, Englishman William Banting introduced the low-carbohydrate diet. A lot of us are familiar with this one. He lost fifty pounds with his plan and wrote the Letter on Corpulence discussing it. His weight-loss plan became so popular that in Britain the word banting became synonymous for dieting. A later version of this, the Atkins diet, would become very popular and is still being followed today.

    Other early fad diets included Horace Fletcher’s Great Masticator diet, which in 1903 suggested people chew their food thirty-two times. After doing this, they weren’t to swallow it, but had to spit it out. That was certainly a low-calorie diet. And a lot of work for nothing.

    The year 1928 gave us the Inuit diet, where followers could choose between eating either meat or the fat from it. Not both. There was also the bananas-and-skim-milk diet. And as recently as the late 1960s, Herman Taller, MD, advanced the “Calories Don’t Count” diet. Before you embrace this concept, read on. It involved eating whatever you wanted and not worrying about quantity. The important aspect of this diet was that after you ate, you drank vegetable oil as a kind of chaser. Yuck. I’m sure that worked out well.

    There are a lot of diets out there. Some are good. Many aren’t. I’ll talk about a lot of them throughout this book. I’ll be your guide to choosing a healthy eating path and will give you the tools to navigate it. What I won’t do is steer you toward a fad diet. In fact, I recommend you turn your back on them.

    Fad diets are temporary and can be unhealthy. Very often they’re restrictive. And many times they are, let’s face it, a bit crazy.

    People are drawn to fad diets because of the allure of quick results, which they sometimes deliver. But typically the weight loss can’t be sustained long term. We’re then faced with the disappointment and adverse health effects of reverting back to our prior weights. Or perhaps we may carry a heavier burden…on our bodies.

    Close to 60 percent of adults in the United States want to shed at least twenty pounds.

    It would be fantastic if we’d go to sleep one night and wake up the next day twenty pounds lighter. That’s a good dream. But it’s not realistic. So many of us want it to be true, and we try a lot of weight-loss programs with the hope that we’ll be proven right. Optimism is high at the beginning. Some do have success that’s maintained in the long term. Most don’t.

    Fad diets can be very difficult to adhere to for life. Even following them for months can be hard. We can also suffer ill effects from them such as headaches, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, hair loss, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, bad breath, loss of muscle, and more. Not fun.

    Diets also affect the diseases we have. People with diabetes, kidney disease, and other conditions need to take care that these diets don’t aggravate their conditions. More about health risks will be discussed in chapters to come.

    Here’s a crucial question: What’s a fad diet? Some are easier than others to spot. Let’s review some of their characteristics:

    • They promise a quick result.
    • Statements are made about them that seem too good to be true or realistic.
    • Simple conclusions are taken from involved studies.
    • They take information from studies that haven’t been peer reviewed. (Peer review and duplication of results is an important aspect of drawing reliable conclusions.)
    • Statements of fact may be based on only one study. Again, results need to be tested and replicated to determine their quality.
    • They rely on studies that don’t have a large research group, or use those that look at only one segment of the population, such as African American males between the ages of thirty and forty-five or Caucasian women ages sixty-five to eighty.
    • Assertions are made that highly regarded medical- and science-based organizations refute.
    • Their statements or recommendations are used to try to sell us their products.
    • They promote “special elixir” type foods or specific food combinations.
    • They suggest that food can affect body chemistry.
    • Foods are identified as either “bad” or “good.”
    • They eliminate foods or food groups.

    Do any of these ring a bell? Have you researched or tried a diet with one or more of the above characteristics? Who’s nodding? Here are some of the fad diets you might’ve explored:


    3-Day diet

    Apple-cider-vinegar diet

    Atkins diet

    Beverly Hills diet

    Blood Type Diet

    Cabbage-soup diet


    Coconut-oil diet

    Dukan diet

    Grapefruit diet

    hCG diet

    Hollywood Diet

    Paleo Diet

    South Beach Diet

    Zone Diet


    My husband is on the brown diet. It’s a simple one. If it’s brown, he eats it. This isn’t healthy, as it’s filled with items like fried chicken, french fries, and pizza. He’s getting better, though. I got him to get rid of the fryer he had in his bachelor days. But he’s still a work in progress.

    The online pharmacy found that 71 percent of women had tried a fad diet. Here’s the breakdown of the diets they tried:

    Laxatives: 47 percent

    Fasting: 45 percent

    Cabbage soup diet: 39 percent

    Liquid diet: 35 percent

    Body wraps: 29 percent

    Cereal diet: 26 percent

    Baby food diet: 26 percent

    Raw food diet: 24 percent

    Small plates: 18 percent

    Eating foods known to make you sick: 14 percent

    I question more than a few of these diets. Do you? If not, you should.

    It’s Not a Clique, It’s a Group

    Restrictive, low-calorie, and other types of fad diets aren’t only challenging to follow, they can also be nutritionally unbalanced. For example, cutting out entire food groups or a significant portion of them may result in not getting adequate calories, vitamins, minerals, and more. Or we may get an overabundance of something. This can cause health issues for some, like potential kidney problems from excessive protein. Too little or too much of something isn’t a good thing. Our bodies like balance.

    Protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and healthy fats should all have a place in our diets. Our bodies use all of these for a variety of things. Making the more nutritious choices out of these groups is, of course, important. And each of them does have healthy members. When we cut out a food group or a significant part of it, we’re short-changing ourselves. We’ll talk more about the food groups later on.

    Knowledge Is Power

    Another key component of weight loss and maintenance is gaining the tools we need to manage our eating for life. It requires knowledge and behavior change. The former isn’t likely difficult for most of us, although there are a lot of less credible sources out there. The latter can be a seemingly impossible task. This book will help you tackle both.

    We’re so lucky to live in a day and age in which books, magazines, journals, newspapers, websites, blogs, and more are so readily available and abundant. The Internet has expanded our horizons and our learning ability to such an amazing degree. Practically any information we want or need is just a keystroke away. But we must make sure that what we’re reading, even relying on, is quality and expert.

                When I first went to college back in the day, personal computers didn’t exist. I know, can you imagine? All research had to be done at the library. And we had to use card catalogues to find our material. It was slow going.

                I’ve thought about this often while writing my books. It’s certainly quick to tap into my own knowledge, which I do extensively. But when I want to look something up, I’m happy that it’s easy and convenient to find.

    When looking for nutrition information on the web, I recommend perusing the sites that you know are science-based. Medical and government websites such as and are reputable. So are sites like and You can also go to registered dietitian sites like mine at You have a question? I’ll answer it. For other online sources, please review appendix Afor more sites that I like and trust.

    Experts in the field can be great sources. Registered dietitians are a fantastic go-to for information about nutrition. But there are so many other people out there, including celebrities, who have their own diet plans or champion them. It’s important to note that these people often don’t have the training necessary to assess and recommend an appropriate diet plan. Tread lightly there. Designations like RD, RDN, RN, and MD signify experts in health care, including diet and nutrition.

                In Britain, 47 percent of people who are watching their weight will try a diet because a celebrity is on it.

    I counsel many people each year regarding a variety of health issues, including weight management, prediabetes, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, malnutrition, and more. Many of them are well-versed in self-care and have solid facts and plans to achieve and maintain good health. Others could use some help.

    Television shows, magazines, books, our families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, personal trainers, vitamin store personnel, and others often share advice. Many of us take that and run with it. Sometimes we shouldn’t.

    It’s essential that we use a filter and common sense when sorting through the barrage of information that comes our way. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. The promise of five pounds of weight loss in several days or ten pounds in one week, for example, isn’t healthy or advisable. It’s tempting, I know. But in this case, slow and steady wins the race.

    So what do you need to get started on a healthy eating plan for you? A great beginning is to understand the pros and cons of all the major diet plans out there. Having reliable facts and figures, determining your desire and willingness to change, and setting some goals are important. Knowing recommended portion sizes and the balance of the food groups is essential. The contribution of physical activity and the effectiveness of using measuring and benchmark tools help round out a powerful weight-management arsenal. I can help you with all of these, and there’s no time like the present. It’s time to stop the diet and get on with a long-term eating plan for life.

    So let’s get off the dieting merry-go-round. Our healthy weight lies ahead.

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