#PreOrder “Through the Eyes of Others” by Roxanne Rhaman

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Nellie Shelton has a lot going for her. She’s seventeen, mixed-raced in a small town, and she’s just left her private high school to transfer and be the new kid…for her senior year. She has three siblings that treat her like the baby sister they’ve always known, and two parents who haven’t been in a room together since their divorce.

When she accidentally gets pregnant her sophomore year of college, she knows she’s made a horrible mistake. That’s when she realizes two important things: traveling down the wrong path is easy. Admitting it is the challenge.

As she struggles with deciding whether to keep her secret from an overprotective family, or admit she’s not as perfect as they would like, Nellie will learn that occasionally your life veers off into unexpected places. Where one decision can lead somewhere you’d never imagine. Through the Eyes of Others is the story of a girl hoping to make her family proud, while also striving to believe in true love.

Releases March 29th!

Available at all online digital retailers

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#BookBlitz “Jasmine’s Journey to Jesus” by LT Sutton

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Fiction, Coming of Age, Christian Fiction

Jasmine’s Journey to Jesus is a powerful and inspirational story of survival, hope, growth and healing through faith. If you have struggled with the aftermath of abuse, rape, fatherlessness or issues of self-worth, this book is for you. Join Jasmine on her journey… you won’t be disappointed and you will be inspired!

Jasmine Taylor, a survivor of sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, poverty and the foster care system, worked hard and diligently to overcome her past. On the surface, she seems perfect- she’s beautiful, confident, poised and educated with a successful, high powered career. Emotionally, she’s far from perfect. Haunted by memories of her past, she struggles to navigate life and relationships through her fog of pain and skepticism. Having internalized her abuse as a reflection of her self-worth, she believes that she is unlovable and unworthy of caring and compassion, and willfully isolates herself socially.

Just as she begins to let her guard down, her world is turned upside-down by betrayal and tragedy reminiscent of her childhood, and the wall that she built between herself and the rest of the world works to her detriment. On her own, her strong will and mental fortitude are not enough to fight her latest battles. As her life falls apart and she hits rock-bottom, she discovers the ultimate source of strength, begins her faithful journey to true love and healing, and gains Godly perspective on her struggles and life itself.

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About the Author

LT Sutton has enjoyed careers in research engineering, education, and project management, but her experiences as an entrepreneur, marathoner, triathlete, author, and most importantly, wife and mother have been the most rewarding. She lives in the midwest with her family, with whom she shares a love for and faith in Jesus Christ.

Driven by her desire to inspire survivors of sexual abuse, rape and fatherlessness, she wrote “Jasmine’s Journey to Jesus,” drawing from her own childhood and life experiences, and as well as her own faith, spiritual growth and healing. Adopting Philippians 4:13 as her personal motto, she believes that no problem is to big for God, and hopes to inspire that sentiment in her writing. Though her story primarily aims to empower and encourage disadvantaged young women, she hopes that the message and gospel of Jesus Christ translates through the story, motivating and inspiring both men and women who read her book.

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#BookTour “No Good About Goodbye” by CT Liotta

nogoodaboutgoodbye-copy

“Like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, if Simon’s mom were a vodka-soaked spy and grown assassins were trying to kill Simon.”

Welcome to the book tour for No Good About Goodbye by C.T. Liotta. Read on for more info and a chance to win some fun giveaways!

Ebook Final Cover

No Good About Goodbye

Publication Date: November 24th, 2021

Genre: YA/ Coming-of-Age/ Adventure/ LGBTQ2+

Publisher:Rot Gut Pulp

Fifteen-year-old Ian Racalmuto’s life is in ruins after an embassy raid in Algiers. His mother, a vodka-drunk spy, is dead. His brother, a diplomat, has vanished. And, he’s lost a cremation urn containing a smartphone that could destroy the world.

Forced to live with his cantankerous grandfather in Philadelphia, Ian has seven days to find his brother and secure the phone—all while adjusting to life in a troubled urban school and dodging assassins sent to kill him.

Ian finds an ally in William Xiang, an undocumented immigrant grappling with poverty, a strict family, and abusive classmates. They make a formidable team, but when Ian’s feelings toward Will grow, bombs, bullets and crazed bounty hunters don’t hold a candle to his fear of his friend finding out. Will it wreck their relationship, roll up their mission, and derail a heist they’ve planned at the State Department?

Like a dime store pulp adventure of the past, No Good About Goodbye is an incautious, funny, coming-of-age tale for mature teens and adult readers.

“Brilliant… a rollicking good read. Rich with often realistically crude boy lingo, No Good About Goodbye is an utterly charming teenage LGBTQ falling-in-love adventure while simultaneously rocking an international crime storyline.”—C.S. Holmes, Indiereader

A smart, funny pile-up at the intersection of Surrender Your Sons, Grasshopper Jungle, and a pulp spy thriller.

IndieReader Review

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Excerpt

The airport baggage conveyor spun for twenty minutes while Ian and Mario caught up. Ian’s voice differed from his grandfather’s. His Italian was perfect, but his English fused accents learned around the world. He merged British and American dialects, rolled an occasional r, and mispronounced words. He hated his patois. Worse was that, like Mario, he flailed his hands when he spoke. Deena would sometimes say that to silence the two, she might cut off their arms.

“So let me get this straight,” said Mario. “Richard Finzel wants to start a war using codes on your mother’s smartphone.”

“Yes.”

“Where is he now?”

“Dead. I triggered a bomb.”

“They recovered his body?” asked Mario.

“No, they found three of his teeth.”

“Teeth aren’t vital,” said Mario.

“Of course they are,” said Ian. “He won’t be able to chew things, and he’ll die.” He tilted his head. “Even if he survived and still wanted to start his war, he’d have to find mom’s phone and fly to D.C. to activate it. I hid the phone inside Aunt Judy’s funeral urn. Diplomatic security recovered it while I was in hospital. It’s out of my hands.”

“You’re certain they have it?” asked Mario.

“They said they would handle it,” said Ian.

“Shit,” Mario groaned under his breath. A blue suitcase appeared. “Ecco qua!” he said.

“No,” said Ian. “Mine has a Pan Am logo on it.”

Mario wheeled a cart toward them and stacked the bags Ian had pulled. A glittery tag on a steamer chest revealed his mother’s address in her script, and Mario’s eyes saddened. “You shouldn’t be the one to do this.”

“Someone has to,” replied Ian, “though I’d rather be with dad.”

“Algiers is too dangerous.”

“Algiers has always been too dangerous!” Ian erupted, throwing his hands up. Mario stepped back, surprised by the outburst. Ian lowered his voice. “Non voglio pensarci. Erik’s missing and dad’s sitting alone in a hotel room with a stuffed shirt convincing him he’s dead. I can hear the conversation now. Erik is gone. It’s a recovery, Cardiff, not a rescue. Little Ian has an undeveloped frontal cortex and uses denial to cope with grief.” He dug his hands in his pockets and settled back.

“Are you in denial?” asked Mario.

“I would deny it if I were,” said Ian. “I’ve developed the good sense to shut my mouth when adults think one way and I think another. Let’s discuss it, they say. Discussion only ever means debate. I’m sick of debating. I’ll say whatever people want me to say in public if it makes it easier to be who I am in private.”

“No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” Mario winked. “That’s Nathaniel Hawthorne. Bet you didn’t know that. In spycraft they call it the wilderness of mirrors.”

Ian waved the old man off. “Erik’s out there. I have, at best, seven days to locate him before the trail turns to ice. It’s not just about finding him—living with him abroad is the only way to get my life back on track. Philly is perdition. No offense, but I shouldn’t be here.”

The bag carousel stopped. Mario pointed to a stuffy office for lost bags, and Ian gathered his backpack.

Grab a copy at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Bookshop

About the Author

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CT Liotta was born and raised in West Virginia before moving to Ohio for college, where he majored in Biology. He now uses Philadelphia as his base of operations. You can find him backpacking all over the world.

Liotta takes interest in writing, travel, personal finance, and sociology. He likes vintage airlines and aircraft, politics, news, foreign affairs, ’40s pulp and film noir. He doesn’t fear math or science, and is always up for Indian food. His favorite candy bar used to be Snickers, but lately it’s been 3 Musketeers. He isn’t sure why.

CT Liotta | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter

US Giveaway:

Grand prize winner gets:

1 Autographed ARC Copy of NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card

1 Set of fake mustaches

1 Set of invisible ink pens

2 Fake passports with stamps for blowing town incognito

A custom thank-you note and luggage stickers

Page a day travel journal

Second place winner gets:

1 Autographed ARC Copy of NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE

1 $10 Amazon Gift Card

2 Fake passports with stamps for blowing town incognito

A custom thank-you note and luggage stickers.

Third place winner gets:

1 Autographed ARC Copy of NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE

2 Fake passports with stamps for blowing town incognito

A custom thank-you note and luggage stickers

Click HERE to enter!

Book Tour Organized By:

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#BookTour “Sloppy” by Jasmine Farrell

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Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age

 

Release date: January 11th, 2022

Classic preacher’s kid, Roxanne felt like the oddball in her environment.

By age 22, she found herself compromising and settling in various avenues of her life- including love.

Will Roxanne be brave enough to end her relationship with a man who ails her? Will she take the path towards her purpose no matter how sloppy it looks? Or will she allow the world and her family to dictate right and wrong?

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EXCERPT

When I saw Tori’s beads at the ends of her braids sway back and forth to Biggie Smalls’, “One More Chance,” I knew I wanted to share my Play-Doh with her. Her deep brown skin shimmered as she smiled. Her grin, devoured by her deep dimples, made my fingers feel jittery as she cackled at my multi-colored LEGO house. I remembered switching my head to the right and eyed my overnight bag.

“What?” Tori grinned.

“I got you something, Tori,” I replied.

“What is it?”

She pounced up. Eyes wide and her beads jiggling as she swayed in anticipation.

I crawled over to my bag and rummaged for my two jars of Play-Doh. I pulled out both jars and held them in the air.

“Hey, can I have some, Roxy?”

“Of course. That’s why I took it out. It’s for you. Here.”

I bent over, pushed a jar towards her direction and watched her squeal. She knelt, placed both arms in front of our LEGO houses, and slid them back. With one quick swoop, she grabbed the jar once it reached her rainbow socks. I watched as her toes wiggled flamboyantly. I crawled to her side and opened my jar as well.

“Let’s make stars, Tori.”

She closed the Play-Doh and gently placed it on the beige carpet. She wrapped one arm around me and pressed her lips against my cheek and held them there for a while. I’m pretty sure that my heart leaped to the top of my mouth.

“Thanks, Roxy. Yeah, let’s make stars.”

“Yeah, ‘cause you’re a star, Tori.”

Her mother swung Tori’s bedroom door open. “Ya’ll are both 8-year-old girls, not stars. Jesus is the star. He’s the risen King and our everything. Now come in this here bathroom and wash ya’ll hands. Ya’ll been playing in here with this door closed, ya’ll ain’t hear me callin’ ya’ll. I dun’ called ya’ll five times. Dinner is ready. Hurry up and wash ya’ll hands so we can all say Grace. Everybody is downstairs.”

We shuffled past her and skipped down the hallway to the bathroom.

As our hands wrestled each other in the water, our giggles alarmed Tori’s Mama.

“Stop all that playin’ ‘round and get down here,” she hollered from the bottom of the stairs.

We both looked at each other in the mirror and snickered.

Tori had the same kinky coils as mine. Our parents refused to allow us to relax our hair.

I rubbed my hands together and watched the bubbles overtake my little fingers. I felt sprinkles of water hit my face. I looked at the back of Tori’s head as she buried her hands into the brown hand towel that was on a wooden rack. I quickly flicked a soapy hand in her direction, and she flinched. I rinsed off and waited for her to step aside so I could dry my hands too.

“Oh yeah,” she said as she spun around to face me. She pressed her lips to my right cheek. It felt as though a fluffy teddy bear patted my cheek. She skipped out the bathroom, and her footsteps rumbled down the stairs.

I was frozen until Tori’s mother exclaimed, “Little girl, don’t have us eatin’ cold food. Get your butt down here!”

I hurriedly dried my hands as my smile remained plastered on my face for the rest of the evening.

The following morning, when my Mama was on her way to pick me up, Tori and I waited in the living room. As we watched cartoons on the couch, I finally returned the kiss back. I remember the dent my lips felt upon reaching her cheek. I liked her dimples.

A week later, Sunday morning, Mama was preaching about the right kind of love that men and women of God should pursue. We were members of Holy Ghost Saints of Mt Ararat for All Nations in East New York, Brooklyn. I felt up and down the soft, fuzzy fabric until one of the deacons, sitting next to me, grabbed one of my hands with a tight grip. I squealed. I looked up at him and pressed my lips tightly together, hoping he’d let me go. He nodded, tilted my chin up, and raised my pressed lips. He gave me a you -better-not act-up- in-the-House-of-God face in return.

He whispered, “Listen to your mother preach and stop the fidgeting with your clothes before you mess them up. She paid good money for that skirt. Act like a god-fearing young lady.”

I looked down and felt my skirt again. I jolted my head back up and looked to my left to see Tori’s smile. Her eyes were looking at my own and I knew what was next. As she slid off the pew and dug into her mother’s church bag on the ground, I went into my little purse. I looked up at Deacon Brown and smiled at his fixation on my mother.

Eyes still on his gray beard, with every breath I slid my jar of Play-Doh out until it sat on the pew with me. One leg crossed over the other, I shifted my body slightly towards the left towards Tori’s direction. I coughed twice as I opened the small jar of mushy goodness. Tori did the same as she yawned her Play-Doh jar open. She shaped hers into a purple heart. I nodded and shaped mine into a blue diamond. I lifted it up a few inches and raised my chin to her. She raised her purple heart and paused, then slid back to the floor and into her mother’s bag to grab a pen. She scribbled on the Play-Doh heart and looked up at me.

Her mother yanked her right leg towards her hip and muttered into her ear. Tori’s head lowered as she cupped the heart in her hand. Her mother pinched her thigh and retrieved the pen. Her mother looked at me and pierced my chest open with her eyes. Her hand levitated and motioned attention to watch my mother. I looked forward.

My mother was a regal woman, faithfully has the fragrance of Perry Ellis 360 lingering way after she leaves.

The clicking of her heels sounds like elegance with a hint of fierceness lingering on the bottom of her shoes. She smiles when talking about Jesus and how proud she is of me when I do anything related to God. With one look, she can pin me down and close up my throat. She’s the authority even when she’s absent. Her voice booms even when she’s calm, and she cooks as though her parents discovered spices. Beverley, my mother, was the first woman to become ordained in our church. My Mama is fierce. My Mama is strong. My Mama terrifies me.

“Don’t let that Devil tell you that you need to look elsewhere!”

My eyes followed my Mama’s hand as she snatched the Bible from the podium stand and raised it in the air.

“Everything you need is right here in this book; you ain’t got to look no further. That includes love.”

She placed the book down and walked away from the podium. She scanned the congregation and took a deep breath.

“How to love and who to love. That’s right: who. Some people sittin’ in these pews right now got a boyfriend at home, and they a man themselves. Some women sittin’ up in these pews have lady lovers at home.”

She went down the two carpeted steps from the podium and walked forward.

“I’m here to tell you that even though God is love, homosexual relations ain’t love. The sun needs the moon and man needs woman. You can love your neighbor as you love yourself, volunteer at the soup kitchen and talk to God every day. But if you out here lusting the same sex, the altar is where is you have to be because that is not of God. But that’s alright, because our God is a deliverer. Our God is a healer.”

The entire congregation stood on their feet and clapped. A few shouted “Hallelujah!” while my head sank and my body slumped into the pew. “You better preach it this morning, Minister Patton!” Deacon Brown shouted.

Mama marched back up the two steps and returned behind the podium. She scooped up her reading glasses and pushed them onto her face. Mama’s owl eyes gazed down at the Bible as she flipped through the pages before continuing, “Let us turn to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and then I want you place a pen at 1Timothy 1:9-10…”

I knew my Mama saw me and Tori just now with our Play-Doh. I mouthed the scriptures to myself as she read them to the congregation. I’d written them down ten times on a notepad for punishment after I told her that I wanted to marry a pretty girl and have lots of babies. Tori was forbidden to spend the night at my house after Mama caught us holding hands a little longer than we should have been.

“Saints, I want you know that it’s just a sin like everything else. Greed, lust, lying, whoremongering and homosexual relations, all sin. Ain’t none bigger than the other. Yes, saints, it does matter who you love.”

She turned her head and squinted her eyes towards me.

“An abominable act is an abominable act no matter how nice, kind, and sweet you are. But there is deliverance.”

After the church service ended, Tori made a mad dash to me and put my heart in her bag.

“Here,” she said as she smiled.

I showed her my creation and said, “Look. I made it cause you’re a diamond. You can keep it.”

She wrapped her arms around me and giggled.

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About the Author

Jasmine Farrell, from Brooklyn, NY is a freelance writer and author. With poetry being her first love, she has published three full-length poetry collections: My Quintessence (2014), Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves (2016), Long Live Phoenixes (2018). She released a poetry series that included three micro collections titled, The Release Series (2020). She recently published her debut novel, Sloppy (2022).

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#BookBlitz “Sloppy” by Jasmine Farrell

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Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age

 

Release date: January 11th, 2022

Classic preacher’s kid, Roxanne felt like the oddball in her environment.

By age 22, she found herself compromising and settling in various avenues of her life- including love.

Will Roxanne be brave enough to end her relationship with a man who ails her? Will she take the path towards her purpose no matter how sloppy it looks? Or will she allow the world and her family to dictate right and wrong?

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About the Author

I’m an author, poet, freelancer and professional snack eater. Licorice, cookies and funyuns, ya’ll!

I’m an old soul, a late bloomer and I bask in my un-coolness.

The words I put to the page, come from the heart and demonstrate the journey I’ve made to nurture and grow my spirit.

Wrote a few guest blog posts, worked at a magazine and wrote some posts for webizines.

Six published poetry collections demonstrate how my life experiences have shaped me. They begin with my first collection, My Quintessence, which was released in 2014. It includes poems from my teenage years and past life as a Christian. My second poetry collection, Phoenixes Groomed a Genesis Doves, was released a year after I de-converted from Christianity in 2015.

I’ve had to tackle a lot of tough topics in my life, but as I reveal my heart, my hope is that I inspire others to pursue their dreams with confidence in being who they are authentically.

My realization is reflected in my third release, Long Live Phoenixes, as well as my latest poetry series, (3 micro collections in total) Release.

I’m currently working on my first novel and telling my cat to get off the computer desk.

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#MiniTour “Blackbird Rising (Harbingers Book 1)” by Jane Wiseman

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Welcome to the mini tour for this stunning new fantasy novel by Jane Wiseman, Blackbird Rising!

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Blackbird Rising (Harbingers 1)

Publication Date: December 2018

Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Mature YA Fantasy/ Coming-of-Age

Minstrel? Spy? Witch? What is Mirin, really?

She’s a young girl. She’s a boy. She loves her sister. She loves a man.

More important, who is she?

The gods have given her a task, to save a realm, to save a queen.

In a brutal world where the young are forced to grow up fast, Mirin’s story is about coming of age too soon, about love and betrayal. It’s about the heavy costs of standing for a cause but standing for it anyway because it is the right. About finding the lost and finding yourself along the way.

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CHAPTER NINE

Playing for Time

By morning, I had a bad case of jitters. I could see Wat did, too. After we breakfasted on some of the scraps we had managed to snag during our march the night before back through the kitchen shed, Wat sat thinking a long time. I tried not to interrupt, although I was itching to do it.

Finally, he looked up at me. “We’ll go in together.” He sounded certain, but his eyes betrayed him. I could tell he was far from certain. Wat’s eyes were a clear azure, like a cloudless noontide sky. But when he was angry or worried, they turned. They became somehow duller and sharper at the same time, as if you were to stare into a pond reflecting a clear noontide sky at the moment a cloud passes over. Or as if you were to sight down the blade of a sword made of fine-tempered steel. As you see, I’d had a long time to study Wat, and at close quarters, too. I knew how to read him, and I read that he was sick with worry.

“How? How will we manage that? Master Charlo is on to you now. He won’t allow it,” I said.
“Probably thinking I’m looking the place over to see what I can steal,” said Wat. “Yes, you’re right. But I’ll manage it.” He summoned up a smile. “You’re modest. You know that? You’re too modest to bathe in front of strangers. I need to be there. That’s what I’ll tell them.” “Will it work?”
“Maybe,” he said. “What if it doesn’t?”

“I’ll create a diversion.” “How in the Nine Spheres will you do that?” The corner of Wat’s mouth quirked up in what passed for one of his enigmatic smiles. But people were starting to drift down the road in our direction. They wanted to be entertained. Wat didn’t answer me. He headed over to our wagon and disappointed them by slapping a large NO PERFORMANCE TODAY sign on the outside of the wagon, and shaking his head firmly at the many who couldn’t read. I wanted him to tell me about his plans, but he wouldn’t talk about it. Instead, he made me go back into the wagon box bed.

“Otherwise every young girl in the Hundred is going to come crowding around to see if she can catch your eye,” said Wat as he shuttered me in. “I look like a girl,” I shouted through the slats.
“I think that may be the point,” he said in a reasonable tone of voice that sent me into a suppressed fury. “You’re not threatening. The mothers don’t fear you’ll run off with the daughters. You’re like a pet. But they can pretend to dream about you. Girls that age. That’s what they do.” He was sitting on the wagon seat, leaning back against the box bed, so we could have a conversation just as if we were face to face.
“No, not today. Sorry,” I heard him call out to someone. “I’m a girl that age. I don’t have thoughts like that.”
“You haven’t had time to. If you were home with your mother, you’d be having them about now.”
“That’s a lie,” I said between gritted teeth. Why was I getting so angry? Maybe so I wouldn’t think about what it would have been like, if I were home with my mother. Maybe because Wat hadn’t bothered to answer my question. “Not a lie. It’s just the truth,” said Wat. “And keep your voice down. Sorry, no performance today,” I heard him call. “How would you know what girls think?” I muttered.
“Oh, I know,” he said. He was infuriating, Wat was. I think he enjoyed it. But he was my master, so I knew not to push him too far. He had never beaten me, not yet. Once he was about to. “Remember your promise to Old Gwen!” I had screamed at him.
“I made her no such promise,” he told me as he circled around to get behind me with the strap he used to hobble Millicent. But in the end, he didn’t beat me. I don’t even remember what I had done to get him so worked up. Probably something dangerous. Every now and again I noticed it. He feared for me. Yet he wasn’t allowed to. That frustrated him, almost beyond bearing.

The time of our summoning drew closer, and the people had all wandered off, so he let me out of the box bed. He still hadn’t told me how he planned to create a diversion. I pulled the Kenning the Juggler costume on again. It was all I could do. The people in the castle would see the boy they expected to see. “We won’t stuff the rags in,” Wat decided, looking me up and down. “They may fall out at the wrong moment, and we don’t want any extra attention. You’ll be fine. You look fine. The servants are not going to be looking too close, down there.”
I turned away to hide my blushing. This part of my costume always made me feel uneasy and wrong. “But when I step into the bath, they’ll notice,” I said, pressing the point.
“They would indeed, but we won’t let them see.”
“How do you plan to keep them from it?” Answer me, Wat. Before he could explain, we noticed Master Charlo shouldering past the guards. He came down the hill toward us.

“Follow my lead,” said Wat to me. I suppressed an annoyed grimace. Wat was always figuring out some plan, I’d have no idea what it was, and I just had to follow along, the instrument the master played upon. “Don’t forget your rebec,” said Wat. When Master Charlo was near enough to speak but not so close that we could give him any vermin or diseases, he addressed Wat. “None of your tricks, young man. Just the boy. I want just the boy.”

Wat bowed to him. Master Charlo reached out his hand to me, then snatched it back. “Come with me,” he said. He turned on his heel and started marching up the hill. With a helpless glance at Wat, I followed the elegantly clothed Master Charlo. But I quickly realized Wat was right behind me. At the gate, Master Charlo turned to me again. When he saw Wat, he frowned. “Fellow, I told you—just the boy. Not you.”

“Good Master Charlo,” said Wat, with another low bow. “My brother is very modest. He is frightened near to death. He’ll not be able to sing.”

It was true. I was frightened, frightened near to death. I didn’t have to act it. “I need to come with him,” said Wat. “At least for the bath and the dressing of him. He hasn’t been parted from me since he was a baby, when we were orphaned.” If Wat thought that heart-tugging story would affect Master Charlo, he was wrong.

“Nonsense,” Master Charlo snorted. “The boy is to come with me. You are to stay.” He looked over at the guards. “See that this fellow remains outside.” Both of them stepped forward. They were very large armored creatures with solid, inscrutable faces under the cones of their helmets. They both carried menacing steel-tipped pikes. Wat simply made another of those obsequious bows. “As you wish, Master Charlo.

“Aedan,” he said to me. “I’ll be waiting here for you, never fear. They’ll send you out to me soon.”
“He’ll sing, or he’ll wish he had,” said Master Charlo. “No one goes against a direct command of her ladyship.” I began to cry. It wasn’t hard to make myself do it.
“What a pathetic excuse of a boy you are,” Master Charlo said to me. “What those girls see in you—”
“Their ladyships?” asked Wat, his voice innocent. Master Charlo gave him a sharp look. “Yes,” he said slowly, with a kind of menace. “Their ladyships.”

“Well, go then, and do your best, brother,” Wat said to me in kind, unctuous tones. “They won’t hurt you. They won’t hurt him, will they? When he can’t? Sing?” he said to Master Charlo. Over Master Charlo’s shoulder, I arched an eyebrow at Wat. He gave me the smallest of shrugs back. We hardly had to speak to each other, Wat and I. That’s how well we knew each other by then, at least where giving a performance was concerned. Really? You’re going for that again? I was saying to him. Might as well was his reply. Might work. Worth a try. Master Charlo’s face clouded up the way the day was clouding up, big thunderheads boiling from behind the castle keep. It’s not going to work this time, I thought. You could fool Master Blue, but not this man.

“Come with me,” Master Charlo snapped. I stepped in behind him and the
guards stepped aside. “Both of them,” he said tight-lipped to the guards. Wat gave me a small sidelong smile as we came through the gates together at Master Charlo’s heels, but when the man turned to make sure we were following him, and probably to make sure Wat was not scouring the place for items to thieve, Wat had made his face as open and sincere and concerned as it was supposed to be. Wat’s ruse had worked again. It really had. Now I did have to act. Act to suppress an admiring exclamation, one actor to another. The fright I felt was too overwhelming, though.

We threaded our way through the castle outbuildings, as before. A patter of rain was starting to fall. I lifted my face to the sky. The rain felt good, comforting somehow, but I knew there was nothing comforting about our situation. Only Wat’s quick thinking saved us this time, as last time, but I knew our luck had to be running out.

Finally we came to an obscure shed with steam rising from its smoke-hole. A woodsy aroma wafted from the shed into the damp air. It reminded me suddenly of home. Master Charlo knocked. A man stuck his head out and glanced at us. “Which one is the boy?”
“Which one do you think?” Master Charlo’s voice was full of exasperation. “Come in, then,” he said to me, and opened the door wide. As Wat made to follow me, he put a hard calloused hand out. “Not you.” To Master Charlo he said, “I’m supposed to bathe one stinking fellow. Not two.”
“This man is his brother, and he says—” Master Charlo began, then clamped his lips together. He turned to the two of us. “The boy is to go in. You may stand outside,” he said to Wat. “I’ll send someone to make sure you don’t wander around. I have things to do.” He stalked off, stopping to talk to another servant, pointing back at us. The other servant, one of the lower-order brown-clad ones, began making his way over to us. Wat looked at the man who was about to bathe me. “My brother is very modest and very frightened. It would be better if I bathe him. You can stand outside.”
“No,” said the tub man.

That was it. There was no arguing with the man. I could see that, and so could Wat. Wat shrugged and turned to lounge against the side of the shed. The servant Master Charlo had sent to watch Wat was nearing. The tub man motioned me inside. I had no choice. Our luck had indeed run out. I went in with him.

There was a large cask steaming with hot water before a roaring fire. I saw stone crocks filled with fragrant soaps and lotions. I saw a suit of clothes, bright and lovely, laid over a bench. I saw large soft towels at the ready. I wanted to get into the cask.
“Put that fiddle down on the bench.” I did so. “Strip,” said the man, “and don’t give me any nonsense about it or I’ll see you beaten. I don’t want to hear about your damned modesty. Just do it. Get in that tub.”

“Will you look away?” I said in a timid voice. He just stood there with his arms folded over his leather apron. “What are you, a little girl? Strip and get in the tub. Don’t think I’m going to touch you. I don’t want your vermin. Leave those silly-looking clothes in a pile over there where I can pole them into the cistern.”
When I hesitated, wondering why he was going to dump my Kenning the Juggler costume into a cistern, he barked at me. “Do it. Do it now.”

Playing for time, I bent down and unwound the yellow cloth from around my tunic and then the cross-gartering from each leg. I dropped the long strips of yellow cloth beside me on the floor. I turned away from the tub man and began to pull the green tunic over my head.
With an impatient grunt, the tub man snatched it from me and threw it to the floor. And then he had the drooping leggings off me. He let out a bellow of surprise. He came at me, and I dodged around the cask of steaming water, trying to knee him in the groin as I darted past him. I missed. That made him angry. He caught up with me. His pig eyes, too small for his lump of a face, were narrowed and glinting. He drew back a meaty fist. There was a scuffle from outside the shed. The tub man and I both whirled around in time to see Wat and the brown-clad servant hurtling through the door and into the shed, falling on the floor and fighting.

“Nine Spheres,” said the tub man. He moved around the cask to pick up his long pole and stood over the two as they rolled and fought, looking for a chance to rap Wat on the head with it. I bent down and lifted one of the stone crocks of soap. I heaved it high and brought it down on the tub man’s skull as hard as I could as he was leaning over the fighters. It barely staggered him, but just enough so that Wat had time to knock the servant to the ground, spring up, and get the tub man by the throat, twisting the man’s leather apron straps tight about his neck. Wat shoved me aside as he hoisted the tub man up by this improvised garrote. “The door,” he said to me over his shoulder. I kicked it shut. When I turned around, Wat had thrust the tub man into the cask, pushing him under the water, holding him down. “Now hand me that pole,” he said.

I stood frozen. I grabbed up the tatters of my clothing and held them to myself.
“The pole,” said Wat. His voice was tense. He bore down on the man in the cask with both hands. Cords of muscle stood out on his arms. Water flew everywhere as the tub man struggled for his life. I reached down with one hand to get the pole, still trying to keep myself covered up with the other. I handed the pole to Wat. He shoved it straight down into the water and leaned on the tub man’s chest with it, keeping the man under. The man thrashed and kicked, but soon weaker. Soon not at all. A stream of bubbles erupted from the water. Then the water was still. “You did well, Mirin,” said Wat, stepping back and casting the pole aside with a clatter.

“You bought me a bit of time.” Still trying to cover myself with my ripped jerkin and leggings, I stood staring in horror at the man in the cask. Wat and I were both soaked, and Wat was breathing hard.
The tub man’s clothes were billowing up to the surface now. “You killed him,” I said. I looked down at the brown-clad servant, who lay sprawled at my feet, his eyes open, his mouth gaped wide. “And him.”

“Yes,” said Wat, not noticing my half-naked state. “Singing is your talent. This is one of mine.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

selfieheadshot-2

Jane Wiseman is a writer who splits her time between urban Minneapolis and the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. Her interlocking fantasy series include HARBINGERS (I Blackbird Rising, II Halcyon, III Firebird, IV Ghost Bird), the prequel series STORMCLOUDS (I A Gyrfalcon for a King, II The Call of the Shrike, III Stormbird), the eerie BETWIXT & BETWEEN duology set in the Stormclouds/ Harbingers world (I The Martlet is a Wanderer, II The Nightingale Holds Up the Sky). A tenth book, Dark Ones Take It, is a stand-alone novel about the origins of the series villain. The Harbingers series has a YA-into-NA feel. The other books are many shades darker.

Jane M. Wiseman | Shrike Fantasy Channel | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

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#BookTour “Patches” by Valicity Elaine

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About the Book

Title: Patches

Author: Valicity Elaine

Genre: YA Coming of Age

Michael Bull Jr. is best friends with the most popular guy in school, his father is a famous politician, and he’s just started his last year in high school. He is the perfect student with the perfect life … except for his face.When you’ve got a disease that changes the color of your skin, turns your hair grey, and threatens to blind you, high school can be tough. It also doesn’t help when your crush decides to blackmail you and expose your secret. But hey, what can you do except try to survive?

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Excerpt

First, I give myself a clean wash. I like to use ice-cold water because it feels refreshing, makes my skin come alive. Then I use a tiny, little sponge applicator to dab on the foundation. I start on my forehead and work my way down to my cheeks in circular motions. I’m not really sure why I use circular motions, I saw it in a video once on YouTube. My cheeks have the most discoloration, so I spend a lot of time there, working on the thick liquid. The makeup comes in 1-ounce bottles, I go through at least one a week. At $38.00 a bottle, that’s 150 bucks a month, about 1800 dollars a year on foundation alone.

The makeup has to go halfway down my neck, almost to my Adam’s apple. Once I finish the liquid, I put on a little powder, so I don’t shine. When I know I won’t be cramming my hands into my pockets, I put some on my fingers. It’s only tiny, little specks but I have a few white patches on my knuckles here and there. My eyebrows are really fair, so I learned how to use a brow liner to fill them back in. The makeup kind of blends them in with the rest of my face so without the liner, I look blank after a fresh coat.

Last are my contacts; one of them is plain and clear and the other is a gentle green color. My left eye started to fog out right after the patches appeared. My doctor said this only occurs in a very, very small percentage of vitiligo patients. I guess I hit the anti-genetic lottery. Both of my contacts have a prescription, but the left one is mostly to fill in the greying color. I’m practically blind in that eye.

Once I blink back the eye drops after putting in the contacts, I’m ready to go. It usually takes me 90 minutes to get ready for school; before the vitiligo I could be ready in half that time. 

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Author Bio

Valicity Elaine is the owner/creator of The Rebel Christian Publishing. She is an avid reader and loves to write just as much! She grew up in upstate New York in a beautiful Christian family and loves using her writing and illustrations to express her wonderful faith. When she isn’t writing, she is spending time with her family or helping out her church. Random fact; Valicity LOVES pasta, haha!

 

 

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#BookTour “Catwalk” by Nicole Gabor

catwalk

I’m thrilled to share this new book with you all today! Catwalk is a coming-of-age NA (Mature YA) novel by Nicole Gabor! Read on for more details and a chance to win a signed copy of the book AND a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

Catwalk_EbookCoverCatwalk

Publication Date: July 6th, 2021

Genre: YA/ NA Contemporary/ Fashion/ Modeling/ Coming-of-Age

Eighteen-year-old, shy, suburban aspiring model Cat Watson suddenly has it all as the New York fashion world’s new “It” girl and she thinks she has everything she ever dreamed of—until she realizes be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Leaving her good-girl image behind, Cat quickly learns things aren’t always what they seem on the catwalk, and she’s faced with a decision that will change her life forever.

WILMINGTON, Delaware, April 2021

When 18-year-old Catherine Watson disobeys her parents and ditches her Ivy-league acceptance to start fresh as an aspiring model in New York City, a chance encounter with fashion world bigwigs gives her a world-class agent plus a boyfriend she only dreamed about. But as she navigates the fickle world of modeling, she realizes that to get ahead, she’ll have to leave herself behind—but is it worth it? Catwalk is an expertly written tale of first love, coming of age, and high-fashion, from award-winning author and editor Nicole Gabor, inspired by her own experiences as a runway model.

In her suburban hometown, Catherine had what most would consider a charmed life: a 4.0 GPA, a good-guy boyfriend who had his whole life planned out down to the two kids, two dogs, two-car garage—and it scared her to death. She wasn’t ready to follow a traditional path to a paint-by-numbers existence. She longed for adventure, for a life less…ordinary. When Catherine moves away to pursue her modeling dream in New York City and moves in with Jon-Michelle “Jonnie” who tackles the newly-named “Cat” as “her next project,” she revels in her newfound career, thinking “this is what it’s like to be young and beautiful in the greatest city in the world.”

“At that moment, it hit me. I was a mere mortal in a room full of demigods: actors, actresses, bygone legends of the stage and screen; men and women who had traipsed down red carpets all of their lives, whom the rest of the country, no, the world, had pined for, had paid to know the secrets of. Here I was standing among them, cavorting with twenty-first century royals.”

Cat meets Seth, a beautiful and kind but troubled New York scenester, the son of a ‘70s fashion model icon who fatally overdosed during her prime, and she feels strangely protective. She wants to save him like he saved her on her first night out on the town in New York City’s gritty yet swanky meatpacking district club scene.

When Cat is “discovered” by the one and only Philippe Borghetta, the hottest fashion designer in the pages of Vogue magazine, she thinks she has it all. Her life is thrust into an alternate universe, where star-studded cocktail parties, casting calls, go-sees, and nightclub openings revolve around her like constellations. She tries to play the part. Her former self, “Catherine,” was now a shadow of who she was and what she was becoming.

Cat thinks she’s finally gotten what she wanted all along—a chance to start over, a redo, a refresh. But as the lines blur between who she once was and who she wants to be, she’s reminded of her mother’s words, “Sometimes the things that are most worth fighting for are the things you already have.” Cat finds she has to make a decision that will change her life—and possibly the modeling world—forever.

Drawing on her own experiences in the fast-paced fashion model industry, former model and author of more than twenty children’s books, Nicole Gabor masterfully weaves a timeless story of self-discovery, coming of age, and the heartache of first loves. Catwalk is her debut young adult/new adult novel, available in Summer 2021 wherever books are sold.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

“She was discovered! Discovered by Philippe!” Clive, my new agent (yes, agent!) at Icon, chimed into the phone as I walked into his office to get my daily appointments in late-September.

“Yes, she is booked for the spring show and Philippe’s fall print campaign … Fashion week? Booked solid!” he said, winking at me. “Sorry, honey, she’s in high demand. But for you, maybe we could work something out. Say, time and a half?”

Time and a half? Ohmigod. I still couldn’t believe the turn of events here. This man was talking about me, Catherine Watson, and not some other incredibly fortunate girl.

Pinch me. Smack me. Punch me!

“Oh, she can’t walk out of the house for twice that! … I know, I know, but I’m telling you, she’s gonna be huge! Remember Fosgate?”

The last three weeks had thrust me into an alternate universe, where star-studded cocktail parties, casting calls, go-sees, and nightclub openings revolved around me like constellations. I tried to play along and not think about the catalyst of this sudden success — that fact that I was running around with the son of the dead woman I supposedly resembled. Given its Freudian implications, it wasn’t something I really wanted to dwell on.

Sitting there, waiting for Clive to get off the phone (yes, Clive of the “we have no place for you here” notoriety), I let my mind wander, reimaging for the three-hundredth time the scene in the Icon offices when, weeks earlier, Philippe’s personal assistant called up to ask if I was available for the showing of his spring collection at Fashion Week.

Jaws dropped, eyebrows arched, and coffee cups tumbled, no doubt. Wasn’t I that forgettable girl they had dared to take a chance on to appease their star, Jonnie, only days earlier? My god, yes.

Then miraculously and all at once, as if a fairy godmother had sprinkled dewdrops and glitter into the eyes of all who gazed upon me, I became the most enchanting creature, one worthy of the Icon name. Before I could ask for it, I had a portfolio with my name emblazoned on the cover, a new iPhone filled with go-see appointments, blond highlights framing my face, and hair extensions that would make the Kardashians jealous. I, Catherine Watson, had been “made.” AGH!

But perhaps most unbelievable of all, I had a new name: Cat.

“It’s hip, modern,” Clive had said.

Catherine, on the other hand, was what he called “stuffy, boring, old,” a person his mother would watch on PBS. There’s no denying that. In junior high, I tried shortening my name to Cate, but at the time Cate Winters (the most popular girl in 8th grade) was already a Cate with a “C” and there was no way a peon like me was going to steal her nickname. So, since Cate with a “C” was ruined for me, “Cat” seemed a welcome change.

It was all part of the branding process, Clive said. “Babe, you exude youth and innocence. It’s refreshing! I can read the headlines now: ‘Plucked from Obscurity!'”

Not completely true, but evidently we weren’t going for truth here.

“We’re gonna make you the girl next door, the one out in hicksville driving all the boys crazy with her kitty cat eyes …”

I was excited, but somehow listening to a balding, fat man say “kitty cat eyes” made me want to puke.

“So, I know you’ve got the good girl thing down pat, but you’re going to have to get a little naughty.”

“Naughty?” I said, hoping I misheard him and this wasn’t really the premise for a Hallmark movie.

“Step it up a bit,” he said. “Nice girls with no edge get nowhere in fashion.”

He handed over the contract — about 10 pages of tiny text. I flipped through it, trying to absorb all the information in the five-minute window he had allotted for this purpose.

“It’s standard,” he said. “We get a cut from each job you take, you take home the rest.”

I’d never had to sign something so official-looking before.

“Is it nonbinding?” I asked, having heard my father talk about contracts before and trying to appear in the know.

“Look, it’s what all our girls sign,” he said, slightly annoyed by my dilly-dallying. “Do you need more time? ‘Cause you gotta run if you’re going to make your go-sees in Midtown.”

A part of me wanted to hold back. I knew I should go over the contract with my father, but Clive wouldn’t have gone for that. That was part of the “little girl” mentality I was going to have to shed. I held my breath and signed on the dotted line.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Target

About the Author

PIC.Gabor

Nicole is a published author of more than twenty children’s picture books and an award-winning health writer and editor. Her debut young adult/new adult fiction novel Catwalk, is inspired by her experiences living and working in New York City as a model. Nicole is also a contributor at Highlights for Children and a senior editor at KidsHealth.org, the Web’s most-visited site for children’s health. She lives in Delaware with her husband, three young children, and their Goldendoodle named Ginger.

Nicole Gabor | Twitter | Instagram

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#BookBlitz “The Buzz Boys” Edward Izzi

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Coming of Age Thriller

Published: May 2021

Publisher: Cassino Publishing

Chicago Attorney Robert Mazzara has just been informed of the suicide death of his childhood friend, Marco Pezza. The two of them grew up together in a small suburb in Chicago during the turbulent sixties and seventies, when the issues of household violence were seldom ever addressed. Along with their best friends, Petey Rodriguez, Billy Kozar and Johnny Orozco, they all experienced the coming-of-age events that all young boys go through during grade school and high school, with one exception: They were all survivors of severe physical and sexual child abuse. As they all grow up into young adults, the demons of their past, along with their abusive fathers, play a significant part on each and every one of their young lives. They all grow up coping with their horrific childhoods, their violent fathers, and the long-term impact it has taken throughout their adulthood. Mazzara reflects on all of the tragic encounters and events that occurred during the last fifty years, culminating with his best friend’s suicide. He realizes that he is now…the only one left. Once upon a time, a long time ago, Robby and Marco, along with Petey, Billy and Johnny…were once called ‘The Buzz Boys’.

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About the Author

Mild mannered accountant turns thriller fiction author!

A native of Detroit, Edward Izzi was once a talented writer in high school, until he was derailed into a successful career as a CPA. Later experiencing his own personal demons, it was suggested that he take up writing again or end up on the ‘six o’clock news’. He has now written and published short stories, poetry, and several thriller fiction novels. Living a quiet life in Chicago, he writes his crime thrillers every night while fighting off his nocturnal demons…

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#NewRelease “Called by the Blessed: Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy (World Breacher Book 1)” by Jali Henry

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“…it is simply a masterpiece! Well worth reading as an adult and as a YA.”
“My 12-year-old read this book, and she couldn’t put it down.”

If she fails, her sisters will die, demons will take over the world and she’ll get trapped in hell for eternity, so no pressure then…

Impoverished orphan Naledi struggles to raise her younger sisters in rural Africa. Her life already sucks but when she manifests the rare ability to open portals through time and space, her life gets a whole lot more complicated. Will learning to harness her powers piss off God and land her in hell?

Now a couple of archangels want Naledi to use her powers to spy on hell and stop a demon Armageddon. Spies who are caught on earth get tortured, so imagine how badly spies who are caught in actual hell get tortured…

If you love feisty heroines, gut-wrenching emotion, sweet romance and explosive endings, you’ll love this book.

—Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy—
—African mythology and Christian mythology mashup—
—No Cliffhanger—
—Clean YA (No graphic SVNL)—

99c for a limited time!

Amazon

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