#Excerpt “Find Your Flavor: A Recipe for Discovering Your Ideal Career” by Lauren Doyle, M.S.

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 A Recipe for Discovering Your Ideal Career

 

Nonfiction / Career

Date Published: March 30, 2022

Publisher: Getting Results Inc

 

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

That may have been fun or easy to answer years ago, but for teens and young adults, it’s a question that can be disconcerting at best… and sometimes downright frightening now that the question has become real.

Career choice is a huge decision with layers of consequence.

In Find Your Flavor, Lauren Doyle walks readers through the step-by-step process she uses with the young adult clients she works with which include:

  • Integrating your interests, strengths, and lifestyle desires to create the
    recipe for the ultimate career success.
  • The importance of playing, experimenting, and sampling with potential
    ingredients to be included in your career recipe.
  • How to distinguish between enduring intrigue v.s. hobby-like
    interests.
  • Better understanding and mastering your own mind for more successful life
    outcomes.
  • Guidance on how to get your foot in the door (or on the ladder).
  • Learn to use existing social networks to help you land a position in your
    chosen field.

She offers specific exercises that help readers put these critical, but often ‘invisible’ concepts to work to uncover the perfect recipe for choosing the ideal career. Whether you are a teen considering a college major or a young adult about to launch into a professional role, you’ll definitely want to read this book and ‘find your flavor’ that will put you on the path to success and life-long fulfillment.

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EXCERPT

Indecision can be costly

More Than Money and Time

You are, indeed, faced with a consequential choice.

Part of the cultural shift is an increasing amount of pressure on students to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. At 18 years old, a student has not been able to have the types of experiences they need to make the best choices. Sure, there is a rare, small percentage who have a clear vision early and follow it for their entire lives with much satisfaction and happiness, but I assure you, it’s a very small percentage.

There are plenty of students, notably the Type-A ones, who struggle with incredible anxiety about making the wrong career and course of study decision. Many understand the ramifications of choosing the wrong major or even the wrong school, and it leads to sleepless nights, worry, and stress… at best. It can even lead to some turning to drugs and alcohol, becoming more reliant on substance abuse in an attempt to combat ongoing bouts of depression and self-doubt.

There can be an internalization of an incorrect decision about career planning. “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get it right?”

Besides the cost of poor career choice planning in terms of money and time, there is an inadvertent and possibly higher cost that comes with the loss of self-esteem. Perception of self-worth plummets, and there’s an insidious, underlying, not-so-nice voice that declares, “I’m a loser because I can’t figure it out.” But how can you figure out what you want out of life when you’ve had such limited exposure to life in the first place? With unrealistic pressure to “figure it out,” many students will start borrowing ideas from others about what they should do or be. Often, it comes from parents; however, peers play a bigger role today, thanks to the impact of social media.

Far too much of a sense of self-worth today comes from the number of likes anyone gets. And yes, it can actually infiltrate all the way to career choice. For some young adults, they don’t follow the career that is most suited for them because it doesn’t sound cool on social media or it doesn’t have the level of prestige in the eyes of their social circles. Unfortunately, I’m not making this up.

The world is a different place today, and social pressures, due in very large part to social media, are at an extreme level – far higher than they’ve ever been. As a result, there is actually a loss of self-identity or missed identity as teens and young adults try to carve themselves into what they think they’re supposed to be based on their “life on social media” rather than determining more effectively who they really are, so they can more accurately determine who they are becoming – not to satisfy social norms and stigmas but to satisfy their own personal appetite of personalized interests.

…….

I realized I had to write this book when I discovered the benefits of going through the process that I’m about to share with you that go far beyond avoiding excessive tuition expenses and wasting time in the wrong major. I found that when the students I was coaching went through this process, it not only clarified their direction regarding career choices, it really boosted their self-esteem and confidence. In turn, they’re less apt to feel insecure about their choices and hopeless about their future. With that increase in confidence, they put less stock in the opinions of their peers and what’s shared on social media and become more focused on succeeding in their careers. As a result and possibly most important, they become less susceptible to using substances to get through their day, ultimately avoiding the bouts of depression that are too commonplace with today’s youth.

The young clients I work with get so much more out of the process, including how to manage their own thoughts, especially when those thoughts lead to anxiety and/or sadness. They also learn how to negotiate challenges in relationships of all types, and so much more, all based on the fundamental principles that I am going to cover with you in the chapters that follow.

So, it’s time for you to stop ordering from the kids’ menu and begin experimenting with different ingredients in different ways to create a recipe for your future that you can truly savor. As I guide you through this in the following chapters, you’re about to discover that this is going to be so much more than career-path choices and decisions!

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About the Author

Lauren Doyle has been helping professionals make more money and have more fun the majority of her career as a business coach. Due to the fact that her background is diverse and includes a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, she has had the opportunity to help many of her clients’ adult children navigate the daunting challenge of choosing a career they love and to set them up for untold success. Her skillset is an unusual talent that allows her to connect with this younger population and relate to them through her own personal successes.

 This book was written for you because she wanted to codify what has helped her and her clients achieve a life and career by design. Maybe it is her love of puzzles that allow her to help her clients put together the challenging puzzle of choosing a career that will marry each client’s unique talent with their enduring passions to cook up the perfect recipe for choosing a rewarding career ideal for them. 

 Her ‘outside the box’ thinking she helps her clients and herself live a fulfilling business. She truly practices what she preaches. The concepts she shares has allowed her to: live on the beach in San Diego, become a snowbird in her 30’s spending ½ the year on a lake in Michigan and the other ½ in beautiful Sarasota, Florida. She has been able to do this while achieving financial freedom as a result of cooking up her own recipe of creating a national business coaching firm, buying and selling millions of dollars of real estate and being a great Mom and wife. 

 She sat in your place once and has uncovered the formula that will help you ultimately determine yours. Her practical approach makes her style relatable and the steps easy to implement. 

 She has a passion for renovating all things to make them better; from countless properties to hundreds of lives and businesses, she seems to have mastered the art of putting the right pieces in place to create the desired experience. 

 In addition to this book, Ms. Doyle has also written The Hijacker: Overcome Self-sabotaging Behavior, a book that takes a deeper dive into the impact of understanding Human Operating Systems. 

 With her Psychology and business background gives her a unique perspective that is most helpful in writing the ultimate recipe for career success. 

 

Contact Link

Website

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#BookTour “Policing Bodies: Law, Sex Work, and Desire in Johannesburg” by I. India Thusi

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Law, Sex Work, and Desire in Johannesburg

 Nonfiction / Law

Date Published: December 21, 2021

Publisher: Stanford University Press

 

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Sex work occupies a legally gray space in Johannesburg, South Africa, and
police attitudes towards it are inconsistent and largely unregulated. As I. India Thusi argues in Policing Bodies, this results in both room for negotiation that can benefit sex workers and also extreme precarity in which the security police officers provide can be offered and taken away at a moment’s notice. Sex work straddles the line between formal and informal.

Attitudes about beauty and subjective value are manifest in formal tasks, including police activities, which are often conducted in a seemingly ad hoc manner. However, high-level organizational directives intended to regulate police obligations and duties toward sex workers also influence police action and tilt the exercise of discretion to the formal. In this liminal space, this book considers how sex work is policed and how it should be policed. Challenging discourses about sexuality and gender that inform its regulation, Thusi exposes the limitations of dominant feminist arguments regarding the legal treatment of sex work. This in-depth, historically informed ethnography illustrates the tension between enforcing a country’s laws and protecting citizens’ human rights.

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About the Author

I. India Thusi is Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law, with a joint appointment at the Kinsey Institute. She has worked with the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and The Opportunity Agenda.

Start reading Policing Bodies: Law, Sex Work, and Desire in Johannesburg on your Kindle in under a minute.

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#BookTour “You Can’t Hurry Love: Jukebox Collection Book 2” A.N. Verebes

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Contemporary Romance

Date Published 03-24-2022

 

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On Sale for $0.99 for a Limited Time

 

Sometimes love is worth the wait.

Sara Carlisle and Charlie Rhodes are complete opposites. Oil and water. Chalk and cheese.

Before Sara even meets Charlie, she hates him. He’s insulted her best friend -a woman Sara considers family- and that is unforgivable. In person he proves to be just as obnoxious and insufferable as she’d anticipated. And, as far as she’s concerned, the fact that he’s tall and muscular with an accent to die for is not enough to redeem him. Charlie Rhodes is an arrogant A–hole (with a capital A!) and that’s all there is to it!

For his part, Charlie thinks Sara is a conceited pain in the arse. A prissy princess to the nth degree. It becomes his prerogative to get under her skin for the sheer pleasure of riling her up. He feels genuine enjoyment in the face of her frustration, and he makes no secret of it. Besides, she gives as good as she gets!

Fundamentally opposed in every way, it’s obvious to those around them that they’re not going to get along.

But unfortunately, thanks to their respective families, they are stuck in each other’s lives for the foreseeable future. Being civil is as good as it is going to get…or is it?

When their relationship turns from reluctant acquaintances to red hot lovers, they find it’s good.

Really good.

What could possibly go wrong?

 

In a slow-burn romance that follows hot on the heels of Handle With Care*,
Sara and Charlie discover that you really can’t rush romance.

 

*Both Handle With Care and You Can’t Hurry Love can be read as standalone
novels in the expanding Jukebox Collection series.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 2

“I had my reasons for avoiding serious relationships,” it seemed Everett wasn’t going to be discouraged, “but what’s stopping you?”

Charlie cast his gaze to the ceiling. “For fuck’s sake.”

“I watched at least five women attempt to get your attention at the airport the other day, so it’s not your looks.”

He knew Everett had always been a little jealous of his taller, broader physique and his naturally golden coloured hair, so he snorted. “Thanks, Rhett.”

“I’m serious, Charlie. You’re forty-two-”

“Please don’t remind me.”

“–and I can’t remember the last time you were seeing someone.”

It was Charlie’s turn to throw his brother a flat look. “One: we’ve not really had the sort of relationship where we talked about this stuff until recently,” he began, counting on his fingers for emphasis, “and two…well, alright, look, I’ve had a bit of a dry spell, but, like you, casual was always my thing. Is my thing.”

“Uh huh.” He hated that Everett didn’t sound convinced.

Scowling, Charlie demanded, “Did Mum put you up to this?”

He knew he was onto something when Everett shifted his gaze.

“I knew it!” Downing the last of his beer, Charlie stood up to deposit the bottle into the recycling bin in the kitchen.

“Shh!” Everett was frowning at him now. “Do you want to wake the baby?”

“If it’ll get you and Mum off my back about fucking settling down?” Charlie asked rhetorically as he ambled back to the couch and dropped down heavily. “Yes.”

“You wake her, you get to look after her.” The other man shot back, before asking, “Is it so wrong that we want you to be happy?”

Charlie blinked back at him, dumbstruck. “Who are you?”

“Oh, shove off.”

“No, I’m serious – you should know better than anyone that I don’t need to be in a relationship or have kids to be happy.”

“I never said you had to have kids.” Everett was standing firm. “You’re getting a bit old for it anyway.”

Despite himself, Charlie cracked a grin at the unexpected ribbing. “Piss off.”

His brother’s expression softened. “Look, I get it. Being alone’s easier, right? Nobody to hurt you or get hurt by, nobody to nag you or whatever. But,” he raised his hand as Charlie moved to interrupt, “and hear me out, alright?” Charlie shut his mouth and nodded defeatedly. “It’s going to sound ridiculous, but you just need the right person.”

Given that he’d already heard all about how effortless and easy Everett thought being with Gemma was, Charlie decided he didn’t need to hear him wax poetic any longer. “That’s probably true,” he acknowledged, “but I am happy as I am right now, Rhett. So lay off, alright?”

His brother pursed his lips and looked as though he wanted to beleaguer the point, but after another moment conceded, “Alright.”

“Thank you.”

“But–”

“Oh, Christ…”

“Just know that you can change your mind about it at any time, yeah?” Everett nudged his shoulder. “It won’t make you any less of a man, you stubborn git.”

Before Charlie could respond, a familiar, obnoxious voice cut in with a laugh. “That’s assuming he’s man enough to begin with.” Sara sauntered into the room, dropping a handful of shopping bags onto the floor beside the kitchen bench. She hopped up to sit on the granite surface, crossing her long legs at the ankle and chirping, “What are we talking about, anyway?”

From between gritted teeth, Charlie responded, “Nothing that concerns you, princess.” His spirits rose at the expression of distaste which flitted across her face. For some reason she despised the moniker, and so he used it frequently.

“Alright children,” Everett interrupted, narrowing his gaze at Charlie, “behave.” He stood up and crossed the room to greet Gemma with a kiss. “Did you lovely ladies enjoy your day?”

It was Jeff who answered, striding in arm-in-arm with their mother. “We did, thanks. It was just what the doctor ordered.”

“That massage was heavenly,” Beatrice agreed. “Worked out all the kinks from that Godawful flight.”

Charlie stretched his neck from side to side at the reminder. “I shoulda’ gone with you, then.”

Sara muttered something that was likely uncomplimentary under her breath, but, at Everett’s disapproving glower, Charlie bit his tongue. He was unused to this dynamic: previously, he’d been the one delivering looks like that in response to Rhett’s antics. He didn’t particularly appreciate being on the receiving end.

“How’d Zoe go?” Gemma asked. Charlie could tell she was attempting to change the topic, too, if the glare she’d sent Sara was anything to go by.

It was still strange to watch his brother switch completely into daddy mode. Everett grinned at his girlfriend. “We went to the park, came home and she tried some pureed sweet potato – she’s a fan, by the way.” At six months old, they were starting to introduce solids. How did Charlie know this? They’d regaled him and his mother with the information over dinner the previous night. His mum had lapped it up. Charlie had been bored as fuck. “And then she had a bottle and went down for her nap without any issues.”

With his mother cooing at his brother, Charlie did his best not to roll his eyes, but let his mind drift. He loved his niece, but he wasn’t all that concerned by the minutia of dealing with an infant. Glancing around the room, his gaze landed on Sara. Still perched on the kitchen bench, she was examining her fingernails, clearly just as interested in the conversation taking place as he was.

Look at that, he thought to himself with droll amusement, we’ve got something in common after all.

The moment was broken as she sensed his stare and looked up to catch him observing her. Her eyes rolled and she made a shooing motion with her perfectly manicured talons, which, he noted, were painted a vivid, cherry red. He flipped her off and looked away, wishing he could point out what a cliché she was.

Vapid cow.

~~~

 

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About the Author

Anita (A.N.) Verebes is a daydreamer and romance novelist. As a professional civil marriage celebrant, Anita makes a living telling other people’s love stories and celebrating real romance! Also armed with a
Bachelor of Education (Secondary), Anita is a qualified -but not practising- High School English teacher who loves to read anything she can get her hands on, including fanfiction. (And, yes, she’s written her fair share of that, too.) Living directly between Queensland’s sunny Gold and Sunshine coasts, Anita spends her days exploring the Great South East with her husband and their two rambunctious sons. When at home, she’s also a slave to two cats and one very spoilt Great Dane X.

 

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#BookTour “The Lawyer’s Angel” by Scott Allen Benkie

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Crime Thriller

Date Published: January 31, 2022

Publisher: MindStir Media

Attorney James Crosson is in the grips of despair, blaming himself for his wife’s death. A widow hires him to pursue a wrongful death case on behalf of her late husband who died in a seemingly ordinary car wreck. Crosson must
confront his own tragic loss and gambling debts as he unravels the plot hatched by a deranged corporate tyrant who will stop at nothing to conceal the truth, take down the lawyer, and preserve his empire. With Vegas goons closing in and everything at stake, Crosson goes all in one last time with no realistic chance of winning the case or surviving the evil arrayed against him.

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#BookTour “From The Potato to Star Trek and Beyond (Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist)” by Chester L. Richards

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Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist

Memoir

Date Published: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Pawpress

Narrow escapes from bouts with The Potato were just the beginning

Having had a number of odd brushes with death, Author Chester (Chet) L. Richards has always boldly gone where few have dared. His mantra: view all that comes your way – the good, the terrifying, and the ugly – as a series of adventures. Here are a few snippets from his book, From The Potato to Star Trek and Beyond: Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist:

“It took much practice, and many accidents, before I got the hang of it. Even then, The Potato, in its death throes, did not always behave as a Proper Sacrifice should and blazing hot molten lead would explode out from the bubbling caldron.” From The Potato

“He swung his rifle around and pointed it towards my belly, his finger nervous on the trigger. I froze.” From Land of Troubles

“One day, Judy and I were taken for a walk. We wandered around for a bit, climbed a narrow flight of stairs and were ushered into the Sanctum Sanctorum. There, waiting for us, was Gene Roddenberry.” From Star Trek

“My last vision of the raft, before I was driven to the black bottom of the silty river, was of Terry, half overboard, his outside leg caught between a maverick oar and the side of the boat.” From Lava Falls

“‘Three…two…one…fire!”…Hisssss…Pop! ‘Uh, oh!’ said the technician as the meters all swung to zero and red lights lit up down the length of the long control panel. My signals also had disappeared…’We just blew up the [rocket engine] test stand.'” From Rocket Science

The loss of the love of his life, Sarah, knocked the stuffing out of Chet initially. But writing these, the stories she loved, brought him back. May reading them bring you the zest for life the author regained from recalling them.

 

Contact Link

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#Excerpt “Asbury High and the Captivating Cruise (Asbury High Series, Book 6)” by Kelly Brady Channick

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Asbury High Series, book 6

 

YA Cozy Mystery

 

Date Published: 05/29/2022

Publisher: Purple Milk Publishing

 

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Carly, Maddie, Pilot and Cornelious have been waiting forever for their Seniors Only Cruise. After three years of solving crime in their small town, this trip is the relaxing break from Asbury they need. Dreaming of all the fun and drama-free adventures in store for them, the gang settles in for a calm summer cruise.

Soon after departing, things don’t go quite as planned. With strange, new additions to their itinerary, Asbury’s favorite sleuths detect something is amiss. When violence breaks out, Cornelious turns to the captain who quickly reassures everyone aboard. After all, what reason would the crew have to mess with a group of teenagers? Adding to their troubles is Cornelious’ cousin Dane, whose feelings for Maddie have only grown stronger.

Excited to be away from his father and finally dating Maddie, Cornelious tries to ignore his cousin as his insecurities fester. After a stirring revelation from Dane, Cornelious retreats from his friends and finds solace in the ship’s jolly Captain Dex. At the same time, Carly, Maddie and Pilot begin to suspect the crew, believing there’s more than meets the eye with this cruise. Frustrated by Cornelious’ withdrawal, the gang doubles down on their efforts to discover the crew’s motives. Pulled into a dangerous game of who to trust, the gang is determined to find the truth—and mend their friendship.

With relationships called into question and stunning secrets exposed, the gang faces their biggest obstacle yet—trust. Can Cornelious trust the captain more than his friends? With their peers placing blind trust in the crew, can the gang convince them otherwise, before it’s too late? Or are Pilot, Carly and Maddie just overreacting? With constantly changing itineraries, a scheming crew lurking behind every door, a happy-go-lucky captain refusing to dig deeper, and lifelong relationships put to the test, can the gang rekindle their relationship with each other and figure out what’s really going on?

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Check out an exciting excerpt from

Asbury High and the Captivating Cruise below!

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EXCERPT

CHAPTER 18

 For all six hundred or so souls aboard the Judith Ann, the week seemed to crawl by. The downpour of rain and rustling winds causes rough seas, suspending all outdoor activities.

Almost cruelly, the much-needed and promised free time for the teens to lay by the pool, was also cancelled.

Many opted to look on the bright side.

At least the outdoor team building activities were also postponed. That is, until they were replaced with indoor cleanings and even more boring meetings.

As the week progressed, Cornelious spent more and more time away from his pals, and with Captain Dex instead.

Maddie believed that by giving Cornelious some space he could clear his mind and get a hold of himself. So, she busied herself with Pilot and Carly.

After learning of Carly and Alexis’ Morse Code feat, Pilot and Maddie stared at their blonde friend with renewed awe.

There certainly was more to Carly Cosentino than met the eye. The girl had more spunk than a cageless shark diver covered in chum!

Hearing of Alexis’ part in the endeavor did bring about some skepticism, but she was proud regardless. Seeing the relief on Pilot’s face when Carly explained that she hadn’t gone alone brought back the seriousness of the situation to Maddie’s mind.

Cornelious essentially became the captain’s shadow, and the trio spent any free time holed up in Pilot’s cabin. They planned their escape, but wondered what Maddie’s findings on the fifth floor could mean.

“Well, obviously the captain isn’t who he says he is,” Maddie decided. “Why else would I find a tattered captain’s uniform?”

Pilot considered this and nodded slowly. “That could be true…and the real captain could be somewhere on board still—”

“If he’s not dead,” Carly ominously stated. “What?” she asked, when both teens turned to her in surprised horror.

“Why would they have thrown him in lockup if they planned to kill him?” Maddie mused, more to herself than to her friends. “I mean, if they’re all imposters, and wanted to take over the ship and get rid of him, why not kill him and throw the body overboard? Why keep him in lockup?”

“Maybe they needed something from him?” Carly offered.

Maddie nodded and slowly paced around the room.

Pilot and Carly knew Maddie’s steady pacing was her way of working through her thoughts. Allowing her some much-needed silence, while also thinking over all the information they had gathered, the two sat tight on the edge of Pilot’s bed.

“So, there’s four options as far as I can see. Number 1, they killed the captain and took the ship. Number 2, they locked up the captain and took the ship and killed him. Number 3, they locked up the captain, took the ship and he’s still somewhere aboard. And Number 4, Captain Dex IS the real captain, but the crew forced him in lockup until he…I don’t know, learned his lesson or something.”

Pilot, making sure to type up everything as Maddie spoke, said, “It all sounds about right to me…but the question, of course, is why?”

“Seriously. Who wants to hijack a boat full of teenagers?” Carly wondered.

Wondering why anyone would deliberately take over a boatful of teens, the trio checked the clock and saw the bell was about to ring for dinner.

Sighing, Pilot carefully hid his computer.

Assured that everything important was locked up tight, he followed the girls into the dining hall. Once they got to the hall, Carly gave Pilot a quick kiss on the cheek and headed up to the long table on the stage at the front of the room.

As one of the three student leaders, Carly was assigned a seat at the table of honor, with the captain and crew. Adding to her discomfort, was that Oliver plopped himself to her right, and slid his chair as close to her as was physically possible.

More than once, she had to ask him to slide down since she couldn’t eat with him virtually on top of her.

Feeling eyes on her, Carly picked up her head and caught angered glances from the crew directed towards her…and, she thought, Alexis and Cornelious.

While they were quick to alter their expressions into smiles and waves (after she caught them), there was more than a little hostility aimed towards them.

Perhaps they envied The Big Three’s position of power…but, being honest, hadn’t she felt singled out from the crew, before being inducted into her new role?

At times, she felt she’d welcome the creepy warmth of Oliver, over the hatred pouring out from his fellow crew.

While Carly was attempting to shrug off her feelings of discomfort, Pilot and Maddie took their seats with Jason, the twins, Nya and Eric.

The latter two seemed to grow closer and closer as the cruise went on, making Maddie quite happy…

even when Maddie still caught Eric staring at her.

As Maddie and Pilot took their seats, a wave of automation seemed to flow through the hall. When Captain Dex rose, each Asbury High Senior thoughtlessly repeated their pledge before beginning their meal.

Jason forked his eggs and glanced up at the table of honor. “I love breakfast for dinner, but watching everyone acting like…like drones or something, makes me lose my appetite.”

Peetie smiled and placed her hand atop Jason’s, a move which made him blush. “I know…I get the sense some of our classmates are brainwashed.”

“Yes!” Maddie stated loudly. Drawing looks from the front, she put her head down and murmured, “That’s exactly what they’re doing.”

Her friends, pretending to eat, strained their ears to hear their clever friend.

“Think about it,” she continued. “We’ve been saying that daily mantra every day, for weeks now. And all that team building and testing…I bet they’re using the tests against us.”

“Like a personality test or something?” Jazz asked.

“Exactly. Maybe they reviewed our responses to see how to control us.”

“That’s kind of crazy…who would want to control a bunch of teens?” Nya pointed her fork at Maddie in question.

Pilot answered slowly, “I’ve asked myself that too…but some of you guys are the kids to filthy rich parents, remember?”

Jason nodded and Eric slowly smirked. Maddie drummed her fingers on the table in contemplation.

“That has to be it, Pi…”

“Wait, so you think they’re going to what? Kidnap and ransom us?” Eric gulped, his eyes betraying his fear that he tried to hide from his friends…and especially Maddie.

Maddie shook her head in disagreement. “I’m not sure. I mean, if they were going to do that, why go through all of the trouble of basically brainwashing us, as Jason accurately described.”

Peetie sighed, “This just doesn’t make sense. But at least we have each other.”

Jazz scoffed, “That’s about all we have. Look around, at least half of our class seems…happy. Your boyfriend sure does.”

Maddie jerked her head up to where Cornelious was laughing next to the captain.

To be honest, he looked like he was having the time of his life…and Alexis didn’t look to displeased to be sidled up close to him, she unhappily thought. But, as Carly explained, Alexis was thoroughly weirded out by the situation too.

Especially after the near scarring of their palms.

Still, Maddie felt a pang of jealousy as Alexis laid her hand on Cornelious’ arm—though for his part, he was obliviously turned in full conversation with some crew member.

“I know…he won’t listen to me, or even us. He refuses to believe Captain Dex is a fraud.”

Jason finished his cheesy eggs, and dunked his French Toast stick into syrup. “Well, I guess we just have to force his hand.”

“How?” Pilot asked.

“You know, if Captain Dex isn’t who he says he is, we have to show Cornelious his, um…true colors. I may not know much about crime and mysteries, or at least not as much as you four…but I do know that probably the only chance we have at figuring everything out—”

“And maybe even getting off this ship,” Nya interjected, voicing everyone’s secret fear.

“Yeah…well, the best chance we have is if you four are working together.”

Maddie exhaled, staring at Cornelious. She was doubtful that he would change his mind anytime soon.

“Maybe if we—”

“I have to admit, that was quite an enjoyable meal, huh?” Captain Dex’s thunderous voice boomed through the hall, instantly ending all conversation.

When most of the teens nodded, hooted, or clapped in approval, he continued his post-meal speech.

“It seems we do have a touch of bad news though,” eyes sliding to the crew member relegated to all laundering duties, he explained, “It seems that just this morning all the laundry machines inexplicably broke.”

The teens at Maddie’s table eyed each wearily. They sensed there was more to the story than was being revealed…and that this wasn’t the worst of the news.

Head cocked to the side, Dex held his open palms up and shrugged, the universal gesture of ‘what can I do?’

“Unfortunately, all of your clothes have been ruined…completely and utterly.”

Naturally, the more fashion-minded gasped at the appalling news, wondering how they could ever leave their cabins again.

Holding his hand up to ward off the imminent wave of uproar, Dex stated, “Instead of having you all re-wear the clothing you currently are wearing, we’ve decided to issue you all matching, standard clothes. These outfits consist of jean shorts and a tan colored tank—we believe that by having you all wear the same clothes for the remainder of the trip, you’ll feel less angry and upset. In fact, we’re hoping you’ll all feel as if you truly are a part of one big family.”

Not knowing what to say, and seeing as there was no way to argue, the teens fell back into their rooms only to discover a folded pair of jean shorts and a tan tank top folded crisply on the foot of each bed.

“Umm, Maddie…where are my shoes?”

Maddie plopped on her bed and shut her eyes, “Which ones?”

“Any of them?! All of them?!”

At the sound of hysteria in her friend’s voice, Maddie sprang up and did a quick scan of the room.

“Wait…where are my running shoes?”

Within seconds, it was clear that all their shoes, except the ones on their feet, had also been removed.

Maddie burst next door into Pilot and Cornelious’ room.

“You really should knock,” a shirtless Cornelious angrily stated.

Ignoring the increased pace of heartbeat at seeing Cornelious standing in only his shorts (something she reminded herself she had seen millions of times over the years), she crossed her arms.

“Shoes.”

Pilot poked his head out of the bathroom, “Yours too?”

Carly, fanning herself and breathing heavily sat on the edge of Pilot’s bed and moaned. “I can’t believe it…that was close to $2,500 worth of shoes! And they’re gone!”

Pilot quickly crossed the room and placed an arm over his hyperventilating girlfriend, trying to calm her down, “We’ll get them back, they’re not gone.”

“Yeah, we know who took them.”

“Here we go again,” Cornelious muttered, eyes rolling up to the ceiling and the heavens beyond.

“What? You know Dex ordered them to be removed—along with all of our clothes.”

“The laundry machines—”

Maddie crossed the room and angrily stood centimeters from him.

“PAH-LEASE. Do not tell me you believe his bologna!”

Cornelious appraised his friends and sighed. “If Dex did take them…I’m sure it was for good reason.”

“Why would he take Jimmy Choo limited edition sandal-wedges?!”

“I don’t know…maybe for unity?”

“Unity?” Maddie laughed.

“Yes unity! Can’t you see he’s trying to make us all equals! Think about it, we came onto this ship a divided class of seniors. Half of us rich and half not. I really think he’s just trying to teach all of us a lesson.”

“And what lesson did he teach by throwing Maddie in a cell and not feeding her?” Carly, annoyed at her friend and losing her wardrobe, finally exploded.

Waltzing over between him and Maddie, Carly angrily poked his chest, demanding, “And don’t say she deserved it—she was knocked unconscious! Your girlfriend! And you didn’t even care!”

“Of course, I cared! You think I slept at all while she was there?! Even though you clearly slept—and quite comfortably with my cousin, huh?” Cornelious ripped his eyes from Carly to Maddie, who refused to lower her gaze.

“Guys! Stop it! We can all clearly tell something fishy is going on…no sea puns intended…but instead of figuring it out we’re tearing each other apart,” Pilot pleaded with his friends, imploring them to stop acting like babies.

Especially when seriously shady matters were underway.

“We’re not the ones tearing each other apart, Pi. Neal is the one acting crazy,” Carly responded.

“Crazy? I’m sorry if finding out my cousin and girlfriend hooked up and dated, and who knows what they’re thinking when they’re alone on this ship—”

“Corne—” Maddie tried.

“No. I’m sorry. This cruise has been terrible for me, heart-breaking actually…and that the only one who seems to care enough to listen, actually listen, is yes, somewhat of a stranger. But Captain Dex has only ever given me solid advice…he even told me to reconcile with you three…but you probably wouldn’t believe that since you all think he’s a crazy criminal or something.”

“Neal, it’s jus—” Pilot interjected.

Shaking his head in fury, he threw on his tan tank top, and strode to the door. “You know he’s been the closest thing to a dad I’ve ever had. I refuse to believe he’s evil or got some hidden agenda against a bunch of teenagers.”

Slamming the door shut, Maddie knew she needed to find him before Dex did. Clearly, he was warping her best friend’s mind.

Even if Cornelious didn’t want to be her boyfriend, she would always consider him her best and closest friend.

“Cornelious!” She yelled, following him out of the room and into the lobby, with Carly and Pilot close on her heels.

“Just leave me alone Maddie,” Cornelious sounded exhausted as he faced her. “You guys need to just stop…I feel like none of you will listen and are just trying to control how I think or feel about others…like my dad.”

“Cornelious…we’re only trying to help you see—”

“Reason? Because I’m so dumb and easily manipulated, right?” his rising voice brought a scattering of students from their rooms, as well as the crew from the hall.

“No. That’s just what I mean…it’s the opposite.”

“So, I’m so smart but you don’t think I’m smart enough to trust my own instincts.”

Feeling like they were repeating themselves for the zillionth time, Maddie threw both hands on his shoulders and squeezed them.

“You are smart…and caring, and sweet. And if you can’t see that something weird is going on, it’s because someone is slyly keeping you from seeing it. Remember, Ms. Clarke—she fooled us all! She was a master manipulator.”

“So Dex is a master manipulator?”

Carly made a little squeal, alerting Carly and Cornelious that Dex was among the continually gathering crowd surrounding the two in the heart of the lobby.

Cornelious, eyeing the pleasantly smiling captain, peeled off Maddie’s hands. “You know, I think you’re the one manipulating me.”

“Wh…what? You’ve got to be kidd—”

“No. I’m serious. He’s never lied to me.”

“I’ve never lied to you either Cornelious Gibbz.”

“Right, technically you’ve never lied…just kept things from me, right?”

Maddie, fighting off both anger and sadness (two feelings which were becoming as close to her as her shadow), moved close so only Cornelious could hear her.

“I didn’t know how to tell you, okay? Yes, I made out with your cousin and went on a date—a single mediocre date—with him. But I’ve never felt anything for him or Eric.”

“Oh, well how lucky am I? You’ll make out with anyone, but only feel things for me, the town billionaire.”

Maddie stepped back, as if physically stung.

She had never heard Cornelious talk like this, and considered slapping him. But she knew that would be playing into his hand…or rather Dex’s.

Just what exactly did the two discuss on their walks?

Whatever it was, Maddie decided enough was enough. Staring right at him, she stepped in close and stole a kiss on the lips from him, catching him by complete surprise.

“Okay everyone, look around! We’re being brainwashed! You’re all acting crazy! This isn’t a real crew, they’re imposters! And there’s no way Captain Dex is who he says he is! They don’t even use the right boating terms all the time…and that laundry machine excuse—come on guys!”

“What are you doing?’ Cornelious whispered, lips tingling from Maddie’s kiss, and suddenly anxious over her reckless behavior.

“Standing up against the bad guys,” Maddie replied, and continued, staring out at the crowd.

“They’re not who they say they are! We need to get together and fight back! Look them up online or—”

Quick footsteps brought Captain Dex inches from Maddie, Cornelious smiled imagining how the captain would explain himself and make Maddie, and all his friends, look like fools for thinking otherwise.

“That’s enough girlie. We will not have disobedience.”

“What? Back to lockup?” Maddie inquired, forcefully eyeing the irate captain.

“Yes, but let’s make it after a quick lesson…or should I say an example?”

Captain Dex nodded to Donnie who swiftly lunged towards the teen, and yanked Maddie down to her knees by her shirt collar.

“I don’t think there will be any more outbursts around here, do you?” Captain Dex boomed.

“What are you doing…captain?” Cornelious asked suddenly afraid at the unexpected change in Dex.

Without thinking Cornelious slid to the left, blocking Donnie from leaving the hall with Maddie. There was no way he was going to let Maddie be taken from him, again. Even if he was angry and hurt.

“Part of a successful crew, family even, is to know where the limits are and what happens when they’re overstepped.”

Before Cornelious could ask further, Dex bent over and roughly slapped Maddie on both sides of her face, leaving burning red hand imprints.

“STOP!” Cornelious yelled, but was dragged from Maddie, Dex and Donnie, by three crew members.

Deciding the two slaps would be letting this impudent girl off easy, Dex administered three more jabs at Maddie: one landing on her jaw, one on her right eye and one below her solar plexus.

Donnie beamed.

Straightening up, Dex ordered everyone to bed, as Maddie was dragged (yet again) to lockup.

~~~

 

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About the Author

Growing up just over the bridge from Ocean City, NJ in Upper Township meant discovering plenty of fun places to both read, write, and run around outside like a maniac. For as long as she could remember, Kelly loved making up stories, and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.

After graduating from Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. Upon graduating college, Kelly continued to live in Philly, teaching for four years, and meeting the love of her life during a snowstorm. In fact, it was her awesome husband who encouraged her to pursue her writing–Yay, Ryan!

Before writing page-turners however, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing.

As her first published work, the Asbury High series has been brewing since she was 18, and has something for every type of reader–go ahead take look for yourself! If you love mysteries, you’ve found your new favorite author. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show. As an athlete, she hopes that the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, is also quite clear in her writing

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boys, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat. If you want to know when Kelly’s next book will come out, please visit her website at http://www.kbchannick.com, where you can sign up to receive emails providing updates for new releases, or contact her directly, as well as win fun giveaways, and receive up to date news.

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#BookTour “Becoming a Bedside Advocate” by Kimberley Norris

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Nonfiction / Nursing Homes

Date Published: January 3, 2022

Publisher: MindStir Media

 

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At some point in our lives, we are all likely to serve as bedside advocate for a hospitalized loved one. And, just as likely to be woefully unprepared when that happens.

The ordinary person has no idea how to navigate hospital chaos and engage with medical professionals on behalf of their family member or friend.

There is very often no support system, guidebook or coaching available to us. Yet the better prepared we are to work harmoniously with medical care teams, the more everyone involved will benefit.

This book aims to humanize the role of bedside advocate by sharing the author’s lessons learned along with valuable information and insight provided by medical care professionals.

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#ReleaseBlitz “From The Potato to Star Trek and Beyond (Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist)” by Chester L. Richards

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Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist

Memoir

Date Published: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Pawpress

Narrow escapes from bouts with The Potato were just the beginning

Having had a number of odd brushes with death, Author Chester (Chet) L. Richards has always boldly gone where few have dared. His mantra: view all that comes your way – the good, the terrifying, and the ugly – as a series of adventures. Here are a few snippets from his book, From The Potato to Star Trek and Beyond: Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist:

“It took much practice, and many accidents, before I got the hang of it. Even then, The Potato, in its death throes, did not always behave as a Proper Sacrifice should and blazing hot molten lead would explode out from the bubbling caldron.” From The Potato

“He swung his rifle around and pointed it towards my belly, his finger nervous on the trigger. I froze.” From Land of Troubles

“One day, Judy and I were taken for a walk. We wandered around for a bit, climbed a narrow flight of stairs and were ushered into the Sanctum Sanctorum. There, waiting for us, was Gene Roddenberry.” From Star Trek

“My last vision of the raft, before I was driven to the black bottom of the silty river, was of Terry, half overboard, his outside leg caught between a maverick oar and the side of the boat.” From Lava Falls

“‘Three…two…one…fire!”…Hisssss…Pop! ‘Uh, oh!’ said the technician as the meters all swung to zero and red lights lit up down the length of the long control panel. My signals also had disappeared…’We just blew up the [rocket engine] test stand.'” From Rocket Science

The loss of the love of his life, Sarah, knocked the stuffing out of Chet initially. But writing these, the stories she loved, brought him back. May reading them bring you the zest for life the author regained from recalling them.

 

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#BookTour “Naturally Curly: A Memoir” by Kristi Sanders Lasher

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A Memoir

Christian living, Black and African American Biographies

Date Published: January 25, 2022

Publisher: Lucid Books Publishing

 

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The complexities of a racially divided culture are too numerous to count, and with one glance around the globe, it is easy to see why no one is immune to its effects. With so many stories, personal experiences, and misunderstandings, it is all too much to contain and sort out. Thankfully, we serve a God who will do the sorting if we simply keep our eyes on Him. The One who truly knows us and sees us as we are understands our deeply
rooted issues; there is no condemnation in Him.

In her memoir Naturally Curly, Kristi shares a true account of how she was nearly engulfed by a deeply rooted lie accepted by many in our country.
Kristi takes you on a journey from her early years when the lie first took root in her life to its massive and subtle manifestations in adulthood, which culminated in God’s grand rescue. Finally, she thoughtfully explores some aspects of what she believes the racial divide means for the church.

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EXCERPTS

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About the Author

Kristi Sanders Lasher was born in Dallas, TX as a biracial child in the 1980s. Kristi’s cherished childhood created a deep love for her southern roots, yet a racially divided culture developed a fear in revealing her true identity. Kristi hid well into adulthood until the God who captivated her, uncovered her secret and set her free. Kristi now serves alongside her husband in pastoring a small Baptist church in Gause, TX as
they raise their three beautiful teenage children. Kristi taught as a Texas public school teacher for many years, and she holds a master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University in Worship Leadership Studies.

 

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#BookTour “The Self-Compassion Project” by Rita Desnoyers-Garcia

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How to become emotionally stronger, more effective, and happier by giving
yourself a break

 

Nonfiction / Self-Help / Self Esteem

Date Published: May 16, 2019

Publisher: Becoming Awake LLC

 

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Finding happiness can be like finding the matching sock your dryer ate long, long ago; you’re sure it’s there, but you just don’t know where to look.

The Self-Compassion Project is the antidote to endless hours of berating yourself for not finding inner peace. You’ve tried meditation, self-help groups, singing bowl therapy and all that other stuff and nothing really “clicks”. Instead of searching for inner peace, why not simply uncover it?

In this down-to-earth, practical and witty self-help guide, Rita Desnoyers-Garcia offers six simple steps to get to the gooey center of your soul, where you can finally relax and enjoy life. Rita’s sound advice is based on years of using her techniques for herself and teaching clients how to use them. The advice Rita gives will help you:

– Become aware of when you are not being your own best friend (who else is going to love you more than you?)

– Notice what’s underneath all those “negative” emotions like anger, fear, sadness, and anxiety- and understand what those emotions are telling you (it maynot be all bad!)

– Create a new outlook on life that is more positive, peaceful, and leaves you feeling more at ease with any circumstance what will come your way (Superwoman, scooch over!)

By the end of the book you’ll understand why self-compassion is the key to finding your true self. It’s the trick to feeling more in-tune with your HIgher Self and more aligned with the important people in your life (all 7.53 billion of them!)

Become emotionally stronger, more effective, and happier by giving yourself
a break ( and reading this book)!

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About the Author

Rita Desnoyers-Garcia has been helping people reach their true potential for over 20 years. After a long career as a social worker in NYC, and while raising her family, she had a spiritual transformation. She is now a spiritual teacher, speaker, life coach, comedian, and author. She lives with her husband and three children in New Jersey.

Start reading The Self-Compassion Project on your Kindle in under a minute.

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