Monday, August 31, 2015

IN SEARCH OF A REVOLUTION ***** a review

In Search of A RevolutionIn Search of A Revolution by Christoph Fischer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Search of a Revolution by Christoph Fischer hooked me from the start. I enjoyed the interaction and dynamics between Zacharais and his friend Ansgar. It was clever that in spite of their political ideologies being polar opposites they could share such a deep relationship.
The historical backdrop was fascinating. The tug of war between Communism and Fascism was palpable in the realities of individuals. The larger countries manipulating like pawns the smaller ones; something that our World History is so riddled with, is brought into a personable and tangible story.
In youth Zacharais’ and Ansgar’s convictions are believably unrealistic; as life and realities throw them curves the characters grow and change as I believe all of us do in life.
The female characters were more than secondary supportive characters as the story unfolded. The women have their convictions and struggles as much as the men do. There are clever twists of irony; which I won’t discuss to avoid spoilers. It is in my opinion a mark of very good writing.
As in real life, some bad deeds went unpunished and others with their dose of deserved poetic justice.
In Search of a Revolution is Mr. Fischer’s return to Historical novels and I was thrilled. I enjoy his writing and admire the diversity but the historicals are my favorites. I absolutely LOVED this book.

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A Young Adult/Action Adventure~ Walking Among the Shadows: Belly of the Beast by Navi’ Robins




 
 




Shadows beware! A. Storm is coming……

Aiden Storm, a 17 year old high school student has discovered that he and his girlfriend Jasmine are descendants of two ancient supernatural bloodlines that have been at war for thousands of years, But despite the ongoing war between their factions the two teenagers have fallen deeply in love.

Now the two lovers have been thrust into a war that forces them in a direct conflict with their love for each other and duty to their own bloodlines and families. Can their love survive the ongoing conflict or will either of them be forced to choose a side over their love?



















Thirty miles outside the border of Babylon-1994, 

Bullets whistled through the night at great speeds with violent intention of penetrating flesh and bone as a platoon of Shadows fired their automatic weapons towards Captain Manuel Storm Sr. He’d positioned himself behind a wall of hardened desert rock, preparing himself for a last stand against an enemy determined to make this hot and humid night his last. There weren’t any orders to bark out, no tasks to delegate because there wasn’t anyone else behind this wall. In an attempt to give those he commanded a fighting chance, the Captain orchestrated their successful escape, but in doing so, his own demise. Someone needed to stay behind, holding off these Shadow soldiers long enough for them to reach the rendezvous point for extraction. The Captain didn’t trust anyone else to carry out this suicide mission, not even his second in command and best friend Ricko Martinez. 

Ricko, a very capable man with looks that rivaled the actor Denzel Washington and with the body structure of a professional wrestler, was the closest to anyone the captain trusted to stay behind. But the burden of leaving his best friend behind to die was something Manuel couldn’t live with. So he didn’t give anyone the option of accepting this final mission. Ricko, overcome with grief ragefully protested the captain’s decision, forcing five of the team members to restrain and carry him off against his will. 

The captain peeked around the wall just in time to discover two Shadows moving through the darkness towards his right flank. He quickly pulled the trigger, dispatching them both with two quick shots. As he took cover he could hear them in the distance; their lifeless bodies falling heavily onto the hot desert floor. 

Conserve ammo, conserve ammo. 


Those two words kept running through his head like a popular song on the radio that you initially hate, but after weeks of repetition grow to love. 

Left flank, check my left flank, he thought as he willed himself to move closer to the left side of the stone wall in front of him. Manuel was physically and mentally exhausted from having to constantly move and concentrate in the strangling heat. Even without the sun scorching this desert from its throne in the sky, it was still unbelievably hot and the stone wall in front of him gave off a heat that seemed to slowly cook the captain with each passing minute. 

Manuel reached the far left side of the wall and pressed himself against it. He grimaced in pain as the heat from the rocks burned his arm. He hesitated for a second; inhaling deeply before sticking his head around the edge of the wall to see if any other Shadows were trying to maneuver on his left flank. The idea of facing death sent his emotions into frenzy, but nothing came close to the guilt of leaving his family behind in this evil world. The images of his two sons and pregnant wife flashed across his mind, causing his heart to shudder in his chest like a car’s engine ready to shut down for the last time. 

Glancing from behind the wall he quickly noticed six Shadows moving towards his left, completely exposed, allowing the Captain to aim effectively without wasting ammo. It was an aggressive yet foolish tactic that was an uncharacteristic mistake from his adversaries. But this maneuver wasn’t what alarmed him. What concerned the Captain was if they were sending six to his left, there was a high probability another group of Shadows were also flanking him on the right. 

Manuel shook his head and quickly slid to the right side of the wall just in time to catch a couple of Shadows fully morphed; crawling over the top of the wall like two demonic predators. They immediately began hissing and clawing at the Captain with their massive talons, attempting to tear the flesh from his bones. But the top of the wall was too high for them to reach him. 

Infuriated, hatred erupted across their disfigured faces that looked like the skin of a dead carcass left in the desert sun; coarse and lifeless. Manuel had fought countless Shadows and sent them all to hell. But no matter how many he’s confronted, their appearance was still terrifying. 

Manuel quickly planted two bullets in both their faces and rolled over, reaching the left side of the wall before their evil and lifeless forms slid down to the dirt like dead snakes. He quickly fired towards where he anticipated the other six Shadows were; immediately hearing their frightening screeches of pain filling the night air as his bullets found their targets. The remaining Shadows hiding in the darkness quickly returned fire, hitting the rock next to Manuel’s face. Pieces of the rock flew through the air like shards of glass, cutting the captain under his left eye. He quickly fell back and began moving backwards along the wall towards the two dead Shadows. He frantically began checking them for any weapons or ammo that he could use. 

Dammit! Nothing! They were smart to send these two without anything I could use. 


The Shadows were still firing towards the left side of the wall, sending more pieces of rock flying through the air at deadly speeds. Manuel could tell they were closing in on him and it would only be a matter of time before he had no other option but to submit to the reality of death. Looking at his gun he noticed he didn’t have many rounds left or additional clips at his disposal. The next few minutes would be very interesting, but he was determined to make each bullet count. As the gunfire intensified, now on both sides of the wall, Manuel readied himself for his last stand. He tried clearing his thoughts, but it was useless. He did what he had to do, but regretted he had to do it. 

He fought with every muscle in his body not to allow himself to despair at the thought of never seeing his loved ones again. He knew his family would not take his passing well and their safety would now be in the hands of Ricko. He prayed that Ricko was up for the challenge because he wasn’t a Baraqu. Ricko was one hundred percent human and as skilled as he was in combat, going up against the Shadows would be a daunting task even for him. But the captain knew he must trust in his best friend, because tonight they had been betrayed and there was only one person who knew of this mission and that was— 

Suddenly, a sound like a metal can hitting the ground echoed behind the wall. Manuel didn’t turn to see what had made that sound because he knew he only had time to dive out from behind the wall of desert rock before the heat and metal fragments of the grenade were propelled through the air, tearing his body to pieces. Even though he had moved far enough to avoid getting killed by the shrapnel, the concussive power from the blast flung him through the air; slamming the left side of his body against the edge of the wall and tossing him to the ground like a rag doll. The blast created a dust cloud that seemed to stick to the Shadows’ dark figures as they moved in closer. 

Like a saw grinding up against a piece of wood, Manuel could feel his broken ribs scraping against the flesh on his side. The pain was so intense it caused him to cough uncontrollably as he tried to pick his body up from the dirt. 

Get up! Get your ass up! This fight isn’t over yet. You still have a few rounds left in this gun and two machetes at your side; you will not die until you use them all! 


The Shadows seeing an opportunity, decided to sweep in for the kill. Five Shadows rushed in through the dust cloud like black cloaked phantoms, moving so fast that they pulled a trail of dust behind them as they glided with talons outstretched, ready to split their enemy in two. 

Ignoring the pain of his broken ribs, Manuel sat up and fired at the two Shadows closest to him. The shots rang out with an echo that seemed to enhance the atmosphere of death throughout this dark field of battle. The Shadows screamed, twisting and clawing at the air as the bullets tore into their dark forms, slamming them into the ground. With an amazing resolve few men alive have inside them, the captain managed to get to his feet and started moving forward towards the attacking Shadows. His aim was flawless and his concentration unwavering. He was determined to take out as many of these abominations as his wounded body and limited ammunition would allow. 

One, two, three, four shots rang out and four Shadows fell to the dirt as the cloud created by the grenade began to clear, revealing more Shadows whisking through the night trying to be the one to take out this highly skilled and valuable target. While he dispatched one Shadow after another, Manuel kept note of how much ammunition he had left. He knew the Shadows wouldn’t give him time to discover he was empty before they pounced on him. Every step forward caused Manuel more pain as his broken ribs began to cut through his side. The pain after each step made it difficult to keep his balance, but it seemed like an unseen force kept him standing and moving forward, taking down one Shadow after another. 

Without warning a Shadow attempted to attack him from behind. Like a well-rehearsed dance routine Manuel spun around, switching positions with the unsuspecting Shadow and ended the deadly ballet with the nozzle of his gun directly below the twisted and deformed chin of his assailant. He pulled the trigger, releasing his final bullet. The Shadow’s face exploded into a black mist of dark matter as its sinister form fell to the ground. 

The other Shadows hesitated while watching their comrade die in such a flamboyant way. Manuel wasn’t sure if they were admiring his handiwork or terrified. Either way, he had more tricks and horrible things in store for them. He slowly reached down on either side of him and pulled out his favorite weapons. Two custom machetes made by a very powerful Warlock that once sided with the Baraqu many years ago. Each machete was about two and a half feet long with a leather handle that seemed much older than the steel it held. The blades sparkled as they reflected the glow of the moon that lit up the night sky in this barren desert. Each blade was inscribed with a powerful spell that was like a deadly poison to a Shadow. Death by these machetes was painful and the legend of their death count was well known to everyone fighting this war between the Shadows and the Baraqu. 

At the sight of these two legendary blades the Shadows slowly backed away from Manuel. None of them wanted to be the first to feel the sting of the cut, the deep hellish pain of the poison infecting their dark bodies. The captain smiled. He could see the fear in the hollow void where their eyes should be. But he also knew that even though they feared the blades he held tightly in his hands, eventually one of these abominations would get the best of him. But until then, he aimed to become the nightmare of nightmares. His final thoughts before readying himself were of his two sons, his wife Alexia, and the unborn child he would never meet. He longed to see them and suffered at the thought of never holding them in his arms again. But there was no sense in feeling regret. He was alone in this desert facing down a multitude of enemies. 

This is going to be a wonderful death. 


Without fear and forgetting the pain of his injuries; Manuel Storm charged into the ranks of the Shadows who stood before him. Disappearing into a cloud of dark matter…












Bestselling author Navi’ Robins was born in Chicago, IL and comes from a family as diverse as the characters in his novels. At the young age of 10 his family relocated to the West African country of Liberia and while living abroad for 7 years he found and nourished his immersive imagination. Learning and living with different cultures and languages gave Navi’ a unique prospective on life and self expression that can be experienced while reading one of his novels. 

After several years at attempting to complete a novel; in 2012 Navi’ was able to complete his first novel entitled Walking Among the Shadows: Awakening, which is the first book in a planned 7 book series. Walking Among the Shadows: Awakening was officially published in May of 2013 to rave reviews with a small yet dedicated following. Wanting to push himself to write in different genres Navi’ Robins pinned 3 short stories in another series entitled Article 88: Jericho’s Revenge. On October 23rd 2014 Navi’ Robins released a revised edition of his first novel Walking Among the Shadows: Awakening debuting at # 18 in the top 100 bestsellers in the Thriller/Paranormal genre. Since then Awakening has remained a top 100 bestseller on Amazon.com and peaked at #4 in March 2015. On March 24th 2015 Navi’ Robins released his first romance novel Tragedy, Lust & Destiny to rave reviews from book bloggers and readers alike becoming an Amazon.com bestseller two days after its release.


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Sunday, August 30, 2015

M. Thomas Apple - Approaching Twi-Night - PROMO Blitz


Literary Fiction / Sports Fiction
An aging baseball player is given one final chance at professional and personal redemption in small town America as he struggles to come to grips with his past, his sense of self, and his career.
Journeyman relief pitcher Jonathan “Ditch” Klein was all set to be a replacement player during the 1994-1995 baseball strike…until the strike ended. Offered a contract in the minor leagues, playing at the same Upstate NY ballpark he once found success in high school, Ditch has one last chance to prove his worth. But to whom? A manager with an axe to grind, a father second-guessing his pitching decisions, a local sportswriter hailing him as a hometown hero, a decade older than his teammates and trying to resurrect an injury-ridden career…Ditch thinks he may have a possible back-up plan: become a sportswriter himself. The only question is whether he is a pitcher who aspires to be a writer, or the other way around…


EXCERPT


From his perch on the mound, Ditch shaded his eyes and watched the foul ball gently curve over the grandstand toward the parking lot. As he held his glove out for the new ball, he could hear his father's voice from a high school game: "Straighten that out, Johnny, just straighten it out!" And he could remember himself at the plate, thinking, "I can't, Dad. I can't hit it."
He gripped the dull white leather in his pitching hand, tucked the glove under his left arm and slowly circled the mound. Ditch's hands worked the leather, trying to deftly massage life into the ball. His fingernails found the seams and began to pull them up from the leather; Ditch had always wondered as a kid why pitchers on TV wasted so much time walking the infield grass, if "raised seams" actually did anything to curves like his father claimed, if pitchers who stared out at the crowd were actually looking for someone. He stopped on the first base side of the mound and glanced at the runners on first and second, not really to check on them, just let them know he knew they were there. The runners strayed a step or two from their bags, sauntering back and forth with hands on hips, kicking the bags a couple times impatiently. They knew Ditch wouldn't throw, he knew they wouldn't run, not on Holforth's arm.
Ditch tugged at his cap and deliberately ignored the anxious hometown crowd on "Opening Day Two." Absently he wondered if his family was in the stands somewhere, his father holding little Jennifer up on his shoulders, pointing, "There's John, there he is." He climbed back up to the pitching rubber, haphazardly pulling his short sleeves up and shrugging them down again. The murmurs changed to a soft buzz of rushing air in his ears as he dug in with his right foot and stared in at Holforth behind the plate. He squinted on purpose at the flashing fingers, set for the third pitch, and threw.
The batter fouled it off again, this time straight into the visiting team dugout, nearly hitting the coaches at the top of the steps. Ditch received the next new ball and began his ritual anew. The batter fidgeted, stepping out of the box with one foot and nervously swinging his bat a few times and changing his grip as if he were uncomfortable using wood instead of aluminum. Ditch looked at the wispy clouds overhead, the one-two count in the back of his mind, and decided to waste a pitch.
Holforth almost failed to block the errant pitch, but he managed to smother the forty-foot curve, hurriedly flipping his mask off and alertly checking the runners back to their bags. The catcher turned to ask for time, and Ditch turned his back on the plate. Holforth was bound to be angry. He knew Holforth hated it when his calls weren't taken seriously. He tugged his cap and kicked at his trench.
The catcher pulled the ball out of his mitt and placed it in Ditch's. Holforth darted a look at the vacant right field foul line bullpen, then back at Ditch. "You can let go now," Ditch said. "I've got it."
Holforth withdrew his hand from the glove. "Inside and high," he stated. "This guy's never used a wooden bat before." He turned back to the plate and pulled his face mask on over his hard hat. Neither have you, Ditch thought, already pacing at the back of the mound, massaging the ball. He found the soft spot, brown from the last pitch. The Majors spoiled their pitchers, he thought. They want a new ball, they get one. Even now, he knew, a batboy was rounding up the foul balls in the dugouts and along the foul line, ready to hand them over to the plate ump between half-innings. He randomly glanced at the rust-green electronic scoreboard with the Pepsi label slapped on it in left-center field. A two-run lead he was supposed to protect, for the last two innings. Collins had made that clear; Ditch was on his own. He felt the urge to spit, then changed his mind, then did it anyway. What the hell, he thought, pushing his sleeves up again.
He stepped up again and caught the signs. High and inside. At the hands. He checked the runners, reared, and threw at the batter's head. The kid ducked as the ball flew at the backstop. He could hear Holforth's muffled curse as the catcher futilely flung his glove hand back and followed it with his body. Ditch loped to the plate to cover, but the runners stopped at third and second as Holforth got the ball back in play. Someone in the crowd behind third base booed, but his neighbors quickly hushed him. Ditch cleared the dirt around the plate with the tip of his shoe and tugged again at the hat. He headed back to his incantations. The infielders hesitantly moved back to their positions, pounding their gloves and muttering nearly inaudible words of encouragement. A hit would tie the game. Ditch let his sleeves fall down as he mounted.
Holforth was standing right in front of him. Ditch betrayed no surprise. "You're making me look bad, man," the catcher said tersely. He rubbed the sweat dripping down his chin onto a sleeve. "We can't do that again, so I want you to throw the pitch."
He shook his head and dug at the trench. Holforth called it "the pitch," as if it were a secret weapon of some kind; he wanted the awkward slider he made Ditch work on in the bullpen, the one he could throw with the bent finger underneath. He hated it. He hated using a trick pitch.
"I'm telling you, do it," Holforth repeated. "Cut the crap and get this guy." He turned abruptly and trotted back to the plate. Ditch placed his right foot behind the rubber and looked up. The other ump had moved to behind third base. Only two umpires in this league, Ditch remembered with a chagrin. He looked in at the plate and jerked his head back to third as he faked a throw. The runner froze, then looked embarrassed, realizing that the third baseman wasn't anywhere near the bag for a pick-off throw. Ditch smiled to himself and tugged at his cap with his ball hand. The third baseman edged towards the bag, pulling the runner closer. Ditch paid the two no mind.
He looked back in. Holforth signaled for the pitch. Ditch shook his head. Holforth signed for it again. Again, Ditch shook it off. Exasperated, Holforth audibly slapped his thigh. He angrily flipped down a single finger. Ditch laughed out loud. The batter called time. Ditch stepped off and put his head down. He could hear the plate ump say, "Let's go gentlemen." Gentlemen, he thought. Yeah. He watched the batter take a few more swings, adjust his helmet without adjusting it at all, and then step back in. The crowd noise briefly interrupted then seemed to recede.
He looked in and he saw Holforth stand up and adjust his cup before squatting again. Ditch turned his head to peer at the runners momentarily, then turned back and got the expected signal. He didn't respond. The signal came again, insistent. He lowered his head, and stood, hands ready at his belt. He could sense Holforth settling back, the ump crouching behind with a hand on Holforth's shoulder. The bent third underneath and two forefingers on the seams, he withdrew his hand from the glove. His wrist snapped out and down, and the ball spun towards the batter's waist. It seemed to rise and curve left, directly into the batter's wheelhouse, but suddenly it dropped to the right at knee-level. The batter swung.
Ditch looked over his shoulder as the second baseman scooped up the ball and lazily tossed it to first for the third out. He was out of it. He tugged his cap, maybe to acknowledge the smattering of applause, and walked to the dugout. He was vaguely aware of the fielders passing him, some smacking him on the back, some not, as Holforth appeared at his left elbow. "Told you," was all he said, then found his place on the bench. He passed his manager on the steps. Collins pretended to be absorbed in pitching charts. Whatever, Ditch thought. He found his jacket and shoved his right arm into the sleeve. The end of eight. Maybe he would get through this after all.
One of the starting pitchers approached from the left side of his peripheral vision: the tallish Hansen, the deposed starter of the day. Hansen looked tired, but not beat. He held a cup of water, and nodded towards the bench. "Mind if I sit down?" he asked. Ditch shrugged, watching a Wildcat batter, the first baseman Reynalds, take a hefty cut at an eye-level pitch. After Reynalds would come a second-string outfielder, Williams or something, batting as designated hitter in the pitcher's place. He was glad he didn't have to bat, the only good thing about the minors.
The kid sat down with a contented sigh and took a sip from his Gatorade cup. "Hey, you want any water?" he asked.
Ditch shook his head. "Nah."
 "Lemme get you one." The teenager was up and at the cooler before he could say anything else. He opened his mouth and shut it after a moment. Why not, he thought. Doesn't really matter. Reynalds swung mightily at a pathetic curve and topped it back to the pitcher. Just one more run, he thought, no, make that two, or three. He moved forward, resting his elbows on his thighs as he pulled his cap off and worked the rim.
Hansen walked over and handed him a paper cup with rosin-stained fingers. The chalk clung to the green cup as Ditch mumbled a thanks and took a small sip. Hansen sat down again with a thump and said nothing for a moment. The DH was at the plate, wildly swinging at anything near the strike zone. Ditch sighed, thinking that maybe he should be allowed to bat for himself.
Hansen finally spoke. "Thanks for getting me out of that jam."
Ditch was silent. What jam? Oh, yeah, he remembered, he had inherited the first runner. He turned to Hansen. "Sure thing. I didn't help myself with that walk, but...yeah, sure."
"Hey, you're saving my game for me, right?" Hansen paused to finish his water and toss the cup aside. "I owe you one."
"You don't owe me anything," Ditch mumbled. "It's my job."
Hansen was quiet. The DH finally connected — luck, Ditch thought — and hit a worm-burner past the shortstop for a hit. Now one of the outfielders was up, somebody, he didn't know his name. All he hoped for now was that the batters took a few pitches and gave him a little more time to sit. The next batter swung at the first pitch and popped it straight up to the catcher. Ditch hung his head and spit at his feet as the third baseman Corrales took his turn batting.
Hansen coughed into a fist and shifted on the bench. The batter was taking his time. Ditch hoped so. Corrales was their "star player," according to friend Grant. In the on deck circle, Holforth was taking his practice swings with his chest protector and shin-guards on. Ditch sat back and pulled his glove on, half-heartedly to head back to the mound. "Hey, Ditch," Hansen began. Ditch didn't take his eyes off the field. "Uh...some of the guys were thinking of, you know, hanging out after the game," Hansen continued. He shoved his hands into his pitching jacket and banged his cleated feet against the concrete floor of the dugout. He had knocked the dirt from his cleats the previous inning, Ditch noted. Hansen cleared his throat. "You know, like go out to a movie or something. You wanna, I mean, if you want to come with..."
Hansen let a breath out slowly and stopped kicking. Ditch finally looked over at him. Jesus, he thought, the kid was actually nervous just talking to him. "Yeah, okay, sure," he said. Hansen looked at him, then lowered his head and resumed banging his shoes. "Maybe we could hit a bar or something first, you guys don't mind.
The sharp crack of the bat cut off Hansen's reply. They both looked up to see the ball soaring straight up, a routine infield fly. The opposing team's shortstop didn't have to move as he gloved it.
"Well," Ditch said, dropping his jacket behind him, "back to work." He heard Hansen's voice say "...one, two, three..." as he bounded out of the dugout. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Hansen get to his feet and show signs of pacing. Ditch reached the mound and, stooping to pick up the ball, immediately dug at the seams with dirty fingernails. He mopped off a sudden downpour of forehead sweat and looked back to the dugout. Hansen was sitting again, his face buried in a hand towel.
Ditch waited until the first batter of the ninth slowly stepped in and paused to dramatically spit and flutter his bat menacingly. The crowd murmur rose and fell in waves as he readied for the signs. He wanted this game, he realized suddenly. A fine time to get sentimental, but he wanted to win.
Well, then, he thought, rearing back for the pitch. Here goes nothing. 

Originally from Troy, New York, M. Thomas Apple spent part of his childhood in the hamlet of Berne, in the Helderberg escarpment, and his teenage years in the village of Warrensburg, in the Adirondack Mountains. He studied languages and literature as an undergraduate student at Bard College, creative writing in the University of Notre Dame Creative Writing MFA Program, and language education in a Temple University interdisciplinary doctoral program. He now teaches global issues and English as a second language at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. Approaching Twi-Night is his first novel. A non-fiction book of essays about parenting and childcare (Taking Leave: An American on Paternity Leave in Japan, Perceptia Press), is scheduled for publication in late 2015, followed by a collection of short fiction and poetry (Notes from the Nineties) in early 2016. The lead editor of the bestselling Language Learning Motivation in Japan (Multilingual Matters, 2013), he is currently co-editing a non-fiction educational research book, writing a science fiction novel, and outlining a baseball story set in the Japanese corporate leagues.

 


 

 
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

CASTING LOTS by William D Mc Eachern




Historical Fiction
Date Published: January 14

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Casting Lots is the tale of how a Greek slave, Lucinius, becomes an influential religious leader and literary figure in the First Century A.D.  His spiritual awakening is prompted by an unlikely mentor, a Centurion, who was at the crucifixion. 

Lucinius is ordered by his master to assemble the stories told by eye-witnesses to the life and death of Jesus Christ.  Cornelius was the Centurion at the Crucifixion. Cornelius is hated by the Jews and the Romans.  He is haunted by the Crucifixion because he won the shroud worn by Christ in a game of dice.  He takes Lucinius on a journey throughout the Empire and tells him what seem to be fantastic stories about famous Romans during the era of the Republic, some 100 years ago.  These stories contain elements which Cornelius could not possibly know, unless he is making them up or unless there is some other explanation.

The book answers the question of who wrote the Gospel of Luke and why he wrote it.  The book answers the question of who is Cornelius and why he said Jesus was an innocent man at his Crucifixion.   Thus, it is a tale of the two men's spiritual journeys.

Excerpt

I walked to his home again. The streets were crowded and the world’s smells washed over me: the sweat of the men, the perfumes of the women, the urine of the animals, bread baking, cloth just cut, fruit drying on the stands, gutters of the streets, leather being tanned. Sweet, pungent, acrid, acidic, salty, bitter, biting smells grabbed my nostrils as if I smelled these for the first time. The smells were counterpoint to the sounds of the city. The hammer of the artist cracking tiles, rocks, and glass to make mosaics, bleating of sheep and lowing of cows as they awaited slaughter, the rumble of wagons carrying bolts of cloth, or carcasses of meat and exotic goods along the cobblestone streets, the tramp of soldiers’ caligae, their hob-nails clicking on stone, as they marched, crying babies needing to be nursed, yelling mothers trying to find lost children, heralds blaring out the whereabouts of some legion killing some barbarians somewhere on some frontier, tax collectors demanding payment of tax, while the taxpayer screamed insults or begged for mercy, and the sound of my heart pounding so hard that it might burst, blended together in a discordant cacophony of life. If the smells did not grab your attention, or if the sounds did not demand your notice, then the play of light would surely command your consideration. The light side-by-side with the dark was sharp, stark, defined, and distinct, as where the land ends and the seas begin. You walked most of the time in the shadow of the tall insulae, the apartment buildings, fearing that from the darkness above would flow that most unsavory of liquids. Then the sunlight blaring from a blue crystal-clear sky dazzled your eyes, when you walked across some broad street. The brilliant sun radiated off the temples’ gold-leaf veneers. You were in the presence of the Gods. All the while, I thought about how I could approach him. An offer of money, I thought, would only insult and repel him. The quest of my master disgusted and dismayed him. Before I had decided what to do and how to do it, I was there at his door. “Damno ad averno!” (“Damn it to hell!”) Cornelius spat as spoke these words as if the spitting added to the curse. “I will wait until you tell me.” I stood resolutely. “What?” “I will wait until you tell me.” I sat down and smiled slightly. “Get underfoot, eh?” “If necessary.” “All day and all night?” he asked. “If necessary.” He turned into the darkness of his home. I waited. Time passed. Then I saw him coming back, his vitis rudis, that is his vine hand. No true centurion was ever without the symbol of his authority, his vitis rudis, gnarled and worn. “Do you think a man who has wielded this,” he gestured with his vitis rudis, “will ever break?” “Do you think that a slave who has been beaten all of his life will fear one more beating?” “Well, that is the first thing you have said that makes any sense at all!” He smiled.




About the Author


William D. McEachern is a graduate of Duke University with a bachelor of arts in religion and psychology. His focus at Duke was on early Christianity. His fascination with Rome grew out of his Latin and Greek classes at St. Paul's School in New York in the early 1960s. Reading Caesar fueled his love of Rome and ancient history, which he has studied for half a century. A practicing tax attorney for more than thirty-five years, he has written numerous articles and several law treatises about estate planning, estate and gift taxation, and the use of trusts. In this his first novel, Mr. McEachern's unique voice blends law, religion, and history.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

BEAUTY of FEAR & DEAR LORNA by L.E. PEREZ

Beauty Of Fear

Beauty Of Fear

The First One died to pique her interest,
The Second to touch her soul.
The Third One died to steal her peace,
The Fourth makes Fear, his goal.

Violence leaves a stain on your soul, and the fear that accompanies that violence can never be removed. It can be hidden, shadowed, and put away, but throw in just the right set of circumstances and it will blossom once again.
Leigh Ramirez has been through a lot in her short life: an abusive husband, raising two kids on her own, and two near death experiences on the job. All she wants now is to get back to a sense of normalcy, in her life and at work. She wants to move on from all that’s happened to her. It was her decision to leave police work and put that life behind her, but when a young girl is found dead in a local park with something of Leigh’s in her hand, Leigh is lured back into the world she left behind.
Someone wants Leigh to experience the beauty of fear. They want her to live it, feel it, and breathe it.
As young women continue to turn up dead, their resemblance to Leigh is lost on no one, least of all her. Each victim found takes a piece of her soul, steals more of her peace. It doesn’t take long for Leigh to realize that this can have only one end. Even while her friends try to protect her, Leigh refuses to go into hiding and is ultimately forced to face her greatest fear, as it threatens both her children’s lives and her own.   AMAZON UK and AMAZON .


In Her Own words
L.E. PerezHmmm...What to say...
Born and raised in New York City, moved to Scranton to raise my kids and once they were teenagers, moved to Northern Virginia. Now? Enjoying the warmth in Orlando with my honey.

Other than that, I guess I'm a lot like my character Leigh. I've worked corrections, probation, not police...I've done a little of everything. I'm a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and keep my hair short for reasons of my own. I've been writing and daydreaming forever but fear, lack of confidence, life, gave me every excuse not to finish my work. And along came FanFiction. I found a place where I could let my imagination run wild, reading and writing, which resulted in me picking up my manuscript, dusting it off and reworking the darn thing. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with my characters so I kind of let them write themselves. And they did. Now you all get to meet the folks in my Fear series.

Me? I write, all the time. In line at Walmart, at the amusement park, in the bathroom...yep the bathroom, thank goodness for smartphones. So expect lots more from me...soon!
 
 

Dear Lorna

Dear Lorna

Pain reminds us that we breathe
Angst reminds us why we cry
Loss reminds us what we yearn for
Love is why we don’t die.
Love is a funny thing. Sometimes only tragedy can bring it to light. Sky and Lorna are best friends. Working together has had its ups a downs especially when one is in law enforcement. A misunderstanding and betrayal threatens to destroy a friendship based on years of love and understanding. What happens when the worst happens? Can love bring you back? Can you ever be who you were or is the love you suddenly discover doomed to fall silent?AMAZOM UK


THE REPLACEMENTS by DAVID PUTNAM

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Bruno Johnson, ex-detective with Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and an ex-convict, is hiding out from the FBI in Costa Rica, tending bar to support eight children he illegally rescued from abusive homes. Partway through a normal day, Barbara Wicks, a former colleague and the chief of police for Montclair, California, walks into his bar. Bruno is shocked to the core.  Is she there to arrest him and take him back to California? Turns out she's there to request Bruno's help.  Two children have been kidnapped.

The kidnapper, Jonas Mabry, was himself a victim whom Bruno rescued as a small child.  Now Mabry demands a fool's retribution, a million dollar ransom, and Bruno to put his life on the line to get the money. In this twisted turn of fate, Bruno returns as a wanted criminal to California.  Despite the risk of arrest and even his life, he cannot turn his back on these kids.  And neither can Bruno's girlfriend, Marie.  

 
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Bruno Johnson, ex-detective with Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and an ex-convict, is hiding out from the FBI in Costa Rica, tending bar to support eight children he illegally rescued from abusive homes. Partway through a normal day, Barbara Wicks, a former colleague and the chief of police for Montclair, California, walks into his bar. Bruno is shocked to the core.  Is she there to arrest him and take him back to California? Turns out she's there to request Bruno's help.  Two children have been kidnapped. 

The kidnapper, Jonas Mabry, was himself a victim whom Bruno rescued as a small child.  Now Mabry demands a fool's retribution, a million dollar ransom, and Bruno to put his life on the line to get the money. In this twisted turn of fate, Bruno returns as a wanted criminal to California.  Despite the risk of arrest and even his life, he cannot turn his back on these kids.  And neither can Bruno's girlfriend, Marie. 
Goodreads | Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
During his law enforcement career, David Putnam worked primarily in California on special teams for Patrol, Investigations, SWAT, Narcotics, Violent Crimes, Criminal Intelligence, Internal Affairs, Detective Bureau and as child protective services coordinator.

He rounded out his law enforcement career with a few years in the Hawaiian Islands as a Special Agent-part of a real-life "Hawaii-50″ team.

He's now retired from law enforcement and spends his time growing organic California avocados and writing, with his wife Mary and their two dogs.


 

EXCERPT

The day the house bled started out sunny and warm. I was a rookie street cop in South Central Los Angeles. I worked uniform patrol for the sheriff ’s department, a job that could impact the community in so many positive ways. I ferreted out the predators, either put them in jail or prodded them until they moved on to another neighborhood. I liked working with the kids the most. I tried to find them before they were corrupted by the cancerous part of the street. There were the lost causes, but most kids wanted to better themselves and were hungry for guidance.

The absolute worst part of the job was bearing witness to the lowest ebb of humanity. I never could understand the motivation, the reasoning, the excuses for harming children. Because there weren’t any. Not in this world or any other.

The day of the horrible bleeding house incident started out great. A Blood by the name of Little Ghost had been dodging me for weeks. Anytime I was able to feed my handcuffs with a predator gave me a warm feeling. He’d set up shop slinging rock cocaine two blocks from a middle school, and I hadn’t been able to nab him. That day I put on a gray raincoat over my uniform and snuck up on him through a back alley, caught him right in the middle of a hand-to-hand deal.

So I was having a good day until the call to “keep the peace” came my way. I pulled up to a house in East Compton. White Street, west of Atlantic. A house like any other on the street, light blue with dark blue trim, maybe maintained a little better with a mowed lawn and a trimmed hedge. A man in slacks and a long- sleeve blue dress shirt stood out front wringing his hands, his expression one of genuine concern. I pulled up and parked half in the driveway, half in the street, and got out. “How can I help you, sir?”

“My name’s Micah Mabry, and I’m worried about my kids, Jonas, Betsy, and Sally. Jonas is five, Betsy’s seven, and Sally, she’s…she’s eight. Yes…yes, she’s eight last October. I knocked and knocked and they won’t answer the door. Please, you have to help me. Please.”

“Okay, Mr. Mabry, slow down and start from the beginning.” “Right, right, sure. My wife Bella and I are separated. We’re

getting a divorce.” “I’m sorry.”

He waved off the apology. “It’s okay, it’s a long story. But two nights ago she was supposed to meet me at McDonald’s. I was supposed to get my three kids for the weekend.”

Dispatch hadn’t told me this was a hostage exchange—the term used for child custody conflicts. The adults never acted like  adults,  and  the  losers  were  always  the  children  caught between  parents  they  loved,  with  their  petty  conflicts  and wounded egos. The parents’ bitter emotions were the worst to deal with in these incidents. People became irrational. Child custody calls tore at my gut. I couldn’t stand to see children cry and I always had to suppress the urge to do something about it.

Mabry continued, “She never showed up. I’ve tried to call her for the last two days, so I came over here. Listen, I’m going to tell you up front, she has a restraining order against me, and I’m not supposed to be here.”

No wonder she wasn’t answering the door. I  couldn’t allow him to stay if he was telling the truth about the TRO, the temporary restraining order. I said, “Do you have the court custody papers signed by the judge?”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” He pulled them from his back pocket. I checked; they were complete and in order. He was right, it was his turn to have the kids. “Okay,” I said, “Here’s the deal. All I’m allowed to do in this case is take a report and submit it to the DA as a violation of a court order, a PC 166.4—”

“You can’t make her give me my kids?”

“No, you have to have your attorney pull her back into family court.”

“Come on, that can take forever.”

“I know, I’m sorry.” I sat in the front seat and filled in the report form while he stood in the open door of the patrol unit staring down. I knew he was staring at me, and I couldn’t look up at him. He pulled out his wallet. “Deputy Johnson, you have kids?”

I was raising my daughter on my own and found it damn difficult to juggle her upbringing with an ever-shifting patrol schedule. I knew how hard it was to raise children and disliked him a little for throwing the kid card.

He held out his wallet, the plastic sleeves cloudy from overuse. The kids were cute. What child wasn’t? I wrote the case number down on a business card, got out, and stood in the open door. I handed it to him. Micah Mabry stared at the card as if it were a disappearing lifeline.

I said, “Ah, hell. You knocked?”

“Yes, yes. I’ve been here for an hour. I’ve knocked again and again the entire time. I know they’re in there. Please, Deputy?”

Son of a bitch. I reached in and picked up the mic. “Two- fifty-five-Adam, start another unit to back. I’m going to force entry.”

I’d hardly unkeyed the mic when Sergeant Foreman came up on the air. “Negative, Two-fifty-five-Adam. Stand by, I’m responding.”

Once Foreman arrived, no way would he do  anything other than what the book said.

I tossed the mic onto the seat. The window configuration of the house, outlined in dark blue paint against the light blue of the house, made the windows look like the eyes of a monster.  I walked with purpose to the front door. I’d made up my mind and didn’t want to think about the consequences. I knocked loud enough for the neighbors to hear. No answer. “What’s your wife’s name?”

“Bella. Her name’s Bella, but this won’t do any good. I’ve tried.”

I believed him and was beginning to have a bad feeling about the entire situation. I yelled, “Bella, this is Deputy Johnson with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. I need you to open the door. Come to the door and talk to me. Now.” Something was wrong about the whole setup. Anxiety rose up in me, and I could no longer follow proper protocol.

I looked down just as water, a little at first, then more, seeped under the door and out onto the porch.

I stepped back and booted the door.
 
 
 

Review

"Putnam’s thrilling sequel to 2014’s The Disposables finds Bruno Johnson, a former L.A. sheriff’s cop, settled in Costa Rica with his wife, Marie, and the eight abused children they rescued and took (illegally) from the U.S. Early in his career, Johnson intervened in a violent domestic case and managed to save the life of five-year-old Jonas Mabry. Now an adult, Jonas has kidnapped two young girls and will deal only with Johnson. Johnson is unable to resist the appeal of Montclair, Calif., police chief Barbra Wicks, and returns to California to track down Jonas. Jonas proves to be a diabolically clever opponent as he runs circles around Johnson, leading him down one blind alley after another and forcing him to make desperate moves. Putnam steadily ratchets up the tension, while memorable supporting characters, like the courageous Marie, help engage reader interest."
(Publishers Weekly)

The hero of this rowdy novel made his first appearance two years ago in The Disposables. The sequel
makes quick mention of the earlier adventure in an opening chapter, then gets down to the violent life of
ex-cop, ex-con Bruno Johnson. The plot motor is a twist on a detective-story standby: a long-forgotten
crime surfaces to haunt the hero. But here it’s Johnson’s good deed that sets things off. In a stunning
opening, we flashback to a day when Johnson rescued a child shot by his mother. Now the child is grown
up and mean, and he’s seeking, for reasons the author withholds till the finale, a nutty revenge. Johnson
had hoped for the tamer life of a bartender, but he must go rogue again and, this time, battle thieves and
killers before bringing the story home. The narrative charges ahead full tilt, like a bullet train. Readers may
find the plot overcomplicated, and the good-hearted heels a bit of a stretch, but that hardly matters when
the action won’t slow down, and we’re with the story all the way.

(Booklist)

"The Replacements is listed as a thriller. And it is just that. As the plot thickens, Bruno's heart is racing as will yours as you read of his exploits. You know that he is wanted by the FBI. But on realizing that he is giving his kids a life free of fear and torture, you just have to be on his side. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am anxiously awaiting the next episode."

―Bookloons.com
(―Bookloons.com)

“The three-dimensional characters (especially the villain) turn this urban jungle sequel to The Disposables into a fantastic cat and mouse thriller. Loaded with suspense that intensifies throughout, Jonas proves a very competent puppeteer pulling the strings of valiant desperate Bruno and equally brave Marie.”
(The Midwest Book Review)

"The novel is fast paced and entertaining. At some points, the plot does become a bit tangled and more complex than it needs to be, but the book’s saving points are always its adventure and characters. Unlike most action novels, the narrative does not shy away from being emotionally complicated, delving into the mental repercussions of kidnapping and murder. This allows the book to carve a unique identity for itself in a genre riddled with similar plots and characters. Fans of action novels will get the most out of this book. While it is a sequel, reading the first in the series is not necessary to enjoy the second book.”

(ForeWord Reviews)

The Replacements is a book that reels you in with the hope of a happy story, but first drags you along the rocks of despair. It shows the reader that even through trials and heartache, one can still come out strong and righteous.”
(Killer Nashville)

“Harsh, brutal, violent – Bruno is not averse to employing a bit of the aforementioned in his efforts to get him closer to the missing kids. So probably not a book for the faint-hearted.
I loved it myself….great characters with heart, doses of humour and plenty of action. Unlikely characters, such as Karl Drago – our whale-like bank robber revealing hidden depths of humanity and stoicism and a desire to do the right thing, despite all the previous evidence to the contrary.
A fantastic read.
5 from 5

(―Col’s Criminal Library)

 
 

OFF KILTER: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure by Laura Strickland



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tom MacLear - Inside a String - PROMO Blitz Poetry / Short Stories / Essays



Poetry / Short Stories / Essays
Date Published: June 2014

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Inside a String is a collection of Poems, Essays, and Lyrics of one man's take on the human element of America from the Beat movement of the 50's to the Counter Culture of the 60's thru the 'X' and 'I' generations, “Delivered in Spoken Word, Prose and Transcendental and Spiritual Abstract.”

MacLear, along with his singing partner, Heather Waters won Best Country Song 2014 by the Hollywood Music In Media Awards for last summer’s U.S. Country Radio Favorite: ‘SOMEDAY.’



EXCERPT

Mediterranean Calls
Yellow_ teasing_
broken_ alabaster_
Basted blue in a closed pewter pot
Cut the hands of the blade
pour slow the anger
And mind the pages when they’re hot
Slow_ are the mindless minutes after the
‘sorrow’s flight’
…The light’s fine in here, so’s the beer
Yesterday is just a melted muse of lectures_
leering at the multitudes_
_draped ‘long side an overcoat
she wore in another time





About the Author


Award winning songwriter, producer, entertainer and poet Tom MacLear has captured a span of life from the east to the west in his new book, Inside a String. Those familiar with Hemingway, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, Dylan and Ginsberg will enjoy the “Beat” flavor of the poetry in this book as well as some of the more simple, straightforward attacks on our hearts and our senses. These poems speak to the reader and take us on that wonderful journey from the depths of city life in NYC to the beautiful coastlines of California and everywhere in between, wherever our minds choose to travel as we take a magical ride with poet, Tom MacLear.

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Purchase Links



GIVEAWAY
$5 Amazon Gift Card



 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png
 
 http://www.amazon.com/Inside-String-collection-songwriter-MacLear/dp/1494886278Inside String collection on AMAZON

A collection of Poems, Essays, and Lyrics of one man's take on the human element of America from the Beat movement of the 50's to the Counter Culture of the 60's thru the 'X' and 'I' generations, “Delivered in Spoken Word, Prose and Transcendental and Spiritual Abstract.”
 
MacLear, along with his singing partner, Heather Waters won Best Country Song 2014 by the Hollywood Music In Media Awards for last summer’s U.S. Country Radio Favorite: ‘SOMEDAY.’