The Writing Life with Jonathan Raab, Author of ‘Flight of the Blue Falcon’

Originally posted on As The Pages Turn:

jonathanJonathan Raab is the author of Flight of the Blue Falcon, a military novel about the Afghanistan War, based on his time in the United States Army. He is also the author of the upcoming The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, a novel about UFOs, conspiracy theories, militarized police, and what it means to come home. He is also the editor in chief of Muzzleland Press, a horror and weird fiction small press. He lives in Golden, Colorado with his wife Jess and their dog Egon.

What’s inside the mind of a military fiction author?

That depends on what type of book it is. This is a novel, and my intention was to write something that was funny, tragic, true, and accessible for people who hadn’t been in the military. I had to be careful not to be too cynical—but I also wanted to tell a true war story, as…

View original 1,106 more words

Book Spotlight: Profit in Plain Sight by Anne C. Graham

About The Book

Title:  Profit In Plain Sight

Author: Anne C. Graham

Publisher:  Morgan James

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Pages: 289

Format: eBook / Hardcover / Paperback / PDF

ISBN: 978-1-63047-293-1 

Genre: Business

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

Buy The Book:


Barnes & Noble:

Book Description:

  1. 84% of business owners and CEOs surveyed score a C, D or F on the Return on People Benchmark – they can’t even give every employee a decent raise, let alone hire, invest in facilities, equipment or technology, or expand into new markets!
  2. 40% companies who increase their revenues in a given year will actually decrease their profits… and there’s a better way to increase both.
  3. 96% of companies will put their greater goals on hold this year with one simple phrase: We don’t have the budget for that.

Imagine if leaders were able to break free of their profit constraints, stop being victims of exchange rates and oil prices, and be in control of earning all the profit they need to fund the growth they want.

Savvy entrepreneurs would never start a new business without a Business Plan.  Experienced executives would never try to lead their business without a Strategic Plan.  But almost every manager confesses that they don’t have a Profit Plan beyond their P&L, and that means that profit becomes the leftovers between disappointing revenues and higher-than-expected costs.

Profit in Plain Sight offers the Profit Plan that’s missing, with a step-by-step roadmap that enables these busy leaders to grasp the big picture, and to implement solutions in less time per week than they are spending on email per day.

Unlike many  business books, Profit in Plain Sight gives readers access to the “hows”, not just the “shoulds”, with downloadable training resources and action plans  at the end of every chapter, plus regular opportunities for the reader to reflect on how their thinking is changing and growing.

This book finally helps leaders who are passionate about their business have all the profit they need to fund the growth they want, with tough questions to start changing the conversations in everyday management meetings, with practical, actionable techniques that are quite different from conventional cost-cutting approaches or the all-too-dangerous “increase revenues at all costs” techniques.  Instead, Profit In Plain Sight offers take-it-to-the-bank results.




Book Excerpt:
Prepare to Transform Your Most Persistent Market
Challenges into Profit, Passion, and Growth
… with The Proven Leadership Path that Delivers
  • How much easier would igniting profit, passion, and growth be if everyone in your
    business embraced change and became part of it?
  • What would be possible
    if transforming your business felt more like play than like work?
  • How quickly could you
    turn good intentions into tangible results
    if you
    simply could take small steps that
    require less time than you are devoting
    to e-mail in a
    given day?
IBM is a legendary company, not only because of its
enduring success for over 100 years in the fast-changing world of technology,
but because it leads its category
by a factor of
in terms of
profitability and continues to transform itself to
generate growth opportunities. Customers are incredibly loyal, the company has
a stellar reputation for quality, and, as the holder of more patents than any
other high-technology company, its strengths in innovation are readily
apparent. It seems that IBM has found ways to conquer some stubborn challenges,
doesn’t it?
But it didn’t start that way. IBM’s roots go back
to the 1880s and at one time its products consisted of employee time-keeping
systems, weigh scales, automatic meat slicers, coffee grinders, and punched
card equipment. Hardly the glamorous “Creating a Smarter
Planet” organization we know today.
IBM’s secrets to success came from an unlikely
resource who was named President in 1915: Thomas J. Watson, the second in
command at National Cash Register. With just a few practical
tenets, Watson laid down the enduring foundation
for IBM’s success — a focus on the customer and on customer service, a sales
culture that built trust and respect, and an environment that instilled pride
and loyalty into every worker. The result? Profit, passion, and growth, with
integrity. In the 1990s, IBM had to reinvent itself or risk becoming irrelevant
in the marketplace, which it did by reemphasizing its customer focus and
creating clarity in its positioning.
In the 2000s, it had to reinvent itself again as
the competitive landscape shifted once more, which it did by emphasizing its
role in providing integrated solutions, not merely products.
This is not a book about IBM. But as subsequent
legendary leaders have proven, those enduring, practical tenets can serve every
business well.
How Many of these Stubborn Market Challenges Are
Grinding You Down?
Each year a variety of organizations publish lists
of the Top 10 CEO Challenges based on polling business owners and leaders. And
inevitably, five stubborn market-related issues keep coming up again and again
on these lists, although the order may shift from year to year:
1. Earning
Customer Loyalty and Retention
2. Generating
Sustained and Steady Top-Line Growth
3. Ensuring
Bottom-Line Growth in Profit
4. Building a
Corporate Reputation for Quality Products and Services
5. Stimulating
Innovation and Creativity and Enabling Entrepreneurship
Why don’t we ever get traction and put those
Challenges behind us? Because 70 years of thought leadership in the business
press, from universities and in executive programs, has left us with more
shoulds than hows and a lot of flavor-of-the-month distractions that
sound promising but are hard to translate into bottom-line impact.
Let’s change that.
This Book Is for You When …
… most of the books you’ve read are sitting
on your shelf and have not had any impact on your business;
… some of the books you’ve read have inspired
you but you struggled when you tried to put them into practice because the
author shared the
shoulds but left you to figure out the hows; and
… you’ve tried to implement ideas in the past
as an army of one only to run out of steam, run out of time, or run out of
focus when you find yourself spending more time trying to get people to change
and get on board than actually implementing anything.
Move Beyond the Myths
Here’s your wake-up call and a bold promise.
We’re Too Busy
FACT: All of us are
busy. None of us have spare time. Or do we? Over 90% of executives polled admit
that they spend between 1 and 2 hours a day on e-mail … often more. So here’s
your wake-up call: unless you work in the order entry department, e-mail does
not move the needle
in your business because it does
not create cash flow, profit, or growth. In fact, it
leaves you working everyone  else’s
agenda when, as a leader, it is up to you to set the direction and lead by
doing. E-mail is a nice, easy, reactive way to start the day and waste most of
the morning. And it’s killing your company.
We Have to Be “Always On”
FACT: We’re tethered
to responding instantaneously to our phones, our e-mail, and other
interruptions, and there are times when that’s appropriate, but more often it’s
simply busy work. I’m not saying that you have to abandon e-mail — it’s a part
of our lives in the 21st century, just as the telephone and voice mail became a
reality in the 20th. But what is currently in your in-box or on your priority
list that is
more important than securing the future of your business for your
employees, your family, and your community? What’s more important than building
a profitable, growing business
that can weather any economic turmoil that global
change can throw at it?
There’s No Way Out
FACT: The noise is
getting louder now that texting and social media elements are also in the mix
of e-mail, voice mail, and more. Yet one simple shift is all that’s required to
completely transform
noise into results, and I invite you to share
Appendix 1 with your entire organization to help them make that shift. In the
meantime, here’s my bold promise.
If you have
time for e-mail, you have time
to once and for
all overcome the stubborn
challenges holding you back.
When you follow the Solutions in Plain Sight
outlined in this book and access the Rapid Results Resources that ensure you
have to waste precious time reinventing the wheel, you will transform your
business in less time than you’re currently spending on e-mail.
Close the Gaps when you apply uncommon strategies
and tactics that will shift your thinking forever
Our biggest challenge as business leaders at all
levels is simply to overcome the thinking that’s kept us stuck with those
Challenges. Many of us were taught old-world thinking, long before today’s realities
of the Internet, globalization, recurring corporate scandals, all-too-frequent
recessions, and a rate of change that’s difficult to keep up with. It’s time to
hold our beliefs, myths, and common practices up to a very harsh light of
uncommon sense and retool for the future. It’s time to replace them with a road
map that delivers results. This first section, Possibilities, is going to give
you two powerful tools to do just that.
Most businesses won’t succeed in making the shift.
They’ll remain mired in the “we’ve always done it this way” paradigm, because
they simply won’t invest the time and energy to be open
to new approaches, and they won’t take the time to
build a road map that takes them to their Possibilities, step by step. They’ll continue
to default back to “business as usual,” because they think it’s easier, even
though they know it’s not working, and they need a new approach. Unfortunately,
they’re unknowingly making their lives and the lives of everyone in the
organization more difficult, and more uncertain.
Take a look at the shapes Figure 1. How many forms
of transportation can you spot? Look carefully, as the shapes hold the key to
your transformation. How many did you see? What were they? (Go to Appendix 2
for the answer.)

Rapid Results Resources: Put
some energy into your regular meetings and start the process of
Transformation with “The 101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership
Team.” Use a couple of the questions every week to get your team thinking about
Profit, Passion, and Growth, and to get their creative juices flowing. Download
your copy at
Solutions in Plain Sight: Inform. Inspire.
Motivate. Systematically Transform.
By opening the cover of Profit
in Plain Sight
, you’ve already taken your
first step to becoming more open, more focused, and more successful. You’ve
taken your first step towards creating a process for sustainable levels of
increased profits. And you’ve taken your first step that will differentiate
your business from your competitors’ when you implement well. Just keep turning
the pages to make it happen.
Infuse Your Employees With Possibilities
What does it mean to Infuse
employees? It means embedding the desire to be part
of something more, to be the best, to behave every
day in
ways that add value to your customers, and to earn profit with integrity that
will help the entire company grow and succeed in the future.
It means engaging them with the Drivers of
Transformation that you’ll see in Part I, Possibilities, which will give them
the powerful AHA! Moments of information, inspiration, and motivation.
It means involving them in creating the road map
forward, because information, inspiration, motivation, and good intentions need
to be turned into action before you can transform stubborn challenges into
Profit, Passion, and Growth (see Figure 2).
People support what they create. When you Infuse your teams with the passion and talent to be part of the solution,
you’ll divide and conquer the workload and transform your profit and growth
more easily than you might imagine.
Enthuse Your Customers
What does it mean to Enthuse
your customers? It means creating an environment
where they love doing business with you and know that your success is part of
their success, because you save them time, make or save them money, solve real
problems for them, give them peace of mind, and make them feel good. It means
being the path of least resistance and getting it right the first time. It
means they’re happy to pay for the value you provide.
It’s what happens in Part II, Practicalities, when
you take action with the systematic approach of the Profit in Plain Sight
Framework to solve the five stubborn challenges that are holding you back from leading
your market by industriously activating your road map to success (see Figure
Activate the
power of
Infused employees with the Two Drivers of Transformation.
Trigger the
factors that
Enthuse customers as you systematically overcome five
stubborn market-driven challenges with integrated solutions that build upon each
Achieve Profit,
Passion, and Growth … in less time than you’re spending on e-mail.
Overcome Your Biggest Obstacles
Right now you may be thinking you don’t have the
time. Your people aren’t onside. You have other priorities that need your
attention and focus. You’re uncertain of whether you can make a commitment to
see this through. You don’t believe that significant profit increases are
possible in your business or in your industry. Hogwash!
Bringing the voices of your customers into your organization is a
powerful, counterintuitive, yet proven, approach to see what’s possible from a
tactical perspective and will powerfully move you past
“we’ve always done it this way” thinking with each of five stubborn
market-driven challenges. In this book, you’ll learn exactly how to do that for
You’ll stop guessing at what it will take to keep your customers loyal
for longer and know for certain how to become their preferred partner. You’ll
stop guessing what they might value and know for certain how to deliver value
to them that results in Top-Line Growth. You’ll stop applying bandaids to
quality issues and get the sludge out of your system to stop the profit leaks
and grow your Bottom Line. And you’ll know exactly how to avoid “me too”
inventions that are passing for innovation and innovate in low-risk, low-cost ways
that will set you apart from your competitors.
The Only Person Who Likes Change Is a Baby with a
Wet Diaper
Even with technology, globalization, credit crunches,
and economic turmoil, people still need to buy goods and services and people
still do business with people. The need to
your customers
with the desire to do
business with you and to
infuse your
with the passion and talent to deliver never
What does need to change is how you tackle those
five stubborn market-driven challenges, and therein lies the stumbling block.
Your people can’t buy into the typical approach of
an endless stream of unrelated tasks, so-called best practices (which
don’t differentiate
you from your competitors), flavor-of-the-month management and proverbial
silver bullets. Over 90% of business owners, leaders, and key employees polled
admit they get lost chasing bright shiny objects, and those are simply the equivalent
of trying to change nice, dry, comfortable diapers to icky wet diapers
that don’t make sense to your people. Uncertainty, seemingly wasted time,
wasted effort, confusion, and the feeling of a lack of progress simply causes
fear and resistance.
Harvard Professor W. Earl Sasser was the first to refer to the plethora
of stand-alone tactics as “Kidney Stone Management” (his lengthy list back in
the 1990s has only expanded with time).
We’ve trained our staff to expect that whatever new idea is out there,
it’s a kidney stone
— it will only cause them
pain for a while, it will pass, and business as usual can return
. No wonder our people are burned-out and skeptical when so many new
initiatives are launched, so many seem important, and so many run out of steam.
Explain Kidney Stone Management to your executive and management teams at all
levels. You’re guaranteed a few rueful chuckles of recognition and an AHA!
Moment that indicates that approach is no longer going to be part of your
leadership practices.
That’s the reason Profit in Plain Sight will make a difference when others haven’t — solving these Challenges
for good comes down to realizing that you’re in wet diapers and wanting the dry
ones you’ll get by shifting the way you do business. Dry diapers are the result
of implementing the step-by-step road map of over 57 detailed, value-add Profit
and Growth Accelerators for
near term yet sustainable Profit, Passion, and Growth.
When your people have a mental map of where they’re going, and how
they’re going to get there (see Figure 3), Kidney Stone Manage-ment is no
longer a problem and they will be informed,
inspired, and motivated to get into the dry diapers. A systematic and integrated process rather
than a series of disconnected events will consistently create successes and a
sense of forward momentum and progress — the transformation you’re looking for.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Unsuccessful businesspeople try to go it alone,
reluctant to show their weakness by asking for help. Successful businesspeople
ask for help all the time. They call it getting input and they know the value
not reinventing the
Profit in Plain Sight is the window to Rapid Results Resources that are not just shoulds but specific hows — proven step-by-step instructions plus additional
proven strategies and tactics that are beyond the scope of this book.
They deliver results more rapidly and easily than
you might imagine. They deliver
smart practices specifically implemented in the context
of your unique company. All you have to do is commit to transforming
passive reading into active learning
for results.
Every business leader who has succeeded in doubling
their profitability or more — in less than one year, in less time than they and
their team were spending on e-mail — has identified obstacles to success. And
as they began the process, they found that each and every obstacle dissolved
with the straightforward, practical approaches laid out in this book. At this
point, all you need to do is finish reading the next two pages, and take the
actions outlined. Then, turn the page and do it again. That’s it. Are you with
We’ve all heard that you can lead a horse to water
but you can’t make it drink. But I always say that you
can make the horse
thirsty or make the water sweeter. From the sheer fact that you’re reading P
in Plain Sight
, I know you’re thirsty.
Make Your Horses Thirsty Too
Embracing a process to transform challenges into
opportunities doesn’t come from rigorous change management processes that
try to force-fit people into a change that they haven’t bought into. That’s
just leading the horse to water. Instead, it comes from naturally leading your
team where you want them to go by building an
infused culture that thirsts for excellence and that reflects their desire to
find the easiest and most effective ways to achieve that end. When you share
this book throughout your organization, you’ll help lead your teams’ thirst for
where you want them to go.
Make the Water Sweeter
Sweeter water means helping you and your organization find ways to
streamline complexity and stay focused on what really drives your business
forward. That’s where the systematic Profit in Plain Sight Framework is
extremely valuable — bite-sized modules are easy to implement, in less time
than you’re currently spending on e-mail. Make the process painless and make
the water sweet when you take an integrated approach rather than succumbing to
Kidney Stone Management.
I’ve spent time in the trenches “doing,” and even longer with the responsibilities
of leading others. I’ve experienced the frustration of dealing with these
Challenges over and over, just as you have.
I’ve used every one of these Solutions in Plain Sight, as a leader in large
and small companies and with my consulting clients. They’ve worked across a
broad range of industries and they’ll work for you too.
Simply. Accelerate Your Results
There is really only one theme to this book — driving Profit, Passion, and Growth. We’re going to
put many lenses on that theme, but never lose sight of that as our goal.
There are only two outcomes you need to achieve in order to realize Profit, Passion, and
Growth —
enthusing your customers, and infusing your employees. I’ll show you what you need to do
accomplish both.
There are Two Drivers of Transformation that serve
as wet diapers to motivate change and, in Part I, you’ll see Possibilities as you
learn how to activate them to kick-start the process and help
you measure success and progress.
There are 15 practical, actionable Solutions in
Plain Sight in this book and a total of 57 Profit and Growth Accelerators in
the Profit in Plain Sight Framework. In Part II, Shift to Practicalities,
you’ll see your Profit in Plain Sight road map
unfold as we tackle each of the five stubborn market-driven challenges.
Whether you take action on every Challenge or
cherry-pick just those that are holding your business back the most, you will
see impact on your Profit. You’ll impact the Passion your teams bring to the
business. And you’ll sow the seeds for Growth.
There are no quick fixes … but Rapid Results are
within your reach.
You can reach and exceed your goals. You can secure your
business from the ups and downs of economic turmoil, and invest in everything
you need to take your business to the next level and help drive our economy
forward. You
can finally feel confident in your plan for the future.
If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?
Work is slogging it
out in isolation;
play is getting support to achieve breakthroughs and
feeling a sense of progress. So go ahead and put some play back in your day and
some bucks on your bottom line.
This Works.
You Can Do It. You Will Succeed.

Take these Actions
Download your copy of “The
101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership Teams” at
to start changing the conversations at every level of your organization.
This is an ideal tool for executives and mid-level managers to use to spice up your
regular team meetings and begin to shift your culture to one of profit and
See Appendix 1 for the
secrets of achieving focus and transformation in less time than you’re
currently spending on e-mail.
Check out Appendix 2 for
the solution to the “forms of transportation” brain teaser at the beginning of
this Chapter.
Small Steps.
Big Impact!
Five Minutes, Five Questions:
Reflect for Deeper Learning
Reflective questions at the end of every Chapter offer powerful deeper learning
on how your thinking is changing, so that you can generate the AHA! Moments to
break free of the conventional thinking that keeps you stuck when trying to
solve five stubborn market-driven
Reflection simply means taking the time to monitor what’s happening in
your own mind, evaluate what you’re learning, and ponder what is shifting or
changing in terms of your attitudes and behaviors, with the goal of eventually
building a new mental framework of how things work. This will allow you to
continually add relevant information and discard the irrelevant.
Your first step is internal transformation, to identify what attitudes have already shifted and what
behaviors will follow.
But the reflective process only works if you use it.
Ask yourself these questions right now:
1. How can I use the reframing approach I saw in the brain teaser as a
metaphor for opportunities hidden in our business?

2. Which items on the list of five stubborn market-driven challenges are
top of mind for me right now — and why?


3. How effectively are we solving those challenges today?


4. How often do our people see our efforts as Kidney Stones because we fail
to give them the big picture with a road map for implementation?


5. How committed am I to create an environment where my horses are thirsty
and the water is sweet?

Inspire. Motivate. Transform.
Are you ready to get started with the Two Drivers
of Transformation that deliver big wake-up calls and pave the way to transform your
business more quickly and easily than you might imagine?
If you prefer, you can go right to whichever
Challenge is your greatest burning issue today, and then work backwards to put the
foundational work in place that may be required to trigger the


About The Author

Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more in less than one year, in less time than they’re spending on email.  Drawing on over 25 years of deep profit and growth expertise from her “in the trenches” and executive experiences with Fortune 500 companies and smaller firms, she closes the all-too-frequent gap between the good intentions vs. year-end results.  The solution is the roadmap she wishes she’d had – a Profit Plan that transforms “we don’t have the budget for that!” into a “YES!” to funding every greater dream and goal for their business as they create prosperity for their company, their employees, their customers, and their communities.

As a best-selling author, international speaker, and accelerator, Anne inspires thousands of business leaders each year to Profit… On Purpose by moving past conventional thinking to discover Profit In Plain Sight.  Audiences and clients love Anne’s fun and interactive approach based on value to the customer, NOT accounting, and her ability to create profound AHA! Moments so that participants leave with a new perspective of their possibilities plus practical actions they can implement for immediate impact.  Anne is the Managing Director of the Legendary Value Institute, a popular faculty member in an award-winning MBA program, and a passionate boater on west coast of British Columbia.

You can visit Anne’s website at 
Contact Anne at:


Author Website:





Linked In:




Virtual Book Tour Event Page

Character Interview: Tommy Cucitti from Arnaldo Lopez Jr.’s thriller ‘Chickenhawk’

arnaldo 3We’re thrilled to have here today Tommy Cucitti from Arnaldo Lopez Jr.’s new thriller, Chickenhawk.  Tommy Cucitti is a 34 year old homicide detective living in Long Beach, NY.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Tommy Cucitti.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? Well, in the book I notice that I’m portrayed as being a little immature and impulsive. It’s just that I like keeping it real, you know what I’m saying? Some people can’t handle that. So I guess that I wasn’t really portrayed fairly but I’m alright with that, I’m still good son.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? Colorizing? What the hell is that? If you’re talking about like, my personality and stuff, then yeah it was okay. Only thing is like I said yo, he made me look a little immature. I’m a grown-assed man! Yeah, he should have taken that into consideration when he was “colorizing” my personality, you know, make me a little more serious about things. He got my love for Hip-Hop down right though!

What do you believe is your strongest trait? I’m a damn good cop.

Worse trait? Uh, I do have a temper.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? Yo, Channing Tatum of course!

Do you have a love interest in the book? Yeah, my girl Daphne. She’s hot!

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? At the part where me and my partner Eddie get transferred to the D.A.’s office.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? I would definitely not want to be that fat, greasy, nasty S.O.B. Bob Avni, for all of the reasons that I just now mentioned.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? The ending is real son! This go down in true New York fashion with plenty of gunplay and fists being thrown! I just feel kinda bad because of how me and Eddie end up but it’s all good.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it? Make me the main character next time and give me more love scenes with my girl!

Thank you for this interview, Tommy Cucitti.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future? Oh absolutely! From what I understand the author is busy working on the next novel with me in it!



Arnaldo Lopez Jr. has been employed by New York City Transit  for twenty-eight years and was formerly employed as a dispatcher with the NYPD.  Mr. Lopez is also a speaker and trainer, speaking on subjects as diverse as terrorism and customer service.  He created the civilian counter-terrorism training program currently in use by New York City Transit and many other major public transportation agencies around the country.

As well as writing, Mr. Lopez is an artist and photographer, having sold several of his works over the years.  As a writer he’s sold articles to Railway Age magazine, The Daily News magazine, Homeland Defense Journal, and Reptile & Amphibian magazine; scripts to Little Archie and Personality Comics; and short stories to Neo-Opsis magazine, Lost Souls e-zine, Nth Online magazine, Blood Moon magazine, and various other Sci-Fi and/or horror newsletters and fanzines.  He was also editor of Offworld, a small science fiction magazine that was once chosen as a “Best Bet” by Sci-Fi television.  Chickenhawk is his first novel.

Connect with Arnaldo Lopez Jr. on Facebook and Twitter.


Title: Chickenhawk

Genre: Thriller

Author: Arnaldo Lopez Jr.

Publisher: Koehler Books/Café Con Leche books

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Chickenhawk is an urban crime fiction novel that showcases New York City’s diversity, as well as the dark side of race relations, politics, sexuality, illness, madness, and infidelity. Eddie Ramos and Tommy Cucitti are Manhattan North Homicide detectives after a serial killer that manages to stay below their radar while the body count keeps climbing in a city that’s turning into a powder keg.

Book Spotlight: The Summer of France by Paulita Kincer

About The Book
TitleThe Summer of France
Author: Paulita Kincer
Publisher: Oblique Presse
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Format: Paperback / eBook / PDF
Pages: 255
ISBN: 978-1300257332
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Travel / Adventure
Buy The Book:


Barnes & Noble:




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

Book Description:
When Fia Jennings loses her job at the local newspaper, she thinks she’ll have the chance to bond with her teenage twins. As she realizes she may be too late to create the perfect family, she’s saved by a phone call from her great Uncle Martin who operates a bed and breakfast in Provence. Uncle Martin wants Fia to venture to France to run the B&B so he and his wife Lucie can travel. He doesn’t tell Fia about the secret he hid in the house when he married Lucie after fighting in World War II, and he doesn’t mention the people who are tapping his phone and following him, hoping to find the secret.
Book Excerpt:
The quiet of
the house mocked me as I rummaged
through the Sunday paper looking for the travel pages. I ignored the
meticulously folded “Help Wanted” section of the newspaper and the yellow
highlighter that my husband had placed on the counter to remind me that I’d
been unemployed for two months and needed to find a job – soon. The ring of the
kitchen phone saved me from isolation and from a job search as the thick accent
of my aunt came across the crackly line inviting me to move to France.
After a few sentences in the language that Aunt Lucie
considered English, she handed the phone to my great uncle Martin, and I heard
his booming voice.
“Fia?” he called as if using a bullhorn rather than a
telephone.  Uncle Martin, the baby of my
grandfather’s family, ventured overseas as a teenager to fight in World War II,
found a French wife, and stayed.
I’d never traveled to France to visit him, but Uncle
Martin always came home for the family reunion at the beginning of summer.
Hearing his voice on the phone, I glanced at the wall
calendar, assuring myself it was late June and Uncle Martin’s visit had ended
nearly two weeks before.
“Uncle Martin! What a surprise. How’s life in France?”
I asked in a quiet voice meant to encourage him to lower his volume.
Uncle Martin continued to bellow. “Look, Fia, let me
get right to the point.” He hadn’t lost his American directness.  “Lucie and I are tired.
need a break, maybe a permanent break.”
“What?” I gasped my voice growing louder to match his.
“You and Aunt Lucie are…but you can’t be…you can’t break up?”
“No,” I heard his old man grunt across the phone
lines. It sounded as if he said something like “Zut!”
“Listen. Don’t jump to conclusions,” he chastised me.
“We’re tired of working so hard. We’re old and it doesn’t look like any of
Lucie’s relatives are gonna step forward and take over. That’s why I’m calling.
Will you and Grayson come over and run this place?”
“This place” is what Uncle Martin always called the
eight-room bed and breakfast that he and Aunt Lucie ran in a small village in
Provence. Lucie’s family had owned the home for generations, wringing olive oil
from the trees and wine from the grape vines. But as big cities and ample
education called, the younger branches of the family moved away. When Uncle Martin
and Aunt Lucie found themselves the only ones living in the big, old house
during the 1970s, they decided to capitalize on a tourism boom and turned the
house into a bed and breakfast. They encouraged American and English tourists
to stay, and, after A Year in Provence came
out in 1990, their business exploded with people who wanted to see the land
that Peter Mayle described.
“We thought you could take over,” Uncle Martin blared,
“obviously, since you’re not working.”
Thanks, Uncle Martin, for reminding me again of my
current jobless status.  When a huge
conglomerate bought our local newspaper and combined resources with the paper
in the next town, I became superfluous. So, after years of writing about home
design, I sat staring at my own shoddy decorating. I tried to look on the
bright side. Now I actually had time to try some of those design tips. To add
depth to the alcove next to the fireplace, I painted it a darker color. Next I
added crown molding around the opening from the living room to the dining room.
So far, mostly, I spent my time trying to stay
positive so an amazing job would find me,
and I watched cable TV shows about happy families. Who knew The Waltons was on five times a day? Mix
that with the Duggars, that family with 19 kids on TLC, and my days just flew
past. I slowly realized that driving my kids to sporting events and
extracurricular lessons did not count as quality time. Inspired by those TV
families, I amplified my efforts to pull my 14-year-old twins closer. When they
ambled home from school, I’d suggest some family activities. “Let’s draw a
hopscotch on the driveway!” I’d say. Their eyes rolled wildly in their heads
like horses about to bolt. “How about making homemade bread together? We can
all take turns kneading? Or maybe an old fashioned whiffle ball game in the
They suggested we go out for pizza or visit a sporting
goods store for new soccer cleats or swim goggles. I declined, picturing the
credit card bills I juggled now that I didn’t have an income.
Bills. Ooh! I couldn’t see Uncle Martin’s invitation
to France winning approval from my husband, Grayson, who had just been
complaining about money.
As a two-income family, we had paid bills on time and
planned our next extravagant purchase. Of course, my pragmatic husband, the
almost accountant, never used credit cards. But with my own income, I wasn’t
that concerned about using credit cards. When I started to run a balance, I
made the minimum payment every month. No need to inform Grayson who would’ve
disapproved of my indulgences. Not that I bought things for myself. Nothing but
the best for our kids with their private swim clubs, technologically engineered
swimsuits, travel soccer teams, and state-of-the-art skateboards. I hadn’t
bothered to save for an emergency but spent and charged as I went along until
the bottom dropped out of journalism.
“Uncle Martin, you know we’ve always dreamed of
visiting you and Aunt Lucie, but without a job now, I just… I can’t see it
working financially.”
“I’m not talking about a visit,” his voice grew
agitated. “I’m talking about you moving in here and running the bed and
breakfast. I’d send the plane fare to get you here. You, Grayson and the
I sat stunned for a moment, so Uncle Martin repeated
“I’ll send you the tickets. I’ll just buy them online
for you, Grayson and the twins. Both of them.”
My kids were always “the twins,” as if sharing a womb
14 years earlier made them one entity for the rest of their lives.
“Whoa. That is heavy stuff,” I slid onto the swiveling
bar stool. “We can’t just move. Leave our house, school, Grayson’s job.”
Even as I said it, I felt hope rising in my chest.
Yes! I waited for a job to come to me and it did. A spectacular opportunity. I
pictured myself in a flowing skirt and low-heeled, leather sandals walking
along a dusty road away from the market that would line the village streets.
I’d carry a canvas bag with French bread jutting from the top as I headed home,
the pungent fragrance of a cheese wafting from the bottom of the bag. Although
I’d never been to France, I watched any sunny movie set in Europe. The women
always wore skirts and had leisure time to linger along the roadside, smelling
the lavender.
I heard the front door slam and my husband’s heavy
footfall in his casual Sunday topsiders as he came in from the office. Even on
a Sunday, the work at Grayson’s accounting firm was plentiful.
I turned my back on my approaching husband and said
into the phone, “When are you thinking, Uncle Martin?”
“I’m thinking… NOW. Last week,” Uncle Martin’s voice
rose again. I cupped my hand over the phone to try to smother the sound of his
bellowing. “I’m tired of dealing with these snippy tourists. I want to roam
around the world and give other innkeepers a hard time.”
“You make the job sound so enticing,” I tried to laugh
lightly so Grayson, who was drawing nearer, wouldn’t realize the importance of
this conversation. The idea began to form in the back of my mind: We could make
this happen — with a little cooperation. I shot a hopeful glance toward
Grayson as he walked in the room. I quickly raised my eyebrows twice, which I
thought should give him an indication that good news was on the phone. He
looked grim and tired – the horizontal line between his own eyebrows resembled
a recently plowed furrow.
“Look, I’ll have to call you back later,” I hissed
into the phone and punched the button to hang up as Grayson threw his aluminum
briefcase on the island. His look turned from grim to suspicious.
“Uncle Martin,” I said with a blasé wave toward the
phone. “He has a business proposal…”
I tried to sound nonchalant, but I guess my eagerness
showed because Grayson dropped his head on top of his briefcase for just a
minute before he stepped toward the cabinet over the refrigerator. He opened
the door and pulled down a bottle of Scotch.
This conversation might prove more difficult than I’d

About The Author

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

Connect with Paulita:
Author Website:



Virtual Book Tour Event Page

Chapter reveal: Chickenhawk, by Arnaldo Lopez Jr.

Originally posted on Plug Your Book!:

arnaldo 2Title: Chickenhawk

Genre: Thriller

Author: Arnaldo Lopez Jr.

Publisher: Koehler Books/Café Con Leche books

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Chickenhawk is an urban crime fiction novel that showcases New York City’s diversity, as well as the dark side of race relations, politics, sexuality, illness, madness, and infidelity. Eddie Ramos and Tommy Cucitti are Manhattan North Homicide detectives after a serial killer that manages to stay below their radar while the body count keeps climbing in a city that’s turning into a powder keg.


ABE LOOKED AROUND the premises nervously. He didn’t like spending so much time with a customer. Earlier on, he had nearly bolted out of there when a patrol car, siren hooting and warbling, slowly moved up the street. He watched quietly as the strobed reflection of the car’s flashing lights alternately colored the facades of the surrounding buildings a vivid…

View original 1,949 more words

Character Interview: Harmon Burke from MD Moore’s family saga novel ‘Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy’

Waiting for the CoolWe’re thrilled to have here today Harmon Burke from MD Moore’s new family saga, Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy. Harmon Burke is a 44-year old antique dealer/furniture restorer living in Point Defiance, WA.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Harmon.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?  No, I’m afraid MD did a pretty good job telling my story.  There were a few times that I felt that I sounded a little pig-headed and it pissed me off a little when I first read it and to be honest with you, I was going to say something to him, but then when I tried to form my argument on my behalf, I realized that MD didn’t say anything that wasn’t true.  It really was a ‘the truth hurts’ moment.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?  I don’t know.  Again, I think of myself as a pretty level-headed guy and sometimes I thought the book made me sound angry a lot of the time.  I did say something to MD about this and he said that the times that I wasn’t mad or my life wasn’t going piss-poor were, how did he put it, oh yeah, boring.  He told me to picture my favorite movie.  I pictured Goodfellas.  He said, “Ok, now take out the mobster killings, the drug dealings, all the beatings and the violence.  Replace it with Henry Hill taking his kids to the movie, going school clothes shopping and sitting around watching TV.  How about brushing teeth and using the bathroom or whatever he did on the off-killing nights.  Would that be a movie you’d want to see?”  I conceded his point.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?  My undying loyalty to my family.  I’d do anything for them.

Worse trait?  The same.  Sometimes doing anything has gotten me into a little trouble with the law.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?  You know, it’s funny.  I actually thought about this when I was reading the book.  You kind of can’t help yourself as you read about you in the pages of a book.  This was kind of a tough question as you run through the list of actors that immediately come to mind.  Brad Pitt – too good looking.  Hugh Jackman – more my size, but too nice, doesn’t have enough of an edge.  Vin Diesel – again, a big guy, but almost too tough, and bald, which I’m not but it would still work in a movie. I thought of him as a good runner up.  I guess if I had to pick, it would be Ed Norton from his American History X movie.  I know he doesn’t have my build so much, but he showed that he can bulk up and he just has an intensity that I seem to have, but can also be family-centered and soft when he needs to be.

Do you have a love interest in the book?  Same one I have right now.  My sweet Emmy.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?  That’s easy.  When I began to realize that I might be able to make a future with my mom, Cece, thanks to the counseling I was getting from Boyd Freud, I know, weird name.  He really was helping me understand how she ticked and how I might be able to tick with her instead of against her and then she gets attacked by one of the other patients in the mental hospital and is put into a coma.  I knew that if something were to happen to her, I wouldn’t be able to make things right with her and that I might not be able to even apologize for some of the shitty things I’ve done to her.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?  That’s an easy one, too.  That wound be Frank.  Man, I didn’t like that dude as a kid and I like him less as an adult.  I mostly forgot about him until he started messing with my wife, Emmy.  As far as why, I guess because of how he is.  I mean, here’s a guy with money and power and influence and he seems like the most unhappy guy I’ve ever known.  All he’s ever seemed to want is what he can’t have.  It almost seems like a prerequisite for what he wants to begin with.  As much as I don’t like him, there’s still a little in me that feels sorry for him.  I saw where he was raised and knew the mean shit that raised him.  I don’t think he had a chance.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?  I feel that it’s a good ending.  Not the perfect American ending that so many books I’ve read seem to have, but still good.  True to life.  Wrapped up, but a little messy – not quite finished.  There are things I wished I’d done and things that I’m glad I didn’t.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?  Don’t.  The sequel is never as good as the original and since things have settled down for me and I’m on the strait and narrow, it would read like Goodfellas without the good stuff.  I promise you, you don’t want to read about me in the bathroom, though it could fill a two-hour movie (laughs).

Thank you for this interview, Harmon Burke.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?  Only if they ever make that movie you asked about.  The limelight was a little brighter than I thought it would be and now I need to focus on my family.  Thank you for all you do for us little guys.



A native of Tacoma, Washington, M.D. Moore worked as a therapist in Washington State’s most acute psychiatric hospital. Moore currently serves as a rehab director at a long term care facility serving veterans and their families. A member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, M.D. Moore lives in Gig Harbor, Washington with his wife and sons.Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy is his debut novel. Visit M.D. Moore online at:

A Peach of a Pair Release Day Blitz

A Peach of a Pair Release Day Blitz banner

We’re happy to be hosting Kim Boykin and her A PEACH OF A PAIR RELEASE DAY BLITZ today!

About the Book:

A Peach of a Pair 2

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

Purchase at Amazon

“Palmetto Moon” inspired “The Huffington Post” to rave, It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find. Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina.
April, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can t wait to return to her family and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.
Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home.

About the Author:

Kim Boykin

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

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

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

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

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

Visit her website at


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 159 other followers

%d bloggers like this: