Monthly Archives: April 2014

A River of Tears, the River of Hope by Orit Rehany Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

ABOUT A RIVER OF TEARS, THE RIVER OF HOPE

 

 

A River of TearsTitle: A River of Tears, the River of Hope
Genre: School & Teaching/Inspirational
Author: Orit Rehany
Publisher: AuthorHouse
EBook: 151 pages
Release Date: December 17, 2013

A River of Tears The River of Hope centers on the saga of the Two Torah Scrolls, and of an fluent and thriving community living peacefully for 2600 years until World War II and the events of Nazism, anti-Semitism and hatred took place in the ancient region known as the Cradle of Civilization, or modern days Iraq. The creation of Iraq by the British installed an unsuccessful attempt at Monarchy. The results were staggering and ultimately ended in the displacement of an entire community to Israel and the first settlement of the community in this newly created State. A River of Tears The River of Hope follows the enchanting and fascinating Murad family. The Murad family brought to Israel a proud heritage to share with the world including the two Torah Scrolls of their beloved father and grandfather, Rabbi Ezra Murad. Rabbi Murad’s two Torah Scrolls traveled with the family to Israel, where he was rightfully recognized as an important and impactful role models. His name shined within the community in Baghdad, and his memory and the valuable Two Torah Scrolls continued to stand out in Israel. While settling in Israel the Murad family showed us the most valuable elements of hope, drive, and determination as they continued to thrive in Israel and Canada. They continued to believe in their abilities to succeed. Indeed, as their lives changed and they relocated, the Murad family always maintained focus and the belief in their ability to survive and flourish. A River of Tears The River of Hope will welcome readers into the history of the Murad family and their amazing journey from a world filled with oppression and tyranny, to one supported by acceptance and support.

AuthorHouse

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Terms & Conditions:
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  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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Directory of Federal Prisons by Christopher Zoukis & Dr. Randall Radic

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.

Book Excerpt:

A day doesn’t go by that we don’t receive email at http://www.PrisonLawBlog.com or at http://www.PrisonEducation.com from a friend, family member, or from an attorney representing a federal prisoner who is seeking the proper mailing address for a federal prisoner or official contact information for a specific federal prison. It would be helpful if the Federal Bureau of Prisons would publish a hardcopy version of this basic information. Unfortunately, it is only available for those who are technologically savvy enough to locate the information on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website – if, in fact, the seeker knows that this is where to go.

The Directory of Federal Prisons, envisioned as a solution to this problem, is an inexpensive, regularly updated, quick reference guide to contact information and basic character profiles for every prison within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, including private prisons which house federal prisoners. While this information is generally static — other than population numbers, that is — it must be updated periodically to reflect local policy revisions that impact information, such as the inmate correspondence address and new prisons being built (or, in the case of private prisons, new contracts awarded or old contracts not renewed).

Our solution is a concise directory containing official contact information, inmate correspondence addresses, and other basic character profile information about each federal prison, such as the gender of the inmates, security level, federal district, population number, and adjacent satellite prison camp, if there is one, etc.

The reader can simply flip to the regional chapter containing the federal prison in question and locate the specific prison in an alphabetical listing. That’s it. All the information is there. It is that easy to use.No more digging through the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website or purchasing expensive legal texts or worry about losing contact with a family member, friend, or client.

To make the information even more accessible, we have cross-referenced the listing of prison facilities in six appendices, five of which further categorize every federal prison to make locating them within the text even easier.

• Appendix 1 divides every federal prison by BOP region,

• Appendix 2 provides an alphabetical list of all federal prisons listed in the directory,

• Appendix 3 lists every federal prison which houses female prisoners, and does this by the BOP region in which it is contained,

• Appendix 4 divides all federal prisons by security level. And,

• Appendix 5 provides a list of every satellite prison camp, also divided by BOP region, and the gender of prisoners housed therein.

Each appendix provides an additional vehicle for locating information about the federal prison which our reader seeks, in a format that they find easiest to use.

On a cautionary note, some of the information will, of course, change. For this reason, we plan to update the text periodically. If you, our reader, locate errors or outdated information, please feel free to contact us at http://www.PrisonLawBlog.com. We will gladly make the updates and we will provide you with a free copy of the next edition of the text.

The authors push forward, shoulder to shoulder with our readers, in the struggle for a criminal justice system which will be more equitable and innovative and which will transcend locked doors, shattered lives, and broken families. We are with you. You are not forgotten.

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The England Operation by Peter Swarbrick – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT THE ENGLAND OPERATION

Title: The England Operation

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Peter Swarbrick

Publisher: iUniverse

EBook: 360 pages

Release Date: May 16, 2012

In the year 1141, civil war rages in England. Robber barons pillage and loot, while rampaging armies terrorise the countryside. But never fear: the peacekeepers are coming. The Organisation of Nations of the World (known in Latin as ONO) launches the England Operation to sort everything out. In this world-turned-upside-down satirical take on the peacekeeping industry, rich and powerful African businesswomen and politicians collude with Norman overlords to steal England’s most valuable natural resource—sheep—as the hapless international troops who are supposed to stop the war sink ever deeper into the swamp of violence and corruption that is twelfth-century England.

iUniverse

Pump Up Your Book and Peter are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Xetonian Trades IV by J. Wayne Stillwell Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT XETONIAN TRADES IV

Title: Xetonian Trades IV

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Author: J. Wayne Stillwell

Publisher: AuthorHouse

EBook: 250 pages

Release Date: January 21, 2014

The Augerite invasion and the Reaper war convinced the United Galactic Treaty Organization (UGATO) leadership that the galaxy must be teeming with intelligent life that their descendants would eventually meet. Some would be hostile so they decided to use time travel for preemptive defense purposes. By knowing the future they might be able to take action in the present to enhance their security. UGATO had originally justified the time ship’s cost by promising to locate and visit God to discuss his real purpose, the meaning of life and the mysteries of the spiritual world. This was soon abandoned as fool hearty. UGATO traveled back in time 2,900 years to visit the Xetonian Messiah Graciana who convinced them that a precise understanding of God is not possible purely through the use of technology. God cannot be known in a physical sense and it would always require a measure of faith in order to achieve a state of grace. As the Unitarian survivors of the Big Bang and their alien allies continue their manifest destiny in the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond by traveling in time, their faith and courage would be tested. They were about to breech the zero time barrier or what the news media had dubbed ‘Infinities gate’.

AuthorHouse

Pump Up Your Book and J. Wayne Stillwell are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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‘A Very Good Life,’ by Lynn Steward

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00031]Title:  A Very Good Life

Genre:  Literary Fiction

Author:  Lynn Steward

Website:   http://www.averygoodlife.com

Publisher:  CreateSpace

Purchase on Amazon.

Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an “it” girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

A Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.

Chapter One

Dana McGarry, her short blond hair stirred by a light gust of wind, stood on Fifth Avenue in front of the display windows of the B. Altman department store on the day after Thanksgiving, November, 1974.  Dana, public relations and special events coordinator for the store, pulled her Brooks Brothers camel hair polo coat tighter around her slim, shapely frame.  Shoppers hurried past her, huddled in overcoats as mild snow flurries coated the streets with a fine white powder.  It was now officially Christmas season, and Dana sensed a pleasant urgency in the air as people rushed to find the perfect gift or simply meet a friend for lunch.  The frenetic pace of life in Manhattan continued to swell the sidewalks, but pedestrians were more inclined to tender a smile instead of a grimace if they bumped into one another.  Dana often told her friends that Christmas was a time when there was a temporary truce between true believers and grinches.  As far as business was concerned, she was pleased to hear the cash registers of B. Altman singing their secular carols inside the store, but she also still believed that the holidays brought magic and balance, however briefly, into a world of routine and ten-hour workdays.

Balance?  Dana smiled wistfully, for balance was becoming harder to achieve.  She was only twenty-nine, but the pressures of life were already assaulting her mind and spirit in numerous ways.  She tried to please multiple people in B. Altman’s corporate offices on a daily basis, not an easy task given that the seasoned professionals who were grooming her had various agendas, not all of which tallied with each other.  And then there was her marriage to Brett McGarry, a litigator at a Wall Street law firm.  Brett was as busy as she, and simultaneously attending to her career and the needs of her husband was sometimes difficult, if not downright burdensome.  His needs?  Well, “demands” would be a more accurate description of what Dana had to contend with.  Although Brett didn’t overtly order Dana around, he informed her of what he would or would not be able to do with her on any given day.  His growing air of superiority was extremely subtle and couched in affable smiles that most of Dana’s friends could not accurately read.

Dana’s eyes had become unfocused as she stared past the display window, but she quickly snapped her attention back to the present moment.  People, coated with a dusting of light snow, continued to stream through the portico outside B. Altman’s.  Magic and balance still held the better claim on Friday, November 29.  She’d worry about Brett later.

“I think they like it,” commented Andrew Ricci, display director for the store, as he stood to Dana’s left, referring to the happy, animated shoppers. “Good idea, Mark.  Christmas was the right time to bring in livemannequins.”  Andrew, slender and dressed in a gray suit with sweater vest, wiped snowflakes from his salt and pepper hair, wavy and combed straight back.  Even as Andrew said this, a little girl waved both hands, trying to get the attention of one of the Sugar Plum Fairies behind the window, saying over and over, “I saw her blink!  I did! I saw her blink!”

 

Mark Tepper was the president of the Tepper Display Company, and B. Altman had been a good accountfor ten years.  “You’re welcome.  I want you guys to look good.  Bloomie’s is just twenty-five blocks away,” said the suave president, dressed in a blue pinstripe suit.  He stood to Dana’s right.  His light brown hair was parted neatly above a broad forehead, and he had intense blue eyes that could capture the slightest nuance.  He was of average height, in good physical shape, and his ideas seemed to emanate from a bottomless reservoir of energy.  “You can’t go wrong with a Nutcracker theme.”  Mark stepped back and surveyed the scene.  “Now if I could only figure out a way to make the live mannequins stop blinking,” he said with a grin.

Dana and Andrew laughed at Mark’s quick wit, the result of keen intelligence combined with a sophisticated playfulness.  He could be highly focused without taking himself too seriously.

Andrew rubbed his hands together and exhaled, his breath drifting away in a small cloud of vapor.  “Say, would you two mind coming inside to look at the blueprints for the cosmetic department? I have to make one change.”

Dana, like all B. Altman employees, was energized by the transformation of her beloved store, and being a close friend of Andrew’s, she knew of changes starting with the planning stage. More than a year ago, when Dana first learned that thecosmetic department would be renovated, she thought it might bode well for her idea to add a teen makeup section.

Inside, the store was glowing from Christmas decorations, chandeliers, and red-capped  mercury lamps illuminating counters that curved and zigzagged across the main floor in every direction.  A decorated tree in the center of the main floor rose fifteen feet into the air, a grand focal point for the holiday atmosphere.  Andrew led the group to one of the counters in the existing cosmetic department and unrolled a set of blueprints he’d stored beneath the glass counter.  The trio would be undisturbed since holiday shoppers were buzzing past them on their way to the gift departments, many to see the new million-dollar menswear section that opened the previous month and extended the entire block along 34th Street.

“We’re aiming for the new department to open the first week of May,” Andrew said, “followed by a black tie gala.”  He poked his index finger onto the center of the blueprints for emphasis.  He then looked up proudly and pointed to a section of the floor where the new cosmetic department would be installed.

“Good placement,” Mark said.  “And nice layout, too.”  Mark usually spoke rapidly and in short sentences.  Insightful, he sized things up quickly and didn’t waste time.  It was another aspect of his confidence that allowed him to act professionally without losing his innate charm.  He also had a knack for including everyone around him in any discussion.

“So what does the public relations and special events coordinator think?” he asked, pivoting to face Dana, sensing she had something to say.

Dana cocked her head slightly while mischievously narrowing her eyes.  “I think we shouldn’t forget that a teen makeup section is just as important as an updated cosmetic department.  Otherwise, why are we bothering to update it in the first place?  Our demographic is getting younger.  Girls today are wearing makeup by the time they’re fourteen.”

Dana turned to Andrew. “What do you think, Mr. Ricci ?

Andrew chuckled at Dana’s use of his surname, which she occasionally did when talking business with her friend and confidante.  Andrew was the quintessential Renaissance man—artist, craftsman, and cook.  He and Dana attended art lectures at the Met, and he had personally taken Dana under his wing to give her what he called “a gay man’s culinary expertise” when her husband announced they were hosting a dinner party for a few of the firm’s partners.  Andrew was not only Dana’s close friend, but he was also a consummate professional in his capacity as display director.  He was a passionate man, at times almost compulsive, but he commanded respect from the refined corporate culture at B. Altman.

Andrew rolled up the blueprints and sighed.  “Good luck trying to persuade Helen.  She’s done a great job with her department, but she’s from the old school—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Andrew paused.  “But the fact that Helen isn’t on board isn’t going to stop you, is it?”

Helen Kavanagh was the junior buyer at B. Altman.

Dana shook her head and winked.  “Not for a minute.  I’m an optimist, Andrew.  Besides, it’s Christmas.  I’ve been a good girl, and Santa owes me.”

Mark was clearly enjoying the good-natured exchange.  “Santa naturally wasn’t big at Temple when I was growing up.  No stockings hung by the chimney with care—although I remain an ardent fan of stockings.  That having been said,” Mark continued, “I think—”

The conversation was interrupted by a no-nonsense twenty-something secretary, dark brown hair falling to her shoulder.  “Ms. Savino would like to see you in her office as soon as possible, Ms. McGarry,” she said.  The secretary turned on her heels and promptly disappeared into the busy throng of shoppers without waiting for a response from Dana.

Bea Savino was Dana’s boss and the vice president of sales promotion and marketing.

“She’s new,” Dana commented. “Poor girl—she’s scared to death.  We all were when we started.”

“I still am,” Andrew laughed, “and I don’t even report to her.  Bea can kill you with that look. You know, when her eyes tighten and she peers over her reading glasses—ouch!  But give her a martini, and it’s party time.  Bea’s a moveable feast.”

Dana nodded.   “True enough.  I better see what the indomitable Ms. Savino wants.  Gentlemen, it’s always a pleasure.”

Dana headed to the bank of elevators on the far side of the store, passing a dozen lively conversations that blended into what she regarded as a delightful holiday symphony.  People were spending money—and happy to be spending it.  She envisioned a teen makeup section facilitating that same enthusiastic banter at some point in the future.

“Dana!”

Dana wheeled around to see Mark hurrying past shoppers, his outstretched arm indicating that he wanted her to pause until he could catch up.

“People just can’t get enough of my infectious optimism,” Dana proclaimed.

“You’re cursed with good genes,” Mark said, stopping a foot from Dana.  “Seriously, the teen makeup section is a smart move.  I think you should ask Helen if she’s been following the incredible success of Biba.”

“I think everybody’s eyes are on London.”

“If not, they should be.  Biba just moved to a seven-story building in Kensington, and the store is attracting a million customers a week.  Teen makeup sure seems to be working for the Brits.  The birds, as the English call young girls, are flocking to the store in droves.”  He paused.  “I’m mixing my metaphors—birds, cattle—but you get the gist.”

`           Dana put her hands on her hips and burst into laughter.

“When was the last time you used the word droves, Mark?”

“Hey, I’ve watched cowboys on TV like anybody else,” he replied with mock defensiveness. “Head ‘em up and move ‘em out.  And that’s what Biba is doing.  The customers are in and out, and most of their wallets are quite a bit lighter when they leave.  That’s the idea, right?”

 

“Absolutely!

“Go get ‘em, tiger,” Mark said, touching the side of Dana’s arm right below her shoulder.  He walked away, turned back with a big smile and a thumbs-up, then disappeared.

Mark’s energy and enthusiasm, as well as his one-minute pep talk, were just what Dana needed to boost her confidence and keep her idea alive.

As Dana neared the far side of the store, she and Helen Kavanagh simultaneously  approached the same elevator.

As always, Helen was impeccably dressed, and her carriage bespoke an elegant, stylish demeanor.  She was in the later years of middle age, but she advanced towards the elevator briskly, her blond hair pulled severely back from her face and secured with an ever-present black velvet ribbon.  Her face expressionless, she glanced at Dana, her pace unchanged.  A signal had clearly been given.  In point of fact, Helen truly admired Dana, but the young events coordinator was in her twenties, and there was a protocol in Helen’s universe that she didn’t believe needed to be articulated.  Respect carried the day, with camaraderie offered in moderation, preferably outside of the workplace.  Danatherefore halted just long enough to allow Helen to slip into the elevator before she followed, the doors closing behind her.  The two women were alone as the elevator ascended to the executive suite of offices on the fifth floor.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, Dana thought.  Besides, Mark had literally gone out of his way to suggest that she approach Helen.  Mark, of course, could be aggressive and disarming at the same time, so such a feat would naturally be far easier for him to accomplish.  Still, she was quite aware that Mark had her best interests at heart.  It was worth a try.

“Good morning, Helen.”

Helen nodded and smiled thinly.  “Dana.”

“Helen, I was wondering if you shopped Biba when you were in London last month.  They’re pulling in a million customers a week.  A million!”  Dana raised her eyebrows, her clear blue eyes sparkling even in the dim light of the elevator.

Helen tapped a silver ballpoint pen against the brown leather case holding her yellow legal pad.  “Biba,” she said with frustration.  “Biba is filled with non-paying customers who rush in before work to try on free makeup.  Free, Dana.  Are they running a business or having a party?   Try it before you buy it?  I don’t think so.  They’re crazy.  Excuse me—as the British say, they’re quite mad.  They’ll be out of business in a year.”

Dana’s heart skipped a beat, but she wasn’t going to show any nervousness.  Instead, she laughed. “Well, I’m sure you’re right.  Shows what I know!”

It was a self-effacing remark, but Dana knew when to back down.

Helen, who had been facing forward, turned and looked at Dana squarely.  “And don’t even think of taking this to Bea.”

Dana smiled as the elevator door opened, but she said nothing.

The two women stepped onto the fifth floor, the rooms of which were a facsimile of the 1916 interiors of Benjamin Altman’s Fifth Avenue home.  Dana and Helen walked through the reception area, which was a replica of Altman’s well-known Renaissance room.  Fine art adorned the wood-paneled walls beyond the anteroom, with elaborately carved woodwork accenting the hallways.  The President’s Room was a reproduction of Altman’s personal library, while the Board Room was a faithful rendering of his dining room.  Oriental carpets lay on the polished parquet floor, and Dana never ceased to marvel at the rich interior of the executive suite and its expensive art collection no matter how many times she entered the area.  It had the ambience of a corporate cathedral, and the first time she stepped onto the floor years earlier, she had unconsciously lifted her right hand for a split second, as if to dip her fingers in a holy water font.

Dana and Helen walked in the same direction for fifteen paces until it became obvious that they were both heading for Bea Savino’s office.

“I was told Bea wanted to see me,” Dana stated.

“I’m sure you were,” Helen said flatly.  “But I need to see her first.  That isn’t a problem, is it?”

“No.  Of course not.”

It was another elevator moment.  Dana gave Helen a politically correct smile and stepped back, allowing her to open Bea’s door and slip into the office.

Dana walked up and down the hall, admiring the landscapes hanging on the dark paneling.  Miniature marble sculptures stood on pedestals and library tables with inlaid mother-of-pearl.  She hoped Helen wouldn’t be long since she wanted to get back home, walk her dog, and double-check arrangements for the annual McGarry Christmas party, now only six days away.  It was one o’clock, but if Bea called a special events meeting, Dana’s afternoon would be lost.  She was overseeing the expansion of the adult programs, known as “department-store culture,” and she and Bea were still working out the details for the rollout in January.  B. Altman was a pioneer for such a program, and Dana would be programming three events a week in the Charleston Garden restaurantthat seated two hundred.  A smaller third-floor community room was newly renovated for the expanded sessions that included mini-courses in art appreciation, cooking demonstrations, book signings, self-improvement, and current events.

She reversed direction and walked past Bea’s office, noticing that the door was slightly ajar.  She turned around and decided to wait outside Bea’s inner sanctum to make sure Helen wouldn’t slip out unnoticed.  Heart pounding, she stood near the open door and heard Helen expressing dismay.

“You know how I feel about having shoes in my department, Bea.  Can’t you help me convince them to find somewhere else to put this Pappagallo shop?  Shoes belong with shoes.  It just doesn’t work for me.  I don’t want to see them. Period.”

There was clear exasperation in the junior buyer’s voice.

“But it works for Ira and Dawn,” Bea responded calmly, “and they firmly believe in the merchandising potential for this young market.  “Don’t quote me, but I heard Ira’sdaughter will be working in the shop this summer.  You gotta get on board, Helen.  Think young.  Think upbeat.”  Her voice rose with sudden enthusiasm.  “Think Biba!”

“Bea, if I hear that name Biba one more time!” Helen interrupted.

Bea ignored her.  “The kids are all drinking espresso, and I’ll probably go down for a cup in the afternoon.”

“What are you talking about?” Helen asked.  “You’re going to—”

“Helen,” Bea slowly responded, “Pappagallo stores have love seats and espresso machines.  It’s that Southern hospitality.  They were introduced in Atlanta.  Anyway, we have no choice.  Remember, Pappagallo is leasing the space.”

There was a noticeable silence inside Bea’s office.
“Breathe deeply, Helen,” Bea advised with a laugh.  “You’re going to hyperventilate.  It’s

not the end of the world.”

“Espresso machine?” Helen repeated. “Love seats? Taking up selling space.  I’m not putting up with this.  Fine.  Then they’ll just have to give me a larger department.  I’m not giving up without getting something in return.”

Dana smiled.  IfIra Neimark, the executive vice president and general merchandise manager of B. Altman, together with his hand-picked vice president and fashion director, Dawn Mello—Helen’s boss—were looking for waysto bring  young people into the store, maybe the teen makeup department wasn’t a lost cause after all.

Helen came flying out the office, brushing past Dana by mere inches as she talked to herself under her breath.  “B. Altman will be out of business before Biba.  It’s all totally absurd.”  She took no notice of the young events coordinator.

Dana moved forward and stood in the doorway.  “You wanted to see me?” she asked. “Yes, Dana.  Come in.”

Bea Savino was a tiny but feisty Italian woman with snow white hair, a chain-smoker with a no-nonsense approach to life and business.  Bea had married five years ago, at the age of forty, and had no children, but she felt compelled to give her adopted young staff reality therapy every chance she could, believing they were too influenced by the soft dress-for-success career articles in fashion magazines.  With Dana, Bea’s mantra was “Toughen up, for God’s sake!”  When Dana had been passed over for an assignment and complained to her boss, Bea merely said, “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, kiddo.  I didn’t even know you were interested.  Carol was in here every day, begging.  Speak up, Dana.”

Bea lit a cigarette, exhaled a plume of smoke, and laughed.  “I think poor Helen is headed for a stroke.  I saw you standing outside, so I know you heard our exchange.  Ah well.  She’ll get over it.  She’s a tough old broad, God love her.”  Bea shuffled some papers around her desk before finding the folder she was looking for.  Her office was not a model of perfection and order, as were Helen’s and Dana’s.

Dana cringed at the term “broad.”  The expression seemed out of place on the sacrosanct fifth floor, but she merely took a deep breath and remembered that Bea didn’t mince words.  She decided to pitch her idea despite Helen’s warning.

“Bea, since Mr. Neimark and Ms. Mello are interested in the youth market, why can’t we go one step further than the Shop for Pappagallo and add a teen makeup section too?  As I told Helen, Biba is pulling in a million customers a week.”

Bea leaned back in her chair and took another puff of her cigarette.

“You always tell me to speak up,” Dana said, her voice rising slightly as she shrugged her shoulders.  “So . . . ?”

“It’s not a bad idea,” Bea conceded as she surveyed her cluttered desk, “but it’s not going to happen, at least not now.  One step at a time.  Let Helen adjust to the intrusion of Pappagallo first.  It’s too much at once.”

“But—”

“Go whine to Bob.  I know you two are thick as thieves.  I asked you here to discuss something else.”

Bob Campbell was the store’s vice president and general manager.  He was Dana’s unofficial mentor, a fact that often irritated Bea to no end.  It was she, not Bob, who was the young woman’s immediate boss.

Dana clasped her hands behind her back, squeezing her right fist in frustration.  Was she supposed to toughen up and be vocal or remain silent?  Bea’s mixed messages could be infuriating.  Dana was advocating the same teen strategy that the general merchandise manager and fashion director of the store apparently believed in, and she couldn’t help but think that she was being penalized for her youth.  Or maybe it was because Helen might pitch a fit.  Either way, Andrew had been right: Bea was a moveable feast.

“Bob has chosen the winner for this year’s teen contest.  You’ll announce the results next week at the Sugar Plum Ball.  It’s a favor for a friend of Mr. Campbell.  His friend’s daughter, Kim Sullivan, will be this year’s winner.”  Bea sighed deeply and crushed her cigarette in a large glass ashtray on her desk.  “Have a good weekend, Dana,” Bea said, summarily dismissing the figure standing before her.

Dana was speechless.  The contest involved getting the best and brightest teens to write essays, make brief speeches, and model clothes, and they were down to the five finalists. She’d run the contest for three years, but the idea that the contest was rigged this year—and by Bob Campbell of all people—left Dana dazed and temporarily unable to move.  The Sugar Plum Ball was the annual December benefit for the Children’s Aid Society.  The idea of committing fraud was bad enough, but she would also have to disappoint the girls who would be competing in good faith.  Did such a prestigious charity event have to be marred by dishonesty?

Bea looked up, glasses perched on the end of her nose.  “Is anything the matter, Dana?  You look positively pale.”

“No.  Everything’s fine.” Everything was most decidedly not fine.  Dana had the ear of Bob Campbell, and she would use her access to the general manager to express how odious the idea seemed.  One way or another, she’d find a way to avoid making the contest into a sham.

Feeling manipulated, Dana turned and left Bea’s office.  Her normally fair complexion was red with anger, and her breath came in quick, short bursts.  She marched down to the Writing and Rest Room for Women, a beautifully carpeted room with chairs upholstered in blue velvet.  The mahogany walls and soft lighting made this one of the most elaborate rest areas in any store, and Dana sometimes came here because of the quiet and repose it offered.  Today the room was, not surprisingly, filled with shoppers taking a moment to compose themselves.  She hurried to her office in the General Offices section of the fifth floor, retrieved her purse, and tried to calm down.

Regaining her composure proved impossible, however.  She took a deep breath and decided that she would have no peace for the rest of the day until she spoke with Bob Campbell.  Bea must have been mistaken.  Bob would never rig the yearly teen contest.

Dana got up from her desk, hoping to get a few minutes with the general manager.  She walked back to the executive suite, ready to make her case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Sandy Grave by Donna M. McDine – Win $50 B&N Gift Card

A Sandy Grave cover

Title: A Sandy Grave
Author: Donna M. McDine
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 24
Language: English
Genre: Tween chapterbook
Format: Paperback, hardcover & eBook

PURCHASE AT:

GUARDIAN ANGEL PUBLISHING: http://guardianangelpublishing.com/sandy-grave.htm

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Sandy-Grave-Donna-M-McDine/dp/1616334541/

BARNES AND NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sandy-grave-donna-m-mcdine/1118285403

The anticipation of summer vacation can put anyone in a great mood with the excitement of adventures to be had–especially at the beach. But what is a group of friends to do when they discover mysterious men poaching whale teeth at the beach?

EXCERPT:

The lifeguards had their arms extended and attempted to move the crowd back. The tallest lifeguard said, “People, please stay back. The authorities will arrive to examine the whale to determine the cause of death within the hour. The whale must have died at sea and washed ashore.”

TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzzVjJWd4hM

Donna McDine Headshot

Donna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval RecipientPicture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.

Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership. 

Visit Donna online at www.donnamcdine.com or her blog at www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com

Donna McDine is giving you a chance to win a $50 Barnes and Noble 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 $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
  • This giveaway begins March 3 and ends on April 25, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email.

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So What Do You Think by Clair Swinburne Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT SO WHAT DO YOU THINK

Title: So What Do You Think

Genre: Self Help/Personal Growth

Author: Clair Swinburne

Publisher: iUniverse

EBook: 112 pages

Release Date: July 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-46202-936-5

This psychology guide for teens presents an overview of how the mind works to give you a clearer understanding of how to look after your mental health.

We all need to take care of our mental health. But just how do you accomplish this? In So What Do You Think? author Clair Swinburne helps teenagers understand the natural workings of the mind and uncovers interesting facts about what affects our reality to provide insights into how to achieve positive results in life.

So What Do You Think? examines the attitudes, outlooks, and mindsets that produce success in life. It reviews how the mind works and how it can impact your behaviour, your reality, the things you attract into your life and your body. This analysis will provide a greater understanding of how to look after your mind and it will give you a deeper knowledge about what works for you and what doesn’t.

Using anecdotes and humour, Clair helps you learn new perspectives and strategies that can improve your well-being and produce more positive attitudes and results. So What Do You Think? also outlines ten practical techniques to help you begin looking after your mental health now.

 

iUniverse

ABOUT CLAIR SWINBURNE

Clair Swinburne is an experienced teacher who has taught in the United Kingdom and Ireland and for many years has worked as a pastoral leader and mentor. She is also a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming. Her positive interaction with teenagers prompted her to write the So What …? book series. She currently lives in Ireland.

 

Pump Up Your Book and Clair are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Beyond the Dream by Irene Snow Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT BEYOND THE DREAM

Beyond the DreamTitle: Beyond the Dream
Genre: Biography/Memoir
Author: Irene Snow
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 398 pages
Release Date: June 28, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-47598-255-8

Until the age of four, Irene Snow lived happily with her mother and gentle, doting grandparents. The return of her father, a rough and tough soldier, at the close of World War II set the stage for rebellion and dissention in her young life. He was a strict disciplinarian, and she resented his authority from the outset. What’s more his arrival introduced her to the baser emotions of jealousy and hatred, which were previously beyond her ken as the reigning princess in Grandma’s   house.

As she grew older, her life became a search to regain the pedestal she lost, no matter what it took. As a young woman, she fell in love with a married German and had his child out of wedlock. Aware of her father’s deep and abiding enmity for “the enemy,” she reveled in his displeasure; he in turn vowed to disown his grandchild. Irene’s seven-year love affair ended with her marriage to a Canadian widower, but her wedding was closely followed by a tragedy that ignited her darker emotions and eventually brought her to a nervous breakdown, psychosis, and utter darkness.

She turned to the field of psychology in the hope it might shed light on her self-defeating behavior. While her studies provided many answers, they did not lead to peace. Finally, she embarked upon a spiritual journey that led her to “A Course in Miracles.” Once she began to reach out with love, her life changed dramatically.

 

iUniverse

 

ABOUT IRENE SNOW

 

Irene Snow lives in Canada with her husband, Len, and their pet cat. They are currently enjoying their retirement, especially the happy hours spent with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Irene, a high school graduate, has spent a significant portion of her life in the pursuit of learning—an ongoing process.

 

Pump Up Your Book and Irene are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Immortality by Kevin Bohacz

Immortality 7Title: Immortality
Genre: Techno-Thriller
Author: Kevin Bohacz
Publisher: CPrompt
Pages: 389
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at Amazon

Without warning, something has gone terribly awry. In the remote and unnoticed places of the world, small pockets of death begin occurring. As the initially isolated extinctions spread, the world’s eyes focus on this unimaginable horror and chaos. Out of the ecological imbalance, something new and extraordinary is evolving and surviving to fill the voids left by these extinctions. Evolution is operating in ways no one could have expected and environmental damage may be the catalyst. Once discovered, this knowledge changes everything.

Excerpt:

AmazonForest: January, present day.

The rainforest had a humid, earthy smell that reminded him of home. Diego was twenty-two years old and, like most of his village, he’d spent half his life away from home. The bulldozer he was illegally operating was idling in neutral. In front of him were a half dozen control levers and gauges. With a worker’s rough hands, he compressed the squeeze-grip on a lever and pushed forward. He heard the sound of grinding gears. The tree cutter failed to engage. The huge dozer was thirty-year-old army surplus. There was a cable problem in the lever he was working. The problem sometimes caused the squeeze-grip to snap shut when the transmission grabbed. If he was not careful, the squeeze-grip could badly pinch his hand. Diego pushed harder on the lever. He could feel teeth missing in the gears from how the lever bucked back against his push. Without warning, the gears dropped into place as the squeeze-grip bit his palm. It was like a vicious dog. An angry welt throbbed in his palm. He cursed the dozer. He cursed the steaming heat. He’d drunk two quarts of water since breakfast, and lunch break was still hours away.

The rainforest was alive with insects. Diego had never seen this many in all the years he’d illegally logged the deep forests. There was a steady drone which was louder than the diesel engine he controlled. Tiny no-see-em’s, biting things, had left a rash across the back of his neck that felt like sunburn. Earlier, he’d scratched it raw but now had a bandanna tied around his neck to remind him to leave it be. The bulldozer rocked into a depression as the cutter began chew-ing through the trunk of a mahogany tree. Diego fed more fuel into the beast’s engine. The dozer’s treads dug in; there was a hesitation. He could feel the strain building. Tons of steel lurched forward pitch-ing him in his seat. Another tree tumbled, its branches snapping like rapid-fire gunshots as it crumpled into the ground. The front of the beast was equipped with a chain driven saw instead of a dozer blade. The fixture had a pair of serrated edges that shimmied back and forth like steel teeth. Pieces of shredded green leaves and bark caught on the teeth’s edges. Diego had long ago decided the beast was a sloppy eater.

The insect sounds of the forest had stopped. As far as Diego knew, these insects never stopped. He dropped the beast into neutral then switched it off.

There was silence.

Out of this stillness, a faint crackling sound rose from the distance, then disappeared, and then came again. He listened carefully. It took him a moment to realize the faraway sound was trees falling. The log- ging company operated a small army of dozers, far apart now; but by evening they would all meet up, connecting each of the separate cutting tracks into a solid plot. Diego swung round in his seat and gazed back. A swath of fallen tropical forest lay behind him: mahogany and cedar and even some rosewood along with countless varieties of plants and bushes. The largest trees were left standing so their canopies would hide the results of his work from the few government scouting planes that were not on the company’s payroll. Heavy tractors would come through later to drag out the good logs. He got paid by the yard for mahogany, rosewood, and cedar; the rest was trash. Today it looked like he would earn a small fortune; tomorrow might bring nothing. He lit a cigarette and left it hanging in his lips. After starting the engine, he ground the shifter into a forward gear and moved out. He drew cigarette smoke into his lungs then exhaled through his nose. No time to rest. He needed every bit of money he could earn. He didn’t blink as a cloud of insects flew into his face as their nest was churned into rubbish by his dozer’s teeth.

The humidity was so high that water had begun to evaporate into a fine mist. A steam cloud floated through the tops of the trees blurring the upper canopy into a milky green. Diego swung the beast around in a stationary about-face. The base camp was miles behind him by the river. The camp was a dock and tents with ratty screens. Beside the camp was a tree covered clearing that at night was filled with sleeping dozers and other heavy equipment. By now, a pot of beans would be simmering for lunch. A hunk of flat bread and canned beer would complete the meal. No meat. He’d lived worse. Everything here had been secretly brought in by river barge, including him and the other labors. With luck, he could cut a second swath back toward camp and arrive by lunch. Today would fill his pocket with more than two hundred Reals… a new record.

The logging ride out of the forest turned out to be easier than the ride in. The trees in his new path were an ideal size for cutting. Diego began thinking about his wife Carla and their dream. She’d been anx- ious to come with him into this hell. He had kissed her and told her no… no wife of his would suffer in a place like this. In seven months, he would be a father. The foreign company running this operation was taking good care of her. She’d written last week that the company had paid for a test with a machine that was like an x-ray but used sound. The nurse had told her the baby would be a boy. Diego smiled with that memory… it was a good one. He would have a boy who would grow up to be his friend. That was a new part of the dream; the old part was still a small house outside Maceio, the coastal city where Diego was born. Diego instinctively slowed the dozer to the speed of a man’s stride.
He squinted watching a cloud of rain moving toward him along the path he’d just cut from camp. The rain didn’t appear heavy, but when mixed with ground steam it was solid enough to bring a false twilight. Nothing could be seen inside the cloud. The dozer had a roll cage. A piece of corrugated sheet metal had been welded to the top of the cage as a roof. Diego switched on spotlights. Drops started hitting the sheet metal with rhythmic pings. The humidity grew heavier. The air surrounded him like a damp towel. He pulled off his t-shirt and wiped his face with it. A storm of birds fled from some trees his dozer was about to consume. Their colored shapes moved past him at eye level like watercolor paints in fog. Diego cocked his head to one side. He sensed something wrong.

Grinding the shifter into neutral, he idled the machine. As the noise of his engine simmered down, he was able to hear the far off sounds of a dozer racing at top speed. He heard an engine revving at its highest rpm… no, it was two engines. More than one dozer was racing through the forest. This was very unusual. A hollow feeling began gnawing inside his chest. He remembered stories of odd things that happened to people alone in the forest. He heard a different sound like a wet towel hitting the ground in front of him. He leaned forward, squinting into the fog. A bird tumbled from the air bouncing off the cab, the sound startling Diego badly. The bird fluttered, then righted itself on the ground and took off. He saw another bird fall a couple yards away, then another, and another. They would roll around a bit, then fix themselves and fly off. This was very strange… too strange. He now understood why dozers were racing through the forest. Something very bad was happening. He shoved the dozer into gear and slammed his feet into the pedals. The beast jumped forward at top power. He heard muck spitting into the air off the backs of the tread-plates. To devil with cutting the second track. To devil with the money. He was going to get out of here as fast as this dozer could race. The treads were clanking at an accelerating pace as the beast slowly picked up speed. He disengaged the tree saw to gain a few more drops of power. He plowed through the top of a tree he’d cut earlier, then another. He was doing close to ten miles per hour. A man might run faster, but not through this brush and not for the miles that remained to the camp.

Without warning, he felt dizzy, an ill kind of dizzy. The fingers on his right hand went numb, then paralyzed. He tried to move the fingers, but they were limp. Coldness was spreading up from his hand. The more he tried to flex his fingers, the worse it got. In seconds, his entire right arm was hanging flaccid at his side. Whatever had gotten the birds was working on him. He knew it. The trees kept moving past him in a blur. He realized with an odd disconnect that he was having difficulty drawing breaths.

He thought about Carla and the baby. His jaw squeezed tight. His lips formed a grim line. He would make it for them.

The dozer glanced off a large tree and kept going. The impact rocked him. He wheezed, attempting to draw air into his chest. Maybe two miles remained until base camp. He began veering off the trail. The saw-blade snagged on a mahogany six feet in diameter. Diego was pitched from his seat. Dizzy and unable to hold on, he fell from the cab. His shoulder hit a moving tread-plate, which tossed him off the rig. He was like a paralyzed sack of meat.

“Umph!” He landed on the ground. He thought how odd it was that he’d bounced. He didn’t know people could bounce when they hit the ground. The tractor rumbled beside him. Without his feet on the pedals, the dozer had stopped. The left side of his face was a mix of blood and dirt. He tried to draw air into his lungs but failed. His mind felt like it was beginning to evaporate. His entire body tingled. He felt no pain. The muscles that worked his lungs were no longer responding. He thought of calling for help, but without his lungs he could do nothing. He gave up struggling and stared skyward at the treetops and thought of Carla. Moments later, his heart stopped beating. He felt calm as what was left of his mind faded into a warm nothing.

New Jersey: January

Sarah Mayfair opened her eyes. The nightmare was still around her. Her vision was not in this world but in some other. The nightmare was of underground water, great arteries of rivers and streams and lakes. Where the liquid pooled, it was cool and deep. She sensed this water was alive with thoughts, evil thoughts. A teaspoonful of it teamed with plans of death. She was floating deep under the water, staring as drowned people glided past her face sinking into the depths of a bottomless pool. Looking down, she saw a trail of countless tiny bodies slowly pirouetting as they drifted into the yawning darkness below her feet… Headlights from a car traveled across a wall of her room. The lights dwelled on a wooden credenza, then moved on. She followed the glow with her eyes seeing reality for the first time. The simple act of seeing began to clear the veils of her nightmare. Her breathing slowed. She realized she was covered in sweat.

Outside, a subzero wind was blowing unimpeded through a forest of leafless trees and ice crusted snow. The windowpanes rattled and hummed. Small drafts snuck through the rooms. She shivered as the drafts caressed her dampened skin. She was in the living room of her home. She recognized the shadowy details of furniture and walls. Her boyfriend Kenny was in the bedroom asleep. She remembered getting up and walking out here to be by herself to think. The nightmares had grown worse, more of them with each passing week. She was starting to see the faces of people she knew in these nightmares. She sensed it was some kind of horrible parade of those who would die. She remem- bered Kenny’s image from the dream.
Her body stiffened. A disembodied voice was whispering into her left ear. The words were unintelligible… garbled, but unmistakably evil. This can’t be happening. She screamed out in frustration and grief at the seeds of budding madness.

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Twisted Venom by V.W. Raynes Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT TWISTED VENOM


Twisted Venom

Title: Twisted Venom

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Author: V.W. Raynes

Publisher: AuthorHouse

EBook: 300 pages

Release Date: December 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-49183-399-5

When young internist Claudia Ranelli attends a medical conference in San Francisco, she has a sexual encounter so bizarre and frightful it nearly kills her. But that isn’t the end of her terror. Claudia and her cousin Dru Salinas must discover the identity of the person terrorizing them both, a quest that leads from pit vipers to modern genetics. Claudia tells a gripping story with sensitivity, a humanly scientific perspective, eroticism and a wry sense of humor.

 

AuthorHouse

 

ABOUT V.W. RAYNES

 

V. W. Raynes is the pen name of a physician practiciing in Texas.

 

Pump Up Your Book and V.W. are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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