Dark South and Other Strange Tales by William Stewart Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Dark SouthTitle: Dark South
Author: William Stewart
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 458
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

In the mysterious dark South, strange old ladies, killers, hucksters, deceivers, and the unhinged lurk in the shadows where they are forced to confront inexplicable forces they do not understand. After a couple books a room in the famous Hotel Le Grande in New Orleans, one of them disappears, leaving the other to follow a bizarre trail to a sealed room where a gruesome murder took place some fifty years earlier. Uncle Poot, who has always been strange and eccentric, transforms after a board hits him on the head. Now he is a harbinger of death who sees entirely too much. A great swamp in Louisiana holds secrets-some beautiful, some sinister. But when two boys enter a forbidden, treacherous portion of the swamp, they face a crisis of conscience when they discover a serial killer’s treasure. Aunt Lootie, already known for her oddities, believes fireflies signify a bad omen. No one believes her-until her predictions begin to come true. Dark South shares a collection of mysterious tales that offers an unforgettable look into the minds of the odd people who inhabit a world that appears to be what it is not.

 

William Stewart is an educator who works for National University and Brandman University. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Texas and a master of arts degree in speech/drama from Sacramento State University. He is the author of two reference books. William and his wife, Vita, have two daughters and live in Fair Oaks, California.

 

William is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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

Purchase at AMAZON

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Clifford is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: Book Blitz | Leave a comment

The Last Ancient by Eliot Baker

The Last Ancient 2Title: The Last Ancient
Author: Eliot Baker
Publisher: Burst Books, imprint of Champagne Books
Pages: 316
Genre: Supernatural Thriller, Historical Mystery
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Around NantucketIsland, brutal crime scenes are peppered with ancient coins, found by the one man who can unlock their meaning. But what do the coins have to do with the crimes? Or the sudden disease epidemic? Even the creature? And who–or what–left them?

The answer leads reporter Simon Stephenson on a journey through ancient mythology, numismatics, and the occult. Not to mention his own past, which turns out to be even darker than he’d realized; his murdered father was a feared arms dealer, after all. Along the way, Simon battles panic attacks and a host of nasty characters — some natural, others less so — while his heiress fiancee goes bridezilla, and a gorgeous rival TV reporter conceals her own intentions.

Book Excerpt:

The deer’s blood catches the golden hour light. It radiates throughout the animal’s carcass in fall hues that reflect the island’s rustling red leaves and honey-colored needles littering the sand. Such eerie, blasphemous beauty. I fire shots from my Nikon.

“That’s six. Six deer mutilations this month,” I say to my experts. Click. Click. Click.

Branches partially cover the deer. Its eyes are wet brown marbles rimmed and veined in burning red, as though it had been hung upside down for a day. Its lips are peeled back above the gums in a grimace of broken teeth. Brain matter spills through a crack in the skull. Two yellowjackets buzz over the red pulp. Land. Feed. Hover above their feast. Click. The neck is attached to the body by a flap of hide. One of the deer’s forelegs is missing. Inside the hole in its torso I can see that its entrails have been removed. I get on my elbows and snap pictures from the cold, damp sand. The heart is gone, too.

Dr. Pauline Driscoll, Nantucket’s town biologist, is squatting beside the carcass. She’s furious at Sgt. Brad Fernandez, who is cursing and stomp-cleaning a gore-splattered boot into the sand. She affects his tar-thick Roxbury accent. “Nice shaht cut, ace!” Her silvering French braid swings out the back of her UMass baseball hat as she unpacks measuring tape, sample tubes, and baggies from her turquoise external frame pack. Sgt. Fernadez kicks bloody goo into the bushes.

“Maybe I wanna carry da machete fuh once, Doctor Driscoll,” he says.

Dr. Driscoll mutters and scribbles into her notepad. She is oblivious to her windswept beauty. Her dark eyes shine and sparkle, and she’s maintained her triathlete’s figure despite being on the other side of forty. She’s over a decade older than me, but I understand why Sgt. Fernandez wants to impress her.

Dr. Driscoll carves out an eyeball, coaxing it from the deer’s eye socket with a gloved hand. Tendons follow the jelly marble from the orbital cavity like melted provolone. She saws through the tendons with a retractable scalpel. Fernandez gags. It makes him look like a blushing Boy Scout in his green Environmental Police uniform and billed hat and bulky black utility belt. Driscoll smiles school-girl sweet, dropping the eyeball into a baggie. She offers Fernandez the instrument and baggie, asking him if he’d like to carry the scalpel for once.

Fernandez holds up one hand at her and balls the other over his mouth, gulps twice. “You’re one sick hippy,” he says.

Driscoll hums a macabre rendition of Melanie Safka’s Lay Down as she scoops bits of brain from the crack in the animal’s skull.

I sniff the shrieking wind. It’s bowing the barrens of pitch pines toward our clearing in the scrub oak like gnarled magnetic filaments. I can smell the ocean, almost hear it, but not see it. From our elevated bald spot in the suffocating brush, I can see the sandy path we just traversed. It cuts like a surgical scar through the open conservation land’s tufts of bladed grass and bristling patches of black huckleberry and pasture rose. It winds up Altar Rock into the reddening horizon, where a hunter stands silhouetted on the rim of the valley, binoculars pressed to his face. The strapped shotgun jutting from his shoulder makes him look like a fierce insect with an antenna.

“You poor baby,” says Driscoll, passing a black fine-toothed comb over the deer’s patchy fur. She taps the comb and a dozen ticks fall like grains of volcanic sand into a plastic dish. “Those teeth, that pelt–man, you were one sick fella.”

Fernandez breathes, gets down on one knee, and starts shaving samples from the spine with his own folding knife. He then slices off chunks of muscle and organs that he places into baggies under Driscoll’s direction. Click.

“I’m bustin’ heads, and you can quote me on that,” says Fernandez through clenched teeth behind his trimmed mustache. “Someone was huntin’ before dawn.”

“Or something,” I say, snapping close-ups of the spray radius. Drops of blood shine like rubies on wooden pendants in the foreground against a hazy cloud of thorns. The experts exchange looks and groans.

“Anyways, this is roundabouts where da Pike brothers said dey heard something freaky ’bout an hour ago,” says Fernandez. “Said it was like a deer cry, but kinda mutant, with loads a struggle.”

Dr. Driscoll stands and examines the sand and rocks for tracks. She picks up the machete she used to carve a trail here through the scrub oak. “Man, what is wrong with people?” she says and hacks at the thorny curtain with skills she picked up surveying birds in the Amazon and in Africa. She asks Fernandez if he can find any boot prints. He shakes his head.

I ask them to speculate on a predator. No dice.

“How about speculating on how it got in here then?” I say. “We lost the tracks and the blood trail way long ago.”

“Good point,” admits Dr. Driscoll.

The deer’s remaining foreleg suddenly stiffens as though saluting, hitting Driscoll’s thigh.

“Oh, fuck me hard on Sunday!” says Dr. Driscoll, jumping into Sgt. Fernandez’s arms.

He whispers, “Relax, it’s a fresh kill. And sure, Sunday’s good for me.”

Driscoll shoves Fernandez, and says to me, “Don’t you dare put that in the article.”

“I’ll think about it,” I say, and try to smile. Can’t. I’m shaken.

 

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Guardians, Inc.: The Cypher by Julian Rosado-Machain

Guardians Inc 7Title: Guardians Inc.: The Cypher
Author: Julian Rosado-Machain
Publisher: Julian Rosado-Machain
Pages: 239
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure
Format: Paperback, Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face but, that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology but, every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future, and to unlock the future they need a Cypher.

This is the first book of the Guardians Inc Series.

Book Excerpt:

Thomas fiddled with his thumbs waiting for his grandfather to emerge from his meeting with Vice Principal “Killjoy” Khanna.

He hadn’t come up with that nickname; it was something he had heard since his first day at Oceanic High School, in Carlsbad, California. It was whispered along the corridors and classrooms with dread, like a monster under the bed. If you did something wrong, Killjoy would get you.

Even the adults knew about her infamy. Morning drop-offs at school were always a chaotic cutthroat race until Killjoy took command of the school’s entrance. Holding a metal notepad in one hand and a large coffee mug in the other, Killjoy gained control of the drop-off zone. As parents cautiously drove through the parking lot, a mere frown stopped those who wanted to cut in line. A wave of the metal notepad dissuaded those who wanted to drive into the teacher’s parking lot. Her system was very simple: students wouldn’t be admitted to school that day if their parents tried to cut in line. Simple as that.

Killjoy always wore a long overcoat over a buttoned knitted sweater, even in the summer. Her haters compared her to a barrel with legs, but many of the girls were jealous of the wavy black hair that reached her lower back and her thin manicured hands. Nobody had seen her eyes — she always wore huge sunglasses that covered half her face — but it was rumored that her eyes were the blackest black.

She was shorter than the average sophomore girl, so it was easy for her to walk among students undetected during recess, and she was silent too, like a tiger stalking prey. Someone had found out that her shoe size was around 12 or 13, but Killjoy wore rubber-soled shoes and walked in a short step gait.

In those first two weeks, Thomas had been startled three times by her sudden appearance. Only the first time had she acknowledged his presence by nodding her head at him, her chin embedding itself deeply into her large double chin.

That simple nod was enough for an introduction.

There was a story about how Killjoy stopped a speeding SUV by standing in front of it and putting her hand on the grill of the car. The incident happened before Thomas even entered school, and he knew it must have been an exaggeration, but the story went that two days later, the family who was driving the SUV moved from the county.

Or so it was rumored.

Parents avoided her, teachers respected her, and students were completely terrified of her. In a nutshell, the school was completely under Killjoy’s iron grip. The principal seemed happy to be just a figurehead, the school ran like clockwork, and there were no problems between him and Killjoy since Killjoy was always right.

Everyone told Thomas to avoid her, but he was now on her radar.

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Shiloh’s True Nature, by D.W. Raleigh

shiloTitle: Shiloh’s True Nature

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Author: D.W. Raleigh

Pages: 260

Publisher: Hobbes End Publishing

Purchase at Amazon 

When 12 year-old farm boy Shiloh Williams is sent to stay with his estranged grandfather, he discovers a mysterious new world inhabited by ‘Movers’. The Movers live in symbiotic harmony with one another, except one extremely powerful Mover who has stolen the town’s most precious artifact, the Eternal Flame. Shiloh investigates his supernatural surroundings, makes new friends, and begins to think of the town as home. However, just as soon as he starts to fit in, he realizes his newfound happiness is about to come to an abrupt end. One decision and one extreme consequence are all that remain.

Chapter One

July 20th

Shiloh Williams walked along in the late-afternoon heat, on his way home from the town of Salem. The lanky twelve-year-old brushed his sweat-soaked, brown hair away from his blue eyes with one hand while trying to finish the ice-cream cone he carried in the other. His bare feet were relieved to step off the asphalt main road and onto the narrow, shady dirt path leading to his home.

The dusty, dirt lane was flanked by a vast cornfield to one side and towering black willow trees and intertwined brush on the other. Shiloh inhaled the sweet scent of honeysuckle as he licked the cone, gazing toward the two-story, white Victorian house in the distance. The house was his home, and the cornfield part of his family’s farm. One of the few farms left in the area, his father always liked to mention.

Shiloh was in a good mood: partly because he had spent the day in town playing with some friends, but mostly because this was his first actual vacation day of the summer. Until today, he had been working on the farm all day every day, since school ended. When his father told him he was receiving a two-week break, Shiloh decided he was going to make the most of it and be thankful he didn’t have to work another day in the brutal July heat.

As he strolled along the dusty path, Shiloh heard something rustling in the brush beside him. He turned his head and saw two large black birds only a couple of feet away. The birds cawed as they boldly jumped from branch to branch trying to keep pace with him. He assumed it was the ice cream they were after, so Shiloh tossed the remainder of the cone toward the brush and watched as the birds descended upon it.

Farther along, Shiloh spotted an expensive-looking, black car in front of the house. It was parked next to his father’s battered, old pickup truck, which made any other vehicle look nice. There was a man leaning against the rear of the car wearing a black suit and cap. Shiloh found that strange, considering he was dressed in a white T-shirt and shorts and had been sweating since he stepped outside that morning.

As he drew closer to the house, Shiloh realized his hands were sticky with ice-cream residue. He wasn’t supposed to be eating sweets this close to his suppertime, and knew his mother would scold him if she found out. So he slipped into the cornfield to let the giant stalks conceal his five-foot frame until he could reach the back of the house to wash off undetected.

He quietly snuck through the field and came up behind the giant stack of hay bales perpetually piled at the rear of the house. After glancing around to make sure it was clear, he crept up to the porch and over to the rusty, old spigot. He winced as he slowly turned the squeaky faucet handle, hoping the noise didn’t make it through the kitchen screen door just a few feet away.

As Shiloh cleaned his hands, the aroma of his mother’s cooking filled his nostrils, while the sound of arguing voices filled his ears. When his hands were no longer sticky, he quietly moved over to the back door, and stopped when he could hear the discussion in the kitchen. He immediately recognized one voice as his father’s, but there was another, unfamiliar, rough-sounding man’s voice. It must have been whoever came in the black car, he thought.

Listening intently, Shiloh was startled when something rubbed against his leg. It was one of his cats, Lovie. The gray and black tabby mix rubbed her face against his anklebones as she walked figure eights between his legs. Shiloh knew if Lovie was around, his other feline, Cheepie, couldn’t be far behind. He looked over his shoulder toward the faucet and found the other gray tabby, one that looked like a miniature tiger, entranced by the remaining water droplets dribbling from the nozzle.

His attention returned to the kitchen door when the rough voice said, “I don’t know how you’re keeping this farm productive when all the others in this area have gone under, but whatever you’re doing is going to fail eventually. So you might as well sell it to me before I decide to withdraw my more than generous offer.”

Shiloh imagined the scowl on his father’s face as he heard him answer, “You’ve been trying to get your hands on this property for years, but I’m not going to give it to you. Not now. Not ever. Not at any price. And if there are problems with the soil around here, you need only look in the mirror for the cause.”

“I’ll not be insulted by the likes of you, Joseph Williams. Good day,” the man huffed.

Shiloh heard footsteps, followed by the front door slamming. He was curious about this unfamiliar man, so he leapt off the porch and ran up along the side of the house. In his haste to see the stranger, Shiloh slipped on some pebbles and fell just as he reached the front corner of the house. The man immediately turned toward Shiloh scowling. Shiloh looked up at the stranger, but the bright sunshine kept him from distinguishing any of his features. The one thing Shiloh did notice was, like his driver, the man was dressed all in black, except for a hideously bright orange tie.

The man’s gaze was broken as two black birds descended and began attacking him. The man quickly ducked into the rear of the car, the birds turning their attention to his driver, who ran around to the other side to enter. As the car pulled away, Shiloh noticed it had a peculiar, black license plate with orange lettering reading HAINES.

When the vehicle left his sight, Shiloh returned to the back door, but again paused by the screen door when he heard his father’s agitated voice. “The crops looked a little off today. We definitely need to get some cash together for fertilizer. They could use a dusting too. And on top of that, I haven’t paid Rikki and Peco for a couple weeks. I’m glad I agreed to let them stay in the old barn. Otherwise they might’ve left by now. I’ll need to find a way to make it up to them.”

Shiloh heard the oven door open and close, followed by his mother’s voice, “Are you having second thoughts about Haines’ offer, Joe?”

“What? No! I’ll work the fields alone and eat dirt before I let that man get his hands on this land, Mary,” Joe stubbornly declared.

Mary scoffed. “Okay. Well, I’ll see if I can round up some recipes for dirt . . . just in case.”

Joe chuckled slightly and Shiloh smiled to himself, thinking about the easy way his mother was always able to diffuse his father’s anger.

Joe then noted, “By the way, I spoke to Doc and he said it would be all right. In fact, he suggested it before I even asked.”

“He’s not going to be happy about it,” Mary sighed.

Shiloh frowned, wondering what they were talking about, as Joe continued, “Well, that’s too bad. A vacation is a vacation. He’s almost a man now, and he needs to learn that part of being a man is having to do stuff you don’t want to do.”

Mary snorted sarcastically. “Say it just like that, Joe. That’ll make him feel better about it.”

Joe chuckled again and said, “Give me a break, Mary.”

“I won’t give you a break, but I will give you dinner. Go wash up,” Mary replied with a giggle.

Shiloh heard a chair slide across the kitchen floor and waited until the footsteps faded before opening the screen door. When he stepped through the doorway onto the black and white tile, he found his mother’s tall and slender frame at the sink. As Mary washed her hands, her long sandy-blond hair was illuminated by the sun shining in from the window above the sink.

After she dried her hands, Mary turned to open one of the nearby wooden cabinets and said, “No . . .” pointing in Shiloh’s direction and downward. Shiloh looked around in confusion. “. . . I’m making dinner and those two are not coming in here,” she finished.

Shiloh looked down and realized she was referring to the cats lingering in the doorway.

“One keeps trying to drag dead mice in the house. And the other keeps eating bugs, which wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t throwing them up all over the place afterward,” she continued.

A tight-lipped smile rolled across Shiloh’s face as he turned to shoo the cats back out the door.

When he turned back around, Shiloh found himself face-to-face with his mother. Her chestnut-colored eyes stared straight into his baby blues with a smirk. “What’s this?” she asked, pointing to his chest. “Ice cream?”

Shiloh looked down at his T-shirt to see a couple of stains from his earlier treat. “Oh . . . that was from earlier this afternoon,” he replied with a wide grin.

“Really? Because it still looks wet,” Mary noted, returning his smile with a shake of her head. “Go wash up. Dinner is almost ready.”

The family dinner was relatively quiet. Shiloh tried to stuff himself so he wouldn’t be lectured by his mother about eating ice cream before supper. He avoided eye contact with his father, because after hearing Joe grumble about all of the farm’s problems, he feared he might lose his time off.

When he finished, Shiloh took his plate to the sink and tried to make a hasty retreat out the back door without saying a word. However, it wasn’t to be. “Hey . . . take a seat,” Joe called, pointing to Shiloh’s empty chair at the dinner table.

Shiloh walked back to the chair feeling certain his father was about to revoke his vacation time “for the good of the farm.” He looked up to see his father leaning forward with his elbows on the table and his large callused hands folded. Joe was a tall, muscular man with perpetually unkempt, light-brown hair, piercing blue eyes, and his face always appeared to need a shave.

Joe stared at Shiloh for a moment before asking, “How would feel you about spending some time with your grandfather?”

He was taken off guard by the question, but shrugged and answered, “Okay, I guess.”

“Good,” Joe smiled. “He’ll be by to pick you up tomorrow.”

“What?” Shiloh responded in shock.

“You’re going to spend a couple weeks with your grandfather,” Joe answered pointedly.

Shiloh’s disbelief and agitation spilled out of his mouth in rapid succession. “A couple weeks? Why? I’m supposed to go swimming at the pond tomorrow! The carnival is in town next week! My birthday is in two weeks! I don’t want to go!”

Joe leaned back in his chair, shaking his head, “You’ve been complaining about having to work the fields all summer. I’d think you’d be glad to get a break from it.”

“Yeah, I wanted a break to have some fun with my friends. Not a break where I’m sent away to some strange place . . . I’m not going!” Shiloh’s voice shook with anger.

Joe, not the kind of man to listen to long protestations, replied, “You are going. End of discussion.” He returned to his meal.

Slamming his hands on the table, Shiloh rose from his chair, and walked toward the back door. “Get back here,” Joe called, as Shiloh forcefully pushed open the screen door.

He heard his father yell, “Shiloh!” but he ignored him and ran into the immense cornfield. He ran through the field until he grew so tired he had to walk. He continued walking until he found himself on the far edge of the field, where he stepped out onto a narrow dirt trail that surrounded it.

Shiloh looked back to see how far he had come and the farm’s old horse barn caught his eye. The faded, maroon monstrosity had fallen into disrepair, but the barn’s current residents, Rikki and Peco, loved it for some reason. It was their big, red dilapidated mansion.

When his gaze drifted across the field, Shiloh saw his home in the distance. The towering cornstalks obscured all but the top half of the house. Taking a couple of steps backward, trying to find a better view, he suddenly lost his balance. He began tumbling down a slick embankment covered with reeds and into the swampy marsh that separated his family’s property from the Delahanna River.

Shiloh was uninjured by the fall, but landed on his backside in the mud. He sat for a moment to catch his breath, gazing toward the river stretching out in front of him. He saw some Great Blue Herons standing nearby in the marsh. The large gray birds were motionless, with their S-shaped necks pointing up into the distance.

Following the herons’ gaze, Shiloh saw the large factory to the south. He knew the factory was there, but never paid it much attention. It was practically invisible due to the thick cluster of hickory trees lining the rear of the farm. The factory’s most distinguishing feature was an enormous cylindrical brick smokestack with a giant, orange H on its side. The huge tower emitted a perpetual gray smoke that seemed to linger in the air.

Hearing voices in the distance, Shiloh turned back toward the river. An old fishing boat was anchored just offshore with some young people frolicking around the deck. He watched as a young man jumped from the deck into the river. “It’s freezing!” the young man hollered, emerging from the water.

Shiloh smiled, remembering how he used to love the crisp bite of the river water on a hot summer afternoon. His parents wouldn’t allow him to swim in the river anymore. They said it was too polluted and dirty.

Straight across the river were some lights from the town of Old New Castle. Just beyond that was Pike Creek, where his grandfather lived and where he would apparently be going the next day. This made him think of the things he’d be missing in the next two weeks: going swimming, the carnival, spending time with his friends.

Thoughts of his impending departure made Shiloh feel sick to his stomach, so he tried thinking of something else. He looked around and noticed several gray puddles of water with a number of long-stemmed, gray wildflowers growing out of them. He frowned because he couldn’t recall ever seeing a gray flower before. He plucked the closest one and thought it was a wild daisy of some kind.

Another flower grew out of the puddle right before his eyes, taking the place of the one he picked. This second flower was not gray, but golden yellow with a black center. Though startled, Shiloh scowled and dismissed the peculiar occurrence, recalling how he’d seen colorful mushrooms grow right before his eyes while working very early in the morning on the farm.

As the sun began to set, Shiloh climbed the embankment, deciding he had better return to the house. He chose to walk back through the cornfield instead of the path along the edge of the field, because it was shorter. He came to regret that decision when the sunlight faded and the tall cornstalks blocked out what little light was left in the sky. To make matters worse, it was a new moon, so there was no heavenly light to guide him.

In the darkness, the size of the farm became more apparent than ever. Shiloh walked and walked, seeing only dark rows of corn ahead of him. He knew he would escape them eventually, but not knowing exactly where he was made him uncomfortable. The odd collection of noises echoing out of the darkness only added to his discomfort.

Shiloh dismissed some fluttering and flapping sounds, thinking it was probably one of the Great Blue Herons he saw earlier in the marsh. He then heard an odd, thumping sound, as if something was running around. He tried to dismiss that as well, remembering his father had mentioned seeing red foxes in the fields. Shiloh had never seen a fox on the farm, but supposed one could be the source of the noise.

The thumping sound seemed to grow closer and closer, but every time Shiloh stopped to listen, it would cease. The louder the noise grew, the more Shiloh’s heart raced. He tried to ignore the sound, focusing into the distance to locate his house. When the thumping became so loud it seemed just a step away, Shiloh panicked, breaking into a run.

He sprinted along until he tripped, falling forward onto the ground. Shiloh remained still and listened for a moment, but the only sound he could hear was his pounding heart. Looking behind him, down the corn row, he saw an indistinct dark mass just a few feet away.

Fear gripped Shiloh, who now thought only of escape. He turned his head around, thinking if he could just stand he might be able to outrun whatever was back there. He was shocked to discover a second dark figure blocking his path. The second shape was lower to the ground, with glowing eyes, and it was growling.

Shiloh didn’t know what to do, but figured whatever it was would have to start with him being on his feet. He took a deep breath and readied himself to stand, but before he could, the second dark figure charged him. He placed his hands over his head, preparing for an attack. However, no attack came. The figure leapt over him, chasing whatever was behind him down the corn row. Shiloh stood and sprinted away as fast as he could.

As he neared the edge of the field, he could hear a loud, fierce growling and tussling behind him. Resisting the temptation to look back, he broke through the edge of the cornfield and ran straight into the house.

 

 

 

Categories: Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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Randolph is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Shutting Up by Eric Wagner Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Shutting UpTitle:
 Shutting Up
Author: Eric Wagner
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 228
Genre: Business/Economics
Format: Ebook

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Hey, manager: please shut up already! Too many new managers, often promoted from the best of the front-line workers, lack the basic ability to interact effectively—speaking when they should be listening, and listening… well, not much. And when it comes to more advanced skills like improving worker performance, maximizing productivity, handling customers, and driving real success with their products, all bets are off. With no real background or training in management skills, today’s managers—even with experience—too often struggle to engage with their teams, maximize performance, and achieve great results.

Here’s the newer manager’s greatest ally: a quick-start guide that rapidly and accessibly covers the essential skills that good managers need to lead their teams effectively. Building on the simplest possible foundation—Shut Up and Listen!—this guide collects over 250 hints, tips, and tricks developed by an experienced manager and leader over more than a quarter century of technical management. Take your management career from zero to sixty—or discover how to lead your team to the next level—with one quick and easy read.

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Eric Wagner is the President of MindNest LLC, a technology incubator in Phoenix, Arizona. After beginning his career as a software engineer, he quickly rose into the ranks of management, where his style of listening to his employees, leading by example and consensus instead of decree, and finding simple ways to maximize results soon led to positions of greater responsibility at internationally-known companies Autodesk and GoDaddy.com, culminating as the CTO of Pearson Digital Learning, a division of the world’s leading academic and educational publisher. He regularly travels nationwide to appear as a keynote speaker at technology and educational events.

Eric holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering from Arizona State University.

 

Eric is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

645

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Iraq Dreams by Gerard R. D’Alessio Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Iraq DreamsTitle: Iraq Dreams
Author: Gerard R. D’Alessio
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 222
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Even before he is fully awake in his bed at Walter Reed Hospital, United States Army reservist Rick Garcia knows it is going to be a very bad day. It is November 2004, and as if having his leg amputated during an extended tour in Iraq is not bad enough, Rick is about to receive a letter from his wife, Coralee, telling him she is divorcing him and taking their two children from their home in New Jersey to Oklahoma to live with her mother.

Now forced to re-invent his life, Rick decides to do his rehabilitation in a V.A. hospital near his children. While dealing with terrifying nightmares and flashbacks, feeling vulnerable and alone, Rick falls in love with one of his nurses. But when Rick’s children witness a murder that puts their lives in jeopardy, Rick chooses to work with Coralee to protect their children from further danger—a decision that changes everything.

Iraq Dreams is the compelling story of a wounded veteran who must reevaluate his life as he and his family battle to overcome the psychological damage that resulted from the war.

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Gerard R. D’Alessio was a licensed psychologist for thirty-seven years. Now retired, Dr. D’Alessio lives with his artist-wife, Susan, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he writes fiction that focuses on psychological conflicts and passions of intimate relationships and family dramas.

 

Gerard is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Widow 101 by Susan Barber Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Widows 101Title: Widows 101
Author: Susan Barber
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 108
Genre: Self-help
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Becoming a widow isn’t like becoming a wife. Becoming a wife requires major planning. But becoming a widow is often a surprise, and even with advance planning some people are still stunned. It’s difficult to prepare for widowhood. In Widows 101, author Susan Barber uses her personal experience with her husband’s death to provide practical tips for surviving the death of a spouse.

Delivered with a gentle, lighthearted approach, Widows 101 touches upon core elements widows will need to address after losing their husbands, such as remaking yourself and redefining what you want;

dealing with grief;
making adjustments in your personal and social life;
handling your spouse’s personal effects;
attending to the details of your new life alone;
communicating your wishes for your own funeral.

Widows 101 helps you prepare for the changes in your life as you confront widowhood. Learn how to make the changes work for you instead of against you as you navigate one of life’s most difficult periods.

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Susan Barber and her husband owned their own business for thirty years. They raised four children in a small Utah town. When she became widowed, she sold her business to her son. In order to retain her business relationship with her clients, she serves the community through the Rotary , the Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations. Her friends and family keep her very busy. Susan is often still surprised at the misinformation people have about widows. ” Our husbands have stopped living, we haven’t.”

 

Susan is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Secrets, Sex and Lies by Claire Miles Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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9781466991743_COVER_FQA.inddTitle: Secrets, Sex, and Lies
Author: Claire Miles
Publisher: Partridge Publishing
Pages: 360
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

“Twelve years ago, a predator terrorized Detective Denise Davidson’s community. In the space of a few months, three young women vanished, and the case remains infuriatingly unsolved. Years of intensive police investigations have yielded no information, no hope—and no killer brought to justice.

Although fear gripped the community just after the killings, time has healed some wounds. Many residents have moved on with their lives, and the names and faces of the lost women are fading into memory. But Davidson refuses to let complacency triumph over justice. She’s not about to let go of her quest for answers.

One evening, she takes note of a man sitting alone, watching women entering a popular night spot. His actions intrigue Davidson, and intrigue quickly evolves into suspicion. What is this man hiding?

As her understanding of this man and his motives improves, she forms a dangerous bond with him. But even she cannot predict how that bond will lead to one horrific, fearful night when her world will be ripped apart at the seams. She then learns that he has a secret—one he’s held close for twelve years.

Together, they will plunge into the murky world of horror, lies, and sex. Now these unusual collaborators must unravel the mystery of the dramatic and terrible results of years of sexual deceptions. Are they clever enough to solve the riddle?”

 

Claire is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

645

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: Book Blitz | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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