The Diamond Grenade by Daniel Julian – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This stop is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Daniel will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to five randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheDiamondGrenadeThe Diamond Grenade is the story of a family line and a revolution told in five novellas – a complex tale told simply.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Book I: A Father’s Fate

At one point, on the banks of a confluence where two rivers ran together like closing thighs, there was a certain boatman. This boatman, name of Gur, had a fine long pole (not too bendy, not too strong) with which to move his long wide boat upon the water. Gur slept with his pole, lest it go missing. Then one evening while he was ferrying a few paying passengers from one put-in to the next, Gur’s pole got stuck in thick river-bottom mud and muck and he lost his grip and the pole sank out of sight. Cursing, Gur leapt into the water and dove for the pole. Long minutes passed and Gur’s nubile daughter Guri, at the prow of the boat, began to wail. Gur did not come back up. They found him later downstream. This is how the girl Guri became a very young boatman with a shoddy pole.

The thing about Guri is that she knew everybody. All the fares on her boat. They didn’t necessarily know each other all too often, but everybody knew Guri. And somehow she knew everybody back. She just had a mind for it. Who went with whom and how the families fell out. Names. All the names Guri knew. But only one name made her sing: Tuc. Tuc drank and threw dice, but early in their acquaintance he’d made bold to say that Guri would make a good mother. This observation of Tuc’s about Guri had won her over, so she sang his name in the dark. One syllable songs are short, but carry on the water.

Guri’s favorite disgruntlement was that there was no word for girl boatman. It was poling-upriver hard to get more than a grunt out of half her older passengers, because they didn’t see clear to it being right for her to be doing a man’s job. Tuc suggested ‘boatwoman’, but Guri allowed as how that was more the busty mascot off the bow of a ship than a person who poled for a living. Tuc took to riding with Guri quite frequently. Then one night, he brought her a new pole, and it was a good pole.

Not long after the new pole, Tuc convinced Guri to elope with him a ways downriver to a town where he had prospects. When they got there, they traded the boat and pole for two goats. Guri was better with people than with animals, so Tuc tended the herd while she met and memorized every person she could find. Soon she had so much work taken in to do for folks that what with going to the big, clean houses to perform services inbetweentimes, and attending in good turn to the day’s worth of all the waiting piecemeal work filling their modest house, Guri was too busy to make a baby.

Guri got fed up with being too busy to make a baby and made a baby. Tuc split. Guri’s popularity made her fatherless child the ward of the town. Everybody parented him. That’s why he grew up angry. His name was Gur, after his grandfather. Boy did he have a chip on his shoulder about being told what to do. Everybody told him when and where to jump. Only Guri could make him ask how high. Usually his answer would be jump why? The thing about having a whole village full of parents is that they are going to contradict each other and some of them are bound to be weird people.

About the Author: As in medical school, praxis then practicum: I saw one, did one, taught one… now I do one after the other. One novella after another I mean. And they’re good. I saw novellas while acquiring my Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature/Letters with a minor in Psych at Indiana University in the mid-nineties, I taught and did novellas a few years later while pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Lit. at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and I have done a fancy set of five well here now (as I pursue an AAS in Accounting at a community college, btw). For more about me, check out my website.

A set of five good serial novellas. Hope you find the time to enjoy them. Please help spread the word. You can download the book for free.

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Researching Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jeanbill, whose debut novel, Almost a Millennium debuted early this year. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.

One third of Almost a Millennium is devoted to medieval history, mostly within England, an episode in Arab country, one in Germany, and one in Italy. Obtaining the facts that happened during those times were available and accomplished by means of good, old research. However, the task became difficult when there were contradictions of facts or no facts available, especially when the Normans destroyed many of the Anglo-Saxon documents after their invasion and conquering of England. In some cases, finding older books and documents, made it possible to use that information to find the facts of the discrepancies. And for the unobtainable information, I had to use my common sense and judgment to good use to fill in the missing information.

Seeking several sources about certain incidents, I found some historians tainting the stories with their own biases and agendas, such as condemning and discoloring the feudal system of the time. There were multiple sections within England that had forms of feudalism, but there were several kinds, without having a standard to follow, the thegns and earls enforced their own standards. We, today, must remember the people of the land had to have some type of protection from criminal-acting insiders and the Viking outsiders. They would surrender to feudalism so they had some protection from those threats: to continue to live, marry, have children, and to lessen their fears that were predominate in those times. And they needed further protection from God via the Roman Catholic Church.

The chapter regarding cryptography took some time for I had only a small amount of knowledge. I not only had to read about it but also had to peruse that information in order to understand it. In my learning, I realized that there was a war extending over many years between the cryptographers and the cryptanalysts. In the periods from before Christ until today, one or the other was the winner for that period. And today, when we punch a 12-digit passcode with capital and small letters, numbers, and characters we are in the era of cryptography prevailing, but for how long will that be the case?

I demanded of myself to write the facts of the past without any bias or hidden agenda that I might have. I placed myself into the two main leaders of that time—William I and Pope Urban II. I needed their thoughts to be placed within written history to help readers to understand what they had to do as leaders of their era. Many historians write discouraging remarks about William I. Those remarks, colored with adjectives and verbs about the incidents, still may reflect the facts. But when one is a leader, he reacts to the period and circumstances of the time and reacts accordingly. Some will hate leaders for their actions and some will love their actions. True leaders will always be criticized for their decisions, but they must be made, hoping that they will be the right ones. Harry S. Truman, a president, leader of the United States had to make a decision to, hopefully, end a war in the 1940s. The war did end, but over 200,000 civilians were killed because of his decision.

9_4 jeanbill Almost a Millennium by JeanbillAlmost a Millennium, by Jeanbill, was published in January 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon.

Almost a Millennium is an eclectic novel about the unlikely connection between an English monk and an American physician that lived nearly 1,000 years apart, one of today and one in the medieval period. It begins at their birth, traveling through time to their adulthood.

Using cryptography, Paul, a monk at Llanthony Abbey in Wales, writes a four-page document about his life and a harsh critique of the crusades. He places his writings in safekeeping in the hope that it will survive the crusades and eventually land in the hands of someone who can decipher his secrets. When Fred unexpectedly comes across Paul’s book and ciphers Paul’s cryptic message, he has no idea that four pages of millennial history will challenge him to rethink Christianity.

“Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill is a deeply compelling historical fiction novel. Although a work of fiction, the story is a depiction of England’s history and the power dynamics at the time. It is a richly detailed story and many times I found myself forgetting that I was reading a work of fiction as the historical events described felt very authentic. The setting of the story and the character development were simply amazing as we dived into Paul and Fred’s compelling background stories. Paul and Fred were two people so different and yet so alike. The pace of the story was set from the beginning and this held true to the very last page. Jeanbill used a unique and very captivating style in developing this story.” – Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers’ Favorite

About the Author: 9_4 Jeanbill Headshot

Jeanbill has been associated with medicine for more than 50 years, practicing as a general practitioner. He studied many hours in the medieval library of University of Notre Dame, researched and wrote over a period of 20 years in his spare time.

Jeanbill resides in Lynden, WA. Married to his other half for 57 years until cancer separated them, he has four children and 14 grandchildren.

Readers can connect with him on , Facebook, and Twitter.

#LASR_Anniv Books We love Ltd.

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Enter the rafflecopter at the end of this post for a chance to win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC + other prizes! NOTE: This publisher is giving away TWO $25 GCs to their house on the rafflecopter, so make sure you enter!

BooksWeLoveLogoBooks We Love Ltd. is a publisher of genre fiction by established authors in digital and print. Our authors have embraced digital publishing as the model of the future and Books We Love publishes historical novels, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance and fantasy romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, thrillers, western and young adult books in every genre.

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#LASR_Anniv Less Than Three Press

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Enter the rafflecopter at the end of this post for a chance to win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC + other prizes! NOTE: This publisher is giving away TWO $25 GCs to their house on the rafflecopter, so make sure you enter!

LessThanThreeLogoLess Than Three Press is a publisher of LGBTQIA romance, priding ourselves on offering stories that appeal to the entire spectrum.


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#LASR_Anniv Roan Rose by Juliet Waldron

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RoanRoseMore like a gangland war for turf than chivalry, the War of Roses disrupted the life of English commoners for hundreds of years. Rose Whitby is born a peasant on the Yorkshire dales. When the Countess of Warwick takes her to Middleham Castle to be companion and bed-time poppet for her daughter Anne, Rose’s fate will change forever.

Faithful Rose will witness love, betrayals and battles, and suffer abrupt reversals of fortune which will shape her lady’s life—and her own. Anne Neville will become a Queen, and her husband, Duke Richard, will become a King, one whose name is now synonymous with evil.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Juliet Waldron has lived in many US states, in the UK and the West Indies. She earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Thirty years ago, after her sons left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for her readers. She’s a grandmother, a cat person, and a dedicated student of history and archeology and a dedicated partisan of the third Richard since her ‘tweens.

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There are No Vampires in this Book by Megan Bailey – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ThereAreNoVampiresInThisBookTARYN HAD NEVER BEEN NORMAL.

She wasn’t like other girls- not after that night, that thing, took her parents from her. She made it through hospitals, doctors, and therapy by playing by their rules and saying all the things they wanted to hear. But, inside, she held on to the truth.
She knew what she saw.


With her two closest friends at her side, she dedicated herself to a mission. She would train and she would hunt. When the time came, she would be ready. No one she loved would be hurt by one of those monsters ever again

But with high school behind them, new found freedom comes with new responsibilities and new problems. Instead of weapons and self defense classes, she now has jobs and bills. The relation-ship with her best friend was suddenly shifting into new, scary territories. How could she take down bad guys if she couldn’t get her own life in order?


A mysterious stranger who pops up in suspicious places and throws off all sorts of bad vibes. His face now starred in her regular nightmares and plagued her thoughts in the day. Was she overreacting? Or, was this finally the monster she had been waiting for? As the scars of Taryn’s past rise up to haunt her, she begins to question herself. With her mission faltering and her friendship off kilter, would life ever be the same again? Would she ever be the same?

Enjoy an excerpt:

She hit him with a cushion. “Shut up and play the game.”

“Truth or dare?” Aiden asked, his tone resigned.

“Dare. I’m not letting you mock my truths.” She leaned forward and started to mix another drink. One she definitely didn’t need but was having anyway. She wasn’t thinking about this lonely dramatic stuff anymore tonight. Even if she had to drown it.

“I dare you to kiss the first guy you lay eyes on.” Aiden bolted forward with his announcement, but she was faster.

Taryn squeezed her eyes shut instantly. “Nice try, goofball.”

“Oh, that’s not fair,” he grumbled.

“Should have worded it better,” she mocked him in a singsong voice. Eyes still closed, she raised her glass, a little wobblier than before. “Let’s make a toast. To being losers together on a Friday night.”

Instead of a tap of his can to her drink, she felt his fingers slide across the sides of her face and tangle into her hair. Her eyes popped open and locked on his, just inches away.

“Gotcha,” he said in a low voice.

Before Taryn could gasp, his mouth covered hers. It was no gentle, hesitant brush of the lips like she would have expected. No, Aiden met her with a firm, warm pressure that melted her insides like chocolate. His fingers in her hair tightened, sending electricity zinging through her. The drink in her hand was forgotten and slipped to the floor. Neither of them seemed to notice. He ran his tongue across the seam of her lips, asking, and the room tilted. She opened for him. His teeth caught her lower lip and tugged, lightly. She could have sworn she felt the tingle right down to her toes.

He pulled back, dragging his lips against hers in a slow caress. They sat there in the silence, eyes wide. Her head swam and her heart raced. Her scalp tingled where his fingers still pressed into her hair. Those eyes of his had turned to that shade of rich, dark blue. They trailed back down to her lips, which felt a little swollen.

From kissing him. Aiden. Heat blossomed through her belly. That just happened. But, for once, she wasn’t running a million thoughts through her head, worrying each one to death. She wasn’t thinking at all. Her panicky, loud brain was turned off, leaving something dark and hungry at the reins. Taryn wasn’t going to question it. Not tonight. She grabbed Aiden’s shirt and pulled him back down to return the kiss.

Somewhere in her head, it registered.

She was kissing her best friend.

And it was amazing.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ThereAreNoVampiresInThisBookMegan Bailey is a novelist and short story author. When not writing, she loves playing video games for way too many hours and reading everything she can get her hands on. Megan is married to her own wise-cracking, romantic hero. They live in Central Illinois with their two devious/darling daughters and three furbabies: Minna the boxer dog, Logan the black cat, and Gimli the dwarf bunny. You can keep up with Megan at

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Ten Things You Don’t Know About Writers by Amy Impellizzeri – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amy Impellizzeri will be awarding a signed copy of the book (US Only) and a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Writers

1) They read reviews.
Even if they say they don’t. They do.

2) They LOVE to read. The best writers read a lot. All genres. Every genre. In fact, they have to actually – and reluctantly! – take a hiatus from reading when they are in the throes of a writing project.

3) They need thesauruses.
In an early version of Lemongrass Hope, my editor found 147 instances of people
“whispering.” PLEASE NO MORE WHISPERING she wrote in exasperation. I’ve heard
similar stories from writers whose characters can’t stop sighing, glancing, gasping, and more!

4) They would still write whether or not anyone actually reads their work.
(But they like it better when you do!)

5) They don’t do it for the money.
Very few authors get crazy rich writing books. (This does not apply to E. L. James or J. K. Rowling.)

6) They do often work in their pajamas.
Or in my case, in my never-actually-been-to yoga pants.

7) They have day jobs.
Emerging and new authors often have to supplement income with freelance writing, copy-editing, or day jobs that have nothing to do with writing at all. The day I stepped down from my VP position at the start-up company I loved, to write full-time, was bittersweet, but also a HUGE gratitude moment for me.

8) They eavesdrop.
Fiction writers – especially when in the middle of a work-in-progress – are almost always living with characters in their head. When they overhear some funny or juicy piece of conversation in the coffee shop, you can be sure I (ahem, they!) are jotting down notes to incorporate into their work at some point.

9) They change (and sometimes forget!) character names.
In Lemongrass Hope, Celeste had about three different names in the initial manuscript before I settled on Celeste. I was constantly “finding and replacing.”

I’ve heard many stories of writers forgetting the names of the characters and switching them inadvertently halfway through the initial manuscript before the editors get hold of it.

10) They grow sour cherries, pears, and grapes on the side.
(Ok, that one might just be me.)

Layout 1 (Page 1)Set in the past, and present, LEMONGRASS HOPE is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel. LEMONGRASS HOPE weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope. As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When Kate unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope … and her greatest fears. Read the book hailed by New York Times Best-selling authors and reviewers, including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Oprah’s very first book club selection author.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“It seems you did not actually read my amazing piece on all of this in Time Travel, Inc.”

Kate laughed. “Is that for real? The real name of your magazine?”

“Well, yes. Seems it caused a bit of confusion with my Botswanan guide, as well. He saw me faxing some notes back to my editor and asked if I was really writing about time travel.”

“So you told him yes, naturally.”

“I actually did.” Ian looked only mildly sheepish when he said this.

“Anyway, that Botswanan guide invited me to drinks the next day. They make a drink down there from the fruit of the marula tree. It’s known to cure disease and do all sorts of things. So, over this decadent marula tree booze, my guide told me a story of a mystic in the delta who swears that through some combination of the fermented marula tree fruit and Botswanan agate, he can make things happen.”

“What things?”

“Well, time travel, of course.”

For a moment, Kate thought Ian was mocking her, or perhaps was a complete lunatic, but then he burst out laughing. “I know, crazy right? That’s what marula drink will do to you. At any rate, I have spent the last six months trying to convince my editor that there is another story down there in the delta – something about the mystic and the agate and the marula. And I’ve finally succeeded. If nothing else, I’m going to treat myself to one helluva marula drunk.”

Kate stopped eating and blinked hard at her plate of curry. She could not help but wonder what it would be like to drink marula booze in the Botswanan delta with this handsome man who seemed like he just might believe in time travel.

And who was making her want to believe as well.

Watch the book video:

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LemongrassHopeAmy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, and best-selling author. In 2009, she left her 13-year litigation career to write and advocate for working women, later joining the executive team of the award-winning website, Hybrid Her (named by ForbesWoman as a “Top Website for Women” in 2010 and 2011). Through her work at Hybrid Her, and as Vice President, Community & Content, for its later re-brand, ShopFunder, Amy worked closely with hundreds of creative and inspiring entrepreneurs and fundraisers, writing and marketing their stories to new audiences.

In October 2014, Amy transitioned to full-time writer, with the publication of her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014), which debuted as an Amazon best-seller (Romance/Fantasy and Romance/Time Travel). Oprah’s very first Book Club Selection author and New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author, Jacquelyn Mitchard, has called Lemongrass Hope a “fine and fresh thing – a truly new story.” Lemongrass Hope was featured by Library Journal and Foreword Reviews Magazine, and has been a favorite with Book Clubs and numerous Book Bloggers (including as the #1 favorite reviewed selection in 2014 by The Literary Connoisseur). Lemongrass Hope was recently selected as an INDIEFAB 2014 Book of the Year Finalist (Romance) by Foreword Reviews Magazine.

Amy’s first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015), is due out Summer 2015. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, ABA Law Practice Today, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, Skirt! Magazine, among more.

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Uncovering Secrets by Barbara Hinske – Cover Reveal and Giveaway

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This post is part of a cover reveal organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, for the third book in the Rosemont series by Barbara Hinske, Uncovering Secrets. Barbara will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Without further ado, here’s Barbara’s beautiful cover:


Mayor Maggie Martin is knee-deep in the financial problems facing Westbury. The investigation into the fraud and embezzlement that created these problems is going nowhere and she’s on the hot seat to produce results. The bad guys are always one step ahead, with bribes and blackmail at their disposal. Her late husband’s mistress also has an ace to play against Frank Haynes. But will he slip through the net once again?

Meanwhile, Rosemont’s attic gives up its secrets; some welcome, some not. Will Frank Haynes establish his claim to Rosemont?

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_UncoveringSecretsBarbara Hinske is a practicing attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. She has two grown children with her exceedingly kind and good second husband, who died of cancer in 2006. Lucky in love, Barb married another exceptional man and father of two in 2010, and they live in their own Rosemont with two adorable and spoiled dogs.

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Buy the first two books in the series at Amazon: Coming to Rosemont and Weaving the Strands.

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Something Like This by Eileen Cruz Coleman – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Eileen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_SomethingLikeThisTwenty-three-year old Jadie Santiago has a secret.

One morning on her way to work she stops to offer a homeless man a bottle of water. As she meets the man’s eyes, Jadie instantly recognizes they belong to her father, whom she hasn’t seen since she was sixteen. Unable to accept the truth of her encounter, Jadie flees, hoping eventually to forget the experience and continue leading a normal life.

But then she meets Reece, an aspiring writer with a mysterious past who is set on capturing Jadie’s affection. Jadie wants nothing more than to give her heart to Reece, but her broken past and crippling secret keep her from surrendering it to him fully.

Things won’t come easy to Jadie as she fights for her place in the world, but there is strength in her, and she is determined never to stop struggling for what so many others have: love, happiness, and a sense of belonging.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I ran my fingers down the sides of my dress. Wow, could I be more obvious? Here I was trying to fix myself up in front of a complete stranger, who for some reason was making me very nervous. “Oh, well, why are you here?” I managed to spit out.

He winked at me. “To see you.”

Yep, I’m going to faint right here in front of him.


“I came to ask you if you’ve changed your mind about having lunch with me.”

I swallowed and forced my cheeks not to blush. “I have a busy day today…I’m not sure I can take lunch.” I lied. Mr. Walker didn’t have a single appointment on his schedule. And on days when he had a clear schedule, he often came in late or took a longer than usual lunch.

“I know for a fact you can take lunch today. I called my uncle and asked him.”


“Don’t take it the wrong way. I’m not stalking you or anything.”

“You called my boss about my schedule. Why would I think you’re stalking me? What you did is completely normal. Yep, totally normal.”

He crossed his arms. “Maybe it comes across a little weird.” Then he uncrossed his arms.

“Look, I’m a good guy. All I’m asking is for you to let me take you to lunch. One hour, less, if you want, and then you can see for yourself whether or not I’m some crazy stalker, which I assure you, I’m not.”

I looked him up and down and gave in. “I’ll agree to coffee and if that goes well…”

He smiled. “Coffee it is.”

“Come back tomorrow morning,” I said, taking my handbag off my chair and placing it on my desk.

“What’s wrong with now?”

I sat down and pulled myself close to my desk. “I just got here.”

“Oh, come on, you’ll only be gone a few minutes.” He gave Mr. Walker’s door a glance. “My uncle isn’t even in yet.”

Sighing, I said, “Twenty minutes, and if I get fired over this…”

“You won’t get fired, I promise.”

Grabbing my purse, I stood. “Where shall we go?”

My stomach started aching. Had I known Reece was going to surprise me, I would have called in sick.

“There’s a place down the street just past the train tracks,” he said.

My heart melted and slid to my toes. We’d have to pass my father. “I’d rather not go to that one.”

“Why not?”

I cleared my throat. “I would rather we not go to that one. Is that okay?”

“There’s one across the street. You okay with going there?”

I nodded.

“We’re off to a good start,” he said.

“What makes you say that?”

“We haven’t even been on a date and I already know something about you.”

“And what is that?”

“You’re very particular about where you get your coffee from.”

About the Author: Eileen Cruz Coleman was born in Washington, D.C. to an immigrant El Salvadoran mother and a Puerto Rican father. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in History. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals both online and in print. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.

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Top Five Books by George T. Chronis – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. George will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Let me preface this list by saying these are my personal choices not the five best books based in any objective criteria. These five say something about what kinds of stories I appreciate and something about me as a person. So without further adieu…

#5: Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco

Part of my daily routine is finding time to have an interesting conversation with someone. Every once in a while the topic will stray into philosophy, science or the metaphysical. Those are fun discussions, and during a time of my life I was having quite a few of them I read Foucault’s Pendulum. The book sort of wraps all of these arcane subjects into a conspiracy story in a fascinating fashion that was a great read. It was like all of these esoteric conversations came alive in a way that had me looking over my shoulder. Definitely not for everyone but if you are into this stuff it is a great ride.

#4: Inherit the Stars, James P. Hogan

Okay, you do not read Hogan for grammatical flourish or rich character development. Yet the man had a knack for conjuring up these amazing science fiction stories that teased the mind, and in their own way, were very visual in concept. Inherit the Stars was the first of his novels published that I found it my first year of college and could not put down. The plot is something of a detective story. In the near future, a survey team on the moon finds a dead fellow in space suit stuffed back in a rock crevice. By the look of it he has been dead a while. Under examination back at base, they nickname him Charlie. The features of his suit are kind of weird. The design is perfectly understandable but doesn’t fit standards present or past, and can’t be placed with any known suit made in the past. Then comes the big head scratcher after the carbon dating results come in. Charlie is 50,000 years old. His DNA is totally human – he can only come from Earth. So how did this guy die on the moon 50,000 years ago when modern humans were competing with the Neanderthals?

#3: Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States, Raphael Semmes

Although not fiction, the voyage of the C.S.S. Alabama is one of the great American stories. Semmes was her captain and a sly rapscallion who tells of the multi-year expedition to raid Union shipping from the Atlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico, South America, the South Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and back until bottled up at Cherbourg, France. With no escape possible, Semmes challenges the captain of the U.S.S. Kearsarge to a ship-to-ship duel. This is simply an amazing narrative and a fascinating window on American politics and points of view during the Civil War. You have to get past that Semmes is a man who resigned his naval commission to fight for the South and thinks this is a just cause. But he is a prickly type who is not what you expect. Also a lawyer, he goes on tangents regarding legal justifications the North employs to justify its actions. Seeing hypocrisy in how the Union confiscates slaves in Southern states as contraband of war in order to free them while ignoring slaves in Northern states, Semmes takes the first opportunity to liberate a young slave from his Maryland owner using the same pretext. The kid is given the choice of being put off at the port of call of his choosing or joining the crew, and the youngster chooses to become a paid member of the crew. Only recently did I learn that there is an old folk song they still sing in Cape Town about the return of the Alabama. The ditty has nothing to do with the politics of slavery but about the captured libations and food stores Semmes brought back to be sold off that made their way to the local population.

#2: The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

The 1930s is an era I adore and The Maltese Falcon is a complete gem that never gets old or seems dated. Hammett sets the ground rules for all the detective fiction and Film Noir exposés that came later. There is an immediacy and drive to first-person pulp fiction that I find hard to resist. You can see the same virtues in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. Hammett paints a world full of greed and avarice that is dark, grimy and completely alive. And he gives us a hero in Sam Spade who is hardened, rough around the edges and not exactly virtuous… yet completely irresistible.

#1: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

Forget about the Disney movie, read the original material. Nemo is one of the great tortured villains ever written. He is one man at war with the British Empire and you can’t discount his reasons. There are huge doses of politics and moral outrage at play in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and in many ways modern readers have a hard time understanding why the guy is so pissed off. Not that the reasons are not presented, but that we lack the context. For example, I don’t remember being taught in school that the industrial revolution in Great Britain was funded by plunder from India. The history books I remember reading attributed the Industrial Revolution solely to the innate creativity and natural talents of the British. You have to read something like The Law of Civilization and Decay by Brooks Adams to learn differently. Nemo is a man whose entire life has been plundered by the British and he is out for payback. It is a rich and compelling character study that still haunts me.

MediaKit_BookCover_SudetenlandSudetenland is the premiere novel by author George T. Chronis. The book delivers suspenseful and sweeping historical fiction set against Central European intrigue during the late 1930s leading up to 1938’s Munich Conference. Having swallowed up Austria, Adolph Hitler now covets Czechoslovakian territory. Only France has the power to stand beside the government in Prague against Germany… but will she? The characters are the smart and sometimes wise-cracking men and women of this era – the foreign correspondents, intelligence officers, diplomats and career military – who are on the front lines of that decade’s most dangerous political crisis. If Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš ignores the advice of French premier Édouard Daladier and refuses to give up Bohemian territory willingly, then Hitler orders that it be taken by force. The novel takes readers behind the scenes into the deliberations and high drama taking place within major European capitals such as Prague, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and London as the continent hurtles toward the crucible of a shooting war.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Ros strutted into Lasky’s office, coming to a dead end in front of the wood desk that was as long as Rhode Island. She tapped the sole of her shoe on the floor impatiently while Lasky bellowed at someone else in the newsroom. At least the afternoon view over Manhattan was pleasing. Blowing in like a foul wind, Lasky slammed the door and walked right past her.

“Boss, I’m sorry to run a little fast with your image back there,” Ros offered up in appeasement.

Still rounding his desk, Lasky shook her off with a wave of his hand. “Forget it. That’s not why you’re here. I have a job for you.”

Wondering whether she should be concerned or happy, Ros decided to play along. “What kind of job?”

Sitting down, Lasky rifled through some paperwork until he found the document he was looking for.

“Yeah, go find this guy Lester downstairs, he’ll get you all set up. Lodging, fares, advances, the whole low-down,” Lasky finished, handing her the form.

“Who’s Lester? What are you talking about? Where am I going?” she blurted out before taking a wild glance at the paperwork.

Lasky thought if he could keep Ros distracted, maybe he could get the problem child on the boat before she could cry about needing a raise. He reached out and grabbed the form back. Throwing it on the desktop, Lasky signed the paper with his fountain pen.

Done, he thrust the page back at Ros. “Paris. I’m sending you to Paris.”

Ros looked down at the form, then at Lasky, then back at the form. “I’m going to Paris? When did someone around here start liking me?”

“Stop dreaming, no one around here likes you,” Lasky taunted her while he walked back around to the front of his desk. “That screwy Miranda just stabbed me in the back. She found herself some guy over there, got married, and now she’s running off to some French island in the Caribbean. I need someone to pick up the pieces in Paris. That’s you.”

“Just slow down. Miranda got hitched?” all of the angles weren’t coming together in Ros’ head.

“Yeah, nice announcement: Hi Harry, I got married, and I quit,” Lasky mimicked a feminine voice. These damn ditzy broads were always letting him down. But Ros showed promise. Pointing his finger repeatedly at her nose, he continued his rant. “Miranda left me high and dry, so I’m sending you to pick up the pieces. You, I don’t have to worry about. With that mouth, no one is going to be marrying you.”

“Harry!” Ros yelled indignantly. “You’re not painting a very enticing picture for me here. What if I don’t want to go to Paris?”

Lasky stared at her incredulously. “Who doesn’t want to go to Paris? Any one of those stooges out there would kill to go to Paris but none of them have what you’ve got.”

With her natural skepticism starting to boil over, Ros leaned in closer and started jabbing Lasky in the shoulder with two fingers, slowly backing him up against the desk.

“I know what you’re up to Harry,” her tone low and threatening. “Miranda was on a fashion beat. That means to you the only thing I got that those mugs out there don’t have, is boobs. It’s another glorified gossip beat, you rat!”

“It’s Paris! C’mon, every woman wants to go to Paris,” Lasky shouted in his defense.

“That’s not the point,” Ros continued poking him. “I’m tired of going to county fairs. I’m tired of the only labor unrest stories coming my way having to be in washing machine factories. I’m tired of reporting on this ditzy socialite, and that boring dolt of a millionaire. I want a real beat like a real reporter, Harry. I can do the job just as good, or better, as those guys out there and I cost less.”

“Stop trying to get on my good side,” Lasky retorted, readying his counter attack. He hadn’t expected this much of a fight. But he needed her and he couldn’t run the risk of her bolting.

“Listen, give me a chance here. You’re the only person I’ve got who can jump in and take over for Miranda. But you’re also a hell of a lot better than she is… err, was. You won’t have to work as hard to cover her beat. In case you haven’t noticed, between the Nazis and Mussolini, there’s one crisis after another going on over in Europe. I’m sure there’s going to be some important stories Walter and our boys won’t be able to get to. What you do with your free time is up to you.”

Somewhere in there were a couple of compliments, but she wasn’t going to let him twist free that easily. Paris did sound kind of nice, and he was throwing her a bone in the way of real work, but Ros was sure the beat would take up more time than Lasky was promising, and she wanted something else from him… for pride, and because she could. So Ros just silently stared Lasky down, daring him to add one more carrot to get her to sign on.

“Okay, and I’ll throw in a raise,” Lasky conceded after a long standoff.

“Done!” Ros threw her arm out to shake hands with Lasky to seal the deal.

About the Author: MediaKit_BookCover_SudetenlandAfter years as a journalist and magazine editor, George T. Chronis decided to return to his lifelong passion, storytelling. A lover of both 1930s cinema and world history, Chronis is now devoted to bringing life to the mid-20th Century fictional narratives that have been in his thoughts for years. Sudetenland is his first novel. Taking place during turbulent times in Central Europe during the 1930s, the book took eight years to research and write. The author is already hard at work on his second novel.

Chronis is married with two daughters, and lives with his wife in a Southern California mountain community.

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