#NewRelease “Networking for writers: A fun way to sell more books.” by Lizzie Chantree

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Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or an experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation.  

This book will show you:

How networking can help you sell more books.

Why author branding is important.

How networking hours work.

Specific Facebook groups for writers

How to utilise social media to grow your readership.

How not to waste valuable writing time.

How to make our marketing more effective.

Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more. 

‘A writer’s treasure trove: factual, relevant and inspiring.’ Isabella May. 

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#Excerpt “Orange Blossoms, Love Blossoms” by Dalia Dupris

 


Book 1 of California Hearts

Contemporary Romance

Date Published: October  19, 2020

Publisher: The Wild Rose

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Strong-willed Elaine Hart is determined to save Hartland Orchards, her family’s’ California orange groves from being taken over by the bank. After the recent ending of a turbulent relationship, she vows to keep her professional and personal life separate, even though she’s attracted to David Cole, the one man who holds her family’s fate in the palm of his hands.

Serious-minded banker, David Cole, recovering from recent love and work fiascos has one goal and that’s ensuring that the delinquent Hartland Ranch account is brought up to date and not becoming personally involved with the unpredictable and beautiful Elaine Cole.

When a series of circumstances brings Elaine and David together, they must decide if they will continue to suppress their emotions or succumb to passion and take a chance on a forever love.


 EXCERPT

“Great.” Smiling, he squeezes my hand. “That’s taken care of then.”

“If I have to wait until Monday for him to repair the car, I’ll need to find a hotel.”

“There’s one inn and one bed and breakfast in town and they’re both completely booked months in advance.” His eyes twinkle and he laughs the deep, echoing laugh that I’m starting to get use to. “I’m not making this up. You can call and check for yourself, if you don’t believe me. Strawberry Festival is a big deal and people travel from out of town to come and enjoy the festivities. You’ll have to spend the night with me.”

The last thing I need right now is to spend the night with David. With the undeniable attraction between the two of us, I know exactly what will happen. My vow to not mix work and my social life has completely gone haywire, because here I am sitting in the cozy intimacy of his car. Betsy is on the way to the mechanic’s garage and I’m stuck in a remote little town that I never knew existed until a week ago. On top of that I’m with the most magnetic man I’ve ever met, who manages to make me feel emotions that are simultaneously new, exciting and frightening.

“I’m okay with that.” He’s the kind of man that I can trust. It’s me I’m more worried about. If we are going to be in close proximity, I’m not certain that I can keep my hands to myself. “Do you have a two-bedroom apartment in Littleton?’ I try to sound nonchalant.

“No, I don’t.” He has a twinkle in his eyes. “I have a one bedroom.”

“Oh,” I sigh, resigned to the fact that this is going to be a super challenging weekend. “We’ll have to make the best of it then, won’t we?”

He throws his head back and lets out a deep, robust laugh.

“What’s so funny?” Here I am getting all sweaty, nervous and yes, even a little aroused, thinking about the possibility of sharing a bed with him and he’s laughing like its a joke.

“Okay.” He gains control of himself—finally, casting a more serious expression in my direction. “You should have seen the look on your face. As if it would be torture to have to share a bed with me.”

“That’s what’s so funny?” I glare at his remarkably even features. If only he knew that I was wondering what kind of underwear he wore, boxers, briefs or God forbid, that the man slept in the nude. “Better that you don’t try to read my mind. Although, I’m glad to see that you have a good sense of humor.”

“Of course I do.” He gives me an odd look, and his words are slightly defensive. “Who doesn’t have a sense of humor?”

“Can we stick to the subject?” I tap my fingers on my leg and l glance at him inquisitively. “So…we’ll be sharing a room, is basically what you’re saying?”


About the Author

I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing and grew up surrounded by a wide variety of books, from westerns to romance novels. I love stories—watching them, listening to them, reading them, and writing them. My contemporary novels include complex and diverse characters that grapple with family legacy, love, loss, and laughter as they face the challenges of life. When I’m not working on my next manuscript, you can find me bike riding along the beach with my husband or exploring the mysteries of the universe with my daughter.

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @dalia_dupris

Instagram: Dalia Writes

Pinterest: Dalia Dupris

Purchase Links

Amazon

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#BookBlitz “True You 101” by T.J. Eckhart

TrueYou

What a perfect read for the spooky season! Congratulations to T.J. Eckhart on the release of her magical Urban Fantasy novel, True You 101!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and book details!

True You Digital Cover

True You 101

Publication Date: October 20, 2020

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Liminal Press

If one class during high school could help you become the person you were meant to be, would you take it? At the Reinholdt Institute of Sortilege Arts, sophomores are required to take True You 101 no matter whether they live in the mortal or magical realm. Over the course of a year, each student must confront all possibilities until their outer form matches their inner self. Blake Trudeau has always just wanted to be normal and hopes the class will make that a reality, but will the final spell conjure Blake’s fondest wishes or worst nightmares?

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Excerpt

Chapter 1: Most Loved, Most Hated

In the mundane world of Collegiate Academy, where everyone in New York City thinks I go to school, Professor Russo’s course would be called Human Sexuality. Here at the Reinholdt Institute of Sortilege Arts, the course is called True You 101. It’s the most loved and hated course of the sophomore year.

I look at the textbook, similar to the school journals, because each copy will be blood-bound to one student. The magics we’ll be working with can track our progress, our changes, and our reactions on physical, emotional, and mystical levels. However, professors, tutors, and even administration can read it at any time. At the end of the course, the books erase and reset for the next year.

How do I know? I read all the materials my uncle gave me about this place at the end of eighth grade, when Grandmother informed me that I needed to leave the private school in Brooklyn and attend a magic school in Manhattan. My family taught me that the best way to keep a secret from the mortal world is to learn everything about it. I read, watch, and listen to everything I can get my hands on. I study things that not even my family knows about, and certainly not anyone at school. I once thought about telling Seb, but I’m worried that he’ll be afraid of me, as I am of myself most days. I’m grateful when the professor speaks up again, because it disrupts this distressing line of thought.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

TammyJo Photo from Museum

Since 1995, TJ Eckhart’s fiction and non-fiction work has been challenging readers to look at themselves and their world through a different lens. True You 101 continues Eckhart’s challenge to reimagine a magic world colliding with the mortal one in regard to our true nature, one that rejects either a reversal or continuation of our everyday biases in favor of the more realistic complexities of what such a realm might be like. If you’re willing to risk opening up your mind, you may find Eckhart’s worlds opening up your heart as well. You may find her via her email (dr.tj.eckhart@gmail.com), on her main website (https://www.tammyjoeckhart.com/), or join her adventures on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/tammyjoeckhart).

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#CoverReveal “Crossing the Line” by Laura Farr

 

Title: Crossing the Line

by Laura Farr

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Crossing the Line is a standalone

Pre-Order Crossing the Line for £1.99

Available in Kindle Unlimited

PRE-ORDER HERE

Releases 2nd December

#CrossingTheLine #LauraFarr #CoverReveal #BareNakedWords #RomanticSuspense

 

BLURB

Ten years after surviving something no child should ever have to endure, Hallie Anderson is finally ready to stop hiding in the shadows. She has a job she loves, friends who care about her, and a fresh start in an apartment of her own. She can finally put the horrors of the past behind her. Or so she thinks.

When the past merges with the present, Hallie is soon feeling like the scared and vulnerable thirteen-year-old of ten years ago. Wanting desperately to hold onto her new life, she’s reluctant to accept any offer of help. As events take a dramatic turn, she quickly realizes if she wants to stay alive she has no choice. What she doesn’t expect is the help to come in the form of Sawyer Mitchell, a Close Protection Officer who looks like he should be starring in a Hollywood movie rather than watching her every move.

For Sawyer, the assignment to protect Hallie is like any other assignment he’s taken on. He’ll do what he needs to do and then walk away. He never gets close to a client, it makes protecting them all the harder if he does. All that changes when he meets Hallie. He’s inexplicably drawn to her, knowing instantly she isn’t like anyone else he’s protected.

Can Sawyer protect Hallie and keep his feelings for her under control, or will he cross a line, putting both of them in danger?

 

 

Meet The Author

Laura Farr lives in Shropshire with her husband and two children. When she isn’t working, or being a Mummy she is pursuing her dream of writing.

She is a romantic at heart and loves nothing more than writing stories with a happy ever after, even if there is the odd chapter of angst thrown in! Her desire to write came from her love of reading and when she isn’t writing you will find her attached to her kindle or spending time with her family.

Author links

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/laura.farr.547

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Laura-Farr-Author-191769224641474/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurafarr_author/

Twitter: @laurafarr4

#BookSale “The Galactic Sentinel: Ultimate Edition: 4 Books with 2000+ Pages of Highly Entertaining Sci-Fi Space Adventure” by Killian Carter

Grab all 4 books in the thrilling GALACTIC SENTINEL series, in this great value 2000+ page sci-fi box set!

Because you know you love ancient aliens, genius monkeys, and epic space adventures.

Includes a Free New Exclusive.

Jason Grimshaw has one job. Get the cadets to Colony 115. Just another day. Just another milk run.

Or so he thought.

When scanners pick up an unidentified alien vessel, it’s already too late. With his ship blown out from under him, and his crew scattered across a war-torn planet, his day just keeps getting better. The good news? One of the pilots survived. The bad news? She’s the biggest pain in his ass, and she’s stranded miles away.

When Clio Evans said she wanted to fly for Fleet, crash-landing a starship in hostile territory wasn’t what she had in mind. She may not be the most experienced pilot, but she sure as hell has a few tricks up her sleeve. With an army standing between her and the rest of her crew, she’ll have to pull out all the stops, even if it means exposing a secret that’ll see her hanged for treason.

And that’s just book one!

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#Featured “Love & Lipstick: An Enemies to Lovers Romance Novella (Passionate Professors Book 2)” by Louise Lennox


Mia Farris is a successful attorney and owner of a clean beauty cosmetics business. When Fortune 500 company, Sinclair Cosmetics, proposes to invest in her expansion, she is wary of the corporate giant and their sexy chemist Peter Attah. Peter’s job is to convince Mia that opening her mind to compromise will place her products in the hands of more women that need them. Instead, he convinces her that she may need to open her heart as well.

Peter Attah is a chemistry professor committed to helping people of post-war African nations rebuild their lives. As a consultant for Sinclair Cosmetics, he uses his influence with the CEO to do so. When he is assigned to develop new products with the beautiful Mia Farris, he finds her impenetrable. But with time, he realizes her broken heart is an equation that only he can solve.

Love & the Lab is a STEAMY enemy to lovers short read where the characters hate hard and fall in love fast. There are instances of domestic violence, corporate greed, and racism. Please read responsibly.

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#BlogTour “Worth the Wait (A Southern Fairy Tale Book 2)” by Shannon Davis

Title: Worth The Wait (A Southern Fairy Tale- Book 2) Author: Shannon Davis Genre:Contemporary Romance Release Date: October 29, 2020 Cover Designer: Cover Me Darling Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

High school English teacher Claire Gibbs thought she’d found love but a broken heart was all she had to show for it. When her latest disappointment turns out to be a smooth-talking control freak, she swears off men. Although she couldn’t deny wanting the fairy tale—a happily ever after with Mr. Right—she was in no rush to date again.

Until she met Caleb.

Air Force officer Caleb Williams’ love life could be summed up in three words: crash and burn. All he wanted was to find a love that would stand the test of time. After a string of failed relationships with high maintenance drama queens, he gave up hope of finding someone special to share his life with and decided to fly solo.

But then he met Claire.

As fate keeps bringing them together, waiting for the right one might not take as long as they thought. Sparks ignite and passion flares as their dreams of finding true love become reality. But a possessive ex will stop at nothing to prevent their happily ever after. Will the one thing they’ve waited their whole lives for be destroyed at the hands of a killer?

Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Tweet: #BlogTour Worth The Wait (A Southern Fairytale- Book 2) By @ShannonDAuthor is now #Live @amazon #KindleUnlimited https://ctt.ec/ee4Gf+ #BAPpr #RomanceReads #ContemporaryRomance

 

Claire leaned in closer, nuzzling her cheek against my chest as we watched the sky light up. With every bang, she tensed, squealing and squeezing my leg as her body jolted. Between the explosions, her fingertips worked busily, making tiny circles on my thigh as she anxiously awaited the next thrill. Her enthusiasm was invigorating, her laughter contagious, and her touch was like a warm salve. Tender. Soothing. Yet so damn powerful. Spending the evening with her was nothing short of comforting. Something I had craved for so long. Holding her felt remarkably familiar, like I was home. And when she reached over and intwined her fingers with mine, I had a brief flash of us sitting together watching fireworks just like this for many years to come.

As the finale exploded, I couldn’t resist the urge to kiss her any longer. Pulling my hand from hers, I lifted her chin, bringing her face close to mine. Her smile told me she knew exactly what I had in mind.

I swallowed, my gaze steady on hers. “Might wanna close your eyes for this,” I whispered.

As the hand on my thigh stilled, the other slid around my neck. “It’s about time, cowboy.”

I heard something in her tone that made my heart spasm. Had she been wanting this too? Her fingers traced up my neck, pulling me closer. I leaned in further and her eyes slowly closed. Holding her chin ever so gently, I pressed my lips to hers. I kissed her softly, once, twice, three times, then parted her lips with my tongue. As I explored her mouth, burying my fingers in her hair, her hand groped my thigh, causing my shorts to grow tighter and tighter. Never had I ever tasted lips so sweet. Never before had anything felt so right, so perfect. I knew without a doubt Claire was the one for me, the one I’d been searching for, waiting for, longing for all these years. She was the one. And I never wanted to let her go.

Shannon Davis grew up in Northwest Florida where she developed a love of writing as a young girl, keeping countless diaries and notebooks filled with short stories. After college, she followed her love of mathematics and became a high school math teacher. She retired from the classroom after nearly three decades to pursue her lifelong dream of writing.

A military wife and mother of three college-aged children, she and her husband reside in Georgia with their three dogs and four cats. When she is not writing, Shannon enjoys traveling, baking, and outdoor activities. An avid reader of women’s fiction and love stories, she is a sucker for happy endings. Her love of the south coupled with romance is evident in her novels, Worth the Risk and Worth the Wait, books one and two in the Southern Fairy Tale series.

 

Available in Kindle Unlimited

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#ReleaseBlitz “Hollywood Enigma (Hollywood Name Game, Book 5)” by Alexa Aston


Hollywood Name Game, Book 5

Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 29, 2020

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From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston – the final book in the exciting Hollywood Name Game – a stunning new contemporary romance series. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

She’s a legal shark—sleek and deadly—but doesn’t trust anyone beyond her small circle of family and friends.

He’s internationally famous—and yet a mystery to the world as he cloaks himself in privacy.

Can they shed their fears and open their hearts to one another?

Actor Wynn Gallagher is at the peak of his fame, playing superhero Carbon Man in the Alpha Tharra Universe film franchise. While the role has made him wealthy, he’s ready to move on to newer challenges—but his ironclad contract will keep him tied to the role for years to come. Seeking legal advice, he approaches Scarlett Corrigan, one of the top entertainment attorneys in Los Angeles.

Scarlett is the younger sister of Hollywood’s highest paid actor, Rhett Corrigan, but she’s made a name for herself in entertainment law. She thrives on challenges and readily accepts Wynn as a client, but she puts the brakes on the strong attraction between them, not wanting to mix business with pleasure.

Eventually, Wynn and Scarlett become involved but tragedy strikes not once, but twice, threatening to end their relationship before it has a chance to grow and flourish.

Can Wynn and Scarlett overcome overwhelming odds and find lasting love?

Hollywood Enigma is the fifth and final book in the Hollywood Name Game series. Each book in the series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

Other Books in the Hollywood Name Game Romance Series:

 

Hollywood Heartbreaker

Hollywood Name Game, Book 1

Release Date: August 6, 2020

 

From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston comes a stunning new Contemporary Romance series. Book One in the exciting Hollywood Name Game series has arrived. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Being late to an interview lands her the biggest job opportunity of her life.

He may be rich and successful—but he’s just this side of miserable.

Can a wannabe be The One for the biggest star in Hollywood?

Cassie Carroll came to Hollywood with big dreams that never materialized. Acting isn’t even on the back burner anymore—it’s completely off the stove. Working for a third-rate agent, Cassie hopes to land a new job that will give her credibility, as well as help pay the rent. Late to her interview, she swerves to avoid hitting a dog—and totals the car of Hollywood’s leading action superstar. Surprisingly, she walks away from their encounter with a job—as the sexiest man alive’s personal assistant.

Rhett Corrigan is bored with the movies he makes and the drop-dead gorgeous model he’s dating. He’s afraid that Hollywood has typecast him—and that he’ll never be able to break out of his action mold and try new acting challenges. When Cassie Carroll literally slams into his life, she brings a breath of fresh air and common sense to his world. She pushes him to be a better actor and a better man.

Can these friends become lovers—and can their love survive—in a tabloid-happy town that thrives on rumors and backstabbing?

Amazon

 

Hollywood Flirt

Hollywood Name Game. Book 2

Release Date: August 27, 2020

From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston – Book Two in the exciting Hollywood Name Game – a stunning new contemporary romance series. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited! 

She’s Hollywood royalty whose trail vanished a dozen years ago.

He doesn’t do relationships and thinks commitment is a four-letter word.

They Google each other . . . and sparks fly . . .

Sydney Revere, the daughter of a famous movie couple, left Hollywood behind over a decade ago. Christened The Wild Child by the media, she reinvents herself as a serious student who becomes an attorney and marries a safe, predictable man. When her husband cheats on her and the law loses its glitter, Sydney returns to Hollywood. Her father hires her to storyboard his upcoming movie, No Regrets—and then stuns Sydney when he offers her the job as his assistant director.

Dash DeLauria is a rising actor who hasn’t trusted a woman since his mother left. He’s now the guardian of his mentally-challenged brother. Dash is looking to grow professionally and after he wins the lead in No Regrets, he finds he’s lost his heart and soul to Sydney. With both their careers on the upswing, life is sweet.

But Sydney’s ex-husband isn’t finished with her yet. Discovering who she really is—and that she’s wealthy—he tracks her to California, ready to start over with her again.

No matter what it takes . . .

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Hollywood Player

Hollywood Name Game, Book3

Release Date: September 17, 2020

She has zero friends . . . and is wary of men, living life as a recluse.

His only friend is 90 and when she dies, he’s adrift.

Can a dyslexic actor and a shy loner find happiness together?

Famous from the time she was fourteen, London Russell lands the cover of Sports Illustrated to cap off her modeling career. Leaving the fashion world behind, she follows her dream of becoming a singer-songwriter. Thanks to an ex-boyfriend’s vicious attack on her, London becomes a recluse who turns out hits but never tours—and can’t trust a man. Her life changes course when she encounters a Hollywood screenwriter and director and agrees to write the theme song for their next movie.

Knox Monroe grew up as America’s darling, a child actor featured on several popular television series. After his mother’s betrayal, Knox drops out of sight, returning years later to make the successful transition to adult roles. A known womanizer and loner, Knox meets London by chance. Through her connections, he winds up with the lead role in a new movie.

Will London be able to open her heart and move past Knox’s player reputation? And will Knox knock down the emotional fortress that he’s built around his heart?

In Hollywood, anything’s possible. . .

Amazon

 

Hollywood Double
Hollywood Name Game, Book 4
Release Date: October 8, 2020

From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston – Book Four in the exciting Hollywood Name Game – a stunning new contemporary romance series – has arrived. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

She’s a Hollywood leading lady who’s never found love – except with Jax, her Basenji.

He’s divorced from a cheating wife and refuses to ever give his heart away again.

Together, their smoking-hot chemistry leads to movie magic . . . and murder . . .

Mac Randall’s life turns upside down when he walks in on his wife and her lover. He finishes his tour of duty overseas and leaves the army, becoming a popular stuntman in Hollywood. When the actor Mac doubles for is murdered, Mac is surprised to find himself cast as the film’s leading man—at the suggestion of the actress who will play opposite him.

Keely Kennedy has built a solid career in Hollywood, rising from supporting roles to leading lady, but she’s been unlucky in love. She becomes close friends with Mac Randall, her new co-star, while she helps him prepare for his first on-screen role. Friendship blossoms into love during their shoot and despite several mishaps on the set, she knows not only has she done the best work in her career on this film, but she believes Mac will become an instant star.

Before production is complete, though, the murderer surfaces—ready to kill the film—and its two stars.

Hollywood Double is the fourth book in the Hollywood Name Game series. Each book in the series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

Amazon

 

 Excerpt

Wynn had never experienced such a physical rush as he did sitting next to Scarlett. The tall beauty fascinated him. Over the years, he’d quietly seen a few women but as his success mounted, he’d almost lost interest in the opposite sex. Or rather, they’d lost interest in him. No one wanted to know Wynn as a person. Every woman seemed more interested in being seen with Wynn Gallagher, the superstar, and what that could do for them. He found himself shrinking inside until he’d almost disappeared.

Scarlett was different. A highly paid professional in a competitive field. Comfortable in her own skin. She came from a world where she mingled with the rich and famous on a regular basis. She didn’t seem impressed sitting next to Carbon Man. She treated him as Wynn, a guy—not Wynn, the megastar.

That was a huge turn-on.

He noticed people seated at tables around them began rising. Scarlett scooped up her casino money and he said, “You must’ve done Sarah a good favor to get double the money to play with.”

Those mesmerizing gray eyes looked at him with amusement. “I helped her work out a problem that arose at the last minute.”

With a straight face, he said, “It involved a demanding donor who wanted a front row seat to tonight’s action, I’d guess.”

The corners of her sensual mouth turned up. “I believe it did. Fortunately, this donor came alone. No plus-one. Since I ended a relationship this morning, it was easy to insert this fussy donor into my plus-one’s seat.” Her smile widened. “Problem solved.”

“Was this a longtime plus-one?” he asked.

She shrugged. “A couple of months. I had the feeling Chaz was more interested in the people he would see tonight and chat up than he was spending time with me.”

“Then Chaz is a fool,” Wynn said. “I’ve known you less than two hours and see you’re smart, capable, interesting, and incredibly beautiful. If I were your plus-one, it would be hard to get rid of me. I’d be stuck to you like glue.”

Her eyes lit with interest. “You would?”

“Definitely.”


About the Author

Award-winning and internationally bestselling author Alexa Aston lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She’s a binge fiend (The Crown and Ozark are favorites) who enjoys travel, sports, and time with her family. 

Her historical romances bring to life loveable rogues and dashing knights, while her contemporary romances are light and flirty and sometimes contain a bit of suspense.

 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

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 Purchase Links

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#Excerpt “The Boy and the Lake” by Adam Pelzman


Family Saga Fiction. Literary Fiction

Date Published: October 7th, 2020

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Haunted by his discovery of a beloved neighbor’s body floating lifeless in the lake where he’s fishing, 16-year-old Benjamin Baum is convinced she was murdered despite her death being deemed an accident.  While those around him tire of his fixation on finding a supposed killer, Ben’s alienation leads to drinking and the reader begins to wonder if he’s a reliable narrator. The plot takes a shocking twist, revealing the terrifying reality that things are not what they seem—that, beneath a façade of prosperity and contentment, darkness lurks. 


CHAPTER ONE

June 1967

I can recall with near perfect clarity the moment I saw Helen Lowenthal’s bloated body slide up through a carpet of emerald water lilies and bob on the water’s surface like a ghostly musk turtle. In the seconds before her lifeless ascent, a constellation of fireflies—tiny flickering furnaces—danced and glowed in the early summer dusk; a white egret, all legs and neck, landed atop Split Rock and stood regal guard over the lake; a long-eared bat carved wicked arcs through the sky before devouring a plump imperial moth.

From the direction of Second Beach, Nathan Gold’s pontoon boat—the Ark—puttered along the shoreline with four prosperous couples reveling in their evening cocktails. A symphony of big bands, laughter, and giddy howls poured off the boat and tumbled across the lake’s still water. Nathan and his wife, Bea—a gregarious, stocky woman—called out to me as they passed, and I waved back with delight, wondering how two people could be so festive, so happy, so often.

Bonnie Schwartz, my mother’s friend, was also on the boat. She was considered by many to be the prettiest woman on the lake, as was her mother before her. I waved to her with the hope of some reciprocity—maybe a nod or a simple smile in my direction—but this auburn beauty, distracted by her empty martini glass, did not notice me—an omission that punished my fragile sixteen-year-old heart.

I sat on the edge of the dock, my feet immersed in the water of our beloved New Jersey lake. As the Ark turned north toward the clubhouse, the boat’s wake caused the pungent, algal water to lap against my calves. I held a wooden fishing pole that Papa, my grandfather, had given me when I was six. The hook baited with a throbbing night crawler, I watched as the red-and-white bobber teased me with a quick downward thrust, only to rise to the surface and drift with rippled ease. Clever fish, I thought.

A few seconds before the swollen body emerged, I turned back to look at my grandparents’ summerhouse. I could see Nana flitting about the screened-in porch, setting the table for yet another dinner party, while Papa probed the lawn for moles, angling empty glass bottles into their holes with the open ends facing downward. “Makes a howling noise, Ben,” he once told me as he guided a beer bottle into the earth. “Drives them crazy, like psychological warfare.”

What I noticed first in the water before me was not a body, but a flutter in the lilies that I mistook for a jumping frog. It was only when the attenuated rays of the descending summer sun flashed off Helen’s gold and diamond watch that I realized something terrible had occurred. I gasped and leapt to my feet. “God,” I mumbled and raised my right foot as if to take a step forward, toward the body. “Papa!” I yelled, dropping the rod to the dock. “Papa, come down!”

Despite his old age, my grandfather was a lithe and energetic man who, after numerous injuries and surgeries, had somehow managed to retain much of the athleticism of his youth. He was alarmed by the distress in my voice, for he threw a bottle to the ground and dashed down the slate path to the water’s edge. I glanced up to my grandmother, who stood frozen on the porch, right hand on chest, her mouth open.

“There!” I shouted to Papa and pointed to the blue-white body of his next-door neighbor. Helen Lowenthal, whose rare kindness had evoked in me the greatest loyalty, was dressed in a pink tennis skirt and matching top. Barefoot, she floated on her back, her face dappled with lake slime, her dyed blonde hair draped over a mat of lilies, her pale arms elevated above her head as if she were a surrendering soldier. I took another step closer, toward the water. I found myself drawn to her body, to its deadness, to its serene, haunted passage, as one is drawn to the very things—once beautiful, now rotten—that intrigue us, that repulse us with their incomprehensible transformation.

Papa reached the dock and grabbed my arm. He stared at the body in silence, then, as if looking for a clue, scanned the shoreline and the lake’s expanse. A hundred feet from the dock, in a pool of quiet water, an elderly couple fished from an anchored motorboat; the Ark continued its journey toward the clubhouse, a familiar Ella Fitzgerald melody drifting off the stern; a small sailboat floated in the windless dusk; and the white egret elevated from Split Rock, relinquishing its perch in search of food. “Go inside and call the police,” Papa cried. “It’s Helen, you know.” He wiped the sweat from his face then, panting, bent over at the waist. “Helen … Lowenthal,” he said through heavy breaths, before stepping down, fully-clothed, into the shallow water.

I watched as he struggled to traverse the muddy lake floor, the water rising from his knees, to his waist, to his chest. When he reached Helen, he touched a small bruise on her forehead. He then grasped her left hand and guided her—belly-up—toward the shore, her body slicing through the water with ease and purpose. As I watched this scene unfold, I was immobilized by my first close contact with death. I stared at her corpse with a vast fear, with a revulsion that shamed me, and, I would later acknowledge, with something approximating wonderment.

With great care, Papa placed his palm on the side of Helen’s head—a tender movement that protected her from hitting a protruding rock. Now just feet from the shore, the water knee-deep, he turned to me. “Go, Ben,” he demanded. “Go now!”

Unable to divert my eyes from the scene before me, I moved slowly up the dock. I watched as Papa stepped up onto the shore, his legs heavy from the weight of his sodden pants. I watched as he lifted Helen, as he groaned in exertion, and then gently laid her down on the spongy moss. I took one last look at the woman. She wore the fancy watch her husband had given her for their twentieth anniversary, and on her left hand was an engagement ring, the one with a diamond so large that some of the women from the bridge club had started a rumor that the stone was fake. I glanced at her toenails, painted cherry red, and at her slime-lacquered face.

“Go!” Papa screamed, now with fury in his eyes. And then I ran to the house and into my grandmother’s fleshy, perfumed embrace. I ran to a safe place.


About the Author

Adam Pelzman was born in Seattle, raised in northern New Jersey, and has spent most of his life in New York City. He studied Russian literature at the University of Pennsylvania and went to law school at UCLA. His first novel, Troika, was published by Penguin (Amy Einhorn Books). He is also the author of The Papaya King, which Kirkus Reviews described as “entrancing,” “deeply memorable” and “devilishly smart social commentary.” The Boy and the Lake, set in New Jersey during the late 1960s, is his third novel.

 

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RABT Book Tours & PR

#BookTour “Blood Money” by Chris Riedel

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True Crime/Thriller

Date to be Published: 10/13/20

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

 

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BLOOD MONEY is the true legal thriller of a terrifying David vs. Goliath
fight against massive healthcare fraud by a brave Whistleblower.  It
includes attempted murder, extortion, money-laundering, fraudsters hiding
money in the Cayman Islands, gold buried in a storage container in a
CEO’s backyard, an Assistant Attorney General sabotaging her
state’s case, and a corrupt Governor torpedoing litigation by his own
Attorney General.  From Silicon Valley to the Sunshine State, in a
showdown that reads like a Hollywood movie, Chris Riedel survives to share
it all. His actions have resulted in more than $550 million in settlements
and a court verdict… and counting.

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EXCERPT

Blood Money is the story of how a Silicon Valley CEO became a fraud fighter. It is an insider’s look at the David vs. Goliath struggle between a whistleblower seeking to save his company and stop taxpayers from being ripped-off, and healthcare companies engaged in massive fraud.  Along the way, it exposes what it is like to work with government prosecutors.

I lived the Silicon Valley dream, founding my first company at twenty-four, and then starting two others while I was still a young man. The first two companies revolutionized how bacterial infections were diagnosed and treated—saving hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.

My third company, Meris Laboratories, jumped to another level entirely. Between 1988-90, it experienced the fastest growth among 2,000 labs in the industry, and delivered the highest pre-tax profit margins. In 1991, we achieved the ultimate Silicon Valley aspiration by leading the company through an initial public offering (IPO). A secondary offering (SPO) followed six months later. A month after the SPO, Business Week selected Meris as the fortieth best small business in America — out of over 20 million registered small companies. We were deeply honored.

We decided to celebrate our success in the best possible way: a few months after the SPO, I retired after twenty-two years in healthcare. I was forty-five years old. For someone who grew up in a lower middle-class family, you can only imagine how proud I felt.

During the 1990s, two labs (dubbed the “Blood Brothers” by Wall Street analysts) grew to dominate the industry: Quest Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp).  When my wife, Marcia, and I came back into the industry 11 years after we retired, the California laboratory industry had changed. Instead of walking into a level playing field for all labs, what we found was a rigged deck, a broad pattern of corruption, kickbacks, price gouging, and naked profiteering. This made it impossible for honest competitors, like our Hunter Labs, to survive.

Even worse, I discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars were being stolen from California’s Medicaid system.
This corruption was anything but a victimless crime. Beyond California’s taxpayers, many others were getting harmed, namely California’s oldest, sickest, and poorest. What I found was that the Blood Brother-dominated laboratory testing market in California had devolved largely into profiteering by the greedy at the expense of the needy.

These frauds were not accidents. They were core business plans, designed and sanctioned at the top. I learned of this as the “big wink” that goes on every day in American healthcare. If you want to be a big or mid-sized player in the healthcare arena, you quickly find out that you must make a choice: join the fraud team or go home. One of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Merck, was described by an Assistant U.S. Attorney at a Taxpayers Against Fraud conference as: “Organized crime masquerading as a drug company.”

I never imagined I would become a fraud fighter. My closest friends, also successful businessmen, despised anyone who sued corporations—particularly whistleblowers. This held throughout corporate America, which views whistleblowers as pariahs instead of people who stand for integrity and fair business and employment practices. Was I about to become something they despised?

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About the Author

CHRIS RIEDEL is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has founded five healthcare companies and served as the Chairman and CEO of all.  Chris achieved the Silicon Valley dream when he took his third company public in 1991.  A few months later, it was ranked by Business Week as the 40th best small company in America.  Soon after founding a fourth company, his battle against healthcare fraud began.  In 2011, he received the Taxpayers Against Fraud Whistleblower of the Year award.

 

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