Dakota Gold by Karen Wilson Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Title: Dakota Gold
Author: Karen Wilson
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 80
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook
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 Karen Wilson watched as a little tyke came running from the group of golden retriever puppies as fast as his little legs would carry him. Wearing a red ribbon, he was the most adorable bundle of golden softness she had ever seen. As soon as he reached her and she picked him up, he settled in her arms and immediately captured her heart. There was no question that she was his mama and he was her baby dolly. In a poignant retelling of the unconditional love between a dog and his owner, Wilson details how Rusty, at five weeks old, warmed her heart and eased doubts and pain as he quickly acclimated to his new life in her home. He turned out to be a gentle-natured puppy known to elevate the spirits of all who met him. Wilson recalls Rusty’s comical adventures as he grew by leaps and bounds; made friends with her collie, Chester; had fun with a rope swing, a bucket, and leaf piles; caught snowballs in his mouth; and discovered that a cow can be a guardian angel. Dakota Gold shares the true story of a tail-wagging, mischievous dog as he is adopted by his new family, embraces the fun in life, and learns from his best friend that love is the key to happiness.
Karen Wilson is a retired nurse and published poet. She is a member of the American Legion Post, its color guard unit, and its management team, as well as the Patriot Guard Riders of New York. When she is not spending time with her sons and grandchildren, Karen enjoys painting, writing poetry, and reading in her home in New York.

 

Karen is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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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 or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Intentional Walk by Allen Goodrich Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Intentional WalkTitle: Intentional Walk
Author: Allen Goodrich
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 516
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook

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Reporter Ray Gorman met baseball player Dixon White in 1971, before he was a star, but that didn’t stop Gorman from seeing star potential. Dixon was the best high school pitcher in the state—until a fateful car crash changed his life forever.

A few years later, Dixon decides to take a chance and try out for the big leagues. He misses baseball, but more than that, he also wants to help his parents financially. His little brother, Todd, suffers from polio and will need an expensive surgery to live a normal life. Dixon is shocked when he is hired to join the team’s Triple-A affiliate, and Gorman dubs him “The Can’t Miss Kid.”

Now Dixon is the hottest prospect in the minors, and with Gorman’s help, he’s front-page news on the Pittsburgh Gazette. Soon, however, Dixon’s best intentions get lost in the fray. Unready for the kind of attention and expectations the story brings, he will need to look to his roots and his inner faith to find success while staying true to his family, friends and to himself.

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Allen Goodrich grew up playing baseball. He has a degree in management from St. Joseph’s University, Pennsylvania; this is his first novel. He is a father and grandfather and lives in suburban Philadelphia.

 

Allen is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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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 or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Profile: Donna Galanti, Author of ‘A Human Element’

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and the forthcoming Joshua and The Lightning Road.

Galanti, Donna 2An avid reader as a child, Galanti grew up in a nurturing environment, immersed in books such as The Hobbit,Little House in the Big WoodsThe Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, Call of the Wild and White Fang. “My favorite author was Roald Dahl and my favorite book of his was Danny the Champion of the World,” says Galanti, whose dark imagination ran wild from the start.

From her early years in England to her later work in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, Galanti always dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote her first murder mystery screenplay at the tender age of seven. She had a career in writing for marketing and communications and ran her own resume writing service, but it wasn’t until her mother died five years ago that she began writing novels out of her grief. Eventually, that grief turned to peace, when she fully realized what it was she truly loved to do: becoming a storyteller. In addition to being a full-time author, Galanti also works part time as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency.

“I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope. I am drawn to writing the hero’s journey – more so the tormented hero, and tormented villain. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil,” states the author, whose first two books in The Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element (Imajin Books, August 2014) are both full of murder and mystery with a dash of steam, and both have their own tormented hero and villain. “I slay my own demons through my writing – and I highly recommend it!” she says.

A Human Element, just released by Imajin Books, is the thrilling, unrelenting page-turner story of Laura Armstrong. Her friends and family members are being murdered and, despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown, where she eventually unravels a terrifying secret that binds her to the killer.

The book has already garnered excellent praise from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and international bestselling author M.J. Rose.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]Galanti lives in an old farmhouse – sadly, with no ghosts – with many fireplaces where she often curls up to create her page-turners. Other times she works in her office overlooking the woods. Throughout the year she meets weekly with a women’s writing group at a café where they write together and share advice and their success stories.

“When I am creating a new book I love to sit outdoors overlooking the woods with a pen and notebook and handwrite my ideas. My thoughts are slowed down this way as my brain connects to pen in hand, and it opens my mind up to brainstorm,” says the author, describing her creative process. “There is nothing more freeing creatively to journal story ideas and throw all sorts of ‘what if?’ questions out there to find the kernel of a good story you want to pursue. Then I create character worksheets and type up a ten page synopsis of the book. I do all this before I write that first word of the story. And I always create a title first! It’s what drives my inspiration for the story.”

Galanti began writing A Human Element seventeen years ago from a vision she had while driving to work one day. She wrote two chapters and shelved them for over a decade. When she finally decided to continue the story, she wrote Monday through Friday from 4:30am to 6:30am. After seven months she typed THE END.

All writers have their stronger and weaker points, and for this author, revision is her favorite process. That’s where she can make her story shine. “Knowing how important this process is has been one of my strong points,” she says. “There are many layers to a story to be found after you write that first draft, and that’s what I love to do: peel back the layers.” One area she struggled in for a long time was to slow down her writing. She can be a very fast writer, creating pages and pages of words that often would need to be trimmed down. She has since then learned to slow down her writing and craft her words with care as she writes them, so she doesn’t have to spend so much time on revision.

In an era when small presses, the good, the bad and the ugly, abound, Galanti’s experience has been nothing but positive. “My experience with Imajin Books has been amazing!” she says of her Canadian-based publisher. “Imajin Books is dedicated to working with me to help my books succeed. The owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is a bestselling author in her own right.” Imajin Books was very responsive and provided in-depth editorial guidance as well as marketing plans, not to mention fantastic book cover designs. The publishing industry is notorious for being slow-moving, but in the case of The Element Trilogy, Imajin Books made the process quick and efficient.

As with many authors, Galanti finds starting a new book most challenging. The first blank page can be a scary thing, until the story takes over, propelling your main character into his new unbalanced world toward the ultimate end. However, being an author can be extremely rewarding. “When it comes to readers, there is nothing more thrilling than reading wonderful reviews about your book that you spent months, or years, creating and shaping,” she says. “It’s from that private place in your heart, where you love the most – and hurt the most – that you pour out pages to show the world. And it’s all worthwhile when you discover that others have been touched by your story, just as you were touched while you were writing it. Second, it’s rewarding to pay it forward to up-and-coming authors. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from speaking to writers about your publishing journey and sharing advice and techniques on how to find success as an author, and hope that they do.”

Galanti is currently working on the idea for the third and final book in The Element Trilogy called, A Healing Element, and gearing up to release book 2, A Hidden Element, on August 28th. A native of upstate New York, the author now lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle—preferably with ghosts.

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics

Go In Faith, And You Will Prosper by Prophet Owusu Afriyie Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 
 
 

 

Title: Go In Faith, and You Will Prosper

Author: Prophet Owusu Afriyie

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 88

Genre: Fiction

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Exhibiting the Force of Faith to Execute Your Calling!

Permit Prophet Owusu Afriyie to help making your calling successful and fulfilled through Go In Faith, and You Will Prosper. The journey to fulfill your ministry and profession demands faith only. Because of that you must use your faith wisely depending on the Lord. Faith is the main thing that you possess to control and overcome the affairs of the world. You will communicate with heaven as a faith practitioner and direct the affairs of life supernaturally:

 God will Direct Your Path by Faith

 Speak as it Ought to be

See your dream comes to pass as you feed on the Word of God believing what God has said will happen as you stay on board.

Speak the Word of Faith in the direction God gives you and never be regretted.

Reverend Afriyie is a Fasting and Prayer minister who was asked by the Lord to fast 2 forty days in a year. He was instructed to do this for a special ministry. Owusu Afriyie tested the waters of mandate and the Holy Spirit performed awesomely. This book will teach you faith that achieves.

The Lord advised Owusu Afriyie in May 3, 2010, to write books. He had a dream in late 90s of huge volumes of books, which indicates the writing assignments ahead of him. Afriyie always says to the Lord, “I am yours to command.” As the Prophet Samuel to the Lord, in the presence of the Priest Eli, so is Owusu.Prophet Owusu Afriyie is a Fasting and Prayer organizer by divine calling. God led him to fast two, 40 days for 10 years, and one, 40 days for 3 years for His power and work (1999-2012). God told him to go in faith and prosper in the work after the fast was over. The Lord has directed him to go back to Ghana to start the work from there and enter other worlds. God has given him a mandate to do Crusades and Plant Churches. Owusu Afriyie says this looks impossible, but with God, it is a done deal. He sees it as God asked Abraham to go a place without a map. Finally, Abraham made it as God directing him from the inside out. Prophet Owusu Afriyie says he will make it, with the Mighty Holy Spirit (the Champion) inside him; the mandate will prosper and succeed with great optimism.Owusu Afriyie is a theologian, graduated from Concordia University, and the founder of the Apostolic Creative Faith Ministries in Montreal, Canada. He is the senior minister of the Ministry. Prophet Afriyie is married to Boatemaa, and is the father of seven children: Millicent, Rose, Daniel, Joseph, Victoria, Theresa, and Samuel.

 

Owusu is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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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 or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Book Blitz! Meet Me in Barcelona by Mary Carter

Meet Me in Barcelona Book Blitz Banner

 We welcome Mary Carter as she celebrates the release of her mainstream fiction, Meet Me in Barcelona!

Meet Me in Barcelona 2

Title: Meet Me in Barcelona
Author: Mary Carter
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 352
Genre: Mainstream fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle/MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audo, Unabridged

Purchase at AMAZON

A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer’s current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.

Carrie Ann wasn’t just Grace’s foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend—until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she’s kept from Jake—and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.

Mary Carter’s intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try—and often fail—to truly know the ones we love.

Book Excerpt:

Carrie Ann. The words felt like two gunshots to the chest. Just hearing that name come out of her mother’s mouth made Grace’s heart start tripping. She almost shot out of her chair. “I’m Grace,” she said. “Gracie Ann.” Her voice cracked. “Dad?” she said.

“She’s confused, honey. The past and the present, it’s just one big, ugly glob.” Pinpricks of shame began forming at the base of Grace’s spine.

“I’m not confused,” Jody said. “Carrie Ann came to visit me.”

“My God,” Grace said. This time she did shoot out of her chair. Carrie Ann was the only girl foster child the Sawyers had ever taken in. At first she had been like a sister to Grace.

“Who is she married to now?” Jody said. “I can’t remember.”

“Pay no attention to her, Gracie,” Jim said.

“Why can’t I remember?” Jody pressed on her temples with her index fingers, as if she could squeeze the memory out of her head.

Grace took a step toward her mother. “When did she come and visit you, Mom?”

“Grace, I told you she didn’t,” Jim said. “Don’t egg your mother on.”

“I’m not egging her on, Dad, but if Carrie Ann was here, I want to know about it.”

Her father whacked his newspaper on the side of his chair. “I told you she wasn’t! And I should know. I’ve been sitting right here!”

“She’s still such a pretty girl,” Jody said. “She asked about you, Grace. She asked me all sorts of questions about you.”

Jim got up and threw up his arms. “She’s out of her mind!” He began to pace.

“Dad,” Grace said. “Hush.” Her mother suddenly became very still, which meant she was listening. Grace took her father by his arm and led him back to his chair.

“I’m sorry. She won’t remember me saying it.”

“That’s not the point.”

“I can’t help it. Carrie Ann this – Carrie Ann that. I thought we’d put that nuisance behind us for once and for all. Is this what it comes to? Reliving your worst nightmare?”

“I’ve never heard you speak so harshly about Carrie Ann,” Grace said. Her mom was the one who used to say the worst things about Carrie Ann. She said Carrie Ann was evil. She said Carrie Ann was a curse that would follow all of them to their graves. Once she even said there wasn’t enough Lysol in the world to get rid of that stain. And each insult cut into Grace like her mother was saying it about her. Her sister. Of sorts. Her own Dickens-like drama.  Carrie Ann was the best thing that had ever happened to Grace, and she was the worst. She’d been out of their lives for nearly fifteen years. And Grace had spent every one of them trying, and failing, to put the past behind her. She turned to her father.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Tell you what?”

“That Mom’s been talking about her.”

“Because I don’t want to dredge up all that nonsense. It’s her damn medication. I keep telling the doctor it’s making her worse, and he won’t listen to me.” Her father slammed his fist on the arm of the chair. “These people think just because we’re old that we’re stupid. She wouldn’t be so forgetful if she cut down on some of those pills. How do I know that? Because she’s my wife.  Because I’ve been married to this woman for forty-four years. You know what he said to me?”

“Who?”

“That snot-nosed doctor, that’s who!”

“What did he say?”

“Put me in my place. In front of my wife. ‘You’re a psychotherapist, correct? Not a psychiatrist? You don’t prescribe medication?’ That’s what the snot-nosed so-called doctor actually said to me. Can you believe that? Some twenty-year-old who just started wiping his own ass. I’m telling you she’s on too many pills! Makes her soupy. He won’t listen to me!”

“It’s okay, Dad. Calm down. It’s okay.”

“I can’t bear hearing her talk about Carrie Ann.  Your mother’s the one who told us never to mention Carrie Anne’s name again.”

Forbid us. Forbid us to ever mention her name again. “I know, Dad. I’ll talk to the doctor. Calm down.”

“I always wanted to go to Spain,” Jody said. She turned off the television and patted the side of the bed. So she’d heard and understood the conversation. God, the brain was a mysterious thing.

Grace went over and sat down. “You never told me that.”

“I would hardly share that with a stranger.”

I’m your daughter! She wanted to shout. But her mother couldn’t help it.

“Just keep talking,” her father said. “At least she’s not dredging up ghosts, or drooling over naked stud muffins.”

And now  Grace couldn’t believe her father had just said “naked stud muffins.” Maybe getting away for a bit wasn’t such a bad idea. Grace turned back to her mother. “Why did you always want to go to Spain?”

“My mother went to Spain. All by herself. When she was in her seventies.”

“I know,” Grace said. It had been just after Grace’s grandfather had died. Her grandparents were supposed to take the trip together. Everyone thought Annette Jennings would cancel the trip. Instead, she buried her husband and packed her bags. Little Annette who had never been outside of her home state. Grace had had many conversations with her grandmother about that trip. She was proud of her too.

“It was really something,” Jim said. “Because in those days seventy wasn’t the new fifty or whatever the kids say today. Seventy was seventy.”

“Tell me about it,” Grace said.

Jody Sawyer straightened up, and her eyes seemed to take in more light. “Well, it’s not like it is now. Women didn’t travel alone back then. Wasn’t that brave? My mother sent me a postcard from Madrid of a beautiful tango dancer in a red dress. The dress was made of actual material—beautiful red silk right on the postcard. I’ll never forget it. She’d only written one sentence on the back. ‘Robert would’ve loved the landing.’ My father was very picking with landings and always impressed when the pilot pulled off a smooth one. Anyway. As soon as I got that postcard I knew my mother was going to be all right. ‘Robert would have loved the landing.’ After she died I spent hours just touching that silky red dress with the tips of my fingers and imagining my mother dancing in the streets of Spain.”

Jody Sawyer looked up and swayed her upper body slightly as if watching her faraway self dance. Then she looked down at her hands, twisting the bed sheet. “Look how ugly and wrinkled I am now.”

“You’re not ugly and wrinkled, Mom. You’re beautiful.”

“I wish I had that postcard now.” Her mother looked up into space. “I lost it.”

Grace hesitated. Did she, or didn’t she?  Grace opened the bedside drawer and took out the postcard. Her mother was right. The dress was silky. Grace handed it to her mother and watched her eyes light up. Next her mother gently outlined the edge of the dancer’s dress with the trembling tip of her right index finger. Her fingernail was misshapen, the peach paint flaking. Grace would have to see if they could bring in a manicurist.

Jody looked at Grace, her eyes clear and bright. “Gracie Ann you have to go. Film everything. I’m dying to see Barcelona through you.” Grace must have looked stricken, for her mother laughed and then put her hand over her heart. “Sorry, no pun intended.” Like antennas being manipulated for a clearer signal, sometimes her mother tuned in perfectly. Jody Sawyer laughed again, and Grace couldn’t help but laugh with her.

“Mom.”

“Make me feel like I’m there,” Jody said, closing her eyes. “Help me shut out this hospice. Let me see beautiful Barcelona.” She took Grace’s hand and held it. “Do it for me. I’ll feel like I’m with you. Bring a camera. And your guitar,” she added. “You never know.” When Grace still didn’t answer, her mother opened her eyes, and lifted Grace’s chin up with her hand like she used to do when Grace was a child. “Be brave, Gracie Ann. Just like my mother.”

“Like my mother too,” Grace whispered back.

About the Author

Mary Carter 2

Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. Meet Me in Barcelona is her eighth novel. Her other works include: Three Months in Florence, The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written six novellas: Return to Hampton Beach in the anthology, Summer Days, A Southern Christmas in the upcoming 2014 anthology Our First Christmas, A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the One, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home. Mary currently lives in Chicago, IL with a demanding labradoodle. She wishes she could thank her gorgeous husband, but she doesn’t have one. In addition to writing she leads writing workshops.

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It’s Your Decision by Ed Grizzle Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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It's Your DecisionTitle: It’s Your Decision
Author: Ed Grizzle
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 128
Genre: Family Relationships/Parenting
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Children are gifts from God, but parenting those children can often be a difficult task. In It’s Your Decision, author Ed Grizzle shows how parenting can be successful when it’s carried out according to God’s plan.

Using his life’s experiences as a guide, Grizzle explores the importance of making the right decisions in life—from choosing the right lifestyle and the right mate and to raising children according to what God has planned for you. It’s Your Decision discusses

• planning for children;

• knowing what children need;

• being aware of the important years in a child’s life;

• understanding that children will test parents;

• valuing the role of grandparents;

• dealing with abused children;

• communicating openly and honestly;

• clarifying family roles.

Grizzle presents a guide to strengthening lives and making your family life more enjoyable. He shows how this is possible when you accept Jesus Christ into your life; he will show you the way in the difficult times.

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Ed Grizzle started a ministry called It’s Your Decision that helps addicts, prostitutes, and others who face difficult circumstances. He and his late wife, Mary, raised two children. Grizzle currently lives in Illinois

Ed is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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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 or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

Book Excerpt: 41 Strange by Diane Doniol-Valcroze & Arthur K. Flam

41  Strange 2Title: 41 Strange
Author: Diane Doniol-Valcroze & Arthur K. Flam
Publisher: Diane Doniol-Valcroze & Arthur K. Flam
Pages: 150
Genre: Short Story Anthology
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

41 STRANGE, a first-of-its-kind e-book anthology devoted exclusively to “short-short stories of the strange and horrifying,” awaits just a couple of clicks away for Kindle readers who enjoy a good shiver up their spines.

41 STRANGE is the bizarre debut collection of authors/screenwriters Diane Doniol-Valcroze and Arthur K. Flam, who deliver a reading experience in the spirit of such masters of the macabre as Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, and Rod Serling. As Doniol-Valcroze and Flam put it, the tales were written “in the lonely hour of the wolf … in the pre-dawn darkness when you get those ‘waking nightmares.’”Doniol-Valcroze and Flam are screenwriters working in Los Angeles. They met at New York University’s film school and started collaborating, first on short films and then on screenplays. That working relationship forged a natural path to writing stories.“We’re both very passionate about short fiction,” says Flam. “It’s our favorite form to read and write. After working together for many years on film projects, we realized we had a lot of ideas … that could only be done as short stories, so we decided to finally pull the trigger.”The short-short story format makes a perfect fit for the authors’ strange visions. They immediately set up surreal and terrifying situations, which lead to even stranger conclusions. The stories can be read in their entirety in the time it takes to pour a cup of coffee and settle in with the book.“Neal Edelstein (producer, MULHOLLAND DRIVE) has endorsed the book, and we’re excited because his new horror app HAUNTING MELISSA was the main inspiration for us to release the stories direct-to-audience,” says Doniol-Valcroze.One of the authors’ favorite stories in 41 STRANGE is “Frank’s Wash,” in which a man finds himself stuck on the conveyor belt of a car wash. All attempts to get the car wash operator’s attention fail. Where Frank finally ends up becomes a chilling dissection of the parent-child relationship.“We think (the stories) all embody that unnerving atmosphere,” Doniol-Valcroze and Flam say. “You’re not quite sure if the events unfolding around the character are happening for real, or are they just a figment of the character’s overactive imagination. We love that ambiguity.”Doniol-Valcroze and Flam believe that 41 STRANGE will appeal to a general audience of film lovers and short story readers, as well as fans of science-fiction, horror and crime, and readers looking “for a quick dose of strange stories for commuting, or just curling up for a chilling night read before bed.”

Book Excerpt:

Staircase Man

THERE WAS A STAIRCASE MAN outside my peephole. Standing still. That much I knew.

I’m not making this story up…

Why would I say there was a Staircase Man outside my peephole if there wasn’t? What reason could I have?

His face was very close to the peephole glass, distorting his grotesque features and giving the single rectangular “step-hump” on his upper back a gigantic contour in the doorway. I saw him amble back to the old creaky maple staircase in the hallway. He squatted. Slowly, his body sunk into the vacancy of a missing step in the staircase, the step-hump on his back serving to fill in the step. He was faultlessly, perfectly camouflaged. No one could ever tell he lurked within the staircase, as they ascended, descended the flight… as their hands innocently squeezed the banisters. I tried to identify his presence. At night, with the aid of a flashlight and magnifying glass, scanning the tread and rise of the steps for hours, I could not detect the hairline seams that distinguished his wedged-in body from the real steps. That’s how insidiously disguised he was. How seamlessly he fit interlocked into the “stairwell jigsaw puzzle.”

Frankly, I was petrified.

The former tenant had warned me, but I’d dismissed her words as the ranting of an unstable woman. Out of pure fright, she’d painted the peephole’s lens with red nail polish—to block out the view of The Man Rising From The Stairs. She said nobody believed her. Not the neighbors. Not the doorman. Not the janitor. Not a soul.

She was taken to a mental asylum.

How could I take her words seriously?

But right she was…

 

This Staircase Man was beckoning me at my door each and every night. He would rise from his “hibernation cubbyhole” like a vampire rose from his coffin for a midnight excursion. I could see his malevolent shrunken eyes hover behind the warped peephole glass. His pupils were like the round flat heads of wrought iron nails.

  1. .. he softly knocked. By morning, he’d left a lingering odor of musty wood drifting in my nostrils through the keyhole.

I inquired about him all around the building. Then I stopped inquiring when the neighbors began to give me strange looks. The last thing I wanted was to be sent to the asylum too. So I clammed up.

But at night, in bed… I trembled.

Who was this bizarre inexplicable man? Where did he come from? Why was he in the staircase adjacent to my door? Why was I chosen? What did he want from me?

Sleepless nights became the routine. I was sick with fever round the clock. It got to the point, I wanted to destroy that evil presence outside my door more than anything else I ever wanted in the world.

One cold November, I resolved to kill the staircase spawn, rid it from my life once and for all. I’d had enough stalling… Soon I’d be too ill and weak to fight. The day of reckoning was now at hand… I readied myself. I selected a distinctly long, sharp hunting knife with an ivory handle from my tool kit. I had bought it from a shaman on a safari expedition in Tanzania. It might serve me well, I reflected. Perhaps its blade would possess some special power to annihilate my night terror.

And so I waited.

My ears on the stretch with expectation.

Then the faint knocks came—

At 3:08 in the morning.

knock… knock… knock…

I tiptoed to the door. Silently, ever so… so… so… silent I was. My eye widened in horror as it pressed into the peephole glass. Sure enough, outside the door—there was the living-moving segment of the staircase. Right on time. He would not miss his appointment with fate. Yes. Now… Now was the perfect moment to murder him.

I unlatched the door. I creaked it open warily… ever so warily… Before I knew it, his long wooden fingers with splinter-like nails clawed at my soft throat…

“… Call the police!” I shouted, hoping a neighbor would come to my rescue; none did.

I stabbed and stabbed his thick wooden step-hump—the blade broke! At that precise moment, the Staircase Man squeezed his slanted baluster-like shoulder through the door gap and flung the security chain open, knocking me backwards across the vestibule. The snapping door chain gave off a noise like a rattlesnake. The odious Staircase Man stood in the wide-open doorway, laughing. That’s when I froze in the utmost state of shock. Filled with nausea. His laugh—was the exact same as mine.

In a voice that sounded entirely like my own, he ordered me to get out of the apartment at once. Before I could get on my feet, he threw me out like a vagrant, slamming the door on my face. I was left alone out in the dark hallway. Terrified, I gathered myself together. I regained my balance and dusted off my pajamas.

I touched the new step-hump that was growing fast like a rugged mountain on my back. I ran my hand along its cold, weather-beaten, calloused slope. It smelled of mold and mildew. Oddly, it felt like it had always been there. I got used to it quickly. It felt right.

I retreated and hid, taking refuge in the cavity—the dingy nook—of the deeply shadowed stairs, where no neighbors could look at me with their inquisitive stares.

Ah, I thought long and hard. Yes, me, the Staircase Man. Have I always been? I don’t know; I can’t say. My head throbs ceaselessly. It aches till it breaks. But I’m not insane! That much I know!

That night… and every night afterwards… I stand motionless in front of my old door. From time to time I knock softly. I wait for my old frightened eye… to appear behind the peephole… and see what I turned into…

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