#BookBlitz “Dark Secrets of the Bayou” by Kim Carter

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Mystery, Suspense

Date Published: November 2020

Publisher: Raven South Publishing

Catherine “Tink” Mabrey, an up and coming attorney, is shocked by her recent inheritance from her estranged family on the bayou. After her mother died during childbirth, Tink’s father had quickly relocated them to the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. With no memory of her mother, she is determined to learn more about her lineage and decides to visit the bayou town of Kane, Louisiana. Candace, Tink’s co-worker and best friend, agrees to make the trip with her.

Before she has time to explore her family’s history, or decide what to do with the declining property, local murders plague Tink’s homecoming. She quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a multiple murder investigation – and quite possibly, the prime suspect. When Candace retreats back to Atlanta, Tink, with the support of an unlikely cast of characters, sets out to discover clues that have haunted and tormented her family for generations.

Could a concealed crime from the 1800’s, or the family’s estate itself, harbor keys to unlocking the past? The more they learn, the more they question whether some secrets are best left buried.

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Other Books By Kim Carter:

 

Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle (2017)

Murder Among The Tombstones (2017)

No Second Chances (2017)

Deadly Odds (2018)

And The Forecast Called For Rain (2018)

When Dawn Never Comes (2018)

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About The Author

Kim Carter is an author of suspense, mystery and thriller novels. She was a finalist in the 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award and recipient of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Award for her book Murder Among The Tombstones. This is the first book in her Clara and Iris Mystery series. The characters in this series are a couple of overly curious widows who become private investigators and were inspired by Kim’s mother and her mom’s best friend.

Her other titles include: When Dawn Never Comes, Deadly Odds, No Second Chances, And The Forecast Called For Rain, and Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle.

Kim’s writing career started after she suffered an illness that made her housebound for a couple of years. An avid reader of mystery novels, she embarked on writing as a means of filling her time. Kim shared those early writings with friends and family who encouraged her to pursue writing professionally. Her health struggles and successes have been chronicled on The Lifetime Television in early 2000, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Women’s Day Magazine, and Guideposts.

Prior to her illness, Kim worked in many different capacities in county government ranging from Park Director with Parks and Recreation to the Grant Department with Human Services. But, ultimately, it was her job as a correctional officer that provided her the opportunity to interact with a variety of people from all walks of life. Her experiences ran the gamete of inspiring success stories to tragic endings, much like her mysteries.

She self-published her first book No Second Chances. One of the guest speakers at the launch party she had at the Performing Arts Center in Newnan, Georgia included her close friend retired Atlanta Police chief Eldrin Bell. This connection would become helpful as she started doing more research for other books, this time working with a small publishing house.

Kim started networking and made connections with the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. Her research has taken her many places including morgues, death row and the occasional midnight visit to cemeteries.

She is a college graduate of Saint Leo University, has a Bachelor Degree of Arts in Sociology. Kim and her husband have three grown children and live just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

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#Excerpt “Krampusnacht” by James Drummond

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Book 4 in the Shadow Tales Series

Supernatural Action-Adventure

Date Published: 11/17/2020

 

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 In a small Austrian town, Krampus Night turns real. 

The yearly celebration of Krampusnacht is one of Bad Gastein’s most
cherished traditions. Rachel Chochopi arrives right in the middle of the
festivities to investigate an unexplained atmospheric disturbance and soon
realizes that something else supernatural has arrived in town as well.

Children are going missing.

The recently turned vampire puts her own dilemmas aside and sets her mind
to rescuing the kidnapped kids. Her first faceoff with the kidnapper leaves
no question that she’s outmatched. The rest of the European
Huntsman’s Network can’t reach her due to a once-in-a-lifetime
storm, so Rachel must team with some new acquaintances to defeat a
Christmastime monster.

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EXCERPT

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Caroling was Felix’s favorite Christmastime tradition. Had been ever since he was five years old. He still really C enjoyed it at fourteen but had begun pretending to be weary of the activity to avoid persecution from his peers. As the troupe he was a member of walked from house to house, he’d roll his eyes with pretend exasperation or occasionally give the chorus’s chaperon a fake scowl. Whenever he saw someone he knew, he’d trudge through the snow dramatically, dragging his feet while complaining that his parents had once again goaded him into participating.

He couldn’t let others know how he truly felt.

However, when it came time to sing, Felix couldn’t hide his true sentiments. He enjoyed the act too much. Multiple people had told him he had a good voice, and who in their right mind didn’t relish doing something they were good at? Felix wholeheartedly enjoyed it. He’d belt out the carols exuberantly, often with a big smile. This was especially true when performing his two favorites: “O Holy Night” and “Good King Wenceslas.”

But this year was different. This year his reluctance to go caroling was sincere. For starters, it was no fun being out in such extreme weather. The town was slowly sinking into a sea of gray 1

and white, and the biting cold caused his lips to go numb, making it difficult to sing. It also felt odd to be caroling in the early afternoon hours, even though the sky was overcast enough to give the appearance of late evening.

Then there was the Krampus.

Felix had begged his parents to let him stay home. His father had responded by giving him an extra scarf and a short speech about the importance of honoring one’s commitments. Due to the weather and the two kidnappings, the caroling had been rescheduled for the afternoon, easing the concerns of the carolers’ parents. Most of them had agreed to let their children spread some much-needed cheer after being assured by the group’s chaperon that he would escort each child home afterward.

No one spoke of monsters.

That included Felix, who hadn’t mentioned the fabled beast since giving his statement about Simon’s abduction to the police.

He wished he hadn’t mentioned it then either. Neither the police, nor his parents, believed his story. Instead, Felix was sure they were questioning why he’d made up such a wild tale. Soon they might question why he and his friends had been in such close proximity to Simon when he was kidnapped. They might start making connections Felix didn’t want them to make. For that reason, he’d not raised his concerns about the monster when begging his parents to let him skip caroling.

It certainly wouldn’t have helped, and even though he was frightened and half-frozen, Felix had to admit that now that he was out, he wasn’t completely hating it. There was a small part of him that was starting to appreciate that his parents had forced him to participate.

The community did seem to welcome the distraction. Many of the families they visited stepped outside, onto their front stoops, closing the door behind them so as not to let any heat from their fireplaces escape. Bundled up in coats and blankets, they laughed, sang along, and applauded, happy to experience the joy of the season.

By about the fifth or sixth house, Felix found that he was 2

actually feeling some of that joy too. So much so that he was able to relax and nearly forget about the creature he’d seen in the forest. Then, on the way to the seventh house, the group’s chaperon announced they’d be singing “Good King Wenceslas” next.

This was the moment he’d been waiting for. Felix did his best to shake off the cold. He stamped his feet and clapped his hands together while he waited for the home’s occupants to appear.

The second the door opened, he and his fellow choristers broke into song.

“Good King Wenceslas looked out upon the Feast of Stephen,” Felix sang joyfully. “When the snow lay ’round about, deep and crisp and even.

Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel. When a poor man came in sight gath’ring winter fuu-u-ell .”

 

About two hundred and ninety-three miles northwest of Bad Gastein, Toby Hoffman was also starting to feel more positive about things. After only two hours of research, he was confident he’d identified the beast Rachel had sensed in the woods. He marched into Frederick’s office and plopped a large, leather-bound book onto his employer’s desk. It was already opened to the chapter he wanted everyone to see.

Tapping the page several times, he pointed to the title. “I think this might be our monster.”

Frederick turned away from his computer screen, peered at the text Toby was pointing to, and then gave his hunter a dubious look. “The Krampus?”

“You asked me to look into any legends or myths associated with the area,” Toby replied. “This thing comes up every time, in every book. It’s the most infamous creature from that part of Europe.”

Henry, who was sitting off to the side of Frederick’s desk, studying a few books of his own, picked up the one Toby had brought and started leafing through the pages.

“I was hoping for something a little less . . . yuletide,”

Frederick said, returning to his computer screen. “A legend or myth not so tied to the season. Even better, something we have 3

record of as being more than just a legend or a myth. Something a hunter has actually encountered.”

Toby’s certainty crumbled a little bit. “You’re saying nobody has ever seen one of these things before?”

“I’m saying nobody we have reason to trust has ever seen one of these things before.”

Toby hadn’t been aware that there was no record of any hunters encountering a Krampus. He still wasn’t even totally clear on what the heck a Krampus was. The only reason the creature had seemed like a worthwhile lead was the fact that he, or it, was known to annually beset Austrian towns right around the holidays. Truth be told, Toby had been anxious to present even a semi-promising lead to his employer because he was eager to jump ahead to the part where they discussed sending him to Bad Gastein to help.

“Krampus, whose name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology,” Henry stated, reading from the book. “According to the folklore, he begins surfacing each year on Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, which is traditionally the night of December sixth.”

“That was the night of the disturbance,” Frederick noted, not offering any additional details on what sort of disturbance he was talking about.

“He then continues his work throughout the holiday season,” Henry continued. “Up until all the bad children have been punished or until he’s successfully banished by Saint Nicholas.”

“I worry we might have trouble enlisting Saint Nicholas’s services,” Frederick said dryly. He rolled his wheelchair over to where Henry was sitting and took a look at the book. “Perhaps we should see if there’s another way to defeat the beast, and, while we’re at it, continue looking for a more feasible culprit than Santa Claus’s dark equivalent.”

“I want to go down there,” Toby stated. “It was a mistake to send Rachel on her own.”

“It was what she needed,” Frederick answered.

“She needs help. Some support from those who care about her.”

“Not if she isn’t ready for it.”

“That’s a bunch of B.S.”

Frederick looked up from the book and asked, “After your mother died, did you eagerly accept all the support others were offering?”

He sure hadn’t. Toby wanted to volley back some sort of protest but realized he didn’t have a leg to stand on. His employer had swiftly and adeptly swept both out from under him. Still, this wasn’t just about self-pity or giving Rachel the time she needed to work through things on her own. There was a very good chance that she could be in danger.

“I’m sending Jack,” Frederick continued. “Only Jack. Until I have reason to believe a larger team is needed.”

Toby held his tongue. The truth was, they simply didn’t yet know enough about the threat to determine if it was an all-hands-on-deck situation. If Frederick was going to send others to Bad Gastein, he was going to need a clear-cut reason for doing so.

Toby needed to find him one.

~~~

About the Author

James Drummond is the author of chilling supernatural action-adventure. A lifelong fan of scary stories and hero’s journeys, he’s put his own spin on familiar folklore with his Shadow Tales series. He lives in Chicago with his wife Angela and two former shelter cats named Snowball and Suzette. In
between early morning and late-night writing sessions he works as a Senior
Instructional Designer at an e-learning development company where he often
employs storytelling techniques to convey new concepts to different learning
audiences. You can visit http://www.jamesdrummondwrites.com to learn more
about James and his four-book (one day to be seven-book) series.

 

Contact Links

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#Excerpt “Death in Champagne Shores (A Champagne Shores Cozy Mystery, Book 2)” by Amie Denman

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A Champagne Shores Cozy Mystery, book 2

Cozy Mystery

Date Published: November 20, 2020

Champagne Shores, Florida, is a beach town in need of a paint job.

What it doesn’t need…is a murder.

Champagne Shores, Florida, is poised to become a tourist magnet, but a murder in the marina threatens the town’s sunny reputation. Sure, the marina’s owner had been a thorn in the local chamber of commerce’s side, but he hadn’t really made serious enemies…had he?

Millie Silver wants her True Colors Paint Store to inspire a makeover for her hometown, and she’s busy leading the Champagne Shores Revitalization Committee. But when she and her dog Sunshine discover the body of the marina’s owner, they find themselves on the trail of a murderer. The clues and suspects stack up and include an estranged wife, surly fishermen, and a flashy group of treasure hunters flaunting the Spanish gold they find offshore.

While the town repaints and reinvents itself using Millie’s color inspiration, Millie recruits her family and friends to help the police chief uncover secrets, grudges, and even sunken treasure along the Florida coast.

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Excerpt from Chapter One

Champagne Shores, Florida, was a beach town in need of a paint job. I rolled out a diagram of the town and spread my paint swatches in front of me. Golden October light poured through the wide glass windows of the True Colors Paint Store and my yellow Labrador slept peacefully inside the front door, nose on her paws.

The paint shaker provided the swish-swish background noise that was the heartbeat of my shop on Atlantic Avenue while I challenged myself to choose the future palette of my hometown. Because I own the town’s paint store and have a reputation for sharing my opinions when it comes to paint colors, I was being offered a golden opportunity. Champagne Shores straddled the line between Old Florida postcard town and big bucks tourist stop, which meant orange stands mingled with boutiques. New hotels towered over the beach and the new town management wanted to attract more tourists.

“What do you think?” I asked my brother Darwin. “I could repaint the store fronts in a random pattern or in a sequence from dark to light or hot to cool.”

“There’s no such thing as a random pattern,” Darwin said. “It’s a contradiction.”

He picked up his kitten and set him on the counter, smiling as the black and white cat batted a paint card off the counter. Tony, whose original name was Saint Anthony, had come to us four months earlier in the middle of a murder investigation—the only murder known to have happened in the peaceful town. Tony had quickly endeared himself to all of us, even when he swiped things off counters like the paint card Darwin picked up and put back in my lineup.

I curled Tony’s tail around my finger as I glanced at the card labeled Sunrise Blush. “I do like this one and I think it has the fresh look the town committee wants. If I paint the downtown shops in shades of blush, though, it might look too planned.”

“But it is planned,” Darwin said.

Tiffany came through the front door, bent down and gave Sunshine a dog treat, and made her way to the counter. “It looks too planned,” my sister said after a cursory glance. She rearranged the paint cards several times, placing samples on top of each business depicted on the town plan until she smiled at the order.

“Nice,” I said.

“Like a good set of highlights,” Tiffany said. “Makes a statement without shouting.”

Darwin scooped up his cat and shook his head as he retreated to his computer at the back of the store where I knew he would ponder how paint colors could possibly shout.

“And,” Tiffany added, “with this arrangement, our building has the prettiest color. Beach Rose. Almost as if I accidentally planned it that way.”

“Hazel, too,” I added, noting the Peaceful Harbor Blue that had landed on Hazel’s Front Porch Bakery across the street.

“Everyone’s a winner,” Tiffany said.

I saw Darwin’s head come up as if he wanted to explain the necessary balance between winners and losers, but I gave him a reassuring smile and he returned to his work. Darwin is the most literal member of my family, but he’s slowly learning not to flinch when people violate the laws of logic.

Tiffany and I see the world in color—hair color for her and paint color for me—but our younger brother is more a black and white guy.

“The town hall meeting is tonight,” I said. “I’m going to present several options, but I hope they go with this one.”

“You should get to the other committee members first and plant the seed,” Tiffany said. She put both elbows on the counter. “I hope no one gets all grouchy and rains on the parade like last time.”

I shrugged. “Almost everyone likes the idea in theory.”

“Even Richard Croy?” Tiffany asked. She tilted her head and gave me the look that said she was ready to listen. Whereas I had a reputation in town for strongly advising people about colors, Tiffany had a reputation for being a good listener. It was a trait that served her well as the town’s only hair stylist, and by the end of any given day she’d heard everything from parents celebrating their kid’s place on the swim team to dark secrets involving affairs, family squabbles, and questionable paternity.

“I’m working on Richard Croy,” I said. “Deep down, I’m sure he wants his marina to look just as nice as the rest of the town is going to look, even if we have to be creative in prying the money out of him.”

Tiffany grinned. “You could tell him that anything he spends is less money his wife gets in the divorce settlement.”

I laughed. “I don’t think I’ll lead with that argument, but I could save it for the kill statement if I get desperate.”

“Even though it’s not even that much money since the town is supplying the labor and you’re providing the paint at cost,” Tiffany said. “I wonder if we’ll really be overrun with tourists someday because of all the improvements.”

We heard Darwin grunt behind us. The idea of being overrun with anything probably made him uncomfortable. As the official tech nerd for many of the enterprises in Champagne Shores, he already stayed busy maintaining websites and keeping up with computer updates. He was currently revamping the site for the Chamber of Commerce, which would include proposed plans and colors as soon as I got a consensus from the committee.

“I’ll settle for steady business and a very nice write-up in a travel magazine. Or five travel magazines,” I said. “And if tonight’s town hall goes well, these colors will transform Champagne Shores before Christmas.”

Tiffany blew a kiss to Darwin, gave me a little wave, and patted Sunshine on the head. I heard the bell tinkle on her beauty shop door as she slipped into her business next to mine.

****

The moment I walked in the door of Hazel’s Front Porch Bakery that evening, I felt the little shiver of excitement that only one man I know causes. Last spring’s murder of real estate mogul Ransom Heyward had divided the town and threatened its sunny reputation, but that tragic event had also introduced Champagne Shores to the deceased’s nephew. Grant Heyward had all the charm and personality his uncle hadn’t, so when Grant announced he was making Champagne Shores his official home whenever his documentary filmmaking allowed him to work in the area, no one had been disappointed.

“You have your camera with you,” I said, skipping a hello and pointing to his tripod.

“I have ideas.” Grant put a hand on my upper arm and leaned close. Our relationship was well beyond the handshake-greeting type, but not quite the kiss-hello type, either. Most days, it was hard to define. I’m sure he was leaning in so I could hear him over the voices in the room that were—unexpectedly—loud. “Do you think small-town politics would make a good film?” he asked.

“No,” I said. After serving on the spruce-up committee for a month, I was sure there was nothing entertaining about fighting over streetlights, flower boxes, and paint colors.

“Even if there’s a nice angle like a revitalization project that brings out long-simmering bad blood between business owners?” Grant prodded. He was lucky to have a dimple that made him endearing even when his grin was more devil than angel.

I cocked my head. “I thought you stuck with nonfiction for your film subjects?”

“I’m evolving. Drama is hard to resist.”

“There’s no drama,” I said, trying to sound certain despite the buzz of tension in the room. “We’re discussing the plans in a public forum, inviting comment, and voting on colors. I hope. I also hope Hazel plans to sweeten everyone up with baked goods so there’ll be no bad blood simmering anywhere tonight.”

Grant sighed. “Disappointing.”

I fanned out a full deck of paint cards and held them up for his camera. “These are beauties. The real story is the transformation of fabulous Champagne Shores.”

“Fact or Fiction?” Grant asked.

“You decide,” I said.

I made my way toward the table where the three other members of the Champagne Shores Revitalization Committee sat. Hazel owned the bakery, Vera owned the BeachWave Motel, and Chester was the newest business owner in town. He took over the antique store when its previous owner had to move to Jacksonville to keep her seventy-five-year-old sister out of trouble at her nursing home. Chester had almost discontinued the yarn sales that had taken up half the shop so he could have more room for antiques, but my Aunt Minerva had persuaded him to change his mind and he’d won the hearts of the town yarn club.

I wished there were more knitters in attendance tonight. They loved color and personal expression. My aunt and my sister were in the front row. They smiled encouragingly as if whatever I was going to say was going to be brilliant. Most of the other town residents in attendance looked as if they’d rather be home watching television. Except Poppy Russell. She wore a red sweater-dress that was already covered in white fur from the cat on her lap.

“Saint Mary of the Snow,” she said, offering me the cat as I walked past. I paused and stroked the soft fur under the cat’s chin instead of taking her.

“Is she new?”

Poppy nodded. “She was sacrificed when someone left a home empty in Champagne Circle.”

I smiled. All Poppy’s cats were named after saints, and most of them came with a tale of persecution. Poppy leash-trained them all, and they took turns accompanying her around town as she watched out for gossip and the inevitable invasion of the Russians she’d been predicting for years.

“Here we go,” Hazel said as I sat between her and Vera.

“Tension,” I whispered.

“Mostly just one person,” she said. Hazel nodded toward Richard Croy, the owner of the Champagne Shores Marina. Never the master of subtlety, Hazel’s nod was exaggerated and obvious, and the marina owner’s grimace deepened.

“Oops,” Hazel said.

“I’ll try to win him over with Ocean Sunrise Blue,” I said. “It’s perfect for his marina storefront.”

Cecil Brooks stood at the end of our table and raised a hand. After the former mayor was charged and convicted of murdering Ransom Heyward months ago, Cecil had run for the empty office. As the owner of the BrewPub downtown, he had skin in the game. And he made French fries I’d be willing to fight someone for.

“Thank you for coming,” he said to the two dozen people in Hazel’s Front Porch Bakery. Most of the attendees had a beverage and a plate of sweets, and I suspected the venue was part of the reason some of the good citizens had left their easy chairs on an October evening. “First of all, I’d like to thank our committee for all their good ideas so far. The hanging baskets along the sidewalks are even nicer now that the heat of summer is past.”

There was a little polite applause, mostly from my aunt and my sister.

“So far,” Cecil continued, “the committee and the town leadership have done the work and covered the costs, but we’re here tonight to ask local businesses to get on board and help us out.”

A short silence followed during which I heard an electronic beep that indicated Grant’s camera was rolling. He was set up on the side, and I wondered what the good citizens of my hometown would look like in profile.

“I’ll say it,” Richard Croy blurted into the silence. “Prettying up the town isn’t going to do much good unless we get more tourists in. And those tourists are probably just going to cost more money than they’re worth. I say we keep things just like they are.”

An audible sigh came from a row behind him, and I glanced over in time to see Lisa Croy roll her eyes at her husband. My sister had told me about the Croy marriage problems she’d overheard in her beauty shop, and it sounded to me like the issue boiled down to Lisa having bigger dreams and desires than Richard.

I wondered if Grant had caught the exchange and what he would do with those five seconds of dramatic film. I wanted to believe everything was fine with the Croys, but Lisa wasn’t sitting with her husband or even near him.

“You could at least look at the pretty paint colors Millie brought,” Vera Rivers said. She smiled sweetly at me and I wanted to hug her.

“Right,” Richard Croy said. “Says the owner of the ugliest orange motel in town.”

A few gasps followed that statement. It was true that Herb and Vera Rivers were married to their vintage motel’s orange color scheme, but I had gotten them to improve the shade and add a nice accent color last spring. They were happy and excited about the new look of the BeachWave, but Richard Croy had just ground the Rivers’ pride in their motel under the worn-down heel of his deck shoes.

“Their motel is lovely,” I said. I was glad Darwin wasn’t there to hear my fib because he would have had a hard time going along with it. My aunt and sister nodded emphatically, backing up my generous characterization of the BeachWave Motel. “And all our businesses could use a fresh color. If we work together, the palette works.”

I directed my words at Richard, almost daring him to criticize my expert color skills.

“Maybe I like my place just like it is,” he said.

His wife huffed, the small sound obvious in its meaning. No one could say the Champagne Shores Marina was perfect just as it was. The paint had once been lime green but it had faded and peeled until it looked like a rotting head of lettuce. The docks jutting out in long rows were crooked and weathered, a few of them partially sunken. Even the sign over the entrance to the office and store looked as if it just wasn’t trying.

“We all love Champagne Shores,” Cecil Brooks said. His tone was neutral and pleasant, the kind of tone he might use to persuade two drunkards to put away their fists after a few too many brews at his pub. “But sometimes a fresh viewpoint is just what we need. Take my BrewPub for instance. I thought the menu was just fine, but when I added some new burgers and sauces to the summer menu, I upped my sales.”

“Our hotel has been almost one hundred percent occupancy since we remodeled,” Vera Rivers said, her voice defiant as she directed her words at Richard Croy.

“That could be because you got rid of those bedbugs,” Richard muttered.

I heard at least three people gasp at the mention of the thing no one discussed out of respect for the Rivers’. Their infestation months ago forced a temporary closure of the family-owned motel but also gave them time to remodel. I was thankful I had chosen a shade of orange for the BeachWave’s exterior that would coordinate with the rest of the colors I was presenting.

Chester Bucks rose slowly from his seat on the other side of Hazel. Despite the warm evening, he wore a blazer that was at least three decades old and would have blended in with the wares in his antique shop. His white eyebrows and patient smile seemed to erase the rude comment from Richard and the discomfort of the audience.

He raised one hand, professor-like in his movement. “If I may interject a newcomer’s viewpoint.” He paused, but no one said anything. Since moving to town in July, Chester Bucks had become everyone’s grandfather, even if they already had one. “This town has welcomed me with open arms,” he said, his words slow and measured. “But it’s not just the people. Not at all. It’s also the location, the history, and—dare I say—the potential that has convinced me to make Champagne Shores my home.”

His sincerity was such a contrast with Richard Croy’s petulant assertions about his run-down marina that I glanced over at Grant to gauge his reaction. He gave me a wide-eyed head nod that seemed to say take your opportunity.

I stood and held up my deck of paint cards. “Speaking of potential, I doubt any of us want to stay here all night debating the next phase of the revitalization.” I saw Chester graciously lower himself into his chair out of the corner of my eye. “As you recall, when we started this project, we agreed that a common color scheme would pull us all together and give us a magazine-cover look.”

“We’ll get on a cover,” Vera interjected. “A really good one.”

I smiled. “I certainly hope so. I invite you all to come up here and see the colors I’ve suggested for your businesses. Of course it’s open to some changes, but I also hope you’ve learned to trust my judgment. I’m providing the paint to you at my cost, and the city will provide the labor. Some of your shops will only take a few gallons to do the outside, but I know it will be a bigger investment for larger businesses.”

I rolled out the banner showing the downtown stores and placed the paint cards according to the numbers I’d written on the backs. People vacated their chairs and crowded the table with the samples. The evening light coming through the bakery’s front window combined with low overhead lights hardly did the plan justice, but there were still enough murmurs of satisfaction to calm my nerves.

“Ocean Sunrise Blue,” Lisa Croy said to her ex-husband. “If you ask me, it sounds too good for you.”

“You’re just as delightful as the day I married you,” Richard sneered. He crossed his arms and reviewed the paint swatches along the table.

I focused on the other owners of shops, restaurants, motels, and beach rentals. They seemed happy. My sister gave me a reassuring wink.

“If anyone wants to view their paint suggestion in daylight, I’d be happy to come by tomorrow morning.”

“That’s a good idea,” the owner of a retro souvenir stand said.

Richard Croy tossed the paint card on the table and turned toward the door, but I wasn’t giving up on him or that beautiful color. His marina deserved to be prettier. It was practically crying out to me. I decided he’d be my first stop the next morning. Maybe I could persuade him to like the color—especially if he wasn’t being goaded by his wife in front of an audience.

“So lovely,” Chester Bucks said as he picked up a paint sample with his arthritic fingers. “I don’t know how you do it.”

His words were punctuated by the bakery door slamming as Richard Croy left.

~~~

About The Author

Amie Denman lives in a small town in Ohio with her husband and sons. She has published more than 40 novels—romance, mystery, and women’s fiction. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s walking and running outside. The victim of a lifetime of curiosity, she’s chased fire trucks on her bicycle just to see what’s going on. Amie believes that everything is fun: especially roller coasters, wedding cake, and falling in love.

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#BookTour “Fireflies at 3 am” by Danni Thomas

SHOETRY

A fusion of poetry and short story in the narratives.

Date Published: December 12, 2020

Publisher: StoryMirror

 

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Fireflies at 3 am brings a landmark new genre to the world of literature. It’s a book with the flow of poetry but the ebb of short stories – rightfully called “Shoetry”.

This creation takes you to the roots of humanity – stripping back the veneers of life, society and interaction to see people and their ways in an entirely new light.

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EXCERPT

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About the Author

As a child, he was known to cook up stories to save his little ass or to pass his exams. Then he grew up a bit, only in age and size, and went to college. There, he wrote plays, won a few awards and was told to try his luck in advertising. Some kind soul, who had limited knowledge about advertising, told him that this field was all about wearing jeans to work and late-night parties. He needed no further persuasion, and without losing any more time, got into advertising.

Over the last 18 years, he worked at some of the biggest advertising agencies in the world, made some memorable ads, won international recognition for his work, and learned how to manage acid reflux. Life was OK, but he decided to complicate it by writing a book.

People nowadays avoid him like the plague lest he ask them to review his work. His children have started studying harder and his wife has taken up baking so that they can escape his nagging requests, every now and then, to read what he’s written. But all said and done, none of that has dampened his spirits. Currently, he is looking forward to selling over a million copies and is busy convincing each of his friends to buy more than 3 copies of the book. Sucker.

 

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#BookTour “Sassy Saguaros” by Steve Ryan

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Humor, Arizona, Plants/Trees, Photography

Date Published: August 26, 2020

Publisher: Mindstir Media

NO ALTERATIONS! NO DISGUISES! NO PHOTOSHOP!

Steve Ryan spent months hiking and biking the beautiful Southwest Sonoran Desert, suffering more flat tires than he can count in his search for Saguaros that had something to “say”. Sassy Saguaros features the photographs he took of the most interesting subjects–based on their looks and personalities–and the hilarious captions he added (Steve is also a part-time comedian).

These desert dwellers–which often weigh several tons and can live up to 200 years–are brought to life in the wonderful, wacky world of Sassy Saguaros. Get ready to laugh out loud and see how “human” this giant cactus can be!

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EXCERPT

One of the ironies of this majestic desert plant is that the majority of a Saguaro is made up of water. Its root system, only inches under the ground, absorbs as much water as any rain will produce. For this reason, an adult Saguaro can weigh several tons. The Saguaro provides a home for many birds, including hawks and owls which are able to excavate nesting areas in the Saguaro’s pulpy flesh. Even deer and rabbits will eat the outside flesh when other water sources are scarce. It’s comforting to know that the Saguaro is not in any way an endangered plant species but thrives in abundance in the beautiful Sonoran Desert. But enough seriousness! Start turning the pages and watch these Saguaros come to life and turn a little bit “crazy” just like all of us.

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About The Author

 Steve Ryan, explorer and photographer, has lived in the Sonoran Desert for over 40 years. Steve is now retired and devoted to sharing the beauty-and “sass”-of the famous Saguaro cactus.

Steve Ryan spent years hiking and biking the beautiful Southwest Sonoran Desert, suffering more flat tires than he can count in his search for Saguaros that had something to say. Sassy Saguaros features the photographs he took of the most interesting subjects-based on their looks and personalities-and the hilarious captions he added. These desert dwellers-which often weigh several tons and can live up to 200 years-are brought to life in the wonderful, wacky world

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#BookBlitz “The Journalist” by R.N. Crane

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Crime, Mystery

Published: August 2020

Favor Bosworth, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Paper, investigates murders in the Loch Raven reservoir and the Las Vegas wash feeding Lake Mead. The murdered girls went to Law School at UNLV along with Dan Brock who left school early to pursue a career in investing. Favor interviewed many of the girl’s classmates but only a few seemed to have the means, opportunity, and motive for murder.

Favor is also tasked to evaluate Brock Investments for reporting false investment returns. She is assisted by two Private Investigators, Flint Osborne and Lauren Scott. The investigators and the reporter are led around Big Bear Lake, and through Long Beach, and Orange County looking for evidence. Favor finds that, in the end, no one is who they appear to be.

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About The Author


R.N. Crane lives in Orange, California. He is a retired engineering consultant writing romantic suspense and detective crime novels. The Journalist is his newest novel. He is a member of Orange County Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Mystery Writers of America.

 

 

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#BookTour “A Fat Girl’s Confidence” by Patrice Shavone Brown

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Nonfiction Self development

Date Published: 10/30/2018

Publisher: My Story Publishing

Most people think big girls have low self esteem and do not feel as sexy as the models with the perfect bodies that we constantly see on TV. I never knew there was anything wrong with me until I kept seeing people on TV telling me I was too fat, too sloppy and definitely ugly. Every commercial emphasizes the need to have that perfect plastic-factory body. While everyone thinks that fat is sloppy or unattractive, I have learned to embrace it. I choose to live my life fat, free and fabulous! And I am here to motivate you. Patrice Shavone Brown reveals her truth and secrets to being and becoming a proud fat girl. As you read this book, you will discover the confidence that you never thought you could have. Join the Confident Fat Girls Movement with Patrice. “Let’s be the beauty they all said we could never be,” she concludes.

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EXCERPT

Introduction

I am Patrice Shavone Brown, a Mental Health Counselor, and Director. I am an author, motivational speaker, life coach, actress, and a single mother. I own a mental health facility, which I have run for five years at the time of this writing. I am the oldest of three siblings and have a disability, which motivated me into a helpers‘ profession.

I have struggled with my weight for years to the point that the ups and downs of gaining weight are no longer something I would be ashamed of. I have learned that I have to love myself regardless of my size. This was never easy for me because I had certain family members who would say, ―You are getting bigger; you need to stop eating.‖ ―Now stop eating!‖ Yes, people said mean things to me and, trust me, they stung me like bees. You see, in my journey of being a fat girl, I found peace and acceptance of myself first. Before my confidence began, I had to develop strength.

Although what I am about to share may seem crazy, it is not. When building on anything in life, you have to practice and strengthen yourself. You have to admit that you are fat and prepare your mind for people‘s reactions. This preparation gets you ready to respond to the judgments of others. Confidence begins when you have prepared yourself and accepted your flaws. Self-esteem building is all about knowing that you are important, needed, loved, and different, and that we all have flaws but are beautiful still.

I have written this book, A Fat Girl‘s Confidence, so that you can become aware of my journey into the recognition of myself as beautiful; fat or big notwithstanding. As a woman shaped differently (by society‘s standard for beauty), I have been challenged to write about my feelings and experiences as I was labeled obese at the age of 30.

The word obese seems harsh but funny to me. I had always heard fat and was okay with being just fat.

Obese sounds like I am a big, fat case of death monster! Say it, O-BEE-S. So now, society has labeled me a beast because I am fat. If the word obesity is not enough to kill one‘s self-esteem or confidence, I do not know what will. I am motivated to share my tips of confidence because, even with the label obese, I still love what I see in the mirror.

As a teenager, boys loved me and, yes, in school boys crushed on fat girls too. As an adult, men like me for what they see in me. I don‘t want any female that is a size 8 or below to make you feel like you are a nobody just because you are fat. If you are a teenager or a grown woman battling with weight and negative comments from others, hold on beautiful, your motivational fat girl is here to help you feel better about being you!

I have come to inspire you into a one-week commitment to change your mindset about being fat. My mindset is that I am always going to be fat or big, but I have to atone. I have to be happy with myself when I look in the mirror with clothes on or clothes off. I will lose weight when I need to or want to, but it will happen only when I choose. I refuse to listen to society tell me that I am not good enough.

This book is a seven-day self-esteem workbook and inspiration book for fat girls. It has day one through day seven listed along with seven inspirational boosts and actions that will help you begin to boost who you truly are in God‘s eye. This book has secrets on learning to manage your weight as well as learning to shape your body. It focuses on finding the beauty within us as well as helping us decide to get up and live in our heavy shoes because no one can do that the way we can as fat girls.

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About the Author

Author of A Fat Girl’s Confidence Guide, published by My Story Publishing Company, also the founder of the “Confident Fat Girls Movement”

Patrice Shavone Brown is a mother of two beautiful children. She is also the big sister of two siblings. Most of all she is “me.”

She is a person that has had storms and mountains to climb. She is still climbing. Patrice lost her mom to cancer June 2017. She does not paint pretty pictures about her life or surroundings.

Helping people is at the heart of everything that Patrice does. She has spent the last two decades serving her community as a Mental Health Counselor. Her greatest satisfaction comes from empowering others and assisting in people’s healing through the power of words.

“It’s hard, yet life is what you make it. And it is full of twists and turns,” says Patrice.

Patrice has owned and operated Restoring Bodies and Minds, restoringbodiesminds.org, for the past seven years. She’s an over achiever. She likes to excel, and she has tremendous drive and determination. If at first you don’t succeed, try again, is at her core.

Brown has also authored four books. Her books are based on her everyday life experiences. The titles are Secrets Of A Crazy Mental Health Counselor, The Day Momma Made Me Dance, We Blend Well Together, A Fat Girl’s Confidence Guide, A Fat Girl’s Confidence: Beating Depression and Building Self Esteem, The Finesser and The Finesser 2.

Patrice holds an MA, BA, and AAS. She is also an Anger Management Specialist

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#ReleaseBlitz “Communicating Through Change” by Alicia Sedgwick

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Self-change, Self-empowerment, New Thinking, Communications Skills, Change Management, Conscious Living

Date Published: January 2021

Publisher: Growth Media AI, USA

 

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This life-changing book will show you how to communicate through major changes in your life and to best express yourself when you need to be heard. It is packed with real-life stories, practical exercises, insightful tips and uplifting affirmations. Addressing relevant challenges, which everyone meets at one time in their life, this book will give you hope, resilience and clarity about how to move forward. By sharing her vulnerability with authentic openness, the author helps you to find your inner strength and to speak up for yourself.

Change Challenges

The one thing we can be sure of – in this life – is that there will be change.”

This is a truth I have never wanted, or liked and yet my life has been full of it. In this collection of chapters of my personal experiences, specifically related to change, I hope you will learn from my experiences to deal with your own and to be able to also share your story. As you dip in and out of the chapters, you may feel that the experience is not relevant to you right now. However, I trust when you return to the book, a certain story will be highly pertinent for you in that moment.

A dear friend reminded me recently how I had agonised about changing my job from one legal partnership to another; spending hours deliberating on the decision; and talking and talking about it! I have always found it difficult to let anyone, or anything go. But I have had to learn to deal with change in my life and to adopt a different approach, which is what I share with you in this book. I provide you with my life learnings about managing and communicating through each change and challenge that life throws at us all, so you can benefit from the best result for you, each time.

Wherever you are in your life, this book provides you with an insight into my life; sharing with you what I have learned and showing you how you can deal with your experiences of change, coming through them with strength and courage. It provides you with practical guidance and applicable exercises to enable you to take conscious actions that will help you communicate your way through a variety of different changes. While the chapters can be read in isolation, the exercises can be applied to more than one change challenge. This book will also help you to understand that you are not alone and whenever you face these challenges, there is support from the insight shared here. Plus, the opportunity to belong to Team Alicia, a supportive group of like-minded people where you are free to be yourself without inhibition, worry, anxiety or fear. Where you will not be judged; you will be nurtured and cared for and what is said and shared in Team Alicia, stays in Team Alicia!

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About The Author

Alicia Sedgwick began her career as a lawyer, specialising in family law. This was her first step in helping people who were experiencing difficult changes in their lives. When she moved to the South of France, she began working in radio, as well as in event management, taking care of talent and celebrities. She also created her own internet television show, Asking Alicia, to help families dealing with impactful issues and the profound changes those challenges brought with them.

Alicia began teaching at the International University of Monaco, in Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Leadership and Managing People. Her communications courses are based on her belief that when you can communicate effectively and with impact, you will be successful in your professional and personal relationships. Soon, her training was extended to the International School of Monaco, and for businesses, individuals, associations and corporations. She is currently helping people to be brilliant online, where communications are so focused in this Covid climate.

Alicia is also a professional MC for events, such as TEDxMonteCarlo, where she brings her individual talent of making everyone feel embraced, included and involved, with humour and empathy.

Hailed as The Communications Guru by her global followers, Alicia specialises in training and coaching for all age groups and backgrounds. She develops her international student’s communications skills and builds their confidence, as well as empowering, motivating and inspiring them. She also helps people navigate their way through the challenges that life throws at us, with the backing and support of Team Alicia, which she created for her students as a place where they can go to feel cared for and nurtured.

This book is her opportunity to share more of herself and tell her story to help more people with their lives. She knows from her life experiences that when we share our story and communicate effectively through change, we can be stronger people and make a more significant contribution in the world.

Contact The Author

Please contact me via my website, as below and let me know which experiences of change you have embraced and how the chapters about those challenges have helped you the most. Please share your experiences with me and how you have used the communication exercises to support you. I am always delighted to receive your feedback and comments, and to welcome more change communicators into Team Alicia.

Also, please contact me for personal coaching and training in communications, and for your company, foundation, association and organisation.

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#BookTour “Black ≠ Inferior” by Tolu A. Akinyemi

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Poetry

 

Date Published: January 1 2021

Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle LTD

 

 

Black ≠ Inferior is a collection of poems divided into 2 parts. The first part is a collection of thematically linked poems exploring Blackness and the myriads of issues it attracts. The second part oscillates themes— talking about consent, a query of death, a celebration of love among others. In his usual stylistic, this collection deals with weighty matters like race and colourism with simple and clear language.

In Black ≠ Inferior, we see Tolu’ Akinyemi reacting in response to the world, to issues that affect Black people. Here, we see a poet shedding off his burdens through his poems; hence, the beauty of this collection is in the issues it attempts to address. In this collection, Tolu’ wears a coat of many colours – he is a preacher, a prophet, a doctor and a teacher.

We see Tolu’ the preacher in these lines:

I wish you can rise through the squalor of poverty

and voices that watercolour you as under-represented.

I wish you can emblaze your name in gold,

and swim against every wave of hate.’

This is a collection of poems fit for the present narrative as any (Black) person who reads this collection should beam with confidence at the end. This is what the poet sets out to achieve with his oeuvre.

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EXCERPT

Black and Unique

I wish this can be your favourite poem;

these words, ordinances, and creed—

a sterling light.

I wish you can see the uniqueness of your black skin,

its glory shining like a dark armour.

 

I wish you can rise above the tides of hate

and the contraptions of oppression.

I wish you can see, through the dawning of each day,

that you’re black and unique.

 

I wish you can rise through the squalor of poverty

and voices that watercolour you as under-represented.

I wish you can emblaze your name in gold,

and swim against every wave of hate.

 

I wish you can rise above the labels—

false identities stamped on you.

You’re black and unique—

I wish this can be your favourite verse.

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About the Author

Tolu’ A. Akinyemi hails from Nigeria and lives in the UK where he has been endorsed by the Arts Council England as a writer with “exceptional talent”.

Tolu is the author of seven outstanding books which includes, Dead Lions Don’t Roar (Poetry, 2017) Unravel your Hidden Gems (Essays, 2018) Dead Dogs Don’t Bark (Poetry, 2018) Dead Cats Don’t Meow (Poetry, 2019) Never Play Games With The Devil (Poetry, 2019) Inferno of Silence (Short Stories, 2020) A Booktiful Love (Poetry, 2020). Two poetry collections, Black ≠ Inferior and Never Marry a Writer are scheduled for publication in early 2021.

A former headline act at Great Northern Slam, Crossing The Tyne Festival, Feltonbury Arts and Music Festival, and featured in various Poetry Festivals, Open Slam, Poetry Slam, Spoken Word and Open Mic events in and outside the United Kingdom.

His poems have appeared in the 57th issue (Volume 15, no 1) of the Wilderness House Literary Review, The Writers Cafe Magazine- Issue 18, GN Books, Lion and Lilac and elsewhere.

His books are based on a deep reality and often reflect relationships, life and features people he has met in his journey as a writer. His books have instilled many people to improve their performance and/or their circumstances. Tolu’ has taken his poetry to the stage, performing his written word at many events. Through his writing and these performances, he supports business leaders, other aspiring authors and people of all ages interested in reading and writing. Sales of the books have allowed Tolu’ donate to charity, allowing him to make a difference where he feels important, showing that he lives by the words he puts to page.

 

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#BookTour “Journey to Hope” by June A. Converse

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Book 2 of The Hope Trilogy

Women’s Fiction

Date Published: August 22, 2020

Publisher: Heart Ally Books

When you lose everyone and everything you love, can you ever live again? Or love again?

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?

When Matt Nelson found Kathleen on the beach, she’d been hiding behind a scarf and sunglasses for three years. She couldn’t hide her loneliness, and he couldn’t turn away. But when her flashbacks start, they’re both unprepared for the repercussions and the depth of her emotional suffering.

Kathleen agrees to return to intensive trauma recovery at The Charlotte Center, where the sounds and the smells and the images from that terrible night await her, demanding she confront her demons.

The world of PTSD recovery is fraught with terror and pain for both Kathleen and Matt. Will their love prove strong enough to survive the agonizing and arduous journey? Can Kathleen move beyond her anger and learn to live again?

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Catch up with the first book in the series

Published: May 2018

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?

For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.

After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother’s intent, he discovers Kathleen. Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart.

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About the Author

June happily resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Sodapop. They have two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic exerciser and an accomplished cook. She and her husband enjoy hiking with Sodapop, traveling, scuba diving, trying new restaurants, concerts, and whatever other adventures they can find. Reading and a constant desire to learn keeps her busy too.

A trauma survivor who struggles with mental illness, June is continuously reaching for hope like the characters in her books. She openly discusses her personal struggles on her blog, JuneConverse.com

Decide to Hope is her first novel and relies a great deal on her own experience with trauma, choices, recovery and hope. If you’d like to discuss trauma, coping and recovery, contact her at JuneConverse.com or DecideToHope.com

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