Monthly Archives: February 2014

Book Blitz! Ghost of the Gods by Kevin Bohacz

Ghost of the Gods 7
Title: Ghost of the Gods
Genre: Techno-Thriller
Author: Kevin Bohacz
Publisher: Mazel & Sechel
Pages: 437
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON

About the Book

Was it the accumulated wounds to the environment that had finally triggered the nanotech plague or was it simply one more step in a shrewdly crafted plan to replace us with humans 2.0? As I write this at least one pair of these transhumans breathe the same air as us, and there are likely many more. They may look like us, they may even be almost human, but they are also cybernetic and will live for an extraordinary length of time. Trust me, their goals are not the same as ours. It was not a natural plague that almost drove humankind to extinction but an attack from within, turning our own biology against us. Scientists discovered all too late an artificial entity, a sentient machine foolishly created in the image of god, had been studying us and genetically altering us for longer than we can imagine. Perhaps it is because of this god-machine that we evolved into creatures who can think and speak and know our own mortality? This silicon god is so different from us that we may never truly understand it, but what we do know is that it is terrifyingly intelligent and it hates us. What we do know is that it tried to eradicate us from the face of our planet and then stopped for no discernible reason. What we do know is that its work is not done.

About the Author

Kevin BohaczI am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.

His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.

Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com.

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Retail Marketing Management by Claudia Buhamra Abreu Romero Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT RETAIL MARKETING MANAGEMENT

Title: Retail Marketing Management

Genre: Business

Author: Claudia Buhamra Abreu Romero

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Pages: 124

Language: English

Format: Ebook

Born from studies and the experiences of its author, Retail Marketing Management provides guidelines, concepts, and practices of marketing, with a special focus on retail management. The guidelines aim to encourage and facilitate the development of marketing strategies that enable organizations to achieve greater competitive power and build brands that are respected and valued in the market, while the concepts are intended to give the theoretical background to the practices commented on and suggested here. As the language is accessible and direct, the work has the advantage of proposing immediate solutions for business, especially for market professionals who are eager for results and have no time for heavy academic reading. Moreover, the teachings contained herein are also useful to students and teachers who wish to enhance their knowledge about marketing. Application This book is recommended for professionals and academics from different areas and can be used for reading in business environments, and as part of the literature of technology courses for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in business administration and marketing.

AuthorHouse

ABOUT CLAUDIA BUHAMRA ABREU ROMERO

The book by Professor Claudia Buhamra reflects the intense conceptual and practical knowledge of the author, and offers a valuable contribution to retailers of all sizes and industries. This work includes a very complete range of themes for marketing retailer, bringing a wide range of practical examples which are analyzed and updated illuminated by solid marketing concepts. Structured in a very didactic way, and in a language accessible to different levels of the company, the text facilitates learning and the practical exercise of the themes of retail marketing. I recommend this excellent book to all retailers who responsibly seek to win the hearts and minds of their consumers. Preface by Prof. Juracy Parente, PhD. Professor at Fundação Getúlio Vargas – EAESP/FGV Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 

Pump Up Your Book and Claudia are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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
  • This giveaway begins February 17 and ends on February 28.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 1, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Napoleon by Emilia Rutigliano

Napoleon 7Title: Napoleon
Genre: Women’s Fiction with an Attitude
Author: Emilia Rutigliano
Publisher: Emilia Rutigliano
Pages: 387
Language: English
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

They say that when a student is ready, a teacher appears.

What they don’t say is where to register, and how to matriculate in that teacher’s class.

That is a divine gift.

Veronica had it all:  the looks; the brains; the personality; and the wardrobe.  Not to mention a perfect husband, a fabulous career and two adorable children, until the perfect husband leaves her for another woman.

Thus begin the daily routines of a typical New York City immigrant with ambition whose teachers keep appearing, and for whom divine interventions keep affording new opportunities.

Though it starts like ordinary connections going through the tried and true, each relationship continues to delve into parts of her own universe that Veronica didn’t know existed.  A universe that is suddenly open to her.

This is a different kind of heroine…

Welcome to the New American Dream, Dare to Dream…

BOOK EXCERPT:

“You see the details and you are awed by them.  It shows in your dress, in your manner, in how you look at things, how you eat…  It’s all art.  No amount of money or education can give it to you.  You either see it, or you don’t.”  He took another sip.

He was about to tie it all together for her.  “Our society works in layers…”

“Oh, my god … what did you just say?”  Her eyes opened wide, and she stared at him.  But he didn’t see what was so shocking.

“Our society works in layers.  Notice I didn’t say levels.  It’s not linear.”  This was important.  He needed her to see this.  “Think of it this way.  You consider a person’s worth by their financial statement.  This is how much you earn/own, and this is how much you owe/spend.  Like, John Smith is worth a billion dollars.  With me so far?”

She shook her head … Someone else subscribes to the layers theory? She continued to stare at him.

“You transcend that, Veronica.  There are several more layers of you that you don’t even know.  You know that you are very beautiful, but you also have this magnificent charisma, this affect on people.  You talk with your clients, your friends, your kids, and with me on completely different “layers”… like a napoleon, yes?”

She nodded her head, still in awe.

“It isn’t that one layer is better than the other, although some will argue that the soaked bottom is best because it has the most flavor; others will say the flaky top is best; still others prefer the middle because it is just the right amount.  But one cannot exist without the other.  I would very much like to see you discover the layers of yourself.  There are many that you have not discovered, and it’s only because no one has taught you.  You excel in things that you do.  You’re quite a virtuoso, and I’d like to teach you about more.  Interested?“

I’m being presented with an opportunity.  Am I even hearing this correctly?  Did he just say that there is another world, layers, that I am worthy of attaining, and that he would like to help me reach and discover these layers?  Wasn’t that what I was hoping for when we first met … to learn from him?   Concentrate, Nika, this is serious.  “I’m more than interested, Jeremy, but I’m unaware of what is required of me.”

He smiled.  “Good question. There are many layers here, but let’s deal with the first two.  First things first… you have trust issues.”

Categories: Women's Fiction | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Directory of Federal Prisons Book Blitz!

Directory of Federal PrisonsTitle: Directory of Federal Prisons
Author: Christopher Zoukis & Dr. Randall Radic
Publisher: Middle Street Publishing
Pages: 145
Language: English
Genre: Reference/Law
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

The DIRECTORY OF FEDERAL PRISONS: PrisonLawBlog.com’s Federal Bureau of Prisons Facility Directory by Christopher Zoukis and Dr. Randall Radic is a comprehensive, yet succinct, guide to the contact information and basic character profile information of every prison within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, plus all private prisons under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house federal inmates.

It is an essential guide for everyone who knows anyone incarcerated within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and sets the standard for basic character profiles and contact information for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

This electronic guidebook enables attorneys, family members and friends of federal prisoners, journalists, government officials, prison volunteers, and members of the general public to quickly locate the contact information and inmate correspondence address of every prison within the Federal Bureau of Prisons and every private prison which houses federal inmates.

About the Authors:

Christopher ZoukisChristopher Zoukis is an impassioned advocate for prison education, a legal scholar, and a prolific writer of books, book reviews, and articles. His articles on prison education and prison law appear frequently in Prison Legal News, and have been published in The Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, Blog Critics, and Midwest Book Review, among other national, regional, and specialty publications.

Mr. Zoukis is often quoted on matters concerning prison law, criminal law, prisoners’ rights, and prison education. Recently, he was the focus of an article at Salon.com concerning America’s broken criminal justice system and potential solutions to the current crisis.

When not in the thick of the battle for prison reform, prison education, or prisoners’ rights advocacy, Mr. Zoukis can be found blogging at PrisonLawBlog.com, PrisonEducation.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com.

Randall Radic is the Senior Editor and Chief Operating Officer of Middle Street Publishing (MSP), where he superintends PrisonLawBlog.com and PrisonEducation.com, and manages all of MSP’s print and online endeavors.

After graduating from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in the classics, Dr. Radic matriculated at Agape Seminary, where he received the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology, and then Trinity Seminary where he received the degree of Doctor of Theology.

Dr. Randall RadicDr. Radic is the author of several non-fiction books, including Blood In, Blood Out: The Violent Empire of the Aryan Brotherhood (Headpress, 2011), The Sound of Meat (Ephemera Bound Publishing, 2008), A Priest in Hell: True Crimes of America’s Clergy (ECW Press, 2009), and Terminal Disaster: Inside the Money Machine (Sunbury Press, 2012).

Dr. Radic has appeared on National Public Radio and A&E Television discussing prison education and America’s prison gangs.

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Surviving Curtis Hall by L.A. Matthies Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT SURVIVING CURTIS HALL


Title: Surviving Curtis Hall

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Author: L.A. Matthies

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 256

Language: English

Format: Ebook

Attempting to avoid the violence and drugs at Hibernia High, sixteen-year-old Tristen McCoy and his friends have transferred on a sports scholarship to the elite Curtis Hall boarding school. Hometown lacrosse heroes, the boys are tested as they attempt to assimilate into a student body where excelling is the norm.

Tristen hones his leadership skills and sense of humor while finding his way in this new environment. He and his friends must rise to the challenge of competing with peers whose skills equal and perhaps surpass their own. Tristen’s attention is soon captured by the beautiful and alluring Marcella Venier. Despite their different origins and upbringings, the two are drawn to each other. Marcella, compelled to live a clandestine life with dark secrets and a covert research mission, struggles with her desire to further her own designs and still remain in Tristen’s world.

Events spiral out of control, and a student is lost in the subterranean tunnels beneath the school’s campus. Tristen and his friends stand accused of foul play, and in an effort to make things right, he enlists Marcella’s help in organizing a search party. During the perilous rescue attempt, danger threatens to not only sever the bonds of friendship of the group, but take their lives as well. They hope they can survive until graduation.

iUniverse

ABOUT L.A. MATTHIES



L. A. MATTHIES worked in a career in hairdressing and cosmetology. She and her husband have three children and live in New York. This is her debut book.

 FACEBOOK *WEBSITE *GOODREADS

Pump Up Your Book and L.A. are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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
  • This giveaway begins February 17 and ends on February 28.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 1, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Johnny Gora by John Goodale Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


ABOUT JOHNNY GORA


Title: Johnny Gora

Genre: Biography/Memoir

Author: John Goodale

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 194

Language: English

Format: Ebook

Have you ever had your life fall apart, or felt you were on the verge of oblivion and wonder if there were any glimmers of hope ahead? If you’re human, it’s likely that has happened to you at least once. During those times, it may seem like nothing good will ever come your way again.

John Goodale felt that way. In his memoir, Johnny Gora, Goodale tells how he watched his entire life crumble. His story begins with growing up in a middle-class home and then embarking on a life of self-delusion, booze and rock n roll in a vain attempt to become a rock star. As that dream died, John found himself in a failed marriage that tore his whole life apart. But when life was at its lowest, he met a new woman—his future wife—and embarked on a humorous crash course in a culture and tradition he grew up around but never really understood.

Johnny Gora shows that humor can be found even when things seem the darkest. It may be difficult to see at the time, but as Goodale shows, distance can provide insight into all life’s experiences.

iUniverse

ABOUT JOHN GOODALE

John Goodale is a professional chef and the father of two children. He and his wife, Farhat Qureshi, reside in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, with their two lazy, codependent cats. Johnny Gora is based on his memories of his life experiences.

 

Pump Up Your Book and John are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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
  • This giveaway begins February 17 and ends on February 28.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 1, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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The Black Song Inside by Carlyle Clark

The-Black-Song-InsideTitle: The Black Song Inside
Author: Carlyle Clark
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 435
Language: English
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Purchase at AMAZON

Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez, newly engaged private investigators, have seen the dark and violent side of life. Nothing, though, has prepared them for an explosive murder investigation that threatens to tear their relationship apart as they struggle to solve a case that could leave them in prison or dead.

Atticus’s manipulative ex-girlfriend bursts back into their lives wielding a secret about Rosemary’s family that she exploits to force the couple into investigating the execution-style slaying of her lover. The case thrusts Atticus and Rosemary headlong into the world of human trafficking and drug smuggling, while rendering them pawns in Tijuana Cartel captain Armando Villanueva’s bloody bid to take over the cartel.

The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed and compelling protagonists who, if they can save themselves, may learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive.

Excerpt:

BARTOLO AGUILAR SQUATTED beside a rutted dirt road in the Anza-Borrego Desert, two hours east of San Diego, and savored the emotional and spiritual insanity of the woman who was watching the dying girl spasming in the sand, gurgling and frothing, her bloodshot eyes rolled up in her head so that they looked like a pair of crimson moons.

Bartolo favored dawn in the desert for these birthings. Dusk would work, but there was nothing like the biting crispness of daybreak, the dark sky marbled with orange light, the desert awash in the smoldering winds sweeping off the mountains–like amniotic fluid, bathing all three of them in the warm righteousness of the womb: the unknowing convert, the sacrifice, and of course himself, the man of God.

That this dying birthing had been not the result of careful choice on his part, but rather a fortuitous order from his current employer, Armando Villanueva, made it no less sacred. The Tijuana Cartel captain hadn’t ordered the birthing nor was he aware of Bartolo’s faith; Villanueva just wanted a problem to disappear. He would be furious to discover Bartolo, on divine impulse alone, had brought the woman to witness. Villanueva didn’t understand that the will of the Lord came before worldly duties.

Bartolo had founded his own religion according to three words on an aged and scorched parchment he had carried every day since discovering it squirreled away in an ancient hut next to a jungle-shrouded temple, just before he and his comrades roped the shack’s occupant, a wizened shaman, to his cot and set the hut ablaze. Now, decades later, Bartolo Aguilar was the sole surviving member and self-anointed High Priest of the Church of the Aloned, and it was baptism time.

The dying girl was nothing as a person but everything as a sacrifice, a vessel whose perfect suffering could draw into the light that which hunkered in the shadows of the woman’s soul, of everyone’s soul. The girl wasn’t even worthy of being a floor scrubber in his congregation. She was just another throwaway who’d fooled herself into thinking that a high school dropout, who couldn’t even handle the pressures of the fast-food industry, could earn the respect of drug cartels by allowing herself to be exploited in perhaps the world’s highest-risk, lowest-reward job: drug mule “swallower”.

Her belly held twenty condoms filled with highest-grade heroin. Had she made it to the drop, they’d have given her laxatives and waited until she shit out fifty thousand dollars worth of product, and then paid her only five hundred. But one of those condoms had ruptured. Maybe her stomach acid had eaten through it. Maybe the guy who filled the condoms had been tripping on his own product and fucked up. Didn’t matter. Not to Bartolo. Not to the guy who loaded the condoms. Not to the man who ran the whole thing. Not even to the girl–now.

So the girl didn’t count. Was she Aloned? Certainly, but she had started near the bottom. Died at the bottom. A little tumble like that didn’t warrant membership. To sit in the pews in the Church of the Aloned, you must have tasted the dizzying heights of the exalted, been respected and admired, yet have cast it all away for the basest of reasons, which were, as far as Bartolo was concerned, the hidden truths of everything. Hidden that is, until Bartolo came striding into your life, clutched the nape of your neck, and forced you to stare long and deep into the mirror to see what you could do. Would do. Will do. Are doing. Have done.

The woman was in that most precarious of moments. She was doing nothing to help the girl. That the girl couldn’t be helped was both the least and most critical element.

“She’s dying,” the woman said again, her hands tucked under her armpits as if she were cold despite the ninety-degree desert morning, her feet shifting as if she had to urinate.

“A cock-sized hit of heroin will do that to you,” he said, his voice quiet but ragged, like the sound of saw cutting bone behind a closed door. He stood up, wiped his wet and grimy face with a black-and-white checkered bandanna, and adjusted his sweat-darkened cowboy hat.

“I only came with you because you said there was a way to help her. So what do we do? Why not take her to a hospital. We have to do something.”

“She’s got enough pure H in her now to kill a fucking rhino. There’s a drug you could give her that might counteract that, but I don’t have any. There’s nothing to do but wait until she dies, and then we cut the rest of the product out of her belly.”

“You don’t know that. You’re not a doctor.”

“You can always call 911.” He stepped back and leaned against his white pickup, thick arms crossed over his barrel chest, the old truck creaking with his added bulk.

“Like you’d let me.”

“Sure, I would. I wouldn’t stick around after, of course. You might as well, though. You use your cell phone, and they’ll know you were here anyway. When someone dies during the commission of a felony–your felony–that’s first-degree murder. You ready to ride the needle when it wasn’t even your fault? For a girl who’s going to die anyway?” He let that sit out there for a while.

It’d be easy to reel the woman in later. Give her a few news stories about mules who had survived. Hell, maybe it would be easier than that. The girl might survive the overdose, only to die of dehydration alone in the desert. If the woman saw that story, he would fucking own her. Perhaps she would be his first acolyte. It was time to branch out anyway. Why not start with a pretty woman like this one was? On the outside, anyway. Ugly inside now. A perfect match. The things they could do together. But first they needed to cherish this moment. Worship the girl’s birthing.

“Bullshit. You’d never let me call 911,” the woman said. “You’d be afraid that I’d . . .” She balled her fists and finally looked him in the eye. “That I’d tell them about you.”

He shook his head slowly, grinning when she looked away–probably unable to bear seeing her twin, miniature, distorted selves in his mirrored sunglasses. “I got ten guys,” he said, “All solid citizens, who’ll swear I was chasing tail with them down in Mexicali.”

“You still wouldn’t take the chance.”

“Bigger chance they’d do something to you. For a nothing like the girl, as long as it looks like what it is, they’ll sleepwalk through the motions, then head to the bar early for beers and baseball. That’s why we’re going to wait awhile after she dies to cut her open. So there’s no doubt it was the drug that killed her. But, for someone like you, they’ll break out all the CSI forensics shit to find you. Maybe try to make it go federal. Not worth the risk. Don’t pretend like you haven’t thought of that.”

She flinched. “Wha . . .what do you mean?”

“You see the girl is suffering; you know we aren’t going to do anything.” He patted the pistol in his waistband. “And you haven’t asked about this, because you know the difference. Now we can walk away from it, and only we know that we were ever here. If we put her out of her misery, that’s not manslaughter. It’s murder. No statute of limitations. The rest of your life waiting for the knock on the door. Let’s get it flopping around on the table. She’s going to die, and we ain’t gonna do shit about it.”

“You fuck! You fuck! You fuck! You lied when you told me there was something I could do for her just to get me out here, you twisted freak.”

“No, you’re doing something for her right now.” The priest’s voice deepened and thrummed as though he spoke in synchronicity with something dark and unseen; his westward gaze seemed to stretch beyond her, chasing the darkness around the rim of the world as it fled the rising sun. “You are bearing witness to her end. You are grieving for the loss of her. Is that not doing something for her? Would it be better to let her die out here alone and unmourned with no one to remember? Now, she will be remembered, won’t she? That is something I have given unto you for her. She will be as much in your thoughts as any child from your womb. She will have a mother who wakes screaming with the vision of her lost child still floating before her eyes in the darkness. What better homage to a dead child than a mother’s endless grief?”

The woman gaped at him. “What are you?”

The priest shook his head, his gaze returning to normal, his voice again seeming harsh and whispery and human. “Look, this is just one shit day. You put it behind you. You make up for it by doing good. What good can you do rotting in prison? What good will going to prison do for all the people who look up to you? Trying to do what would make you feel better would just be selfish on your part. You need to look at the bigger picture here. You’ve got to suck it up and do the hard thing.”

Bartolo stopped, luxuriating in the words he would say next, which even now seemed almost like a caress in his throat. A revelation. He now knew who should be his acolytes. Who knew the greatest height of human purpose? Mothers. How easily that purpose could be diverted? Perverted? Bent to the will of the Church of the Aloned? That had to be why the Lord had inspired him to bring the woman, so he would come to just that epiphany. Mothers would be the foundation of his church.

His body alive with zeal, words rolled out–not from him, but from the one true God using him as He should use his prophet–fashioning a lifeline that was a noose around the neck of her old self. “So the question is,” he said, “are you going to throw away a whole life and reputation, and all the goodwill you’ve built up, just so you can feel better? Think of your children.”

The woman collapsed into the sand, sobbing.

How he loved these rare moments when God spoke through him and blessed his desire to step free of the roles society forced him into–to speak the stark truth and watch the comprehension of it rip away the flimsy masks of humanity that society demands people wear.

In these quickening moments, when the convert was accepting the baptism, washing her old self away with the burning tears of the Aloned, he thought of the truth he’d first learned from the old map he’d carried next to his heart as a child soldier for the FARC rebels in the jungles of Colombia. The very same map he carried now.

After a day of dog-trotting through the jungle, or machine-gunning villagers, or dismembering refugees, or beating a man unconscious only to wake him up with a pail of fetid swamp water and start over, or being forced to hold girls down while older boys grunted and thrust atop them, he would sneak away with his penlight–careful to keep his tears, blood, and sweat off the yellowed and wrinkled parchment–and study the ancient map.

Those sessions, hunched in darkness, swarmed by mosquitoes and the cries of the damning and the damned, were when he founded the Church of the Aloned with the certainty that, like the prophets of old, the suffering he’d felt and inflicted had revealed to him searing truths of human instinct that were his burden and privilege to share.

The exquisite nautical and geographical details the long-dead cartographer had so painstakingly sketched held no appeal for him. What riveted him was what the man had scrawled on the other side of the line that marked the end of the known world: Beyond Here Be Monsters.

It was the child soldier Bartolo Aguilar, alone, his body wracked with sickness and exhaustion, his physical and spiritual suffering forging him into something new to the world, who realized the ancient cartographer had inserted an extra word that rendered the whole phrase backward.

Now, immersed in the languid heat of the coming day, ensorcelled by the brilliance of the orange-fingered dawn spreading across the lightening sky, Bartolo looked first at the dying girl, then the weeping woman, and finally, nodding, studied himself in the side mirror of his pickup, his face a blank shadow, his head haloed by the rising sun. Not Beyond Here Be Monsters, but simply Here Be Monsters.

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Then Like the Blind Man by Freddie Owens

Then Like the Blind Man 7Title: Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story
Author: Freddie Owens
Publisher: Blind Sight Publications
Pages: 332
Language: English
Genre: Historical Fiction/Coming of Age
Format: Paperback & eBook

Purchase at AMAZON

A storm is brewing in the all-but-forgotten backcountry of Kentucky. And, for young Orbie Ray, the swirling heavens may just have the power to tear open his family’s darkest secrets. Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story is the enthralling debut novel by Freddie Owens, which tells the story of a spirited wunderkind in the segregated South of the 1950s and the forces he must overcome to restore order in his world. Rich in authentic vernacular and evocative of a time and place long past, this absorbing work of magical realism offered up with a Southern twist will engage readers who relish the Southern literary canon, or any tale well told.

Nine-year-old Orbie already has his cross to bear. After the sudden death of his father, his mother Ruby has off and married his father’s coworker and friend Victor, a slick-talking man with a snake tattoo. Since the marriage, Orbie, his sister Missy, and his mother haven’t had a peaceful moment with the heavy-drinking, fitful new man of the house. Orbie hates his stepfather more than he can stand; this fact lands him at his grandparents’ place in Harlan’s Crossroads, Kentucky, when Victor decides to move the family to Florida without including him. In his new surroundings, Orbie finds little to distract him from Granpaw’s ornery ways and constant teasing jokes about snakes.

As Orbie grudgingly adjusts to life with his doting Granny and carping Granpaw, who are a bit too keen on their black neighbors for Orbie’s taste, not to mention their Pentecostal congregation of snake handlers, he finds his world views changing, particularly when it comes to matters of race, religion, and the true cause of his father’s death. He befriends a boy named Willis, who shares his love of art, but not his skin color. And, when Orbie crosses paths with the black Choctaw preacher, Moses Mashbone, he learns of a power that could expose and defeat his enemies, but can’t be used for revenge. When a storm of unusual magnitude descends, he happens upon the solution to a paradox that is both magical and ordinary. The question is, will it be enough?

Equal parts Hamlet and Huckleberry Finn, it’s a tale that’s both rich in meaning, timely in its social relevance, and rollicking with boyhood adventure. The novel mines crucial contemporary issues, as well as the universality of the human experience while also casting a beguiling light on boyhood dreams and fears. It’s a well-spun, nuanced work of fiction that is certain to resonate with lovers of literary fiction, particularly in the grand Southern tradition of storytelling.

CHAPTER ONE

EVERYBODY ON EDGE

Thursday, June 6th 1959

Momma and even Victor said I’d be coming to St. Petersburg with them.  They’d been saying it for weeks.  Then Victor changed his mind.  He was my stepdaddy, Victor was.  It would be easier on everybody, he said, if I stayed with Granny and Granpaw in Kentucky.  Him and Momma had enough Florida business to take care of without on top of everything else having to take care of me too.  I was a handful, Victor said.  I kept everybody on edge.  If you asked me, the only edge everybody was kept on was Victor’s.  As far as I was concerned, him and Momma could both go to hell.  Missy too.  I was fed up trying to be good.  Saying everything was okay when it wasn’t.  Pretending I understood when I didn’t.

Momma’s car was a 1950 model.  Daddy said it was the first Ford car to come automatic.  I didn’t know what ‘automatic’ was but it sure had silver ashtrays, two of them on the back of the front seats.  They were all popped open with gum wrappers and cigarette butts and boy did they smell.

One butt fell on top a bunch of comic books I had me in a pile.  The pile leaned cockeyed against my dump truck.  Heat came up from there, little whiffs of tail pipe smoke, warm and stuffy like the insides of my tennis shoes.

It rattled too – the Ford car did.  The glove box.  The mirrors.  The windows.  The knobs on the radio.  The muffler under the floorboard.  Everything rattled.

We’d been traveling hard all day, barreling down Road 3 from Detroit to Kentucky.  Down to Harlan’s Crossroads.  I sat on the edge of the back seat, watching the fence posts zoom by.  Missy stood up next to the side window, sucking her thumb, the fingers of her other hand jammed between her legs.  She was five years old.  I was nine.

I’d seen pictures of Florida in a magazine.  It had palm trees and alligators and oranges.  It had long white beaches and pelicans that could dive-bomb the water.  Kentucky was just old lonesome farmhouses and brokeback barns.  Gravel roads and chickens in the yard.

Road 3 took us down big places like Fort Wayne and Muncie.  It took us down a whole bunch of little places too, places with funny names like Zaneville and Deputy and Speed.

Missy couldn’t read.

“Piss with care,” I said.

“Oh Orbie, you said a bad word.”

“No.  Piss with care, Missy.  That sign back there.  That’s what it said.”

Missy’s eyes went wide.  “It did not.  Momma’ll whip you.”

Later on we got where there was a curve in the road and another sign.  “Look Missy.  Do not piss.”

“It don’t say that.”

“Yes it does.  See.  When the road goes curvy like that you’re not supposed to pee.  But when it’s straight, it’s okay; but you have to do it careful cause that’s what the sign says.  Piss with care!”

“It don’t say that.”

“Does too.”

We crossed a big pile of water on a bridge with towers and giant ropey things looping down.  On the other side was Louisville, Kentucky.  After that was just small towns and little white stores with red gas-pumps, farm houses and big barns and fields, empty fields and fields of corn and fields where there were cows and horses and pigs and long rows of tobacco plants Momma said cigarettes was made of.

I had me a war on all the towns going down.

Tat Tat Tat Tat!  Blam!  There goes Cox Creek! 

Bombs away over Nazareth

Blam! Blam! Boom!  Hodgekinsville never had a chance!

“Let’s keep it down back there!” Victor said.

“A grenade rolled into Victor’s lap!” I whispered.  “BlamOOO!  Blowed him to smithereens!”

I wished Momma’d left him back there in Toledo like she said she would.  She was always threatening around like that, but then she would get to feeling sorry and forget all about it.  She’d been mad ever since Victor spilled the beans about Daddy.  Victor was mad too, drinking his beer and driving Momma’s Ford too fast.  After Louisville he started throwing his empties out the window.

I liked to watch them bust on the road.

“Pretty country, Kentucky,” Victor said.

**

It was the end of daytime and a big orangey-gold sun ball hung way off over the hills, almost touching the trees.  The Ford jerked over a ditch at the foot of a patchy burnt yard, thundering up a load of bubble noises before Victor shut it down.

“Get off me,” Missy said.

“I ain’t bothering you.”

“Yes you are.”

“But Missy, look!”

A big boned woman in a housedress had come to stand in the yard down by the well.  She was looking into the sun – orange light in her face – standing upright, sharp edged and stiff, like an electrical tower, one arm bent like a triangle, the other raised with the elbow so the hand went flat out over her eyes like a cap.  She stared out of wrinkles and scribbles and red leather cheekbones.   Her nose was sunburned, long but snubbed off at the end, sticking out above a mouth that had no lips, a crack that squirmed and changed itself from long to short and back to long again.

Missy’s eyes widened.  “Who is that?”

“Granny,” I said.  “Don’t you remember?”

I saw Granpaw too, sitting squat-legged against Granny’s little Jesus Tree.  He was turning in one big hand a piece of wood, shaving it, whittling it outward with a jackknife.  The brim of a dusty Panama shadowed his eyes.  In back of him stood the house, balanced on little piles of creek rock.  You could see jars and cans and other old junk scattered underneath.  It was the same dirty white color as before, the house was, but the sun ball had baked it orange, and now I could see at one end where somebody had started to paint.

As we got out of the car, the big boned figure in the housedress let out with a whoop, hollering, “Good God A Mighty!  If it tain’t Ruby and them younguns of hers!  Come all the way down here from Dee-troit!”  Blue-green veins bulged and tree-limbed down the length of her arms.

Victor stayed out by the Ford, the round top of my ball cap hanging out his pocket.  A gas station man had given it to me on the way down.  It was gray and had a red winged horse with the word ‘Mobilgas’ printed across the front.  Victor had swiped it away, said I shouldn’t be accepting gifts from strangers.  I should have asked him about it first.  Now it was in his back pocket, crushed against the Ford’s front fender where he leaned with an unlit cigar, rolling between his lips.  The sun was in back of him, halfway swallowed up by a distant curvy line of hilltop trees.

“Hidy Victor!” Granny called.  “Ya’ll have a good trip?”

Victor put on a smooth voice.  “Fine Mrs. Wood.  Real fine.  You can’t beat blue grass for beauty, can you?”  A long shadow stretched out on the ground in front of him.

Granny laughed.  “Ain’t been no farther than Lexington to know!”

Granpaw changed his position against the tree, leaned forward a little bit and spat a brown gob, grunting out the word ‘shit’ after he did.  He dragged the back of his knife hand sandpaper-like over the gap of his mouth.

“I want you just to looky here!” Granny said.  “If tain’t Missy-Two-Shoes and that baby doll of hers!”

Missy backed away.

“Aw, Missy now,” Momma said.  “That’s Granny.”

Missy smiled then and let Granny grab her up.  Her legs went around Granny’s waist.  She had on a pink Sunday dress with limp white bows dangling off its bottom, the back squashed and wadded like an overused hankie.

“How’s my little towhead?” Granny said.

“Good.”  Missy held out her baby doll.  “This is Mattie, Granny.  I named her after you.”

“Well ain’t you the sweetest thang!”  Granny grinned so big her wrinkles went out in circles like water does after a stone’s dropped in.  She gave Missy a wet kiss and set her down.  Then her grin flashed toward Momma.  “There’s my other little girl!”

Momma, no taller than Granny’s chin, did a little toe dance up to her, smiling all the way.  She hugged Granny and Granny in turn beat the blue and red roses on the back of Momma’s blouse.

“I just love it to death!” Granny said.  “Let me look at you!”  She held Momma away from her.  Momma wiggled her hips; slim curvy hips packed up neat in a tight black skirt.  She kissed the air in front of Granny.

Like Marilyn Monroe.  Like in the movies. 

“Jezebel!” Granny laughed.  “You always was a teaser.”

They talked about the trip to Florida, about Victor’s prospects – his good fortune, his chance – about Armstrong and the men down there and that Pink Flamingo Hotel.  They talked about Daddy too, and what a good man he’d been.

“It liked to’ve killed us all, what happened to Jessie,” Granny said.

“I know Mamaw.  If I had more time, I’d go visit him awhile.”  Momma looked out over the crossroads toward the graveyard.  I looked too but there was nothing to see now, nothing but shadows and scrubby bushes and the boney black limbs of the cottonwood trees.  I remembered what Victor’d said about the nigger man, about the crane with the full ladle.

 “I want you just to look what the cat’s drug in Mattie!” Granpaw had walked over from his place by the tree.

 “Oh Papaw!”  Momma hugged Granpaw’s rusty old neck and kissed him two or three times.

“Shoo!  Ruby you’ll get paint all over me!”

Momma laughed and rubbed at a lip mark she’d left on his jaw.

“How you been daughter?”

“All right I reckon,” Momma said.  She looked back toward Victor who was still up by the Ford.  Victor took the cigar out of his mouth.  He held it to one side, pinched between his fingers.

“How’s that car running Victor?” Granpaw called.

“Not too bad, Mr. Wood,” Victor answered, “considering the miles we’ve put on her.”

Granpaw made a bunch of little spit-spit sounds, flicking them off the end of his tongue as he did.  He hawked up another brown gob and let it fall to the ground, then he gave Victor a nod and walked over.  He walked with a limp, like somebody stepping off in a ditch, carrying the open jackknife in one hand and that thing, whatever it was he’d been working on, in the other.

Granny’s mouth got hard.  “Ruby, I did get that letter of yorn.  I done told you it were all right to leave that child.  I told you in that other letter, ‘member?”

“You sure it’s not any trouble?” Momma said.

Granny’s eyes widened.  “Trouble?  Why, tain’t no trouble a-tall.”  She looked over my way.  “I want you just to look how he’s growed!  A might on the skinny side though.”

“He’ll fill out,” Momma said.

“Why yes he will.  Come youngun.  Come say hello to your old Granny.”

“Orbie, be good now,” Momma said.

I went a little closer, but I didn’t say hello.

“He’ll be all right,” Granny said.

“I hope so Mamaw.  He’s been a lot of trouble over this.“

Veins, blue rivers, tree roots, flooded down Granny’s gray legs.  More even than on her arms.  And you could see white bulges and knots and little red threads wiggling out.  “I’ll bet you they’s a lot better things going on here than they is in Floridy,” she said.  “I bet you, if you had a mind to, Granpaw would show you how to milk cows and hoe tobacco.  I’ll learn you everything there is to know about chickens.  Why, you’ll be a real farm hand before long!”

“I don’t wanna be no damned farm hand,” I said.

“Boy, I’ll wear you out!” Momma said.  “See what I mean, Mamaw?”

“He’ll be all right,” Granny said.

The sun was on its way down.  Far to the east of it two stars trailed after a skinny slice of moon.  I could see Old Man Harlan’s Country Store across the road, closed now, but with a porch light burning by the door.

A ruckus of voices had started up by the Ford, Granpaw and Victor trying to talk at the same time.  They’d propped the Ford’s hood up with a stick and were standing out by the front.

Victor had again taken up his place, leaning back against the front fender, crushing my ball cap.  “That’s right, that’s what I said!  No good at all.”  He held the cigar shoulder level – lit now – waving it with his upraised arm one side to the other.  “The Unions are ruining this country, Mr. Wood.  Bunch of meddlesome, goddamned troublemakers.  Agitators, if you catch my drift.”  He took a pull on the cigar then blew the smoke over Granpaw’s head.

Granpaw was stout-looking but a whole head shorter than Victor.  He stood there in his coveralls, doubled up fists hanging at the end of each arm, thick as sledgehammers – one with the open jackknife, the other with that thing he’d been working on.  “Son, you got a problem?”

“The rank and file,” Victor said.  “They’re the problem!      They’ll believe anything the goddamn Union tells them.”

Granpaw leaned over and spat.  “You don’t know nothin’.”

Anything,” Victor said.

“What?”

Victor took the cigar out of his mouth and smiled.  “I don’t know anything is what you mean to say.  It’s proper grammar.”

“I know what I aim to say,” Granpaw said, “I don’t need no northern jackass a tellin’ me.”  Granpaw’s thumb squeezed against the jackknife blade.

Cut him Granpaw!  Knock that cigar out his mouth!

“Strode!”  Granny shouted.  “Come away from there!”

Momma hurried over.  “Victor, I told you.”

“I was just sharing some of my thoughts with Mr. Wood here,” Victor said.  “He took it the wrong way, that’s all.  He doesn’t understand.”

“I understand plenty, City Slicker.”  Granpaw closed the knife blade against his coveralls and backed away.

“Ain’t no need in this Strode!” Granny said.  “Victor’s come all the way down here from Dee-troit.  He’s company.  And you a man of God!”

“I’ll cut him a new asshole, he keeps on that a way,” Granpaw said.

Momma was beside herself.  “Apologize Victor.  Apologize to Papaw for talking that way.”

“For telling the truth?”

“For insulting him!”

Victor shook his head.  “You apologize.  You’re good at that.”

Over where the sun had gone down the sky had turned white-blue.  Fireflies winked around the roof of the well, around the branches of the Jesus Tree.  Victor walked around to the front of the car and slammed the hood down harder than was necessary.  “Come on Orbie!  Time to get your stuff!”

I couldn’t believe it was about to happen, even though I’d been told so many times it was going to.  I started to cry.

“Get down here!” Victor yelled.

Momma met me at the car.  She took out a hankerchief and wiped at my tears.  She looked good.   She always looked good.

“I don’t want you to go,” I said.

“Oh now,” Momma said. “Let’s not make Victor any madder than he already is, okay?”  She helped bring my things from the car.  I carried my tank and my box of army men and crayons.  Momma brought my dump truck, the toy cars, my comic books and drawing pad.  We put them all on the porch where Missy sat playing with her doll.  Momma hugged me one last time, got Missy up in her arms and headed to the car.

Victor was already behind the wheel, gunning the engine.  “Come on Ruby!  Let’s go!”

“You just hold on a minute!”  Momma put Missy in the car and turned to hug Granny.  “Bye Mamaw.”

“Goodbye Sweetness.  I hope you find what you’re looking for down there.”

“Right now I’d settle for a little peace of mind,” Momma said; then she hugged Granpaw.  “I’m real sorry about Victor Papaw.”

Granpaw nodded.  “You be careful down there in Floridy.”

“Bye Momma!  Bye Missy!”  I yelled.

Momma closed her door and Victor backed out.  I hurried down to where Granny and Granpaw were standing.  The Ford threw dust and gravels as it fishtailed up the road.

Granpaw tapped me on the shoulder.  “This one’s for you son,” he said and handed down the piece he’d been working on.  It was a little cross of blond wood about a foot high with a burnt snake draped lengthwise along its shoulders.  Granpaw moved his finger over the snake’s curvy body.  “Scorched that in there with a hot screw driver, I did.”

It was comical in a way, but strange too; I mean to make a snake there – right where Jesus was supposed to be.  Like most everything else in my life, it made no sense at all.  Momma’s Ford had disappeared over the hill.  Pale road-dust moved like a ghost into the cornfields under the half-dark sky.  It drifted back toward the skull of Granpaw’s barn, back toward the yard.  I stood there watching it all, listening as Momma’s Ford rumbled away.

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Fear of the Night by Mike Scygiel Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Fear of the Night

 

ABOUT FEAR OF THE NIGHT

Divider 9

Fear of the Night coverTitle: Fear of the Night
Genre: Horror/Paranormal
Author: Mike Scygiel
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 294
Language: English
Format: Ebook

Eight days before Halloween, two strangers drive into the tiny town of Dunes, Michigan, in the middle of the night. After marking various locations on a map of the town, the two men take up residence on Willows Drive in the abandoned Kalaski Mansion.

At the nearby assisted living home, eighteen-year-old Greg Snow, who lives across from the Kalaski Mansion, helps decorate for Halloween. When he returns home, the two men—called Kasper and Ghoul—react strangely to the boy. They look at him as though he’s the spook in town. Their curious reaction makes Greg wonder what these men are up to. He shares his worries with his friends, and they soon make the acquaintance of a glowing orb named Rebecca, who tells them Kasper and Ghoul are there to destroy the town.

The new arrivals are in Dunes to seek the revenge for past slights. Their intention is to find the one person who stopped the process when they were last in town and destroy him and his family. Greg and his friends are willing to fight for their town—but Greg has no idea that he has a close family connection to the mysterious men.

iUniverse

 

ABOUT MIKE SCYGIEL

Mike Scygiel lives in Sawyer, Michigan, where he writes stories about the paranormal.

GOODREADS

 

Pump Up Your Book and Mike are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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
  • This giveaway begins February 17 and ends on February 28.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 1, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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My Battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Beckie Butcher Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

MBWCFS

ABOUT MY BATTLE WITH CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

SKU-000547625_COVER.inddTitle: My Battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Genre: Health/Wellness
Author: Beckie Butcher
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 52
Language: English
Format: Ebook

“As a former CFS sufferer and current healthcare practitioner, I feel Ms. Butcher provides an informative and interesting perspective on this disease and her road to recovery.”
Kyrie Kleinfelter,D.C.,
Upper Cervical Chiropractor.

“As a fellow sufferer of CFS, I was truly able to relate to Ms. Butchers’ experiences, thoughts and feelings. Her reference to the Word of God comforted my heart. Truly inspiring and honest.”
Darla Canney,
CFS Patient.

Ms. Butcher shares her intense and emotional journey of how the autoimmune disease chronic fatigue syndrome impacted her life from her first symptoms to the progress of her treatment and physical, spiritual and emotional recovery.

By sharing with others, she hopes to inspire others to seek help so they may lead better lives as well. She wants them to know there is hope.

iUniverse

ABOUT BECKIE BUTCHER

Ms. Butcher worked as a Lab Technician in various hospitals and laboratories. She is an avid cook when she feels up to it, and in 2005 she published a small cookbook. Ms. Butcher lives in her hometown of Elgin, Il.

Pump Up Your Book and Beckie are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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
  • This giveaway begins February 17 and ends on February 28.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 1, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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