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Interview with Jamell Crouthers, Author of Code Blue

Police Chief Bulletin #1
My fellow police officers, thank you for
your hard work,
Putting your life in the line of duty
every day.
This will be the first of many bulletins
that I will be sending,
Your supervising officer will be having
meetings about my bulletins.
I want to address an issue that’s been
going on in our community,
There have been too many minorities
driving in our neighborhoods.
I’ve been told by residents that they’re
scared and afraid of them,
I don’t know exactly why as I am not in
the streets everyday.
In order to get control of our community
again we must pull over cars,
Any car that is expensive and they look
out of place, pull them over.
Find a reason to pull these cars over,
whether it’s a tail light,
Or they can be driving too slow, too fast,
failure to signal when changing lanes.
There are certain cars to look for,
especially tinted windows,
Ferraris, Bentleys, Mercedes Benz,
Lamborghinis, you get my drift.
You know the procedure, asking for a
driver’s license and registration,
Make sure that you’re assertive in your
behavior and taking control of situations.
I want officers to be partnered up in the
cars while you’re on duty,
We need to conduct these pullovers between
7pm and 5am daily.
It seems to be that at night these
minorities are driving through our neighborhood,
Even if you recognize cars and know who
these people are, pull them over.
I can’t have our citizens of our community
constantly calling me about this,
So let’s clean this up as soon as possible
and I want it tracked how many you do.
I want three done a week amongst partners
and body cams will show that,
If you have to agitate a driver to
escalate a situation, do it.
Cars swerving means they must be drunk or
high so sniff out the car,
Find a purpose and reason to search the
car without a warrant.
I appreciate your time in reading this
bulletin,
If you have any questions or concerns,
please consult your supervising officer.
Police Chief”
–From Code
Blue
by Jamell Crouthers
Jamell Crouthers is a poet, author, blogger and podcaster who has taken on a journey of writing in the prime of his life. He has been writing poetry since the age of 13 but never thought he could utilize his talent to tell stories and write books. He is not the traditional author as he writes his books in poetry format with a focus on storylines and societal issues.
After publishing 11 books (so far), his goals and plans are to continue writing books on taboo subjects that aren’t discussed enough in today’s world and bringing those main subjects tothe forefront. Jamell’s blogs tackle societal issues, how he writes his books, his journey as an author and some motivational blogs that will get you to focus on your goals. His goal and moniker is, “to change the world, one book at a time.”
Book Description:
The Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun series chronicles a police officer named Gary who has been on the force for a few years. He soon is entrenched in a lot of lies, corruption, racism and agendas being pushed by his superiors. The question throughout this series is whether he as a good cop becomes part of the corruption or does he report it?
Part of this series features his son Gary, Jr who is a young teenager wanting to be like his father and go into the police force. He soon learns through the news daily that the police force is not what it really is. Gary ends up having to share the truths of what goes on at work and the relationship between him and his son changes because of it. Now it becomes up to Gary what he is going to do about what goes on at work.
Interview:
Welcome, Jamell! Your series, Code Blue, sounds thrilling! Can you tell us why you wrote it?
Jamell: I wrote the Code Blue series because of all that’s been going on in America with police brutality, racism and corruption on the police force. I felt that I needed to write something but it had to be different than the average police book you would read. With all of the news coverage, I wanted to ask the
all-important question, do good cops know who the bad ones are.
Your protagonist, Gary, is put in a sticky situation. Does he become part of the corruption or does he report it? What a situation to be in. Can you tell us more about Gary?
Jamell: I don’t want to give away too much but if it’s a series, you can say he condones the corruption and is involved in it to where he covers up for his partners and lies to his family about what’s going on. Let’s just say it takes
him time to report all of it and his guilty conscience and sanity become a major component to his life. Gary is a compassionate person who wants nothing more than to make the neighborhood he grew up in and his city a better, safer place to live. He’s definitely a family man who has a young son and a wife that he loves dearly and has great parents who raised him to do right by others. The only problem is he’s involved in a lot of things he never thought he would be and it ends up costing him the most important people in his life, his family and friends.
Can you tell us a little about the other main characters?
Jamell: The other main character in this series is Gary, Jr. He is a young teenager who is growing into his own and starting to see the world for what it really is. He’s no longer living in this shell that his father tried to put him in (moving to the suburbs, putting him in a better school, living in a nice home). The series takes a different dynamic where Gary and Gary, Jr talk to each other through letters and it gets to a place where their relationship becomes
tumultuous and it’s due to Gary not being honest with what goes on in the streets every night he goes to work.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?
Jamell: In Code Blue Part 1, I will say the pivotal moment is when Gary’s partners shoot and kill a man who wasn’t the suspect in a store robbery. They botched the ID because the suspect was wearing a hoodie and so was the man that they killed. Gary’s ride to the police station that night was very long and the question is, will he write up another falsified report of what happened or will he tell the truth.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
Jamell: I definitely will say yes my writing has improved and it’s because I’m constantly challenging myself to write story lines that have relevance to what’s currently going on in the world. With me working on various series, and
a plethora of characters, there’s always the challenge of how can I keep a reader engaged in these characters? How can I make the reader feel, emote and understand these characters and where they are coming from. It’s all about
putting the reader in these character’s shoes to make them say, “Hey this character is me, or I know someone who has gone through this.”
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Jamell: I edit and proofread my work and it’s a tedious and arduous process but eventually, it gets done.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Jamell: Yes it does in some ways, which is why some of my books I’ve paid someone to make them for me and some I’ve been fortunate to make on my own. One of my series I’ve changed the book cover 3 times to make it more appealing.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Jamell: I wanted to be a lawyer at first, I was into police shows like New York Undercover, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and SVU (I’ve literally grown up watching Mariska Hargitay) and then I wanted to be a sports broadcaster (I have old YouTube videos of me talking about the NBA).
Do your novels carry a message?
Jamell: My novels definitely do, each book carries a message and I want readers to take the time to think about the world, discuss it with others and try to make the world a better place to live in. A lot of us are fortunate to live
comfortable lives but there are others who need us to be there for them or to understand them and who they are. We spend too much time being judgmental of others and not being compassionate enough.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Jamell: There are a lot of books coming in the near future, I do podcasts where I discuss societal issues and in my spare time I’m always listening to music. I love my sports (basketball, football and baseball) and I’m big on family and
keeping my close knit friends around me. My quote with my writing journey is, “Trying to change the world, one book at a time.”
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Interview with ‘Scene of the Crime’ Jennifer Chase

“The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.”

From Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. Her latest book is Scene of the Crime, Book 2 in the Palmer Forensic Mystery series.

Book Description:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

Interview:

Welcome Jennifer! Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing mysteries? Did the movies influence you? Books?

Jennifer: Books, movies, news headlines, true crime stories have all inspired my writing. I’ve loved books ever since I was old enough to appreciate the amazing stories at the library. Mysteries have a special place for me. I love puzzles, forensic evidence, and the delicate balance of the human psyche of what makes a person do the things they do. I’ve always written stories and screenplays, but it was not until 2008 did I chose to write novels professionally and I have not looked back.

Do you find writing mysteries comes natural to you or did you struggle sometimes?

Jennifer: I think when you love something, it comes a bit more easily and you don’t have to fight as hard. I have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime. It’s difficult to turn off the writer’s brain sometimes. These ideas come to me when I’m basically anywhere, running errands, exercising, driving, and even in the shower.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Jennifer: Anyone can write. You have to sit down with something to say and convey it to the reader. But, I do feel that you have to understand emotions, not necessarily feel all of them in order to express emotions in your characters that readers will respond to. It helps, for example, that if you’ve felt great loss or extreme fear at some time in your life to write those strong emotions with conviction.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Jennifer: That’s a very interesting question. The way I see it, at least for me, is that it’s the ultimate expression to tell a story and have your readers experience an incredible journey understanding what you’re trying to express. My first novel, Compulsion, was actually similar to therapy for me as I wrote it. I had experienced a violent psychopath neighbor, so being able to write through my stress and experiences was very liberating.

How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?

Jennifer: It’s a difficult balancing act. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it is challenging field because there’s no sure thing in this career. There are definite successful levels that you can achieve, such as a best seller and award winner, but that doesn’t mean you’ve now have it made. Every book you write there is always some type challenge you must meet and overcome.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book, Scene of the Crime?

Jennifer: Taunting the police and orchestrating killer hit squads, The Slayer is the ultimate puppet master. He believes that he has discovered the recipe for the perfect murder.

Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins, together they are reunited as a team to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—leaving them vulnerable and fighting to stay alive. But that still doesn’t stop the sparks to ignite between them.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Jennifer: With my background in criminology and profiling, most would think that writing from the mind of a serial killer would be easy. To some degree it is for me, but it takes the most energy and effort to create the killer in a way that doesn’t seem contrived and superficial. I make sure that I put aside enough time with breaks to complete this part of the book.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down. Can you give us one of those pivotal points in your book?

Jennifer: Without giving anything away, there will be someone within the underdog team that will be kidnapped and you’re not going to see it coming. Everything changes from that point on for the characters.

Will there be a follow up book to Scene of the Crime or other books in the near future?

Jennifer: Absolutely. I love creating mysteries for Dr. Chip Palmer to solve. Evidence of the Crime will be out early 2019. In addition, Dark Lies from the Emily Stone Thriller Series will be out this fall.

Thank you so much for the interview!

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin, Mystery, 280 pp.

Title: DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN

Author: Mike Martin

Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing

Pages: 280

Genre: Mystery
Darkest Before the Dawn is the latest adventure of Sgt. Winston
Windflower, a Mountie who finds himself surrounded by a new family and a
new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There are signs of trouble
that may disturb his pleasant life, including a series of unsolved
break-ins and the lack of supports for young people in the most trying
time of their lives. But there are always good friends, good food and
the sense that if we all pull together, we can find a way to get through
even the darkest days.Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new character enliven the pages as
Windflower and Tizzard and the other police officers awaken the secrets
that have been lying dormant in this sleepy little town. The deeper they
dig the more they find as the criminals they seek dive deeper behind
the curtains of anonymity and technology. But more than anything, this
is a story of love and loss, of growing up and learning how to grow old
gracefully. It is also about family and community and looking after each
other. Of not giving up hope just before the dawn.

 

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and
now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance
writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers,
magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and
New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series.is Darkest Before the Dawn.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Joerg H. Tauboth, author of Three Brothers

Joerg H. Trauboth (Wikipedia) was born just outside of Berlin in 1943 during an air-raid. He discovered his love for writing early in his career as an officer and was awarded top honors by the General Inspector of the German Bundeswehr. Along the way, he flew over two thousand flight hours as a Weapons Systems Officer and instructor in the Phantom RF4E (in which he survived two critical lightening strikes). After a training in George AFB (CA), Major Joerg H. Trauboth flew the  Phantom F4F  and finally – followed by another conversion training in Cottesmore (UK) –  the Tornado aircrafts. Trauboth became a General Staff Officer in the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg-Blankenese and enrolled as LtCol  in the NATO Defense College in Rome. He has served in the German national operational headquarters as well as in the NATO Headquarters in Brussels as the German representative in the areas of Crisis Management, Operations, and Intelligence.

At the age of fifty, he retired early from his post as a Colonel in the German Air Force to become a Special Risk Consultant at the Control Risk Group in London. He was trained and engaged in negotiating extortion and kidnapping situations in South America and Eastern Europe.

The former Colonel, eager to start making money on his own soon founded the Trauboth Risk Management company. He received a startup award and quickly made a reputation for himself internationally as an top-notch crisis manager in Europe. During his time as CEO, he conceptualized crisis prevention strategies for a number of European companies and employed a 24-hour task force to protect them from product tampering, product recalls, kidnappings, and image crises. He was also a co-founder and the first president of the European Crisis Management Academy in Vienna and wrote a standard reference book on the subject of crisis management for companies at risk of threat.

Today Joerg H. Trauboth is an author, filmmaker with more than 75.000 youtube clicks, and an enthusiastic Grumman Tiger pilot. (See this latest night flight-video here. And if you want to know who his favorite Co-Pilot is, have a look here.)  The crisis manager and active pilot has served as the European Director and President of the US – based international American Yankee Pilots Organization.

His advice on crisis management is continually sought after and he is present as expert in radio and television interviews regarding his opinion on  international crisis situations.

Joerg H. Trauboth has been  53 years married with Martina. They have two sons, three grandchildren, and both live near Bonn, Germany. In addition, Trauboth voluntarily contributes his expertise to the Crisis Invention Team of the German Federal Foreign Office in Bonn and reads from his fiction and non fiction books on readers’ tours followed by discussions with his readers about the dramatically changing world.

Joerg’s latest book is the thriller, Three Brothers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE

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

I have published two non-fiction reference books on Crisis Management in Germany and now my first novel, a thriller entitled Three Brothers (original German title: Drei Brüder). It has just been published as a print and eBook for the English-speaking market, and was translated by U.S.-native Leanne Cvetan, who lives not far from me in Frankfurt. I was lucky to find her through an internet search in only two months. She was able to accurately convey my thinking and intention between the lines. Readers of the German and English version have confirmed this and that makes this author very happy.

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 about 15 unsuccessful attempts and losing months, I often empathized with the former welfare recipient Joanne Rowling who had more than 30 unsuccessful attempts with her Harry Potter idea. Publishers said the book was too long and not a seller. And now look at this lady!

Just as she did, I found by recommendation a small publisher in my local area, Franz Koenig of www.ratio-books.de. He was fascinated by Three Brothers right from the beginning. We began with the German edition Drei Brüder in 2015 and this year we are going international, followed by an audio book. Yes, sometimes I had wish I had a big publisher with a huge marketing machine behind me. But seeing what is possible today for a new author with social media, reading tours and events organized by a one-man publishing house, it is amazing what can happen!  The success of my other two reference books, as well as my life experience (from a fighter bomber crew member to an emergency pastoral counsellor) allowed me access to radio and TV interviews in Germany and even got my name into Wikipedia. But most importantly: I trust my publisher and he likewise trusts me. He knows that I must have my freedom to be creative. And I know that I must give him maximum support with marketing. We are a team.

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

I wrote this thriller in about five months. All the unsuccessful submissions to publishers and agents cost me a further six months. By chance, I found a publisher in my local area and soon signed the contract. My distress during the time that was wasted was that a thriller about terrorism would negatively impact the political developments in the world. But the opposite happened, thankfully.

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

In Germany, they say you need to be a either a doctor or an author to be accepted as somebody different. I was always different in my life and did not need one nor the other. Therefore, after my first non-fiction book, I just continued to work in my real job as a crisis management consultant. But after my first thriller, devoted to my wife Martina, there was a noticeable difference. We went out for dinner and I dreamed of a successful career like Tom Clancy or Brad Thor and of Hollywood. Who knows…?

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

Press release, press conference, social media. Follow up actions: readings, presentations and talk shows as security and crisis management expert. I learned to play with social media and am still learning.

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

All over the world the number of new books and authors is so great that you have an almost preordained risk of falling into obscurity if you do not do any marketing for yourself. A book is 30 % writing and 70 % marketing. I am not a top-listed author (yet!) but my publisher and I are very happy with the number of books and eBooks we have sold based on various marketing campaigns. International exposure, such as support from the wonderful Dorothy Thompson, will definitely help the success of Three Brothers.

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

The book market is both hard-fought and fruitful. Amazon is devouring the traditional market, simultaneously giving huge opportunities especially to newcomers and even known names.

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

Feeling good about having created something tangible and exciting. Like a mother with her newborn baby. Everything else, like making a profit with it, is a very nice add-on.

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

Don’t just have a dream – do it. You just might be the next top author in the charts.

About the Book:

Title: THREE BROTHERS
Author: Joerg H. Trauboth
Publisher: Ratio Books
Pages: 581
Genre: Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

Marc Anderson and his two commando brothers Thomas and Tim are highly respected elite soldiers in the secretive German Commando Special Forces, the KSK. Together with the American Navy Seals, they successfully rescue the crew of a downed American F-15 tactical fighter jet in the Hindu Kusch Mountains under a barrage of heavy fire from the Taliban. However, their next mission – in Northern Iraq – to save two German hostages taken captive by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ends in disaster for the three brothers in arms. The perfectly laid-out strategy of Operation Eagle is betrayed, causes Marc, Thomas, and Tim to narrowly escape death. The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) starts the hunt for the informant.

The devoted commando brothers decide to leave the KSK and start a new career together as security advisors with a family-owned company based in Cologne. But the terrorist activities of ISIS continue to determine their fate. The brothers are faced with one of their greatest challenges when ISIS kidnaps company heir Johannes Ericson and his partner Karina Marie. Moreover, the terrorists demand a ransom and extort the German government to immediately suspend its military intervention in the fight against ISIS. It is a race against time to save the couple from assassination.

Joerg H. Trauboth has written more than just an exhilarating novel. Three Brothers unites the current omnipresent threat of terrorism with the author’s first-hand experience as a crisis manager and a military and terrorism expert. The result is an unrivaled political thriller. In this gripping novel, Trauboth foretells possible scenarios for our society in light of the rise of radical Islamic terrorism. Read the full chapter 1 here …

Three Brothers is the English translation of the successful German thriller Drei Brüder (ratio-books), highly appreciated by thousands of readers, as well as military organizations and government officials alike. Jörg H. Trauboth’s storytelling skills can be compared to those of Tom Clancy and similar authors as James Patterson. The German version of the novel will also soon be available as an audio book.

Drei Brüder has been translated into English by (US native) Leanne Cvetan.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

{Author Interview} Nadia Natali, Author of Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin

Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 

Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

 

Growing up as Frankie Gershwin’s daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn’t have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn’t what made people happy.

As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.

Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.

We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn’t have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.

It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.

Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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

This is the second time I am published

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?  

Both times I started out self-publishing and then looked for a publisher. Both times I offered to pay for part of, or more of the printing costs and that allowed both of us to take more of a risk. The first book was a cookbook, Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center, the publisher was North Atlantic Books. They did very little PR and I felt disappointed in them. The second book, a memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, I approached Rarebird Lit as a PR agency to help me get my book out. I asked them after we started if they would be willing to become my publisher and they agreed wholeheartedly.

I was willing to pay for the printing, which I believe made a big difference. The PR they did for me was not inspiring.

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

Just a few months

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

It was such a long process writing, self publishing and then finally getting published that it was almost unbelievable. I didn’t know what to do until the books arrived and then I had a big party.

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

I did very little the first time. The second time I had my memoir with Rarebird Lit and agreed to spend the year doing whatever I needed to do to get it out. I travelled a very little to go on book tours. I realized later that social media is probably the best way and am terrible doing Facebook and Twitter. It is probably one of the best ways to go.

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

It is hard to tell because I have been growing all through the process, before the process and after.

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

How much I have to put out and the need to be current in all the ways possible.

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

It is the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of putting out, stepping up and not needing it to be anything other than what shows up.

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

It is wonderful to write and to see the project to it’s very end; a valuable experience in itself. But if one were hoping to become famous and rich from the experience I would say that is the absolute wrong reason to be writing. It may happen once in a while but as my memoir tells the story, that kind of success does not make one happy.

First Chapter Reveal Special: Abuse of Discretion by Pamela Samuels Young

Title: ABUSE OF DISCRETION
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery

BOOK BLURB:
A Kid’s Curiosity … A Parent’s Nightmare

The award-winning author of “Anybody’s Daughter” is back with an addictive courtroom drama that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile criminal justice system.

Graylin Alexander is a model fourteen-year-old. When his adolescent curiosity gets the best of him, Graylin finds himself embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life. Jenny Ungerman, the attorney hired to defend Graylin, is smart, confident and committed. She isn’t thrilled, however, when ex-prosecutor Angela Evans joins Graylin’s defense team. The two women instantly butt heads. Can they put aside their differences long enough to ensure Graylin gets justice?

Unbeknownst to Angela, her boyfriend Dre is wrestling with his own drama. Someone from his past wants him dead. For Dre, his response is simple—kill or be killed.

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Chapter 1

Graylin
“What’s the matter, Mrs. Singletary? Why do I have to go to the principal’s office?”
I’m walking side-by-side down the hallway with my second-period teacher. Students are huddled together staring and pointing at us like we’re zoo animals. When a teacher at Marcus Preparatory Academy escorts you to the principal’s office, it’s a big deal. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I’m a good student. I never get in trouble.
Mrs. Singletary won’t answer my questions or even look at me. I hope she knows she’s only making me more nervous.
“Mrs. Singletary, please tell me what’s wrong?”
“Just follow me. You’ll find out in a minute.”
I’m about to ask her another question when it hits me. Something happened to my mama!
My mama has been on and off drugs for as long as I can remember. I haven’t seen her in months and I don’t even know where she lives. No one does. I act like it doesn’t bother me, but it does. I’ve prayed to God a million times to get her off drugs. Even though my granny says God answers prayers, He hasn’t answered mine, so I stopped asking.
I jump in front of my teacher, forcing her to stop. “Was there a death in my family, Mrs. Singletary? Did something happen to my mama?”
“No, there wasn’t a death.”
She swerves around me and keeps going. I have to take giant steps to keep up with her.
Once we’re inside the main office, Mrs. Singletary points at a wooden chair outside Principal Keller’s office. “Have a seat and don’t move.”
She goes into the principal’s office and closes the door. My head begins to throb like somebody’s banging on it from the inside. I close my eyes and try to calm down. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s probably just—Oh snap! The picture!
I slide down in the chair and pull my iPhone from my right pocket. My hands are trembling so bad I have to concentrate to keep from dropping it. I open the photos app and delete the last picture on my camera roll. If anyone saw that picture, I’d be screwed.
Loud voices seep through the closed door. I lean forward, straining to hear. It almost sounds like Mrs. Singletary and Principal Keller are arguing.

“It’s only an allegation. We don’t even know if it’s true.”
“I don’t care. We have to follow protocol.”
“Can’t you at least check his phone first?”
“I’m not putting myself in the middle of this mess. I’ve already made the call.”

The call? I can’t believe Principal Keller called my dad without even giving me a chance to defend myself. How’d she even find out about the picture?
The door swings open and I almost jump out of my skin. The principal crooks her finger at me. “Come in here, son.”
Trudging into her office, I sit down on a red cloth chair that’s way more comfortable than the hard one outside. My heart is beating so fast it feels like it might jump out of my chest.
The only time I’ve ever been in Principal Keller’s office was the day my dad enrolled me in school. Mrs. Singletary is standing in front of the principal’s desk with her arms folded. I hope she’s going to stay here with me, but a second later, she walks out and closes the door.
Principal Keller sits on the edge of her desk, looking down at me. “Graylin, do you have any inappropriate pictures on your cell phone?”
“Huh?” I try to keep a straight face. “No, ma’am.”
“It’s been brought to my attention that you have an inappropriate picture—a naked picture—of Kennedy Carlyle on your phone. Is that true?”
“No…uh…No, ma’am.” Thank God I deleted it!
“This is a very serious matter, young man. So, I need you to tell me the truth.”
“No, ma’am.” I shake my head so hard my cheeks vibrate. “I don’t have anything like that on my phone.”
“I pray to God you’re telling me the truth.”
I don’t want to ask this next question, but I have to know. “Um, so you called my dad?”
“Yes, I did. He’s on his way down here now.”
I hug myself and start rocking back and forth. Even though I deleted the picture, my dad is still going to kill me for having to leave work in the middle of the day.
“I also made another call.”
At first I’m confused. Then I realize Mrs. Keller must’ve called my granny too. At least she’ll keep my dad from going ballistic.
“So you called my granny?”
“No.” The principal’s cheeks puff up like she’s about to blow something away. “I called the police.”

About the Author

Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. She set giant-sized goals and used her talent, tenacity and positive outlook to accomplish them. Pamela consequently achieved success in both the corporate arena and literary world simultaneously.

An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of the absence of women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read. She is now an award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers, including Anybody’s Daughter, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction, and her new release, Abuse of Discretion, a shocking look at the juvenile justice system in the context of a troubling teen sexting case.

Prior to her legal career, spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and earned a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of teen sexting, child sex trafficking, self-empowerment and fiction writing.

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First Chapter Reveal: War Eternal: Angels’ Whispers by J.F. Cain

Title: WAR ETERNAL: ANGELS’ WHISPERS
Author: J.F. Cain
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 355
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Romance
BOOK BLURB:

Alex Meyers, a dynamic, global entrepreneur, has an advantage that no other human has ever had: he is protected by Aranes, the Superior of the Angels. While he is skiing, he dies in an avalanche, but his all-powerful protector breaks one of the ethereal world’s most important Rules and brings him back to life. Alex falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Angel, who appears to him in human form. But she disappears just as suddenly as she had appeared.

While he searches for Aranes, Alex discovers her true identity and that he actually might be the high-ranking Celestial Abaddon, who is mentioned in the Revelations prophecy as the one who will defeat Lucifer.

The man who fate has thrust among the world’s superpowers is now living a nightmare. He wants to evade Lucifer’s pursuit, find out who he truly is and once again see the only being he has ever loved. And the only way to do it is to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Angels’ Whispers is the beginning of an epic tale set in modern times. The eternal war between Light and Darkness is at a critical turning point: Angels and Demons, invisible to mortal beings, battle for dominance in the physical world, while Guardians, Vampires and Werewolves, who live among the humans, find themselves on opposing sides in a deadly power game.

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CHAPTER 1

 

In the sphere of invisible reality, where eternity’s whispers divulge primordial secrets, resided an immortal being of formidable power. Hidden behind the veil that covered timeless creation, the otherworldly entity watched the events unfolding in the world of the manifest forms. Inside a rain of pictures and sounds, her numinous perception rapidly surveyed all the important events taking place on earth at the time. Finally, her awareness stopped at a Gulfstream G650, flying at 25,000 feet above Maryland, bathed in the morning sun’s light.

Her supernatural sight penetrated the private jet unhindered. Inside the luxurious passenger cabin with the gray leather furnishing, two men sat in armchairs next to a row of round windows. Both of them were absorbed in their reading, only occasionally glancing at the streaming display of market quotes that flashed on the television across from them accompanied by the muted voice of the Bloomberg financial analyst.

The unworldly entity concentrated on one of them, Alexander Meyers.

Alex, as his few friends and associates called him, was studying an upcoming project on his laptop resting on the table in front of him. He was a physicist, and the owner of a fast-growing company supplying ecological energy, his own invention. At thirty-eight, he was enjoying global success.

He defied the rule that people with exceptional minds cannot also be equally exceptional in looks. Alex was, in a word, striking, and not simply because of his dark, expensive suit. He was tall, with a muscular, athletic build. He radiated strength and a certain magnetism that made him stand out from those around him. His dark chestnut hair, attractive face, and well-proportioned features made up a whole that deserved to be acknowledged as a prime example of male beauty, but the crowning feature was his eyes. They were the dark blue color of a stormy sea, complete with waves, formed by fine silver lines radiating outward from the pupil to the edge of the iris. Though barely visible, they were enough to lend his gaze a riveting force.

Alex looked up at the man opposite him reading a lengthy document.

Four years older than Alex, David Carson was also an attractive man–blond, with blue eyes, but with a calmer strength about him. There was something about his face: an interesting clash between transparency and mystery that made it impossible for even the most perceptive observer to discern his intentions. A successful attorney and the chief legal advisor in the company, he was the person closest to his boss who enjoyed something that Alex did not offer easily: his trust.

The two of them had met at MIT, when Alex was a freshman and David was there for his graduate degree in technology and environmental law. Neither had any family. Only Alex had some distant relatives, scattered around the States, with whom he had no contact. As the oldest and undeniably more mature of the two, David had from the beginning assumed the role of big brother to his wild, but brilliant, young friend, who had challenged social and academic conventions and flustered his physics professors with his startling ideas and cutting-edge theories. Despite their different characters, they also shared enough attributes to have formed a special bond over their many years of friendship. They confirmed the saying “strength in unity”. They were a powerful pair that the business world regarded with a mixture of envy and respect.

“So, what do you think?” Alex asked David.

David rested the folder on the table and loosened the knot on his tie. Even after so many years of having to wear a suit for work, he had still not grown used to the constriction around his neck. Ties were one of the rare annoyances for this man with an otherwise enviable self-control.

“The bill clearly leaves you room to maneuver as you want,” he declared.

Alex nodded with an expression that indicated he was not expecting a different answer.

“I’m glad to hear it.”

“I’m sure you are. It’s not easy to dodge your competitors’ obstacles.”

“I’m taking advantage of their own loopholes,” said Alex indifferently.

For him it was only fair to turn his competitor’s weapons against them rather than on the defenseless. So he had no qualms about taking advantage of anything he could find in the law that he could use in this open warfare.

David refrained from reminding his friend that first and foremost, they should be fair to themselves, and perhaps approach the subject from a different angle.

“So, other than work, what else is going on? Have you made plans to see Claire?”

Alex began to rifle irritably through the papers spread out on the table. It was his usual reaction when a discussion turned to personal matters. When he was away from his office—although he managed to convert anywhere he was into his workplace—he always found a way to show that he had better things to do. But that day, his reaction was not enough to discourage David’s persistence.

“Is that your answer?” David pressured him.

“Why should I see her?” Alex asked, setting aside a thick sheaf of papers bearing the US Energy Department’s logo.

“I don’t know, is there any other reason than wanting to be together?”

“I’m not interested,” replied Alex with an expression that implied he was not willing to discuss the matter any further.

“Here we go again!” David leaned forward, trying to catch his friend’s attention. “You have to do something with your life.”

Alex looked up from the pack of diagrams he was sorting, his eyes grave.

“My work is my life. Besides, romance is overrated.”

“But necessary,” David shot back. “You can’t always be alone.”

“I’m not alone all the time. Here we are.”

“The small breaks you take to meet your biological needs don’t meet your emotional needs,” his friend insisted with calm certainty.

Alex lowered his gaze again to the papers in front of him.

“It’s enough for me.”

“It doesn’t look like it.”

“I’m not one for excessive displays of emotion.” He pulled out a diagram from the pack, leaned back and pretended to study it. “People are, for the most part, a disappointment. The only thing they’re interested in is catering to their psychological and material needs. Most don’t even know the basics about themselves.”

“Not everyone is the same,” David argued. “I think Claire is quite emotionally mature, and also very much in love with you.”

“That’s the problem,” admitted Alex. “I can never return her feelings. So it’s better if I break it off while it’s still early.”

David gave him a searching look.

“Are you trying to protect her or get rid of a burden?”

“Let’s just say that it’s a choice where we both end up winning.”

“Or losing,” David added.

“There is no reason why I should stay in a relationship that doesn’t give me what I want,” replied Alex with a tone that betrayed him being annoyed by the subject matter.

“And what is it that you want?”

Alex tossed the diagram onto the table.

“I know what I want, and maybe one day I’ll find it,” he said with a slight melancholy in his gaze.

At one time, there had been no “maybe”. But after years of fruitless searching he had realized that even charismatic individuals weren’t immune to the rule that “you cannot have it all”.

David gestured towards the window next to them.

“Look outside, maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for there.”

“What do you mean?” Alex scowled.

“That you might be able to find the woman of your dreams up here, because a being such as the one you imagine may not even exist on Earth,” David replied. “Or, wait,” he raised his palm to stop his friend who was about to protest. “Maybe the invasion of an alien race would solve your problem, or a custom-made robot.”

“In that case, I’ll order one for you, too,” Alex shot back. “It seems that you’re not faring any better.”

David shrugged.

“I’ve reconciled myself to it, whereas you haven’t. It’s obvious that you’re lacking something.”

Alex bypassed the comment.

“All this because I don’t want to take Claire with us this weekend?” he asked suspiciously.

“What are you going to do on your own in Aspen?”

“Ski, obviously.”

“You don’t ski, you attempt suicide,” David said with a pointed look, and then went on in an attempt to change his friend’s mind: “I was thinking that if Claire came with us, you’d be polite enough to stay with her and I wouldn’t have to fly around in a helicopter, scouring the mountains and canyons searching for you. Besides, she’s very pleasant company; she’ll help you to relax.”

His elbows resting on the armrests and his fingers interlaced, Alex pensively regarded David.

“Can you tell me what’s got into you?” he asked calmly. “You’ve been getting into my personal life more and more lately.”

“I see you becoming increasingly isolated, and that isn’t helping you at all,” David explained in the same tone.

“I find solitude immensely constructive.”

And very dangerous, thought David. He knew that the minds of people with high IQs worked differently from other people’s, which made them vulnerable to psychological disorders. There had been many cases where distinguished scientists, philosophers and artists had become victims of their intellectual singularity, which had destroyed their lives. Alex had for months been showing such symptoms and David, having noted the change, kept on inventing various excuses to be close to him. Through activities and ideological debates, he tried to limit his friend’s introversion and preserve his intellectual equilibrium. And he had a very serious reason for doing this.

Alex unlaced his fingers and sat up.

“Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to focus on my work. The contract we’re after is very important,” he said, putting an abrupt end to the conversation.

He opened a file with statistical data on his laptop and immediately became engrossed. Once he had decided something, no one could change his mind.

David realized that there was no point in continuing to pressure his stubborn friend. He turned away, and his gaze became lost in the vast sky outside the airplane window.

“I’m not worried about that. In business, you seem to be more favored than anyone,” he said, giving up on trying to change Alex’s mind.

Unlike the dead ends in his private life, Alex’s professional life boasted many successes. His company was growing beyond all expectations. In ten years he had succeeded in becoming one of the major players in the energy industry, a fact for which he was highly resented by his established competitors, who vainly struggled to arrest his growth.

Alex did not reply. The project he was going to Washington for was important, of course, but right now he was using it as an excuse to avoid any further analyses of his love life, or rather its non-existence. Not that he considered it a strictly private matter. Other than his personal moments that he kept to himself, he shared everything else with David. It was just that he didn’t want to poke at his only existential wound. He had never been able to fall in love like other people did. He had never touched or looked at a woman in the way that many of them touched and looked at him. This significant experience was so foreign to him, it was as if he carried a curse.

Until he had turned thirty-five, he had subconsciously covered this lack with some short-lived excitements, and each time he had hoped that something would change. But despite all his efforts, this tactic had not borne any fruit. Disappointed, he had accepted his emotional inadequacy and had gradually withdrawn into himself. In the last three years he had made very few, reluctant efforts to form a relationship and, despite what he said, he knew very well that no one else was to blame for his inability to love. Something inside him stopped him from giving himself wholeheartedly. An indefinable barrier kept him shackled in the torment of loneliness.

The two men exchanged very few words until the private jet landed at Reagan National Airport in Washington half an hour later. A black Mercedes was waiting to take them to 1000 Independence Avenue, the headquarters of the US Department of Energy.

When they arrived, David remained in the lobby. Alex, accompanied by a member of staff, went up to the third floor and entered a conference room. The committee that was to examine his proposal was waiting for him there: four men and a woman, all over fifty, were sitting around a large, oval table, with folders open in front of them. He greeted them civilly and went to stand across from the committee chair, who was sitting at the one end of the table. Before taking a seat in the black leather chair behind him, he rested his briefcase on the table, removed a folder from inside, then closed the briefcase and put it on the floor.

“We’re ready to hear your proposal, Mr. Meyers,” said the committee chair and gestured for him to start.

In a clear, energetic and engaging presentation, Alex offered the data analyzing the comparative advantages of his proposal and also highlighted the irreversible ecological destruction caused by the widespread use of petroleum and other fossil fuels. He continued about the dangers of nuclear energy: radioactive waste and the residues of nuclear accidents remained intact in nature for hundreds of years, condemning millions of people to death from incurable diseases.

The committee chair, the woman and another man were listening carefully; the other two looked bored and indifferent.

Alex entered the last stretch of his presentation:

“In the last few years my company has invested millions of dollars in research and development in alternative energy sources, and I believe the result has vindicated these efforts. My proposal revolutionizes the energy sector and provides access to cleaner and cheaper energy to more consumers than we thought possible.”

Frank Brenner, one of the two men who seemed to be against the proposal, smirked.

“Let’s talk business, Mr. Meyers. We all know that your company’s primary interest is to make a profit.”

Alex heard what Brenner really intended to say: “Don’t pretend you’re interested in protecting the planet. We’re not so stupid as to believe you.” Alex could see that some committee members already had suspicions about him. He had no such suspicions; he had facts. He had reports—a necessary business tool—that Brenner supported the interests of a major oil corporation. So was not surprised.

“I won’t disagree, but for me profit and innovation must go hand in hand.”

“Mr. Meyers is not obliged to defend his intentions,” the man sitting next to Brenner remarked sharply. “This proposal has many advantages we need to seriously consider.”

Alex watched as these two rivals sized-up each other. What would be their next move?

Another member of the committee, who worked behind the scenes for one of Alex’s competitors, entered the discussion:

“Exactly what advantages?” he asked, his baffled expression implying that he, for one, couldn’t see any.

The woman sitting next to him found it difficult to conceal her displeasure. People who sold out without caring about the future, not even their children’s, disgusted her. Unfortunately, she had no proof that would help her throw Brenner and him off the committee.

“Advantages for whom? For the planet, people or your shareholders?” she asked back with undisguised frostiness.

Alex intervened, rescuing the man who had opened his mouth to protest. A dispute between the members could cause the committee to issue no decision at all, and that would not serve his purpose.

“We all know that energy resources are not inexhaustible, and every day we have more and more protests against the environmental pollution caused by other forms of energy. If we also take into account the current economic crisis, the one hundred thousand new jobs created for this project would be good publicity for your party and you. And from what the opinion polls show, you really need it.”

“You have quite an aggressive strategy,” said Brenner, his sarcastic tone barely hiding the hint of a threat.

“I thought we were talking business,” Alex retorted in the same tone.

“This meeting is not the place for personal confrontations,” the chairman intervened, glancing sharply at his colleague.

He made no comment to Alex; he thought it only reasonable that he would react that way to Brenner’s insulting behavior. He did not wheel and deal with high-ranking officials and political leaders and he had the moral right to put the sell-out in his place.

In the short, but tense, silence that followed, a high-frequency sound began to penetrate Alex’s head, becoming louder and louder. Without betraying the slightest disturbance, he discreetly pressed his left ear, trying to stop the noise.

The vibrations in the room were changing their frequency constantly, influenced by the entrance of a supernatural being in the material plane. Suddenly, a pulsating cloud of light began to take shape behind the committee chair, quickly condensing into a female form. Those present would have been shocked had they been able to see the otherworldly entity that appeared—a presence visible only to Brenner’s eyes, or rather the eyes of the being hidden inside him. Making sure that no one was watching him, he turned to look at her. For fractions of a second his eyes glowed red with a burning hatred, and then immediately returned to their normal color.

A radiant, silvery blue aura surrounded the transcendental being’s ethereal body, extending around her in gentle undulations. A cascade of long strawberry blonde hair framed her exquisite face, accentuating her strange-colored eyes. They were neither light blue, nor gray, nor white, but a blend of all three colors that gave her irises a shade that was rare even for the world from which she came. She wore a long, ice blue dress and an ice blue overcoat that flared out at the elbows and hips. It was fastened at the chest with two platinum chains linked to four facing buttons. Her compelling presence exuded gentleness and power, as she stood there serenely in all her majesty, emitting the resplendent light of her sublime nature. She was not just any Angel. She was Aranes, the Superior of the Angels.

Coolly, she cast Brenner an expressionless glance before leaning over the chair’s shoulder.

“Oscar,” she whispered in his ear, “this is not just the same old, everyday decision. Humanity’s future depends on it as well as the planet that was created for its prosperity.” Your responsibility goes beyond the office you hold. Your decision must be in the interest of life.”

She said nothing more, but remained standing behind him, keeping him within the positive influence of her aura. Meanwhile, she was scanning Alex’s aura. He had perceived the disturbance caused to the invisible cosmic force energies from her entrance in the material field, yet he was not sure what caused it. However, he did not miss the committee chair’s brief startled expression and he was looking at him with discreet curiosity.

The chairman never understood why memories of his childhood awakened in his mind. Of the days when he played naked with his friends under the sun without giving a thought to ultraviolet radiation, or when he cupped his hands to drink water from a nearby spring without caring about bacteria or poisons. When his gaze did not stumble on the gray walls of enormous apartment buildings, but got lost in varicolored horizons, and the air he breathed was neither smoggy nor polluted with carbon and sulfur dioxide. Of those days when he never felt the suffocating fear he now felt about his children’s future, and the future of the twin grandchildren that his daughter had brought into the world a few months ago.

The committee chairman snapped back to reality, wondering at the sudden awakening of his conscience, of the sensitivity which he thought had faded with the passing of his youth and his entry in the tough adult world. His decision was not merely made, it dominated his entire being.

He leaned forward and spread his hands on the table.

“It seems that mine is the deciding vote,” he said, looking at his subordinates one by one. “Personally, I believe that the proposal has a number of features that are hard to ignore.” He turned to Alex: “I like it, Mr. Meyers. I’m going to support it.”

Alex nodded. If he felt vindicated, it did not show on his face. He had learned to hide his feelings so as not to reveal aspects of his character that would make it possible for someone, especially his competitors, to predict his reactions. And, when he achieved a professional victory, he thought it foolish to provoke his enemies without reason by smiling complacently.

Brenner and the other member who had opposed the proposal closed their folders with a measure of disappointment. The woman and her like-minded colleague smiled, pleased with the decision.

Aranes slowly crossed the room and went to stand behind Alex’s left shoulder. As expressionless as he, she let her gaze sink into Brenner’s eyes. A dark energy, like a cloud of smoke, began to come out of the man’s body. A few moments later, behind his back, the energy took the insubstantial form of another entity: Asmodeus.

The Archdemon of Eregkal was tall and muscular. Long black hair framed his harsh, sharply angular face and fell freely over his shoulders. He wore dark pants tucked inside his high black boots, a long coat, and elbow-length gloves, all in black leather. His dark aura whirled around him, betraying his irritation at the confrontation’s outcome.

With the arrogance of Demons, who are unwilling to admit defeat, he calmed his aura and winked at Aranes.

“Good work, Princess. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

The Superior of the Angels watched impassively as Asmodeus disappeared, taking with him his strong negative influence. The dominance of the positive celestial energy changed the atmosphere in the room. The humans felt better, except for Brenner, who seemed somewhat dazed.

Aranes rested her hand on Alex’s shoulder as he collected his papers.

“You did it, Alex,” she said softly.

He heard her gentle, unearthly voice and felt an inexplicable wave of warmth pass through him. He went completely numb. For a brief moment, he stopped gathering his papers and held his breath.

The Angel moved away from him and, as she had done countless times before, observed him with interest, thinking how special he was. Humans couldn’t hear the voices of Ethereals or sense their presence, unless an entity wanted to communicate with them—something that happened rarely and only to spiritually advanced individuals who had dedicated their lives to full knowledge of the transcendental. But Alexander Meyers was a prominent scientist and businessman, the epitome of rationalism, and his inner explorations always had objective facts as their starting point. Yet he felt her presence and heard her voice, even though she had not intended it. Why did this happen?

Alex recovered and closed the folder. He shot a quick glance at the people present. They were all gathering their own papers and, thankfully, no one had noticed his momentary confusion. If over the weekend there circulated a rumor on the ever-wakeful market that he had some mental problem—and Brenner would be more than willing to spread it—then on Monday, as soon as Wall Street opened, his company’s stocks would begin to slide. He picked up his bag from the floor and rested it on the table. He opened it, threw in the folder, said a polite goodbye and left the room.

Aranes watched him leave, understanding that this was not over, but rather the beginning of something. But neither could yet fully understand what that could be.

About the Author

J.F. Cain is a writer with a restless mind who spent years of her life reading and traveling. But of all the places she has been to, her favorite is a house in the mountains where she can focus on her writing. She is a seeker of knowledge who transcribes the results of her studies in her books. Her favorite pastime –other than reading and writing- is scouring libraries. However, she has lately convinced herself that she enjoys shopping just as much, as well as spending time with family and friends –the few that can still tolerate her frequent and extended periods of absence.

Her latest book is War Eternal: Angels’ Whispers.

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