#Excerpt “The Christian Christmas Condition” by Scott Rankin

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Christian – Holiday – self spirit improvement
Date Published: December 2019
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What do you want for Christmas? We all hear this question everywhere, but author Scott Rankin invites us all to slow down for a moment and ask a different question… What does God want for Christmas? Our Lord desires that we become more Christ-like every day (1 Corinthians 11:1). To accomplish this goal, He tells us to renew our minds (Romans 12:2). But how do the Christmas holidays help accomplish this goal if so much busyness and stress make it hard to focus all our attention on Christ and completely rest in His peace? In an easy-to-read format, “The Christian Christmas Condition” takes a new and refreshing look by asking the question, “How does our Lord feel about Christmas today?” encouraging Christians of all ages to examine Christmas-time traditions from God’s perspective. Filled with Bible references, this study will boost your faith, increase your knowledge, and strengthen you to fully honor Jesus in the midst of Christmas, traditions, and busy holiday activities, and reveal the secret of what God says in the Bible about Christmas today! Whether your family participates in Advent, Hanukkah, midnight mass, uses a Christmas tree, or watches for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, this powerful book encourages all Christians to become more Christ-like in our thinking and our actions each, and every day of the year… not just in the winter holidays!

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EXCERPT

– CHAPTER 1 –

 “TOP 10” LIST

Merry Christmas! Put your holiday thinking caps on, because we’re warming up with two fun challenges. First, I’m going to give you three sets of lyrics. Your job is to see how much of each song you can remember. If you feel like singing out loud, be my guest. Ready?

  1. Oh, you better watch out, you better not…
  2. Rudolph the…
  3. I’m dreaming of a…

Now, let’s get into the Christmas spirit with our final exercise: when I say “go,” quickly list the top ten things you associate with the Christmas season. You may include past memories or present-day traditions; anything related to Christmas, and there are no wrong answers. This exercise is about the first things that pop into your mind, so complete your list as quickly as you can. You can use the space provided below or get your own sheet of paper, but please don’t skip this brief exercise, as you’ll want to reference your list later!

When you’re done, we’ll continue on the next page. Ready… Set… Go!

Here are a few popular answers: Jingle Bells, cutting out paper snowflakes, snowball fights, writing letters to Santa Claus, vacation from school, mistletoe, sitting by a warm fireplace on a cold night, trimming the Christmas tree, hanging stockings, setting out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, candlelight mass, Christmas lights on houses, and family reunions… Some of our fondest memories circulate around this time of year!

I once asked a woman named Lisa to do this exercise out loud, and she did an amazing job of listing a large number of family-related activities. However, not one thing she listed had any correlation with Jesus, His birth, worship, angels announcing Jesus’ birth, or a manger scene. Now, Lisa loves the Lord, but I asked her why she had so many other thoughts come to mind before Jesus—and her answer unveiled the perfect premise for this book (thank you, Lisa). She said, “I guess we’re all just conditioned to think that way.” So now I ask, if we’ve really been conditioned… what condition are Christians in during Christmas?

What did your top ten list look like? Did Jesus make the cut? Now, let’s add another layer to this “top 10” list exercise. When you see your kids or any immediate family member today, ask them to take the same challenge. Their answers may astonish you (partly because they do not have the chance to read the introduction of this book beforehand). Their responses should be wonderfully raw.

As you compare other people’s responses, where did Jesus get put in the order? Was He first? Was He in the middle? Was He in the back? Or was He left out altogether? If you found anywhere through the results of your own experiment that Jesus did not dominate or top your list, or those of your friends and family members, then let’s examine why together.

You will find that there are a variety of different views among people about Christmas and its traditions. We’ve all heard phrases like:

  • “Jesus… the reason for the season”
  • “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas”
  • “We need to save Christmas”
  • “Happy Holidays” (instead of “Merry Christmas”)

Some in the body of Christ regard Christmas as a pagan holiday, believing we should not observe it at all. Many contend that Christmas was created to honor baby Jesus and it’s very important to keep this tradition so we can worship Him. Others still will point out that Christmas has now become so commercialized that we just need to get back to what is really important.

So, what is the real reason for the Christmas season? How did Christmas celebrations begin? How does God want us to use Christmas to worship and honor His Son? These are some great questions, and that is what we are going to cover in this book.

When Lisa suggested so appropriately that we have been “conditioned,” it simply implies that your surroundings, history, and family traditions have trained you to think a certain way. Truth be told, you were probably born into family traditions and influenced greatly as a child by your surroundings to put presents, the Christmas tree, or Santa first, all the while letting God and Jesus share the spotlight every now and then. In doing so, you may find that Jesus, over time, inadvertently moved out of the first priority position because of conditioned habits during this season.

But don’t lose heart—conditioned does not mean permanent. God tells us that through Him, we can renew our minds! And with a renewed mind comes an overflow of blessings.

So, sit back and enjoy while we study “The Christian Christmas Condition.”

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About the Author

Scott Rankin graduated with a degree in music education and spent his 20’s and 30’s as a successful music director, visual designer for marching groups, and a professional clinician for high school and college music programs.

In 2009 he was injured in a bicycle accident where he was instantly paralyzed. Today as a healing quadriplegic, Scott’s passion for teaching has been re-focused from music to writing Christian books and public speaking.
Scott Rankin is a gifted educator and effective public speaker. His ability to take complex subject matter, break it into bite-size pieces, and re-assemble those through simple, logical, and enjoyable teaching techniques makes his material easy to understand and hard to forget!
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#ReleaseBlitz “If Tomorrow Ever Comes” by Magda Alexander

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Contemporary Romance

Date Published: June 2020

Publisher: Hearts Afire Publishing

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 USA Today bestselling author Magda Alexander brings you a tale of heartbreak and love, loss and redemption in this Hollywood meets small town summer romance.

 An actor who’s lost his soul

There is nothing studios won’t give for my name in their movie, whether
it’s money, women, or fame. But fame bores me. Money? I have more than
enough. And women? Not interested in the Hollywood types. The one thing I
crave they can’t give me. The redemption of my soul. For you see, I
committed the ultimate sin, one I can’t take back. I can’t find absolution.
No matter how hard I try. Until I land in a small beach town for a summer
production and meet a waitress with a heart of gold.

A down-on-her-luck waitress

The last thing I want is another man in my life. The last one stole every
penny from me. Money I’d been saving to go back to school. If I work double
shifts at the diner, I just might earn enough. But only if I keep my eye on
the ball. Only if I’m not sidelined by distractions.

A summer they won’t forget

But when a stranger stumbles into my diner one stormy night looking for a
meal and a place to stay, I offer the unthinkable–shelter in my home. When
he’s gone in the morning, I think that’s the end. But I’m wrong. Dead
wrong. Because the stranger returns, and this time he wants much more than
my couch. He wants me in his bed.

 If Tomorrow Ever Comes is a standalone romance with a guaranteed HEA, smexy
times, and lots of pies.

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 About the Author

Magda Alexander loves piña coladas and walks in the rain. Okay,
enough of that. Rewind.

Magda loves reading steamy romances which she’s been doing since she was ten. Ummm, that’s not quite true. Steamy romances did not exist when she was ten, and if they had, she’s pretty sure her mother would not have allowed her to read them. She did read the hand-holding, longing-glances kind, along with her catechism, which got her into trouble more than once. Let’s just say Mother Superior was not amused.

As soon as sexy romances came into existence, thank you Rosemary Rogers,
she’s been lapping them up. So when it came time to write one, guess
what she wrote. A no-brainer, right?

Magda, a lifelong learner, graduated from the University of Maryland where
she majored in Business Administration (because her family had to eat) and
minored in English (because she needed to dream). She’s lived in
Maryland most of her life and now resides close to the Catoctin Mountains in
a city whose history dates back to colonial times.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “I Am a Gigolo” by Andrew Segal

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Book one – The Aberration Series of short stories
Short Story,  Crime thriller & Romantic suspense
Date Published: 1st July 2020
Publisher: Happy London Press
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I am a Gigolo
He’s gorgeous, cool and slick. Small wonder those wealthy American dames are falling over themselves to taste his flirtatious skills, just where it counts. Seduction is the name of his game, and he knows how to keepa secret. Trouble is, our Gigolo is also a mischief maker, a man with a mission – to make a killing. So he’s got a secret of his own. But, can he keep it that way?
Deliciously sensual, with a touch macabre, the opening tale, I am a gigolo contains ten startlingly original and provocative short stories, that you’ll need to be brave to read at bedtime.
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About the Author

My inspirations have come from real people, events or situations that have presented themselves. Titles like, I am a Contract Killer, I am a Gigolo, Death Zone, License to Kill, are all based on my own lifetime experiences, questions asked, incidents occurring.

Let me be reassuring, thus-far, nobody has been murdered on my watch. But the notion gave rise to the impetus to write my first murder mystery, The Lyme Regis Murders. Could I make the jump after years of writing macabre short stories to a full length drama? That familiar beating in the gut, said, ‘Yes, try it. Give it a go.’
And so to that cosy coastal town where nothing untoward ever happens. Or perhaps it does. The author seeks to shatter notions, change people’s perceptions, spoil long held views. That was my intention in entering into the world of crime thrillers. I’ve found that ‘nice’ people are not always what they seem. The helpless can be transformed into the most dangerous, the most dangerous become the most harmless. It’s all up to the writer and what they’re hoping to achieve. 
For me there have been 10 children’s books, 4 books of short stories and so far, three novels, with a fourth in the mixer.
Whilst a short story might be written with a flurry of adrenalin in the space of a few hours, a book will need more than just a flash of creativity. It will need perseverance, discipline and dogged determination.
But then, isn’t that what is required of every ambition?
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#ReleaseBlitz “Derek Hyde’s Spooky Scavenger Hunt” by E. Michael Lunsford

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Book #2 – Derek Hyde

Middle Grade Paranormal

Published Date: 7-1-20

Publisher: INtense Publications LLC

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 Spookaphobic Derek Hyde has a problem: He has to live in the haunted Hyde
Funeral Home & Body Parts shop with his adoptive mortician parents, Jack
and Formalda. What’s worse, Derek really misses his birth parents—who
supposedly died. Turns out, they’re not so dead.

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About the Author

E. Michael Lunsford is the author of an award-winning play, Scary, Scary Night, and a book of wacky kid’s poems, Sometimes I Get My Shoes on Backwards, winner of the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award. His
debut novel, Derek Hyde Knows Spooky When He Sees It (INtense Publications, Dec 2019), was the first of the funny Derek Hyde series of spooky middle grade books. Michael is also a musician, composer, inventor, entrepreneur
and chief cook & bottle washer who works and lives with his wife and love of his life in San Carlos, California.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “Fake Play (An Atlanta Edge Hockey Romance Novel)” by Carla Swafford

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An Atlanta Edge Hockey Romance Novel

Sports Romance

Release Date: June 30, 2020

 

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Connor Ellison, one of Atlanta Edge’s best wingers and biggest prankster, is given an ultimatum by the coaches and the PR department. He must stay married until the end of the run for the Cup or be available for trade.

Lily Jones wants nothing to do with the insane demand. But he convinces her
the best decision is to play along. If they remain married and pretend to be
in love, he offers to save her family’s ice rink from bankruptcy. Anyway,
it’s only until the end of the hockey season. Then they can go their
separate ways.

Easy-peasy. No way will they go to the finals. No way will they truly fall
in love.

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About the Author

Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. And that’s not all, she’s crazy about hockey, and thankfully, no one has made her turn in her Southern Belle card. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.

 

 

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “Nightmasters” by Loran Holt

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Doubles Talk Book 1

General Fantasy

Date Published: June 30

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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Kelgan Defthand is used to being top dog at the Academy of Magic where he
is Senior Apprentice Mage. Compared to his peers, he’s faster, more
skillful, and well aware of it, but when he finds himself beset by fearful
voices that come in the night, his confidence is shaken.

Adding to his worries, Kelgan is summoned to the headmaster, Sargal’s
presence; it looks like he’s really in trouble. But to his
bewilderment, he finds he’s being sent on a “mission” with
two very hostile-seeming aristocratic twins, Neroma and Nevander Di
Nerrill.

Upon embarking on this mission with the twins, Kelgan soon realizes the
world outside the cloistered Academy is a bit different than he imagined.
First of all, there seems to be women doing magic! Secondly, he’s not
the only one hearing voices.

Following a strange compulsion, Kelgan and the Di Nerrills find themselves
seeking out the source of the voices, hoping to put an end to it.

The fateful journey tests Kelgan’s underdeveloped skills to the
limit, and could come at an unbearable cost to both to him and his
companions. Once Kelgan accepts the challenge of Magehood, there’s no
going back.

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Excerpt 
The work went swiftly. Two flame-throwers—in spite of the concerned voices, Ezrael insisted on being one of the carriers. “Cain’t do better, I jes’ stand and let ’er rip.”
And two drones. Cal looked far from satisfied, but Kelgan assured him they would work for recon, as well as something else. He refused to explain the something.
“Crows, you want to use crows?”
“They’re smart, and I’ve placed a homing spell on them.”
“What’s the plan?”
“Don’t have one.”
Cal groaned. “It’s going to be like the tavern owner. We just walk in and say, ‘We’re back to save the world.’”
“Yep.”
O
Cal shook his head in wonder. “They even shook our hands.”
Kelgan repressed a giggle. “Just a touch of persuasion.”
“You spelled them.”
“As I said, just a touch.”
“I keep forgetting you’re not me.”
Kelgan eyed him quizzically. “That was an ‘interesting’ thing to say.”
Cal shifted his feet, looking uncomfortable. “Let’s get busy.”
Laden with their hastily assembled equipment, they rejoined the rest of the group, who paid them no attention. So busy with their toys, the two had completely missed the combined outward gaze of the others. Turning their heads, they followed the line of sight and drew in simultaneous breaths. The enemy, who had evidently watched all, was well ahead of them. The red-and-black army stood at the ready—seeming to number in the thousands. Knowing that could simply be illusion did not reassure them. At the forefront hovered the sorcerers, wearing robes that trailed off behind them into mist and gave them the appearance of black thunderclouds. Kelgan was sure that was no illusion.
“Uh,” he said stupidly.
Only Neroma responded, swinging her head in their direction just a bit. “They wait.”
The fur of her voice blanketed him for a moment, leaving him short of breath.
He shook his head to clear it, saying, “Well, let’s not disappoint them.”
Without another word, he directed a concentrated blast of energy to the first rows of the army. Those turned out to be real, at least, as they transmogrified into twinkling atoms, which then fell like raindrops onto the now-scorched earth.
A gasp arose from the facing soldiers. For a moment, they quailed visibly. The brief flash of triumph Kelgan allowed himself was cut short by the nearly instantaneous return blast from the younger sorcerer.
Even aided by Neroma and Nevander, Kelgan barely managed to divert the energy back onto the facing army, thereby taking out another two or three rows.
No time to be cocky, he thought, that was nearly fatal.
He fired off another blast. This time the opposition was ready—as one, the soldiers dropped to their knees, and the energy sailed over their heads to knock off a corner of the gloomy castle.
However, they failed to notice Cal, who was now in command of his deadly flamethrower. A low charge, directed just above the ground, caught the red-and-blackers by another unpleasant surprise. Closing his eyes to the charred corpses that now littered the ground, he paused only when he had to refuel.
Too easy, again, too easy, too easy, beat in Kelgan’s head like a drum solo. He glanced behind him. Ez was slumped over the now empty goat-cart, and Teri was staring in horror at the now empty uniform of her sister, Cenci.

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 About the Author

Recently retired from a job as a university professor, and looking for a diversion in sunny Southern California, Loran Holt did what any Southern California does – took up writing, of course. Feeling that sword and sorcery fitted her personality admirably, she set her sights on that genre. Nightmasters is the result, and her first work of published fiction, but she is already the published author of two books on the Silent Film era, with a third on the way.

 

 

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#BookBlitz “The History of Eternity” by James E. Winder

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Poetry, Philosophy

Published: February 2020

Publisher: Setarcos Spectrum Publications

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You cannot help but wonder what and why you are. The History of Eternity is a book that again and again answers these questions, as it celebrates the
tragic joy of wonder at the enigma of your existence. There will always be a
clamoring after elusive fact. There will always be a hankering for some
durable theory that will explain the fact. There will always be an inability
to match the one wholly with the other. Because something is always left
out, there will always persist a stubbornly invisible and intractable
remainder. And this remainder, this dark matter behind every thought, behind
every desire, behind every joy, behind every sorrow, will continue to
populate your universe with wonder. Read this book, if you will, and share
that wonder.

You are born into a conspiracy of significance, already entangled with your
equally lonely others. The history of eternity, the tension between nowhere
and now here, defines the struggle between the life you are living now and
whatever there may be of the life to come. The History of Eternity is a
series of broken elegies to those who have mattered, to their moments and
your moments, to their sanity and your sanity, to their madness and your
madness. The History of Eternity is one man’s meditation on the
reverberating shock of his encounter with Henry Adams, Aristotle, Augustine,
Bach, Balzac, Beckett, Bergson, Bloch, Boehme, Bonhoeffer, Cervantes,
Chekhov, Cicero, Claudel, Dante, Darwin, Derrida, Emily Dickinson,
Dostoevsky, Eckhart, Emerson, Ezekiel, Faulkner, Gide, Goethe, Heraclitus,
Herodotus, Hume, Isaiah, Henry James, Jeremiah, Samuel Johnson, Kafka,
Kierkegaard, D.H. Lawrence, Leopardi, Levinas, Joan of Arc, Joe Louis,
Lucretius, Machiavelli, Malraux, McTaggart, Milton, Montaigne, Newton,
Nietzsche, Parmenides, Pascal, Plotinus, Plutarch, Proust, Rabelais,
Rembrandt, Rosenzweig, Rousseau, Sartre, Schopenhauer, Schubert, Adam Smith,
Sophocles, Spinoza, Edith Stein, Wallace Stevens, Tocqueville, Van Gogh,
Virgil, Von Hofmannsthal, Wagner, Weil, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Woolf,
Yeats, and many others.

Considered collectively, and as one integral whole, these philosophic
meditations in poetic form echo the meaning of eternity as reflected in the
troubled hearts, minds, and lives of 144 historic individuals, famous or
unknown. There is – in the history of philosophy and literature – nothing
akin to it in nature and scope.

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 About the Author

Mr. James E. Winder was born on June 16, 1953, in Athens, Tennessee, and graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 1975 with a B.A. in philosophy and literature. He earned an M.A. in philosophy from Purdue University in 1980.

James Winder spent the lion’s share of his career as a mid-level manager and intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA), where he retired in 2013 after 30 years of service. At NSA, Mr. Winder’s most noteworthy assignment was in 1991-1992, when he served as Assistant Director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). During that
time, he co-authored a report for President George H.W. Bush on intelligence
lessons learned during the first Gulf War and provided extensive research
and documentation on a wide range of other matters of great interest to the
PFIAB board members. In a special commendation, then Acting PFIAB Chairman,
Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, cited Mr. Winder for his “expert advice to the
President of the United States” and for his “extremely incisive and timely
contributions on some very complex issues.”

During three decades at NSA, Mr. Winder produced three classified,
book-length studies, most notably including a comprehensive report on an
important subject, which won NSA’s annual Cryptologic Literature Award. He
also wrote a wide variety of other in-depth reports on Soviet intelligence,
terrorism, and technical threats to U.S. telecommunications.

Mr. Winder is the author of The History of Eternity, a series of
philosophic meditations in poetic form, which is, according to Mr. Winder,
the cryptic story of his life and the lives of many others. There is – in
the history of philosophy or literature – no other work that is akin to it
in nature and scope.

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#BookBlitz “Fallerman’s Grove Omerta” by Daniel Gibson

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Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Publisher: Page Publishing

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Fallerman’s Grove Road was the idyllic escape Lewis Fogarty
envisioned when he moved here with his wife, Donna. It was his opportunity
to leave behind a somewhat troubled past. Everything he wanted was here, including a lot of privacy from distant yet friendly neighbors.

All was perfect until a cancer was brought into the peaceful community in
the form of Kara, Old Man Fallerman’s young bride. With her came
discord, distrust, and turmoil among the residents. She even drove a wedge
between Old Man Fallerman and his son, Ronnie.

Trouble, like a cancer, can only be allowed to get so far before it totally
destroys its host, but if removed in time, the host can be saved. Kara was
removed, but was Fallerman’s Grove Road saved?

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 About the Author

Daniel Gibson has written numerous short stories, but this is his initial
offering in novel form. He was born near Pittsburgh, PA, but is living in
rural upstate South Carolina with his wife Donna.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “Hairballs and Homicide” by Ruth J. Hartman

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A Kitty Beret Cafe Mystery, Book 1

Cozy Mystery

Release Date: June 26, 2020

 

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When Ellie Warren opens the Kitty Beret Café, her life revolves
around finding forever homes for rescued cats and serving lattes. That is,
until a woman’s body is discovered behind her shop—the same
woman who’d thrown a hissy fit with Ellie in front of lots of
witnesses. With Ellie’s cat, Templeton, supplying clues and the help
of handsome Detective Simon Dare, she’s on the prowl for the murderer.
Will Ellie discover the identity of the culprit before the murderer sinks
their claws into her?

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 About the Author

Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning
mysterious tales that make you smile. She, her husband, and their cats love
to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies.
Well, the cats sit in the people’s recliners. Not that the cats couldn’t get
their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else’s.

Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense
of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find
trouble without even trying.

Ruth’s husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his
eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her in spite of her penchant for
insisting all of her books have at least one cat in them.

 

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#CoverReveal “Young, Broke and Educated” by Alexander Baima

Finance/Economics

Date Published: September 22

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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Alexander Baima graduated college with $80,000 in student debt at the age
of 23 from one of the top 25 business schools in America. After college he
went to work as a financial planner and serviced fortune 500 clients. He
created the financial plans that brokers took credit for, and while they
grossed millions a year, he made minimum wage.

At 29, his parents had a house with an $80,000 mortgage and a child –
and they lived on one income. At 29, Alexander still had over $50,000 in
student debt. How could previous generations have so much more than most
millennials who still struggle with little hope for the future?

Young, Broke and Educated investigates the decline of purchasing power
among young people, especially over the last generation. It explores in
basic, easy to understand terms, how economic systems have evolved to hinder
the financial success of millennials and the incentives that government, big
business and banks have to prevent progressive change.

Alexander Baima, a master in the field of eCommerce and early adopter of
blockchain technology, walks you through, step-by-step, what the issues are
and what needs to change to ensure that millennials and future generations
have access to the same type of success that previous generations took for
granted.

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 About the Author

Alexander Baima received his bachelor’s degree in Business
Administration from the University of San Diego. By profession, he has excelled as both an analyst and project manager. He currently holds a CAPM,
MOS and SSGB certification in the field of project management. Alex is a
talented entrepreneur who specializes in 19th and 20th century porcelain as
well as modern innovative computing.

Alex is a firm supporter of Cryptocurrency and believes that this
technology will revolutionize the way all countries function within a matter
of a few years. He is currently invested in Bitcoin, Ethereum and EOS with
the expectations that decentralized applications and smart contracts will be
a major contributor to our future.

He has published over 150 articles between LinkedIn and a new social media
platform called Steemit. As a millennial, his desire is to help solve many
of the great challenges that are plaguing today’s society and engage
in intellectual exchanges to help create a better world.

 

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