Friday, December 14, 2018

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with 'The Water is Wide' Laura Vosika @lauravosika #interviews


“Niall, he’s cold.”
Niall’s knife remained pointed at the boy. “Which soldiers?”
“They were English, Milord. Meaning no offense, Milord.” His teeth clattered again. “If you’re English.”
“Niall!” Shawn stepped forward, his anger growing. “He’s just a kid! He’s about to....”
Before he finished, the boy collapsed. Shawn was under him, catching his sagging body before it hit the ground.

From The Water is Wide by Laura Vosika


Laura Vosika is a writer, poet, and musician. Her time travel series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, set in modern and medieval Scotland, has garnered praise and comparisons to writers as diverse as Diana Gabaldon and Dostoevsky. Her poetry has been published in The Moccasin and The Martin Lake Journal 2017.

She has been featured in newspapers, on radio, and TV, has spoken for regional book events, and hosted the radio program Books and Brews. She currently teaches writing at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

As a musician, Laura has performed as on trombone, flute, and harp, in orchestras, and big bands. She lives in Brooklyn park with 5 of her 9 children, 3 cats, and an Irish Wolfhound.

Her latest book is the time travel/historical fiction, The Water is Wide.



After his failure to escape back to his own time, Shawn is sent with Niall on the Bruce’s business. They criss-cross Scotland and northern England, working for the Bruce and James Douglas, as they seek ways to get Shawn home to Amy and his own time.

Returning from the Bruce’s business, to Glenmirril, Shawn finally meets the mysterious Christina. Despite his vow to finally be faithful to Amy, his feelings for Christina grow. 

In modern Scotland, having already told Angus she’s pregnant, Amy must now tell him Shawn is alive and well—in medieval Scotland. Together, they seek a way to bring him back across time.
They are pursued by Simon Beaumont, esteemed knight in the service of King Edward, has also passed between times. Having learned that Amy’s son will kill him—he seeks to kill the infant James first.

The book concludes with MacDougall’s attack on Glenmirril, Amy and Angus’s race to be there and Shawn’s attempt to reach the mysterious tower through the battling armies.

Interview:

Welcome Laura! Your book, The Water is Wide, sounds absolutely thrilling! Can we begin by having you tell us the meaning of the title in relation to the book?


Laura: There are a couple of reasons for the title. The Water is Wide is the third in a 5-volume story that started with Blue Bells of Scotland. The whole story centers on a world famous--and infamous--classical musician. Think Yo-Yo Ma or James Galway with a trombone and a bad boy persona. Shawn Kleiner's signature piece is Blue Bells of Scotland, based on an old folk song and arranged as a theme and variations for trombone to show what the instrument can do.

Because the story started with a folk song as a title, I continued with folk songs. The Water is Wide is a lament about the difficulty of getting over the water, and about love. In the book, Shawn Kleiner, modern musician, has been trapped in medieval Scotland for more than a year. His goal is to cross time and make amends to his girlfriend, Amy, for all the pain he has caused her in the past--or, in this case, in the future! 

Like the lyrics of the song, there is a great divide that he must somehow cross, and like the song, the book is also about love.


What is it that drew you to writing time travel stories?


Laura: I've always been captivated by tales of traveling into other realms, whether that's to another world or another time. Some of my favorite stories as a child were In the Keep of Time and Andrew's Attic, both of which involve children going back in time. In In the Keep of Time, four siblings go up in a castle tower in Scotland and emerge in the 1500s. 

In my story, the reader will recognize a similar element, of the castle tower apparently causing the switch in time--at least at first. In mine, however, two men switch places, originally. 


Can you tell us a little about the main characters?


Laura: The two main characters throughout the series are Shawn Kleiner, modern orchestral superstar, and Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Shawn was, in his own world, a wealthy, arrogant, and self-centered man who liked wine, women, and gambling. Niall was everything Shawn wasn't--devout to his faith and devoted to a cause greater than himself.

As they share identical looks, and the Laird of Glenmirril, Niall's home, doesn't know what to do with Shawn, they spend most of their time together, taking turns 'being Niall.' By their second year together, Shawn has done a lot of reflection on his former self, while Niall has begun to face his own faults. They have moved from two men who look down on one another to friends, as they work for Robert the Bruce in the aftermath of Bannockburn.

There are many others who play large parts in the story: Amy, a gifted violinist and Shawn's girlfriend on whom he cheated, who is regaining confidence in the absence of Shawn's gaslighting; Angus, the Scottish police detective she falls in love with when she believes Shawn is dead; the Laird of Glenmirril and his giant of a brother, Hugh; Allene, Niall's determined and strong-minded wife; and Christina, a serene and strong young noblewoman rescued from the MacDougalls, with whom Shawn falls in love.


They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. Can you tell give us one of the pivotal points in your book?


Laura: I've been told this really happens in book one, Blue Bells of Scotland, when Shawn wakes up the morning after being left in the tower! By the time readers reach The Water is Wide, the question are many: Will Shawn find his way home? Will he leave Christina, who he has come to love, only to find that Amy, for whom he is returning, has fallen in love with another man in his absence? Then, of course, there are the adventures and dangers of medieval Scotland and the question of if and how Shawn and Niall will survive their battles with Clan MacDougall and the English. Many readers, I believe, love the books for their detailing of lesser known historical incidents, too.


Can you explain to us why it was important for you to write your story?


Laura: I suspect this is true for many authors: Shawn and Niall were simply alive in my head, as was their story. They had to be let out. Shawn seemed to exist, fully formed, in my mind from before I ever started writing the story. Niall, likewise, seemed to simply be who he was, a complete and knowable personality, from the moment I 'saw' him waking up in the same castle, in modern times.
When something is that 'alive' it demands to be written.


Final question (promise!): do you have any advice for the yet-to-be-published writers?


Laura: Keep writing. Keep re-writing. And find a writers critique group to get feedback on your work. My group, Night Writers, meets every week, and has for more than 30 years now. They have been invaluable to me in their suggestions and critiques, to help improve my writing and the story.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Atlantis Deception by Mark H. Jackson @markjackson873 #adventure #thrille


THE ATLANTIS DECEPTION by Mark H. Jackson, Adventure/Thriller, 288 pp., $18.22 (paperback) $3.99 (kindle)



Title: THE ATLANTIS DECEPTION
Author: Mark H. Jackson
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Pages: 288
Genre: Adventure/Thriller

A German property developer, Hans Hoffmann, revels in the belief he has discovered the key to unleashing the weapon responsible for sinking Atlantis. Hoffmann requests the help of Cambridge archaeologist, Dr John Hunter to validate his mysterious find. Hunter’s acceptance leads the maverick academic on a journey from the headquarters of a clandestine organisation in England, to a lost city in the heart of the Brazilian Rainforest, and climaxes inside a chamber hidden deep beneath Egyptian Heliopolis. Pioneering theory is spliced by epic battles, daring escapes, and elaborate schemes aimed at unravelling a secret history hidden from humanity for the past twelve thousand years.

Atlantis is a very visual word. A word evoking mystery, forgotten realms, underwater palaces… the list goes on. I find this Plato inspired concept of Atlantis fascinating and read anything and everything I can lay my hands on. The theories are diverse and range from the feasible to the outlandish, but certain concepts keep reoccurring. The Atlantis Deception takes the ideas of accepted and alternative theory, weaving them together to create a believable universe where our past still dictates our future.

The novel follows the trials and tribulations of a fictional Cambridge academic, Dr John Hunter. The focus is not on Atlantis itself, but rather on what happened to its people it the wake of the loss of their homeland. The Atlantis Deception is a classic action adventure tale with heroes, villains, shadowy organisations and self-serving plots, each underpinned by progressive archaeological theory. The novel is written with the aim of both exciting and making readers think in equal measure. Although imagined, many of the conclusions the characters reach are cutting edge and described in such a way so as to blur the line between fact and fiction.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon



 

Chapter Twenty-Nine
Mato Grosso, Brazil, 1939

Himmler paused, bending to examine a black, broken piece of rock
discarded on the forest floor. He turned it in his hand, frowning as
he swept a finger over its impeccable, marble-like finish. It must have
been chipped from a statue or pillar. It was impressive workmanship
and Himmler doubted even the largest construction companies
in Germany would have done any better, even with their modern
machinery and tooling techniques. He slipped the fragment into his
pocket, a tingle of childlike excitement building in his stomach.
After years of ploughing Nazi resources into the Ahnenerbe, he was
at last on the verge of completing his quest. If the papers found in
Tibet by the short-sighted idiot, Ernst Schafer, were to be believed,
then it wouldn’t be long before he possessed the evidence he craved:
solid, indisputable proof linking Aryan Germany to prehistory’s
greatest lost empire, the kingdom of Atlantis. Armed with this knowledge,
Himmler was convinced the Aryans of Europe would rally
under the Nazi banner, joining forces with the Fuhrer to form an
unstoppable alliance tasked with reclaiming the lands and legendary
technologies of their ancestors.
Tibirica barked a command in Himmler’s direction, snapping him
out of the daydream. There were still several steps he needed to tread
along this path and he needed to focus on the present. Proving his
doubters wrong would have to wait. A month earlier, Hitler himself
had dismissed the Ahnenerbe as mere folly and the criticism still
smarted his ego. Luckily for him, his reputation ensured the majority
of Party members were still happy to indulge the quest. Himmler
wasn’t a man anyone wanted as an enemy, and the Party viewed their
support as an easy way to appease his infamous temper.
Up ahead, Tibirica swept aside a dense section of foliage and signalled
for Himmler to follow. He disappeared through the gap with
his son and the vines dropped back in place. Himmler looked down at
the diminutive translator. His hate for the man welled inside his gut.
He despised the reliance his current predicament demanded he place
on such an insignificant being. Back in occupied Europe he would
have ordered the creature’s execution without even batting an eyelid.
But out here… He shook his head. Out here this dirt-encrusted man
was irreplaceable.
‘You go first and tell me if it’s safe,’ said Himmler.
‘W-w-what if it t-t-trap?’ stuttered the petrified translator.
‘That is why you are going first.’ Himmler shoved him in the small
of his back and propelled him through the foliage, sending him crashing
into whatever lay beyond. With a bone-crunching thud the translator
hit something solid and yelped in pain. He staggered backwards
and lost his footing, returning through the greenery and landing at
the feet of his employer. He whimpered and pulled a mucky rag from
his pocket, pressing it against his broken and bloodied nose.
‘Well?’ asked Himmler, suppressing laughter. ‘How did you get
on?’
‘Wall… Wall on other side.’
Himmler frowned and slipped a hand through the thick, leafy
foliage. His hand barely cleared the flora when it met something solid,
something sharing the same smooth surface as the strange flake of
rock in his pocket. Himmler’s eyes widened in anticipation. Could he
really be touching the walls of the lost city? It was an incredible feat
of engineering. He couldn’t have been closer, and yet, if it weren’t for
Tibirica, he and his men would have walked on by, never knowing
how close he’d come to his goal. Not for the first time, he offered up
a quick word of thanks to Lady Luck. This information alone more
than made up for the loss of life inflicted on his Gruppe.
Himmler forced the rest of his body through the tight opening.
The greenery dropped in place behind him and his world plunged
into darkness. Surprised and a little disorientated, he stumbled forwards,
both hands slapping hard against the rock wall. An eerie echo
bounced back and forth through the oppressive, airless atmosphere.
Torrents of perspiration snaked his body, drenching his already moist
uniform. He battled to keep it from his eyes and cursed his decision
to wear the black SS uniform. One of his men had advised otherwise
but Himmler had refused to heed the advice, stubborn in his belief the
officer concerned was testing his authority.
Himmler took a moment and regained his composure. He groped
for the torch strapped to his belt and flicked it on. The thin beam
penetrated the gloom, casting ghostly shadows and exaggerating the
size of the obstacles littering the overgrown path ahead. With a sense
of foreboding and familiar feelings of claustrophobia creeping up on
him, Himmler waved the torch to his left, illuminating the black wall
of rock holding his weight. It seemed to stretch on forever. He stroked
its surface and moved forward a few steps. There weren’t any breaks
or cracks anywhere, the wall’s surface seamless in its construction. No
joins, no cement holding it together, in fact no discernible clues as
to its construction at all. He smiled, marvelling at the thought of his
ancestors possessing such advanced skills in engineering. The Reich
had so much to learn from this ancient people.
Himmler froze as the torch registered movement up ahead, the
beam picking out the shadow of something hidden in the undergrowth.
He cocked his handgun and held his breath, poised and ready
to react to the merest hint of hostility. A male voice split the tension.
Tibirica’s son called out to his father. The two tribesmen must have
realised he was no longer following and retraced their steps. Himmler
lowered his gun and reached for his translator, grabbing his hair and
forcing him to take point. He wanted to trust Tibirica but his instincts
advised him otherwise. Trust was a luxury a man in his position could
little often afford to give freely. He prodded the translator in the back
with his gun and shoved him towards the two tribesmen.
‘Tell them to stay where they are,’ he said. ‘If they disappear again,
we’ll never find them.’ The translator repeated the order, his speech
muffled by the cloth still pressed to his nose. A minute later, after slipping
and sliding their way down the rocky passage, Himmler arrived
alongside his two guides. They flanked him and prodded the torch,
both fascinated by the magical shaft of light it emitted. Himmler
kept them at arm’s length, making a mental note of the greed in the
younger man’s eyes.
‘Ask them where we are headed,’ he ordered, trying to distract
them.
The translator obliged, and Tibirica’s response sounded curt.
‘Well?’ said Himmler.
The translator frowned. ‘He say we walk through wall. I ask where
door. He only repeat same words and point at wall.’
‘I don’t pay you to question what he says, just do your job and
translate.’ Himmler shoved him aside and raked the torch beam across
the wall, searching for evidence of an entrance.
The proximity of the magical light source suddenly became too
much for Tibirica’s son. In a mix of lust, greed and perhaps revenge
for his broken nose, he lunged at Himmler. Catching him unawares,
he shoved Himmler’s gun arm behind his back and punched him in
the kidneys. Himmler tensed his muscles and flung the elbow of his
free arm into the Brazilian’s gut. The blow connected, but found little
purchase on the boy’s greasy stomach. A thick forearm snuck around
his neck, while the other made a grab for the torch. The attempt failed
but the force of the attack was enough to knock it from his grasp and
send it crashing to the ground. Himmler grimaced, grinding his teeth
as the bulb shattered on impact, engulfing the passage in darkness.
The sudden disappearance of the light took the young warrior by
surprise and his grip slackened. Himmler whirled on the ball of his
foot, simultaneously smashing the palm of his hand into his attacker’s
already broken nose. The Brazilian didn’t even have time to scream,
dying where he stood as numerous splinters of bone penetrated his
brain. Himmler shoved the corpse aside and smoothed the creases
from his uniform.
‘Translator, please inform Chief Tibirica to proceed. His son has
met with a little “accident” and I wouldn’t want a similar one to befall
him.’ The translator didn’t respond. Himmler clenched his fist. The
little bastard must have made a bolt for it. He stared into the darkness,
his index finger hovering above the Luger’s trigger as he searched for
a target. The silence was deafening – even the birds appeared to have
abandoned this long-forgotten piece of forest. The Nazi shuddered,
straining his ears for the merest hint of sound. His life was in danger,
and he knew it. A faint clicking sound, two or three metres to his left,
disturbed the silence. He turned to greet it, gun levelled and ready to
open fire.
‘Translator? Is that you?’ Himmler whispered. ‘Answer me or I’ll
shoot.’ A bead of blue light flickered in response, illuminating a small
clearing up ahead. Himmler tensed as a large shape loomed into view.
It was Tibirica. He stepped forward, only to see Tibirica raise an arm
and halt his progress. The chief extended a long finger and pointed at
Himmler’s feet.
Himmler crouched and scanned the ground ahead. There was
something blocking the path. His arm snaked towards it, tentative but
determined to confirm his suspicions. He scowled as his fingers met
the soft, warm flesh of his stricken translator. How would he understand
the bloody chief now? He pulled the old man onto his back and
recoiled at the brutal efficiency of the kill; the head ripped clear of the
neck. It was a sight that left Himmler in no doubt of the suppressed
rage Tibirica must be harbouring. To break a man’s neck was easy,
but to rip it clean from the spine took a strength and skill rare in a
world where the gun ruled the battlefield. He looked up at the chief.
Did this mean they were even again? An eye for an eye and all that?
The stoical Brazilian nodded and jabbed a finger at the glowing
light in the wall. The result was as immediate as it was spectacular.
A semi-circular shaft of light shot from the rock and illuminated the
clearing brighter than the midday sun. Himmler raised an arm to
shield his eyes and staggered backwards. What black magic was this?
Tibirica sniffed and wiped a smattering of blood from his face. He
turned away from Himmler and ducked his head, sliding his ample
frame through the newly formed gap in the wall. Himmler scrambled
up the slope to join him and darted through before the thing closed.
He didn’t have a choice; his life was now in the hands of the chief and
he knew it. He stepped from the makeshift doorway, buoyed to find
natural light on the other side. His elation was tempered as Tibirica’s
massive hand clamped around his shoulder, hauling him through the
gap as it closed behind him. He yelped in pain, feeling a rib crack as he
landed on something solid. He pressed his chest. No harm done, just
another bruise to add to his ever-growing collection. He pushed himself
upright. Where was he? It almost looked like a gutter of a paved
road. The corners of his mouth twisted upward into a tight smile and
he glanced at Tibirica.
‘If this place is what I think it is, Untermensch scum,’ he whispered,
‘then you have assured my place in history.’
If Tibirica understood the German language, he’d have killed
Himmler then and there. Instead he managed only a look of puzzlement.
For the sake of his son, the chief could do little more than pray
Himmler was the messiah his tribe were expecting. Himmler’s smile
widened. Luck was indeed on his side.







Mark H. Jackson is a qualified solicitor who splits his time between protecting the rights of academics, writing thriller fiction and raising five mostly lovely children. He studied Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham with a nod towards alternative theory, focusing on the relationship of Giza complex to the stars; portolan maps; and the origins of civilisation and religion. It was within this flame the plots for his future novels were born.

Mark’s writing career extends back over a decade and his diverse portfolio includes three novels, a number of short stories and even a six-part sitcom. Long listed for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, he is currently a featured author on the popular writing website, Wattpad, with over 6,000 followers from all around the world and well over one million reads of his first novel. Aside from Wattpad, Mark is an active member on a number of other writing websites, spending his spare time offering editorial and structural advice to fellow authors. Up to now Mark has considered writing as a creative outlet for the myriad of characters and ideas roaming about his head. The time has come to tease them out of hiding and breathe a little life into their lungs.

His latest book is the adventure/thriller The Atlantis Deception.

Website Link: https://markhjackson.com/
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/MarkJackson873
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/AtlantisDeception/

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

A Broken Reality by Rob Kaufman @robkaufmanct #thriller



A BROKEN REALITY by Rob Kaufman, Psychological Thriller, 320 pp., $11.99 (paperback) $4.99 (kindle)


Title: A BROKEN REALITY
Author: Rob Kaufman
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 320
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Psychological Thriller

On a fateful night in the dead of winter, an unimaginable tragedy changes the lives of two families forever. How will they manage to deal with reality while stopping the sociopath who is pushing them toward the edge of sanity?

Ten-year-old, Danny Madsen, has been missing for four days when Jesse Carlton begins his own search for his godson on a frigid, snowy night. Driving along a deserted rural road, Jesse hits a stretch of black ice at the same time Danny appears from the thicket. Unable to control the car, Jesse slams into the boy and watches helplessly as Danny’s body flies back into the dark brush.

When Jesse regains consciousness, he has no recollection of how he and his car wound up in a ditch. However, there’s a witness: Charles Hastings, the sociopathic kidnapper who chased Danny through the brush and into the path of Jesse’s car.

Hastings takes this chance to set up Jesse so he’ll take the fall for both Danny’s disappearance and death. And so the mind games begin–an onslaught of psychological manipulation that devastates Jesse, his wife, Danny’s parents and the cops’ investigation. Inexplicably, the torment continues even after the primary suspect is killed and the rollercoaster of emotions and confusion seems never-ending until the final and devastating truth is revealed.

If you like gripping, suspenseful page-turners that keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end, this is a must read!





Danny Madsen had been missing for four days, and hope was fading faster than the weak sunlight giving in to the cold night ahead. Worse, there’d been intermittent periods of snow and sleet throughout the day, creating slick surfaces on unlit county roads and leaving behind asphalt without traction or boundaries.
Like every other evening since the boy’s disappearance, the approaching dusk put a damper on the search effort. Each was another day past the critical “48-hour window,” another night for Jesse Carlton to fight back tears of frustration as he crawled the icy streets of Hingham, Massachusetts in his silver BMW, looking for the ten-year-old boy the Amber Alert described over and over as white with blond hair and blue eyes, weighing fifty-six pounds and standing about four feet six inches. When last seen, they’d always add, he was wearing a bright blue North Face coat, blue corduroy pants, Nike sneakers and a backpack with the name “Danny” stitched into the left shoulder strap.
Danny’s description echoed in Jesse’s head as he made the right off of Main Avenue onto Forest, which passed the hundred or so square acres of conservation land. He didn’t need the Amber Alert to picture Danny. He’d recognize him the instant he saw him since he’d known the boy from the day he was born. Jesse had long been best friends with his parents, Becky and Don, and Danny had become the son Jesse and Melissa tried and tried for but could never have. They’d become so close to the Madsens, in fact, that they’d purchased a home up the block from them, sight unseen, when Becky and Don told them it had come on the market. It was apparent to all of them that the less distance between the families, the more fulfilled their lives would be.
It was this honorary parenting of Becky and Don’s only child that had Jesse driving the streets and highways in and outside of every neighboring town for the past four nights—pursuing leads he’d overheard cops discussing at the Madsen home, following up on hunches he’d get after scouring the Internet for clues from past abductions. Each evening as he began his search, Jesse prayed he’d be the one to bring Danny home safe, sound and emotionally intact.
Jesse knew his nightly searches were pointless, but he could no longer bear pacing the floor at home or sitting in the Madsen’s cop-filled living room waiting for another bullshit tip, another clue that led nowhere but deeper into heartache. Melissa spent her nights comforting Becky while Don worked with the police to pursue every potential lead. Jesse’s need to do something, anything, forced him into his car each night with dissipating hopes and, by the way things had been going recently, unrealistic dreams.
The last person to see Danny was the school bus driver who watched him jump down the vehicle’s steps four days earlier, just three blocks from Don and Becky’s. And that clue was as solid—and as clear—as mud.
Jesse turned off the radio and clicked on the high beams. The pavement was pure white from the newly fallen snow, and there wasn’t another car anywhere to be seen. In front of him was blackness; behind him was blackness; on each side, nothing but blackness. How did he expect to see anything out here, let alone find a scared and freezing kid? He didn’t know, but it didn’t matter. This was the only action he could take that made him feel like he was actually doing something to help.
The yellow light poles every 300 feet or so did nothing but offer a blurry glow that barely reached the road. And now that a smattering of snow had started again, the soft crunch of flakes beneath the tires filled the silence with an eeriness that sent a strange tingle sliding up Jesse’s neck.
On either side of Forest Avenue lay the Terrence Ford Conservation Land, acres and acres of brush, swamp and trees with a few neighborhoods dotting the outskirts. Since the homes were hidden behind the dense thicket and prodigious pines, they were usually invisible to Forest Avenue drivers. Tonight though, even in the deep blackness of this night, he could see their pinpricks of homey yellow light, which, like the rickety poles lining the road, was nothing he could see by.
As he passed the two-mile marker, his phone rang, jolting him from his concentration. The display on the dash showed Melissa’s cell. He took a calming breath and pressed the button on the steering wheel. “Hey, babe.”
“Where are you?” Melissa sounded almost panicked, her voice trembling.
“What’s wrong? What happened? Where are you?”
“I’m at Becky and Don’s. They just got a call from Agent Rivera...hold on.”
He tried to be patient, but after a few more seconds of muffled voices he couldn’t hold back. “Missy!” he yelled and banged his fists on the steering wheel. “For Christ’s sake, what did Rivera say?”
“Sorry, Jesse. I’m just getting more details.” The muffled voices he’d first heard faded away as though she was moving into another room. “Someone just called the hotline from somewhere out in Hingham. It was an older woman who lives—”
Jesse felt like his heart skipped a beat. “I’m in Hingham! Where in Hingham, Missy? Where?”
“Oh my God, Jesse. Wait, I wrote it down.” His pulse pounded against the side of his neck as he waited for the crumpling of paper to stop and her words to start again. “Okay, the woman lives on Tower Road off Route 228, on the east side of that conservation area.”
He brought up the GPS and frantically searched for 228. “I’m like five minutes from 228—five minutes. I’m literally on the other side of the woods.” His voice was shaky. “I’ll put Tower Road in the GPS.”
 “She says she saw a boy fitting Danny’s description running past her house a couple of hours ago. She didn’t call right away because she wasn’t sure.”
Jesse let out a shout of frustration. His shallow breaths quivered in his throat. “Shit, it’s starting to sleet,” he said. “I’m on Forest right now. It runs parallel to Route 228. I’ll turn around and work my way toward Tower to see if I can meet up with one of the units.”
“Jesse, please be careful. I don’t want you getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
“This isn’t nowhere, Missy—it’s Hingham,” he said with a sigh, knowing there was nothing he could say to help quell her anxiety. She was a worrier, plain and simple. It was something he’d become accustomed to and had learned to be patient with, but tonight his nerves were too raw, his patience too thin.
“Jesse, sleet means ice. Ice means slippery. Slippery means…”
“Missy,” he snapped. He bit his lip and took another breath. “I’m going to turn around and head back toward 228.” He gazed into the darkness to his right, wishing there was a road that cut through the conservation area. “Once I get there, I’ll give you a call. Until then, sit tight. This could be the break we’ve been hoping for.”
“Oh God, Jesse. I hope so. Please be careful. I’ll wait for your call. I love you.”
“I love you, Babe,” he replied, making sure to sound as composed as possible as he disconnected.
Jesse was once again alone, the soft muffle of the car engine filling the otherwise empty silence. Keeping safety in mind despite his own anxiety to find the boy safe, he made a careful K-turn in the middle of Forest Avenue. The tires slipped a bit on the icy road, so he let up on the pedal allowing the car to straighten itself out. When he faced south, he stepped on the gas again and drove as fast as he could without completely losing traction.
Jesse could see the lights of Hanover Mall through the melting snow on the windshield. The liquid dripping down the glass made it look as though the lights were dancing, shimmying back and forth to the steady beat of the tires crunching the ice beneath him. He glanced at the speedometer: 25 mph. If he could keep up this speed, he’d be back at the intersection of Forest and Main within four minutes.
A faint smile crossed his lips as he remembered finding Danny’s favorite Spider-Man action figure in the back seat earlier that week; Danny must’ve dropped it the day Jesse helped out Don and Becky by picking him up from rehearsal for his school’s play. The toy had been right in the middle of the seat, and he wondered if he could reach it—maybe it would change his luck, somehow attract Danny to him.
Jesse reached back, fumbling around, trying to reach Spidey. Nothing. He leaned further and slid his open palm along the seat. Still nothing. Angling backward as far as he could, he patted the floor mat behind him in hopes that the figure had slid during a turn.
No luck.
A quick glance showed the tiny superhero jammed into the corner of the back seat. Spider-Man was tonight’s lucky charm; the idea felt right, and it would help him find Danny. It was a superstitious and even desperate move, but doing things by the book had so far turned up nothing.
“Gotcha!” he cheered when he snagged the action figure’s foot. He turned back toward the road to see a black figure stumbling out from the brush in front of him. In less than a second, the headlights shown on the figure’s face—it was Danny.
Horror seized Jesse by the throat and he gasped as he slammed on the brakes. The car went into an immediate spin, flying directly at Danny whose eyes went wide in the headlights. Jesse felt a thud against the back panel of the car. He screamed, the view from every window only blurred streaks of light. He tried to focus, to spot Danny somewhere in the whirl of his surroundings. But the boy was gone. He screamed again, his cry now muffled by the airbag exploding against his face. He squeezed his eyes shut, feeling the BMW skid off the side of the road and nose-dive into a shallow ditch filled with snow.
As the car lay on its side, ruined engine still ticking, Jesse could barely hang on to consciousness. Images and sounds swirled through his head: the screech of metal dragging along the pavement, Danny’s face hitting the window, the sickening thump as the car smashed sideways into the little boy’s body.
“It didn’t happen,” Jesse whispered. “This is a dream,” he panted. “Just a dream.” He repeated the words again and again until the weight of his eyelids became unbearable and he closed his eyes, allowing the sound of his sobbing to lead him gently into his own personal darkness.









As a child, Rob Kaufman was always fascinated by the stories recited by those around him and the words used to tell them. As he got older, his need to tell his own stories grew, as did his ability to share them in exciting and captivating ways.

However, he wanted to share more than just stories. His primary desire was to create characters with whom people could relate, while at the same time bringing them through a journey from which most would crumble.

His degree in Psychology was the first step toward getting beneath the surface of the people in his life. What followed was a lifelong search for what makes people tick – what forces them to become evil when deep down in their heart of hearts, they are yearning for love. Rob’s characters walk this search with him, deep into the human psyche, creating psychological thrillers from every day events.
Rob’s second book “One Last Lie” continues to receive great praise and is selling well in both electronic and paperback formats. His current book, “A Broken Reality” is much darker than his first, with characters who hold bits and pieces of strangers he’s known, friends he’s had and personal tragedy he’s lived through.

“This book hits home for me,” says Rob. “There were a few pages that made me laugh out loud as I wrote them… and many that made me cry. And the great thing is, I’m finding that many readers of this book are experiencing the same emotions.”

Through social and other media, Rob hopes to get “A Broken Reality” into the hands of millions, so that they, too, can experience the ups, downs, twists, turns and final tragedy that has helped make this book a Five-Star contender.

Website Address: www.AuthorRobKaufman.com
Blog Address: http://authorrobkaufman.com/blog/
Twitter Address: @RobKaufmanCT
Facebook Addresshttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobKaufman/

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Song of the Boricua by Olivia Castillo - Book Excerpt #1 @oliviacauthor


SONG OF THE BORICUA by Olivia Castillo, Fiction, 335 pp., $18.95 (paperback) $.99 (kindle)


Title: SONG OF THE BORICUA  
Author: Olivia Castillo  
Publisher: Independent  
Pages: 335  
Genre: Fiction

BOOK BLURB:

Puerto Rico an island of contradiction, serves as an enchanting backdrop following three generations of women.

Elena:  Resilient and ambitious, but trapped by duty to her children.

Maria:  Passionate and headstrong, but married to a man she does not love. Josephina: Optimistic and romantic, but in love with an alcoholic.

Isabella: Clairvoyant and spiritual, but denies her heritage and roots.

Like the land these women are held hostage, unfulfilled and unable to find their happiness. Each generation like the land is cursed. Can they defy the powerful bond of the curse and free themselves to find love everlasting?

New Author, Olivia Castillo, like the jibaros of the past weaves a tale of sorrow and joy. Castillos’ fiction is timely, offering a glimpse into the islands rich history and offering insight into the story that has plagued women for all of time, the search for true love and acceptance of self.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon





Book Excerpt 1 - Chapter 1


            Maria


            Bronx, NY, 1957

            Maria stared into the mirror, enchanted by the face that was reflected before her. Her high cheekbones accentuated full, papaya-tinted cheeks. Large doe-like eyes were framed by a double set of lashes. She smiled at her reflection, a small Shirley Temple dimple playfully accenting her plump lips. She liked what she saw.
            She danced in front of the chipped mirror that hung above the crumbling Art Deco sink to a mambo playing on the radio. Maria Isabella Sierra had just turned sixteen and was excited to be going to her first high school dance. Her dress was a crimson satin that showed off each one of her perfect curves. Mami had gotten the material for a good price from the clothing factory where she worked.
            The fabric’s hue enhanced her coloring and her dark-chocolate hair hung in waves, softly caressing her back. Corinna, her little sister, watched Maria as she lay draped across the bed.
            “That dress is too tight on you; makes your wazoo look enormous,” she said snidely, suppressing a fake yawn and stretching her arms above her. Corinna resented her older sister Maria, who always acted like she was better than everyone else.
            Corinna was two years younger and was as thin as a stalk of sugarcane. Her black-button eyes peeped out from under a bushel of dark, curly hair. She was also unhappy because she had to wear a polka-dotted dress that tied in the back. “Cállate. You are just jealous,” Maria said with a sneer as she continued to do her makeup, perfecting her cat eyes.
            “Geez, don’t go ape. Mami says I’m gonna be your chaperone,” Corinna responded gleefully. Maria, ignoring her, applied ruby-red lipstick onto her full lips. Corinna, who had inched her way toward Maria, pretended to slip, causing Maria to smear her lipstick. “Coñio,” Maria cursed, her Bronx accent mixed with inflections of the melodious up-and-down canon of Puerto Rico.











Olivia Castillo is a New York native. After going to the prestigious Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she went on to study graphic design at Otis Parson's College in Los Angeles. Along with being an entrepreneur, she is the mother of three children, and grandmother of two. When not writing or spending time with her family, she travels the world and paints. Song of the Boricua is her first novel.

Website Address: www.oliviacastillo.org          




Goodreads Address:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14629912      


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