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Book Blitz! Meet Me in Barcelona by Mary Carter

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 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

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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

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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

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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…

Psyche-Soul-Ology by David Roberts Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Psyche Soul OlogyTitle: Psyche-Soul-Ology
Author: David Roberts
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 202
Genre: Psychology
Format: Ebook

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Psyche-Soul-ology: An Inspirational Approach to Appreciating and Understanding Troubled Kids is a companion text to At the Mercy of Externals: Righting Wrongs and Protecting Kids, 2nd Edition. Dr. Roberts presents a spiritually based application of his theories and the Roberts FLAGS Model detailed in his first book. His use of the term Psyche-Soul-ology focuses on the importance of addressing both the minds and souls of troubled kids. Of utmost importance is the need to look beyond the obvious external behaviors and problems of every kid, making an effort to see who they truly are relative to their unique potential for redirecting their lives. By looking into each kid it is possible to discover their uniqueness and encourage them to understand who they are intended to be, rather than who they are becoming. Dr. Roberts stresses the importance of complicating factors serving as obstacles to the progress of low income, disadvantaged kids. He focuses heavily on professional ethics and the need for both extreme compassion and full competence when working with troubled kids and their families. Both of these books are vital for parents and professionals if we are to fight against social injustices associated with poverty and other complicating factors.

 

Dr. Roberts, a proud father and grandfather, is also a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and college instructor, trained in California and living now in his home state of Alabama. His education, training experiences and worldview make him unique, and he is recognized as an expert with troubled kids and families.

 

David 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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The Treasure of Kefer Shimon by Clifford Stevens Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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The Treasure of Kefer ShimonTitle:
 The Treasure of Kefer Shimon
Author: Clifford Stevens
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 344
Genre: Men’s Adventure
Format: Ebook

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The Treasure of Kefer Shimon is the story of a young American priest given a secret assignment by the Vatican to track down the source of three ancient scrolls that have come into the possession of the Holy Sea. If the scrolls are genuine, they will cause a revolution in Biblical studies. Along the way he makes many startling and shocking discoveries deliberately kept hidden for centuries.

Filled with historical fact masterfully woven with fiction, it takes David Lavarans on a journey into the secret dealings of the Vatican, into the ancient archives of a medieval Pope, into a Middle Eastern monastery, and into the Arabian Desert. Here, he makes a shocking discovery that has been kept hidden since the time of Christ. If revealed, the ramifications will rock biblical scholars and historians.

David is neither heroic nor a pursuer of power. He is simply a young parish priest completely unaware of why he, among thousands of more prominent priests, is singled out for this mission by someone more powerful than the Pope himself.

Ancient scrolls, the high ranks of the Vatican, a young American priest, the Middle East, and secrets that will shake the world of Christianity and the interpretation of the New Testament all play a role in this intriguing biblical adventure which spans 2,000 years.

Father Clifford Stevens is a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha and the founder of Tintern Monastery. He graduated from Boys Town. He entered the Air Force as a Chaplain and served on bases in California, Alaska, New Mexico and Japan. He left the Air Force to become the Executive Editor of The Priest magazine and was later editor/publisher of Schema XIII, a journal for the Priest in the Modern World. He was at one time the associate director of Liturgy in Santa Fe, a liturgical institute in New Mexico.

His writings on religious and theological subjects have appeared in Chicago Studies, America, U.S. Catholic, Pastoral Life, The Priest, Our Sunday Visitor, Liturgical Arts, the Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Cistercian Studies, the American Benedictine Review, Angelicum and the Review for Religious.

He is the author of twelve published books, including the historical novel, Flame out of Dorset published by Doubleday & Co., A Life of Christ, The Blessed Virgin, Father Flanagan: Builder of Boys, the One-Year Book of Saints, Portraits of Faith, Astro-Theology: for the Cosmic Adventure, The Noblest Love, On Christian Marriage and Intimacy with God, and Aloysius, a collection of essays about St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

Clifford 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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vlad Dracula: The Dragon Prince by Michael Augustyn Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Vlad Dracula the Dragon PrinceTitle: Vlad Dracula
Author: Michael Augustyn
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 286
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Ebook

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Most of the vast audience attracted to the subject of Dracula know him only in his fictional, one-dimensional form: vampire! Yet the truth behind the historical character–voevode, warlord–of 15th C. Romania is at least as equally fascinating as any contrived account of his supernatural persona.

 

Vlad Dracula faithfully follows his life story as hostage, fugitive, prince, and prisoner. His principality of Wallachia was caught between two voracious predators: the kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman empire. They tried to break Dracula with overwhelming force and terror. But Dracula turned their own tactics against them, and against criminals and factions in his own land, earning the name Tepes-The Impaler-in the process.

He was a strange mix of husband, father, soldier, statesman, and berserker. He annihilated 50,000 people–one-tenth of his own population. Cursed by his native Orthodox Christian Church, he indeed evolved into a legend. But even today he is Romania’s Robin Hood.

 

Michael 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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Excerpt: Heart Knot Mine by Lily Velden

Heart Not Mine 7Title: Heart Knot Mine
Author: Lily Velden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 218
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.

Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.

Book Excerpt:

Sitting with my ass parked on my favorite barstool, at my favorite bar—the Redhead Piano Bar on Ontario—I nursed my bourbon and silently asked myself the usual questions. Well, actually, it was really only the one question phrased a hundred different ways. That’s what happened when you went the route of academia—you learned how to complicate the shit out of things and use fancy-schmancy words. If you thought about it, it was a bit ridiculous to be using three-plus-syllable words to ask a question, when most of us were usually seeking a simple one- or two-syllable word answer. Yes. No. And, if we’d really lucked out: maybe.

I snorted into my drink, remembering the words of my most admired college professor, Ross Whedon: Noah Daniels, how many times have I told you? An academic will always take a whole paragraph for what could have been said in one sentence. Christ, even my thoughts were long-winded.

What was my question again?

Oh, yeah.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I mean, really, what the hell was wrong with me? She was gorgeous. Tall and willowy, with long, flowing mahogany hair that still managed to look sleek and glossy under the dim lights of the bar. Big brown eyes, clear skin, an impressive rack, and when she walked away from me, I saw she had a great peach-shaped ass.

That’s right, she walked away. Why?

Because I gave her the brush-off. That’s why.

Hence my question. What the hell is wrong with me?

She wasn’t irritating. Her voice didn’t grate. Quite the contrary. She was charming and friendly. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she was interesting and articulate—she was in PR. Surely that meant she could string together a sentence?—and yet, I’d passed on her not so subtle come-on. I looked at her again, knowing I could have her if I wanted her, but try as I might, I couldn’t muster even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for the idea.

And that was the problem.

Me and enthusiasm didn’t seem to be on speaking terms anymore. All the color had seeped out of my life. I was living a monochromatic, black-and-white photograph of a life where everything was a shade of tedious.

I wasn’t sure how it happened, or even when it happened.

It just had.

It crept up on me, like a slow-spreading parasitic vine, gradually sapping the vibrancy from my life. One day I woke up and everything was gray, dull, and lifeless.

And it had been that way for a while.

Lifting the glass, I paused, letting the bourbon wet my lips before throwing my head back and tossing down the last of my drink. Closing my eyes, I hissed, relishing the searing burn to my throat—a small reminder I was actually alive—a living, breathing, sentient being and not merely a walking, talking robot.

If only there was a whiskey burn for my emotions, I’d be set.

Glancing down at the aged cherrywood bar, I vaguely wondered what they used to achieve such a high polish. It was almost mirrorlike in its sheen. I could clearly see my face reflected upon its surface.

And instantly wished I hadn’t.

After grimacing at the shell staring back at me, I decided scrutinizing myself wasn’t such a good idea. Taking my own advice, I looked up, meeting Seth the bartender’s gaze. He raised his eyebrow at me in query, and I gave him a brief nod, watching as he poured me another finger of Booker’s.

As he slid it across to me, not a word was spoken. I nodded, he nodded, and we both went back to doing our own separate things—me to thinking, him to serving the other patrons. The opening notes of a melody from the piano situated at the opposite end of the dimly lit room, and the dulcet tones of Stella McClaren floated above the chatter of the Thursday-night crowd. They went quiet as she continued. I wasn’t surprised. She was good.

The start of the music was my alarm clock, telling me it must be eight o’clock. Time to head home to the never-ending pile of papers waiting to be graded.

Sighing at the thought of what awaited me, I took another sip of the amber fire in my glass and swirled it around my mouth before letting it seep, drop by drop, down the back of my throat. Once again, I said my silent thanks to the bourbon for serving a dual purpose: anesthetizing me while at the same time reminding me, with its burn, I was still alive and breathing. Quite an achievement.

My Angelic Journey by Evangelist Patricia Kinard Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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362160_frontcoverTitle: My Angelic Journey
Author: Evangelist Patricia Kinard
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 148
Genre: Religion/Inspirational
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

For many years, evangelist Patricia Kinard lived a life of illusions. She soon realized that life wasn’t about her plans, but rather those of the Father, who defines a purpose for every situation. In My Angelic Journey, Kinard narrates her journey after she discovered the true purpose God had for her.

In this memoir, she details her transformation from a child with a measure of faith into a teenager with increased faith, and finally into a mature woman with undoubting faith who was blessed with a vision and later instructed to become an evangelist. It shows how her trials and physical and emotional losses were replaced by joy when she put her faith and trust in God.

A powerful, firsthand testimony, My Angelic Journey offers a look into the life of a sinner who, after receiving a call from God, walked from a life of darkness into one of glorious light. It shares the story of one woman, chosen by God, who now guides others into a life of prosperity, dignity, love, and goodness based on a Christian foundation.

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Patricia Kinard is an evangelist for Faith in God Ministries, a nonprofit organization. She earned a bachelor of science degree in multidisciplinary studies, focusing in theology and accounting, from Liberty University and has worked for the government for more than twenty years. She lives in Montross, Virginia.

 

Patricia 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 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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From My Heart by Randolph Baltimore Book Blitz – Win a $25 Gift Card!

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From the HeartTitle:
 From My Heart
Author: Randolph Baltimore
Publisher: Xlibris
Pages: 34
Genre: Poetry
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

“From My Heart” is my first publication, my labor of love I have worked on for many years. It is the fruition of the many trials, tribulations, ups and downs that life has dealt me over the years. May you be inspired and enlightened by the words on these pages.

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Randolph is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

645

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 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Kerry Peresta: ‘The most important thing is to build that fan base’

Kerry PerestaKerry Peresta’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, The Lighter Side, and short stories in the published anthology, That One Left Shoe, and her debut novel, The Hunting, contemporary women’s fiction, released by Pen-L Publishing. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter before deciding to devote more of her time to writing. She is currently working on her second novel, participating in writing conferences, and serving on the leadership team of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Kerry was a single mother for many years to four great kids, all grown and successfully carving out their own unique paths. She and her husband live in the Baltimore metro area.

Her novel, The Hunting, is available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (bn.com), and her website.

Visit Kerry atwww.kerryperesta.com.

Connect & Socialize!

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

About the Book:

The Hunting 2Isabelle Lewis, top advertising salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel newspaper, has a habit of falling in and out of marriage. After her last divorce, she shoved the emotional pain into a compartment in her brain to deal with later. With three teenagers to raise, bills to pay, and sales quotas to meet, introspection was a luxury she could not afford. Her mind needed a happy place.

When Isabelle (Izzy) discovered online dating, it immediately became her favorite stress reliever and best friend. Often, she’d steal into the night after her kids were asleep to meet someone new. One fateful evening, the hunt for the perfect guy took a sinister turn when the mystery man she met turned out to be her worst nightmare! Reluctantly pulled into a web of lies, Izzy is forced to confront her demons.

Snarky, suspense-filled, and real, The Hunting is an exquisite entwining of the crippling emotional fallout of divorce with the quest for a healthy, fulfilling relationship.This inspirational story rivets!

Purchase your copy:

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

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kerry! Can you start by telling us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published?

THE HUNTING, women’s contemporary fiction, is my debut novel, but I was published as a weekly humor columnist in 2009 and 2010 in several daily newspapers and e-zines.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

After considering several alternatives, I chose a small, independent publisher for my debut novel, largely because I did not have a huge amount of confidence and was still learning the industry. It has proven to be a good decision. I have learned a lot about the process, and am happy that I chose not to self-publish. Also, small indy publishers pay higher royalties, typically. After this experience, my confidence soared (thanks to some great reviews and fan feedback) and next time around, I’ll be looking for an agent.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Six months, but that is not typical. Since he was small, and I had a signing already booked, he fast-tracked it for me. Usually, it is approximately one year from signing to print.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was extremely scary. My book was out there now, for all the world to see…good or bad! I didn’t relax until the first reviews started coming in, and people would FB me or call to tell me how much they loved it. I finally declared myself a ‘novelist’ after I got my first royalty check!

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I immediately bought a series of ads in a newspaper that had published my humor column, and I bought a blog tour in my genre. I also booked several signings and went crazy on FB and Twitter. I need to become more conversant with Goodreads, another great source of reader exposure that is linked to Amazon. I am constantly handing out cards I had made by Vistaprint that have my name, website, title of my book and a squib about it. The most important thing with a first novel is to build that fan base, one at a time!

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I am constantly learning and gaining insights from more established authors. I take writing classes, attend conferences and critique groups, am active in the Maryland Writers’ Association. Writers are a wonderfully supportive group and eager to share their experiences.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

The vast learning curve necessary to become involved. I had no idea before I started this process, and looking back, that was probably a good thing. Those who are already in the business of writing – journalists, copywriters, editors – have a huge advantage. I started from ground zero and am still learning.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

To see my book in my hands – an actual hard copy of a story I’ve written that others find inspiring and entertaining. It feels rather miraculous. I am sure that thrill will shiver up my spine with each book.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

In a word, persevere. Keep growing, keep learning; involve yourself in a writing community that will be honest about your work and make you better. Set writing goals, and stick to them. Learn how to write a great query letter. With a ‘never say never’ attitude and online research, it is entirely possible to enjoy great success in your endeavors. Happy writing!

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