Shattered Bonds by Lynda Aicher – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lynda will be awarding a $20 Gift Card to ebook retailer of choice (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, AllRomance ebooks) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 GC to ebook retailer of choice (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, AllRomance ebooks) to a randomly drawn host. Please click the banner to see a list of other stops on the tour.

Shattered Bonds, Book Seven of Wicked Play

Will the doors of The Den close forever?

When the lives and friendships of The Den owners are thrown into chaos, Noah Bakker steps in to deal with the fallout. He hasn’t had a sub or participated in a Scene since tragedy changed his life four years ago. But as an investor in the exclusive BDSM club, he can’t walk away from the lifestyle completely. As he works to keep the club running, he finds himself drawn to Liv Delcour, the seemingly naïve sister of one of the other owners.

Liv didn’t know about the naughty things her friends were up to behind closed doors, but when their secrets become headline news, she’s more curious than shocked. As she works with Noah to keep the media at bay, she finds that his dominant strength is more than a little arousing. Soon they’re exploring their mutual desires in the most wicked ways.

Liv isn’t sure if she can completely submit to Noah the way she thinks he wants her to—and Noah isn’t sure he can withstand the pain of falling in love…

New to the Den? Start at the beginning with Bonds of Trust.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Thank you for driving me tonight,” Liv Delcour said, stealing a glance at Noah as he backed the car out and followed the SUV into the street.

“Not a problem.” He kept his eyes on the road, one hand on the wheel, the other notched on the armrest.

She inhaled, catching a hint of his rich cologne. It smelled as expensive as the suits he wore and the car he drove. He might be out of her league, but she had to give her sister props for the gorgeous company she kept. Liv found the dark control of this man more appealing than the arrogance that came with most of the athletes Vanessa represented.

The streetlights flickered over his face to highlight his strong profile. He had an elegant nose tempered by a square jaw and a high forehead beneath hair that had just enough curl to defy the styled cut. Would the soft curls wrap around my fingers if I touched them?

Right. She closed her eyes and released a slow breath. That train of thought would get her nowhere.

The light was changing to green when she looked up, trying to think of something to talk about besides the youth center. They’d exhausted that topic on the drive to the ice arena. What else did she know about the man?

“So what kind of law do you practice?” she asked.

“Corporate and small business. Contracts mostly.”

That might have been the longest sentence he’d said to her. “What does that— Oh my God!” she exclaimed as a dark green pickup blasted into the intersection. The truck smashed into the side of the SUV to the tune of a metal-bending crash that rocked the interior of Noah’s car.

Noah slammed on the brakes. Her hands flew up to brace herself as she jerked forward only to be jolted back by the seat belt. Despite that, her focus remained on the scene unfolding before her. It was like watching a slow-motion camera on hyper-speed.

The collision propelled the SUV sideways through the intersection with a continued peal of tires and smoke that seemed to accelerate instead of slow. Horns blared, other vehicles swerved to avoid them, car parts exploded into the air and there was nothing she could do.

Lynda Aicher has always loved to read. It’s a simple fact that has been true since she discovered the words of Judy Blume at the age of ten. After years of weekly travel as a consultant implementing computer software into global companies, she ended her nomadic lifestyle to raise her two children. Now, her imagination is her only limitation on where she can go and her writing lets her escape from the daily duties of being a mom, wife, chauffer, scheduler, cook, teacher, volunteer, cleaner and mediator. If writing wasn’t a priority, it wouldn’t get done.

To learn more about Lynda, you can find her at:

Website: http://lyndaaicher.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/lyndaaicherauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lyndaaicher

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5339510.Lynda_Aicher

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Cast of Characters from In Bed With a Rogue by Samantha Grace – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Samantha Grace, whose newest book In Bed With a Rogue was recently released. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of the book.

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Hello, everyone! I’m Samantha Grace, author of the historical romance series Rival Rogues. It’s great to be here today at Long and Short Reviews. Recently I recalled my love for reading plays in my high school and college literature classes. Anton Chekov, Neil Simon, William Shakespeare, the Greek tragedies… It didn’t matter if I would like the story by the end—although 9 times out of 10 I did—I always experienced a rush of excitement when I opened the play and found the cast of characters. Maybe it was the sense of possibilities with each characters—what role would they play? What secrets would they hold? Would they be exactly what they seemed to be on the surface or was there more depth to them? I thought it might be fun to share the “Cast of Characters” for my newest release IN BED WITH A ROGUE and what role they play in a story I truly love.

Sebastian, 2nd Baron Thorne—hero; a rogue by reputation; jilted by the heroine in ONE ROGUE TOO MANY, whom he wanted to marry to help improve his sister’s standing in Society; son of an officer in the King’s military who was granted a barony for his service. Sebastian’s goals: Help his sister reenter Society and complete his father’s work for housing for homeless soldiers. Barriers: Gossips are spreading rumors that he is mad like his father; No lady of high standing will help his sister since they are giving her the cut direct (turning their noses up and shunning her).

Eve Thorne—Sebastian’s younger sister; abandoned at the altar 2 years earlier and her reputation suffered greatly; the ton assumed her fiancé had learned something horrible about her; spunky and resilient despite everything.

Lady Helena Prestwick—heroine; a viscountess; widow with a sterling reputation recently arrived from Scotland; has a secret past she wants to keep hidden; in London to search for her younger sisters whom she hasn’t seen since her father lost her in a card game to Lord Prestwick and he took her to his castle in Scotland; independently wealthy since her husband had no heirs. Helena’s goal: Find her sisters and provide a better life for them in Scotland. Barriers: She can’t search the fashionable brothels where one of her sisters is rumored to work because she is not a gentleman.

Fergus—Helena’s champion; he is her deceased husband’s land steward; Scottish; he is a father figure to Helena and a bit of a pushover when it comes to her; very protective.

Olive, Lady Eldridge—Lord Prestwick’s cousin who has taken Helena under her wing; a busybody and gossip, but good hearted; she caused a few problems for Sebastian in ONE ROGUE TOO MANY.

Lavinia Kendrick—Helena’s sister who is rumored to be working in a brothel.

Cora, Pearl, and Gracie—Helena’s other younger sisters.

Other characters play a role in the story, too, but these are the ones closest to Sebastian and Helena. Fergus and Lavinia are definitely favorites when it comes to secondary characters. Maybe they’ll each need a happy-ending of their own some day.

Not only do I enjoy reading plays, I love attending the theater. I had a chance to see “Wicked” onstage when the Romance Writers of America met in New York a few years ago and it was AMAZING! I kept thinking how each performer was at the top of their games. It was very inspiring for me as a writer. It made me want to be at the top of my game some day, too. Have you ever seen a professional performance of a play? Was it something you enjoyed or would you prefer sticking to movies?

To connect with Samantha…

Samantha Grace Author | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

9_19 Samantha Grace Author PhotoAbout the Author: Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and Pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest.

Website: http://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Grace/264436686918343

Twitter: @SamGraceAuthor https://twitter.com/SamGraceAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4946067.Samantha_Grace

 

9_19 Samantha Grace9781402286612-mHe’s the Talk of the Town

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family’s reputation no matter what it takes.

 

She’s the Toast of the Ton

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he’s quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she’s got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes…

 

 

 

 

Buy: Amazon | B&N | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | iTunes

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Pondering the Muse by J.P. Lantern – Guest Blog and Giveaway

VBT Up the Tower Tour Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a backlist ebook copy to a randomly drawn winner at every stop during the tour and a Grand Prize of a $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour.

Pondering the muse

The muse for me has a few different qualities that are kind of hard to explain. It’s equal parts, at different times, a sort of suction engine, dilapidated skeleton, and giant badger mouth.
One way you might think of it is like the bad guy aliens from Space Jam. In the beginning, they’re these teensy, puny little things that are sort of inept and good-natured, but also kind of cruel. That’s where my muse is right now. After just completing a novel, the well of ideas is pretty much dry, and my muse has been absolutely emptied.

And where you want the muse to be is where those aliens from Space Jam get to—all pumped up and full of talent stolen from other, better people at the thing they’re trying to do. And that’s the process I take when trying to get my muse all filled up again: I read a lot, a whole lot, and the whole time I’m just refilling that well and taking as many tips and wholesale arcs and stories as I can from people who are smarter and better than I am. Some of this is conscious, but a lot of it is subconscious.

One other important tidbit of the muse is that’s sort of like the facehugger from alien. (My muse has various alien forms, I suppose). And the reason it’s that is because that once it latches onto an idea, it can’t let go. If it lets go, it just…you know, sprays acid everywhere and gives everyone a bad time. I’ve got the acid burns to prove it. But if the muse does stay latched on, then the whole time it’s pumping that idea full of all the stuff it’s collected over all that time you’ve spent reading and absorbing other people’s great notions.

For UP THE TOWER, I absorbed all sorts of stuff. Movies like Blade Runner and Sorcerer; the soundtrack to Assault on Precinct 13; Philip K. Dick books THE DIVINE INVASION and MARTIAN TIMESLIP, and of course a lot of Gene Wolfe. I think all those influences are pretty evident, but I think also they make for a pretty great read.

UptheTowerDisaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn’t be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go…UP THE TOWER.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“This kid comes in, okay? Starts doing all this stuff with Wallop’s tech fists. Powering them up and such. You know, they can bend steel, they can punch a man so far a distance, all of that. At first, I think the kid’s pretty young, but then I see his eyes—they’re old enough. I seen his eyes, they’re about my age, those eyes. And it’s important, okay, how old he is. Because this kid? He looks a hell of a lot like me.”

“So what? Lots of kids look like you.”

“Yeah. So do Georgeson. So do Jonesboy. So do Figueroa.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying…” he palmed the side of his head. “I’m saying, it ain’t no secret that you got yourself a certain type of person that you pick up. A type of boy. I sort of thought I knew why. Last night I found out for certain.”

Konnor was right. Ore was angry.

“The hell are you saying to me? Just say it.”

“You said you had a brother. His name was Samson. He was good with tech, you said. Well this kid? The one tailoring Wallop’s new fists? Samson. That’s what Wallop called him. ‘Samson, touch here.’ ‘Samson, look at that, is that right.’”

Ore didn’t say anything.

“He’s alive. Your brother. In The Tower. He’s maybe been alive this whole time.”

Silence, then. Even the eyebots outside seemed to get quiet.

That goddamn Wallop. Her job, her Haulers, and her eye. Now he had her brother, or near enough. Everything. Would he take everything from her?

Konnor stood up and headed to the door. The shack squeaked beneath him.

“If it was any other sort of job…if it was a job that maybe wouldn’t have gone against the Faces…”

“Shut up, Konnor. It’s all against the Faces. It’s under ‘em or it’s with ‘em. You know that.”

“All right. All right.” He opened the door. An argument had started down the street; someone lit a fire in a barrel on the balcony above her shack; an eyebot stopped, scanned the two, and then zipped away. “It’s a hell of a plan, though, Ore. A hell of a plan. And maybe I won’t get around to telling Wallop what’s what for a little while.”

About the Author:MEDIA KIT Author PhotoJ.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed “rugged,” though he would also be fine with “roughhewn” because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.
Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.

Goodreads ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

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The Kidnapped Bride by Heather Hiestand – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Heather will be awarding a $20 GIFT CARD to AMAZON OR BN (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Pursuing this elusive heiress will be the ultimate temptation…

Lady Elizabeth Shield is used to saving herself from trouble. And even if dashing private inquiry agent Dougal Alexander just rescued her from white slavers, she’s definitely not returning to her stifling aristocratic life and unsuitable suitors. Not when there are other women in danger—and a secret promise to keep in Edinburgh. But outwitting Dougal’s tactics to return her to London and her family will be easier than staying away from his intoxicating kisses…

He’s a baron’s second son accustomed to making his own way and uncovering the truth. Now Dougal must keep Lady Elizabeth close for her own protection, but her spirited wiles are proving scandalously irresistible. His most difficult case yet will be showing her that he’s everything she truly desires—and that love is the greatest of adventures…

“Before I realized it, the unusually strong and well-developed characters of The Kidnapped Bride had sneaked up on me and captured my full attention. This is one of the best shorter books I have ever read.” –Delle Jacobs, author of Lady Wicked

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Look here, eh?” Dougal said. “Enough about your damned family. Our concern here is Lady Elizabeth. Ye turned her into your maid-of-all-work, right? Payback for whatever you think Lord Judah here did tae your sister? That was Lady Elizabeth answering the door at your flat last month, right?”

Manfred pressed his lips together and looked surly. Lord Judah’s expression was a mixture of horror and bewilderment.

“How could you do that to a gently bred girl?” Hatbrook demanded. “She must have loved you, to follow you like that. What did you do to make her run away from us?”

Manfred shrugged. “Beth’s headstrong, you know that. No one was more surprised than I to find Beth sneaking into my room in the border inn where I staying.”

“Why didn’t you bring Beth back, as a gentleman would?” Hatbrook shouted.

“I wasn’t about to marry her,” Manfred snarled. “She ain’t my sort.”

Hatbrook slapped the boy openhanded across the cheek. “That’s my sister! You’ve ruined her life! Whatever you want to say about your sister, my brother has given her an honorable marriage and an excellent home.”

“Beth bloody ruined it herself,” Manfred said, standing as his cheek bloomed red. “She followed me. I made her no promises. She refused to go home. So I set up house in Edinburgh, found a way to make money. But I didn’t marry her.”

“No, you just made her your whore,” Hatbrook said.

“I never touched her,” Manfred said, more quietly.

About the Author:

Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

For more information, visit Heather’s website at http://www.heatherhiestand.com. Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is heather@heatherhiestand.com.

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kensington, Kobo, or Google.

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Ten Things You Wouldn’t Know About Laney McMann – Guest Blog and Giveaway

torn-button-7This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the author.  Laney is giving away signed paperbacks of TIED (Book 1) &TORN (Book 2) to ONE winner, and E-book copies of TIED & TORN to ONE winner and 5 signed bookmarks via Rafflecopter.

Ten Things You Wouldn’t Know About Laney McMann

 

Ten things you would never guess about me. Hm … I’ll have to think about this one.

10. I have a thing for papermate pens. Only papermate.

 

9. I love coffee ice cream, iced coffee, and mocha frappuccinos, but I don’t like hot coffee.

 

  1. I own around 15 pairs of flip flops and will only wear tennis shoes when I’m running, otherwise, hate them. And socks. Hate them too. Unless it’s freezing.

 

  1. Speaking of freezing, winter is a dreaded month for me. Once Christmas is over, I’m ready for summer again.

 

  1. I love it when it rains on the way home from the beach.

 

  1. I have THE BEST beta readers in the world. Love them.

 

  1. I’ve wanted to write novels for a living since I was nine years old, but I believed only ‘real writers’ wrote novels, so I didn’t follow that dream until much, much later, and even then, I was terrified to try.

 

  1. Besides writing, music is one of my first loves. So is dancing.

 

  1. I’m an introvert.

 

1. If I had the space, I would own lots of dogs. Lots. I have three. ;)

Torn, Book #2

TORN (Book #2)Find Max.

That’s all Layla cares about. Not healing from the Fomore attack. Not finding answers to how she survived a fall that nearly killed her. Nothing will stop her. She will find him. She’ll even pair up with an overbearing Fallen Angel who’s hell bent on making everything harder than it needs to be if she has to.

Protect Layla.

For Max, nothing else matters. Not the bruises covering his body. Not the pain radiating from his broken bones. Not even his hands tied behind his back. He will find a way to save Layla, and the Fomore will pay if they’ve hurt her.

Every. Single. One of them.

In the second installment of The Fire Born trilogy, a new breed of villain looms—one Layla and Max will never suspect, and this killer has nothing to lose. Better yet, with Max and Layla’s deaths, victory is in the grip of the enemy.

Will Max and Layla find each other in time, or is it already too late for them both?

For more info: J Taylor Publishing

Target Audience: Young Adult

Key Words: Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Mythology

TIED, Book #1

perf5.250x8.000.inddBLURB:

Normal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.

Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.

Or is that all in her head?

Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.

No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?

The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.

In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.

Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?

The answer may never be far enough … away.

539450_509065072469365_10911403_nAUTHOR:

With a passion for the supernatural and all things magical, Laney developed a voracious appetite for reading fantasy at a young age. A vivid imagination helped set the stage for creating her own worlds and placed her onto the writing path.

By the time she reached her teens, she’d accumulated notebooks full of poems, which led to short stories and finally novels. Young adult dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and mythology are among her favorite genres.

A former classical dancer and chef, she grew up in sultry Florida where she still resides with her family.

 

You can find her on:

Twitter.

goodreads.

Facebook Profile

Facebook Author Page

Pinterest.

Tumblr

Her new website: Laney McMann

And by email at: laneymcmannyaauthor(at)gmail(dot)com

 

GIVEAWAY!

Signed paperbacks of TIED (Book 1) &TORN (Book 2) to ONE winner, and E-book copies of TIED & TORN to ONE winner and 5 signed bookmarks.

Enter Rafflecopter:

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BUY LINKS:

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Up The Tower by JP Lantern

UptheTower

Up the Tower by JP Lantern
Publisher: Brainstorm Publishing
Genre: Futuristic/Sci-Fi, Dystopian, YA
Length: Full (247 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

In the dystopian slum of Junktown, death is commonplace, trust is a liability, and friendship is a curse. But disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these individuals couldn’t be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go…UP THE TOWER.

Up the Tower offers us the events following a disaster in the future City of St. Louis. There is that which is familiar in any American city – the ordinary lives, the everyday events. Then there are the futuristic elements, like the mega-corp of the police department, and cultural ones, as well. Then, there is the sudden life-altering change, showing us the impact of the disaster on individuals.

The opening sets the stage, from a distant, perhaps arms-length perspective. I felt interested, yet uninvolved. Abruptly–and this author can handle “abruptly”–we plunge into the ‘ordinary’ lives of these future people.

The quick, frank yet conversational style can occasionally become quite confrontational and tense. Yet, some things are reported matter-of-factly; we accept the strict classes of people almost without second thought. You’re a shareholder–in luck! Or no–a gangster, too bad. It’s the luck of draw, or what you can afford to pay for in this not-quite-familiar future world.

We meet ‘Ore’ first – horrible and horrifying as she is, you do kind of feel for her. She’s tough, but maybe she is what her world made her? Even Victor (I mean, he’s an assassin!) manages not to be a simple, black-and-white character. You can understand his effort to avoid thinking of the dead people; we want to believe some part of him cares. All Mr. Lantern’s characters are distinct beings; more than distinct, they are unique and …well… incredibly individual.

There is even a romance mixed in, along with a sense of character’s insecurity- perhaps a sample of the style is the best way to share:

Today was Gary’s day. He could feel it in his bones. Somehow, someway, he’d run into Ana. He dressed with vigor. Form-fitting khakis. A button-down shirt. His hair slicked back into a neato pompadour. Leather jacket hanging loosely around it all, hiding the outline of pudge that had been steadily building ever since he finished high school. He looked killer. He looked hip. He was neato, daddy-o. That was how they said it, right?”

Strange world though it seems, anyone can identify with Gary’s hope, as well as his efforts to fit in.

Events in Up the Tower are important, yet are given less attention. It is the results that are important. Even the disaster at the start is merely reported, not so much lived and felt.  Junktown, within St. Louis, is central, but never well described.

The style is far from my favorite, but Author JP Lantern manipulates readers emotions like a magician. In fact, but for a few moments of confusion here and there, I might well have assigned it five stars. Although listed for young adult readers,  anyone of any age who likes the genre should enjoy Up the Tower.

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Heart on a String by Susan Soares

Cover_Heart on a String

Heart on a String by Susan Soares
Publisher: Astrea Press
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Full (186 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rated: 4.5 stars
Review by Poppy

Marissa tells lies.

To herself, about the fact that her brother abandoned her.

To her grandmother, when she says “everything’s fine.”

To the world when she pretends her mother is at home or working late. When she doesn’t tell them her mother is dead.

She doesn’t even question the wisdom of living in a world built on lies anymore—until she meets Brandon. Unlike Marissa, Brandon faces his grief head-on. As their relationship sweetens, Marissa realizes the value of letting someone in and not letting her grief destroy her. But when her past filled with denial catches up with her, Marissa is forced to tell Brandon her darkest secrets, or risk losing him.

The only thing harder than lying about her life? Facing it.

Aptly named, Heart on a String is one of the most touching books I’ve read in some time. From the start, when Marissa literally finds a heart on a string–a heart shaped balloon stuck in a tree–and “saves” it, I was hooked.

I lost a parent to cancer many years ago. True, I was an adult (a very young one, but still an adult), but it was no less heartrending. Marissa not only loses her mother, though, but also her brother who abandons her. And though her grandmother does her best, nothing can fill that gap in her life.

The strength of this novel was the author’s ability to create real, unique characters that I cared about from the moment I met them. From Marissa, to her grandmother, to her friend, Zoe and, of course Brandon, each person was well crafted, real and exceptional.  Even the secondary characters were solidly three-dimensional. They behaved as I would expect them to, though sometimes I wanted to slap Marissa silly for her behavior and I didn’t always like her. Even then, though, it was well within the realm of possibility. I have a teenaged daughter, and know how incredibly emotional and dramatic they can be.

Brandon was a dream come true. A truly good guy who’s learning to deal with his grief–the loss of a brother–in a much healthier manner than Marissa does the loss of her mom. I don’t want to share spoilers, but I really loved what he did at the very end. I nearly cried happy tears.

Deciding on an age recommendation wasn’t easy, but if your younger teens can handle deeply emotional stories involving the loss of a parent, then there really isn’t any else in this story to worry about.

All-in-all an impressive book. Not without a few things that annoyed (mainly some of Marissa’s behavior), but any irritation was well overshadowed by the emotions the author elicited from me. I cried, I laughed, I empathized and I hoped … the book impacted me and touched my heart. I recommend it.

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Hot Pursuit by Jennifer Zane – Spotlight

9_18 hot_pursuit_tour_banner

This post is part of a virtual book tour.

9_18 hot_pursuit1_medA fun weekend at a friends wedding in Denver takes a bizarre twist for Anna Scott when her rental car is pulled over due to an “anonymous tip”. In her trunk…one dead body linked to warring crime families in Denver and New York. It should be easy for an innocent woman to be cleared for an innocent mix-up. But was it a mistake? The police aren’t so sure, and neither is the crime boss who wants vengeance for his son-in-law’s death. You see, Anna Scott didn’t exist a couple of years ago, she knows way too much about criminal procedures and about talking to cops. Anna Scott has a secret, and this twist of fate could not only expose her, but place her and anyone close to her in danger.

Jake Griffin is playing a dangerous game. He’s spent the last few months undercover in the Moretti crime family. Anna Scott is a big problem. Moretti assigns him to find out who she is, what she wants, and to kill her if she’s a threat. Jake needs to keep his nose clean and focus on taking down Moretti, not a sexy woman who is a complete mystery. He can’t stop thinking about her; her knowledge, her name, her dangerous associates, her fear, or the bone deep desire every time he sees her. Nick’s at war with the whole world over one alluring, yet vulnerable woman, and he can’t seem to stop taking dangerous chances where she’s concerned. The most dangerous of all might be trusting her with the truth.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She paused as if considering my words. “So, what? I’m the hit man Moretti hired to off his son-in-law? Is that how you say it? Yeah, I’m a real professional.” My brows went up at her sarcasm. “Caught with the body in the trunk. Really dumb of me.”

“Or smart enough to come up with a story about the whole car rental swap.” I spun my finger around in the air. “Word gets around. I have to admit, I fell for it.”

She took a deep breath, let it out. Dropped her hands to her sides. “Earlier tonight, at the reception, did you mean it when you offered to help me?”

“A friend of Moretti’s is a friend of mine.” I wasn’t playing nice. Why should I? No one in Moretti’s organization would be considered nice. I felt like a fucking fool once. What was it with women? First Nadine, now Anna. I thought I’d learned my lesson. A woman was never what she seemed. Never sweet and innocent and wanting the simplicity of a man loving and protecting her. The whole picket fence romance movie. Boy, had I been wrong. At least I hadn’t gotten in too deep by marrying this one. I hadn’t even kissed her. Then why the hell did her duplicity feel like a jagged sliver beneath my skin?

“You don’t believe me. Wow.” She shook her head. “You’re one to talk. What’s your real title, your real job? Thug? Murderer? Because you can’t just be a bar manager. I’ve heard the term wet work before. I guess in your case it doesn’t just refer to pouring drinks.”

She thought I was a hit man? She was a piece of work.

“You were a lot different a few hours ago at the reception when you made me promise to come to you if I had a problem.”

“Yeah, well, we’re not what we seem, are we?”

She looked at me for long seconds. Just staring. I figured I’d get tears or anger or even a slap across the face for my shitty attitude. What I didn’t expect was acceptance.

“Whatever. You’re going to believe what you want.” She gave a negligent shrug. “Nothing I say is going to sway you.”

I picked up a paperclip, unbent one of the wires. “It seems you’ve been in this situation before.”

“Yeah, you’d be surprised.”

Something flickered in her eyes, but I couldn’t read it. Even if I had, I wouldn’t believe what I saw. She was a damn fine actress. Should I be the one to tell Peters and the others they’d been duped or let them figure it out on their own?

“I didn’t come here to make you believe me,” she continued. “I came for your help. You offered earlier, so here I am. There’s a woman who needs rescuing from a bad man and I can’t do it by myself.”

“You’ve got the karate moves to rescue someone. You don’t need anyone else, let alone me.” I tossed the straightened clip back on the desk. Grabbed another. I saw her jaw clench. I wasn’t making it easy for her. Like I really cared.

“He’s a bad man. He’s done it before. I’ve got proof.”

“Moretti’s a bad man. He’s done it before. You’re the proof.” I let that sink in for a minute.
“Moretti’s not going to let me leave Scorch and go off to New York to save some damsel in distress, sweetheart. It’s not like we’re in the kind of business that has vacation time and a 401k. Besides, why should either of us help you?”

Her hands clenched at her sides and I saw anger flare in her dark eyes. “Because he owes me.”

I laughed. “Owes you?”

“Yes, owes me. The police are completely distracted by a dumb woman who got the wrong car at a valet stand and got stuck with a corpse. They’re not paying attention to who really killed Bobby Lane. They don’t really even care. I take it Bobby wasn’t a very nice guy. I wouldn’t know since I’ve only seen him dead.”

Anna had a dry sense of humor. She’d seemed so vulnerable and soft at the reception. The woman in front of me now was completely different, all fiery spunk and attitude. She was still soft in all the right places—my gaze roved over her body, completely hidden beneath my jacket. But I couldn’t help remembering her earlier, her curves hidden beneath, yet accentuated by the slim bodice of her blue dress. The way she’d looked, surprised by the connection between us. How her eyes had softened when I touched her waist. The way she’d been soothed by my words after her panic attack. So which was the real Anna? Was it even possible to figure out? Hell, was it worth the energy to do so?

“The person who did shoot him got someone to take the heat for him,” she continued. “Me. They couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I mean, look at me!”

She was the perfect dupe; a woman in from out of state for a wedding, pretty, educated, a spotless record not even tarnished by a parking ticket. Who’d have considered her for popping Bobby? The police didn’t. I hadn’t either.

“The murderer is completely off the hook and Moretti looks like the grieving father-in-law,” she added. “He owes me, and I want him to pay up. With you.” She pointed her finger at me.

“I’ve never been propositioned quite this way before,” I murmured, tossing the next unbent paper clip on the desk. “The door’s locked. You can have your way with me right here. An orgasm would do you good. You’re too tense.”

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Balancing Life and Writing by Susan Soares – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Susan will be awarding a Life is all Good LOVE Tote to a randomly drawn winner (http://www.zappos.com/life-is-good-all-good-tote-soft-purple), a multi-heart turquoise charm bracelet (http://www.zappos.com/m-f-western-multi-heart-charm-turquoise-bracelet-silver) to another randomly drawn winner, a signed copy of Heart on a String to one more randomly drawn winner and finally, a signed bookmark of Heart on a String to three randomly drawn winners. All prizes will be awarded via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Balancing life and writing

This is a tough question, but one I think every writer faces especially if you’re not at the point where you can up and quit your paying job for a life of writing. For me it’s all about schedules and blocks of time. By nature I’m an all or nothing personality. I don’t like the feeling of a large task looming above my head. It makes me feel stressed. Yes, writing can make you stress! So I love the idea of block writing. Or even frenzy writing if you will. I learned about Nanowrimo a few years back and felt that it was the perfect vessel for me. You write a rough draft of a novel in a month. Minimum 50k words. This was what I was looking for. In addition to my all or nothingness I’m also very goal oriented. My quirks and Nanowrimo just seemed to fit hand in hand. Nano is held each November, but I create my own Nanos when I want to work on a rough draft. I set a goal and do my best to adhere to it. For a 50K draft to be done in a month this requires me to write about an hour to two hours a day. Balancing a family, work, and writing can be mind boggling. But once I found setting myself up for the 50K challenge I was able to better work it into place. I knew how much time I needed and I knew that the time set aside to write needed to be just for that- WRITING. Now that’s not say that maybe twenty to thirty minutes of that time is me procrastinating, but once I start banging those words out I don’t stop until the time’s done. My kids know that I’m working and unless someone is sick or bleeding they tend to leave me alone. It’s all about choices. Making the commitment and if you do that you’ll succeed.

The only thing harder than lying about your life? Facing it.

Marissa tells lies.

To herself, about the fact that her brother abandoned her.

To her grandmother, when she says “everything’s fine.”

To the world when she pretends her mother is at home or working late. When she doesn’t tell them her mother is dead.

She doesn’t even question the wisdom of living in a world built on lies anymore—until she meets Brandon. Unlike Marissa, Brandon faces his grief head-on. As their relationship sweetens, Marissa realizes the value of letting someone in and not letting her grief destroy her. But when her past filled with denial catches up with her, Marissa is forced to tell Brandon her darkest secrets, or risk losing him.

The only thing harder than lying about her life? Facing it.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I held my breath as I ran past the cemetery. Stupid, I know. Regardless, it’s one of those idiotic things that stick with you from your childhood. Like fragments of your being that imprint themselves on your chemical makeup. It was my older brother, Marc, who had told me that once when we were in the backseat of Mom’s old hatchback and were driving past the Sacred Path Cemetery.

Marc poked me in my side. “Quick, hold your breath,” he said before taking in a puff of air and holding it in.

“What? Why?” I looked around from side to side.

He didn’t answer me. Instead he just kept motioning with his hands, pointing out the window, putting his hands around his neck like he was choking or something. Finally, when we turned left onto Harper Street he let out a big exhale.

“Oh man, now you’re toast.” He pointed at me and laughed. That maniacal laugh only older brothers know how to do. I was seven at the time, and Marc was ten. “You probably have a ghost inside you now.” He grinned like a devious villain.

“A ghost?” I said.

“You didn’t hold your breath while we drove past the cemetery. Again I state — you’re toast.” He began drumming on his lap with his hands.

I didn’t comprehend what he was telling me, but I knew I didn’t like it. Tears started forming in my eyes, and I knew I had to rely on my failsafe. “Mooommm,” I cried out, and immediately I felt Marc’s sweaty hand over my mouth.

“Yes, Marissa?” Mom’s sweet voice carried from the front of the car to the backseat.

“She’s fine, Mom. I got it.” Marc’s tone was of the dutiful son. He unclamped his hand from my face. “Listen,” he began, talking kind of slow. “You’ve got to remember this. I’m going to give you a life lesson here. Are you ready?”

His green eyes were sparkling, and I nodded my head in agreement.

“Okay.” He crouched down a bit so he was eye-level with me. “You must always, and I mean always, hold your breath when you drive past a cemetery. And if you’re walking past one, you must run — run and hold your breath until you’re clear. Otherwise, the spirits of the undead could invade your body. And you don’t want that to happen. Do you?” I almost couldn’t tell if the last part was a question or a statement.

“But I didn’t hold my breath back there, and all the times before. What if one’s in me right now?” I began pawing at my body.

Marc threw his head back and laughed. “Nah, you’re fine. Just be careful. Now that you know you have to do it, always do it. Understand?”

Again I shook my head. Marc gave me a thumbs-up, and I begged Mom to take Chester Street instead of Maple because I knew there was a big cemetery on Maple. Luckily she agreed.

So now, here I was ten years later, holding my breath as I ran past Sacred Path Cemetery. While I ran, my new sneakers — the ones I had to work double shifts on Saturdays for three weeks to get — started rubbing the back of my left heel, and I knew I’d have a blister the size of a quarter later on. It’s hard to keep your pace when you’re holding your breath. Luckily Sacred Path Cemetery isn’t that big. Just big enough. It’s just big enough. That’s what my grandmother said anyway. I was almost halfway through when I heard the clicking of the tips of my shoelace on the ground. My thoughts concentrated on what those tip things were called, anything to get my mind off the cemetery. Aglets, I remembered! My aglets were hitting the pavement, and I knew if I didn’t stop and retie that lace, then I would land flat on my face. Grace has never been a character trait of mine. My mother, yes, but not me. Marissa No-Grace McDonald should have been my legal name. How my mother came up with Scranton for my middle name I’ll never know.

The last thing I wanted to happen was to fall face first in front of the cemetery. Complete body invasion for sure then. I couldn’t hold my breath that long. So I did what I had to do. I stopped, turned my face the opposite direction of the cemetery, and took one big breath in and held it. Next, I bent down and furiously retied that lace. Why is it that whenever you try doing something in a rush it never comes out right? Somehow I tied my finger into the knot. Then, I couldn’t get the loops to line up right. Just as I was finally conquering the over-under shoelace tying technique that Marc had taught me when I was five, I heard muffled sounds coming from inside the cemetery. I searched for the source of the sounds. As I looked near the line of big oak trees that lined the right-hand side of the cemetery, I saw the profiles of a family. What I assumed was a family, anyway. There was a woman, about my mom’s age, a guy about my age, and a younger boy, maybe six or seven. The little boy was holding a metallic balloon, which was red and in the shape of a heart. Bright sun caught the corner of it, creating a glare that momentarily impaired my vision. When my eyes refocused, I was suddenly aware of my body and extremely aware of the fact that I was watching this family’s private moment, in the cemetery, in this cemetery. My heart beat frantically, and I became aware that my forehead was covered in perspiration. I stood up, held my breath again, and ran the next half a block without stopping, my aglets clicking against the pavement all the way.

When I crossed over onto Brenton Street, I finally slowed down. I felt like I could breathe again. My pace was back to a more conservative speed, and after one more break to retie that shoelace-triple-knot, I was able to refocus. The spring air felt good on my skin. As the sun poured down on me, my face embraced its warmth. Lilacs were in full bloom everywhere, and I made a special detour down Hazel Street to run past the six lilac bushes Mr. Brockwell planted a few years ago. He said it was just because he wanted to add some color to his front yard, but I knew better. I knew they were for my mom.

Turning down Hazel Street, I inhaled the heavy floral scent of the freshly-bloomed lilac bushes, and I could picture my mom smiling. As I ran past the last bush, the little blue house finally came into view. I saw Mr. Brockwell picking up his newspaper from his front step. In that moment I wished I had magical powers to turn myself invisible.

“Marissa? Hey Marissa!” he shouted while making his way over to the fence.

Oh great. “Oh, hey, Mr. Brockwell.” I slowed down and began jogging in place, hoping the gesture would let him know I couldn’t stay to chat.

“It’s been a long time since you’ve run this route, hasn’t it?” He cinched his blue terrycloth robe a little tighter.

Trying to remain active, I kept jogging in place. “Yeah, I guess. I wanted to run past the lilacs.” I wasn’t sure if it was the sun or my nerves, but I felt like my body was going into heat shock or something.

Mr. Brockwell stared at me, and then I saw his eyes get glassy. He began to speak but then ran his hand over his mouth like he was muffling down what he wanted to say. His hands fumbled with his paper, and he cleared his throat.

“It’s good to see—” he paused; it was like the words were getting caught in his throat like tuna inside a fisherman’s net.

I realized I was standing still. My legs began to spasm. He caught my eye one more time, but just for a moment before he had to look away. I knew why. It was the reason I never ran past his house anymore. The reason why we couldn’t have a conversation anymore. Everyone used to tell me I was so lucky to look so much like my mom. She was gorgeous. High cheekbones, perfect heart-shaped mouth, sparkling blue eyes that sat perfectly on her oval face. Besides her hair being a stunning ash blond and mine being mouse brown, we did look quite similar. Except that while her features seemed to make her look like Grace Kelly, mine seemed to make me look like, well, not Grace Kelly.

But it was moments like this — Mr. Brockwell unable to look at me for more than a minute without having to look away — that I wished I looked less like her. I felt like my face was betraying him. Like my cheekbones and lips were baiting him with memories of him and my mom together. Although now, each memory was served with a side of sorrow instead of a side of joy.

I’ll never forget when I saw him two days after the funeral. We bumped into each other at Have Another Cup Coffee Shop on Main Street. First he hugged me and asked how I was doing; then he had to look away, and he told me why.

“It hurts to look at you, Marissa. You look so much like her.” I knew how much he loved my mom, and Marc and I enjoyed having him around, but after that moment I made sure to keep my distance. So he went from being Hank to back to being Mr. Brockwell.

Now, I stood there — uncomfortable from sweat that covered me head to toe — wondering how much longer I needed to stand there while he avoided my face. “So, I gotta go or my pace is gonna be all messed up.”

Hank, I mean, Mr. Brockwell took one final look at me. “Sure, sure.” He started to walk backward then stopped. “Marissa, just so you know. Any time you want to see the lilacs you can.”

The lump in my throat held back any words I could have gotten out, so I just waved and made a beeline for the next street so I could start my way back home. Seeing Mr. Brockwell had put me into a fog. My brain wasn’t able to concentrate on my pace or on my footing, and I began to get a shin splint pain on my left-hand side. Unfortunately, this was the same side as the blister. My run was only six miles, but my body was starting to feel like I was at mile thirteen. I couldn’t relax my breathing, and the back of my throat felt like it was on fire every time I inhaled. In my fog, I didn’t realize I forgot to cross Parker Street, and now the only way to get back was to take Fletcher Street again. And run past Sacred Path Cemetery, again. Now, I ran past that cemetery every day on my jog, but only once. Once was all I needed to let me get it out of my system. And it’s not like my mom’s grave is right where I run past. She’s way on the other side, the Cranville Street side. I never run that side. But now, in all the confusion, I have to go past it again. My hand scratched an itch at the back of my neck as the street sign came into view. Like always, I stopped for a moment, took a few deep breaths in and out, then grabbed one big breath of air and held it as I started my way past the cemetery.

My focus was way up ahead to the stop sign at the other end. I kept my eyes on that sign and kept my feet stepping under me, quick and steady. I wasn’t even halfway across when I caught sight of some sort of string frantically whipping in the wind, and I was running straight toward it. My gaze moved to follow the line of the string, trying to see what it was attached to, and that’s when I saw it, caught in the big tree right by the fence. The red, heart-shaped metallic balloon, and my heart hit the ground.

About the Author:

Susan Soares grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, always dreaming of one day being an author. After numerous short stories, poems and plays, those dreams finally became a reality when her first book, My Zombie Ex-Boyfriends was published. (Featherweight Press, 2013) Her second book Heart on a String was just released in June 2014 by Astraea Press.

Susan received her MA in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University, and will be pursuing teaching soon. When she isn’t writing Susan spends her time reading, experimenting with photography, planning her next Disney World vacation and chasing after her kids.

Susan loves to read YA fiction. Maybe it’s because her inner sixteen-year-old still wants to be prom queen.

Twitter ~ YouTube ~ Website ~ Blog ~ Goodreads ~ Wattpad

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The background behind Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper by Zangba Thomson – Guest Blog and Giveway

NBTM Three Black Boys Tour Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Zangba will be awarding a print copy of Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper or a Bong Mines Clothing T-shirt (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. (US ONLY) Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The background behind Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper

 Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper is about three teenagers that spring into dangerous action to obtain financial aid for an uninsured Indian immigrant—who desperately needs a liver transplant to stay alive. The boys go on a dangerous mission to obtain the quarter of a million dollars needed for the woman’s surgery, but subsequently, little do they know that they will encounter huge obstacles and experience more than they have ever experienced before.

Three Black Boys originally started as a Hip-Hop song, and people wanted to know—what was the story behind the boys’ robbery attempt? At the time—I didn’t have an answer, but an idea sprung into my mind and months later I began adapting the three-minute-song into the short story—Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version. It’s not easy adapting songs into books, so I didn’t know what to expect, and after getting a good book review from Kirkus, I knew I had to get Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version in stores. That’s when I began to do a market analysis on the book industry, and it wasn’t until I read The Ten Awful & The Ten Wonderful Truths about Book Publishing that things began to make sense.

You see—independent authors have to go out there and make it happen because no one will make it happen for us. So, with my Industry Analysis’ knowledge taken into consideration, Craig Green (Captain of BME LLC Street Team) and I decided to test the street market first. So, we took a trip to Harlem, U.S.A., the Mecca or Capital of Black America, with 200 copies of Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version in the trunk of our vehicle. Questions were asked, and after hours of networking, Hue-Man Bookstore paid us in advance for several copies, and Black Star Music & Video Store and a prominent Harlem street distributor took many copies of Three Black Boys on consignment.

A week later, Black Star and the street distributor were sold out. The distributor asked me to do an outdoor book signing at one of his bookstands, which is currently located on the corner of 125th street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, across the street from the legendary Apollo Theater. Many books were sold that day on the street corner, and a new relationship between Harlem and Three Black Boys was established. And not too long afterwards, Hue-Man Bookstore set up an official in-store book signing for me, introducing me as a new voice in Literary Fiction. A month later, Molloy College in Long Island, New York, hosted my first successful college “Meet & Greet the Author,” in which I got the chance to perform the original Three Black Boys song in front of an intrigued English class.

Within a month’s time, we sold approximately 1,500 copies of Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version in the streets of Harlem—for $10 a copy. Three Black Boys was on every street vendor’s table in Harlem. Consumers, mostly women who had purchased the book, said they cried after reading Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version. That’s when I knew we were on to something big. But a week later, the street distributor told me that Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version was too small in page count to compete in the long run with The Coldest Winter Ever, Push, True to the Game and other full-length Urban Fiction novels. He said, “My customers want more for their buck!”

So, I went back into my creative shell and began writing my debut novel—Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper. The result was great! What started out, as a song—that was adapted into a Street Lit short story—was now an action-packed and multi-cultural novel—filled with drama, surrealism, and dark fantasy/thriller; and at that time—I didn’t know I was mixing genres together and establishing my own lane.

So, in conclusion, I want to end this guest blog with Mel Blanc’s famous catchphrase, “That’s All Folks!” And I want to thank Long and Short Reviews—for hosting this wonderful blogging event, and also I want to thank Goddess Fish Promotions—for organizing this magnificent “Virtual Name Before the Masses Tour” for Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper. (PEACE) and always remember that (P) Positive, (E) Energy, (A) Always, (C) Creates, (E) Elevation.

MEDIA KIT 3_Black_Boys_COVERTeenagers spring into dangerous action to obtain financial aid for a woman who has only a month to live. The setting is Queens, N.Y., home to Babita Harris, an Indian immigrant plagued with the deadly black fever disease. With a couple of months to live, Babita only hope of survival is a costly liver transplant. But with no health insurance, the chance of a surgery is slim. What she needs is a quarter of a million dollars in cash. Barnes, her only son, along with his two friends, Demus and Baker, spring into dangerous action to get the money. Although their road is paved with good intentions, the brothers in arms will experience more than they have ever experienced before.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Our front door is always open if you change your mind,” says Ojal.

“I know, Mama,” replies Babita, before laying the bluebird chime down on the table. “I think I will take this last opportunity to go outside and revisit the new addition to the back yard.”

The blue bird chime shakes without any assistance and Babita is startled.

“Better hurry up before the clouds begin to cry,” says Ojal with a smile.

Babita nods her head in agreement and makes her way into the back yard. There she sees a beautiful garden with assorted color roses. Out the corner of her eye, she spots a red rose positioned behind several thorny bushes. With caution, she reaches for the delicate flower, not knowing a parasitic sandfly is traveling unnoticed in her direction. The sandfly bites Babita’s outstretched arm. “Ouch!” she grimaces softly, and quickly retracts her hand back to her bosom. Immediately, she notices a small swelling forming on her arm, and in no time, blood oozes from her tiny wound. A strong wind blows and many dandelions fly in her direction. Lightning strikes, thunder roars its ugly voice, and light rain begins to fall. Babita, afraid of her hair getting wet, quickly retreats into her parents’ home.

About the Author:MEDIA KIT ZangbaThomsonZangba Thomson is the Creative Director at BME LLC, the author of Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper, co-author of Do Right Do Good (a self-help guide book towards vision fulfillment and entrepreneurship), a recording artist, and New York Life Coach Examiner. Zangba balances his career and family time on the scale of hard work and dedication, and his main areas of focus include his real life experiences, metaphysics, and spirituality. Zangba’s work reinforces the basic idea that goals are fulfilled when right decisions are made. Please visit his website at www.zangbathomson.com.

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