#CoverReveal “The Place Beyond Her Dreams” by Oby Aligwekwe

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I am so excited to share this beautiful cover for Oby Aligwekwe’s debut YA Fantasy, The Place Beyond her Dreams! Pre-order a copy today!

THE PLACE BEYOND HER DREAMS 2020 FINAL (1)

The Place Beyond Her Dreams

Expected Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Coming-of-Age

Publisher: Eclat Books

At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain drives her to mystical Luenah—a place of infinite possibilities. There, she discovers she is an Eri, chosen to accomplish a special purpose on earth, and is handed a box in exchange for what she desires the most.

Burdened by her quest, Ona learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. As evil looms, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.

Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, The Place Beyond Her Dreams delivers life lessons using a powerful fable. This coming-of-age fantasy takes the reader on the path to self-discovery and demonstrates the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose.

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About the Author

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Oby Aligwekwe is the author of Nfudu and Hazel House. The Place Beyond Her Dreams is her Young Adult debut. A talented writer, Oby is also an inspirational speaker and a chartered accountant. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her family and supports her community through her charity Éclat Beginnings.

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#BlogTour “Up the Creek” by Alissa Grosso

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Congratulations to Alissa Grosso on the release of her suspenseful Supernatural Thriller, Up the Creek! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!!!

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Up the Creek (Culver Creek #1)

Expected Publication Date: January 12, 2021

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

An unsolved murder. Disturbing dreams. A missing child.

Caitlin Walker hasn’t had a dream in nine years. But now nightmares torture her son Adam and awaken in Caitlin buried memories and a dark secret. Her husband Lance has a secret of his own, one that his son’s nightmares threaten to reveal.

In Culver Creek newly hired detective Sage Dorian works to unravel the small town’s notorious cold case, the grisly murder of a young girl.

How are Caitlin and Lance connected to the horrific crime? And how far will they go to make sure their secrets stay hidden? Find out in this riveting thriller.

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Excerpt

Caitlin emerged from a black, dreamless sleep to screams. Adam’s tortured cries sounded almost otherworldly. They turned her blood to ice and made her heart race. She sat straight up, then bolted from bed, blinking sleep from her eyes as she raced toward the door, banging her shin on the dresser as she went. She yanked on the doorknob and almost toppled over when it didn’t yield as she expected. Goddammit. Lance had locked the door again.

She spared a glance toward the bed, but her husband wasn’t there. Instead he was standing, looking out the window. For a moment she thought she was mistaken. Were the screams coming from outside?

“Lance?” she asked.

He turned to her, but his eyes looked past her at some point on the wall.

“What’s going on?” he mumbled, barely awake.

“Adam’s having a nightmare,” she said.

“Again?” he asked. “Maybe we should just let him sleep it off.”

The screams had subsided now, but she could still hear her son’s whimpers from down the hall. Sleep it off? Could Lance really be that clueless? She unlocked the door and flung it open. It bounced almost silently off the rubber doorstopper, which didn’t really give her the dramatic exit she was hoping for.

She still couldn’t quite wrap her head around her husband just standing there looking out the window while Adam cried for them. Usually Lance was the one who woke up first. Maybe he had already gone to comfort Adam and came back to their bedroom by the time she awoke. He seemed so out of it, though. Well, that’s what a lack of sleep could do to a person.

Adam sat on his bed in a nest of tangled sheets. His face was damp with tears and sweat, his dark hair plastered to his forehead. The hippo nightlight cast large, ominous shadows when she stepped into his room. He looked up with a start, then relaxed when he saw it was her.

She sat down beside him and pulled his small body to her, wrapping her arms around him and rocking him gently back and forth. The tears subsided, but he still felt tense.

“Mommy, I’m scared of the bad boy,” he said. “The bad boy’s going to hurt me.”

“Nobody’s going to hurt you,” she assured him. “You’re safe. It was just a dream. Look, you’re safe in your bedroom.”

At this, Adam pulled away from her a little to study the dimly lit bedroom. Maybe they should get a different nightlight. She had never realized how spooky that hippo light made everything look.

“There were trees,” Adam said, “and a river. She was playing in the river.”

Caitlin stiffened. Adam noticed it and looked up at her. She smiled at him.

“It was just a dream,” she said, as much to reassure herself as him. “It wasn’t real.”

There were lots of rivers out there, and wasn’t Adam just watching a cartoon show with cute animals that had to get across a river? That was probably where that detail came from. Plus, she reminded herself, it hadn’t been a river. It had been a creek. She wasn’t sure Adam knew the difference between a river and a creek, though. But a little girl playing in a river? No, wait, was that what he had said? He said only “she.” For all Caitlin knew, this she could have been a girl river otter. Maybe he had been having a cute dream about river creatures.

And a “bad boy,” she reminded herself. She remembered his bloodcurdling screams. There was nothing cute about the dream he had. Still, she clung to the “bad boy” detail. Was he talking about a child? If so, then the river was just a coincidence. She wanted to ask him more about the bad boy, but this was the worst thing she could do. He was already starting to calm down, starting to forget the details of his nightmare. She couldn’t go dredging things back up again.

“Mommy, can I sleep in your room?” Adam asked.

* * *

Lance was fully awake and in bed when Caitlin returned with Adam in her arms.

“Hey there, champ,” Lance said. “Have a bad dream?”

“Daddy, he hurt her,” Adam said. “He hurt her head. She was bleeding.”

Her son’s tiny body stiffened again in Caitlin’s arms, and she gave Lance an exasperated look as she set Adam down in the middle of the bed.

“We’d already gotten past that,” she said in a whispered hiss.

“Obviously,” Lance said with a roll of his eyes, “which is why he’s sleeping in our bed. Again.”

She slid into the bed beside Adam and adjusted the covers, ignoring her husband. She petted Adam’s head and made soft, soothing noises.

“Remember, that wasn’t real, just make believe, like a movie.” She didn’t want him to get himself worked up again talking about the dream, but it wasn’t just that. She didn’t want to hear any more details from the nightmare because the bit about the bad boy hurting the girl’s head and the blood felt a touch too familiar.

She stroked his face, and his eyelids slowly drooped closed. He looked so calm and peaceful when he slept.

“I thought we said we weren’t going to do this anymore,” Lance said. Even whispering, his voice was too loud. She held her finger to her lips. He continued more quietly, “I’m just saying, I think it would be better for him if he sleeps in his own bed.”

“It’s already after three,” she said. “It’s only for a few hours.”

“That’s not the point,” Lance said. “He’s nearly five years old. We can’t keep babying him.”

It was like the school argument all over again, and Caitlin didn’t want to get into it. Not now. She was still tired and groggy and needed more sleep.

“I want to get him a new nightlight,” she said to change the subject. “The one he has makes these creepy shadows.”

“A new nightlight,” Lance repeated in a skeptical voice. “Sure, that will solve everything.”

“The important thing,” she said, “is that we have to remind him that his dreams are not real. That they’re make believe. We have to be united on this.”

Lance made a dismissive noise and lay back down on his pillow, turning his body away from her and Adam. He muttered something, but his voice was muffled by the pillow.

“Lance, this is important,” she said. “We have to make it clear that his dreams are not real. He has to know they aren’t true.”

He sighed. “What kind of moron do you think I am? Do you really think I’m going to start telling him his dreams about boogeymen are real?” He squirmed around and pulled the covers up in an attempt to get comfortable. She thought he was done, but he stopped shifting around long enough to add, “It’s not exactly like you’re the foremost expert in dreams.”

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About the Author

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Alissa Grosso is the author of several books for adults and teens. Originally from New Jersey, she now resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. You can find out more about her and her books at AlissaGrosso.com.

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#BlogTour “The Cronian Incident” by Matthew S. Williams

TheCronianIncident

To celebrate the upcoming release of the final installment of The Formist series, we’re going back to where it all started in The Cronian Incident!

Read on for details, excerpt, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

The Cronian Incident FINAL 150dpiThe Cronian Incident ( The Formist #1)

Publication Date: September 2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Jeremiah Ward was just another convict, a disgraced investigator who once worked the Martian beat, now serving his sentence in a mining colony on Mercury. When a member of a powerful faction goes missing on Titan, Ward is given an opportunity he cannot pass up. In exchange for investigating the disappearance of this figure, he gets a clean slate and a second chance.

But, the deeper Ward digs the more secrets he finds. Instead of investigating a missing person’s case he becomes embroiled in a centuries-old conspiracy and Ward comes to realize his one shot at redemption may cost him his life.

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Excerpt

Prologue

They stood two by two. In standard squad formation, moving onto their target area.

In front, Bern and Valeri stood, there arms held squarely at their sides. Durand could see that their hands were twitching. Valeri was attempting to hide it by crossing her arms and tapping out the rhythm of some unheard melody against her bicep. Bern however couldn’t decide what to do with his hands, and kept wiping them against his trouser legs.

Durand and Chayond were fortunate that way. In their hands, the equipment bags hung. Though relatively light, they were just burdensome enough to require both hands to carry them. They did not have to worry about idle hands or telltale signs of nervousness as they waited for the elevator to finish descending.

“Remember, no talking,” said Valeri, reminding them as the elevator came to a stop. The doors slid open to admit them to the station’s main hub. Bern nodded forward, and the four stepped out onto the platform.

Evening was now upon them, with several bright lights shining down from the station’s vaulted ceiling. Through the station’s dome, a thick grey haze was just visible. The faint traces of light reflected off of Saturn’s disc turned what would have been the black night into a deep, murky twilight.

The four of them were quickly swallowed up by the din of chatter, footsteps, and the sounds of a computerized voice making announcements in Anglish, Franz, Deutsch, Chin and Swahili.

The station was filled with hundreds of locals milling about, moving from one transit lane to another. Few paid them any attention as they walked through the crowds. Why should they? To onlookers, the group’s blue and orange coveralls designated them as maintenance staff. To all recording devices and sensors in the area, their ID tags also designed them as such.

Still, Chayond felt a tinge of panic every time the bag he carried rattled. None of their party would fare too well if they were stopped for inspection. Chayond felt himself looking at the few Gendarmes mixed in with the commuters out of the corner of his eye. If Bern saw him, she would certainly backhand him across the face. Of course, she would wait until they were no longer in public before doing so.

It seemed to take a terribly long time to cross the main floor. At the far end, they began to descend a flight of stairs, and Chayond felt a little better. The bag was rattling louder, luckily it was being drowned out by the whooshing noise of hypertrains coming and going inside their tubes. The dull, monotone computerized voice continued to announce the arrival and departure of trains, though it was becoming more difficult to hear. The noise was like a cushion that began to cloak their every move.

Valerni motioned to their left as they reached the bottom of the stairs. Commuter traffic continued to pour around them, which made maintaining their tight formation somewhat difficult. Still, they held in their two-by-two stance, moving towards the left track – and to the small door that led to the maintenance tunnel. No one followed them there. All the commuter traffic was drawn to the tubes and left what appeared to be a maintenance crew alone.

As soon as they were through the hatch, the noise stopped. The busy station was now sealed behind the pressure door. The only sounds now the gentle hissing of the tunnel’s pressure controls. of course, Valeri’s commanding voice. Checking her chrono, she made a quick consult of their timetable.

“We’re on schedule,” she said. “Let’s keep it that way. Move out.”

The four collapsed into a single line, moving down the tight tunnel as quickly as they could. Durand threw the strap of his bag over his shoulder and Chayond did the same. Their steps became fast and heavy, their work boots striking hard against the metal grates that lined the floor. Heavy pipes and ducts controlling the settlements flow of fresh water and air whizzed by their heads. The high pressure and heat combined to make the going very uncomfortable.

Yet still, they moved. Rigid discipline and a clear purpose driving them onward. Until they reached their destination and set up, they could not relax.

When they finally came to the hatch that would admit them onto the platform that they wanted, they had all broken a good sweat. Only Valeri appeared to not be out of breath.

“Alright, pay attention because we don’t have time to dither.” Reaching into the pocket of her coveralls, she retrieved a small handheld. She held the transparent device up. Displayed on it was a single-frame. A man’s face.

“This is David Lee,” Valeri said. “He’s the Formist the Chandrasekhar’s sent on ahead to do their dirty work. Our intel says he’ll be travelling alone by the time he gets to the line. So that’s when we take him down.”

She tapped the screen. Lee’s image was replaced by a video feed of him standing with a woman. They stood close to each other, a degree of intimacy clearly implied by their body language.

“This is our contact. She is the one who provided us with Lee’s itinerary. According to her, Lee will be here at the time indicated, and he will be alone. However, if we find that they are together, then something’s gone wrong and we’ll need to take them both down. There can’t be any suspicion on her.”

“Who is she?” Durand asked.

Valeri shrugged. “Didn’t ask. neither should you. All you need to know is, she’s not our target. If it comes down to it, we take them both down. we leave her behind for the authorities to collect. Any other stupid questions?”

Durand was sufficiently shamed and shut up. Bern though had some thoughts on that score and offered them freely.

“Probably some just whore from the Yellow Light District. Point is, she’s a fucking patriot and gave us this information. So she’ll understand, I’m sure.”

All heads in the group nodded. A rumble shook the tube, indicating that a hypertrain was going by. It was nothing more than a passing tremor. No sound made it through the sealed pressure doors.

“That’ll be the 2115 to Cassini now,” she said, smiling. “Our Dr. Lee will be making the next one. Better suit up.”

Durand dropped his equipment bag on the ground, kneeling down to open it. Chayond did the same, placing his bag on the floor and separating the tabs on the seal. As Durand began removing their change of clothes, the others began to disrobe. The suits Durand passed out looked like something reptilian, scaly surfaces the same color as mercury. They were thin, no heavier than a stack of thermal blankets, with hoods at the top and small terminals on the left arms.

Valeri and Bern quickly became half-naked, their sweating frames glistening from the tube’s lighting. Quickly, they pulled the silver skins over their coveralls and began doing up all the clasps, sealing the suits around themselves and firing up the cells that powered them.

Durand tossed a suit aside for himself before handing one over to Chayond, who hesitated. His head was swimming from all the heat, the run had left him drained and full of endorphins. Still, he was aware enough to feel damn apprehensive. Accepting the suit seemed like a terrible step, one from which there was no turning back.

Durand noticed his hesitation. “Hey, you good?” he asked. Chayond glanced quickly in Valeri direction. She looked up from her suit to shoot him a look of disapproval and he quickly averted his eyes.

“Yeah, I’m good,” he replied, taking the suit in hand and unzipping his coveralls. Somehow, one look from Vslero was enough to silence any doubts, or enough to scare him into compliance.

A moment later, all four members of the team were suited up in their new vestments. Everything from their necks down was now covered in specialized material. Valeri pulled the last piece into place, pulling the hood up and covering her hair.

“Remember,” she admonished. “Make sure your sticks are charged just right. Too much, and his implants might rupture. that’s the last thing we want.”

All heads nodded again. Chayond interpreted the mention of the sticks as an order to distribute them. Reaching down into the bag, he began pulling them out, one by one. Four slender truncheons, a small console on one side, contained a power indicator, an electrical port, and a few controls. He handed the first to Valeri, passed out the second and third, kept the fourth for himself.

Each team member inspected the sticks to ensure that they were set at exactly the right power level before sliding them neatly into the waistband of their outfits. Each stick connected with the suit’s internal power supply.

“Alright, let’s power them up,” ordered Valeri. “Let’s see if these things were worth the price.”

“Doubt that,” Bern said sarcastically. “ they still better work.”

As one, Bern, Durand and Chayond pulled the hoods up over their heads and engaged the suit’s power supply. Three low-frequency squeals sounded out in the tube, and where three men with silver skins stood, suddenly there were just three faces. The rest of their heads, like their bodies, were now cloaked in advanced stealth fields.

Valeri smiled. “Not bad.” She pulled her mask into place over her mouth and eyes and put her finger to the terminal on her arm. It took less than a second before she completely disappeared from view.

“How do I look?” she asked, her voice filtered and modulated by the mask.

“Like nothing at all,” replied Durand.

“Good.” She suddenly reappeared, removing the mask and hood. “Then be ready. If the target escapes, we may not get another chance. So make this one count.”

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About the Author

Matthew Williams Headshot

Growing up in the 80s and 90s Matthew Williams was born in to science fiction. He enjoyed many of the infamous SF franchises of the time and read many of sci-fi’s most influential works. As an adult, Matt marvelled at those SF novels which stood the test of time, while making valuable observations of the human condition, and he decided to create his own novels.

As a professional writer for Universe Today, Matt is well-versed in many nerdy topics ranging from: spaceflight to terraforming, Earth sciences to physics, and the future of human space exploration. He has interviewed many of today’s top scientific minds and NASA personnel, and been a featured speaker at astronomy societies. His articles have appeared in such publications as Business Insider, Science Alert, Phys.org, HeroX, Pionic, Gizmodo, Futurism and IO9.

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#BlogTour “Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) of World War II” by Molly Merryman

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I am thrilled to share this extraordinary book with all of you today! Please read on for an excerpt from Clipped Wings by Molly Merryman and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

ClippedWings (2)Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) of World War II

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

Genre: History/ WWII/ Avation/ Female Pilots

In her exhilerating book Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII, author Molly Merryman shines light on the critical and dangerous work of the daring female aviators who changed history. New York University Press classics series has just updated the book with Merryman’s reflections on the changes in women’s aviation in the past twenty years. A documentary based on Merryman’s work, Coming Home: Fight For A Legacy, is currently in production.

The WASP directly challenged the assumptions of male supremacy in wartime culture. They flew the fastest fighter planes and heaviest bombers; they test-piloted experimental models and worked in the development of weapons systems. Yet the WASP were the only women’s auxiliary within the armed services of World War II that was not militarized.

In Clipped Wings, Merryman draws upon finally-declassified military documents, congressional records, and interviews with the women who served as WASP during World War II to trace the history of the over one thousand pilots who served their country as the first women to fly military planes. She examines the social pressures that culminated in their disbandment in 1944—even though a wartime need for their services still existed—and documents their struggles and eventual success, in 1977, to gain military status and receive veterans’ benefits.

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Excerpt

WASP Missions

Airplane ferrying was the initial mission for which WASPs were created, and it would occupy nearly half of all active WASP graduates when the program ended in December 1944. Planes produced in the United States needed to be flown from the factories to air bases at home, in Canada, and overseas. To handle this transportation demand, the ATC hired thousands of male civilian pilots to ferry planes. These male pilots were later commissioned directly into the AAF if they met the requirement and desired commissioning. The WASPs were brought on as ferrying pilots, and by the time they were disbanded in December 1944, they had delivered 12,652 planes on domestic missions. By that time, 141 WASPs were assigned to the ATC. Although they comprised a small percentage of the total Ferrying Division pilots, WASPs had a significant impact. By 1944, WASPs were ferrying the majority of all pursuit planes and were so integrated into the Ferrying Division that their disbandment caused delays in pursuit deliveries.

The days of ferrying pilots were long and unpredictable. At bases that handled a range of planes, pilots did not know from one day to the next what planes they would be flying or how long of a flight to expect. In Minton’s words, “We usually reported to the flight line at seven o’clock in the morning and looked at the board to see what had been assigned us in the way of an airplane, where it went and what we would need in the way of equipment to take along, and then we would go out to find our airplane and sign it out at operations and check it over to be sure everything was okay with the airplane. And then we would take off to wherever the plane was supposed to go.”

Ferrying military aircraft during World War II was not an easy task. The majority of these planes were not equipped with radios, so pilots navigated by comparing air maps with physical cues (highways, mountains, rivers, etc.) or by flying the beam. (The “beam” was a radio transmission of Morse code signals. A grid of such beams was established across the United States. To follow the beam, a pilot would listen on her headphone for aural “blips” or tones to direct her. This required a great deal of concentration and was not always accurate.) Both navigational techniques were difficult, and this was compounded by the facts that many air bases and factories were camouflaged, blackouts were maintained in coastal areas, and the navigational beams were prone to breaking down. Problems sometimes arose with the planes themselves, which ha d been tested at the factories but never flown. Cross-continental flights often took several days, depending on the planes being flown and weather conditions.

In addition, planes equipped with top secret munitions or accessories had to be guarded while on the ground, and WASPs received orders to protect these planes at all cost. WASPs flying these planes were issued .45 caliber pistols and were trained to fire machine guns.

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About the Author

Merryman, Molly

Molly Merryman, Ph.D. is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and an Associate Professor at Kent State University. She is the Historical Research Producer on the upcoming Red Door Films documentary about the WASP, Coming Home: Fight For A Legacy. She has directed and produced nine documentaries that have been broadcast and screened in the United States and United Kingdom. She is the research director for the Queer Britain national LGBT+ museum and is a visiting professor and advisory board member for the Queer History Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London. Merryman is the vice president of the International Visual Sociology Association.

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#ReleaseBlitz “Debt-Free ASAP” by John Nicholas

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Congratulations to John Nicholas on the release of his book, Debt-Free ASAP! Fitting that this book should come to the rescue after all our holiday excess! There is also a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Perhaps a treat for getting your finances in order?

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Debt-Free ASAP!

Publication Date: January 8, 2021 (Today)

Genre: Non-Fiction/Finances

“If you’re stressed out, maxed out or even wiped out by too much debt, then you’ve come to the right place.

We will help you gain peace of mind, get rid of your debt and chart a brighter future for you and your finances.

The key to your recovery is our simple 3-step ‘ASAP Protocol’ and I guarantee it will change your life as we walk you through it together.”

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Excerpt

Your Debt Load, Net Worth, P&L & FICO

Rodney and Crystal knew they had a lot of debt but weren’t sure exactly how much.

So they took turns guessing, as I listened to them talk on their speaker phone.

“I’ve got to have at least forty-five or fifty,” said Crystal, as she tried to calculate her card balances in her head. “But I don’t know how much you’ve got,” she said to her husband.

“Well I definitely don’t have as much as you!” He replied with a chortle, “But I’m guessing thirty-something, maybe forty K.”

Unfortunately, neither one of them was even close.

These two clients would set one of the highest debt-load totals for non-business-related credit card debt for a couple that I’ve come across, with 27 accounts totaling more than $168,000, including multiple accounts with the same banks. And that didn’t include their home mortgage or car loans or any kind of student loans or medical debts.

“Wow.” They said at least three times each as we reviewed their long list of accounts one by one then totaled them all up. It turned out Crystal was carrying more than ninety thousand and Rodney had over $70K worth of debt.

They didn’t know their total debt load and they didn’t realize their monthly minimums totaled more than $4,000 a month.

“Don’t worry,” I consoled them. “You’re not alone. Some people know their numbers to the penny, but most folks underestimate how much debt they have. They never add everything up, or they lose track or they just stop looking.”

Fortunately, these two had solid incomes. But even so they were burning up most of it on minimum monthly payments and were using credit cards and falling further behind every month to keep up with their other living expenses. They were the financial equivalent of a “heart attack waiting to happen.”

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About the Author

JP WHITE BRICK PHOTO

John Nicholas is the Founder of Debt-Free ASAP, a wealth coaching company offering affordable services and debt-relief support. John is a former pro football player, pastor and co-founder/partner of award winning sports media and real estate companies. He’s a Certified Debt Specialist and is a graduate of Brown University and Fuller Seminary who lives with his wife and dogs in McKinney, TX.

Learn more at www.Debt-FreeASAP.com.

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#BookBlitz “The Ultimate Betrayal” by Kat Martin

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The Ultimate Betrayal by New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, is now available in paperback! Read on for details, exclusive excerpt and a fantastic giveaway to enter — An autographed hardcover of THE CONSPIRACY and $20 Amazon gift card!

The Ultimate Betrayal (paperback)full cover-1

The Ultimate Betrayal

Publication Date (Mass Paperback): December 29th, 2020

Genre: Suspense/ Romantic Thriller

When investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name. Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend–a true heartbreaker, according to her brother.

With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly. Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat–before it’s too late.

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Excerpt

Too much downtime always made him nervous, kind of edgy as he waited for the other shoe to drop. It had been a week since his last client had headed back to Nashville, a week of peace and quiet he should have enjoyed.

Instead, he had this nagging feeling that something bad was coming down the line.

Lounging back in the chair behind his desk at Maximum Security, Brandon Garrett looked up at the sound of the front door swinging open. A gust of cool, late October winds swept in, along with a petite, whirlwind of a woman with the prettiest strawberry blond hair Bran had ever seen.

She had a sweet little body to match her fiery curls, he noticed, outlined by the dark blue stretch jeans curving over her sexy little ass and the peach knit top that hugged her breasts.

It wasn’t tough to read the anxiety in her big green eyes as she surveyed the room, but instead of heading for the receptionist’s desk, those big green eyes landed on Bran and as she started toward him, there was something about her that rang a distant bell. Interest piqued, he rose from his chair. “Can I help you?”

“You’re Brandon Garrett, right? You were a friend of my brother’s. Danny Kegan? I recognize you from the photos Danny sent home.”

The mention of his best friend’s name hit him like a blow, and the muscles across his stomach clenched. Daniel Kegan had been a member of his spec ops team, a brother, not just a friend. Danny had saved Bran’s life at the cost of his own. He was KIA in Afghanistan.

Bran stared down at the girl, who was maybe five-foot-four. “You’re Jessie,” he said, remembering the younger sister Daniel Kegan had talked so much about. “You look like him. Same color hair and eyes.”

She nervously wet her lips, which were plump and pink and fit her delicate features perfectly.

“My brother said if I ever needed help, I should come to you. He said you’d help me no matter what.” She glanced back toward the door and his mind shifted away from the physical jolt he felt as he looked at her to the worry in her eyes.

“I’ll help you. Danny was my closest friend. Whatever you need, I’ll help. Come on. Let’s go into the conference room and you can tell me what’s going on.” When her gaze shot back to the door, his senses went on alert.

“I didn’t mean I needed your help later,” Jessie said nervously. “I meant I need your help right now.”

Gunshots exploded through the windows. “Get down!” Bran shouted to the other guys in the office as he shoved Jessie down behind his desk and covered her with his body. Glass shattered and a stream of bullets sprayed across the room.

Jaxon Ryker popped up, gun drawn, and ran for the door. Hawk Maddox and Lissa Blayne were shuffling through their desks, arming themselves. Jonas Wolfe drew his ankle gun and ran for the rear entrance, ready for any threat that might come from there.

“Black SUV with tinted windows,” Ryker reported. Six feet of solid muscle, dark hair and eyes, Jax was a former Navy SEAL, currently a PI and occasional bounty hunter. “Couldn’t get a plate number.” Jax’s gaze swung to the front of the room. “Mindy, you okay?”

The little receptionist eased up from beneath her desk. “I-I’m okay. Should I call the police?” Around here, it was never good to jump to conclusions.

Bran hauled Jessie to her feet. He could feel her trembling. Her eyes looked even bigger and greener than they had before. “Are they coming back?” he asked.

“I-I don’t know. It could have just been a warning.”

Bran turned to Mindy. “Unless someone’s already phoned it in, let’s wait to call the cops till we know what’s going on.” His attention returned to Jessie. “We need to talk.”

She just nodded. Her face had gone pale, making a fine line of freckles stand out across her forehead and the bridge of her nose.

Bran took her arm and urged her toward the conference room. “Keep a sharp eye,” he said to The Max crew. “Just in case.”

Jessie sank unsteadily down in one of the rolling chairs around the long oak conference table. The man she had come to see, Brandon Garrett, sat down beside her.

“Okay, let’s hear it,” he said. “What’s going on?”

She thought of the men who had just shot up his office and her pulse started thumping again. “Danny said if I ever needed help–“

“Yeah, I get that. Your brother knew he could count on me. Like I said, I’ll help you any way I can, but I need to know what’s going on.”

Bran was taller than Danny, around six-three, with a soldier’s lean, hard body, vee-shaped, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. Powerful biceps bulged beneath the sleeve of his dark blue T-shirt. With his slightly too-long mink brown hair, straight nose and masculine features, he was ridiculously handsome, except for the hard line of his jaw and the darkness in his eyes that contrasted sharply with their beautiful shade of cobalt blue.

“Start at the beginning,” he demanded.

Since she wasn’t sure exactly where to begin, Jessie dragged in a shaky breath and slowly released it.

“I’m here because of my father–Colonel James Kegan, Commander U.S. Army Alamo Chemical Depot. Just before he died a little over two months ago, my father was removed from active duty. He was charged with larceny–specifically the theft of chemical weapons stored at the Depot. Because the Army believed he was selling the weapons to a foreign entity, he was also charged with espionage and treason. I need you to help me prove his innocence.”

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About the Author

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New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, will be released in paperback December 29th.

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#Reveal #PreOrder “Kingdom of Iron (Black Dawn #3)” by Mallory McCartney

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I’m so excited to announce that the highly anticipated 3rd installment of the Black Dawn series is now available for pre-order! If you pre-order Kingdom of Broken Iron, there is a fantastic gift — 9 beautifully illustrated art prints depicting your favourite characters!

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Kingdom of Broken Iron (Black Dawn #3)

Expected Publication Date: October 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy (18+)

“Together they will rise.”

Something sinister is sweeping across Kiero, and war threatens to rip apart the remains of Black Dawn Rebellion.
Distraught by the decisions she made while in the Draken Mountains with Adair, Emory Fae, Queen of Kiero, is hiding a deadly secret, and now, Emory is seeking aid from Marquis Maher, King of the Shattered Isles, in the looming war.
With Brokk by her side, they search for answers and aid from the Shattered Isles, a country that has remained protected from Adair’s wrath across the Black Sea. While there, Emory will learn the weight of what it means to be Queen, but what will she sacrifice to save the ones she loves?
Since the Academy fell and the Black Dawn rebellion scattered, Brokk Foster’s past and the truth about his lineage has come to light. Brokk and his newly found immortal fey warriors are skeptical of Marquis and his terms to a new alliance. Being torn between love and Brokk’s loyalty to the rebellion, he will have to decide whether to remain true to his cause or follow a destiny he never wanted.
Together, can Emory and Brokk make an alliance in time to return to Kiero and aid the rebels?
Nyx Astire, new clan leader to the raiders in the Risco Desert, has lost everything. With no word on if the town of Pentharrow has survived under Azarius Walsh’s command, Nyx tries to rally the Dust Clan and prepare them to ally with any remaining members of the Black Dawn Rebellion. But tradition and her past throws Nyx into a dynamic ruling. Will she do anything to ensure Kiero’s survival from her new point of power?
Kingdom of Broken Iron is the third installment in the bestselling Black Dawn series. Can friendship, love, and fellowship defy an enemy Kiero has never seen before?

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Everyone who submits proof of pre-order will receive all nine character cards of Emory, Memphis, Adair, Marquis, Nyx, Brokk, Azarius, Alby and Lana.

Submit proof of order to m.smith017@live.com.

About the Author

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Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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#BookBlitz “Passengers” by Elizabeth Collums

Passengers

Congratulations to author Elizabeth Collums on the release of her epic family drama, Passengers! Read on for an excerpt and more book details!

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Passengers Publication Date: November 12, 2020 Genre: Historical Fiction A mysterious letter arrives from America to the village of Highland Way, where Annie, the oldest daughter in the Ewing Family was left to care for her mother and younger sister after her father left to find work in Dublin. Soon, Annie, Lily, and Katy find themselves on a harrowing journey. The hand-written note not only will expose deep secrets, it will also challenge the strength and fortitude of the Ewing women, leading each member into their own soul searching voyage. Follow this extraordinary passage that begins in Ireland and leads each woman to uncover their own courage and truths in this new world. Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

“For the first time since they left the farm, Annie was sure she wouldn’t be confused for either a farmer’s daughter or a servant. Mrs. Molly was so remorseful for her ill treatment that she made her three new outfits while they were there and she cried and kissed each of the Ewing girls as they loaded up that morning. Today she had on a pink and white gingham short sleeve top with pearl buttons down the front and a crisp new pink matching long skirt. She had pulled her hair up in a soft bun that she and Mrs. Molly had worked on for days trying to copy her Grandma Lizzie’s hairdo. Her feet had grown enough so that she and Katy could share the several pairs of shoes from Liz.

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Ann C. Purvis, chose to publish her first novel under her birth name, Elizabeth Collums; this is her true roots and where she has drawn from many of the experiences she wrote about. She lives in Denham Springs, Louisiana and enjoys DIY projects. She has two daughters, a step daughter, son-in-law, two amazing granddaughters, and her dog Daisy. Rope Swing Publishing Book Blitz Organized By:

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#CoverReveal “Tripping the Multiverse: Jade and Antigone #1” by Alison Lyke

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I’m thrilled to share the cover of Alison Lyke’s upcoming release, Tripping the Multiverse! This is the first installment of an exciting new series! Stay tuned for the book tour in January!

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Tripping the Multiverse: Jade and Antigone #1 Expected Publication Date: January 21st, 2021 Genre: Science Fiction As a science journalist, Jade has seen more than her fair share of peculiar oddities—none weirder than her socially inept fellow reporter Antigone. When the test of a teleporter using an electron collider goes awry, the two women find their world changed in subtle ways, with anomalies breaking out in their personal lives. Their increasingly unstable dimension gives Jadethe ability to shapeshift while Antigone can see portals into other worlds. A fellow journalist who attended the experiment is trapped in another dimension and Jade and Antigone hold the key to saving him. Of course, their task is not just a simple rescue mission. Realizing they will continue to drift into increasingly stranger worlds until they straighten out the paradox, the women reluctantly agree to travel through the multiverse in search of a solution. If you purchase the book prior to the publication date of January 21, 2021, they may use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Pre-Order Here! You can also pre-order on Amazon! About the Author Alison Lyke I’m an author and an English and Communications professor from Rochester, NY. I’m an insatiable reader and a dedicated writer. I’ve spent many years honing my skills and I now enjoy helping others find and explore their own voices. I write fantasy and science fiction and I aim to captivate and inspire. I’ve written two published novels: a modern mythology titled Honey, which came out in 2013 and Forever People, a cyberpunk science fiction slated to come out in the spring of 2019. I also regularly contribute poetry and short stories to literary magazines.

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#ReleaseBlitz “The Fire Slayers” by P.J. Braley

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Congratulations to author P.J. Braley on the release of her dark fantasy novel, The Fire Slayers! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win some AMAZING prizes!

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The Fire Slayers

Publication Date: November 10th, 2020

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Publisher: Liminal Press

“I understand, Venzel. I will be your servant forever. I will never leave your house. I will keep your secrets. Now, if it pleases you, tell me the words that are worth a man’s tongue.”

Ezri sat in stunned silence as Venzel told him about his life with a subterranean brotherhood bound together by a commitment to survive at any cost. Although resembling other ranches dotting the desert landscape, it is not long before Ezri realizes that Venzel’s home is not what it seems. The house is lavish, but empty, the horses in the immaculate stables are rarely ridden, and any woman who enters their gate never leaves.

Everything changes when Venzel brings home a bride. Passionately in love, the empty house is suddenly filled with life and laughter, but it does not last. A tragic mistake robs their son of his human identity and whisks her away too soon. Inheriting the most dangerous traits of both species, Timaeus’s struggle between the love for his human parents and the responsibilities to his alien brotherhood transforms the Fire Slayer he was created to be into an assassin dreaded and despised by the brotherhood who fears him almost as much as it needs him.

Excerpt

Venzel crossed his arms in front of the tent and waited. 

“Halil, yes or no?”

Halil looked around and saw nothing except this man and the tent. “Maybe, but there is something wrong. Where are his horses, wagons, companions? No one travels in the desert alone, and no one carries a tent this size on his back.”

“Do you want me to fire it?” an older man asked, pulling a lighter from his pocket.

“Not yet. If it comes to a fight, we will have to kill him, and I don’t want him dead. I want her, and there is much this man can tell us–if he is the right man. A dead man will tell us nothing.” 

Halil bowed in Venzel’s direction.

“I’m looking for a woman.”

“Aren’t we all?” replied Venzel to the general amusement of the other men.

Halil ignored them. “I’m looking for a very specific woman who was hired as a servant by a man who owned a tent with blue and purple stripes. What I want to know, and we will kill you if you lie, are you that man?”

“How will you know if I lie? There are many blue and purple striped tents.”

“Not as many as there were three weeks ago.”

Rapidly putting together a plan, Venzel took the scimitar and knife out of his sash, knelt down and laid them on the ground in front of him.

“If you intend to destroy his tent, please kill me now before my master returns for he will kill me a hundred times before I will be allowed to die.” 

“Where is he?”

“He is hawking with the rest of his company.”

Halil nodded. “How long have you been with him?”

“Five years.”

“Were you with his last caravan?”

“I am with all of his caravans.”

“Did you see any of the women?”

“It is death to go near the women, but we see them sometimes. Most are very beautiful.”

“Do you remember one with soft golden hair?”

“Two or three.”

“With eyes the color of the morning sky?” 

“Lalei,” he said quietly.

Without warning, Halil backhanded Venzel across the face. “Do not say her name, dog! Servant of a dog master! Do not even breathe her name. Never!”

Venzel’s face burned as he stared at the sand in front of him. Slowly moving his hand towards his pistol, he heard the simultaneous lever action of four rifles. He was so close, but it was impossible to fight them all. 

For a few moments no one moved.

“Stop.”

Venzel turned and saw Destani at the tent’s opening. The point of the dagger in her left hand hovered above her heart. Standing behind Venzel, she put out her right hand. 

“Please do not kill him. It is not his fault.”

The men lowered their rifles. They had been searching for three weeks. Now, at an oasis in the middle of the desert, the loveliest woman they could imagine would finally answer Halil’s questions.

Halil stepped forward.

“Who are you?”

“I am Kizi. I was also hired as a servant on the last caravan.”

“You may lower the dagger, Kizi, we will not harm you.”

“So you say, but I have been lied to before, and as you have already struck one innocent person, the dagger will stay where it is. Even if you speak the truth, it would not be worth my life for my husband to return and find his servant dead and the tent burned. He…” she paused and lowered the ivory and gold scarf so that they could see her hair, “can be cruel.”

At the sight of her short hair, Halil fell to his knees and screamed, “Lalei!”

“Halil…” she said softly, “La… she is not harmed. When I last saw her, she was not happy, but she was well. No one has hurt her, nor will they. Not anymore.”

He looked up at her. “You, you can say her name. I… I don’t mind.”

Destani smiled gently. “Lalei is fine, not one hair on her head has been harmed.”

Halil stood up and took a step towards her. 

“Stop,” she said, pressing the dagger into the fabric. “Please do not come any closer. If you touch me, he will kill me himself.”

Halil stopped. When Destani relaxed drops of blood stained the ivory silk above her heart. 

“Why do you say no one will hurt her anymore? What has happened? Where is she? I have money…” he said, patting his saddlebag, “…to bring her back, I just need to know where she is.”

Destani’s sad smile broke Halil’s heart. He knew, even before she spoke, that Lalei was lost to him. 

“We were hired as servants, Halil, and were given the choice to remain servants, or become wives. Each of us, including Lalei, willingly chose to become wives. We were not forced, and we were given three chances to change our minds. Our husbands,” she said, smoothing the fine fabric with her hand, “are very generous.”

Swallowing hard, Halil managed to choke out, “When?”

“How long has it been since the wedding, Venzel?”

“Fourteen days, Mistress.” 

Halil could not hide the hopeless anguish he felt. 

“I am so sorry if I have caused you pain, Halil. If you let me live and I see her again, is there a message I can give her?”

Words burned in Halil’s throat; words of undying love and devotion that he could not speak because she had three chances to stay true to him, and willingly chose a different path. Looking into her eyes, he said, “I will let you live, Kizi, though I am uncertain as to what kind of life you will have. As for La…” he bit down hard and clenched his teeth, “…her, no. I have no message for such as she.”

“Thank you, Halil,” she said, bringing her hands together over the glittering hilt of the dagger and bowing slightly. “It shall be as you wish.”

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About the Author

PJBraley_Columbia

Copy editor turned fiction writer, PJ Braley divides her time between writing essays for her master’s degree and stories about a race of aliens willing to make any sacrifice to save the planet. When she isn’t researching or writing, you will find her sitting on the back deck sipping sangria with her husband, Jim, and their rescue corgi, Nymeria. Learn more about PJ or The Fire Slayers, at pjbraley.com or follow her at @pjbraley. 

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