Sunday, August 9, 2020

Cover Reveal: The Reluctant Bandit by Ami Hicken King

 

The Reluctant Bandit: lawlessness and the law Book 1

By Ami Hicken King

Genre: Historical fiction (western & romance elements)

 

About the Book

Good guy or villain?

Charlie Stapleton begins his day with one dilemma—rob the mercantile in a booming mining town or his brother Jimmy dies–ending the morning with another–kidnapping the sheriff’s daughter.  Conscientious and guilt-ridden, he’s now responsible for Jimmy and Annabelle, against their wishes.

Annabelle, the sheriff’s daughter, grew up sheltered for reasons beyond her understanding.  Chafing at the restrictions placed on her by her single father and unwilling to be courted by her father’s deputy, she begins planning a “trip.”  

Charlie’s actions propel himself and Annabelle into a long-standing chain of events so intertwined they blur the lines between law and disorder, and right and wrong.  In the battle between the law, lawlessness, and corrupt business, who will be willing to sacrifice their goals and principles to gain resolution?

About the Author 

I’ve always been curious as well as a verbal processor who thinks about things, a lot. This behavior also happens to drive my family a little batty. What may seem like random thoughts and words sprouting out of seemingly nowhere has a method in my mind—this includes the mid-sentence pauses, over-thinking, and a variety pack of humor. It can be entertaining and confusing, but never dull. Amongst the entertained: two male, rescue mutts—Yes, I talk to my dogs (I’m sure I’m not alone in that).

While I love wandering, wondering, and cloud watching, I also enjoy learning and connecting the dots in my inner and outer worlds. I’ve always been a voracious reader, fountain pen and paper product enthusiast, as well as lover of wax seal jewelry and pretty, shiny objects. I love a good story and analogies—written and spoken. Tell me your story, my spirit will listen.

I frequently stand on the precipice, watching and observing, but when I’m in, I’m all in. I’m your ride or die girl, or the Thelma to your Louise (or Louie, whichever the case may be). Coffee or tea? Yes, please.

Website: https://amihickenking.com

On Instagram: @amihickenking

 


Monday, July 6, 2020

Book Spotlight: Sky Queen by Judy Kundert


Sky Queen
By Judy Kundert
Genre: Women’s Fiction

It's 1967, and Katherine Roebling is a Chicago-based stewardess caught between the hold of highflying travel and the call of her Native American ancestors just as the women’s movement is taking the US by storm. As she vacillates between an ever-present mystical ancestral feather and her alluring stewardess life of excitement and travel, she embarks on a journey from one adventure to the next―each episode bringing her closer to her predestined calling. A chance meeting with a college student from Athens, Greece at a Chicago Playboy Mansion Press Party and her visit to the Oracle of Delphi intertwine with Katherine's discovery of the treasure inside herself. Ultimately, she gains wings that allow her to glide over society’s barriers; she abandons the so-called glamorous life she’s been living, creates her own path, and embarks upon a new career at the Smithsonian in DC―one that will take her on a miraculous experience of personal growth and uncharted paths.


About the Author 


Judy Kundert, a recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Excellence in Authorship award, loves storytelling, from folk and fairy tales to classics for elementary school children. She authors award-winning middle-grade novels designed to inspire and intrigue children. After she left her career as a United Airlines stewardess, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master of Arts from DePaul University, Chicago. Most recently, she completed a master’s Certificate in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. For fun, she likes reading (usually three or four books at a time), watching movies from the oldies to the current films, traveling, biking, and hiking in the vast Colorado outdoors with her husband. Learn more at www.judykundert.com.

Links 






Thursday, June 25, 2020

Book Review - Slumberland by Derra Sabo


Slumberland
By Derra Sabo
Genre: Nonfiction

About the Book

How do you dream? Are your dreams in color or black 'n white? Do they feel surreal or all too real? Well, I'd like to introduce you to my little slice of bittersweet. These subconscious woods hold every fear and my anxieties masked are as wolves. Nightmares that play on a loop for weeks, even months at a time. Symptoms of waking in cold sweats and shaking. The only moments of peace are found in the sporadically studded dreams that happen every now and again. These woods house every past demon as well as certain past versions of who I once was. This place is worse than death, yet it inspires. So......Before my alarm goes off, before I take the last train out of here, I take one last glance back, one last glance at all of the Polaroids, pinned to every tree branch, Polaroids of every dream and nightmare that have stolen my nights since '95......These dreams...these woods...this place...it's my upside-down. This is my Slumberland...

Review

I've never read anything like Slumberland before. It's all about dreams that the author has had since 1995. She describes them very vividly. The dreams cover an array of feelings and emotions. I like how the author chose to include song lyrics with the dreams. She did a great job with this collection. I would like to read more of her work. 

About the Author 


My name is Derra Sabo. I am California born and raised. I spend my days writing, sipping on coffee and listening to music. When I'm not busy typing away, I love spending time with my family and friends. Days spent at the beach ended by burgers at In-N-Out. Growing up I wanted to become a fashion designer/drummer, but somewhere along the way writing grabbed ahold of me and I've never looked back. Over the years writing has aided in healing from my past. Being born and living with a rare disorder led to being bullied throughout life as well as surgeries growing up. Writing and music are my sanity.

Links







Excerpt:

Here I stand…
I’ve stood in this exact spot, in this exact place before…many times…
This place is always disturbingly comforting in a peculiar way…this place has been my little slice of subconscious doom since ’95…this place is all my own…
These woods, a vision pulled from a Hitchcock film, holds my past intertwined within the roots of every hauntingly beautiful tree…
An above sky shaded a midnight black with doom n’ gloom clouds spread across its infinite horizon and luminous diamonds sporadically studded…a brain freeze breeze swirls throughout causing every goosebump to run up my spine…
The various growling echoes stirring behind the deeply hidden gutters are where the disabled demons reside, they bite the edges of my ears…the fear from these demons nearly diminished, yet a sting still exists…
I stand here, my feet at the edge of this freshly dug grave…the smell of a fresh storm builds, I pull the hood over my head and begin…
In goes every scar that clouded my mind. This permanent bruise on my back given to me from the biggest mistake in life, yeah that goes in next. Now it’s time to rip off the invisible mark of shame that had its claws dug into the small scar on my neck and the scar on my forearm hidden underneath this ink…


Every societal bullet has been pulled from my chest and tossed in, one by one, the soft clank is so satisfying…the confusion from the unanswered question marks attached to my biological father have been burned, this jar holding those ashes, in it goes…
Every moment captured on Polaroid of being bent, cracked and broken all tossed in…
Now, a deep chilled breath and strike this match, for a second, I stare at the tiny flame dancing on the tip, I can hear Death Valley by Fall Out Boy playing in the background…
I close my forest green eyes, make one final wish and drop the match…the flames growing instantaneously, as I open my eyes a neon black ring surrounds these forest green irises, the same neon black surrounds the glowing teal flame that resides in the center of my ribcage…
Witnessing every ounce of past pain burn, this moment is medical. My lungs fill with refreshing oxygen and this weight lifted more with each joyful tear…
Thunder begins to roll in as the sky also begins to sprinkle. Time to go, I know I’ll be back, the dreams always pull me back…
Tucking the 22 Glock into my back pocket and grabbing the Louisville slugger, I begin to make my way to the place where yellow surrounds, that place is where I find subconscious peace…My heart, in all of its titanium gears and gold stitched glory now beating on my sleeve…

These woods and I will always be connected…11 is somewhere playing Super Nintendo, keeping warm by a sparkling bonfire and eating one too many s'mores. She keeps our much-needed innocence alive. Swift watches guard making sure that the wolves stay at bay...17 rests peacefully under the giant oak tree. She was a tough soul, just not as tough as this monster of a world…22 protects our past selves, protects the rare dreams that have morphed from this slum and protects these woods. Machete strapped to her steel spined back, her observant mind always scanning for dangerous disturbances. The warrior she always wished she could be, now she is.

Before my alarm goes off I take one last glance back, one last glance at all of the Polaroids pinned to every tree branch, polaroids of every dream and nightmare that have stolen my nights since ’95…

These dreams…these woods…this place…it’s my upside down…
This is my Slumberland.
“I'll take the last train home..." - Blink 182



Book Spotlight & Excerpt: How a Monster is Made by RaShell Lashbrook


How a Monster is Made

By RaShell Lashbrook
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Thriller, Dark Domestic Thriller

About the Book

From the author of Hidden in the Dark comes a novel about the childhood of a man who will go on to commit unimaginable crimes against the most vulnerable in society.

Curious and energetic, Randy Carter is an ordinary enough little boy in the beginning. Born post-WWII in a sleepy Texas town, he is the middle child of an alcoholic father and a mother who suffers from bouts of severe psychosis. Forced to survive in an unpredictable world of violence and poverty, Randy develops into a calculating young man with a growing need for control.

Bad things happen when Randy is around.

Evil incarnate or just a broken child? Sociopath or victim? What is undeniable is the path of destruction left in his wake. There is a fine line between prey and predator, and Randy Carter is about to cross over it.

About the Author 


RaShell Danette Lashbrook was born in Wellington, Kansas. Her parents threw the television away when she was just two years old, so she spent her childhood in the little town of Mulvane, Kansas reading, exploring, biting her nails, and picking her nose.

Her deep love of reading always fueled a small flame of desire to write, but it wasn't until 2012 that she began to practice the craft of throwing words onto paper and rearranging them repeatedly.

She is blessed to share her life with her six magnificent children and their friends, parents that anyone would be envious of, the best siblings in the whole world, and a "top-shelf" circle of close friends and extended family.

RaShell's fascination with many different subjects has served her well in her writing. She prefers to think of her dabbling as "research". Her lasting passions have been organic gardening, music, cooking, murder, mysteries, aliens, and mental disorders.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RaShellLashbrook
Twitter:  @PoppyJuiceBlog


Brief excerpt 


The jagged edges of the stick burned deep in his throat, but he couldn’t turn away. The bitch had his head trapped between her feet. Arms and legs bound; he was at her mercy. No doubt, she was loving every second of this. Raine had always been a little off in the head, and this was just more proof.

The seriousness of the situation was sinking in. Randall had a fleeting thought that he might not make it out alive. He stopped fighting back in hopes she might ease up some - but no luck. She pushed even harder, and he could feel the blood trickling down the back of his throat. The damned stick was taking up all the space in his mouth, and swallowing was impossible.
She repositioned the rod, and with a grunt, shoved it in harder. The trickle turned into a gush, and breathing was no longer an option. Panic didn’t take over like he’d thought it would. The booze from earlier in the day helped make everything softer.

Strange, he thought, how calm he felt, knowing he was a goner. It was as if he could see everything from a distance. His last thoughts meshed with his first memories.

His mouth was full but not with the hardened, rough edges of the stick. Soft flesh filled his mouth. He suckled furiously, milk from his mother’s breast spraying the back of his throat with each swallow.

Her arms were around him, cradling him close. He was safe now. Warm and loved. He reached up for her face, and she smiled down at him, kissing the palm of his hand. Mama pulled the soft blanket up around his shoulder and began to stroke his head gently. When she did this, he could barely keep his eyes open. Drifting off to sleep, he left the cruel stick, the blood, and the last part of his life behind.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Book Blitz: DORK by Will Winkle #newadult #humor


DORK
By Will Winkle
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Humor

Book Description

Charlie Brown meets The Catcher in the Rye in this humorous novel following a neurotic economics major weeks from graduation.

Ray Cooper is graduating from college and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life – stop me if you’ve heard this before. Besides his impending graduation, Coop also has the problem of trying to start a new relationship in the shadow of his last one. Plus, his term project is due in two weeks. He’s also losing his hair. Alright, he has a few problems. Over a weekend, Ray attends the birthday party of a girl he isn't sure if he knows, meets odd people at bars, and looks forward to the last hurrah he and his friends have planned for Saturday when the local bars are offering discounts to anyone with wristbands sold for charity. There’s no way any of this could go wrong.

About the Author 


Will Winkle graduated from the University of Idaho with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics, so naturally, he’s decided to become a novelist. While in college Will wrote comedy segments for the show he hosted on the university’s radio station, KUOI 89.3 FM Moscow, Idaho. Currently, he is writing short stories and co-writing a one-man-show with a graduate theater student at the University of Alabama.

Links:



You’re supposed to run going with traffic, but the other side of the street lacked a sidewalk for that particular section of my route. Instead, there was a dirt trail lined on both sides by patches of tall grass. Whenever I ran on that side a clutch of small rocks would magically appear inside of my shoes, and it was the time of year when snakes and lizards were starting to be out and about. I’m not afraid of snakes, I’ve been startled more times by sticks that looked like snakes than actual snakes. As long as I see one soon enough I’m fine with it, but I’m markedly less fine with unexpectedly colliding with a living creature that has so much in common with a rope. It’s not like they can deftly avoid an impending running shoe, so if I spot it too late there’s nothing either of us can do. Snakes can become tangled around your legs, their only choice of action being to writhe around, which wouldn’t make matters better for either of us. I don’t like octopi for the same reason, them being the small net to the snakes' rope. My world changed the first time I saw a bird carrying a snake while flying. Implying that at any moment my day can be ruined in a way that I hadn’t even considered possible. I’m happy that I don’t live by the sea or a large open-air aquarium, because if I ever saw a bird flying with an octopus, I doubt I would ever go outside again.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Book Blitz - I'll Be Watching You by Leslie A. Kelly


I'll Be Watching You
By Leslie A. Kelly
Genre: Romantic Suspense

About the Book

She can trust him with her heart, but can she trust him with her life?

Growing up as a foster kid, Jessica Jensen found her escape in movies-especially those starring teen heartthrob Reece Winchester. When she meets him as an adult, he's just as charming, fascinating, and devastatingly handsome as she'd imagined. Before she knows it, Jessica is falling hard. But her real-life Cinderella story is about to take a deadly turn...

Jessica has completely upended everything about Reece's carefully ordered life. There's a reason he's never allowed anyone to get so close to him before. But now that she has, there's a target on her back. Because someone knows that the Winchesters have been hiding some dark family secrets. Someone who is out there waiting to strike. Waiting...and always watching.

Review Quote:

"Throughout this charged, fast-paced love story, Kelly expertly balances sensuality and intrigue. This will be a hit with readers looking for a
spicy contemporary romance." - Publisher's Weekly

About the Author 


Leslie A. Kelly is a New York Times, USA Today Bestselling Author of dark romantic thrillers and sexy romance (as Leslie Kelly.)

Known for their dark, edgy plots, strong characters, intense action, and powerful worldbuilding, Leslie's romantic thrillers have won great acclaim, including the National Reader's Choice Award, the Aspen Gold Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and a Romantic Times Magazine Award nomination. 

Leslie lives in Colorado with her husband of 34 years and two spoiled dogs. 
Visit her "alter ego" site--www.lesliekelly.com--to learn more about her sexy contemporary romances. 

www.leslieAkelly.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Watching-previously-published-Hollywood-Heat/dp/1538735148/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=leslie+a.+kelly+I%27ll+be+watching+you&qid=1582831584&sr=8-1


On Social Media:





Excerpt

As a film director, Reece Winchester was used to watching life through a camera lens, picturing angles, depth, color, and texture. He lived as a voyeur, removed from the action he oversaw, the unseen god of the worlds he created for moviegoers everywhere. Some people might see him as being aloof or uncaring. Hell, maybe he was. But he’d learned hard lessons throughout his life about trust, about grief, about tragedy and loss. Better to put a layer between yourself and the outside world, as far as he was concerned.
 Maybe that’s why he was able to remain calm during this latest catastrophe. He only sighed as he stared at the charred remnants of his house, eying the wisps of smoke still rising from the ruin in the early morning light, was number one on that list.
 “Damn, Reece, I’m so sorry,” said his brother Rowan, who’d been the one to call him at two a.m. to tell him about the fire. He’d repeated the phrase about a dozen times.
Reece had been shooting in the New Mexico desert, so his Beverly Hills home had been empty when it went up in flames last night. He’d spent most of the flight back being thankful he’d left his dog with his and had given the couple who looked after the place two weeks off. During other trips, he’d left Cecil B., his golden retriever, at home with the Scotts. He didn’t even want to think about what could have happened if they’d been there. Shit could be replaced. Lives could not. The loss of a couple of statues of a guy named Oscar was nothing compared to the singeing of one hair on the heads of his employees or his dog.
 “Any idea yet what started it?” he bit out.
“I talked to the fire investigator. He already found accelerant.”
Accelerant. Arson? Jesus.
“Somebody hates me enough to burn down my house?” Reece murmured, a little more stunned by that fact than by the fire itself.
“It could have been a frustrated stalker who expected to find you at home.”
“And when I wasn’t, they decided to make sure I didn’t have a home to come back to?”
 “You know it’s possible.”
Yes, it probably was. He’d had overzealous fans before, mostly during his acting days. They occasionally slipped from pushy into obsessive. He’d been dealing with a particularly bad one lately, who’d found out where he lived and had been leaving notes stuffed into the security gate. Perhaps that was who had gotten past the fence last night and decided to send his home up in a giant ball of flame that had, reportedly, been seen by people miles away.
“Do you ever wonder if we’re damned?” he asked.
He’d had this thought many times over the years but had never shared it with his twin.
“Don’t say that.”
 He didn’t push, knowing Rowan had done a better job moving beyond all the dark episodes of the past. Reece, though, had found letting that go extremely difficult to do.
“You know you can stay with me for a while. At least until you find another place,” Rowan offered.
Reece nodded. “Dad has a spare room, too.” 

Reece, his twin Rowan, and their baby brother, Raine, had bought their hardworking father, who’d supported them all his life, a big place on the beach a few months ago. His dad would hate to hear about the fire but would probably love some company.
Reece watched silently as firefighters walked the site. They carefully looked for any sputtering embers trying to reignite. With the drought, they also had to be sure no sparks landed on a nearby roof, spreading the conflagration to the entire neighborhood.
“Why don’t we get outta here?” Rowan asked. “You’ve given your statement. You don’t have to stay. Want some breakfast? We can pick up Cecil B. and take him out for pancakes.”
 Seeing his dog sounded like a great idea to Reece. “Sure.” He was hungry, as, he suspected, were the sweaty, exhausted firefighters. He’d already put in an order for cold drinks and food for the guys who’d tried so hard to rescue his six-thousand-square-foot house.
Just a house. Just a building. Right.
Frankly, the worst part wasn’t the fire, but the realization that someone had set it. He was in somebody’s crosshairs. The knowledge unsettled him.
“Surfing after?” They hadn’t surfed together in months, both of them having busy schedules, and Reece.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Book Spotlight: Soul Alchemy ~ A Vision Quest By Elizabeth Foley


Soul Alchemy ~ A Vision Quest
By Elizabeth Foley
Genre: Art & Poetry

Purchase Soul Alchemy: https://radiantearthstudios.com/soul-alchemy-art-and-poetry

Artist's Statement about Soul Alchemy
 
For me making art is a spiritual practice.  It makes me feel alive, centered, and connected to something greater than myself.

Much of my work explores feminine archetypes from warrior and muse to medicine woman and inner child.  Each painting is an expression of my own journey to reconnect with these parts of myself.

At the core of each painting is something I seek to discover, an intention I am exploring.  What does my inner artist need in order to feel free to express my unique voice?  What does the idea of the Muse mean to me. How do I access her inspiration?  What would my life look like if I thought of myself as legendary?

As I progress through a painting I enter a dialogue with the emerging image.  What message does it have for me each step along the way?  What does the way that this layer or that drip of paint interacts with each other have to tell me about my inquiry?

Each brush stroke is made with intention.  Dots become prayers. A line reflects a trauma or long held desire.  Deeply personal symbols are created that reflect a broader universal language.

I believe that at the core of the problems that plague today's world - human suffering and environmental degradation - is greed, apathy, and a lack of compassion.  To solve these problems what we need isn't just a legislative or a scientific response but a spiritual and cultural transformation.

We need to wake up to our interconnectedness with each other and with nature.  To create real change we must awaken compassion, empathy, and understanding.  I envision my art as one voice in a chorus of voices that will catalyze this shift in the consciousness in humankind.

This poem accompanies the piece titled Elishaba ~ Visionary Warrior

You Are Legendary.

Dive deeper within yourself.
There are gifts awaiting you there.
Dive Deeper.

Inside you lives one who is patient and powerful.
One who is focused, fearless and fierce.

Dive Deeper.

Inside you lives one who owns her truth.
One who is boldly authentic.

Dive Deeper.
There are powers untapped within you.

Inside you lives a cosmic warrior
a visionary queen,
a healer,
a sage.

Dive Deeper.

Inside you lives one who is consecrated to the divine.
One who embraces determination.

Trust.
Trust a little more.
Trust even more still.

Trust your intuition.
Trust that you are on the right path.
Trust in your vision.
Trust that if you take the leap
You will come floating gently down into the valley of your dreams.

You are meant to show others the way.
You are meant to lead others to greatness.
You are meant to shine light in the darkness.

You are one with the universe.
You are a supreme being of infinite wisdom.




Bio: 


Artist, Elizabeth Foley helps women feel more joy and fulfillment by experiencing creative expression.  She offers online and in person workshops, retreats and one on one coaching.  Elizabeth has been passionate about creativity since childhood and believes that we are all creative beings whether we claim the identity of artist or not.
Elizabeth is a painter, potter, poet and creativity coach.  Currently her medium of choice is acrylic paints.  Elizabeth studied fine art and ceramics at The University of Oregon and apprenticed to accomplished Oregon potter Gil Harrison. She has studied with award winning artists Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici.  Elizabeth is a certified Intentional Creativity Instructor and a Cosmic Smash Book Teacher in training.

Elizabeth loves getting her hands dirty with paint, clay and in the garden.  When she isn't busy in her studio you'll find her climbing a mountain or relaxing by a waterfall in her hammock.  Elizabeth is grateful to make her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC.