Who am I?
Welcome to Literarily Speaking! I am a book blogger, book reviewer, author and CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book. Literarily Speaking is a smorgasbord of anything literary. I talk about books as well as host author interviews, guest posts and reviews. While my time is very limited running a business, I have little time to review so most of my reviews are from books I request although that might change. I am open to guest posts as long as the post pertains to anything literary - whether it be the publishing or the promoting process. If you want to be featured here with a guest post, email me at thewriterslife (at) gmail.com.
Meet Cooter!
Meet Cooter!

Meet Cooter, my tour coordinating helper. You want a tour? You have to go through him first! Okay, Cooter, do we tour this author? Woof! Woof!


postheadericon 20 Questions with Annu Subramanian, author of ‘Another Heaven’

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Annu Subramanian is the director Annu Subramanian 2of the Writing Center at Brown School, Schenectady, New York. She co-founded Albany Women Connection, a support group in Albany, New York. She was chosen as one of four national finalists by the Norman Mailer Center and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in 2011 for her short story, SO FAIR AND VERY LOVELY. She was chosen as Educator of Excellence in 2011 by the New York State English Council.

Her latest book is the factu-fiction, Another Heaven.

Visit her website at www.annusubramanian.com.


1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Both morning and night

2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?


Another Heaven3. Which comes first – plot or character?


4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?

Quiet, with soft music

5. Favorite TV show?

I Love Lucy

6. Favorite type of music?


7. Favorite craft besides writing?


8. Do you play a musical instrument?


9. Single or married?


10. Children or no?

Yes. A son and a daughter

11. Pets?

Not anymore

12. Favorite place to write?

Family room, by the window (winter)

Deck (warm months)

13. Favorite restaurant?

The Whistling Kettle

14. Do you work outside the home?

Yes. I direct a writing center

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw?

12 Years A Slave

16. Favorite outdoor activity?

Walking through the woods

17. Pet peeve?

When people deliberately misspell words or when they abbreviate words in social media.

18. Your goal in life?

To set up an international network to help marginalized women.

19. Your most exciting moment?

When my children were born

20.The love of your life?

My family

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postheadericon Sylvie and the Spark by Gianna Day

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Sylvie and the Spark 7Title: Sylvie and the Spark
Author: Gianna Day
Publisher: AKA Press
Pages: 88
Language: English
Genre: Erotica
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

One night of phenomenal sex isn’t enough to convince Sylvie that she should stay with Dave, her long-time boyfriend who borders on dull when not in the bedroom. When a set of twins moves in across the hall, Sylvie’s horizons broaden, though this pair might not turn out to be exactly what they seem. With a backdrop of inappropriate coworkers, a humping-addicted mutt, and a set of sexy suitors, SYLVIE AND THE SPARK is sure to please, in more ways than one.


“You’re just so…” Dave looks into my eyes and runs his finger down my cheek.

Please don’t say pretty. Anything but pretty.

“You’re so…”

If you call me pretty for the thousandth time I’m going to try to gnaw my own face off just to ensure that I am no longer pretty.

“You’re so… pretty.”

“I am not pretty, Dave.” My voice is loud and edgy as I jump from the couch.

“But Sylvie, you’re so pretty.”

“I’m sorry,” I say, pacing back and forth in front of him. “I mean, thank you. Thank you for thinking I’m pretty. And I know this is our foreplay, that you tell me I’m pretty and touch my face, which truthfully has always struck me as just a little bit creepy. I mean, it’s almost a tickle, like you’re tickling my cheek and I think that’s weird. Is that weird? Is this just me?” I stop pacing and look at him for an answer.

“I could touch your arm first, would that be better?”

Resume pacing.

“No, Dave. Look, I have to be honest. We need to try something different.”

“Gosh, Sylvie. What if I called you beautiful?”

Don’t pull your hair out in front of him, he’ll be scarred for life.

“Dave.” I sit back down on the couch and hold his hands.

“Yes, Sylvie?” He looks like a second grader hoping someone will pick him for their kickball team.

“Could you just try to be less of a puppy?”

“Less of a puppy?”

He flashes his puppy dog eyes.


“You want me to be a kitty?”

“No, Dave. I don’t want you to be a kitty. I want you to be a tiger, Dave.”

“A tiger?”

“A tiger!” I stand back up. “I want you to be my big strong tiger and I want you to roar for me.”

“You want me to roar?”

I take off my shirt and bra, unbutton my jeans, stand before him, and cup my breasts.

“Show me what a tiger you can be, Dave.”

Book Trailer:

About the Author:

Gianna Day 2Gianna Day writes erotica and erotic comedies. She lives in the pacific northwest where she enjoys running, flying kites, exploring museums, and eating late-night desserts in all-night diners. She believes that with a healthy sense of humor, everything will be just fine. She’s the author of the Hot Secrets Collection, which includes five erotic, lesbian short stories, and The Sylvie Series, a collection of hetero-novellas full of both comedy and naughty bits (sometimes at the same time). Sylvie & the Spark and Sylvie Says Yes are available now on Amazon. Sylvie on Strike is soon to follow. Visit her at www.GiannaDay.blogspot.com.

Connect & Socialize with Gianna!


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postheadericon Interview with Glenn Ogura, author of ‘Startup’

Glenn OguraGlenn Ogura earned a degree in electrical engineering from Queen’s University in Canada. He is currently the executive vice-president for a New Hampshire-based laser micromachining company. Glenn lives with his wife in California.  In addition to his love of writing and talking technology and the study of business ethics, he plays tennis. Startup is his first novel.

Visit his website at www.glennogura.com.

About the Book:

StartupSet in California’s Silicon Valley, STARTUP follows a young idealist/entrepreneur, Zack Penny, as he strives to achieve his dream of creating a new company that will launch an international revolution in technology through the creation of wallpaper-thin displays that will completely surround a viewer. Zack works for a highly successful company called Display Technik, run by CEO Allen Henley, whose vision is based on a success-at-all-costs philosophy.  Zack sees Henley as a mentor, but Zack’s philosophy favors high morals and values over Henley’s ruthless, end-justifies-the-means model of doing business.

Zack’s dream takes root one morning when he discovers an important paper has been taken from his office. Someone has exposed Zack’s secret plan to break away from Display Technik and start his own company. Henley gives Zack another chance to pledge his loyalty to the firm, but Zack resigns instead, more determined than ever to realize his vision. Soon, the optimistic if naive Zack steps into his new facility with high hopes for success. Henley, however, has already launched a plan to destroy Zack, his company, and Zack’s relationship with Henley’s daughter, Mary Anne.

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

I was born in Toronto, Canada but lived most of my childhood in the nation’s capital Ottawa. After spending my early career in Canada, I lived in Germany and Belgium for six years until relocating to California’s Silicon Valley where I live now. My friends always joke with me that if I don’t smarten up, they will deport me back to Canada. And when I ask my New England-born wife what they mean, she says matter-of-factly that she needs a new pair of shoes and gives me that look that most husbands clearly understand. At that moment, my mind wanders back to my Canadian past where I couldn’t see the roadway because the snowbank was piled too high. Great for a fort but hazardous when trying to back out of the driveway. Or when I spent half an hour scraping the ice off the car windshield at night, cursing like a lunatic, trying to breathe through my frozen nostrils stuck together by an invisible clothespin.

Needless to say, I enjoy California.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

The title Startup was chosen just before publication. I wanted a very simple title to convey the essence of the story. The book is about an idealistic young man who wants to create his dream startup company but very quickly, that dream turned into a nightmare. It is a unique business thriller about greed and corruption in California’s Silicon Valley. The book deals with the  harsh realities of the rich and powerful who will do anything to win—and end up trampling the dreams of young people trying to realize the American dream. Startup is a classic David versus Goliath story. Good versus evil.

But if you breakdown the book, it is a story about a young startup company and hence the title Startup seemed an obvious choice although it took a couple of years to discover it. I’m sure most of us know that the most difficult solutions are often the most obvious. Like my wife reminding me that dinner, saved in the refrigerator because I was buried alive in my office, writing no doubt, was right in front of me but I needed GPS instructions to navigate through the three shelves. I once told her there were actually four shelves and I had to fend for myself for the next three days. Not a pretty sight.

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 book takes place in San Francisco and the surrounding peninsula known as Silicon Valley, geographically sandwiched between San Francisco and San Jose. Originally I was going to show a picture of Coit Tower, a well-known city landmark pitched on the spur of Telegraph Hill. In fact there is a pivitol scene at Coit Tower. But my wife reminded me that we chose the title Startup for its simplicity and that the cover should follow the same theme. There’s another scene in the book where the main protagonist, Zack Penny, scales the parched yellow mogul-like hills in the East Bay that have these large alien-like windmills perched on top. It reminds me of the scene from the original Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston’s character enters the Forbidden Zone, eerily signposted by scarecrows.

So in fact, the cover of Startup is a few windmills in orange silhouette. My wife picked the photo. iUniverse’s art department did a great job to create the final cover version.

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

I had a recent radio interview in Hollywood. The host asked me the same question. I explained that a major critic, Kirkus Reviews, renowned as being one of the industry’s toughest critic described Startup as reminiscent of John Grisham’s The Firm. I know it was radio but I could imagine the host falling off his chair, the crash wiping out the next few minutes of air time. Being a new author, it is highly unusual for a major critic to compare your work with one of the most popular novelists of our time and to his most successful book-turned-to-movie.

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

The reader can view the book at different levels. At one level, it is a just a fun, entertaining read that hopefully makes you forget about the grind of daily life. At a higher level, the book addresses the broad issues of morals and ethics in business (and in life). In the newspapers and television, you hear heart-breaking stories about corruption and greed and how everyday folks’ lives are ruined by power-driven individuals. It makes you wonder if morals and values are degrading into today’s society, partially influenced by our ever increasing fascination with social media that tends to isolate us from real personal face-to-face contact.

But I don’t want to make the book sound too heavy. It isn’t. It’s an easy read. One critic said that keeping each chapter short and riveting, the audience gets to see what’s happening before the characters do.

I think most husbands wish that they had that talent.

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

The first chapter sets the tone for the entire book. If you’re going to write a thriller, then there better be plenty of thrills, early and often. When I plotted the book, I wanted to make sure the reader gets engaged from the very beginning. When you walk into a movie theatre a few minutes late to watch a thriller, there is already an uneasy murmur in the audience as you walk half-blind up the stairs to find an inconveniently-located seat. You want to ask people what happened but you realize you’d get back a fistful of popcorn—or worse. When you read Startup, the main character is thrown into chaos immediately and the craziness never stops until the cinematic ending.

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

I worked in Silicon Valley. Everyday I would meet with people in Silicon Valley. You would see the events unfold in front of you. You would see the pain on people’s faces. You would hear them talking on the phone to their families about how they lost their job. You would see a tenured employee being escorted out of the office, dismissed on a trump charge that was not right. You witness meetings of CEOs treating employees as cattle. You listen to conversations in the elevator, after work in a bar about the eroding morals and ethics in Silicon Valley. You could also see the anguish on people’s faces as they faced moral dilemmas of keeping in their job to support their families or to take the high road and quit.

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

I love dry roasted peanuts, pistachios and cashews. Sometimes before I go to bed, I sneak a jar of peanuts into bed while my wife is sleeping next to me. In the morning, my wife finds a peanut under her pillow, a shell on her bedside or a nut (not me) on the floor next to her. I would say that such a trail of evidence obviously exonerates me as the peanuts are miraculously never on my side. But that kind of stupid male logic gets you the sofa.

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

Anywhere as long as I’m with my wife. As you can see, I’m trying to make up for the peanuts.

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

I am definitely a night person. When I wrote Startup, I wrote between 10:00pm to 1:00am. I have a very busy schedule so I had to steal sleep to write the book. I believe you really have to love writing to finish a book; otherwise the journey is too painful (and sleepy) and there are too many convenient reasons not to finish.

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

My grandmother is a published poet. My parents tell me that I most closely take after my grandmother. That’s a huge compliment as my grandmother was a very special person and I miss her. If she were still alive today, she would be very proud of seeing Startup in print.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

As a child growing up, my parents forced me to take judo classes so that I could defend myself. I hated judo. I mean I hated judo. When my parent drove me to judo class on Saturdays, I used to dream that a tree would suddenly fall in front of the car and we had to turn around. I would dream that a sudden illness engulfed me but miraculously the symptoms disappeared after judo class was over.

When I wasn’t doing judo as a kid, I took swimming lessons during school vacation. That was another activity that I hated. Diving into the cold pool and doing mind and body-numbing laps was not a lot of fun. I think I took every swimming level imaginable so I was qualified to save a lifeguard. I still remember getting out the pool, shivering like a wet dog and dreaming of taking a hot shower in the change room. I can still remember standing for what seemed like hours under the shower as the warm water beaded my back mercifully.

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

The genie has already granted me the wish. I am married to my best friend and love of my life.

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

I believe that Startup is a unique business thriller. Some of my readers have described it as a new thriller genre. Although the book does address the broader subject of morals and ethics in business and in life, the book is also a fun read, a page-turner with short chapters that take the reader on a roller-coaster thriller ride with a cinematic climax. If you need to overcome boredom on a long plane ride, Startup is the perfect stimulant.

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postheadericon Interview with Kevin Bohacz, author of ‘Ghost of the Gods’

Kevin Bohacz 8I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.

His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.

Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kevinbohacz

Ghost of the Gods 7Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kevin.  Can you tell us where you are from?

I like to say I am from everywhere! I was born in Manhattan NY and have lived in at least two dozen different cities many of them major cities such as Los Angeles and New York. In the past few months I have lived in: Santa Cruz CA, Monterey CA, Pismo Beach CA, and Oceano CA!

Q: How did you come up with your title?

The title, Immortality is a one word description about one of the major themes woven into the story, physical immortality through transhumanism. There are five other big themes in the mosaic that forms the epic tale but this quest for physical immortality is such a primal thing that I gave it top billing!

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 am an artist and I designed the cover though I did not do all the artwork myself. The cover symbolically represents the evolution of humankind into a genetically altered biological-machine hybrid, which is one of the basic ideas behind transhumanism, and an aspect of the story. That’s not to say that I think transhumanism is a good thing… you will just have to read the story to find out.

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

Most people tell me that when they start reading Immortality they cannot put it down. People have cursed at me for causing sleep deprivation.

When Immortality was released in 2007 it quickly became a bestseller hitting the #1 spot on Amazon in techno-thriller and sci-fi genres for weeks at a time and continued hitting this rank for many years. It has received glowing critical reviews including a STARRED review from Publisher’s Weekly. The sequel Ghost of the Gods was just released a few days ago with similar glowing critical reviews including a STARRED review from Publisher’s Weekly and is already starting to climb the bestseller’s lists on Amazon.

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

Immortality and the sequel Ghost of the Gods were created to entertain but there is a philosophical side to them as well. They are scientific but not to the same extent as a science fiction novel. The epic story contains a lot of action and suspense but at their essence these two novels are about people and so they are about love, triumph over terrible adversity, and the human spirit.

The combined story also has deep philosophical underpinnings or subthemes, but again, since I believe the essence of any novel is to be a thrilling read, the ideas remain an integral part of the mosaic and so do not detract from the entertainment as attested to in the professional reviews of both these novels. Example: Publisher’s Weekly STARRED review: “Bohacz provides mind-bending portrayals of factions vying for power and reflections on the essence and fragility of humanity. But philosophical concerns never obtrude on the fast-paced plot…”

In these philosophical subthemes I grapple with the big questions: what are we, where did we come from, and is there a purpose behind existence. I also grapple with the fallout from these themes and the great contradictions such as why society as a whole displays this self-destructive seeming disregard for life, our fragile environment, love, and sprit—while if you ask any individual in the same society they will tell you they regard all these things as important and in fact try to act accordingly in their own lives.

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

I’m embarrassed to tell you that I honestly don’t have a favorite chapter. I should have one but because of the way I write, the entire book is thoroughly exciting to me and equally thrilling to write. I think the best way to explain why is to describe how I write.

I’ve been writing novels since 1989. Immortality and the sequel Ghost of the Gods are my 3rd and 4th novels. My stories come from my muse, not me, and I am completely serious about this statement. In the process of creation I am experiencing the novel firsthand as if reading it instead of writing it. So I get to take the same ride as my readers, only more so.

My novels come from something like daydreams. When I am writing it really does not feel like I am creating the material. It feels like I am watching daydreams which come from somewhere other than me and I am merely typing as fast as I can to capture the daydream that is unfolding before my eyes. For all four novels I have written, I first created thousands of pages of meticulously detailed background material. Once I feel the characters have become like friends to me, I sit down and start writing. Invariably in a short time the characters stage a revolt and the story takes on a life of its own veering off in directions I never planned. In the end I typically use about 1% of the meticulously detailed background material. Thousands of years ago the Greeks and Romans thought that all creative people were merely channels for muses. I truly cannot figure out where my stories come from. Out of a process of elimination I have decided they come from some Jungian collective awareness that we might as well call a muse!

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

I write because it is my essence. Storytelling and sharing ideas through writing are the purpose of my life. Writing is something I love, my passion. I never have writer’s block. To me writing is like breathing—something I cannot imagine doing without. I also write because I want to make a small difference in the world. By given people enjoyment I am making that difference. I am also hopefully making a small difference by raising important ideas that will then be further raised in conversations at home, at work, and at play.

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

Not long ago writing literally saved my life. A few years ago I was widowed at a young age. My wife, my best friend of 17 years died in my arms while we looked into each other’s eyes. In the time that followed when I was deeply grieving I could hear my wife whispering to me, “Write my love… Write.” So I wrote. I wrote so hard that my arms grew sore and my eyes blurred. I wrote so hard that I gave myself tendonitis. My writing saved me from an unimaginably dark abyss. I completed my forth novel, the sequel to Immortality in an amazingly short period of time while also at the same time working on two new novels.

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

I am currently doing just that… Almost everything I own is in storage or given away. I have simplified my life. I have sold our home of 17 years. For months I have been wandering up and down the California coast living in magical oceanfront vacation homes looking for the best place to dream and write. I have been letting intuition lead me from place to place. I find that my intuition is far more reliable than my left brain in these decisions. This journey is exciting, creative, and beyond my comfort zone. I feel I am in one sense homeless and in another sense at home. I am uprooted… and this is all very good…. very creative. Pushing beyond my comfort zone causes all sorts of emotions to bubble up to the surface and end up on the written page.

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

I am a prolific lucid dreamer and like many lucid dreamers I sleep bimodal. This would make me neither a morning or night person. All mammals left to their own devices sleep bimodally, including humans up until the 1800’s. The industrial revolution ended our natural sleep cycle because it was much more efficient to have workers all show up in a single programmed shift like so many gears in a machine. Many sleep docs and researchers will tell you two things: (a) a majority of the modern population suffers from sleep-disorders and (b) many of the disorders are due to our unnatural sleep cycle.

What is bimodal sleep? The natural mammalian sleep cycle consists of two periods, which were called originally enough the first and second sleep. We would fall asleep soon after the sun sets. After about 3 or 4 hours of sleep, we would wake, possibly get something to eat, chat with our mate, or engage in more sexy diversions. In older times many babies were conceived in this imaginal time between the first and second sleep. This imaginal time often lasted for a couple of hours. We would then drift off into the second sleep and during this period is when all the BIG dreams come including lucid dreams. We would then wake with the sun.

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

Just me… all the other members of my family are too sane to want to write after looking at how I lead my life!

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Dreaming and fantasy were critical ingredients in my life and still are. Writing after all is the art of dreaming. I can recall having lucid dreams as early as 6 or 7 years old. A funny thing is that lucid dreams can be so real that you cannot tell the difference between the dream world and the material world. For the longest time I thought those childhood lucid dreams were something that had occurred in the material world. It was not until many years later after I better understood dreams that I realized those impossible memories from earlier times were lucid dreams.

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

We spend 1/3 our lives in sleep and no one knows with any scientific accuracy how much of that sleep time is spent in dreams. Most people think we only dream during REM cycles. This has been proven false. We dream all the time. A huge number of people including a good number of famous thinkers believe that what we call waking reality is just another kind of dream… and I feel they are probably right; think about it as a virtual reality constructed within our mind. Another way to consider that statement is that if everything is a “dream virtual reality” then in a very real sense our nighttime dreams are as substantive as our daytime dreams.

As I’ve mentioned, I often experience lucid dreams that are in every subjective way more real than reality. So what would I do with my magic genie wish? I would wish for more lucid dreams in which I reunite with my wife Mazelle. Whether the reunion is “real” or “imaginal” does not matter. All that matters is what it feels like. In the final analysis, if I feel therefore I am.

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

Just thank you and to everyone please take Immortality and Ghost of the Gods for a test drive! I promise it will be a wild and winding road that will keep you guessing until you reach the very last word.

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postheadericon The Living Memories Project: Interview with Meryl Ain

Meryl AinMeryl Ain wrote her first poem in the third grade and has been writing ever since. She is a blogger for Huffington Post and often writes about families, parenting, children, and education. After she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half, she decided to research how others keep alive the memories of their loved ones. She enlisted her husband, Stewart, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, to join her in researching and writing The Living Memories Project, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/. Meryl earned a BA from Queens College, a MA from Columbia University Teachers College, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She and her husband Stewart live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Their latest book she co-authored with Steward Ain and Arthur M. Fischman is the nonfiction, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last.

Visit their website at www.thelivingmemoriesproject.com.

The Living Memories Project 7Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Meryl. Can you tell us where you are from?

I live on Long Island. I grew up in Queens (one of the outlying boroughs of NYC.) I love Long Island because it is close enough to NYC to take advantage of all that it offers, yet far enough to be away from the congestion, concrete, and crowds.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

My mother was my best friend and confidante. When she died after a brief illness, I was bereft and wondered how I could go on living without the everyday presence of my mom in my life. I looked for an optimistic book about going beyond mourning but couldn’t find one. I discussed this subject with friends and acquaintances who had also had losses, and found that there were a myriad of proactive ways others had embraced to keep the memories of their loved ones alive after they were gone. My mother was a big proponent of always having a project, so I decided to make this my project – discovering how to go beyond that wrenching, painful heartache to a happy and productive life. I convinced my brother (Arthur Fischman) and my husband (Stewart Ain) to join me in exploring this phenomenon in a book project. Thus, The Living Memories Project was conceived.

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

We used the publisher’s designer. We passed on a number of covers before we decided on this one. We seriously considered one that was based on a quote by Hannah Senesh in the beginning of the book: “…there are individuals whose memory lights the world after they have passed from it. These lights shine even in the darkest night and illumine our path…” We ultimately rejected the cover, which depicted a night sky with stars because we thought it was too dark and ethereal. We wanted something that was dynamic and alive, because the message of our book is an uplifting, optimistic one. We decided on the dandelion with a bright and cheerful background. It is the logo of one of the organizations featured in our book, which honors a young man killed in Iraq, while serving in the military. The dandelion represents a burst of cheer; when it dies it turns white, its seeds scatter to begin again.

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

It will change your life. Through the voices of the individuals in the book you will see life and death in a different way.  This book is designed to help anyone incorporate memories into one’s daily life as a healthy, positive way to move beyond the pain of loss.  This can consist of starting a foundation or a scholarship, producing a creative work, using a family recipe, embarking on a career, etc.  It does not require belief in a particular religion, philosophy or phenomenon.

And the examples range from amazingly ambitious to very simple. For instance, after Peter Alderman was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, his parents created the Peter C. Alderman Foundation to help others who have survived terrorism, war or torture. The foundation trains indigenous health workers and establishes trauma treatment systems to heal the emotional wounds of these survivors of terrorism and mass violence in post-conflict countries worldwide. At the other end of the spectrum, And, that Lynda Johnson Robb gave her mother’s (Lady Bird Johnson’s) scarves to her mother’s favorite friends to share her memory.

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

Remembering the values and zest for life of a loved one can be as easy as hanging up their picture, playing their favorite song or wearing their favorite scarf. Loved ones die only if you let them. As Malachy McCourt puts it so memorably in Chapter One of our book, death is not fatal.  A person’s values and goals don’t have to end when he or she dies. The loved ones they leave behind are here to build upon and carry on their work.

There’s something here for everybody.  Of course not everyone can start a foundation, but it doesn’t take much money or time to look at photos or write a poem or follow a recipe or wear a particular item of clothing or a particular color at a family event.  There are many little things we can do that preserve memory.  As long as these reflect the kind of person the deceased really was, they are just as effective in helping us recover from loss as the more expensive, time-consuming ones.

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

We loved the chapter about Nick Clooney. Nick is the father of actor George Clooney (George recently gave his dad a bit part in Monuments Men, the movie he starred in and directed) and the brother of singers Rosemary Clooney and Betty Clooney. Nick’s mission has been to keep the memories of his sisters “fresh and green” and he engages in a variety of activities to do so. In addition, we learned that George Clooney’s human rights work had its genesis in the lessons about social responsibility taught to him by his grandfather.

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

I needed to find a way to incorporate my mother into my everyday life, although she was no longer physically present. The book was a healing and cathartic process. I believe it is a fitting tribute to my mom, especially because my brother and my husband are coauthors. I am comforted to know that I have kept her memory alive by engaging in this project. My hope is that The Living Memories Project will provide comfort and inspiration to others.

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

Although I have made many attempts to write and publish a book, this is the first time I have been successful. I think it was a result of the collaboration with my husband and brother, and also that we did not give up until we found a publisher.

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

After this brutal winter in New York, it would have to be someplace warm and sunny.

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

I am a morning person and a night person. I don’t sleep much.

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

My mother was a WAC during WW II and wrote for the Belvoir Castle (Fort Belvoir, VA). She also wrote two unpublished manuscripts. My husband, Stewart, and I have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren – two granddaughters and a grandson. My brother, Arthur, who is a coauthor of The Living Memories Project, has quipped that in our family, “Writing is a competitive sport.” In addition to the three of us, our daughter-in-law, Beth Ain is a children’s book author of the Scholastic series, Starring Jules. Our son, Michael “Morty” Ain is a writer for ESPN The Magazine. Our daughter-in-law, Alana Joblin Ain, is a poet. Our son, Rabbi Dan Ain, writes on spiritual matters, particularly the intersection of technology and religion.  Our son, Jonathan Ain and our daughter-in-law Halie Geller, are lawyers, who also do some writing.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Yes, a very big dreamer.

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

That our book will bring peace, healing, and comfort to all those who have lost loved ones.

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

Thank you for helping us share The Living Memories Project with your readers!

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postheadericon Invitation by Christina Hoffman Book Blitz!

Invitation book blitz 2

Pump Up Your Book and contemporary romance author Christina Hoffman are excited to announce the Invitation Book Blitz!

Invitation 7

Title: Invitation
Author: Christina Hoffman
Publisher: Christina Hoffman
Pages: 187
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Format: Paperback/Kindle


Available in kindle ebook and paperback at USA http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JDZ63YK Canada http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00JDZ63YK France http://www.amazon.com.fr/dp/B00JDZ63YK Germany http://www.amazon.com.de/dp/B00JDZ63YK

Available at Smashwords in epub, mobi, pdf and doc.


Book Summary

Madison Spencer is a serious medical student, focused only on work and hiding her beauty and her once-passionate spirit behind a quiet plain-Jane facade. Since she was drugged, stripped, assaulted and photographed by a vengeful ex, she has stayed away from men and kept her heart and body safe.

But when heart-stoppingly gorgeous Dr. Liam Mason walks into her world, she knows she’s in trouble. After finding out about her devastating past, Liam offers to bring her back to life with physical passion. Madison thinks she should be repelled, but she’s intrigued and can’t turn him away. Together they explore days and nights of pleasure, and slowly develop into something more than bedmates.

Deep inside they each wonder if they’ve found their perfect match. But with Liam’s fear of being dragged down by commitment, and Madison’s fear of being hurt by another man threatening to destroy the world they’ve built together, will they each be strong enough and brave enough to risk their hearts to have it all?


I can’t even blame it on the booze. There wasn’t any, or at least there wasn’t any for me. I was with Chloe, my bodyguard. Okay, actually she was my friend, but a really overprotective friend who knew all about what I’d been through and wanted to make sure it never happened again. So, no alcohol.

But, what she and I hadn’t counted on was him being there. There I was, minding my own business, putting in my time at the Med School Social, more than ready to head home for some studying, then Chinese food and a movie. And suddenly, him.

I was inhaling when I caught sight of him, but my breath just stopped. It felt like being punched in the chest. I kept telling myself, look away, look away! But it was impossible. I was paralyzed. His beautiful face and magnificent body were magnets, and my eyes were locked on them.

I hadn’t felt this kind of physical attraction since, well, ever. I had never felt like that. I had stayed away from men for two years. I was pretty much terrified of them, to tell the truth. But there he was. Unavoidable and irresistible.

I saw him in profile. Oh, that hair. Thick, almost curly, falling into his eyes. The kind of hair you need to gently push off of his face right before you kiss him. Or, the kind of hair you grab really hard right before you’re about to…

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. The point I’m trying to make is that my mind very clearly recognized all the dangers ahead and was saying, “Turn around, go, get out of here! Before it’s too late.” But then he turned around to look right at me. It was already too late.

We held each other’s gaze a second longer than politeness required. Something inside me went click, and for the first time in almost two years, I felt young and alive, and really, really turned on. Every part of me suddenly woke up, and all the best parts started to tingle. I was breathing harder. My lips parted slightly, already begging to be kissed.

It was a little overwhelming. I was out of practice. No, actually, I had never had the kind of practice you would need to stay controlled in a situation like that. I think maybe you can have a soul mate for your mind, and also one for your body. And my body was saying “Get me over there right now!”

But I was still too afraid. I smiled a little and turned away.

I had to stay for a while, to look sociable, so I went over to the food table and stared at the snacks, which were already stale. Nothing looked very good, and my throat was too tight to eat anyway.

I was starting to formulate a plan for escaping without the other students or the teachers noticing when I felt the air move behind me, the softest caress against my bare shoulders. Then, a hand on my back, an electric shock to my body, wildly pleasurable. I gasped and spun around. Right into the arms of…

“I’m Liam.”

Liam. Right into the arms of Liam. Oh, he was even more beautiful up close. My hand rose all on its own to push that wonderful floppy hair from his face. I stopped suddenly, embarrassed, but he caught my wrist, and held my palm gently to his face. We looked at each other and knew.

“Wanna get out of here?” he asked, and of course, foolish, foolish woman that I am, I said, “Yes.”

I saw him my first day at the new hospital. I’m a medical student and had just finished the lecture part of things where we sit around learning about chemical reactions and body parts. That was over, at last, and we were moving on to seeing real live patients in the hospital.

The orientation was step one in getting us ready for our new roles. We each got a short lab coat and a tour of the locker rooms. We received our ID tag photos.

I’m not sure why I first noticed Liam.

Since the bad thing happened, I keep my head down and make eye contact with pretty much nobody. I wear my hair in a tight bun at the nape of my neck and my clothes are dull and loose. On that particular day, I was trying very hard to concentrate. I was excited to be starting work in the hospital, but I was mostly terrified. There was so much to take in and remember. My head was reeling after only two hours. The last thing on my mind was men. So, who knows why I took that second look as he walked by our group.

Well, actually I do know why. He was gorgeous. Ridiculously gorgeous. Dark wavy hair, just slightly overgrown so he looked like a happy surfer who’d tumbled out of bed. Smiling eyes. Sparkling, mischievous, movie star eyes. A little bit of stubble, likely because he had been on call all night. The rest of him looked pretty much immaculate. He wore light wool pants and a sky blue shirt. No tie, but the white lab coat made him look professional enough.

I was dedicated to maintaining my nun-like lifestyle, but, seriously, it was impossible not to look at him. Even Chloe noticed him. She looked at him, then at me. She shook her head lightly and whispered, “No”. I laughed a little because she sounded like a mom telling a toddler that she couldn’t have any candy. Well, that was pretty much what was happening, so I guess Chloe nailed that.

She was absolutely right. I didn’t want any trouble. Certainly not that awful, frightening feeling of falling in love. No time-consuming romance. And certainly not all the time I had lost trying to recover from the trauma of what had happened before. Even a plain old tiny heartbreak could set me back, and put me way off course in my career.

No, I didn’t have the time or energy for any distractions. Nothing. Just work and school.

So I ignored the stunning resident with the black hair, and tried to focus on the tall blond giving us the orientation spiel. This was much easier because I felt no attraction to him at all. He was really handsome, too. But something about him seemed mean. Or maybe arrogant. It’s hard to remember what I thought of him that first time, because the memory is so clouded with all that came after. I’ll just say he was a tall, slim blond who should have caught my eye, but didn’t.

About the Author:

Christina Hoffman

Christina Hoffman was born in London, England. She moved with her family throughout Canada and the US, and has finally put down her suitcase, for now, in San Francisco.

She believes that everyone has the right to feel both smart and sexy. We don’t have to be one or the other! She writes stories about characters who live in the real world and who, somehow, still believe in love.

She’s starting a mini-revolution. She writes sexy stories, but hasn’t lost the romance from her Romances. Enough with whips — back to lips!

She hopes you enjoy her stories and see yourself in her characters. After all, they are based on smart and sexy people, just like you.

Christina’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Invitation.

Visit her website at www.christinahoffman.com.

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postheadericon Interview with J.C. Elkin, author of ‘World Class’

JC ElkinJ.C. Elkin is a graduate of Bates College, Southern Connecticut State University, and the Defense Language Institute. An E.S.L. instructor at Anne Arundel Community College, she is also founder of The Broadneck Writers’ Workshop and her work has been recognized by Poetry Matters, The Poetry Society of New Hampshire, and the Maryland Writers’ Association. She also works as a theater critic and singer, and makes her home on the Chesapeake Bay.

Visit Jane’s webpage at


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

I have lived in Annapolis, MD for nearly twenty years but my heart is still in in New Hampshire and Maine, where I grew up.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

Punny you should ask. I teach English as a Second Language to adults, so mine is literally a World Class, but more importantly my students are World Class. After twenty years teaching foreign language in private schools, at community college, and even at the US Naval Academy, I have never met more dedicated students.

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 book was published by Apprentice House at Loyola University in Baltimore, the nation’s only student-run publishing house, so the cover was designed by an undergraduate student named Gina Brandon. We discussed possible concepts and the globe in the classroom seemed the most straight-forward. The beautiful result seems to have immediate impact on everyone who sees it.

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

It’s so engrossing and short you can read it over afternoon coffee but it will stay with you forever. Newt Gingrich says, “You will never think the same about immigrant workers and their children after you read these poems.”

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

There are 325 languages spoken in the US and over a million adult immigrants enrolled in federally funded English classes, mostly beginners. Yet despite their linguistic, religious, political, and ethnic differences, they are at heart the same as all Americans. No matter our roots, we all revel in family, food and the arts; we all mourn lost parents, opportunities and youth; we all want the best for our children; we have all been shaped by nice people and mean people.

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

The poem “Young Means ‘Forever Unchanging’” was the break-through poem that sparked all the other narratives. Young was an older student with persistent learning difficulties that required redoubled efforts, yet the story of his ultimate Aha moment was so dramatic and sweet it haunted me for a year before I was able to capture it in words. Once I realized that Young’s own words were the key to painting his portrait, I knew I was on to something and the rest of the stories just flowed.

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

I have lived abroad as the stranger with the accent, the foreigner who dresses a little differently and eats her strange foods at inappropriate hours. People voiced absurd truisms about Americans to my face and mused why I didn’t fit the mold –- such notions as: All Americans are fat; Americans don’t do handicrafts; Americans are rude; they don’t know how to cook and only eat hamburgers. I’ve endured sneers and snubs and been tearfully grateful for the true friends who took the time to see the person behind the nationality. If I can get a thousand Americans to reexamine their notions of the foreigners among us, I will have accomplished my goal.

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

I once wrote a college essay on “Why prose is better than poetry.” What can I say? I came to poetry late in life, but with a passion.

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

This may sound crazy, but maybe someplace like a remote Amazonian village. I have been fortunate to have traveled all over western Europe, but as much as I enjoyed being immersed in the cultural heritage of some of the world’s greatest civilizations, I’d like to observe people in their most primitive state in order to study basic human nature, which I believe to be inherently good.

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

Both, but definitely not an afternoon person!

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

Before she went off to grad school, my daughter kept a hilarious blog based on wildly exaggerated truths. Also, my now deceased brother wrote fiction, poetry and philosophy.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Not in the least. Mine was a practical family rooted in realism. I did not learn to dream until I left home.

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

Oh my God, that’s not fair. Being a mother, my first thought is happiness for my children and grandchildren. But I know I’m supposed to say world peace.

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

Only that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your questions and hope your readers will all run out and buy a copy of World Class to give to their most parochial friend. Thank you for hosting me.

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postheadericon 20 Questions with Reference/Law Author Christopher Zoukis

Directory of Federal Prisons banner

Christopher ZoukisChristopher Zoukis is an impassioned advocate for prison education, a legal scholar, and a prolific writer of books, book reviews, and articles.  His articles on prison education and prison law appear frequently in Prison Legal News, and have been published in The Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, Blog Critics, and Midwest Book Review, among other national, regional, and specialty publications.

Mr. Zoukis is often quoted on matters concerning prison law, criminal law, prisoners’ rights, and prison education.  Recently, he was the focus of an article at Salon.com concerning America’s broken criminal justice system and potential solutions to the current crisis.

When not in the thick of the battle for prison reform, prison education, or prisoners’ rights advocacy, Mr. Zoukis can be found blogging at PrisonLawBlog.com, PrisonEducation.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com.


1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I don’t know about you, but in my life there is no such thing as being only one or the other.  In my work with PrisonEducation.com, PrisonLawBlog.com, ChristopherZoukis.com, and Prison Legal News, I write when writing needs to be done.  This usually means both researching and writing throughout the day and night depending on the project at hand.

Directory of Federal Prisons2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?

It really depends.  On academic and legal projects, researching certainly has to come first.  For example, with my ebook the Directory of Federal Prisons, I first had to obtain all of the required research materials, then I was able to start the writing process.  But, when I wrote my novel Hamish — which we are currently in discussions with Zharmae Publishers concerning its publication — I wrote the first draft by the seat of my pants.  So, a mix of the two.

3. Which comes first — plot or character?

Certainly plot.  While characters bring life to the plot, it is the plot that acts like a roadmap to the story.  This certainly doesn’t discount the characters’ development.  After all, your characters change throughout the story.  They grow as the plot unfolds.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?

Quiet.  I’m very ADD, so I need quiet.  Since I work in fits and bursts throughout the day, this isn’t often too hard to manage, even though prison is a very loud place.

5. Favorite TV show?

Right now I’m in love with The Americans on FX.  It’s terrific, great writing.  Also very good is Walking Dead and Suits.  I have to watch these shows through the window of my prison cell at nights, because the cell doors are locked at 9:00 PM each night, and most of these shows come on at 10:00 PM.

6. Favorite type of music?

I’m fairly eclectic in my listening preferences.  When I work, I prefer classical music or meditation music, without any words.  But when working out, I can be found listening to Dubstep, alternative rock, and heavy rock.  I love Yellowcard, a New Found Glory, Blink 182, and Three Days Grace.

7. Favorite craft besides writing?

I do a lot of legal work and I also play in a prison Ultimate Frisbee League.  So, as far as crafts go, I’d say post-conviction litigation.  But as far as favorite activities, probably Ultimate Frisbee.

8. Do you play a musical instrument?

I do.  I play the bass guitar, although I was better years ago when I used to play more often.  For that matter, I used to play regular guitar, too.  Sadly, I’ve forgotten more than I’ve learned in recent years, but I can remember enough to pick up a bass and surprise my musician friends!

9. Single or married?

I’m single, but don’t plan on being forever.  I’ve been incarcerated within the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the past 8 years.  So, being single in here is a very good thing.  But upon release — in 4 more years — I plan to start thinking about setting down some roots.

10. Children or not?

I do not have any children.  This is largely due to the fact that I’ve been in prison since I was a senior in high school.  But perhaps one day.

11. Pets?

While I’ve had cats and dogs throughout the years, these days I take care of a feral pigeon flock at my prison.  I consider these prison pigeons to be my pets, and many of them have names and like to be hand-fed.  You can read about my experiences with the prison pigeons of FCI Petersburg at PrisonLawBlog.com’s FCI Petersburg Pigeon Project.  Just click on the large pigeon.

12. Favorite place to write?

Again, this depends on the type of writing.  If I’m doing legal writing, then I’m usually doing so in my prison’s law library.  Academic and other research-based writing usually starts in my prison cell, but then is completed at a computer terminal in my housing unit.  For blogging and articles and such, I often draft right on the computer terminal in my housing unit.

13. Favorite restaurant?

I’ve been in prison for 8 years now.  And the chow hall is nothing to write home about, but perhaps something to write to the local health inspector over.  With that being said, I eat a lot of food made outside of the chow hall.  Most days I can find someone selling fried wraps containing chicken, beef, broccoli, cheeses, and other ingredients.  But the best cook around is my good friend T.J..  For our birthdays, he really goes out of his way and creates amazing dishes and desserts, all from food available for purchase in our prison’s commissary.  His cheesecake is as good as any I have ever tasted outside of prison.  In fact, I didn’t even like cheesecake before I came to prison.  Now, I can’t get enough of it.

14. Do you work outside the home?

While I have a prison work detail — I am assigned to work in my prison’s recreation department on weekends — I consider my prison education, prisoners’ rights, and social justice advocacy to be my work.  I spend most of my waking hours writing for prisoneducation.com, prisonlawblog.com, and christopherzoukis.com, along with Prison Legal News.  While not a conventional job, it certainly is a lot of work.

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw?

I watched Gladiator the other day on the television.  Does that count?  Considering that I’m in prison, I can’t get out much to catch a new flick in theaters.

16. Favorite outdoor activity?

I love playing Ultimate Frisbee.  We have a whole crew here at FCI Petersburg who play many evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.  While we often have a league each year, we mostly play “free rec” games where everyone shows up, gets picked for a team, and plays until the 8:00 PM activities move is called, when the internal prison gates are unlocked and we can return to our housing units.

17. Pet peeve?

I hate loud noise.  Prison is such a loud place.  People scream, beat on things, and slam things all day long.  It really can get on one’s nerves very quickly.  Hence, my MP3 player and classical tunes are never far away.  They help to block out all of the useless, pointless noise.

18. Your goal in life?

To make a difference.  In my writing, social justice advocacy, and personal interactions, I aim to make the world a better place.  When I find problems, I craft solutions for them.  And if my writing can impact public policy, and thus countless prisoners’ and their family’s lives, then I will have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.

19. Your most exciting moment?

There have been many, good and bad.  It is always a thrill to sign a book contract.  So, too, it is enthralling to hold the first copy off the press.  And still, I get an excited tingling whenever I land a particularly big article or assignment.  My life is made up of lots of these exciting moments.  May they never stop to reach deep into my soul and stir me to action.

20. The love of your life?

While I love to write and agitate for good, I long for a love of one’s life as being a partner, a significant other.  And I don’t think that I’ve found her yet.  Maybe one day.  I imagine that in 4 years my real chance will start to find whoever it might be.

This virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book

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postheadericon Book Excerpt: Broken Family by Kevin Hopson

Broken Family 7Title: Broken Family
Author: Kevin Hopson
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Pages: 34
Genre: Crime/Mystery
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Sheriff Joseph Mauro is summoned to a local lake in Stone County, having received a report of a dead woman along the water’s shore. With foul play a possibility, he utilizes the help of his two female deputies in questioning family members and friends. As the three of them search for clues and possible motives, the case takes an unexpected turn, and Sheriff Mauro must rely on his instincts if he is going to weed out the killer.


“Who’s the victim?” A woman’s voice inquired from behind.

Joe didn’t even bother turning around. He knew who it was.

“Claire Gass,” he said. “Is Ira with you?”

“She’s coming down the hill right now,” the woman answered.

Joe rotated his head with his knee to the ground, looking in the direction of the deputy. Janelle Bowden, an African-American woman with wide brown eyes, stared back at him. Her coffee-colored hair was tied up in a bun.

“Looks like someone hit her over the head and dumped the body here,” Joe said. “A fisherman discovered her early this morning when he was putting his trailer in the water.”

“A forced drowning?” Janelle asked.

Joe shook his head. “I don’t think so. The body would be bloated and show signs of decay. Plus, it can take days or weeks for a drowned body to surface. They usually float on top of the water, not wash up on the shore of a still lake. This body is fresh. I figure she died in the last twelve hours.”

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postheadericon Next O&W Train From Tennessee by JR Holbrook Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Next O&W Train

Title: Next O&W Train from Tennessee

Genre: Historical Fiction

Author: JR Holbrook

Publisher: Xlibris

EBook: 123 pages

Release Date: March 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-46918-802-7

James Holbrook is the great-great-grandson of Nancy Moody. Nancy Moody was the daughter of Charlot Moody and Johnathon Moody-Johnathon Moody was killed in the Civil War-Nancy Moody being the mother of Armeldia Moody and the grandmother of Raymond Wright, Selby Wright, Clara, Cora, and Edith. This is the second short story of James Holbrook, who also published Making Sense in 2011. James graduated from Sullivan University in 2008 with honors and decided to try the option of writing some short stories and children’s books. What James likes most about writing is creative expression.



JR Holbrook has traveled to many places in his life and lived in more than just a few places over nearly fi fty years. While in Hawaii, he had many wonderful experiences, and some of these are in his book. He has been to the Grand Canyon, and saw eagles and condors fl y over its enormously high cliffs. When he traveled to Punta Cana and Costa Rica with college students, he had a great learning experience. He was amazed as he watched the water fall over the edge of Niagara Falls. He also enjoys writing and has studied it through the many years while being in college. He has served as a security offi cer for many years and has an interest in legal issues. Most of his family members from his father’s side who lived in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, were medical doctors, and this
is also in his book.

Pump Up Your Book and JR are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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postheadericon Guest Blogger: How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea That Sells by Nina Amir

097How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea that Sells

Most aspiring authors believe their ideas are unique and readers absolutely need to read their books. Like these writers, you may feel convinced your book idea is new, fresh, timely, different, and essential.

It’s great to feel passionate, enthusiastic and confident when the proverbial light bulb goes off, but those feelings—and your conviction—simply aren’t enough reason to write and publish a book. You must have facts that unequivocally prove your idea is unique and necessary in the marketplace. These facts must convince a literary agent, first, and an acquisitions editor, second, that your book is marketable. They also must convince you as an indie publisher that you have crafted a viable product—on with a chance of succeeding, which means selling.

The Author Training ManualCreate a Marketable Book

If you want to write a commercially marketable book that stands out in its category—the shelf where you find it in a physical bookstore or where it is catalogued in a virtual bookstore, you must develop an idea that is unique and necessary. That means you not only need to provide a book with a high degree of value to readers in your target market, but you also need to write a nonfiction book that offers new information or a different angle on old information. It should “fill a hole” in that category, which means you have to write a book no one else has written yet and that is needed in that particular subject area.

How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea

One of the ways this is accomplished is by determining if the book is unique and necessary compared to competing books—other books like it that have previously been published. To accomplish this, you must conduct what is called a “competitive analysis” of books in the same category as your book. Then you evaluate how to make your book better than the competition.

To complete the analysis, first, determine your book’s category. Is it a business, body-mind-spirit, travel, reference, history, or craft book, for example? Second, use the internet, or go to your favorite local bookstore, and examine books you feel are direct competition to yours. These are books someone might buy instead of yours because the content is so similar.

When you have 5-10 bestselling books (preferably traditionally published) released in the last three years, study:

  • the table of contents
  • the foreword and who wrote it
  • the front cover
  • the back cover
  • the first chapter or two
  • the index
  • the author’s biography
  • number of pages
  • whether the book is available in paper back, ebook or both
  • category choice
  • publisher
  • price
  • year published

Next, take a look at your own idea and compare it to the top five competitive titles you have analyzed. Ask yourself:

  • How can I create a better book?
  • How can I create a book that better serves readers?
  • How have these authors underserved readers in such a way that opens up an opportunity for me?
  • How do these books fall short of readers’ expectations or needs?
  • How is my book the same as these (and how must I change my book to make it different)?

In other words, use these books to spark ideas that will help you hone your idea into the best possible book in the category or topic area.

Brief statements that describe the pros and cons of the competition should be included a book proposal, should you want to pursue traditional publishing. For a business plan for a self-published book, you can include all the detail you like. For more information on how to write a business plan for your book, click here.)

About the Author

Nina AmirNina Amir, author of the bestselling How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writers Digest Books) and The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively (Writers Digest Books), transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world. A sought-after author, book, blog-to-book, and results coach, some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction Now and How to Blog a Book, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

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postheadericon Twisted Venom by V.W. Raynes Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Twisted Venom

Title: Twisted Venom

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Author: V.W. Raynes

Publisher: AuthorHouse

EBook: 300 pages

Release Date: December 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-49183-399-5

When young internist Claudia Ranelli attends a medical conference in San Francisco, she has a sexual encounter so bizarre and frightful it nearly kills her. But that isn’t the end of her terror. Claudia and her cousin Dru Salinas must discover the identity of the person terrorizing them both, a quest that leads from pit vipers to modern genetics. Claudia tells a gripping story with sensitivity, a humanly scientific perspective, eroticism and a wry sense of humor.



V. W. Raynes is the pen name of a physician practiciing in Texas.

Pump Up Your Book and V.W. are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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postheadericon Islam in the Heartland of America by Imam Omar Hazim Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Islam in the Heartland of AmericaTitle: Islam in the Heartland of America
Genre: Religion/Spirituality
Author: Imam Omar Hazim
Publisher: Xlibris
EBook: 279 pages
Release Date: January 28, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-45685-798-1

“The purpose of this book is to inform and educate the general public of how Islam is taught in a mosque in the heartland of America. It includes the Friday khutbah (sermons) by Imam Omar Hazim and several other Imams (Spiritual Leaders). The hope is to help to clarify some of the
misconceptions and distortions about the religion of Islam. In addition to the sermons, there will be articles from other publications, excerpts of sermons and photos. Included also is information about the diversity among the Muslim population in the Heartland of America. This book is very timely, as Islam has been reported as being the fasting growing religion in the World. For anyone who ever thought about or wondered what is taught in the Friday services at a Mosque, this book is a must read for them.”


Pump Up Your Book and Imam are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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postheadericon So What Do You Think by Clair Swinburne Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: So What Do You Think

Genre: Self Help/Personal Growth

Author: Clair Swinburne

Publisher: iUniverse

EBook: 112 pages

Release Date: July 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-46202-936-5

This psychology guide for teens presents an overview of how the mind works to give you a clearer understanding of how to look after your mental health.

We all need to take care of our mental health. But just how do you accomplish this? In So What Do You Think? author Clair Swinburne helps teenagers understand the natural workings of the mind and uncovers interesting facts about what affects our reality to provide insights into how to achieve positive results in life.

So What Do You Think? examines the attitudes, outlooks, and mindsets that produce success in life. It reviews how the mind works and how it can impact your behaviour, your reality, the things you attract into your life and your body. This analysis will provide a greater understanding of how to look after your mind and it will give you a deeper knowledge about what works for you and what doesn’t.

Using anecdotes and humour, Clair helps you learn new perspectives and strategies that can improve your well-being and produce more positive attitudes and results. So What Do You Think? also outlines ten practical techniques to help you begin looking after your mental health now.



Clair Swinburne is an experienced teacher who has taught in the United Kingdom and Ireland and for many years has worked as a pastoral leader and mentor. She is also a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming. Her positive interaction with teenagers prompted her to write the So What …? book series. She currently lives in Ireland.

Pump Up Your Book and Clair are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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postheadericon Seeing the Joy in Affliction by Michael Shelley book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Seeing the Joy in AfflictionTitle: Seeing the Joy in Affliction
Genre: Religious
Author: Michael Shelley
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 128 pages
Release Date: October 8, 2004
ISBN: 978-0-59577-656-6

Based on the author’s personal experience with physical and emotional affliction, including terminal brain cancer, Seeing the Joy in Affliction deals with the tough questions:

Why do Christians suffer? Is it a lack of faith?
Is suffering part of God’s plan for us?
How do we respond in obedience to various kinds of suffering?
What is the secret in unleashing God’s power in the midst of our suffering?
How do we minister to others when we are suffering?

Learn the ultimate secret for dealing with these and other essential questions about growing in your faith.



Mike Shelley is a professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology and attends Christian Life Center in Dayton Ohio. He has taught Bible classes for over 30 years. He and his wife Sherry have three children?Maria, Andrew, and Joshua.

Pump Up Your Book and Michael are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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postheadericon 20 Questions with David Burnsworth, author of ‘Southern Heat’

David BurnsworthDavid Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.

His latest book is the southern noir/mystery, Southern Heat.

Visit his website at www.davidburnsworthbooks.com.


  1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Both.  I have a day job so my writing time during the week is when I can squeeze it in.  Monday through Friday, I write thirty minutes in the morning before I leave for work and thirty minutes in the evening after I exercise.  On weekends, I try to schedule blocks of time.  Sometimes it’s Saturday night and sometimes it’s Sunday morning before church.

2.  Do you outline or are you a pantster?

I like the term “pantster.”  What I did for my debut mystery, Southern Heat, was start with a setting, then work on the protagonist, Brack Pelton.  Once I had those down through a decent opening and a few scenes, I took a breath and framed in a story.  It took me six years to go Southern Heat 7from zero to a contract, so that description is really an oversimplification.  To answer the question, I have to say both again.  I start out as a pantster and then end up outlining to fill in holes.

3. Which comes first – plot or character?

For me it was character.  Actually, characters.  Once I had my cast, I went back and worked on the plot.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?

Melody in the form of music.  With Southern Heat, it was classic rock.  I was born in ’73 so late seventies and early eighties music is a sweet spot.  For the follow-up, I have added new country, eighties new wave, and modern Christian to the mix.  But classic rock is what I would call foundational for me.

5. Favorite TV show?

Seinfeld.  Aside from some event like the Masters or the Olympics, I have replaced most of my TV watching with writing.  I catch Seinfeld reruns at the gym.

6. Favorite type of music?

Classic rock, which, for this Generation X’er, means Journey, the Eagles, and U2.

7. Favorite craft besides writing?

My other passion is automobiles.  Specifically, the details like engines and options.  Classic or new, import or domestic.  I like them all.

8. Do you play a musical instrument?

I’m sorry to say I don’t.  I’d like to learn to play the piano or guitar at some point, but there are a few things ahead of those on the bucket list.

9. Single or Married?

Happily married for eight years.  My wife has been very supportive of my writing and I can’t thank her enough.

10.  Children or no?

No children.

11.  Pets?

We have a 50 pound chow-lab mix that was rescued.  He’s really my wife’s because she took him in before she took me in.  He rules the house and keeps us in line.

12.  Favorite place to write?

I am fortunate enough to have a home office and a big desk.  The restroom is only a few steps away, as is the kitchen.  So, it works out nicely.

13.  Favorite restaurant?

My wife has succeeded in turning me into an Italian food lover.  We like the local, family-owned places as well as Carrabbas.

14.  Do you work outside the home?

Yes, I work in manufacturing.  My role is to manage the company’s Continuous Improvement activities.  It is very rewarding to work with all levels of the organization on a daily basis.

15 What was the name of the last movie you saw?

The last movie my wife and I went to the theatre to see was Two Guns.  My choice, not hers.  I like the action flicks.  My wife prefers comedies or chick flicks.

16.  Favorite outdoor activity?

I like going to car shows when I have the time.

17.  Pet peeve?

Animal cruelty and poaching.

18. Your goal in life?

To be able to support my wife and me with my writing and be able to give more to humanitarian and environmental causes.

19. Your most exciting moment?

After my wedding day, it was being offered a contract for Southern Heat.

20. The love of your life?

My wife, of course.

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postheadericon Beyond the Dream by Irene Snow Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Beyond the DreamTitle: Beyond the Dream
Genre: Biography/Memoir
Author: Irene Snow
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 398 pages
Release Date: June 28, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-47598-255-8

Until the age of four, Irene Snow lived happily with her mother and gentle, doting grandparents. The return of her father, a rough and tough soldier, at the close of World War II set the stage for rebellion and dissention in her young life. He was a strict disciplinarian, and she resented his authority from the outset. What’s more his arrival introduced her to the baser emotions of jealousy and hatred, which were previously beyond her ken as the reigning princess in Grandma’s   house.

As she grew older, her life became a search to regain the pedestal she lost, no matter what it took. As a young woman, she fell in love with a married German and had his child out of wedlock. Aware of her father’s deep and abiding enmity for “the enemy,” she reveled in his displeasure; he in turn vowed to disown his grandchild. Irene’s seven-year love affair ended with her marriage to a Canadian widower, but her wedding was closely followed by a tragedy that ignited her darker emotions and eventually brought her to a nervous breakdown, psychosis, and utter darkness.

She turned to the field of psychology in the hope it might shed light on her self-defeating behavior. While her studies provided many answers, they did not lead to peace. Finally, she embarked upon a spiritual journey that led her to “A Course in Miracles.” Once she began to reach out with love, her life changed dramatically.



Irene Snow lives in Canada with her husband, Len, and their pet cat. They are currently enjoying their retirement, especially the happy hours spent with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Irene, a high school graduate, has spent a significant portion of her life in the pursuit of learning—an ongoing process.

Pump Up Your Book and Irene are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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postheadericon The Soul of the Sun Book Blitz!

Were happy to announce Genevieve Crownson’s new YA paranormal The Soul of the Sun!

The Soul of the Sun

Title: The Soul of the Sun
Genre: Paranormal/Young Adult
Author: Genevieve Crownson
Publisher: Genevieve Crownson
Pages: 348
Format: Paperback, Kindle


Book Summary:

“The hands of time turn on the face of the sun. Only you can move them. If the Watcher controls the hands of the clock he can go anywhere, past or future– and destroy our planet.”

Since the days of ancient Greece, the Argos dynasty has kept a secret, a mystery passed down through their descendants from generation to generation, in the hopes that the forces of good can stop the evil destruction of planet Earth.

Margaret Ingall is harboring that secret. Time is running out for the descendants of the Argos. They know a great healer and time traveler will be born of their blood. But the only person that knows whom they will call “the soul of the sun” is Margaret’s sister, Abigail. Before she can reveal the healer’s identity, disaster strikes…

Evil stalks them, watching and waiting to find out which member of her family has the ultimate power. Is it Margaret’s own child? Or her beloved granddaughter? Or even herself? Their only clue is a powerful protective amulet that will lead them all in a cat-and-mouse game to discover secrets as ancient as time.

If the Watcher discovers the truth before they do, all will be lost.

Fate, time and love weave together in their struggle to fulfill their destiny. Will Margaret’s fears sabotage her family’s protection? Can the healer accept her gifts in time? And once the soul of the sun is finally revealed, will it be too late?

Her power is incredible. The sacrifices required of her are immense.

Will it be enough to stop the Watcher?


The rain fell in sheets around me, it was gloomy and depressing, but I didn’t feel a drop. I was completely encased in light; I was a moving, breathing, flaming yellow orb that no one could penetrate. I watched in amazement as my broken leg instantly healed and the torn pajama fabric cinched itself back together. My jaw pain ceased. I closed my hands over the amulet, now humming with intensity. In a split second, I was vibrating with the same power. The wind picked up and the sky loomed black. The moon lay dark behind an inky sky and somehow strange chanting words flowed out of me. Lava hot and fraught with meaning, they rose to a fever pitch. Every word was a part of me, part of my being. Words from another time, Tanga’s time, slipped from my lips as though it were my native tongue. It was the inscription on the amulet, of that much I was sure.

I stretched my glowing hands out to Thomas.

I call on you Lady Isis.

Protect Me.

For I am the one, the Soul of the Sun.

I plead with you and your son Horus to give refuge.

Patroness of Nature and Magic bring all my power and your power together to glorify

what is right and true in this world.

Honor your name and those we safeguard from harm. Let time be taken from no man.


He was laughing at me.

“You stupid little twit, did you honestly think that would work? You think that I can’t take what’s mine?”

As he spoke, I chanted the same words, repeating them over and over. I saw fear cross his face just for a moment when he realized I was using the amulet’s power. A brilliant beam of light continued to radiate from my core. It was strange, the light now shone gold instead of blue. It must have changed when it sealed together. I continued to watch and to my astonishment, he became transparent and, with a puff of smoke, evaporated into the heavens. I could hear his heart-rending screams echoing through the ocean’s storm. Drained completely of energy, I crumpled, exhausted, onto the sand.

About the Author:

Genevieve Crownson

Genevieve Crownson graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelors of Science degree. A love of writing led her to pen her debut novel, The Soul of the Sun. This is book one in her highly anticipated trilogy, The Argos Dynasty. She currently lives in beautiful Charleston, SC with her family and beloved four-legged friends.

You can find her at www.genevievecrownson.com.

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postheadericon Summer in the Heart by John McMillan Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Summer in the HeartTitle:
Summer in the Heart
Genre: Fiction
Author: John McMillan
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 256 pages
Release Date: May 9, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-46200-974-9

“That summer in the heart which is known only in youth.”

Summer in the Heart is a lyrical evocation of the innocence, fun and liberation of growing up in the 1960s. Moving into and through his teens, Jim Mitchell must put his County Antrim village childhood behind him and adapt to the wider world of grammar school and the life of Belfast city.

In the process the reader accompanies Jim on a series of marvellous episodes. There is the self-conscious torture of his first school dance; playing truant from the formidable Cheyenne Bodie’s maths class; and the secrecy and fear that surround the summer love he finds with his country sweetheart June.

Subsequently we follow Jim’s progress through the coffee bars and streets of Belfast, new friendships and the love of city girl Katie, to his first real taste of freedom on a working holiday at an English seaside resort in the long hot summer of 1964. Jim progresses from the self-doubt and alienation of early adolescence to the beginnings of emotional maturity. The disparate settings and characters of the novel are conveyed with equal power, small worlds portrayed in a poetic way, with delicious feeling and humour.



John Kerr McMillan was born in County Armagh in 1948 and educated in Belfast, London and Bournemouth.

His first novel “On A Green Island” was published in 2001 to general critical acclaim. Peter Berresford Ellis writing in the Irish Democrat described it as “a powerful story, a fascinating first novel from a talented writer”; Edward Upward commented “the strength of his love for rural Ireland is beautifully conveyed” and Philip Callow praised “a narrative that grips the reader from the first page.”

Married with two daughters, John now lives in Somerset where his time is occupied with writing, lecturing and his family.

Pump Up Your Book and John are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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postheadericon China Red by Ralph Sanborn Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


China RedTitle: China Red
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Author: Ralph Sanborn
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 292 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-47598-293-0

Heroin, called “China Red” on the street, is being smuggled into the United States. Zhou Jing—who fancies himself a fifteenth-century Chinese warlord, is using Muslim Uighers in western China to produce the heroin. In exchange, Zhou arms, trains, and provides security from the Chinese government for the Uighers.

Caleb Frost is a professional assassin in a deep cover, black operations team that specializes in wet work. His team includes two ex-Navy SEALs and a Greek beauty and former New York City escort. Funded by the US government, the team operates autonomously in total secrecy. China hires Caleb’s team to destroy, with prejudice, the smuggling operation in the US.

Zhou’s partner is a brilliant, psychopathic killer—a Harvard Business School graduate named Wrath. He founded the Visigoths MC, a hard riding, vicious motorcycle gang which protects, delivers, and collects payment for the heroin shipments. When matters become personal and Caleb’s sister Rebecca is kidnapped, the team’s task gets messier. It becomes more than an “assassination engagement” for Caleb—it becomes a bloodthirsty vendetta.

“This tornado of a thriller drags the reader into a world of guns, bombs, swords and death and won’t let go.”
-Rob Swigart, Author of The Delphi Agenda

“China Red plunges the reader into a world of evil intrigue and high adventure. You won’t be able to put it down.”
-Antoinette May, author of The Sacred Well, Pilate’s Wife,
and Haunted Houses of California



Ralph Sanborn was raised in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and earned a degree in psychology from St. Lawrence University. He has lived in several different countries and worked in a variety of manufacturing and software enterprise marketing capacities. He currently lives in Northern California with his wife, Susan, and their two dogs.

Pump Up Your Book and Ralph are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins March 24 and ends on April 4.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 5, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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