Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Forever King: Surviving the Loss of My Unborn Child by Diana Sims

Author: Diana Sims
Publisher: Forever King Publishing
Pages: 78
Genre: Inspirational/Self-Help

Sims life has been one of a survivor… a survivor of grief and distraught after having lost a child. Today, she is using the journey, to help other women, who have had similar experience of losing a child, whether through early pregnancy, miscarriage or stillbirth, to have hope.

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Excerpt:
It all started on Thursday, July 3, 2014. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful summer day, clear skies, and a nice, very much appreciated breeze from the close by Santa Monica Pier. As I traveled on foot to my 36-week checkup and ultrasound, the nurse assigned to me that day gave me a biophysical profile (ultrasound and non-stress test combined) that was sent via live-feed to my doctor to view. My baby King opened his hand and closed his hand as if he was saying, “Hello.” The doctor was astonished. She said that babies at 36 weeks’ gestation usually didn’t have those motor skills yet. She said everything looked great and made my appointment for the following week. Little did I know that King was really saying, “Goodbye,” and that would be the last time I saw him alive. I walked back to the office and stayed until the end of my modified shift. I gave hugs to everyone since I was starting maternity leave the next day. On Friday, the 4th of July, 2014, hubby and the boys went to Bakersfield for the 4th of July festivities. I stayed home since I was so close to my due date. Instead of watching fireworks, I rested most of the day and then attempted to do some online shopping with a ToysRUs® gift card I had received from my coworkers. I found a cute outfit that had a crown and the wording “King” on it, and I said this would be so cute since my husband had named our son King. For some reason, their system was having issues and would not complete the order. So, I mustered up some energy and took my pregnant self to Target to get some baby clothes for King. As I was walking around in the store, I felt King getting heavy and felt that he was finally turned over and engaged since he was still breech during the ultrasound the previous day. On my way home, I grabbed some food, arrived home safely, and left the clothes in my trunk so Cory and the boys could bring them up the next day when they got home. It was so hot, I had the central air on full-blast trying to cope with the heat since I was heavily pregnant. Neighbors far off were having fun with their families setting off fireworks. Cory and our two boys Isaiah and Solomon were still in Bakersfield having a ball with the family. Cory and the boys were scheduled to come home from Bakersfield on the afternoon of July 5, 2014. Instead, he said he had an urge to come home in the early hours of July 5, 2014 since he knew King Josiah “KJ” was due soon. He kissed me, letting me know he was there, and I fell back to sleep.

Tell On You by Freda Hansburg

Author: Freda Hansburg 
Publisher: Micro Publishing Media 
Pages: 248 
Genre: Thriller

Tell on You is a psychological suspense novel that best fits within the Gone Girl-inspired niche genre of “grip lit.”   Jeremy Barrett’s obsessive love equals that of Jay Gatsby for Daisy Buchanan, as life imitates art in his private school English class. But his angst-driven infatuation brings dire consequences as he is drawn into the machinations of his disturbed 16-year-old student Nikki Jordan, whose bad intentions rival those of her teacher.  A fast-paced, drama-filled tale, Tell on You reminds readers about the wildness and trauma of adolescence—and the self-defeating behaviors to which adults resort in times of stress. From gaslighting to vicious bullying, poisonous family privilege to the loss of a parent—Freda Hansburg draws on her experience as a clinical psychologist to explore the depths of each dark situation in Tell on You.



Book Excerpt:

“OWW!!”  EIGHT-YEAR OLD Brandon Jordan screeched as his sister Nikki twisted his arm in an Indian burn.  “Nikki, stop!”
            His cries brought Mom crashing into Nikki’s room.  “Nikki, I won’t have you bullying your brother again.  Let him go this instant.”
            “But I caught him in here messing with my stuff!” Nikki gave Brandon’s arm a final wrench before releasing him.  Pouting, he scurried from her room. 
            “I don’t care what he did.  I told you, keep your hands to yourself.”  Her mother turned away, judgment delivered. 
Probably in a hurry to get back to her vodka and reality TV.  “At least when Dad was here, somebody stuck up for me,” Nikki called after her.
Mom’s angry face reappeared.  “Stuck up for you?”  A bitter laugh.  “Stuck it to you, and all of us, is more like it.”
“Wasn’t me he left,” Nikki said.
“Really?  When’s the last time he even phoned you?”  Her mother walked off with that parting shot.
“Like you’d know, bitch.”  Nikki said it under her breath, but not under enough.
“Who do you think you’re talking to?”  Mom stormed back into the room, got right up in Nikki’s face, breath boozy.  “You’re grounded for the next three days, kiddo.  Give me your car keys, right now.”
“Maa!” Nikki protested.  “How will I get to school?” 
Her mother held out her hand for the keys.  “Get up an hour early and I’ll drop you on the way to work.”
“No way!”  Nikki fished the keys from her bag and dropped them into her mother’s open palm.
“Then walk.”  Her mom headed out of the room, turning back for one last jab.  “Or call your father.”
This time Nikki closed the bedroom door before cursing her out.  Walking to school sucked, and tomorrow’s weather forecast called for cold.  Call your father.  Very funny.  Dad lived in Austin now.  But it gave her an idea.
Nikki picked up her phone to make the call, rehearsing the pitch in her mind.  I’m so lonely, Mr. B.  I’m taking care of my brother again because my mom went out.  And she forgot we were supposed to take my car in for a new battery.  And I was wishing…I know I shouldn’t ask you…but if you met me and gave me a ride to school tomorrow, I’d get to see you.  You wouldn’t have to take me right to school, just drop me nearby. 
She’d sell it to him.  And after that, she’d see about getting even with her mother and
brother.  Maybe steal Brandon’s Game Boy batteries and hide them.  And see how much
distilled white vinegar she could add to Mom’s vodka bottle before the bitch actually
 noticed.  Nobody, but nobody, got to score the winning point against Nikki Jordan.

Call to War by Andi O'Connor

Author: Andi O’Connor
Publisher: Purple Sun Press
Pages: 258
Genre: Fantasy

Darrak's adventure concludes with this thrilling finale of The Dragonath Chronicles!  

Following the betrayal of two of his trusted companions and a devastating battle in Mystandia, Darrak's talents are desperately needed by the citizens of both Earth and Dragonath. Torn with the decision of where his loyalty should remain, he finally decides to confide in Andillrian. Together, they craft a plan they hope will save Darrak's home planet, but their optimism is short-lived.

The Hellborn's army has begun the march to war.

With less than two weeks of preparation remaining, their weaknesses become unavoidably apparent. Planning for defeat suddenly becomes as important as planning for victory. Darrak's insecurities continue until the moment the first arrows begin to fly. He can only hope that help from a few unlikely sources will be enough.

For if they fail, Dragonath will fall.



Chapter One:

DARRAK STARED INTO THE FIRE, SHIVERING DESPITE the intense heat radiating from the flames. Three days had passed since he'd read the entry in Mionee's journal revealing the spell to save Earth. And he had yet to tell anyone.
He'd memorized the spell that first day, bewildered that he'd been handed the very thing he'd spent weeks tormenting over. Despite everything happening here on Dragonath, he'd never lost sight of saving his home planet. He'd spent almost every waking moment obsessing over finding a way to nullify the effects of Mionee's spell.
Then suddenly, the very woman who'd caused his people so much suffering, and who had ordered the murders of his parents, provided him with all of the answers he'd needed. In an instant, she'd lifted a tremendous weight from his shoulders. He could go home. He could save his people. He could help those on Earth repair the damage that had been done to their planet.
But he hadn't. He'd stayed on Dragonath, training to fight a war by day and mulling over his predicament at night. He couldn't leave. The people here needed him as much as those on Earth. Only he stood a chance of defeating the Hellborn, and even then, he'd need the help of every single person in Krémarra.
If he left, people all over Dragonath would be forced into slavery or killed. But if he stayed, he'd send billions of people and animals on Earth to extinction. His home would be a barren planet devoid of any life.
Running his fingers through his shoulder-length hair, he groaned, suppressing the scream lingering on the edge of his tongue. For three days, he'd kept knowledge of the spell a secret. Détaldin had pointed Darrak to the last page of the journal, obviously knowing it contained the spell. But Darrak hadn't told anyone, and he knew the warrior had remained silent. It was his responsibility to inform the others, not Détaldin's.
The stress of his deceit had begun to take its toll. He barely slept, averaging less than two hours a night. He scarcely ate, and the tiny amount of food he did manage to consume was hardly sufficient for a child less than half his size. Between his intense training and lack of calories, he'd lost so much weight over the past few days that his companions had to notice soon. It wouldn't be much longer until one of them confronted him.
Until he'd have to own up to his deception.
Just the thought of telling his dearest friends that he'd kept a key piece of information hidden from them made him want to cry. Putting an end to Earth's annihilation was partly what they'd fought for. They deserved to know their efforts hadn't been in vain. They had the right to know the spell had been found.
But he couldn't bring himself to tell them.
The question had been nagging at his conscience for days, admonishing him with its candor. He knew the answer. He feared admitting to his friends that he'd been considering abandoning them, leaving them to fight the impending war on their own. They had stood by him, following him unquestioningly even when he couldn't give them any concrete reasons for doing so. They protected him, repeatedly putting his life above their own.
And he was contemplating repaying them by doing something they'd vowed never to do to him—desert them in their darkest hour. That wasn't something any decent person would do, let alone someone who claimed to be a dear friend.
Darrak lowered his gaze to his hands and stared at his bony fingers with disinterest. He recalled how angry and confused he'd been when Ipzaag and Anarra had abandoned him. They'd been completely unwilling to accept Andillrian's account of the dragons' history or welcome Wystra into the company.
Anarra's betrayal particularly stung. She'd been the first person outside of his parents that he'd ever felt comfortable opening up to. She'd seemingly cared enough to persist with her questions and break through the walls he'd built around himself. He'd felt an unexplainable connection to her. A sudden connection. At the time, he thought it was love, but he'd been mistaken. Still, they'd shared something special. Something he’d believed would never be broken. Something he'd been looking forward to cherishing for the rest of his life.
And then in a matter of seconds, it had vanished.
The pain of losing that connection was almost as bad as the pain he’d experienced when he realized his parents were dead. No, he thought, ashamed that the comparison had even popped into his mind. That wasn't quite accurate. Nothing could ever equate to the deaths of his parents.
All the same, Anarra's betrayal had left him with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. It reaffirmed part of why he had always been reluctant to befriend anyone. He'd trusted Anarra when she told him that she’d always be there for him. But he shouldn't have. Instead, he should have followed the instincts that had served him well for the first nineteen years of his life.
And now, he pondered becoming the very thing he despised. He sat on the edge of his bed, having practically convinced himself to turn his back on those he loved.
I can't leave.
The thought popped into his mind so forcefully it took him by surprise. Letting Earth fall victim to Mionee's spell was an unforgivable act. But with his parents dead, he didn't have anyone on his home planet that he cherished. Hardly anyone there knew of him, and no one was aware of his power to save them. If he turned his back on Earth, he wouldn’t betray anyone’s trust in him.
Here, that wasn't the case. Here, everyone in Krémarra knew him and expected him to lead them to victory. Here, he had friends he cared deeply for: Wystra, Iornwen, Selantia, Rorend, Thraklauz.
Just thinking her name caused his heart to flutter. He honestly had no idea why. After the failure of his relationship with Anarra, he was reluctant to call any emotion love. But something definitely existed between him and Andillrian. Whatever it was, he couldn't tell her he'd decided to return to Earth. He couldn't leave her and the others here to die knowing all his words of loyalty had been utter lies.
His gaze shot up in surprise when a knock sounded at the door adjoining his room to Andillrian's.
“Come in,” he said, staring straight ahead into the fire. He was taken aback at how weary his voice sounded. The tone was almost hollow, as if he'd been drained of his soul.
The familiar squeak of the door opening resounded from behind him. Keeping his gaze fixed on the dancing flames, he listened to the sound of Andillrian's footsteps as she made her way across the stone floor. Expecting her to sit next to him like she usually did, he met her gaze in confusion when she stopped before him. Even though she was only about five feet tall, she seemed to tower over him.
“You aren't eating,” she stated pragmatically.
“You certainly don't mince your words, do you?”
“You aren't sleeping either,” she continued, ignoring his statement. “I hear you pacing around your room at all hours of the night. You can't go on like this, Darrak. You're killing yourself.”
Darrak's heart began to race, and he tried to control his breathing. This was the moment he'd been dreading. “I knew it wouldn't be much longer until you said something,” he admitted.
“Of course I said something. I noticed almost immediately and thought perhaps you'd come and talk to me. But I couldn't stay silent any longer. I'm surprised you haven't yet collapsed during your training, and I wasn't about to wait for you to do so.”
Andillrian held up her hand, and for the first time he noticed she held a yal fruit, a small, yellow fruit similar to an apple, but with a distinct bitterness that he had yet to learn to enjoy.
“Eat,” she ordered, dropping the fruit into his open palms.
Holding it up to his lips, he reluctantly took a bite. His lips puckered as the sour juice rushed into his dry mouth. Closing his eyes, he chewed, wishing away the horrid taste. It usually took two or three bites until he became accustomed to the bitterness of the fruit, but somehow, he knew this instance would take longer.
He swallowed, cringing when the fruit slid down his throat. He looked up expectantly at Andillrian, hoping that since she had seen him take a bite she'd be satisfied, but her stern expression didn't budge. It was like she'd taken on the role of his mother waiting for him to eat his peas, prepared to stand over him for the rest of the night until he'd finished the task.
Slumping his shoulders forward in defeat, Darrak braced himself and took another bite. Andillrian continued to stand over him while he begrudgingly ate the rest of the yal fruit. It seemed like hours until he finally had nothing but the core remaining. Doing his best to suppress a burp, he wrapped the remains of the fruit in a hanky and placed it on his bedside table.
His stomach felt like it was seconds away from bursting, and he had to force himself to ignore the pains beginning to ravage his abdomen. He didn't want Andillrian to see how much discomfort eating one small piece of fruit had caused him. It stood as proof that he'd been more reckless with his health than he wanted to admit, particularly to Andillrian.  He didn't want her to know exactly how delicate his situation had become in just three short days. She worried enough about him as it was. He didn't need to add to her concern.
“That seemed to prove more of a chore than it should have been,” Andillrian said, still not budging from her spot. “I've seen you eat those before. You may not be fond of them, but it's never taken you that long to finish. Your stomach can't even handle that tiny amount of food, can it? Were you planning on starving yourself to death?”
“No, I...I don't know. I just...I've had a great deal on my mind lately. It's taken away my desire to eat. I've developed an aversion. Even the thought of food makes me queasy.” He looked up at her. Her rich brown eyes overflowed with a combination of sternness and compassion. “I know that's not really an excuse,” he admitted, suddenly feeling like the most selfish prick in the universe.
The harshness in her tone didn't abate. “No,” she said, “it isn't.”
Not knowing what to say, he averted his gaze and stared at his hands in silence. No words seemed appropriate. An apology didn't make up for how self-centered he'd been acting. Nothing could take away the pain he'd caused both himself and Andillrian. Talking with her had brought everything to light and made his dilemma over leaving seem so straightforward.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity and mulling over the situation himself, he should have discussed it with her and worked to come to a logical solution. In doing so, he would've saved both of them a great deal of emotional grief, and he wouldn't have put himself in such a physically fragile position. Rather than taking the sensible course of action, he'd allowed everything to become more convoluted and stressful than it needed to be.
“I brought you another for later,” Andillrian said, breaking the silence. She tossed him a slightly larger yal fruit; he caught it, unable to keep his lips from creeping into a slight smile. “I'll sit here again and watch you eat if I have to.”
A small laugh escaped his lips. “I know you will. And I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.”
Finally letting down her guard, she sat next to him on the bed, like she'd done every night since their arrival in Krémarra. Their shoulders were less than an inch apart, and her warmth seeped through his thin linen tunic to his skin beneath. The faint vanilla scent of her hair wafted through the air. Breathing in deeply, he relished the simple yet glorious sensation with every part of his being.
He wanted to put his arm around her and hold her close, clinging on to the moment for all eternity. But instead, he sat rigidly next to her, continuing to stare at his hands resting in his lap.
“What's on your mind?”
The seriousness of Andillrian's question jerked him away from his thoughts, reminding him that until this mess was sorted he couldn't allow himself to indulge in even the simplest of pleasures. People on both planets were dying. He needed to save them.
Not answering, he reached beneath his pillow and slid out the worn leather notebook. “This belonged to Mionee,” he said in answer to Andillrian's quizzical look. “Détaldin gave it to me shortly after he arrived with Katriel. It's Mionee's personal journal and contains some extremely interesting and rather heartbreaking information. Some of what she's experienced, particularly at the hands of King Denthald, are the most horrific accounts of abuse and rape I've ever read about. Though, I don't think her experience under the Hellborn will fare any better.”
The compassion in Andillrian's voice touched his heart. “I've always known you to be an extremely empathetic person, Darrak. I can only imagine the graphic details of Mionee's entries. It's natural for something like that to affect you so deeply.
“I've spoken with Détaldin a number of times over the past few days. Despite all of the atrocities Mionee has committed, he loves her. He sees the honesty in her repentance. He saw the good in her when no one else did. Truthfully, it's appalling and rather unfortunate that most of the people throughout Dragonath will never come to see her as anything but the villain she once was.
“Mionee not only recognized her mistakes but admitted to them—not just to others but to herself. She rose above the despicable path she'd set for herself and transformed into a better person than most who will continue to judge her long after she's dead. Like Détaldin you're a truly wonderful man to recognize the person Mionee has become and sympathize with the terrors she's faced. But you can't allow the recounts of her torture to rule your life. Use it. Learn from it just like Mionee did. Use it to make our world a better place.”
Darrak shook his head. “No. You don't understand. Although what you say is true, that's not what's been consuming my mind.”
Opening the leather notebook to the last page, he handed it to Andillrian. Cocking her head in an unspoken question, she took it and began to read. Long, gut-wrenching moments passed before she closed the journal. Looking up, she met his gaze, a sense of understanding finally evident in her large eyes.
“You don't know where to go,” she said, compassion evident in her voice.
She reached for his hand but pulled it back quickly. Her eyes widened in horror.
“You don't know who to save.”
“I want to save everyone!”
He grabbed the journal from her and clutched it against his chest. Standing abruptly, he started pacing before her.
“I want to save both planets and the billions of people suffering! I want to help those on Earth rebuild their communities, and I want to do the same for those here on Dragonath. I want to make sure neither world endures the same kind of carnage again. I want to make sure Halla or any magic is never again used for such corrupt motives!”
Tears of frustration began to run down his gaunt cheeks. “How can I? How can I be on both planets at once? I can't! I can't turn my back on my people! But I also can't turn my back on my new home and those I love!”
Andillrian pulled him toward her before wrapping her arms around him and holding him tightly. He buried his face in the crook of her neck, sobbing uncontrollably. Stroking his hair, she gently rocked him back and forth. “It'll be all right, Darrak,” she whispered into his ear. “I'm here for you. We'll find a way to save both planets. I promise.”
After what seemed an eternity, his sobs slowed to short, pathetic whimpers. Grasping his shoulders, Andillrian pushed him away slightly and lifted his chin, forcing him to meet her gaze. She had such a look of determination in her eyes he couldn't help but believe her words.
“You won't need to turn your back on anyone.”

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pop-Out Girl by Irene Woodbury

Author: Irene Woodbury
Publisher: SynergEbooks
Pages: 188
Genre: Commercial Fiction

When Zane Hollister returns home to Las Vegas after two years in prison and discovers his showgirl-lover is with another guy, he goes ballistic. After stalking and taunting the couple for months, his toxic jealousy takes a darker turn. To wipe out Colton, Zane masterminds a devilish zip line accident and a terrifying car crash. When those fail, he resorts to kidnapping Jen and forcing her to marry him. And it gets even worse when Zane shoots Colton’s boss, Matt, by mistake as he aims for Colton in a horrific drive-by shooting.
With Matt lingering in a coma, Jen’s cocktail-waitress mother, Brandi, absorbs a seismic shock of her own. After hearing Matt’s name on the local news, she realizes he’s her first love of decades past—and Jen’s real father.
Will Matt emerge from his coma to reunite with Brandi and Jen? Do the cops nab Zane, who’s hiding out in Hawaii? And can Jen and Colton’s love survive Zane’s lethal jealousy?
There’s a happy ending for some, but not for all, in Pop-Out Girl.


Amazon | Smashwords

Book Excerpt:
Jen was a romantic who loved weddings. From the time she was a little girl, she had daydreamed about her own, conjuring up elaborate fantasies about the dress, cake, and flowers. And so when she got an invitation to attend her friend, Carly’s, festive nuptials in Reno, she immediately RSVP’d that she’d be there.
         Getting out of Las Vegas for a fun-filled, relaxing weekend was just what Jen needed. She was still on a leave of absence from her job as a pop-out girl, a gig she loved that entailed emerging from a six-foot, multi-tiered cake and then singing, dancing, and stripping down to a teensy bikini for hordes of admiring guests at special events.
         Curvy, blond Jen was a huge hit, one of the most popular girls at Stripper Grams. But after a scary car crash, she had gone on leave and was now filling her days with dance classes, lunches with friends, and singing lessons. None of that got her through the weekends, though, which were long and lonely without Colton, her boyfriend who was out in San Francisco recovering from injuries sustained in that same freakish accident. Carly’s invitation couldn’t have come at a better time.
         Jen’s very cool, cocktail-waitress mother, Brandi, ran all over town with her to find the perfect dress. They finally chose a dove-gray silk and lace gown that would work well for a winter wedding. Jen was going to make the seven-hour drive to Reno with her friend, Brianna, another pop-out girl and one of Carly’s six bridesmaids.
         On a cold, dreary Friday morning in January 2017, an excited Jen waited to be picked up at eight. At least that’s what she’d told her mom, who was still at work, earlier. She had packed a suitcase and was flitting around the house, doing last-minute chores.
         At the stroke of seven, the doorbell rang. For an instant, Jen wondered why Brianna would arrive an hour early, but she was pumped to go so she flung open the door. To her horror, it wasn’t Brianna. There on the doorstep stood Zane Hollister, her toxically jealous ex-boyfriend who’d been making her life hell since he got out of prison six months earlier.
         Jen’s heart dropped. She gasped in fright and tried to close the door, but Zane quickly shoved his arm out and blocked her. She stared up at him, six feet of dark, brooding menace in black jeans and a worn biker jacket, hovering over her. His neck-length dark hair was a bit ragged and disheveled, his brown eyes glassy and bloodshot. He was obviously high on pills, maybe uppers, maybe downers, maybe a combination of both.
         “Hey beautiful, what’s up?” he purred in a slightly slurry, faux-light voice as he barged into the house, closing the door behind him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Can Find You by Joss Landry

Title: I CAN FIND YOU (Emma Willis Series #2)
Author: Joss Landry
Publisher: Book Beatles Publishing LTD.
Pages: 372
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Emma just turned fifteen. Her powers have spiraled to include unusual magic, and she gladly relies on Hank and Christina’s friendship to mark the way. Thomas Carson’s feelings for Emma have changed, her aunt Franka tells her—a young man her aunt describes as a young buck whose testosterone plays a big role in his life.

New friends around Emma surprise her. They appear to be like nothing she could have imagined, and their goals stir more disturbance than their presence until she bumps into the scourge of her existence: entities who wish to control what humans do and say. She learns they are powerful, vindictive and will stop at nothing to obtain what they want. Will Emma be able to protect the people she loves?



Book Excerpt:

Emma’s long hair stuck to her temples and her back in clumps and tangles. A dense fog enveloped her, and though she wore an old style black cloak, the cold mist penetrated her garment and chilled her to the bone.
After walking in this strange land for what seemed like hours instead of the mere minutes she suspected to be the dream’s timespan, Emma still ignored why she roamed about the alien land—a strange dream Emma doubted she would fight to remember upon waking—her attempts to wake up ineffective. 
A carriage strode by, the big wheel close enough to scrape the side of her leg. A disheveled young man sat hunched at the helm of a horse-drawn cart. He nudged the reins of two black Percherons slowly traveling up a cobblestone road. Shabby clothes, unkempt tousled dark hair, his head followed the cadence of the horses’ slow gait, like one of those toys in perpetual motion, and the word mendicant crossed Emma’s mind.
 She caught a brief impression of his thoughts as he rode passed her, warning her, of what? A sense of danger and doom filled her mind, but his words briefly captured dissolved in the fog and disappeared useless to her now.  
An echo surprised her in the distance. Too loud to be a woodpecker, the sound became sharper like the wrap of knuckles on a sturdy piece of wood.
Emma opened her eyes startled by her mom’s words through her bedroom door. She stared at the light coming through the window revealing the late hour. She glanced at the clock and clutched her heart from the thump in her chest kicking her out of bed. “I’m up, Mom.” Gathering her thoughts along with her clothes, she wondered where the word mendicant came from. 
She tripped over a corner of the sheet still caught between her legs and bounced her shoulder against the door frame. Late again, twice in one week to Mr. Wright’s class. Her social studies’ teacher warned them. He would not tolerate tardies. 
“Sorry, Mom. Hope you’re finished with the bathroom. Can’t figure why I overslept this time,” she said more to reassure her mother from worrying that she’d fought all night with frightening dreams.
“I’ll use the one downstairs, sweetie. Are you going to be all right to get to school?”
Sensing her mother’s question to be rhetorical, the light in those big brown eyes flashing the desperation she would be late herself if she drove Emma to school, Emma nodded with a toothpaste filled smile. She gargled to rinse making her eyes water from the burn of mouthwash and toothpaste. “Go, Mom. Don’t worry about me. I’ll hop a bus.” Of course, since her mom now owned the flower shop, she needed to be there earlier than in the olden days when she worked as a mere employee.
With twenty minutes to spare before she needed to be butt in chair, a little math equation ran through her thoughts. Seven minutes to get to school by car. Dad left for work, and Mom is headed in the opposite direction. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with George Finney

GEORGE FINNEY, ESQ., has worked in Cybersecurity for over 15 years and is the author of No More Magic Wands: Transformative Cybersecurity Change for Everyone. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Southern Methodist University where he has also taught on the subject of Corporate Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Mr. Finney is an attorney and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional as well as a Certified Information Security Systems Professional and has spoken on Cybersecurity topics across the country.



About the Book:

Once upon a time there was a company that made magic wands, but when they were hacked all the magic in the world couldn’t prevent their data from being stolen. If that company had a chance for a clean start, what would they have done differently? The unlikely hero isn’t a security guy. She’s a business elf who makes it her mission to change the way her company does business from the top down.

Most books on Cybersecurity are written for highly technical professionals, focus on specific compliance regulations, or are intended for reference. No More Magic Wands is takes complex security concepts and puts them into practice in easy to read, relateable stories.

No More Magic Wands is available at AMAZON

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I started writing the book while I was teaching an undergraduate class on cybersecurity.  It was a great way to generate ideas, because I was looking at all of the things that I had come across in my career with new eyes so that I could teach it.  At the same time, I started researching how the most successful books on management and leadership go about delivering their material.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I met with a few agents and publishers as I was finishing the book.  They were all very supported and I guess I’m still interested in traditional publishing.  But I wanted to make the book as good as I possibly could, and I realized that I was holding back a little since I knew the traditional publishing route would involve a lot of editing and changes.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I actually worked with several editors, and I was able to learn enough from that process and online resources to do it on my own.  There are a lot of very technical steps that you have to follow.  One challenge for me was that I use both Mac and PC, and going back and fourth between them, I realized that the different versions of Word have some different features, like embedding fonts, that drove me crazy.  I’ll definitely hire this out next time.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

I wanted to make the book as affordable as possible.  I’m not out to make a ton of money, I really just want to get the book in to people’s hands.  I’ve run several free promotions and I’ve gotten over a thousand downloads on Amazon, so I think I’m doing pretty well.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

I wanted to release it in the early Fall, since October is National Cyber Security Preparedness Month.

How did you choose your cover?

I actually designed the cover myself using some iStock photo animations and by creating my own font.  I was inspired by the TV show, Mr. Robot, a little.  The cover is a generic magician with just some hands, a moustache, and a tophat.  But it also looks a lot like the mask and tophat they use in the show.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I do a little of both.  I write by the seat of my pants, which often means I’ll be editing on the fly as I change things or take things in different directions.  But I also was very methodical about editing once I was done…I think I spent about half as much time editing the book as it took me to write.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book? 

I’ve done some giveaways with the book, and I realized that with the whole Harry Potter thing, there are a ton of magic wand props you can buy.  I’ve given away a few along with the book.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

I’ve thought about it, but just haven’t had the time!

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

This is my primary marketing strategy!  With digital copies of your book, it doesn’t cost you anything to give copies away.  And when I’ve run free promotions on Amazon, there is always a bump in sales afterwards as people get the word out.  But giving away print copies is also crucial.  I’ve been able to get copies in the hands of influential people at conferences or at lunch meetings.  Whatever I can do to keep the conversation going is important to the success of the book.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Get feedback – you need other people to help your writing get better.  You need a small focus group or a writers group to make sure you’re not writing something that makes sense and resonates with your audience.

Edit – if you don’t have at least 4 or 5 different drafts of just edited versions after you’re finished, you’re doing something wrong.  One of my biggest breakthroughs happened in the editing process, and it took a ton of work to make all the changes, but it really made the book so much better.

Talk about it! – don’t keep you life’s work a secret!  Bounce ideas off of people.  Get to know what your audience thinks.  Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas…nobody will be as passionate about your work as you.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Keep talking about it!  Keep writing!  Find your next project!

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I’ve set up a blog and facebook page.  I signed up for several professional review services like Kirkus, which have all been wonderful.  There is so much support out there for writers who have finished a book, lots of folks want to help you, it’s been a great process.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Part of writing the book has energized me about my career and I want to keep that momentum going.  I’m working on a new book through my blog.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

I love hearing from my readers.  Look up my blog and let me know what you think, 

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with 'Surgeon's Story' Mark Oristano & Giveaway! @surgeonsstory

Mark Oristano has been a professional writer/journalist since the age of 16.

After growing up in suburban New York, Oristano moved to Texas in 1970 to attend Texas Christian University.  A major in Mass Communications, Mark was hired by WFAA-TV in 1973 as a sports reporter, the start of a 30-year career covering the NFL and professional sports.

Mark has worked with notable broadcasters including Verne Lundquist, Oprah Winfrey and as a sportscaster for the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network and Houston Oilers Radio Network.  He has covered Super Bowls and other major sports events throughout his career.  He was part of Ron Chapman’s legendary morning show on KVIL-FM in Dallas for nearly 20 years.

In 2002 Oristano left broadcasting to pursue his creative interests, starting a portrait photography business and becoming involved in theater including summer productions with Shakespeare Dallas. He follows his daughter Stacey’s film career who has appeared in such shows as Friday Night Lights and Bunheads.

A veteran stage actor in Dallas, Mark Oristano was writer and performer for the acclaimed one-man show “And Crown Thy Good: A True Story of 9/11.”

Oristano authored his first book, A Sportscaster’s Guide to Watching Football: Decoding America’s Favorite Game. A Sportcaster’s Guide offers inside tips about how to watch football, including stories from Oristano’s 30-year NFL career, a look at offense, defense and special teams, and cool things to say during the game to sound like a real fan.

In 2016 Oristano finished his second book, Surgeon’s Story, a true story about a surgeon that takes readers inside the operating room during open heart surgery. His second book is described as a story of dedication, talent, training, caring, resilience, guts and love.

In 1997, Mark began volunteering at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, working in the day surgery recovery room. It was at Children’s that Mark got to know Kristine Guleserian, MD, first to discuss baseball, and later, to learn about the physiology, biology, and mystery of the human heart. That friendship led to a joint book project, Surgeon’s Story, about Kristine’s life and career.
Mark is married and has two adult children and two grandchildren.



About the Book:

What is it like to hold the beating heart of a two-day old child in your hand?  What is it like to counsel distraught parents as they make some of the most difficult decisions of their lives?

Noted pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Kristine Guleserian has opened up her OR, and her career, to author Mark Oristano to create Surgeon’s Story - Inside OR-6 With a top Pediatric Heart Surgeon. 

Dr. Guleserian’s life, training and work are discussed in detail, framed around the incredibly dramatic story of a heart transplant operation for a two-year old girl whose own heart was rapidly dying.  Author Mark Oristano takes readers inside the operating room to get a first-hand look at pediatric heart surgeries most doctors in America would never attempt.

That’s because Dr. Guleserian is recognized as one of the top pediatric heart surgeons in America, one of a very few who have performed a transplant on a one-week old baby. Dr. Guleserian (Goo-liss-AIR-ee-yan) provided her expertise, and Oristano furnished his writing skills, to produce A Surgeon’s Story.

As preparation to write this stirring book, Oristano spent hours inside the operating room at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas watching Guleserian perform actual surgeries that each day were life or death experiences. Readers will be with Dr. Guleserian on her rounds, meeting with parents, or in the Operating Room for a heart transplant.

Oristano is successful sportscaster and photographer and has made several appearances on stage as an actor. He wrote his first book A Sportscaster’s Guide to Watching Football: Decoding America’s Favorite Game, and continues to volunteer at Children’s Medical Center.

“We hear a lot about malpractice and failures in medical care,” says Oristanto, “but I want my readers to know that parts of the American health care system work brilliantly. And our health care system will work even better if more young women would enter science and medicine and experience the type of success Dr. Guleserian has attained.” 

Readers will find all the drama, intensity, humor and compassion that they enjoy in their favorite fictionalized medical TV drama, but the actual accounts in Surgeon’s Story are even more compelling. One of the key characters in the book is 2-year-old Rylynn who was born with an often fatal disorder called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and was successfully treated by Dr. Guleserian.

Watch the Book Trailer at YouTube.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I did no research before beginning. However, once I started the project, as the book is about heart disease in children, I had to do copious research in anatomy, physiology, cardiac anatomy and more.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I had a lit. agent in New York who had interest from several publishers. But all those publishers wanted Surgeon’s Story to be in the first-person voice of Dr. Guleserian, the subject. She refused, saying it was too egotistical. So, we went the self-publishing route.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

The very good people at Authority Publishing handled all that.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

Again, with Authority Publishing.

How did you choose your cover?

The cover features one of my photos of Dr. Guleserian in the operating room. The graphic designer had read the book, and was fascinated by the fact that Dr. G is only five feet tall. He wanted to do a photo of her in the OR with the rest of her team, and all the others would be so tall that their photos would be cut off at the shoulders. I told him the book was not about a short person who operates, but about an intensely intelligent, extremely talented woman who cuts open children’s chests and fixes their hearts, and the photo I gave him shows that. So, that’s the photo we used!

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I always edit as I go. And Dr. G had a major editing hand as well, both making sure that medical facts were correct, and that her copious quotes in the book were accurate.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

A trailer was made by my publicist which I revised a bit. Here’s the link, although I probably need to update the end.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

OK in moderation.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Write the best book you can.
Rewrite the best book you can.
Edit the best book you can.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Do five things a day to promote the book.
Don’t accept less than your goals.
Give ‘em hell.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?

Facbook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. Mostly Facebook.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

I figure I’ll spend at least the next year to year-and-a-half as a book promoter and marketer.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

If you ever watched Chicago Hope, ER, St. Elsewhere, Gray’s Anatomy, or any other medical show, in Surgeon’s Story, Dr. G and I will show you what REALLY goes on.

Mark Oristano is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight July 28.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on July 29.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Discovery by Louis Kraft & Robert S. Goodman MD

Author: Louis Kraft & Robert S. Goodman MD
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 311
Genre: Legal Thriller

In THE DISCOVERY by Robert S. Goodman and Louis Kraft, a young obstetrician/gynecologist delivers a premature baby after attending a dinner party. The child survives the delivery, but complications lead to a malpractice lawsuit two decades later.
In 1952, a pregnant seventeen-year-old gives birth in a Los Angeles hospital. Two nurses attend to the young woman while they wait for the doctor on call to arrive for the delivery. Dr. Harry Chapman arrives at the hospital clearheaded but with alcohol on his breath. The premature baby is born blue and placed in an incubator. The nurses turn the oxygen to the level recommended to pediatricians for preemies the year before to prevent blindness. When the baby’s color doesn’t change, Harry instructs the nurses to turn the oxygen up to maximum. They protest, but Harry insists that the nurses comply to save the baby from brain damage or death.
In 1972, Greg Weston, a twenty-year-old paralegal meets a young woman who works with a renowned pediatrician. When she questions the attractive young man about his blindness, Greg reveals that his adoptive parents told him he was born blind. After agreeing to see the doctor Gail works for, Greg becomes aware that his blindness may have occurred as a result of physician error. Greg requests his medical records from the hospital and the adoption agency, and he finds that the hospital records tell a different story about what took place after his birth. In both records, Dr. Harry Chapman is indicated as the doctor who delivered him. Greg shares his findings with a partner in his law firm, and they build a case against Dr. Chapman based on fraudulent changes in the hospital records, which allows the statute of limitations to be thrown out.
After Harry receives word that he is being sued, his attorney advises him that the malpractice insurance he carried in 1952 will not cover even a fraction of the multimillion-dollar lawsuit. The stress and uncertainty of the case, along with the accusation of fraud, breaks Harry, leading him down a road of depression and alcohol dependence. As Harry’s wife, Helen, watches her husband deteriorate, she makes an unthinkable choice to put an end to the plaintiff’s case.
In THE DISCOVERY, the authors connect the lives of two individuals across two decades, exposing vulnerabilities, bitterness, and frailties. As the case moves forward, a key witness’s testimony alters the lives of both men.
In writing THE DISCOVERY, Goodman and Kraft’s intentions were to offer readers multidimensional characters with real-world problems and to bring awareness to the severe affect malpractice lawsuits can have on physicians’ professional and personal lives.
The Discovery is available at Amazon.
Book Excerpt:
An hour later Martin pulled into Harry’s driveway and parked next to Sid’s car. Harry, who rode shotgun, swung the door open and ran to the front door, where he fumbled with his keys. Sid opened the door and waved him inside.
“You seem like a man in a rush,” Sid said.
“Only to those who peer out of windows!” Harry pushed past Sid and rushed into the living room. He didn’t see Helen and moved into the kitchen. No Helen. Harry ran to the family room, but it was empty. He looked at the bar.
“Thirsty?” Sid said from behind him.
Harry ignored the comment. “Where’s Helen?”
“In your bedroom.”
Harry crossed to the couch in front of the TV set and slumped into it.
Sid sat next to him. “From a man in a hurry, it appears that you’ve suddenly run out of gas.”
“Look, pal, I know a hell of a lot more than you do.”
“Really? You don’t say, Harry. Well, I’ve got news for you. You don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground!”
Harry glared at Sid, as he formed a fist.
Sid smirked. “Go ahead and swing away.”
“What’s going on here?” Harry said as he relaxed his hand.
“Don’t ask me; ask your wife.”
Surprised, Harry leaned back on the couch. “What are you talking about?”
“I sure as hell know!”
“Tell me!”
“Nope. You want to know, you talk to Helen.”
“She won’t talk to me.”
“Maybe she will.”
“Tell me!”
“I promised Helen that I wouldn’t repeat what she told me. To anyone.
Harry had no idea what Sid spoke of and glared at him. “You know, sometimes you are a real pain in the ass.”
“And you’re a complete schmuck. Look Harry, you had better talk with her.” Harry didn’t move. “Now!”
Allen leaned into the room. “Is everything okay?”
“Yep,” Sid said, “couldn’t be better.”
“Then join us.”
“Soon.” He turned back to Harry. “For the last time Harry, get upstairs and talk to Helen.”
Harry stood but then glared at Sid.
“Harry, use your heart when you listen to her.”
“What are you talk—?” Suddenly frightened, Harry ran to the staircase and leaped up the steps two at a time. The door to their bedroom was closed. Harry opened it and stepped into the room. It was empty, but then the door to the bathroom opened and Helen appeared. Her hair was wet and dangled over her shoulders. She had an oversized towel wrapped around her body.
“What do you want?”