Finding the Emotion by Barbara Casey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 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.

Finding the Emotion

Emotional situations in a story often remain with the reader, even long after a book has been read.

The Seraphim’s Song, Book 5 of The F.I.G. Mysteries, takes Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer, collectively known as the three FIGs – Females of Intellectual Genius, along with Carolina, their teacher from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, to a hidden cave on the Yellow Sea in China. It is there that they must find the secret location of where an ancient artifact – a “key” – must be returned in order for the world to be safe. Natural disasters are occurring all over the world, Carolina is ill, all of them are exhausted as they fumble their way through the dark cave. As rocks and boulders fall around them and the cave starts to collapse, they barely escape only to discover that Jennifer is not with them.

*****

They could hear the vibrating hum of B flat minor, the “aum” sound loud and distinct, clear and pure, no longer off key.

And they could hear the terrifying sound of the stone walls crumbing and the ceiling collapsing from within the inner deep dark depths of the cave and moving closer toward them. Thick choking dust filled the air around them making it almost impossible to breathe or see. “Get out!” shouted Dr. Stanwick. “Run! The cave is collapsing!”

Protecting their heads with their backpacks from the falling rocks, blinded by the thick dust and barely able to breathe, the F.I.G.s ran back the way they had come, toward the entrance, stumbling over broken rocks, pulling Carolina, urging her to hurry, trying to keep her from falling, with Dr. Stanwick right behind them. When they approached the opening of the cave and could see the daylight beyond, Carolina glanced back. The last thing she saw was the crevasse in the stone wall slowly close around the artifact as though to once again conceal it and protect it. The cymatic pattern of the god’s eye was now just a pile of rocks.

Startled by the sudden loud rumble and seeing the thick yellow dust spew from the mouth of the cave, Li Lee quickly got out of the car and rushed toward the noise of falling rocks just as Carolina and the F.I.G.s and Dr. Stanwick exited out of the yellow cloud of darkness and into the bright sunshine. From a safe distance, they watched in stunned silence as huge boulders, uprooted shrubs, small trees, and chunks of yellow clay fell from the outcropping and cliffs above, completely sealing the entrance. Any visible evidence that there was a jinzhi de cave or ever had been was gone—destroyed. All that remained was the thick yellow dust slowly rising and dissipating into the air.

“Jennifer!” Dara looked around. “Where’s Jennifer?” Dara yelled, moving toward the cave. “Oh, no! Jennifer!”

With everything happening, they hadn’t noticed that Jennifer wasn’t with them. Running back to the cave’s entrance, horrified, Carolina, Dara, and Mackenzie screamed for Jennifer as they clawed and heaved and pushed at the heavy stones in desperation, trying to move them out of the way, trying to get back into the cave—trying to save the female of intellectual genius. Knowing it was futile, Dr. Stanwick fell to the ground, gasping for breath and overcome with emotion. Li Lee knelt beside him, his heart breaking over the tragic hopelessness of it all, knowing there was absolutely nothing they could do.

*****

Thank you for inviting me to visit with you and for your interest in my books. I wish you and your bloggers all the best. ~Barbara

Many changes have taken place at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women while Carolina and Larry were on their honeymoon in Frascati, Italy, on the Granchelli farm. The newlyweds have been given a larger bungalow; Ms. Alcott, niece of the founder of Wood Rose, and Mrs. Ball, assistant to the headmaster, have moved into a bungalow together; and Jimmy Bob, caretaker and night watchman at Wood Rose has moved from his family home down the road a bit into a small bungalow on the orphanage property with his hound dog Tick, as well as his new cat and her litter of kittens. Most important, thanks to the persuasive powers of Ms. Alcott and Mrs. Ball, the F.I.G.s have been given a forever home at Wood Rose.

Summer is coming to an end and the F.I.G.s will soon return to the universities to complete their special projects. They are starting to feel anxious, and the coping mechanisms they have used their entire lives are starting to work overtime. Dara’s thoughts turn to an unknown language, possibly from another world; Mackenzie focuses on the relationship of math to music; and Jennifer keeps hearing the note of B flat minor and is drawing dark swirls on her canvas board.

Deadly forces and natural disasters are unleashed into the world when Milosh, the evil young man who placed a curse on Carolina when she searched for her mother, steals an ancient artifact—a “key”—from an archaeological site near Puli, China on the Yellow Sea where he is working. This artifact, when paired with a certain note—B flat minor known as the Seraphim’s song—opens a portal that enables man to communicate with the gods.

When the key gets lost in a storm, Carolina comes into possession of it through Jimmy Bob’s dog, Tick, and when she does, she hears Lyuba, her gypsy mother, tell her that time is running out. The F.I.G.s and Carolina must go to the forbidden cave on the Yellow Sea, the place where the early gypsies are believed to have settled before travelling into Europe. For it is there where the key must be returned before all is destroyed.

About the Author:Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.

Barbara has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Several of her books have been optioned for major films and television.

Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Barbara wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Barbara’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).

Barbara is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with three cats who adopted her, Homer – a Southern coon cat, Reese – a black cat, and Earl Gray – a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

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The Characters in the F.I.G. Mysteries by Barbara Casey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

THE CHARACTERS IN THE F.I.G. MYSTERIES

Once in a while when you are writing a story, you will create a character that, from that moment on, just won’t leave you alone. I can honestly say that the three F.I.G.s—Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer—in my series, The F.I.G. Mysteries, are like that. Getting to know them has been a journey in itself. Each girl is so unusual, being a genius, an orphan, and with special talents. That in itself is interesting, but it goes much deeper. Each of these girls, in spite of her abilities, feels flawed. Together, they give each other the support and permission they need to be different. That frequently gets them into trouble as they constantly look for ways in which to express themselves creatively and to over-compensate for being different. When a new, bright, young teacher gets hired by the headmaster at Wood Rose Orphanage to “look after” them and “keep them on a short leash,” they immediately sense that she is one of them and there is nothing that is impossible for them to achieve.

Like her three charges, teacher/mentor Carolina Lovel is also an orphan, although she didn’t find out until her 18th birthday. Also like Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer, she holds a secret deep within her soul. This secret allows her to be able to cope with not knowing who her biological parents are and why they gave her away. When she decides to share her secret with the F.I.G.s, it builds the trust and love they already have for one another to a level that can never be destroyed. It takes them on a journey that includes gypsies, the most mysterious manuscript in the world—the Voynich Manuscript, to a secret sub-culture beneath Grand Central Terminal in New York City, an ancient pig dragon in China, and into a horrible war from the past. The things Carolina and the three F.I.G.s discover helps them to understand who they are and why. It helps them to cope in a less-than-understanding world.

I will continue this series because I’m not sure the characters are finished with me. I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking, wondering, what would the F.I.G.s do if…

THE F.I.G. MYSTERIES

Dara Roux, abandoned when she was 7 years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan.

Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan.

Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was 16. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan.

THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES: Book 1

Known as the F.I.G.s (Females of Intellectual Genius), three high-spirited 17 year olds with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina’s purpose in planning the trip is to remove her unusually gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can’t cause any more problems (“expressions of creativity”) for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and attempt to find out how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted.

THE WISH RIDER: Book 2

When Carolina and the F.I.G.s return to Wood Rose, Dara decides that she wants to try to locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Carolina, Mackenzie, and Jennifer accompany her and their search leads them to a secret dangerous shadow world hidden deep beneath Grand Central, constructed in what Mackinzie identifies as chevroned magic squares—N X N matrixes in which every row, column, and diagonal add up to the same number—and cloaked in the discordant B flat minor key music that only Jennifer can hear.

THE CLOCK FLOWER: Book 3

The three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women after returning from New York City where Dara learned why her mother abandoned her all those years ago, and they are now attending universities where they can further their special talents. This means they will be separated from each other and from Carolina, their much-loved mentor and teacher who is “one of them,” for the first time in their young lives. They vow to try living apart for one semester, in the so-called real world that doesn’t include the orphanage; but if things don’t work out, they will come up with another plan—a plan where they can be together once again. Dara is invited through Yale University to take part in an exciting archeological project in China. Jennifer, once again visualizing black and white images and the unusual sounds of another cadence that seem to be connected to Mackenzie, is engrossed in creating her next symphony at Juilliard. Mackenzie, because of her genius at problem-solving, is personally chosen by a US Senator to get involved in a mysterious, secret research project involving immortality that is being conducted in a small village in China—not too far from where Dara is involved with the archeological site. Once there, however, she finds herself facing a terrifying death from the blood-dripping teeth of an ancient evil dragon. Her best friends, the FIGs and Carolina, rely on their own unique genius and special talents to save her as she discovers the truth of her birth parents.

THE NIGHTJAR’S PROMISE: Book 4

Jennifer Torres, one of the three FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius) who is a genius in both music and art, is the last to leave the closed rehearsal for her upcoming performance over Thanksgiving break at Carnegie Hall when she hears something in the darkened Hall. Recognizing the tilt of the woman’s head and the slight limp of the man as they hurry out an exit door, she realizes it is her parents who were supposedly killed in a terrible car accident when she was 15 years old. Devastated and feeling betrayed, she sends a text to Carolina and the other two FIGs—THURGOOD. It is the code word they all agreed to use if ever one of them got into trouble or something happened that was too difficult to handle. They would all meet back at Carolina’s bungalow at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women to figure it out. As soon as they receive the text, because of their genius, Dara starts thinking of words in ancient Hebrew, German, and Yiddish, while Mackenzie’s visions of unique math formulae keep bringing up the date October 11, 1943. And as Carolina waits for the FIGs to return to Wood Rose, she hears warnings from Lyuba, her gypsy mother, to watch for the nightjar, the ancient name for the whip-poor-will.

In their search for “The Nightjar’s Promise” and the truth surrounding it, Carolina and the FIGs come face to face with evil that threatens to destroy not only their genius, but their very lives.

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Cadence of Gypsies

“Ouch! You’re standing on my fingers!” This from the petite girl with a long, blond ponytail, wearing a nightgown, most of which was pulled up between her legs and tied into a knot at her waist to keep it from getting tangled on the limb where she was perched. Somewhere above her the sound of a saw and splintering wood filled the darkness followed by a stream of profanity repeated in several foreign languages for emphasis.

“It doesn’t look right. It’s supposed to have a rim and a dent.” Clinging to a 12-foot ladder as she pointed the flashlight first this way and then that, the heavy-set girl wearing a nightshirt buttoned at the neck offered this with a slight lisp.

The girl with the blond ponytail giggled.

“What do you mean—dent?! Let me see that picture.” The tall black girl completely hidden aimed her flashlight toward the magazine that was being thrust upwards through the thick branches in her direction.

“And the top is supposed to be rounded—like a button mushroom,” the girl in the nightshirt added, the word “mushroom” sounding more like “muthroom.”

“That’s because it’s circumcised,” supplied the girl with the ponytail, from which she removed a small twig and a handful of leaves.

“Shekoo, baboo!” More profanity. “Okay. I know what to do.” The tall black girl disappeared back into the upper-most branches of the tall plant that was more tree than bush. After several additional minutes, the sawing, crunching, and clipping sounds finally gave way to the more gentle sounds of tiny snips. And then, silence.

“That’s it; everybody down.”

The petite girl, with the magazine that had been overlooked in the last confiscation and now wedged firmly under her armpit, started the perilous descent first since she was nearest to the ground, followed by the tall girl. The girl in the nightshirt eased her way down the ladder juggling pruning shears, a hand saw, and scissors. Once on the ground, the three girls stood back to admire their work.

“That is one honkin’ Peni erecti,” said the tall girl causing a fresh explosion of giggles. “Let’s get out of here.” After quickly rolling down the legs of her pajama bottoms, the tall girl grabbed one end of the ladder and, along with her two friends, lugged it and the other tools back to the shed that housed lawn maintenance equipment. Task accomplished, they returned to their rooms, and to their individual beds, careful not to disturb the other dorm residents, the floor monitors, their suitemates and, most importantly, their slumbering dorm mother, Ms. Larkins. Within minutes, they fell into a deep, peaceful sleep—the sleep of innocent angels.

It would soon be light; and Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women would start another day.

About the Author Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.

Ms. Casey has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Two of her nonfiction books have been optioned for major films, one of which is under contract.

Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with three cats who adopted her, Homer, Reese and Earl Gray – Reese’s best friend.

Website | Agency Website | Amazon Author Page

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The Gospel According to Prissy by Barbara Casey – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey 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.

Three Army veteran misfits, a college dropout, an unmotivated high school graduate accused of murder, a controversial warden of a women’s prison, and a little girl with the gift of prophesy – these are the people 31-year-old Lara Kruger invites into her life after suffering a miscarriage, a divorce from an abusive husband, and unemployment.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Miriam walked away from her desk and paused in front of the unframed full-length mirror she had salvaged from the recent renovations in the women’s shower rooms. The edges were chipped and blackened, and there was a fairly large crack that ran vertically from one corner to the other. The condition of the mirror was the result, no doubt, of one of many displays of frustration and anger within the prison walls before she took over. Still, the mirror served its purpose. On those rare occasions when Warden Miriam Temple of the Braden Women’s Correctional Institution needed to be sure she looked her best, at least she could do so in the privacy of her own office.

Studying her reflection, she saw a tall, aging fifty-nine-year-old woman with dark hair streaked with gray cut in a simple shag, myopic brown eyes made evident by the wire-framed glasses, and a raw-boned body that could be considered well-proportioned if it weren’t for the fact that it was about twenty pounds on the heavy side, fifteen of which had settled around her thighs and buttocks. “Pear shaped, as opposed to apple shaped,” she frequently reminded herself, “so that means at least I won’t die of a heart attack.” The fact that her ear lobes were also plump and didn’t have the diagonal creases indicating some type of heart disease seemed to confirm that fact. She didn’t know if these old-wives’ tales she had grown up with were really true, but she liked to keep an open mind, especially when they worked to her benefit.

She normally didn’t wear make-up, but this morning before leaving for work, she had dug out her small tapestry bag that held what few cosmetics she owned and applied a little blush and a touch of lipstick. She rubbed one cheek with her hand now, thinking that maybe she shouldn’t have bothered. She didn’t need to impress anyone. Even if there had been the awkwardness that sometimes comes with being a large woman, it had been replaced years ago by the confidence born from a privileged background and the level of acceptance and comfort from which she viewed herself.

Her dark gray suit and crisp white blouse were clean and unwrinkled, thanks to the prison laundry facilities. The plain black pumps she wore looked both practical and appropriate to complete the over-all appearance of discipline, control, strength, and above all, a positive attitude. It was the attitude within the prison that Miriam had worked the hardest on when she took over as head warden six years earlier. There had been a stifling wave of hopelessness and despair among the female inmates so thick it made it difficult to breathe. This was manifested daily in brawls, food fights, and a behavior of non-compliance in general. “Animals get treated better than we do,” had been the mantra at the prison.

For six years Miriam had been working fourteen-hour days, overseeing the operations of the facility, staying on top of problems, writing reports, and talking to every person she could reach about helping to set up programs for “her girls” as she referred to them. Each of Miriam’s programs offered something to a few of her girls, but not to all, something she struggled with daily. She constantly researched what other correctional institutions were doing not only in this country but other countries as well, trying to come up with new ways to stimulate her girls and help them feel enthusiastic about their lives.

It had worked. She started getting noticed after the first year of her tenure. Complaints from the prisoners dropped, a State audit confirmed that for the first time in over a decade the prison budget would be in the black, and the over-all appearance of the facility was vastly improved. Government officials who previously had been reluctant to show interest now started to open doors for this hard-working, persistent, and obviously dedicated woman.

And then Prissy had been born.

About the Author:

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.

Ms. Casey has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Two of her nonfiction books have been optioned for major films, one of which is under contract.

Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with three cats who adopted her, Homer, Reese and Earl Gray – Reese’s best friend.

Amazon Author Page

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The Coach’s Wife by Barbara Casey – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Cinderella Coyotes of State University are in the Final Four, poised to win the NCAA National Championship in basketball—the culmination of March Madness. For Marla Conners, she’s proud of her husband Neal, and his achievement of coaching a collegiate team to the pinnacle of his career and the ultimate victory for his team. Yet, Marla’s idyllic life is about to be viciously attacked and torn apart by a different madness—her husband’s reputation ruined, a university disgraced, and she finds herself on trial accused of first-degree murder.

The Coach’s Wife is rife with spine-tingling suspense, conspiracy, deceit, and murder, sizzling and seductive passion, right down to the last second buzzer-beating heroics. This is also a candid and vivid behind-the-scenes portrait of Division One college basketball, university politics, money and corruption, and all the lives that are blessed and ruined by it all.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Another deafening roar exploded from the coliseum, and when it did Marla threw down her partially smoked cigarette and ground it into the polished tile floor with the toe of her shoe. Quickly she reached for another cigarette from the opened pack in her small red handbag. She lit it, sucked the smoke into her mouth, held her breath, coughed, and then slowly released it. Marla didn’t smoke, but when she paced up and down the hallways of basketball coliseums, puffing on cigarettes seemed appropriate. It gave her something to do with her hands, and it helped keep her sane.

“God, how I hate this.” Gale Simmons, the gray-haired woman pacing in the same direction as Marla, was married to one of the assistant coaches at Piedmont State. She, along with several other women—also wives of coaches, some of them wives of players—were known as the hall walkers. They were the women who met on a regular but unscheduled basis the last two minutes of every game, pacing the halls, smoking, or pretending to in Marla’s case, and trying to give each other encouragement. Unable to watch the most crucial time of the game—that last two minutes—they paced in heart-pounding agony, listening to the fans erupt in cheers or boos, and to the announcer scream out the play-by-play over the public address system.

It didn’t matter which team they supported. The bond they shared went beyond the game and winning or losing. It was after the game that most mattered. If their team won, it meant going through the torture one more time, but at least their husbands would be happy. If their team lost, it meant their husbands would go through weeks of depression and as their wives they would have to put up with an impenetrable wall of silence broken only by an occasional negative outburst—usually directed toward them. Each of the hall walkers had experienced it. And it was that experience more than any other that cemented the friendship between them.

With thirty seconds to go, the score is 76 all. This is a hot one, folks. Let’s see what the Seawolf pack is going to do. Sydney Rob makes an inbound pass into the back court to Jerry March—the clock is moving, folks. Jerry lobs the ball back over to Rob. Rob passes it over to Miller in the right court.

Interception by Darrell Washington! Holy cow, sports fans! The Seawolf’s Sydney Rob loses the ball to the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest has the ball. Washington bringing it down court. Fifteen seconds on the clock.

About the Author:

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction true crime, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her nonfiction true crime book, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. Her nonfiction book, Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave, is under contract for a major film. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Barbara is also a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in cutting-edge adult nonfiction. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her three cats who adopted her: Homer, a southern bobtail; Reese, a black cat; and Earl Gray, a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

Author Website | Agency Website

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The Nightjar by Barbara Casey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

THE NIGHTJAR
By
Barbara Casey
Dara Roux, abandoned when she was 7 years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan.

Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan.

Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was 16. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan.

One of the things I enjoyed the most in doing my research for THE F.I.G. MYSTERIES was learning about gypsy folklore and customs. In particular, I was able to find old gypsy medicine books which detailed the benefits of herbs used for various ailments. Many of these practices continue today among the different gypsy tribes scattered throughout the world.

In this series, however, there is one gypsy woman in particular that I write about who becomes involved in the lives of the three teenage orphan F.I.G.s (Females of Intellectual Genius, as they call themselves) and the young woman who has been hired to mentor them. The gypsy woman is Lyuba, a choovihni or wisewoman within the Kaulo Camio tribe, and it is Lyuba who first warns Carolina to watch for the nightjar:

Carolina fixed a cup of hot tea and carried it into her small living room where she sat and stared at her phone. Part of her was trying to say there was nothing wrong—that Jennifer just wanted to see her friends before Thanksgiving. But the other part told Carolina that there was a darkness surrounding Jennifer, and that darkness would destroy her if they couldn’t help her to reach some sort of resolution.

Off in the distance she heard the faint call of a whip-poor-will. She also heard Lyuba—her mother—call the bird by its ancient name—nightjar. Watch for the nightjar. Just as quickly as her mother’s words came, they vanished with the shrill ring of the telephone.

Jennifer Torres, one of the three FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius) who is a genius in both music and art, is the last to leave the closed rehearsal for her upcoming performance over Thanksgiving break at Carnegie Hall when she hears something in the darkened Hall. Recognizing the tilt of the woman’s head and the slight limp of the man as they hurry out an exit door, she realizes it is her parents who were supposedly killed in a terrible car accident when she was 15 years old.

Devastated and feeling betrayed, she sends a text to Carolina and the other two FIGs—THURGOOD. It is the code word they all agreed to use if ever one of them got into trouble or something happened that was too difficult to handle. They would all meet back at Carolina’s bungalow at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women to figure it out.

As soon as they receive the text, because of their genius, Dara starts thinking of words in ancient Hebrew, German, and Yiddish, while Mackenzie’s visions of unique math formulae keep bringing up the date October 11, 1943. That is the date during World War II when the Nazis—the Kunstschutz—looted the paintings of targeted wealthy Jewish families and hid them away under Hitler’s orders. And as Carolina waits for the FIGs to return to Wood Rose, she hears warnings from Lyuba, her gypsy mother, to watch for the nightjar, the ancient name for the whip-poor-will.

As they search for “The Nightjar’s Promise” and the truth surrounding it, Carolina and the FIGs come face to face with evil that threatens to destroy not only their genius, but their very lives.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Right on time, the guard arrived at the front gate and unlocked it. Once he drove away, Jas slipped unnoticed through the entrance into the cemetery. When he had first been given the assignment, the cemetery bothered him, especially the mausoleum. Unfamiliar sounds and smells, being surrounded by cold stones and even colder death, made his imagination work overtime so that by the end of each day when he left—just before the guard locked the gate—he would be nervous and irritable; at night, unable to sleep. Now, after all this time doing the same thing day in and day out, he was used to it. In fact, he sort of enjoyed it—thinking about the dead and all the different ways their lives might have come to an end. Lately, his imagination had taken a more brutal turn. More violent and macabre.

Ignoring the hundreds of grave sites that stretched in every direction, he quickly made his way toward the mausoleum. Having already been there many times before, he knew exactly where he wanted to go and what he needed to do.

About the Author:Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.
Ms. Casey has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Two of her nonfiction books have been optioned for major films, one of which is under contract.

Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three cats who adopted her, Homer, Reese and Earl Gray, Reese’s best friend.

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