#BookReview “The Foundation of Plot” by Elena Hartwell

August 1-31, 2022 Book Tour

book cover

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5/5 Stars!

Novice and seasoned writers should have The Foundation of Plot (TFOP) in their resource library.

In less than a hundred pages, the necessary building blocks of story structure are explained in relation to the plot and each other.

Complete with examples from well-known books and mini exercises, the author shows how writers can build a strong, dynamic plot while staying true to the story.

As a writer, I was impressed by the practical approach and easy flow of the book. The author doesn’t waste time or space with flowery words or literary theories. This is what makes TFOP especially beneficial for new writers still finding their way and their writer’s voice.

While querying is mentioned often—and part of the title—self-publishers should not pass TFOP by. It’s a great resource to help write and polish the best manuscript possible, and that’s something all writers want.

This little book packs a powerful punch and would be a great investment for all authors. I plan to add a print copy to my writing resource library.

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

Structure underlies every story, but without a strong foundation, even well-written sentences can fail to result in a marketable manuscript. The Foundation of Plot defines the components of a story arc, details the differences between plot and story, and covers common errors writers make. It also includes exercises which apply concepts to works in progress or new projects. Drawing on the author’s decades of storytelling and teaching experience, this short guide provides the framework for fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, walking writers through a first draft, the repair of a failed manuscript, or any draft in between. For experienced authors and first-time writers alike, applying the concepts outlined in this manual can help launch a submission from the slush pile to the bookstore shelf.

 

Book Details

Genre: Nonfiction

Published by: Elena Hartwell

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Number of Pages: 97

ISBN: 9798986020600

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

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Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Giveaway!

This is a giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Elena Hartwell. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
Thank you for your interest in this tour!

~~~

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

~~~

#ReleaseBlitz “Mise en Place: Memoir of a Girl Chef” by Marisa Mangani

 

Memoir

Date Published: August 16, 2022

Publisher: River Grove Books

 

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Marisa’s comfort zone is deep inside the restaurant kitchen alongside its dysfunctional characters and the abundance of booze and drugs.

But in the nineteen-seventies, girls baked or made salads. The heat and machismo of the hot line was not a place for a girl with a passion for food and the drive to be the best.

From Hawaii, to Portland and New Orleans, she struggles  with her own shyness and the limited expectations for the only female in the kitchen. She finally becomes Chef, successfully managing high-volume restaurants at three World’s Fairs, but something is missing.

Still searching, as a burnt-out chef, she embarks on another male-dominated career.

Mise en Place —Memoir of a Girl Chef is a story about the determination to succeed in the face of personal handicaps and cultural norms.

“Mangani charts a deep dive through the roots of our modern American
food obsession with a highly personal tale of memory, character, flavor, and
place.” —Ian McNulty, Food Writer, The Times-Picayune/The New
Orleans Advocate

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About the Author

MARISA MANGANI was born and raised in Hawaii and cooked her way to Portland, New Orleans Vancouver and Australia. She now resides in Florida where she runs her own commercial kitchen design company, Mise en Place
Design.

She is one of the eight featured chefs in Thrillist’s
“Why 8 Top Chefs Quit the Kitchen.”

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#ReleaseBlitz “The Courtesan and Mr. Hyde (Mad Scientists Society, Book 1)” by Catherine Stein

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Mad Scientists Society, Book 1

Historical Romance, Steampunk Romance

Date Published: August 16, 2022

Publisher: Steam Cat Press

 

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Sometimes the path to true love is a walk on the wicked side.

Dr. Henry Jekyll has—almost—always lived by the rules. Hoping to improve society by separating a person’s good and evil halves, Hal tests an experimental potion on himself. When the drug lowers his usual inhibitions, Hal crashes a high-class party, downs a strong drink, and propositions a sophisticated courtesan. All in the name of science, of course.

Calliope Finch needs only six more months as a glamorous mistress to earn enough to open the library of her dreams. So when Callie meets the awkward, bookish party crasher calling himself Mr. Hyde, she knows nothing can come of it. Not when his curious charm and unfailing honesty come at the expense of his bank account. All she can spare him is a kiss—and maybe one night.

Spurred on by their unwavering attraction, Hal and Callie soon become friends and scientific collaborators. But Callie’s list of potential protectors is dwindling, Hal’s potion might not be the solution he hopes, and a mysterious enemy is making mischief at every turn. With their goals slipping ever further from reach, Hal and Callie must put their minds and hearts to the test. Even if it means freeing sides of themselves they’ve long kept hidden.

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Excerpt

She needed to get back to work. Nothing could come of wasting her time flirting with this mysterious party-crasher. No matter how intriguing he was.

“It is quite the extravagant affair,” the man said. His gaze fixed on Callie, sweeping up and down her body. “I’m glad I came. Mr. Ackner’s stoves may be second-rate, but his guests certainly are not.” Again, his face twitched a bit. Callie had the impression he wasn’t accustomed to speaking so boldly. Perhaps the alcohol had loosened his tongue.

She tried to quash her curiosity. It was time to move on. She glanced around, seeking potential wealthy lovers. That bastard Hinsberg caught her eye and gave her a wink. Callie quickly turned her gaze away. She could overlook the fact that he was twice her age, but he was cold and cruel, and that was entirely unacceptable.

She took hold of the party-crasher’s arm and steered him toward the exit, telling Hinsberg without words she was otherwise occupied. The young man flinched at her touch but didn’t try to pull away, allowing her to lead him out into the hall.

“Are we headed to a private chamber for amorous purposes?” he asked, a hopeful note in his voice. He thrust a hand into a pocket. “I brought coins. How much do your services cost?”

Callie shook her head, trying not to laugh at his bizarre naivety. “More than you have.”

“Oh.” His shoulders slumped.

Callie tossed back the remainder of her champagne and set the empty glass on a decorative table in the middle of the corridor. Ackner could pay for new furniture if it left rings. Her companion looked down at his own half-finished drink, then shrugged and discarded it.

“Perhaps a small subset of your services?” he offered. “I have…” He made a quick check. “Two dollars and forty-seven cents.”

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 About the Author

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort.

She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.


Her books are full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious kids. She loves steampunk and Oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in Renaissance Festival clothing, drinking copious amounts of tea.

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#BookTour “The Foundation of Plot” by Elena Hartwell

August 1-31, 2022 Book Tour

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Synopsis:

The Foundation of Plot by Elena Hartwell

Structure underlies every story, but without a strong foundation, even well-written sentences can fail to result in a marketable manuscript. The Foundation of Plot defines the components of a story arc, details the differences between plot and story, and covers common errors writers make. It also includes exercises which apply concepts to works in progress or new projects. Drawing on the author’s decades of storytelling and teaching experience, this short guide provides the framework for fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, walking writers through a first draft, the repair of a failed manuscript, or any draft in between. For experienced authors and first-time writers alike, applying the concepts outlined in this manual can help launch a submission from the slush pile to the bookstore shelf.

 

Book Details

Genre: Nonfiction

Published by: Elena Hartwell

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Number of Pages: 97

ISBN: 9798986020600

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

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Read an excerpt:

Section of Chapter One: The Foundation of Plot

Raw doesn’t mean terrible. It’s just not ready for prime time.

Foundation—story structure—underlies everything that writers produce. No matter how avant-garde a literary work might appear on the surface, dig deep enough and a skeleton lies underneath.

Solidifying that underlying foundation can come at any point during the writing process. It could be in an outline before writing a single sentence, much as a carpenter uses a blueprint to build a house. Or it could be during a rough draft, determining the foundation through trial and error with character and action, like a dancer experimenting with choreography while the music plays.

What’s important is that the process suits the writer for each individual project. For one project, a writer might benefit from building an outline first, while another project might evolve better with an organic method, discovering the foundation during a first draft.

There’s no right or wrong about writing from an outline or relying on an organic process—only that the writer finishes that often stubborn first draft. Some writers mix and match, starting by writing organically, then creating an outline partway through, or changing the original outline completely as scenes begin to unfold. Or writers might create a simple outline, then figure out the bulk of the project while building the scenes on the page.

It’s never too late to make repairs. Even after multiple drafts, a writer can still improve a manuscript’s foundation.

Regardless of when the writer pays attention to foundation, the manuscript will continue to evolve through each rewrite. From the first inklings of an idea to the final, polished manuscript, writers—whether they know it or not—shape and reshape the foundation of their work.

One concept that will be useful before going deeper into foundation is the difference between story and plot. Once that concept is clear, it may be easier to identify what does or doesn’t work in a current project.

Story Versus Plot

As used in this guide, story is all-encompassing. It includes what happens before a book starts, everything in all the scenes, and everything that occurs off the page. It even includes what happens after the manuscript is finished, when the reader’s imagination runs wild after “the end.”

Plot, on the other hand, is made up solely of the events on the page.

One error writers make in their early—and sometimes even late—drafts is to include parts of the story that aren’t necessary for the plot or leave out scenes a reader most needs on the page. This comes back to foundation. Those errors would be like using either too many joists to hold up a floor—making it heavy, cumbersome, and expensive—or not enough joists—causing the floor to fail the first time it bears weight.

In both of those instances, the writer has confused story and plot.

Falling in love with our own words, our characters, and the scenes that play out in our heads are constant dangers for writers. We want to include everything we research and invent. Sometimes this causes us to start too early in the lives of the characters and include scenes that are potentially beautifully written and explore behavior, motivation, and backstory but don’t move the plot forward. We love our characters and believe a reader will be just as curious as we are about every aspect of their lives.

Readers, for the most part, want to follow a series of connected events leading to a satisfying conclusion. They don’t want to read a series of unconnected events that send them in circles or down alleys that ultimately lead nowhere.

That is not the same as sending a reader down a wrong path for dramatic effect, as in a mystery where the detective follows the wrong lead. That experience can add to the plot, as a wrong lead can increase suspense. But it can be a problem if a detective goes down a wrong path and learns nothing from it.

Readers want each road the writer takes them down to add to the overall story—even when that road teaches the protagonist what they don’t want or what won’t solve the problem at hand.

A detective determining who isn’t the culprit can be just as important—and satisfying in its own way—as when the detective catches the killer.

Readers may not be able to put this concept into words, but we’ve all heard comments like, “it took several chapters before I got into it” or “the writing was fine, but nothing happened at the beginning” or “I lost interest halfway through.” Those are instances when a writer likely included material the reader didn’t need—no matter how good the quality of the writing.

Don’t confuse well-written sentences with a well-written book. High quality paints and canvases and excellent brushstrokes can still turn out an unsuccessful painting. A solid manuscript is more than just well-written sentences, beautifully crafted paragraphs, or even interesting chapters. A solid manuscript has a clear story arc, with each scene in each chapter adding to the whole and building a solid foundation.

Excerpt from The Foundation of Plot by Elena Hartwell. Copyright © 2022 by Elena Hartwell. Reproduced with permission from Elena Hartwell. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Elena Hartwell PHOTO CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN

Elena Hartwell has spent years supporting writers and constructing stories. Her award-winning and bestselling works include the Eddie Shoes mysteries and All We Buried (written under Elena Taylor). Her plays have been seen around the US and UK, garnering critical acclaim and stellar reviews. As a developmental editor she has worked with hundreds of writers, most recently as senior editor and director of programming for the boutique editing house, Allegory Editing. She regularly teaches writing workshops and enjoys helping others achieve their writing dreams.

Find Elena Hartwell Online:

www.ElenaHartwell.com
Writing Blog: The Mystery of Writing
As Elena Taylor: ElenaTaylorAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @elenahartwell
Instagram – @elenataylorauthor
Twitter – @Elena_TaylorAut
Facebook – @ElenaTaylorAuthor

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Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Giveaway!

This is a giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Elena Hartwell. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
Thank you for your interest in this tour!

~~~

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

~~~

#ReleaseBlitz “Fire & Ice (A Mauzzy & Me Mystery, Book 2)” by B.T. Polcari

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 A Mauzzy & Me Mystery, Book 2

Cozy Mystery, Young Adult Mystery, Mystery

Date Published: 08-15-2022

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

 

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After encountering a brief power outage at work, college student Sara Donovan might be allowing her imagination to run wild. The main vault in the Carlton Museum holds the Fire and Ice Exhibit, a collection of rare gems, including the Star of Midnight, a 175-carat diamond. Although all the stones are accounted for, Sara suspects the Star of Midnight was stolen and replaced with a fake.

While conducting her own investigation, what Sara uncovers is beyond even her wildest imagination: a coded message, papers with strange characters, and a mysterious set of numbers carved into an office wall. Despite dismissive historians and other experts, she is certain these clues point to a mysterious centuries-old legend.

Unfortunately, her colorful history of usually being right, but always being wrong, means she must solve the mystery to prove her theory.

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About the Author

B.T. Polcari is a graduate of Rutgers College of Rutgers University, an award-winning mystery author, and a proud father of two wonderful children.

He’s a champion of rescue pups (Mauzzy is a rescue), craves watching football and basketball, and, of course, loves reading mysteries.

Among his favorite authors are D.P. Lyle, Robert B. Parker, and Michael Connelly. He is also an unapologetic fantasy football addict.

He lives with his wife in scenic Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

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#Featured “Body and Soul Food (A Books & Biscuits Mystery Book 1)” by Abby Collette

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In this page-turning new mystery series, fraternal twins Keaton and Koby will pull double duty when they take down a killer while preparing to open their new bookstore and soul-food café, Books & Biscuits.

When Koby Hill and Keaton Rutledge were orphaned at age two, they were separated, but their unbreakable connection lingered. Years later, they reunite and decide to make up for lost time and capitalize on their shared interests by opening up a well-stocked bookstore and cozy soul-food café in the quaint Pacific Northwest town of Timber Lake. But this new chapter of their lives could end on a cliffhanger after Koby’s foster brother is found murdered.

The murder, which occurred in public between light-rail stops, seems impossible for the police to solve. But as Keaton and Koby know, two heads are always better than one, especially when it comes to mysteries. With just a week to go before the grand opening of their new café, the twins will use their revitalized connection with each other to make sure this is the killer’s final page.

1.99 for a limited time!

(Verify price before downloading)

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#BookTour “Worse Than Murder” by Stephen Wechselblatt

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Mystery / Thriller

Date Published: 03-01-2022

Publisher: Barringer Press

 

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Homicide detective John Carver thought he’d seen it all. But when a young woman’s body is discovered floating in the rooftop water tank at a skid-row hotel and a local new-age psychic claims to have seen that young woman moments before her death, he quickly realizes he’s in unfamiliar territory.

Soon he’s thrust into an investigation that makes him question everything he believes in.

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EXCERPT

Prologue                                                                Los Angeles, 3:30 pm., January 27, 2018

                                                            The Master of Death

            It’s time. The SS bolts on the watch he wore while policing the Sobibor Concentration Camp 75 years ago whisper, the Holocaust Memorial service is starting. He glances down at the lot. Full. The cars that circled the streets on all sides of the temple have parked. Their drivers are inside the sanctuary.

He lives his hiding place, beside a dormer, and scurries crablike across the sloping roof over to the air vent twenty feet away. He wears a state-of-the-art military grade gas mask and carries a  lim bag that swings back and forth. He reaches the main air vent, stops, and rubs his fingers over it, savoring the chill of flesh against metal. Now in a borrowed body, he’s flushed, excited. His senses have returned. He feels everything: the quickening of his breath; the infinitesimal widening of an artery; the fevered pulse of elation

He unscrews the vent . He hears a violin playing softly in a minor key. The  voice of a frail old man who speaks of suffering. He smiles. Music, memories and prayers won’t help.

The Master of Death is no longer an outcast. Shulamit’s perfumed hair will turn to ashes again.

He unscrews the vent , removes his gift from the bag, and carefully drops the pellets of Zykon B. Flattening his body along the roof, he tries to make himself invisible, and waits for the cries of the dying to reach his ears.

 

 

Chapter 1                               San Miguel de Allende, Two days earlier                                                                               Alicia, the psychic

The tile floor is cold on my bare feet and makes my toes curl. I shake off the morning haze and look toward the mountain in the distance. Dress hurriedly, listening to birdsong and telling myself to trust that the day will bring its rewards just as clearly as the birdsong, which suddenly stops in mid-chirp.

Today feels different from all the other mornings I’ve spent here; nothing of the future was contained within them; but today change is in the air.

I’d like to go downstairs and chat with the ice cream vendor, but it’s too early for him to be setting up his tiny stand. I think of the landlord, the way he looks at me, with so much hunger, so little affection. Better to remain celibate. I think of Carver’s slightly too large ears, his spicy scent, his warm but wary eyes. Sometimes I miss him desperately, as a lover should. At other times he’s like a figure of fog and mist.  It’s impossible to long for someone that doesn’t exist, isn’t it?

Maybe not.

My cuticles hurt. I’ve bitten them down too far again. I don’t know why. My room has a calming effect. It smells like jasmine and eucalyptus. The shower has a cheerful orange curtain; lemon-yellow walls show every insect, however tiny; and the white-and-blue tiled floor has a lovely fleur-de-lis pattern with only one chipped tile under the sink. It reminds me of a child with a cracked front tooth. The neighbors are friendly but not inquisitive. None of them care what brought me here – or imagine the problems I’ve left behind.

An hour goes by. The winter sun casts shadows on San Miguel’s historic district, twenty-four blocks of narrow streets, alleyways and paths. I head down the stairs and pass through the Farmacia on the ground floor, where the proprietor smiles and waves. I smile back but don’t stop to talk. Untethered, I drift out the pale yellow stucco building that has been my refuge for last three months. I glance up at the sash windows and decorative cast-iron balconies and past the red and white umbrella where the vendor will sell goat’s milk ice cream later in the day. I walk four more blocks over cobblestone streets to San Miguel’s traditional food market, the Mercado Ignacio Ramírez to purchase churros, a perfect pick-me-up with Mexican chocolate pot-de-crème.

Life here is more than tolerable.

Mid-afternoon, my steps lead me unexpectedly to San Juan de Dios, a beautiful old colonial cemetery guarded by a rusted gate. Most days it’s triple locked, perhaps to keep out looters, but today the door stands open, perhaps an invitation from an unknown spirit. The graves inside are close together, separated only by ill-tended spikes of grass. Despite the sun’s warmth, my skin prickles; goose bumps form on my arm. I know what’ll happen next. A call will come, as impossible to evade as that rock hidden in the underbrush. I stop to touch my ankle and assess the injury.  Bending down, I’m startled to see that the stone is actually a slab of blue marble. Someone’s smashed a tombstone. Suddenly, with a rush of chilly air, a vision sweeps me in, swallows me up, so that I see it all from the inside.

Phyllis bends over, rests her fingers on the floor in a runner’s crouch, every muscle twitching. I slip into her body. Our mouth opens like a panting dog—

quick, shallow breaths. Clammy skin.

Our eyes water. Fear.

A wide-eyed mother reaches for her toddler, pulling the child to her chest but loses her grip and the child slips from her hand and falls floor face up, without expression, a broken toy. A man stumbles over us. His attempt to scream hangs for a split second in the air before it disappears.

Phyllis-and-I pass into a fugue state, shaking, only the insistent life-beat of our heart for company, so loud it sounds several times its size, as big as the temple itself. Something, the cold or the fear siphons our consciousness, pulling us       down a dark long, silent tunnel.

Her lungs fail, her heartbeat slows. I scratch like a wild cat, desperate to escape from her body before she dies and takes me with her. As Phyllis succumbs and falls to the floor I float above her. Phyllis is frozen, her lips blue. But her skin is cherry red.

All over the sanctuary people gasp, struggle to breathe, but sodden lungs no longer work. The doors won’t open. Men and women bang until they collapse one by one, overcome by seizures, thrashing,

A father holds the hand of a tiny seraph in a green dress. And prays for her. Parents are all ears, listening to their children’s ragged breaths, to the awful gurgling within their chests. Parents are all eyes, watching the pinkish saliva drool from tiny lips.

Grief flows all around like a silken metal river.

A man with crazed eyes staggers up the raised platform where the sacred scrolls are kept. He pulls the curtain and removes a Torah mantled in silk and draped with a silver breastplate, shoving a frail white-haired man who tries to prevent him from committing a sacrilege. The old man collapses. His head strikes the wooden floor with a thud. The other doesn’t even look down, but races with the scroll in his arms to the windows. He heaves the scroll against glass that doesn’t shatter

Now I’m floating. Outside the building there’s an eerie silence until a Volvo stops in front of the synagogue.  Carver? Yes. Get in there. Save them. Of course, he can’t hear me. He lowers black tasseled loafers to the pavement and walks around the car to open the passenger door. He leans in and takes the elbow of an old man, helping him up. Must be his father — the resemblance is unmistakable.

            Carver raises his head. He hears the banging, faint now. He sprints to the door. Sees it’s chained. He urges his father back into the car, but his father just screams, “The Nazis! They’re after me again.” 

            Carver wraps his arms around his father. “Shh. It’s all right. You’re safe” But he can’t calm him, and feels compelled to return to the synagogue. He goes around to the back of the building, looking for another door or a window he can break. When he sees no way in, he pulls out a cell phone and calls for help.

            Minutes later sirens scream. A rescue team and an ambulance arrive. Using huge bolt cutters they cut one part of the link at a time, the police open the door.

            They wave off the EMS team. “Wait until we give you the all clear.”

            In a minute or two, the policemen come out, coughing stumbling, dropping to the walkway. ”You got gas masks, right…?”” an officer wheezed,. “…Use ‘em. I’ve never seen so many bodies.” His eyes close.            

            An EMS member checks his pulse, desperately starts CPR. Compresses his chest, trying to pump life back into him. He tilts the man’s head back and pinches his nose. But as soon as he breathes into the victim’s mouth, he coughs and pulls away.

            “I can’t do this,” he croaks. He lifts his hand to his throat as if it’s on fire .”Get me an AED,”

            A stick-thin EMS tech rushes back to the yellow van and returns with an automated electric defibrillator. On his way back, he yells, “Do we have any Class Three masks? Looks like we’re gonna need them.” 

            A voice answers from the van. “Yeah, two CM-7Ms. When you and Charlie are done helping the victim, come back for them.  I’ve called for more ambulances. If all these people are like him –“ He didn’t finish the thought.

            Minutes later more teams arrive with stretchers to carry out the dead.. A few –  so very few! – show signs of life and are rushed to the hospital.

            Carver ‘s father sees all of it. Rocks back and forth and murmurs. Carver’s eyes widen and his jaw drops, as if he’s never heard his father speak in a foreign language. He clasps his hand on the old man’s shoulder, but the old man breaks away from him.  Carver shouts something, and wrestles his father into the car,  Following the ambulance to the hospital, Carver hopes to find  help for his dad.  

 

Sitting next to the shattered grave, I come return to the here and now. Birds chirp, but the dread that rips though me is sharp enough to double me over.

Dear Goddess, Why would someone want to glorify history’s darkest night?

I had received visions of death before. A girl floating in a cistern that supplied drinking water to hundreds of residents and guests in a hotel. But they hadn’t all died, just one of them –stranger, not a dear friend.

I didn’t bring my iPhone; but in my mind I’m typing away on it furiously, warning Phyllis to skip the memorial and warn others as well. To tell her that something terrible was going to happen. But when will it occur? I have no idea –

all the more reason for speed.

Phyllis won’t ignore me. I know too many things. I’m heavy with knowledge. And hate? It will do what it always does – metastasize.

I turned and ran down the cobbled streets towards my room, throw together some essentials and head to the airport.

 

Chapter 2                                                                   Alicia

Blue and gay patterned carpet muffles my steps as I move through Mexico City’s airport. I glance at the faces of people sitting and waiting for their flights. The silent ones with  features frozen into stillness, the young mothers following their toddlers up and down the walkway and shooing them from the moving stairs where they’re likely to trip, and the teenagers laughing together with their companions. But I’m alone. The faces I see are the faces of strangers.

Phyllis never texted me back. I fear the worst; that I’m too late, the bombing has already happened. But maybe –

I trip over a duffle bag someone left on the floor. I see a pair of shiny black shoes and black slacks. I look up and see a slender, youngish man with a long black coat, curly sideburns and a wispy beard. He stretches out a pale arm to help me up, but I feel an odd reluctance to take it, a frisson of fear, as if it’s not really flesh and bone.

“Are you all right, miss?” he asks.

“I’m fine. I wonder whose bag this is.”

“No, I mean your friend. You’re returning for her funeral. “

“What?” Oh God. Phyllis is dead. “How do you know?

“The way your eyes stare. And the slant of your shoulders.“

Icy fingers flutter along my spine. “Who are you?”

His eyes shine like lanterns. “Face the future with courage. Great work is ahead that only you can accomplish.”

My mouth goes slack. Why trust the tongue that moves so smoothly from thoughts of death to predictions of greatness?

But then, I think, what’s so great about greatness? I’ve brought a dead man back to life. Fought an immortal demon. And he can’t possibly imagine guess how these memories and responsibilities continue to weigh on me.

I take a deep, cleansing breath..” You don’t know me at all.”

“Not yet.” He smiles. His teeth are pearly white. He winks, turns away, and vanishes in the passing stream of strangers with the luggage I’d tripped on.

He’d stopped me on purpose. But why? He was a messenger without a clear message. He promised great things. Maybe that meant finding out why the attack occurred. Maybe it meant something else. Or maybe it meant nothing at all. Now that he was gone I wasn’t sure he’d even been there. He was less real, less tangible, than Aishe, my spirit mentor.

I  adjust the strap of my carry-on bag and continue walking. The faces around me take on a wolfish hue. Even the children. A little girl throws the head of a doll into the air and catches it again and again. A boy with an untied shoelace grinds his sneaker into the carpet, leaving the smudge of a dead insect.

Wickedness walls me in. I walk on, not looking to the left or right, and speed up as if something’s chasing me, hoping the plane to Los Angeles will arrive on time. I pass the endless waiting room, its gray carpet, its round, recessed lights, wishing to be anyplace but here.

To my right is a bank of chairs. A man in jeans reads a newspaper, and I catch a glimpse of the headline. In bold letters it says ISIS attacks U.S Synagogue — Greatest Death Toll Since 9-11.

Hope drains entirely. I’m too late.

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About the Author

 Stephen Wechselblatt received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Thirty years later he moved to the mountains of North Carolina and began writing
fiction.

His book of short stories, Diamonds and Moths was published in 2017.

Worse than Murder is his first novel.

 

 

Contact Link

Website

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Purchase Link

Amazon

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#ReleaseDay “The Devil’s Den (Cavaleri Brothers, Book 4)” by Lilian Harris

 

Title: The Devil’s Den by Lillian Harris

Series: Cavaleri brothers, book 4

Genre: Dark mafia romance, and it’s not a standalone

Book link: http://mybook.to/thedevilsden

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Blurb

He was the boy held captive in the basement. I was the girl who knew.

But I never told a soul. I had innocent lives to protect. And this was the only way.

He was my friend first. My lover second. We wanted to be free, to make a life together. But that was a dream we knew would never come true.

Prisoners of my ruthless father, we could not escape the horror we were forced to endure-until I drew a weapon on the only boy who ever loved me.

And as they drag me away, screaming his name, I hope he’s still breathing.

Because our story, it’s not over yet.

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Author note: This story contains dark themes and scenes depicting SA.

#LilianHarris #thedevilsden

𝗧𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝘀:⁠

Dark Friends to Lovers⁠

Mafia Romance⁠

Captives⁠

Virgins⁠

Emotional Trauma⁠

Slow Burn

Excerpt

“What are you thinking about?” he asks, rubbing his thumb over the top of my hand, my head lying over his shoulder.

“That I have ugly hair.”

“What?” He jerks his head back in an instant. “Who gave you that idea?” The way he stares, it’s not with anger at me, but for what I just said.

I shrug, avoiding his gaze by staring at my bare feet. After a few seconds, he snakes a hand under his pillow and retrieves something. In his palm is the notepad I once gave him.

But as I look at it, as he turns to open a page, I let out a small gasp, my stomach flipping all over again.

I can’t stop staring.

My breathing goes ragged.

I’m there on the page, in a long wispy dress, my hair caught in the wind, skipping among flowers, butterflies floating around me, like he knew that’s how he makes me feel. But that’s silly, of course, there’d be butterflies in a meadow. That’s what this is. He continues to turn, page after page, and I find more of me on every single one.

He’s been drawing me this whole time? Why?

He gazes straight at me, the crooked smile reaching the far corner of his mouth. “Your hair reminds me of the sun, and the sun is beautiful.”

My heart flutters in my chest, tears growing within my eyes. And his face, the one that barely ever smiles anymore, grins so wide for me now. “Did you just call me beautiful?” I whisper with a thread of shock, because there’s no way he said that.

He raises a shoulder with a smirk. “I may have.”

My mouth spreads into a smile of my own, those butterflies in my stomach flying higher. And my head, it falls right over his shoulder, his arm draping around my back. “I think you’re kinda beautiful too.”

With a deep sigh, his head slants over mine and we stay that way until it’s time for me to go, wishing I didn’t have to.

Meet the Author

For Lilian, a love of writing began with a love of books. From Goosebumps to romance novels with sexy men on the cover, she loved them all. It’s no surprise that at the age of eight she started writing poetry and lyrics, and hasn’t stopped writing since.

She was born in Azerbaijan, and currently resides in Long Island, N.Y. with her husband, three kids, and a dog named Gatorade. Even though she has a law degree, she isn’t practicing. When she isn’t writing or reading, Lilian is baking or cooking up a storm. And once the kids are in bed, there’s usually a glass of red in her hand. Can’t just survive on coffee alone!

Lilian would love to connect with you!

WEBSITE: https://www.lilianharris.com/

MAILING LIST: https://mailchi.mp/800b3adeda74/booksbylilianharris

BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lilian-harris

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/LilianHarrisBooks/

INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/lilianharrisauthor/

TWITTER: twitter.com/AuthorLilian

GOODREADS:https://goodreads.com/author/show/19163712.Lilian_Harris

EMAIL: LilianHarrisAuthor@gmail.com

#BookTour “Christian and the Great Journey” by Monica Jobe

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Children’s Christian living, Children’s Christian Values

Date Published: June 28, 2022

Publisher: Lucid Books

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Journeys can be long or short,

Dangerous or safe,

Topsy-turvy,

Bumpy, curvy

And wind a million ways.

Each one different, just like you, and special in its way.

Can you help Christian figure out

Which path to take today?

In this fun-to-read, rhyming picture book, we join Christian on his journey
to find his friend. Along the way, we learn valuable lessons about thinking
for ourselves and making good choices.

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About the Author

Monica Jobe grew up in the hometown of Superman, Metropolis, Illinois, where her love of books began early. She currently resides in Clarksville, Tennessee, with her husband of 7 years, Bill; their 6-year-old son, Seth; 13-year-old chocolate lab, Scout; and 3-year-old solid black cat, Freckles (named by Seth). Monica first received the calling to write children’s
books during an internship in Garden Valley, Texas, following high school.

After graduating from the Institute of Children’s Literature, Monica set out on her own journey in life and traveled different paths before she could write about the greatest journey of all. She is a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Monica is also a music and nature lover who values her family and faith in Jesus most of all.

Contact Links

Facebook

Instagram:   @monica.n.jobe

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Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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