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#AmReading - Tiy and the Prince of Egypt by Debbie Dee @_DebbieDee

Tiy and the Prince of Egypt by Debbie Dee

Amazon

Tiy is different than the other Egyptian girls--she has pale hair and more freckles than she wants to count. With her mother consumed by the need to keep up appearances, and her father too busy to care, Tiy just wants to disappear into the background. But her hope for a quiet life is shattered when she rescues Prince Amenhotep from a sandstorm and is rewarded with an invitation to attend the royal school in Egypt’s capital—-a place where girls like her will never belong.
Amenhotep welcomes her into his close circle of friends and their friendship strengthens into a bond neither is willing to lose. But when Amenhotep becomes Pharaoh and is pressured by the priests to marry, the strength of their friendship is threatened. Will Tiy find enough courage to accept Amenhotep’s hand when he wants her to become the next Queen of Egypt, especially when her feelings run no deeper than friendship? And how can she protect him from the Nubian rebels who are determined to take control of Egypt?

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Always and Forever by S.P. Cervantes @spcervantes

Excerpt
Dalton
Ava looked more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Aiden and I looked over at each other in disbelief. The long green carpeted isle seemed too long for me to wait to put my arms around Ava. Her sinfully draped dress swept back and forth across the floor as her long golden hair was loosely braided down her back. I was right; the diamond headpiece was the perfect accent to her impeccable gown. Her skin seemed luminescent, sparkling in the light that surrounded her perfect body. I looked over to see an equally transfixed Patrick staring lovingly at Ava.

Always and Forever
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA Romantic Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author and the book
Connect with S.P. Cervantes on Facebook & Twitter

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#AmReading - Crazy in Paradise by Deborah Brown @debbrownbooks

Crazy in Paradise by Deborah Brown

Amazon

Welcome to Tarpon Cove.
Dying in the Middle of Summer is Sweaty Business...
If you ever put yourself in trouble by picking up someone else's past, you have to meet Madison Westin, an honorary Trouble Queen.
Madison is a quirky motel owner, who recently inherited her aunt's beachfront motel in the Florida Keys. But that is NOT all she inherited, as the motel houses a slew of colorful tenant's - drunks, ex-cons, fugitives, and whatever bad guy you can think of.
How to solve this mess...?
That is really not that difficult if you are Madison Westin.
Step 1: Take back control of YOUR motel
Step 2: Learn the ins and outs of blackmail, murder, and drugs
Step 3: If all fails, hope for the best...
Deborah Brown's Crazy in Paradise is packed with Action, Romance, Intrigue, Mystery and Suspense. Oh... did I forget to mention the humor makes for a fast and enjoyable read? This book will be difficult to put down!
GIVVER GO...
... but ONLY if you want to be Crazy in Paradise!

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The Curse Giver by Dora Machado @DoraMachado

Chapter Five
THE NEXT FEW DAYS WERE LOST to Lusielle. Her life was a jumbled sequence of snippets, blurry images breaking up long periods of dense darkness, triggered by a sudden jostle or a twinge of pain, cold, heat or thirst. She spotted glimpses of a gray sky, spitting out rain, and campfires burning deep in the woods. There was more rain, and a face—his face—hovering just beyond reach.
Occasionally, sound trickled into her muffled world from a distant place. The wind rustled through the trees. The horses’ hooves pounded on dirt, gravel, and mud. Men spoke, snorted, muttered and snored. A low, measured voice—his voice—echoed very near, urging her to drink, eat or sleep, accompanied by the pervasive masculine scent that was her constant companion.
There were times when she came to just enough to realize that she existed in the world in-between, where gods and mortals met in dreams, where dreams and reality were one and the same. In those moments, she realized that she survived only because of someone else’s will, that if she wanted a future, she had to wake up and seize it. She kept trying, even though it required great effort, like swimming against a colossal tide.
“This way,” the voice said.
She felt listless as a corpse, but she grabbed on to that voice and followed it to a semblance of consciousness. Fighting her heavy eyelids, she managed to glimpse the man’s stern face, outlined against a background of pewter clouds.
Brennus.
She rode with him on his horse, wrapped in an oiled mantle, mostly protected from the rain. His strong arms kept her from slipping off the massive beast. His armored chest offered a hard but steady pillow. The beat of his heart echoed through the copper plates, strong, vibrant, and enthralling.
He must have realized that she was awake, because his stare swooped down on her like a hawk on the prowl, even though his voice was gentle. “Hush,” he said. “We won’t be too much longer on the road today.”
His eyes were lined with worry and exhaustion. So were the faces of the other men who rode with him. All of them were wet, tired and miserable, picking their way up a steep mountain track as the relentless rain continued to pelt them. That same rain was dripping from Brennus’s face, drenching his hair and trickling down his neck.
“The rain,” she whispered. “It’s making you wet.” She reached out to dry the water from his face, but the wound on her back protested with a pang of pain.
He caught her hand and tucked it back into the blanket. “It’s no use,” he said. “You can’t keep me dry.”
“One can try,” she said.
And he actually smiled.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“South of nowhere and north of wherever,” he said. “Far from the usual routes. We’re seven days out.”
Seven days was an awful long time to be senseless among strangers.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “Riva’s not going to find us.”
She winced when the horse missed a step.
“Hato!” Brennus called.
Why was he barking like that?
There was splashing, the sound of hooves clattering and then, “My lord?”
“We’ve got to stop. The fever’s back and she’s hurting again.”
“No place to stop around here, my lord,” the other man said.
“Send Severo and Cirillo ahead,” he said. “Tell them to find a decent camp and get a fire going. She’s got to rest.”
“My lord,” he said, “we have pressing business. We can’t slow down to accommodate her comfort—”
“Do you want her alive or not?”
The other man sighed. “As you wish, my lord.” He rode away.
She tried to tell him that she was fine, but ended up whimpering instead.
“Shush,” he whispered in her ear. “You need to sleep.”
And by the Thousand Gods, off she went, at his command, into the darkness again, following his heart’s steady rhythm as it sang a lullaby to her heart.
Curse Giver
Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author and the book
Connect with Dora Machado on Facebook & Twitter






























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Living The Testimony by Deidre Havrelock @deidrehavrelock

My Personal Testimony

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as a Cree/Irish borderline Catholic girl, meaning this half-breed rarely went to Mass. However, I did pray every night. I absolutely loved God and believed in Him deeply. Being Catholic, I had heard about Jesus. In fact, my favorite song was “Away in a Manger.” Whenever I was scared, which was often, I would sing this song. But I imagined Jesus to be a fairytale—a fantasy about a perfect God coming to save people. He was just for good thoughts. He was in no way a reality.

Despite my vague belief in Jesus, my relationship with God seemed deep. I would have conversations with my invisible God; I would tell God I loved Him. And I certainly did love Him. Although, I was becoming a bit frustrated with Him because of my dreary life circumstance. You see, my dad drank—a lot. And this stress, along with the stress of my quickly emerging spiritual life, was simply too overwhelming.

As a child I lived with a strange secret. I sensed an ominous yet deeply intriguing spiritual force in my home. I simply assumed a ghost lived in my house. To convolute matters even more, when I was just seven, a man with fire for hair appeared to me in a dream, forcing me to marry him in front of an upside-down cross. He told me in the dream, “Don’t worry, you have been chosen.” From this point on, I completely believed I was married to the devil—irrevocably dark and aligned with evil.

Fortunately, this dream did motivate me to dig my heels in and search for God. I figured only God could get me divorced from the devil. But instead my search led me to Fred, a kind spirit I met in grade four through a Ouija board. Being Cree, spirits were nothing new to me. My mom’s family always talked about spirits. Most of my aunts and uncles were scared of the spirits or ghosts they saw in their dreams and in their houses, but my grandmother told me the spirits were there to help and protect us. I wasn’t quite sure what to believe. I was confused. After all, the spirits I sensed around me and the ones I saw in my dreams scared me, too. But then again, Fred seemed different. This spirit was nice. He was funny. Fred told me through the Ouija board that his job was to protect and watch over me. Eventually, I began telling myself that spirits just felt creepy, but once you got to know them they could be nice. Especially, if you were nice to them.

Fred became my constant companion. But one day, in grade six, after my best friend’s dad tried to molest me and just after my uncle Glen (who had sexually molested me as a small child) came to live with us in our home, I had a nervous breakdown. While left home alone with Glen, I grabbed a butcher knife and ran to my room to hide. Once in my bedroom, instead of picking up my Ouija board to call on Fred, I cried out to God, telling Him I wanted to kill myself. Suddenly I heard a voice speak out loud: “When you are big everything will be okay.” It was God; He spoke to me. He was real.3 I told God I’d hang on until I was big, which obviously, to a twelve-year-old mind, meant eighteen.

By age sixteen, things seemed to have miraculously changed for the better. First of all, my dad was now inexplicably healed from alcoholism. Second, I was introduced by my high school teacher to a New Age transcendental meditation and channeling group that met weekly in the back room of a small bookstore.4 I was so excited. I thought for sure—in this extremely spiritual group—I would find God and get my divorce from Satan.

This group also told me spirits were good and helpful. However, a few sessions later, I found myself strangely altered after my spirit guide Fred, along with another extremely violent spirit, entered my body during group meditation and refused to leave. A member of the group did attempt to help me force these spirits from my body, but the endeavor failed. Consequently, I was kicked out of my New Age group for having bad karma. This meant I was the one attracting these evil spirits to the group—because I was evil. I left the group feeling deeply hurt, misunderstood, and very aware of being “chosen” by the devil.5

A school friend of mine named Doug, who had joined the channeling group with me, then suggested, without knowing anything about my spiritual past, that I study Satanism. His brother had a Satanic Bible.6 After flatly declining, I began dreaming I was killing people. I also dreamed of horrible evil creatures. Rats invading my house was a common dream, and the devil with fire for hair began reappearing in my dreams, growing angrier every time I refused to follow him. When I turned eighteen, I gave up on spirituality. I simply wouldn’t choose Satan and God had failed to show up and save me.

When I was twenty-two years old, now bulimic/anorexic, depressed, and suffering from intense back pain, my life took an unexpected turn when at work God surprisingly spoke to me again saying, “This is the man whom you shall marry.” That man was DJ, a young man who worked in the same office as I did. Eventually DJ and I began dating, and even though we seemed to have nothing in common—because I was convinced that God had sent him to help me—on our third date, I opened up to him, describing to him my nightmares and my spirit guide, Fred. Of course, I worried DJ might consider me crazy, but instead he said, “I’m here to help.”7

It was a few weeks later that DJ opened up to me, explaining how he believed in Jesus. He told me he believed Jesus was alive. He told me Jesus could heal me and save me; and because he was God’s actual Son, he was the gateway to knowing and experiencing God. DJ asked me to simply trust Jesus.8

But I was more than a little doubtful. In fact, his Christian beliefs made me furious. It seemed idiotic for anyone to believe that a childhood fairytale could be true, and it seemed positively arrogant that DJ thought he knew and understood God. After all, why couldn’t God just save me Himself? What did He need Jesus for? Why was Jesus so important? I argued with DJ about the relevance of Jesus many times. Then one night, after arguing about Jesus yet again, my back flared up with pain. DJ asked if he could pray for me. I was uncomfortable with this but thought, What will it hurt?

As DJ prayed for me, particularly when he asked me to be healed “in the name of Jesus,” my back pain sharply escalated—then the voices began. It was just like during my channeling days. Spirits stirred inside me wanting to speak. Except this time they were enraged. As DJ continued praying, my body contorted as my muscles tightened; a low growl came from my lips. Within seconds, a thick black mass pulled out from my back and hovered above us. I remember huddling against DJ, whispering, “What is that?”

“It’s evil,” he said.

I was terrified. DJ, however, immediately told the evil spirits to “leave, in the name of Jesus.” Surprisingly, the blackness retreated back down inside me. I was horrified and confused, crying and shaking. I didn’t understand I was possessed. All I knew was that Fred and another spirit were living inside me; they were angry, extremely strong, and they absolutely hated the name Jesus.

DJ, now with clear confirmation that my problem was actually demonic possession, had to find help, but where was he to go? He wasn’t sure if his church leadership would believe him. DJ then met with a Christian girl, Audrey, who also worked in our office.9 She and DJ decided to bring me to her church. They hoped her pastor could pray for me and expel the evil spirits.10

DJ convinced me to attend a service. However, shortly after arriving at the church, I found myself running from the service after voices in my head told me to kill the pastor. I remember this pastor was preaching about Jesus being able to heal. The whole service felt strange and uncomfortable to me, but DJ convinced me to go back to this church two more times. Each time I returned, the strength and rage of the voices grew and my strange back pain returned. Finally, much too terrorized and confused to go on, I refused to go back. I told DJ talking about Jesus aggravated my problems, so the solution was obviously not to talk about him.

Living the testimony

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Christian Living

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Twitter

Website www.deidrehavrelock.com

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The Colors of Friendship by K. R. Raye @KRRaye

Moving On

Lance flicked his wrist and checked his watch.  Yes, 5:00 p.m. on the dot.  With a smile he knocked on the girls’ dorm room door ready to tackle their English study session.  Even though they each pursued different majors: Melody, Communications; Imani, Chemical Engineering; and he studied Business; they all made a vow at orientation to align their core Freshmen classes and liberal arts electives whenever possible. 

He heard movement behind the door as one of the girls checked through the peephole and then Imani threw open the door.

Lance smiled and landed a peck on her cheek before he strolled inside. 

The phone rang and Imani shoved him towards it.  “Could you get that? It’s my mom,” she said heading towards the bathroom she shared with Melody and the two girls in the connecting room. 

Colors of Friendship

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – New Adult, Contemporary

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with K R Raye on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://krraye.com/events.html

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Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space by H. Peter Alesso

CHAPTER 5

The hours in a day were never enough. Each watch, report, and exam seemed like an organized disruption to Gallant’s desire for food and sleep. Each irreverent “Attention Midshipman Gallant” that blared over his head, called him away to some new obligation. A week after re-qualifying, Gallant joined the other midshipmen in an advanced flight training session conducted by Lieutenant Mather.

Mather was going to review the ship’s computer systems in detail in preparation for a mock combat session. While many of the midshipmen were already up to date on the ship’s AI systems, it was an opportunity for Gallant to catch-up.

Mather stood at the head of the compartment at a lectern facing several rows of chairs. He began describing the Repulse’s computer system, “It’s a marvel of Twenty-second Century technology. It provides three levels of operation for each and every important department on board including: navigation, engineering, weapons, environmental, and communications. The first level is the centralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. It performs what we call ‘strong-AI.’ Then, the second level includes system operations of individual departments with their own ‘weak-AI.’ They require more human interaction in order to coordinate systems. Finally, the last level is direct human manual control.”

“Officers, this is the strong-AI system nicknamed GridScape.” A three dimensional humanoid holograph form appeared before Mather. ““The avatar image is changeable,” he flipped through a few before settling on a base form. “I prefer this nondescript image for my lectures. GridScape is a wireless grid computer network consisting of over one million parallel central processors performing a billion-billion operations per second. It helps to control operations throughout the ship and its fighter support within a limited range. It coordinates overall control with our technically trained crew. Of course, it has redundant connectivity for reliability; both direct wiring, as well as wireless connections. GridScape is fully capable of independent automatic operation for most routine operations and many emergency responses that the ship may be required to perform.”

Sandy Barrington stood up and asked, “What happens when there’s battle damage, sir?”

“In the event the strong-AI system is damaged, the weak-AI computer systems take over local functional operation. Of course, every device can be switched to manual operation as required. Also, all crew members have their comm pins. They can connect to local resources that in turn can connect to the centralized AI,” said Mather.

midshipman

Buy Now @ Amazon and Smashwords

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with H. Peter Alesso on Facebook

Website http://www.hpeteralesso.com/Default.aspx

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How You Leave Texas by Alana Cash (Excerpt)

Monday morning, still hungover from Saturday afternoon, Camille checked out of the hotel and back into reality. As she waited for the appliances to be delivered at the house, Jana called to say that Delia’s funeral was scheduled for Tuesday morning. Camille hung up the phone and started making calls to transfer the electricity, gas and water into the new tenant’s name – not a student, thankfully, but a visiting professor of European history.

Bunny called in the afternoon to inform Camille that one of the firm’s forensic accountants had taken a look at Walker’s finances.  As it turned out, Walker had created a holding company with Dusty Hamilton and had already purchased a house in foreclosure at Lakeway.

“I want alimony,” Camille replied.

“The State of Texas isn’t kindly about alimony, but how about we ask him to buy you out of his assets at ten thousand dollars a month with adjustments based on tax assessments each year.”

“How much is it worth?”

“Right now, maybe five hundred thousand dollars, but at the rate the economy is booming, it’ll be worth much more later on. You could have payments for a few years,” Bunny said.

“Wow.”

“Do you know what his law practice is netting?”

“No,” Camille said, feeling like one of those stupid women that get victimized by putting their husbands through medical school and getting left for the beautiful Asian pediatrician.

“The bankruptcy business is booming,” Bunny said. “You’re entitled to money from the business?”

“I want two thousand a month from the business,” Camille said.

“Don’t be silly,” Bunny said. “You need to ask for ten thousand.”

“Really?  Can he afford it?”

“Who cares. We’ll ask for it,” Bunny said. “It’s just a negotiating point. Since the house is paid off, he can afford a bit more.”

“What!  I’m lost. The house isn’t paid off. I’m still making checks out each month for my half of the mortgage to Redbud Holdings. We refinanced eight years ago and they gave us a low rate.”

“Redbud Holdings?” Bunny said. “What an asshole. Him. Not you. That’s the holding company he formed with Dusty Hamilton.”

“But when did he pay off the house?”

“Eight years ago.”

“Eight years ago!  Did he have this thing, this company with Dusty Hamilton all this time?”

“No. They formed that four years ago.”

“Oh. Oh my god. I’m going to be sick. Oh.”

“Hey, butch up. This is your chance to get even.”

“I’m sick.”

Bunny said. “Bring me copies of your last ten years tax returns.”

“Walker took everything.”

“Pick up copies of your tax returns from the IRS this afternoon and get them to me.”

What a fool she had been, Camille thought to herself. What a dope. What a dummy.

“Why would he do this?  Was he planning to leave me?”

“Oh honey, you’ll never know why he did any of this, and you might as well stop trying to understand it.”

“Do I ever have to see Walker again?”

“No,” Bunny replied. “I just need you to calm down. You don’t want to be hasty and feel like an idiot later on.”

“I was giving him a check from my personal account every month to pay half a nonexistent mortgage. How much more idiotic could I feel?”

Bunny said, “I’ll call you soon.”

“Thanks, Bunny,” Camille said, unscrewing the top on the bottle of Jose Cuervo.

On Tuesday morning, Camille took a seat in the back row at the funeral home on Lamar Boulevard. Jana looked bleary-eyed. She had seen Delia pulled from the wreckage and was sitting with Delia’s family. Delia’s mother occasionally let out a wail for the loss of her thirty-seven-year-old daughter. Paul and eight-year-old Lindsay sat like soldiers at attention. Delia’s brother gave the eulogy.

“Delia wouldn’t want us to be crying,” he said, which elicited another wail from Delia’s mother.

Delia wouldn’t want anyone to be crying, Delia would have preferred everybody to be dancing, but Camille wished she could cry. It would feel much better than the stony feeling of dread that was lodged in her chest. She stared at a wreath of flowers on a stand until people started getting up to leave, surprising her. At the door, she gave her condolences to the family and went to her car where she sat until every other car, except two, had left the parking lot to join the procession to the cemetery. Camille did not go.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Alana Cash on her

Blog http://howyoulovetexas.blogspot.com/

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Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage by Carla Woody @CarlaWoody1

Chapter Two:
Beyond Words

I was leading a very mainstream life. While I had some sense of purpose, I additionally had an underlying feeling that something was seriously lacking. Even though there was a recognition of incompletion, I can’t say that it was a conscious realization, more of a sense of things not expressed, blocked or segregated.

The previous year I’d left the large government agency where I’d worked nearly my entire career up to that point. Being out from under bureaucratic constraints lent a certain kind of freedom that I craved, but a large part of my livelihood was still generated through that environment where I returned as a consultant. I felt the rigidity of the organization to the point that it triggered an aversion in me.

What I now know is that whenever we have an unreasonably strong response to something external, something is lurking internally of the same nature. At the time, I recognized what I can only describe as flatness, a lack of real engagement to anything in which I was involved. It’s unlikely that this fact was apparent to anyone but me. I was known for my mind and abilities for pulling people and projects together. To others, my guess is that I appeared actively engaged in my life. After all, I was busy doing what needed to be done, just like most with whom I came in contact.

But I knew something was omitted. Fourteen years earlier, I’d had a major signal identifying my disconnection. Because of a viral infection that attacked my thyroid, I became extremely ill. I was likely within a hair’s breadth of death before I’d had any inkling of the seriousness of the illness. It probably was only through my mother’s mother-bear-like, protective attention and demands to the physician I finally visited that I am even alive today.

A major crisis such as this one is often the impetus that will kick start a revelation—or revolution. After my recovery, I finally comprehended the level of absurdity and danger that the lack of awareness of my own condition brought. I was able to discern that I wasn’t practicing denial in the sense of not wanting to face something. But more so, I was disconnected from my body to the degree that I had been unable to recognize my lack of health. How could I? My life and level of consciousness was weighted in my head, cut off from my physicality and any real experience or attunement other than mental observation.

I heeded a cry from my Core Self, not even knowing of her existence, and sought out meditation. That was an unlikely avenue back then, only because where I was living at the time offered very few opportunities to explore anything even somewhat resembling consciousness studies. With the help of a couple of books, I put together a practice to which I remained faithful.

Over the years, I found myself becoming increasingly calmer and healthier. I knew that the change was due directly to my dedicated focus on meditation. Indeed, I became much more in tune with my body and its messages to me. I began to trust those messages implicitly, telling me when things were right, or not, in my world.

But I knew something was still missing. I remained an observer to a large degree, not a participant. While I’d read of spirituality and various states that told of that realm, I’d had no direct experience. I intellectually knew that Spirit was an aspect of my makeup, but couldn’t quite grasp even the concept of such a reality. And yet there was something underpinning my entire existence that called out for this wholeness. Some part of me deeply desired integration.

When strong intent is present, the means to fulfill it will automatically appear. But I didn’t know this truth at that point in my journey. I only knew that I felt somewhat fragmented, and one day noticed an ad in a professional journal for a retreat with a Peruvian shaman to be held in the Southern Utah desert. Ignoring the fact that my sole idea of camping then was in pensions in large European cities, or that I didn’t even know what the term “shaman” meant, I felt a strong draw in my body to call and register. So, I did.

Four months later, I flew cross-country to Salt Lake City where I was picked up with some other retreat goers and driven some hours south to a remote canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The beauty of the area was incredible and helped to overwhelm my uneasiness of being with people with whom I wasn’t acquainted, and an upcoming event about which I knew absolutely nothing.

When we finally rolled into the makeshift camp, I climbed out of the truck feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension, the two being closely linked anyway. While in this state, I noticed a brown-skinned man making his way toward me. He had dark, wavy hair, a mustachioed, handsome face, and wore a woven poncho. His eyes sparkled. He smiled broadly and wrapped his arms around me in greeting. As he did so, any fear I felt dissipated immediately and was replaced by great warmth swelling from some place inside me, unlike any I’d ever felt. This was the man the sponsors had advertised as a shaman, the person who, in the years ahead, I would come to know not only as a mystic and teacher of the heart, but a cherished friend—Don Américo Yábar. My meeting him was to change the fabric of my entire life. And I had asked for it unknowingly.

Around the campfire that evening, Don Américo introduced the subject of intent through his translator. He encouraged each of us to set our intent that evening for the week that was to follow. I went off on my own to think about what he’d said, the whole idea of intent being a slippery one, at best, that I had a challenge grasping. However, I decided that I must have set my intent, at some level, before I even came. That was what pulled me to the retreat not even knowing what it entailed. I wanted to be joined. I wanted direct engagement. I wanted integration of my mind, body and spirit. I told no one.

The next morning held the usual gorgeous, blue desert sky. The group had hiked some distance from our camp and found a natural rock amphitheatre. We made ourselves comfortable in the shadows of the boulders, out from under the Utah sun which was already getting quite warm. Don Américo began to speak. I don’t remember now exactly what he said. I was being lulled by the lilting rhythms of his and his translator’s vocal patterns that took the meaning of the words to some unconscious level.

Suddenly, he stopped and gazed intensely at me. He motioned for me to come to the middle of the circle where he stood. Under normal circumstances, I would have done so reluctantly, if at all, not being comfortable “exposing” myself to others in that way. In that case, however, I felt completely at ease.

I approached him. He stood directly in front of me only about eighteen inches away, his liquid brown eyes locking onto mine. It was as though he was channeling pure love directly into my being. Both of his hands hovered right outside my body at the chest level.

Making a motion of pulling apart outside the heart center, he said, “The way to see is with the body’s eye.”

I felt what I could only describe as a sweet welling in that energy center that began to undulate, creating a rippling effect.

He moved one hand up to my forehead. Making a wiping motion in my subtle energy field, he proclaimed, “Not the mind’s eye!”

I felt something shut at that level, all the while the heart energy continued to reverberate. I was unaware of anything other than large waves of effervescent warmth that seemed to echo silently, returning from the stones surrounding us, further intensifying the awakening. People seated around us gasped and murmured. I have no idea how long I stood that way. I do not know how I found my feet to return to my seat. I do not recall what occurred the rest of the day.

I was opened. I was filled. I’d had my first direct experience—beyond words.

StandingStark

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Nonfiction, Spirituality

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Carla Woody on Facebook & Twitter

 

 

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

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An Imaginative Journey by Heather Manley @drheathernd

“Pearl had no chance to answer. At that moment, osteoblasts came storming out from everywhere! They were all over the place. Merrin and Pearl tried to jump out of their way, but the osteoblasts were on a mission and didn’t even notice them. They were lucky, very lucky, not to have been knocked over. They watched the osteoblasts secreting something.”

 

 

A little bit more about Dr. Heather:

Dr. Heather Manley, who in 2001 received her medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, is a practicing physician whose primary interest is preventative healthcare for families. She is the author of the award winning Human Body Detectives, her children’s elementary educational series of story-telling books, curriculum, eBooks, and iPhone/iPad apps.  She also promotes wellness and naturopathic healthcare on her website DrHeatherND.com. She lives on the Big Island of Hawaii with her husband and two daughters, and is currently at work on the next human body adventure for kids.

Follow Dr. Manley on twitter and facebook and on her HBD blog

Osteoblasts

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Children’s Books

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Heather Manley on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.humanbodydetectives.com/

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#AmReading - Talented by Sophie Davis @SophieDavisBook

Talented by Sophie Davis

Amazon

When Talia Lyons was just a child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. Unable to accept their fate, Talia trains to become one of the country’s deadliest assassins in order to kill the man responsible. Luckily, she was born with a gift- the ability to read and influence the minds of others. At sixteen, Talia’s poised to graduate from a school for the Talented, where she learned to control her abilities. Now there is only one obstacle standing between her and the retribution she craves... the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl.
If Sookie and 007 had a love child with a yearning for vengeance, her story would be TALENTED.

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#AmReading - Gumbeaux by Kimberly Vargas @_KimberlyVargas

Gumbeaux by Kimberly Vargas

Amazon

Where do you go when you disappear? For young heiress Mary Fait, the answer is New Orleans. After the death of her parents, she is placed in the care of her alcoholic uncle. For years, she assists her uncle in growing the family empire, all the while plotting his demise and / or her escape. A college scholarship gives her the opportunity to break free of her life to start a new one - under a new name. Follow Mary and her often hilarious misadventures in the early 1990's while attending college in a small town in Louisiana. The story reads as a series of diary entries which chronicle the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the main character during this time in her life. The novel's title refers to a cajun restaurant in which the main character works as a waitress. The colorful descriptions of the town of Bayou Bend, the college, its inhabitants and the surrounding areas paint a vivid and amusing tale of life in the South.

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Excerpt – #Harder Than The Rest by Shirleen Davies @ShirleenDavies

He felt rather than saw her behind him and waited for Amanda to announce her presence, but she said nothing.

“You just going to stand back there and stare at my half naked body, Miss Taylor?”

Amanda jumped at his sudden words.

Will set down the ax, picked up his shirt, and turned to face her. He wasn’t prepared for the image before him. She wore a simple wrapper over her nightgown, and the full moon cast shadows through both layers of the thin fabric. Her black hair was fashioned in one long braid that had fallen over a shoulder, covering one breast. His mouth went dry and he worked to control his breathing. She was an extraordinary vision.

He took a deep breath and forced his gaze to her eyes. “What can I do for you, Miss Taylor? Did you need something from me?”

“I…well…” She couldn’t force the words out—they’d become locked in her throat.

“Yes?” Will chuckled at her obvious discomfort.

She recovered when she realized he found the situation humorous. “I heard noise and came to check it out. Why are you out here, chopping wood so late? It’s after midnight, Mr. MacLaren.”

“Couldn’t sleep. I often can’t, and need to do something physical to calm my mind. Any problem with that?” He continued to let his eyes roam over her beautiful form as the wind whipped the fabric around her legs and the folds clung to her body. She’d become a stunning sculpture. He tried to drag his eyes away, but found he could not.

Harder Than The Rest

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Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Shirleen Davies on Facebook & Twitter

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The King of Sunday Morning by J.B. McCauley @MccauleyJay

The Mile End Mambo
1990
He held him in his arms and looked into the glassy eyes. Yellow flecks dotted the cornea. This boy was dead a long time before Roger had run him through. He knew the look. Too much top shelf and not enough down time.
The body from which life dramatically seeped away began to convulse. It would not be a Hollywood death. It would be a harsh demise for this gangster. Unexpected but unavoidable. He had stepped on the wrong toes and nobody touched Roger’s patch.
The big screen had always glamorised death but there was nothing glamorous about having a gaping 12-inch gash where your stomach had once been. Roger’s white shirt was splattered with blood and sputum. He noted to himself with an air of cold detachment that he would have to dispose of it later. The boy soldier’s back arched in agony. A gurgling noise rushed from his throat and then he was gone.
Roger put his arm underneath the boy’s knees and slowly lifted him from the red morass that had filled the doorway. He cradled him in his arms and walked slowly along the pavement. A young couple averted their gaze as he struggled with the limp body. They knew not to look. This was after all the witching hour in the East End. What you don’t see, you can’t tell. He turned the corner and moved into another shop doorway. It was a Dixon’s electrical shop exalting the latest stereos and TV’s.
Roger placed the body carefully on the ground. He took one final look at what 10 minutes ago had been the epitome of arrogance, bravery and youth, then left. He walked quickly to the edge of Walters Street, turned into Burden and darted through a now deserted car park and onto Rially. He saw a red telephone box just up from Dunston Road. He opened the door and tried to ignore the stench of piss and shit. He dialled the number and waited patiently for the connection.
“Rudi?”
His rich baritone West-Indian voice caressed the receiver.
“Yeah, he’s in Dixon’s shopfront on Walters Street.” He paused, digesting the question on the other end of the line.
“Yeah he’s dead. Dead as a door nail. See you at home.”
With that, he hung up the phone and disappeared into the night. His red Rasta beanie swaying as he loped through the shadows. The victim wouldn’t be missed. Roger had nothing to fear. The status quo had been maintained and an example had been made.
Most of all, Rudi would be pleased.

King of Sunday Morning
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller, Action, Suspense, Gangster, Crime, Music
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author and the book
Connect with J.B. McCauley on Facebook & Twitter

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#AmReading - Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris @liz_norris

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Amazon

Reminiscent of Before I Fall, Elizabeth Norris's Unraveling blends realistic coming-of-age issues and heart-stopping romance with something just a little bit more. In this case, a gripping science fiction world.

Unraveling's heroine, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner, is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother.

And that was before she died...and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. The more Janelle tries to figure him out, the more she starts to believe he's connected to a case her father is working on. The one where people are dying of radiation poisoning and the body count is rising. The one that involves a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction. If Janelle wants to stop the clock and save the world, she has twenty-four days to uncover Ben's secrets--and keep from falling in love with him.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris, comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.

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Emily Kinney – My publishing journey @theshadylady

I am thoroughly convinced that the one thing I have yearned for throughout my entire life is success. Before desiring acceptance, purity, or even love I was daydreaming about recognition and admiration, as well as an unspoken understanding that whatever I did would be bought and beloved by millions. Yeah, millions. I am not a miserly daydreamer. I cannot recall a moment when my heart desired anything else, which leads me to believe, a little unsettlingly, that the journey to obtain success is my life.

I did not want just any success, however. I wanted Specific Success. I wanted to contribute, to do something worth recognizing. Starting at a young age, I have had something of a significance complex. I wanted to matter, to be important, and to be set apart from the rest. And if I was not, I felt my existence blur at the edges, until the strong sensation of invisibility set in, the feeling of non-existence never far behind. Thankfully, I found a passion, and discovered my talent for it.

Books and I are like two puzzle pieces that fit together so well you know they were crafted for each other. It has never been a struggle to love them, perhaps because it always seemed as though they loved me right back. It was as if they cooed with wide open arms, ‘Here we are, Emily! We too tarry in the realm of imagination and frolic with the mysterious and gambol amongst all unnamed curiosities. A perfect place for you, who has never been impressed with reality and has always seen Beyond. We are so glad you found us, for you won’t find welcome much elsewhere. Let us hold hands and amble together!’

Well, how could I resist such an invitation? An ‘Outlet’, as it is often referred to. Creativity has always been a part of my DNA, so I am happiest when it is required in my work. I’ve always been drawn to things that stretch my imagination. Writing is like bodybuilding for your imagination. Not only when it comes to the plot and characters, but also in the discernment of vocabulary, atmosphere, prose, and grammar. Every element that goes into writing a book, or just writing in general, has to be shifted about, tacked up and taken down, and compared. It isn’t about what you think sounds cool, or what is going to make you come off as intelligent or introspective. It’s about what the story needs. The story is the client, the cause, the driving force. You are there to tell it, hence the very humble and apt term: Story-teller.

As a writer, you do bring in a component of self, because you are telling your story. Your purpose is to differentiate yourself from all the other writers who are also clawing at the same success that you are. By letting my originality take over when it comes to my writing projects, not only am I separating myself from the swarm, but I am also creating a brand. Writers should not be remora fish. We should not be attaching ourselves to ideas made successful by other writers. We should be swimming and feasting on our own in the Sea of Literary Possibilities. However, this ideal is based on integrity, and only offers an uphill battle.

Publishers, those darling discriminators, like the feeling of safety. And safety comes with sticking with what you know works. They examine a manuscript, and instead of thinking about whether or not it’s a great book, they wonder if there is a place for it in the market. The market is fickle. The market is a monster, and a picky one at that, gobbling up only certain kinds of products. The publishers, who have a symbiotic relationship with this monster, want to continue appeasing it for their own gain. They do this by hording all the authors that have previously proven themselves profitable, while shunning the upstarts bobbing up and down outside their window, begging for them to just read their synopsis.

This cruel lockout has massive disadvantages for everyone. The new, talented, passionate authors who really deserve the backing; the world, since it will never be improved by the marvelous works said authors would churn out; and the publishers, who will never know if they are blowing off the biggest jackpot of their professional careers. Typically though, it is only the authors who are aware of this gripping loss. In my own struggle to the top of the pillar, I’ve all too often encountered the phrase, ‘We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts’, which is their concise way of explaining everything above. And when that phrase popped up everywhere I looked, I was left with two choices: Either, one, acquire an agent, or, two, use an alternative publishing method.

As it happened, it was while I was trying to get an agent that I stumbled upon the alternative method.

Six months after submitting to a traditional publisher, and not hearing back, I learned that their submission guidelines had changed. Whereas before, they did accept unsolicited manuscripts and worked with first-time, non-represented authors, they now rejected both. I was stunned, devastated. Six difficult months of my life had just gone to waste. I had no idea what to do next, or if there even would be a “next”. I was at a juncture that I had encountered many times before with my book: Go on, or give up. Once again, I chose to go on. I nose-dived into research, looking for publishers who would take manuscripts that arrive out of the blue from writers they have never heard of. The options were limited, to say the least. Additionally, I learned that at some point, quietly, traditionally publishers had decided to purposely make it hard to submit to them without an agent, to keep both the market and their rosters tight. It slowly dawned on me that if I wanted to continue sparring with this seemingly impossible endeavor, I would need an agent.

Luckily, in the midst of my internet rampage, and entering my basic information for every publishing ad I saw, (all of which later proved to be for self-publishing, which at the time I wanted to avoid) I saw an ad for an author agency. They had a very impressive opening statement and asked for much more detailed information, so I felt it was worth filling out the forms. Three days later, after a very despondent and soul-baring prayer, I received an email from a company I had never heard of.

They had all my information. And they wanted to see my manuscript. Seven days later, they wanted to work with me. As it turned out, they were the sister company to the agency I had submitted to. However, at the time I had very little concept of what kind of publisher they were exactly. As time went on, I learned about a new breed of book publishers. They ranged from ebook self-publishers, to Indie, to small-press. I fell under Indie. As in, Independent. As in, I had a team, so I wasn’t entirely alone, but they needed to be paid. At first, I was signed on for a 100 book pre-sale program, to pay for the publication, but when I figured out that wasn’t going to work, I switched my contract to just pay for it up front.

Being Independent is hard work. I’ve had to be both the creative genius and the savvy entrepreneur, and I was only born one. When I first began the marketing for my book, it was a nightmare. I was young, inexperienced, and thrust into a sink-or-swim situation. Just because I wrote a great book did not mean automatic readers. No one can read a thing if they don’t know it is there. That is why marketing is so crucial. I wish I did not have to be well-versed in marketing, but I do. I am blessed enough to not have to worry about the distribution, shipping, tallying, and whatnot, but as far as representing my work out there in the big, jaded world, there is only me.

In some ways, not being a petri dish child of the mainstream literary world is a good thing. The cliquey attitude of YA lit themes probably would not have allowed my own original, unusual ideas might to see the light of day anyways. Modern writers think they are regulating the pulse of the modern reader, but the reality is that they’re just making the genre stagnant. But, because of this alternative route, I have found an In. Trends want to oppress and ignore, but I am relying on my own talent and vision to grab audience’s attention. Instead of being intimidated to the point of walking away, I am fighting back, and without all the help mainstream authors are afforded. By being Independent, I can honestly say that it was all me. My heart feeds my career.

The Island of Lote

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Young Adult Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Emily Kinney on Facebook & Twitter

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

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Hidden by Derick Parsons @1_DerickParsons

After his inspection he said softly, ‘I tried to contact you in England after you were attacked, but you just disappeared.’

The reminder of what had been done to her hurt, as always, and she hung her head in totally unreasonable embarrassment. ‘I wasn’t alone, as you know,’ she said painfully, wishing he would stop even though she knew he was motivated solely by concern for her.

He made a wry face, ‘Peter’s a great guy, but he’s no therapist, now is he?’

‘Therapy isn’t everything,’ she responded lightly, ‘I just needed to get away from the rest of the world for a while.’

He shook his head disapprovingly, ‘Dealing with your problems by running away from them?  For an experienced counsellor you’re remarkably shy about analysing yourself, your own actions and motives.’

‘It’s none of your damned business what I did, or do!’ Kate flared suddenly, ‘So don’t come the psychiatrist with me!’

He smiled with maddening calm, ‘On the contrary it is my business, because I love you.  Oh, I know our affair ended after you took up with that awful guy but I still care about you.  I don’t have many close friends and I try to look after the few I do have.’

Her anger faded and she smiled sadly, ‘I love you too, Trev, but like I said, I had Peter then, and I didn’t need anyone else.  Just time away from the whole world to lick my wounds.  I’ve always dealt with things my own way, in my own time.  You know that.’

‘Yes,’ he agreed, ‘I do know.’  By pretending they don’t exist, he thought but had enough sense not to say.  Instead he grinned and said slyly, ‘You buried yourself somewhere and wrote those bloody awful books.’

She instantly rose to the bait.  ‘Awful?  Did you bother descending from Mount Olympus long enough to actually read any of them?’

He roared with laughter and spun his swivel chair in a complete circle until he was facing her again.  ‘Yes, I did, actually!  Oh, it’s good to have you back, if only because you’re so easy to get a rise out of!  I read them, and thought they were pretty good.  The first was a bit simplistic, but I guess it was aimed at the intelligent layman rather than mental health professionals.  The second was better, and the last was the best of all.  Quite scholarly, but still accessible.’

He waved his hand at the vast bookcase that dominated one whole wall and she saw hardback copies of all three of her books.  She turned back to him and shook her head, ‘Damn you, Trevor Jordan, you’re impossible!  And if you think the last was the best you should talk to my publisher; it didn’t sell at all well and now I think she’s avoiding me in case I ever finish the fourth.  Which, I may say, right now doesn’t seem very likely.’

He made a sympathetic face, ‘It went too deep for public consumption, I think.  Too much scholarship and not enough sentiment and glib, chat-show solutions.  The public want to be entertained, not educated.’

Hidden

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Genre - Mystery, Thriller

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Derick Parsons on Twitter

Website http://www.derick-parsons.com/

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P.T. Macias – This is an awesome Hot & Spicy salsa recipe @pt_macias

This is an awesome Hot & Spicy salsa recipe

by P.T. Macias

You will need

8- Jose Enrique’s hot green jalapeno peppers

2-Jessica red tomatoes or you can use one 8oz can of tomato sauce

1-Mexican cartel white onion

1-De La Cruz familia cilantro (bundle)

1-teaspoon salt

Optional garlic to your Hot & Spicy taste

You will need to boil Jose Enrique’s hot green jalapeno peppers and Jessica’s red tomatoes until soft and cooked.

Take the Mexican cartel cilantro bundle and rinse.  Then cut off the stems, only use the leaf. You then throw Jose Enrique’s hot jalapeno peppers  (without stems), Jessica’s red tomatoes (skinned), 1/2 of the Mexican cartel white onion, the De La Cruz cilantro, and salt into blender.

You blend to the Hot & Spicy desired consistency that you love. If you want it even hotter you need to use additional Jose Enrique’s hot green jalapeno peppers or use some serrano peppers.

Now you have your very own Jose Enrique’s Hot & Spicy salsa!

Enjoy!

Let me know how you like Jose Enrique’s Hot & Spicy Salsa ♥

P.S. I have a little story, I had a dear friend of mine (years ago) taste my homemade tamales.  Lol, she didn’t enjoy them and she said they were hard to chew. I said what you mean they were hard to chew. I’m thinking to myself that the tamales are soft (not to brag, but awesome). My friend said that she had a hard time chewing the husk, OMG, I couldn’t stop laughing. My friend was really embarrassed when she realized that she was supposed to take off the corn husk.

GhostRazer8

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Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  P.T. Macias on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://ptmacias.com/

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How to Write a Book? – Ramz Artso @RamzArtso

How to Write a Book?

I am more than sure there are hundreds of different ways to go about writing up a story, but in this post I’m going to share with you how I got about the whole process. First and foremost, read and write as much as possible. Also, watch movies, cartoons and series nonstop. The more your mind soaks up the more you’ll know.

Now, I personally believe it is essential to come up with a plot before you take off, so to speak. The more twists you have the better, too, and don’t forget to do your research. Try adding your personal character traits to the protagonists in your books, and I think you’ll find that they come out much more realistic than they would have otherwise. Pay attention to details, but not overly so. Don’t be scared to experiment, use a thesaurus and several different dictionaries – but don’t abuse them. Write what you enjoy writing. If you like vampires, then pen down a vampire story.

If you happen to experience writer’s block, just type it way until it’s gone. For you can’t afford to have writer’s block, as time never stops ticking – always remember that. If what you’ve written is rubbish, trash it and write again and again, until you’re satisfied with your story and everything feels right. Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism; on the contrary, embrace it as it’ll help you grow as a writer.  Listen to what you inner voice is telling you and try producing works of all genres – you never know what might work best for you.

Also, I personally drink Red Bull to keep me going. It keeps me focused and awake. Find your own Red Bull. Once you’ve done that, write and write, and write some more, then write again, write until your fingers start hurting, after which you should write at least one more paragraph and rest before writing again.

Ramz_cover_3_blueBG_1800x2560

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Young-adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Ramz Artso on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://ramzartso.blogspot.com/

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Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, Book 1) by Eliza Green @elizagreenbooks

Eliza Green

Two Worlds. Two Species. One Terrifying Secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science fiction dystopian adventure that you won’t want to put down.

˃˃˃ Thought Provoking SciFi, Dystopian Tale – Compulsion Reads

I would happily recommend this book to fans of dystopia, science fiction and conspiracy lovers. You will be in for an exciting ride.

˃˃˃ Excellent Use of ForeShadowing – Masquerade Crew

This book demonstrates why I read Indie books and have enjoyed doing so immensely. Yes, some self-published books don’t deserve to see the light of day, but this isn’t one of those. Far from it. It was exciting and it had mystery. It sets up the next book while still giving you closure in this one–a difficult task for a book in a series.

˃˃˃”Becoming Human”… a promising first book… 4 1/2 Stars – Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer

A well written and deftly told Sci-Fi tale that got better and better.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect withEliza Green on FacebookTwitter

Website http://www.elizagreenbooks.com

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That Cat Made Me Write This – Beca Lewis @becalewis

A black cat patrols our neighborhood. He lives in the house behind us, but I believe he only visits it for food, and maybe a brief rest.  For the rest of the day, and long into the night, he is on the move.

Although I have come to admire some of his qualities, we have a guarded relationship. The very day we moved into our home 5 summers ago, he made it clear that we were on his land, and not the other way around.  It’s not just his house and our house that he patrols.  He travels far and wide, covering at least four or five big country blocks.

One could set a timer by him.  He follows the same path, at the same time of day.  No matter what the weather – rain, snow, sleet – just like the mail carrier, he does his job.  If our garage door is open, he’ll include that in his patrol.

Sometimes we see him go by and he looks so bedraggled I have no idea how he is still moving.  A few days later, he looks as good as new. Even when his fur has obviously been shaved to patch up something that has happened to him, it grows back almost immediately.  Not magic, just that cat.

Our guarded relationship stems from his desire to sit under our bird feeders, and mine that he not come near them.  For the first year or two, I made many noises at him if I found him hiding in the bushes, or stumbled upon him while weeding the garden. I wanted to make it clear that he may not bother the birds.

Actually, at first I didn’t even want him in my yard.  Eventually, when I realized that was never going to happen, we made a miniature peace pact. He still roams the yard, and he mostly stays away from the birds.

Now, I don’t have to make noise to remind him of our agreement. If he sees me, he stops in his tracks and stares.  I stare back. Eventually he turns his back on me in distain and walks away.  His stare is scary though.  He has yellow eyes that flash across the distance, making sure I know he is looking at me, and he is not scared at all. It’s his decision to walk away, not because he is afraid of me, but he is bored with me.

I know he only stays away from the birds most of the time, and if I am not vigilant, he will return. He left a bird in our garage sometime last month – discovered just a few days ago – I am sure to remind me that he really is the one in charge, and he is just humoring me.

One day this summer, Del heard screeching and saw the cat running at break neck speed right up into our yard.  Behind him was the red fox that lives down the street, under a neighbor’s deck.  At the time, she had a little batch of babies to protect and she was furious at that cat.  The fox was the one in charge this time, but knowing that cat, I hope the fox is more vigilant than I am about what she is protecting.

How can I not admire him?  He set up a job for himself that means something.  No one makes him do it. He is like the guard on the border.  It’s as if he knows of some danger that he is must keep away from his territory.

He never lets himself, or anyone else he thinks is counting on him, down.  He is graceful, smart, protective, fast, (don’t tell him I said he is also rather good looking), and very effective.  He is diligent, prompt, and persistent.

I didn’t want to write about that cat, but every time I sat down to write, the urge to tell his story kept popping up.  I ignored it at first, but as every writer knows, when something is urging a story to be told, you might as well give up and tell it.

I hope that now that I have fulfilled that cat’s request to tell his story, he will be more likely to leave my birds alone. I know I am fooling myself. I remain diligent. Isn’t that one of the things he is teaching me?

Living In Grace

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Spirituality, Non-Fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Beca Lewis on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.becalewis.com

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Great White House by Christoph Paul @ChristophPaul_

Prologue

Most stories should not start with “it was a dark and stormy night” but this evening in Washington, DC could be described no other way. A great storm was raging, as were key members of Congress and other important figures. The politicians waited in silence staring at a blank satellite screen for the eccentric Chinese President Xi Jinping to appear and discuss the massive debt America owed China.

The group was in the East Room of the White House above the library, where a small window reflected the faces of those who had enough ‘klout’ to sit at the round table with President Obama and Vice President Biden.

It would be any news reporter's dream to sit alongside these political heavyweights, but the “China Task Force” or C.T.F. had made this a closed conference, top-secret event. So secret, even Snowden didn’t know about it.

Even if the White House let the press in, the reporters would not have made it through the heavy downpour in Washington, DC. Visibility in the city was close to zero. Normal traffic ended hours earlier as young and old government employees hunkered down in their favorite bars to weather the storm.

Now, rain poured so hard the echoes of the downpour shot through the White House, giving attention to the awkward silence in the East Room.

As the large teleprompter screen remained blank, an animated Michele Bachmann broke the silence. “I just don’t trust these Chinese, even with their food. My husband ends up having problems with his rectal area after he eats it when I’m away. You should see the fees I pay his proctologist. Thank the good Lord we don’t have ObamaCare or he wouldn’t be able to walk.”

The other members of the C.T.F. remained silent, as most believed Mr. Bachmann to be a closeted homosexual. Being the peacemaker, President Obama wanted to avoid any divisive issues. “Yes. I understand. Chinese food, though delicious, bothers my stomach and Michelle’s as well Congresswoman Bachmann.”

Joe Biden rose from his chair and headed toward the decanter on a table at the side of the room. “Hey, Barry, I thought it was only black guys that were late, not the Chinese. Ha. That's good one.”

The oft-amused Biden smiled and gave a self-satisfactory laugh. President Obama shook his head, grateful the press wasn’t here to catch another ‘JoeGaffee.’ Biden poured himself a glass of scotch as Obama popped a piece of Nicorette in his mouth.

“Since this meeting is 'not official,' I suppose it's all right to have a drink.” Biden cheered the room. He brought another cup over to Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and sat back down; the two had become close since their 2012 Vice Presidential debate and would drink over the ‘malarkey’ of the day.

Eric Cantor, next to his also-tanned counterpart Majority Leader Boehner, was fed up with the jokes. “In all seriousness, what the Chinese President is doing is a power move. It’s a psychological display of dominance. You can’t trust a communist.”

Senator Ted Cruz slammed his fist on the table. “Those commies will play mind games. I agree.”

Congresswoman Pelosi raised her hand. “Excuse me, but I’m more worried about this storm. We might be stuck here.” She gestured at the window. “This storm has gotten dangerous. I'm telling you, it's global warming. Only global warming could cause a downpour of this magnitude! My constituents are very worried about this issue and so am I.”

Democrat Senator Harry Reid and Socialist Bernie Sanders agreed but Congresswoman Bachmann and Congressman Tim Scott shook their heads in annoyance and said a silent prayer for the socialists in the room.

Other Republicans rolled their eyes at Pelosi’s statement. Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul responded, “If global warming even exists, the market will fix it. What we need to worry about is the debt. The Chinese have every right to call this emergency meeting and to want their money.”

Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner (who was called out of retirement to help out the C.T.F.) nodded in approval of Senator Paul’s market solution.

President Obama took a deep breath and offered a fake but serene glance to acknowledge Paul's statement. He put his hand up and quieted the room. “Now, now, let's not have the global warming debate right now, folks. There is talk that the Chinese are very upset about our debt and want us to pay now, which is a surprise to us all. But that is not the only reason for this emergency meeting. The NSA has heard some terrorist chatter about an attack on Annapolis that could dismantle many of our Navy’s resources. They say the Chinese might know about it. We might be in for a long night. Look, if the storm gets worse, you can sleep here; it’s a big house. We can sell to it to the press as a political sleepover. They’ll find that cute and bipartisan.”

New York Senator Schumer rubbed his temples in frustration. “Oi vey, I don’t have my Ambien.”

Senator McCaskill gave him a nice Missouri smile.

“It’s okay, Chuck. You can have some of mine. Senator Rubio, I have some bottled water if you need it, too.”

The group laughed and Senator Rubio inwardly grimaced at the overused joke but mustered a smile that only a man running for President in 2016 could pull off.

Senator McCain put down his unfinished poker game. “You pansies and your sleeping pills. When I was in Vietnam I slept on pure steel and spider shit… President Obama, sir, I’m sick of waiting for these communists. Either you call them or I will.”

President Obama saw an annoyed crowd and felt the temperature in the room rising. On days like this he was sick of being President but he knew this was not a time for self-pity. He looked out at the storm and thought of his Kenyan father herding goats in this type of downpour. His father would not have been deterred by hardships like this. The President sighed with finality. “All right, John, enough is enough. Let’s get President Xi Jinping on screen. We’ve waited long enough.”  

Great White House NEW COVER

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Genre – Fiction, Humor

Rating – PG-13

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Connect with Christoph Paul on Facebook & Twitter

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Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

Boundless

Best friends Duncan and Ray run a successful bookie business in Phoenix. Outgrowing the life they began in college, the late twenty-something pair set out on the road with a plan to never return. Their trip takes them cross-country with eventful stops in Las Vegas, Omaha, and Niagara Falls. Along their journey they meet several colorful characters and even agree to bring a pretty young girl named Ruby along with them for the ride. Landing in Boston to run an errand for an old friend, the travelers begin to lay roots in an attempt to forge for themselves the life they’d always hoped for. Easier said than done. As romances begin to burgeon, and one of their lives is put in danger, the group quickly discovers that where they are may indeed have little effect on who they are.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

Rating – R

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Website http://www.bradcotton.com/

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The Eden Plague (Plague Wars) by David VanDyke @DVanDykeAuthor

New-Eden-Plague-Kindle-Size-187x300-1

A hard-hitting military technothriller, ON SALE for a limited time. Pick it up today before it’s back to its normal $3.98 price.

A Kindle Book Review 2013 Best Indie Award Winner semi-finalist. thekindlebookreview.net/2013-book-awards/ 

Rule #1: Try not to shoot your future wife. When special operations veteran Daniel Markis finds armed invaders in his home and it all goes sideways, he soon finds himself on the run from the shadowy Company and in possession of a genetic engineering breakthrough that might throw nations into chaos. Out of options, Daniel turns to his brothers in arms to fight back and get the answers he needs. Soon he takes possession of a secret that threatens the stability of the world, as he leads a conspiracy to change everything.

Eden Plague leads readers into the exciting and engrossing Plague Wars apocalyptic-thriller series. It borrows from the traditions of Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, with shades of David Drake, Jerry Pournelle, S. M. Stirling, Vaughn Heppner and B.V. Larson.

Also from David VanDyke:

The Plague Wars Series:
- The Eden Plague
- Reaper’s Run
- The Demon Plagues
- The Reaper Plague
- The Orion Plague
- Cyborg Strike
- Comes the Destroyer

Stellar Conquest Series:
- Planetary Assault – contains First Conquest: Stellar Conquest Book 1
- Desolator: Book 2
- Tactics of Conquest: Book 3 (Winter 2013)

PG-13 for language, violence and adult situations (non-explicit)

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Genre – SciFi, Adventure

Rating – PG13

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Connect withDavid Van Dyke on FacebookTwitter

Blog https://davidvandyke.wordpress.com/

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#AmReading - An Untamed Land by Lauraine Snelling @laurainesnellin

An Untamed Land by Lauraine Snelling

Amazon

She had promised herself that once they left the fjords of Norway, she would not look back. After three long years of scrimping and saving to buy tickets for their passage to America, Roald and Ingeborg Bjorklund, along with their son, Thorliff, finally arrive at the docks of New York City. It was the promise of free land that fed their dream and lured them from their beloved home high above the fjords of Norway in 1880. Together with Roald's brother Carl and his family, they will build a good life in a new land that promises untold wealth and vast farmsteads for their children. As they join the throngs of countless immigrants passing through Castle Garden, they soon discover that nothing is as they had envisioned it. Appalled by the horrid stories of fellow immigrants bilked of all their money and forced to live in squalid living conditions, the Bjorklunds continue their long journey by train as far as Grand Forks. From there a covered wagon takes them into Dakota Territory, where they settle on the banks of the Red River. But there was no way for them to foresee the price they will have to pay to wrest a living from the indomitable land. The virgin prairie refuses to yield its treasure without a struggle. Will they be strong enough to overcome the hardships of that first winter?

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Shadows of Truth by Angie Robinson @angierobinson90

Incense wafted through the tiny room filled with books about healing, dreams, and self-actualization as I sunk into the dark brown overstuffed couch in Nola Raymond’s small office. There were pictures of dogs dotting the walls, ceramic poodles and Labradors on the shelf, and even a stuffed Dalmatian sitting next to me, quietly comforting me as I fidgeted. The gentle trickle of water flowing slowly over polished rocks in a bowl soothed my racing brain.

Decorative clips loosely held Nola’s strawberry blond curls away from each side of her face. I admired her long golden skirt adorned with embroidery and beading as I waited for her to make a few notes in a book on her cluttered desk. Suddenly, as she turned toward me, her bracelets jangled, signaling the beginning of the session.

“I understand you’re having dreams that seem disconcerting.” She spoke quietly with a lovely accent that reminded me of old New England families. “Do you recall when they began?”

“A week ago, and I’ve woken in a panic each night.”

“Ah, yes, waking in a panic is a problem.” She scribbled some notes into her notebook as she probed the history of my sleeping habits and dreams. I was relieved to be able to tell Nola everything I could remember about the strange dreams I had early in sobriety. Years ago, Sarah told me that it was normal to experience ultra vivid dreams once I stopped torturing my brain with alcohol, so I didn’t think anything about it. They subsided within the first year, but I had an eerie feeling they were coming back for some inexplicable reason.

“Do you think I’m seeing something important?” I asked.

“I think we need a lot more detail before we can determine that. You cannot live in a state of hyper-vigilance wondering when, how, and if something is about to happen to you,” she explained.

“I just want to know. I want to know what to do so I can get on with my life.” I looked at the dogs around the room hoping to get an answer since Nola sat silent. She stared at me, and I thought maybe she was reading my mind, so I thought about the dream, making it available for her to gather through extrasensory perception.

“Do you see people or animals in your dream?” she finally asked, which meant either she wasn’t reading my mind or my dream was as unclear to her as it was to me.

“I think it’s a girl.” I paused and then added, “The worst dreams, when I wake screaming, are when I think my daughter is being hurt. I just can’t handle thinking it might be her.”

Shadows of Truth

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Genre - Women’s Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Connect with Angie Robinson on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.angierobinson.com

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