#ReleaseBlitz “Caffeine & Nicotine” by Eric Weuhl

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Mystery/Supernatural

Date Published: 11/10/2020

Publisher: Darkstroke

Kelly Jenks knows the dead boy is going to show him something awful. Jonathan is seven. He never wears shoes, and his feet are always clean. He cruises between this world and the next in a 1967 Cougar XR7. Jonathan has a message for Kelly: There is a faceless man preying on the city’s homeless.

Jackie Carmichael hires Kelly to find an employee who has vanished. The case appears simple at first, but Kelly soon discovers that the missing girl is not who she seems. As Kelly attempts to separate the facts from the lies, Jonathan brings him another message: Jackie Carmichael is hiding something.

With the beaches, mansions, and dive bars of Orange County, CA as the backdrop, Caffeine & Nicotine is a dark and brutal look at what happens when the dead pass sentence.

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Excerpt

Chapter One

 

Oliver Trunk: the proverbial rock in my shoe.

I had spent the last week looking under every overpass and dumpster I could think of. I talked to a bunch of people who said, “Yeah, I saw Oliver last night down at . . .” Insert the name of some bar, or strip club, or parking lot. I was a step behind from the word go. It was making me cranky.

Oliver thought of himself as an entrepreneur, which meant he dealt a little meth and coke, and beat the shit out of his girlfriend if she held back any of her tips. Oliver’s girlfriend was a stripper at a low-level club. In the beginning, Tina Mullins had thought he was charming and kind of cute in a white-trash, Joe Dirt, kind of way. Those days passed quickly, however. Oliver’s newest business plan was to pimp her out on her nights off from the club.

Which is where I came in. Find Mr. Trunk and serve him a restraining order.

***

I had put out a number of feelers with my fellow down and outs. A hundred bucks for the guy or gal who got me a current line on Trunk. Not where he was yesterday or last week, but where he was that very minute.

The winner was Judy, an old gal who sang the blues at some of the seedier joints in the city. Judy was in her sixties. She only wore blue jeans, green T-shirts, jean jackets, and cowboy boots. I’m not sure about her choice of underwear or bras, but I’d bet she doesn’t wear either of them. She sounded like Janis Joplin when she sang. I’d caught her show a few times. They were generally free, and there was plenty of booze in the places she played, so it was a win-win.

Judy called around midnight and said, “Kelly, you owe me a hundred.” She sounded like Bob Hoskins.

I was kind of inebriated when she called. I had been experimenting with perfecting a Pink Vodka Lemonade all night. It had taken a few rounds before I had an epiphany about adding a little Malibu to the cocktail. Damn, I nailed it after that.

My ability to walk and talk might have been affected.

Why tonight?” I felt like my enunciation was spot on.

What? Totally mumbling, Kelly.”

I enunciated harder with a softer word. “Where?”

Down at Spinnakers. I gotta go. We’re starting our next set.”

Keep him there.” It came out as “ee im air,” or something close to that.

Dude, I can’t understand you.”

I tried again. She hung up.

I weighed the pros and cons.

In true drunken fashion, the pros won out. I was over this rock in my shoe.

I made a pot of coffee with double the coffee. I hopped in the shower with water that was too hot. I was hoping the steam would do something. I’m not exactly sure what, but I was determined to erase the effects of the six Pink Vodka Lemonades I had ingested over the last three hours. I toweled off without falling over and counted it as a clear sign that I was no longer falling down drunk. I put on some cargo shorts and a T-shirt, then pulled on some ankle socks and a pair of Nikes. I filled two thermoses with coffee that was slightly thinner than tar. I added them to my trusty backpack, which contained all the tools of my trade: pack of cigarettes, lighter, .45 Beretta px4 Storm, couple Snickers bars, and a bottle of water.

Forty-five minutes after Judy hung up on me, I stepped out of my Airstream trailer and stumbled down the two steps. They’re tricky in the dark, even when I’m sober, so I didn’t count it against myself. My trailer is parked underneath a thirty-foot oak tree. Its trunk has a seven-foot radius. The tree is massive. I don’t know how old it is, or how it is still standing in the middle of the city, but it’s proof that the world isn’t completely screwed up. The leaves whispered in the late-night breeze blowing in from the Pacific: You can do this, Kelly.

My yard was surrounded by an eight-foot corrugated metal wall. I managed to get the latch open, and a five-foot section swung out and away from me. I stepped through the opening, promptly tripped on the bottom lip and went down face-first into the alley.

Fuck.” I laid there for a few moments with my face pressed against the cool asphalt. I weighed the pros and cons again. The pros still won, although the cons had more of a say this time. I took it as further evidence that I was sobering up rapidly. I regained my feet.

My Cougar was waiting for me in its parking spot. I popped the lock, climbed in, and started her up.

You got this, my magic car,” I whispered to her. She had never let me down in those types of moments. And there have been plenty. “OK, let’s go.” I dropped her into reverse, hit the gas, and ten minutes later, I was parked in the lot behind Spinnakers. I rubbed the steering wheel and told her I loved her. I fished out a thermos and took a long drink. The coffee bordered on undrinkable, but I choked it down. I lit a cigarette and put my right earbud in, started up the shuffle on my phone and waited.

***

The moon had taken the night off. I couldn’t see any stars because of the sodium-vapor lights in the parking lot. The handful of cars around me all looked black or white. A dirty white cinder block building squatted at the edge of the lot. The air was washed-out yellow. All in all, a very ugly place.

I was parked next to a ‘95 Mustang. It could have been brown, purple, green, or blue, but it just looked black. That production model of Mustang is probably one of the worst cars ever manufactured, along with its distant cousin, the Pinto. This particular automotive tragedy belonged to Mr. Trunk.

Trunk was the last one out of the bar. He had some assistance from a none too happy bouncer who went by the handle of Axe. The man was a monster. He was six nine, and easily three hundred pounds. He had a spiderweb tattooed on his shaved head. He only worked the Spinnaker on Monday and Tuesday. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday he worked up in LA. He lived local. We’ve had a few friendly conversations over the years. He’s a nice enough guy if you can look past his numerous assault charges and the one attempted murder. I can, so we’re good. I gave myself a mental head slap for not reaching out to him about Trunk.

I checked my phone. 2:13 A.M. Sarah McLachlan was singing in my ear about monsters.

Axe shoved him into the parking lot, and said, “Don’t come back.”

Fuck off, you overgrown piece of shit.”

Axe laughed, then went back into the bar. I imagine Zeus laughed the same way when mere mortals got snippy with him for bedding their wives.

Fucking dick,” Trunk yelled, as he weaved over to his Mustang. I was parked next to him. Driver side to driver side. I watched him dig his keys out of his jeans. He dropped them. He bent to pick them up. He fell over. Things were looking up. Trunk was more intoxicated than I was.

He staggered back up, swore, and laughed to himself. Then he crossed the remaining space to our cars. He was an average idiot in an average idiot’s body. Beating up women didn’t require much of a workout. His drug clientele were mostly strung out junkies or high school rich kids. Trunk was trying to restart the white leather high-top fashion craze. I didn’t see it catching on too soon, but stranger things have happened.

He ignored me as I sat in my car smoking a cigarette. As he struggled to get the key into the car door, I said, “What’s up, Oliver?”

He turned around, and said, “I don’t know you, longhair.” He turned back around and began fighting with the keyhole again.

I popped my door open and climbed out. “Longhair? You say it like it’s a bad thing.”

He turned back around. I hit him with a straight right to the nose. It wasn’t my best punch, but he was drunk, and it did the job. He dropped his keys. He fell back against his car. As he started to right himself, I kicked him in the balls. I connected a lot better that time. Might have popped one of them. He was on the ground, moaning. I gave him a nice solid kick to the face.

Done.

I threw my hands up in the air and spun a circle. And the crowd goes wild! I felt so much better. The rock was out of my shoe.

I dragged him over to the back of the Cougar. I popped the trunk, then piled him in. I might have hit his head on the bumper a couple of times in the process. These things happen. I pulled his arms behind him and wrapped duct tape around them. I taped his ankles together. I slapped a piece of duct tape across his nose and mouth. He wouldn’t be able to scream or breathe, so it was a classic two-for-one.

I shut the trunk, found his keys on the ground, and took a moment to unlock his car and put the key into the ignition. I shut the door. The car wouldn’t have lasted the night in this neighborhood, but I didn’t want the thieves to break anything when they stole the car. I climbed back into the Cougar and sat there for a minute. I lit a cigarette and drank some coffee. I replayed it in my head. The people that had come out between my arrival and Trunk coming out hadn’t paid any attention to me. They were all your standard Tuesday night drinkers. I thought I was clean. I never saw Judy. I finished the cigarette, pulled two pieces of gum out of my backpack and popped them in my mouth.

I felt fairly sober. I was probably walking the legal line as far as blood alcohol content was concerned, but I’d have much bigger problems if I got pulled over for something. I started the Cougar up, then pulled out of the lot, and headed out to the desert.

***

I got to my disposal site a couple minutes before four A.M.

I took my time. Speed limit all the way. Windows down. Wind throwing my hair all over the place. I sipped my second thermos of sludge, smoked, and listened to music that bounced all over the musical genre map. I like the drive out the 15 in the middle of the night. It’s peaceful. I like the way the sodium-vapor lights look from the freeway. Everything is still that washed-out yellow, but you can see the stars and the mountains looming up in front of you.

I jumped on the 395 for thirty minutes. The lights of passing cars filled the interior of the Cougar for brief moments. A glance in the rear view during these moments revealed what might have been a beautiful young woman. Her blond hair did not move in the wind. She was smiling. Then the interior would go dark, and she would be no more. The sound of happy laughter drifted beneath the road noise. And a smell like a field of wildflowers in full bloom lingered all around me.

I left the last high desert city behind. I turned onto a dirt road with no marker. I cruised slowly. I knew the spots that would give the Cougar and her low-slung body trouble. It took about five minutes to cover the mile from the highway to the gate.

My headlights lit up the iron bars. It was a fancy gate out in the middle of the desert. The designer probably envisioned it blocking the end of a Beverly Hills driveway. There were ornate spikes all along the curved top. Two silhouettes of horses rearing up on their hind legs. It might work in the Texas wastelands, but there weren’t any horses around these parts. Scorpions, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes, but no wild stallions running free.

The gate was mostly decorative. Three lines of barbed wire ran to the north and south. The property was five hundred acres of useless scrub brush and the aforementioned poisonous things. If somebody wanted to get to the house beyond the gate, they wouldn’t have to try very hard.

I came to a stop, leaned out the window and punched in the code. The gate rolled away to my left. I drove through and the gate closed behind me.

Fifty yards in was a one-story log cabin. It was one of those kits you can buy online. They ship the materials to the building site along with all the nuts and bolts. An enthusiastic person could probably put one together in a couple weeks. The owner of the property had paid ten guys from the Home Depot parking lot to throw this one up in a day.

I liked it. There was a cozy bed inside. I wanted nothing more than to go climb into that bed and sleep. I had one more thing to do before I could call it a day.

I drove past the cabin another hundred yards. The road ended in a wide spot where I could flip the Cougar around. I turned the car off and climbed out. Big stretch. My body ached from the drive. My brain felt mushy because of the alcohol still in my system and a lack of sleep.

I popped the trunk. I don’t know if he ever regained consciousness. Don’t know if he struggled as his lungs ran out of oxygen. Didn’t much matter either way. He was dead.

I pulled the body out of the trunk. It hit the ground hard. I grabbed the feet and dragged the body into the desert for a few feet. There was a lid somewhere. I just had to find it. I felt like I was in the right spot, but I didn’t see it.

I relented and pulled my phone out, used the flashlight and searched the ground. I was about ten feet too far north. I pulled the bone bag over to a brown plastic lid set into the ground. I took a moment to light a cigarette in preparation. I filled my lungs with smoke and held it in as I pulled the lid upward. The smell that drifted up out of the hole was still godawful. I worked as quickly as I could. I got the feet into the hole, then lifted the body by the shoulders until it just kind of slid in. A second later, I was rewarded with a thick splash.

Restraining order served.

~~~

About The Author


Eric Weule is the author of several novels. He lives in Southern California. Caffeine & Nicotine is a stand-alone novel, which features Kelly Jenks from The Interview.

 

 

 

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#GuestPost Starting Out as a Writer – 5 Things to Know by Alison Levy, author of “Gatekeeper: Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series”

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GATEKEEPER

Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series

Date Published: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Spark Press

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Starting Out as a Writer – 5 Things to Know

by Alison Levy

            If you want to write but find the prospect of getting started daunting, here are some tips that I found helpful when I decided to write a novel.

  • Decide why you want to write.

It’s important to decide this up front because it will affect the way you write.  If you want to write as a hobby, you can write any way you like.  If your goal is to eventually publish, you will need to write with a reader in mind.  I like some of my earliest pieces but at the time I was just writing for myself; if I wanted to publish those stories, they would need a lot of work to read coherently.

  • Never stop reading.

The more you read, the better you will understand writing in general: sentence structure, plot, character development, dialogue, etc.  If it’s hard to find time to sit down and read, try audiobooks.  I listen in the car, while I shop, while I walk my dogs, and while clean my house.  I’m a better writer for it.

  • Don’t wait for inspiration.

Writers are artists, and society likes to think of artists as eccentric, free-spirited people who live their lives according to the whims of their muse.  I love the feeling of inspiration washing over me but if I waited for it to hit, I’d never get anything done.  When I get an inspiration, I take notes in my phone and refer to them when I sit down at my regular writing times.  Whatever your mood, just sit down and write.  Once you get in the habit, you’ll find you don’t need to be inspired to produce quality work.

  • Get honest criticism.

When you’re ready, seek out a writer’s group.  It’s nice to get reactions from friends and family but even if they’re professional writers, they’re going to temper their feedback because of their relationship with you.  Joining a writer’s group has been extremely beneficial to me; the quality of my writing has dramatically increased since I started going to regular critique meetings.  It can be hard to share your work and let others point out its flaws, but getting honest criticism is the best way to grow as a writer.

  • Write every day.

Start writing!  Write the beginning of a story, or the end, or the middle.  Write an outline, a character description, or some dialogue.  Write anything!  What’s important is just to get started, to write often, and to build momentum.  Even if you find writing everyday difficult at first, if you keep at it, you’ll find your stride.  As the philosopher Epictetus said, “If you wish to be a writer, write.”

Good luck and happy writing!

~~~

SYNOPSIS

Rachel Wilde comes from a dimension that exists adjacent to ours. The people there have structured their society around daemon collecting: they locate, catch, and repair malfunctioning daemons (creatures out of phase with our world that tempt people to do good or evil). Now Rachel has been given two unusual assignments: 1) find a person who has been trying to break down dimensional barriers, and 2) track down a missing line of gatekeepers, human placeholders for a daemon that was too badly damaged to repair.

Authorities of Rachel’s world believe the missing gatekeepers are descended from a girl who went missing from West Africa hundreds of years ago, likely sold into slavery. With no leads to go on, Rachel seeks help from Bach, a raving homeless man who happens to be an oracle. Bach does put her in the path of both of her targets―but he also lands her in a life-threatening situation. Somehow, Rachel has to stop the criminal, reunite a gatekeeper with her stolen past, and, above all, survive.

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About the Author

Alison LevyAlison Levy lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, son, and variety of pets. When she’s not writing or doing mom things, she crochets, gardens, walks her collies, and works on home improvement projects.

Alison’s Social Media

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#ReleaseBlitz “Gatekeeper: Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series” by Alison Levy

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GATEKEEPER

Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series

Date Published: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Spark Press

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~~~

Rachel Wilde comes from a dimension that exists adjacent to ours. The people there have structured their society around daemon collecting: they locate, catch, and repair malfunctioning daemons (creatures out of phase with our world that tempt people to do good or evil). Now Rachel has been given two unusual assignments: 1) find a person who has been trying to break down dimensional barriers, and 2) track down a missing line of gatekeepers, human placeholders for a daemon that was too badly damaged to repair.

Authorities of Rachel’s world believe the missing gatekeepers are descended from a girl who went missing from West Africa hundreds of years ago, likely sold into slavery. With no leads to go on, Rachel seeks help from Bach, a raving homeless man who happens to be an oracle. Bach does put her in the path of both of her targets―but he also lands her in a life-threatening situation. Somehow, Rachel has to stop the criminal, reunite a gatekeeper with her stolen past, and, above all, survive.

Purchase Links

AMAZON AU

AMAZON US

BARNES & NOBLE

KOBO

iBOOKS

~~~

About the Author

Alison LevyAlison Levy lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, son, and variety of pets. When she’s not writing or doing mom things, she crochets, gardens, walks her collies, and works on home improvement projects.

Alison’s Social Media

Facebook

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#BookSale “Zoey Matthews, the Unwanted Ghost, and the Cursed Manuscript (A Bridgeport Mystery Book 2)” by Heather Elizabeth King

Could you face your greatest fear?

The holiday season is in full swing and the only thing Zoey wants to do is get to know her new boyfriend better. But when a ghost shows up at her loft with the name of her killer on her lips, Zoey knows she’s being pulled into another mystery. This one is more puzzling than the last. According to police, the woman died of natural causes, but people who were nearby claim to have heard the victim screaming for help before she died. When a second body turns up, killed in the same manner, Zoey knows Bridgeport has another killer on its hands.

Helping Zoey get to the bottom of things are a meddling ghost, a paranormal investigator, and Zoey’s two best girlfriends. When Zoey finds herself in the crosshairs of the killer, she knows time is running out.

Zoey Matthews, the Unwanted Ghost, and the Cursed Manuscript is the second book in an urban fantasy series that features an engaging mystery, a cast of supernatural characters, a few alluring men, and a heroine who may be afraid of ghosts, but still manages to get the job done.

Get your copy of Zoey Matthews, the Unwanted Ghost, and the Cursed Manuscript today to continue your journey with Zoey into the supernatural.

Warning: Contains adult language, a bit of sex, and a few really creepy characters

99c thru September 4th

AMAZON US

Book 1 is also 99c!


#BookReview “First Second Coming” by Jeff Pollak

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4/5 Stars!

What happens when God walks away, tired of quarreling, unrepentant Earth? The Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. sends in New God, of course!

New God has no intention of picking up where the New Testament God left off. Mankind is destined for destruction unless they prove themselves worthy of mercy and they only get one chance. A selected group of religious leaders and laity must come together and solve their differences and make peace to end worldwide religious violence. Or it’s the end of the world… literally. The kicker… they only get sixty days!

It needs to be said this read is not about religion or is pious or preachy. It’s about flawed humans so locked into a belief system, they bastardize it and become inflexible.

Of course, there is push-back. Some leaders take an angry, uncompromising stance, and learn New God has no problem sending down his wrath.

Young professionals, Ram Forrester, an atheist, and Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are brought together through Divine Intervention and serve as New God’s official representatives.  They each have troubled and painful pasts and don’t understand why they were chosen but they go along with it because who says no to God?

While Ram and Brendali work to facilitate a positive outcome for the conference, they also have to work at staying alive as several attempts are made on their lives by the National Institute for Teaching Western Inspirational Theology. That’s right… NITWIT! HA!

NITWIT is a group of religious fanatics who believe carrying out NTG’s word includes kidnapping, murder, and bombs.

AHEM!

Leaders forge ahead to hammer out details and there are many stumbling blocks with some serious, unbending holdouts.

Ram and Brendali develop feelings for each other and romance follows. Though cute at first, for me, it was the weakest part of the story. There were parts where their relationship felt forced, and Brendali’s flareups were annoying. Hot Latin temper? For me, it was more like a teenage temper tantrum.

First Second Coming is a thought-provoking read. Why do we believe what we believe? How solid is our faith? We may worship different from others, but why do we believe that makes us better?

Download this one today and watch religious leaders of the world find we’re all more alike than we care to admit.

Enjoy!

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Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
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In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.

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#BookTour “First Second Coming” by Jeff Pollak

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~~~

cover

Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.

~~~

About the Author

Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
Contact Links

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#ReleaseBlitz “First Second Coming” by Jeff Pollak

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~~~

cover

Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.

~~~

Excerpt

Thirteen hours late, my cross-galaxy voyage to the All-Souls Transit Center ends in a puff of soft lunar dirt on Mare Tranquillitatis. I expect to meet the legendary God of planet Earth in his office but as I deplane he’s shuffling down the concourse toward his departure gate. He’s easy to spot – inside this small, sparse four gate terminal we are the only life forms in sight.

With his stooped posture and unkempt shoulder length gray hair, God reminds me of the mythical Atlas. His tremors underscore the physical and emotional toll he has had to bear. Did his mental state also degrade? He spent two millennia managing a planet populated by quarrelsome headstrong terrestrials. Over that much time any deity posted to such a world would succumb to the effects of prolonged stress.

I quicken my pace, catch up to him and extend a hand. “Good day, Lord.”

“This is how you address your superiors?” The decibel level of his gruff voice implies impaired hearing. “Where are your manners? A bow is in order.”

Though I have not yet fully adapted to the musculature of this adult male body I inhabit, my flawless execution of a deep obeisance brings a quick smile to my face.

God gives me a brusque signal to rise. “You’re my replacement, are you?”

“Correct, Lord. I am humbled and honored to take your place.” I bow again, less fully.

“Call me NTG if you wish. I prefer answering to that nickname.”

So the rumor is true. That he calls himself the New Testament God instead of his given name means he has indeed gone native. This explains a lot.

We sink into a ‘maximum comfort’ couch – or so the attached tag boasts – stuffed full of condensed nimbostratus cloud threads imported from Earth. An ugly green tarp spread over the cushions prevents our clothes from getting soaked by residual moisture.

God adjusts his overcoat and leans toward me. “I trust you had an enjoyable flight?”

“I would like to say yes, but what a hellacious trip.” That’s an understatement. “We flew through several cosmic storms, circumvented an unmapped black hole and limped here on back-up power after the anti-matter fuel engine failed. I will never fly by chartered spaceship again.”

“Now that you’ve arrived, what makes you think you can take on a tough job like this?”

“This is my fourth assignment, though the first for Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.” I place my carry-on bag on the tan moonrock table and open a side pocket. “I have a résumé, if you want to peruse it. In each previous posting, the planets I shepherded returned to optimal status. Whilst this assignment is more complex, I assure you my record shall remain unsullied.”

“Humph.” He spits into the thin puddle created by the leaky couch and waves off my résumé. “I thought those spineless MWGI decision-makers would send a rank amateur. After only three postings, you expect to fix this mess? You’re still wet around the ears, sonny. Have you even hung your precious university degrees on a wall yet?” He points at the nearby picture window. “On Earth they say you learn more through failure than success.”

“Elder, I did not travel here to fail. MWGI reached out because of my extensive training as a planetary turnaround specialist. They are confident I am the best available deity for this job.”

“And you agree with that assessment, do you?” He fidgets, as though trying to stand and walk away, but can’t get off the couch. 

“I would not otherwise have taken the job, Lord. Once I did, I undertook considerable research. The travel delays afforded me extra preparation time. I have learned everything a new deity should know about Earth and its inhabitants. I am ready to take the reins.”

“Your extensive reading helped you form opinions regarding the humans, did it?”

I disregard the sarcasm implicit in the question. If I ever reach his wizened old age, young deities will receive better treatment from me than this. His attitude is understandable, though. Forced retirement is a difficult pill for anyone to swallow, supreme beings included.

“Lord, these sentient beings do have many laudable qualities. However, whilst I prefer not to focus on the negative, on the whole humans strike me as a rather unpredictable species.”

NTG spits again and rummages through the pockets of his black overcoat, pants and vest. “Where’s the damn thing? Did I forget it? Ah, here. Since you’re not dead, you’ll need this to get into heaven.”

He hands me a Holyday Inn card key with “NTG” stenciled on the back side. I stare at the card whilst mulling over my research, which characterized heaven as an imaginary afterlife sanctuary. With a shrug, I deposit the card in the pocket of my blue denim shirt.

“Many humans call it heaven, but I consider it home.” God’s melancholic smile comes and goes in seconds. “Souls get over the false advertising once they adjust to their newly deceased status. Follow the overhead signs to the tram that’ll take you to the complex. My office is by the main gate so I can greet arrivals on St. Peter’s days off. Ask for Angie, my chief of staff. She’s a real angel in every sense of the word.”

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About the Author

Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
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#PreOrder “Gatekeeper: Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series” by Alison Levy

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 “Alison Levy takes us on a fast-paced ride between the seen and unseen worlds she so richly creates. Her gift for nuance makes the keen reader question truths in our own world as Gatekeeper sets us up to eagerly anticipate the next installment. I thoroughly enjoyed it.” –Stacey L. Tucker, author of The Equal Night Trilogy 

Gatekeeper is a wickedly fun romp from start to finish, and Rachel Wilde is a fiery protagonist who doesn’t take crap from anyone or anything. In her debut novel, Levy provides an action-packed story with a delightful taste of the immense, unique world-building to come for future books in the series.”
―Cheryl Campbell, author of Echoes of War

Rachel Wilde is a collector. She is responsible for locating troublesome daemons and human marks. Rachel is assigned four different tasks. The first two are easy and the second two are a bit more difficult. The third task consists of hunting down a human mark. This particular human mark is going to be a lot of trouble. The fourth task is to locate the last living member of a particular gatekeeper bloodline.

During Rachel’s first encounter with the human mark, they get into a physical altercation. As he flees, Rachel sees that he’s dropped a flash drive. Rachel needs a language specialist in order to understand what is on the flash drive. She contacts a woman named Leda Morley, an assistant to the museum curator at Rigaceen Museum. Leda works on translating the flashdrive. Rachel later visits the museum, and witnesses Leda get kidnapped. The kidnapper is the human mark that Rachel is after. Rachel follows the man and ends up getting kidnapped too. He puts Leda and Rachel in the basement. Rachel and Leda are able to escape. The human mark gets locked up. Leda ends up being the last living member of the gatekeeper bloodline that Rachel was responsible for finding. The human mark gets locked up, but an Arcanan breaks him out of prison. The Arcanan tells him to get to work.

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About the Author

Alison LevyAlison Levy lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, son, and variety of pets. When she’s not writing or doing mom things, she crochets, gardens, walks her collies, and works on home improvement projects.

 

 

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#CoverReveal “First Second Coming” by Jeff Pollak

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Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
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In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.

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About the Author

Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
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#BookBlitz “Can’t See Around Corners” by Josie Townsend

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Supernatural Thriller

Publisher: Folio Avenue/Xlibris

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Born into opulent wealth, Sharon and Annie were the only children of Edna
and Warren Karce and the girls were the pride and joy of their parents. The
fraternal twins had accomplished studying for their degrees and eagerly
looked forward to their once in a lifetime overseas trip to Europe. The
sisters love for one another was obvious to the bystander but a sinister
undercurrent of malicious feelings dwelled profoundly beneath their facade
of shared contentment. Penetrating treachery deceit and wickedness developed
intensely between them and once abroad, with their over protective parents
absent, their relationship advances into the finest possible nightmare
changing their lives forever. How will the highly famed socialite dynasty
survive the unforseen scandalous and degrading impacts created by the once
idolized and respected twin daughter’s of the Karce Empire?

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About the Author

 Josie Townsend is a sixth generation Australian. She lives in regional New
South Wales.

 

 

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