Book Excerpt: Not Quite So Stories by David S. Atkinson

Title: NOT QUITE SO STORIES
Author: David S. Atkinson
Publisher: Literary Wanderlus LLC
Pages: 166
Genre: Absurdist Literary Fiction

The center of Not Quite So Stories is the idea that life is inherently absurd and all people can do is figure out how they will live in the face of that fact. The traditional explanation for the function of myth (including such works as the relatively modern Rudyard Kiping’s Just So Stories) is as an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. However, that’s hollow. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life simply is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension, and the best we can do is to just proceed on with our lives. The stories in this collection proceed from this conception, each focusing on a character encountering an absurdity and focusing on how they manage to live with it.

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Book Excerpt:

TURNDOWN SERVICE

Margaret’s heels clicked repetitiously on the polished marble floors of Finklebean’s Mortuary. The sharp sound echoed down aisles of metal-faced vaults in the chilled, solemn hallways. Her steps were quick but purposeful, her stride constrained by the tight skirt of her starched navy business dress. An invoice was clutched tightly in her talon-like hand. Someone owed her an explanation…and that debt would be paid.
Catching sight of the plain brown wooden door hidden off in a back hallway bearing a faded Caretaker’s Office sign, Margaret halted, causing her heels to clack loudly on the stone. She pursed her lips as she scrutinized the sign. As if using the white metal sign with flaking black letters as a mirror, she adjusted the smartly coiled chestnut bun of her hair. Then she shoved open the weathered door and marched inside.
“Excuse me,” she called out sternly before looking what the room happened to contain, or even whether it was occupied.
A portly man in old blue coveralls sitting at a rough wooden worktable looked up at her calmly. Long stringy gray hair framed his face around a set of coke bottle eyeglasses perched on the end of his reddened bulbous nose. A metal cart, half full of plastic funeral flower arrangements, was positioned next to the worktable. Individual plastic flowers littered the table surface.
Unlike the somber and silent polished gray marble trimmed in shining brass of the hallway outside, the caretaker’s room felt more like a basement or garage. The walls were cinderblock, unpainted, and the floor was bare concrete. Obviously, the room was not used for professional services.
“My bill is incorrect,” Margaret said, thrusting the invoice out at the frumpy little man between a thumb and forefinger, both with nails bearing a French manicure. “You maintain my grandfather’s plot, but this month’s bill is way over the usual twenty-five sixty-three…nine hundred dollars more to be precise. You may not be the person in charge of this, but you’re who I found.”
The older man quietly looked at her still presenting the invoice even though he had made no move to take it. “Name?”
“Margaret Lane,” Margaret said curtly.
“No,” the caretaker shook his mess of oily old hair. “I won’t remember you. I meant your granddad’s.”
Margaret pursed her lips again. “Winston Lane.”
“Ah, yes.” The heavyset man leaned back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head and cocking out his elbows. His belly pushed on the table slightly, causing loose plastic flowers to roll around on the tabletop. The flowers were separated into piles according to color: red, white, yellow, purple, and orange. “Winston Lane. His is over on hillside four, I believe.”
“I’m sure.” Margaret crossed her arms, still clutching the invoice. “So why do I have a bill for over nine hundred dollars?”
The caretaker hunched forward, setting his chin on a pudgy arm and wrapping a flabby hand around his mouth. “Let’s see…Winston Lane…bigger than normal bill…oh, that’s right!” His face brightened with recollection.
Margaret smugly waited for the expected rationalization to begin, the extras and add-ons designed to take advantage of the gullible grieving. She wouldn’t be so easily manipulated.
“He got an apartment.”
Margaret’s expression cracked.
“That’s what the extra money is,” he pleasantly explained. “It’s to cover the rent.”
Margaret stared, blinking occasionally. A thin purple vein throbbed angrily at the side of her neck.
The man smiled. Then he pushed his round glasses further back up his nose and grabbed one of the plastic funeral arrangements from the cart. It had a block of dense green foam set in a fake bronze vase and various colors of plastic flowers stuck in the foam. The man pulled all the flowers out in a single movement and set each in the respective colored pile on the worktable. Then he placed the vase in a pile of similar vases on the floor.
“You…rented my grandfather an apartment?” Margaret finally asked. “Why?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” the older man snorted, dismembering another arrangement. “He rented the apartment, not us.”
Margaret sneered, having recovered her self-possession and indignation. “Sir, my grandfather is deceased.”
“Yep,” the caretaker agreed. He started quickly taking vases from the cart, ripping them apart, and then tossing the materials in the respective sort piles. “Guess he didn’t like the plot he picked out. Maybe it wasn’t roomy enough, I don’t know. Some things like that you just can’t be sure of till you get in a place and stay there a while. Anyway, he must not have liked something about it because he went and got himself that apartment. He wouldn’t have done that if he’d been happy where he was at.”
Margaret stood rigid. The toe of one foot tapped irritably. “How could my grandfather possibly rent an apartment? He’s dead!”
“How couldn’t he?” The caretaker snorted again. “It’s a great apartment. Plenty of light. Nice carpets. Good amount of space. It’s got a nice pool, too. Not that pools make much of a difference to a guy like him, being dead and all. Anyway, take a look; happen to have a photo of the place right here. Can’t rightly remember why.”
The man handed Margaret a bent-up photograph he pulled from a coverall pocket. It depicted a pleasantly-lit living room with vaulted ceilings. Tasteful black leather and chrome furniture was arranged around a delicate glass coffee table. On top of the coffee table sat her grandfather’s mahogany coffin, looking just as stately as it had at her grandfather’s funeral service.
Margaret glowered, unsure what to make of the photograph, noticing after a moment that she was chewing her lip as she ground her teeth. Her brain couldn’t keep up, it was all just too ludicrous for her to grasp. The man sorted more funeral arrangements. “So…you’re telling me that my deceased grandfather rented an apartment. Him, not you.”
“Yep. That’s the long and short of it.” The man jammed the photograph back into his pocket.
“My dead grandfather.”
“Yes’m.” He took the last arrangement off the cart and disposed of it as he had the others. He paused to dust off his hands. Then he grabbed a vase from the floor, jammed a plastic flower inside from each stack, and set the newly arranged arrangement on the cart.
“How could anyone rent my grandfather an apartment!?” Margaret threw up her arms. “He’s dead! The landlord couldn’t do that!”
“Sure they can,” the caretaker countered, paying more attention to the funeral arrangements than Margaret. “The building is zoned for mixed use.”
“Mixed use?! He’s dead!” She wiped her hand down her face slowly, stretching her skin as it went.
“So? He’s residing there. That’s a residential use. Certainly isn’t commercial.” The caretaker accidentally shoved two red plastic flowers in the same vase. Laughing at himself, he ripped them out again and started over.
Margaret stepped back, perhaps wondering if the caretaker was insane as opposed to just conning her. That would explain the photograph.
She crossed her arms loosely and tilted her chin upwards just a little, trying to mentally get a handle on the situation. Her brain felt like an overheated car with no oil in the engine. “I’m sorry, but that’s very distracting,” Margaret commented, pointing at the plastic flower piles on the worktable. “Is there any way that you could stop a moment?”
“Sorry.” The older man shook a thick calloused finger at an old clock on the wall, stopped as far as Margaret could tell. “I got to get this done.”
“But…what exactly are you doing? You’re just taking them apart and putting them back together.”
The rumpled man gestured at the flowers. “Well, people pay us to put these on graves, don’t they?”
“Right…”
“They come from a factory, don’t they? Someone paying someone else to bring something a machine made? I don’t think much of that. My way, there’s at least some thought in it.”
Margaret did not respond. Instead, she watched the man fill up the cart again. The arrangements looked exactly the same as before.
“Anyway,” the caretaker went on, “don’t you owe your granddad?”
“Pardon me?” Margaret puffed out her chest.
“Sure,” the man said, peering up at her through the finger-smudged lenses of his glasses. “He said when he bought the plot that you were going to take care of it and he was going to leave you money to keep going to school. He thought you should start working, but helped you out since you were going to mind his spot.”
Margaret swallowed, ruining her attempt to look indignant. A few beads of sweat gathered at her temples.
“You figure you’ve done enough?” The man had his head held low, hiding the tiny smirk on his face.
Margaret’s eyes widened. Her arms hung limply at her sides and her shoulders slumped. “But…”
“Hey, that’s between you two. I just take care of things like I’m paid to. If he wants his plot, I do that. If he wants a two-bedroom palace, I do that instead.”
Margaret absentmindedly twisted an old, ornate gold ring on her finger. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed as if the light in the dim room had gotten brighter. The meticulously squared corners of her mind twisted and stretched deliciously. “That’s right…it was a deal.”
“Come again?”
“I agreed to have his plot cared for.”
“And?”
“Well…” Her lips slipped into a pointed grin. “I pay you a fixed monthly amount to care for that plot. Apparently this apartment is his plot now, so the rent should be part of your monthly care. I expect you to take care of it accordingly. After all, caring for his plot is caring for his plot.”
“Now see here–”
“Regardless, I can’t help but think,” she went on, “that it reflects poorly on your services if grandfather isn’t happy with his plot, not mine.”
The caretaker gawked at Margaret, his mouth hanging loose. “Is that what you think now?” The older man finally growled.
“It is,” she responded with a saccharine tone, “and I expect that all future bills will be for the correct amount.”
“Hmph,” he huffed, settling back into his chair. “Wonder what your granddad would say about that.”
Margaret smirked. “You’re welcome to go and ask him, if you think it will get you anywhere.”

Interview with Shane Cloonan, author of Journey To The Cross

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

I was in the 6th grade and our assignment was to tell the story of the birth of Christ through another perspective.  I chose to write the story through the eyes of a donkey, because that was what carried Mary to Bethlehem.   After the paper was turned in, my parents encouraged me to take the story all the way to crucifixion because everyone loved it.  At the time we had 2 Sicilian donkeys, also known as the Jesus donkeys.  They had a distinctive cross on their backs that went from shoulder to shoulder and all the way down their spine. The legend of the donkey is that after Calgary the shadow of the cross shone on the donkey’s back and forever left its mark. A lot of people I know didn’t realize there is a cross on the donkeys back, so while telling my story of birth through crucifixion I incorporated the legend of the “Jesus donkey”.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

We talked to the newspaper about featuring it in the newspaper, and we organized a signing.

After that, what happened?

I was nominated for “Kid of the Week” and was interviewed on a 2 radio stations.  Then we started marketing in the Catholic schools for book fairs, and signings.  We organized 3 more signings, and an authors fair at the local library.

What did your publisher do to promote your book? (ignore this is you’re self-published)

He helped work on social media, organized book signings and helped with setting up the Authors fair.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

I think that blogging helps spread the word to a larger audience to reach more readers. Because I am still in school, I have done some, however it is difficult with my school work.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

We use facebook, and twitter, and my website.  On amazon I have an Authors page.  I think all of them had a major affect on sales.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

We send out flyers, I have my book featured in Combined Book Newsletters, My book will be showcased at 2016 Book Expo America, and as simple as it is, I go in to every book store we come across, introduce myself and  hand them a book.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

I would say the internet today can spread the word faster than any other method.  I think it has helped us reach the most people.

Inside the Book:



Title: Journey to the Cross
Author: Shane Cloonan
Publisher: State Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 11, 2015
Pages: 35
Genre: Children’s Christian Fiction

Book Description:

This is the story of the Jesus donkey, a fictional tale that takes readers on a journey from our Lord’s birth to his ultimate crucifixion. Though written and illustrated for young readers, this book is perfect for people of all ages who want a fresh, youthful perspective on the life of Jesus. The book’s message is imbued in the strength and simplicity of hearts that are linked to other hearts by Jesus. Journey to the Cross follows the light of hope that first appeared on that special night in Bethlehem.

For More Information:
Journey to the Cross is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Shane Cloonan is a resident of Elgin, Illinois and a high school freshman. This book, his first, started out as a grade school writing project. Shane is an avid outdoorsman. He also is an accomplished woodcarver. Shane took third place in his age group and category two years ago at the Ward World Championships Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland, then followed that up with a first-place finish in the International Woodcarvers Congress competition in Iowa.

You can visit Shane’s website at www.shanecloonan.com

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Virtual Book Tour


Book Excerpt: The Bipolar Millionaire by John E. Wade II

Title: The Bipolar Millionaire
Author: John E. Wade II
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Pages: 164
Genre: Memoir

John E. Wade II, retired CPA, author, investor, television producer, and philanthropist, reveals in his memoir, The Bipolar Millionaire, his personal struggle with bipolar disorder and how he has succeeded in living a balanced and blessed life, despite his mental illness.

Wade takes the reader through his family experiences, political aspirations and beliefs, spiritual journey, relationship trials and errors, all while battling mental illness.

Through his religious beliefs, personal perseverance, and the help of friends, family, and his mental health professionals, Wade lives an active, creative, and successful life.

His memoir doesn’t end with contentment at achieving a balance in his life, however. Instead, Wade expresses a determined vision for the future, aiming to assist humanity in what he describes as achieving heaven on earth through his writing, political and spiritual endeavors.

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Book Excerpt:

I was struggling and dropped into a walk from the jog required of fourth classmen. It was an autumn day in 1963, just a month after I’d had a near-fatal attack of meningitis, and I was still fighting to regain my strength. Panting for breath, I was confronted by a first classman. He asked very directly why I wasn’t jogging. I quickly replied that I had a medical excuse, knowing full well that the excuse had expired. He ordered me to produce the excuse, which I did. Noting its date, he nonetheless allowed me to proceed.

Soon, I was in the academy hospital, lying flat on my back in an almost catatonic state, unable to cope with my mental torment. Although this severe depression, the first in my life, was not diagnosed at the time, it must have been my first bipolar episode, possibly having been triggered by the recent attack of meningitis.

My mother and Carol, my then-girlfriend, came to try to revive me, but I don’t remember responding. Years later, Carol told me that I asked her to help me kill myself, but I have absolutely no memory of making such a request.

Until this illness I had been a model cadet. I had prepared physically according to academy guidelines, so the transition to basic cadet summer was rigorous but easier than it would have been without vigorous training.

One other thing that helped me during basic cadet summer was the stream of daily letters from Carol. My fellow cadets were jealous, partly because of the letters, but also because of the picture of her I had in my room. Even though it was black and white, it was clear that she had blond hair, a sweet smile, and a pleasing, pretty face. That face helped me get through the rest of what we all had to endure to complete our training.

Each week we were given certain “knowledge” to learn, such as types of aircraft or chains of command. I always spent part of Sunday afternoon memorizing the information so that I could recite it during Monday’s meals. The upperclassmen pointedly asked several questions of each basic cadet, which kept us from finishing our entire meal. The first classmen took turns performing the interrogation, but as the questions were considerably shorter than the answers, they always had plenty of time to eat. I always felt I was short-changed because I was the only one who knew the trivia from the first day it was due, and yet I didn’t get a chance to eat more than the other basic cadets.

At the end of basic cadet summer, all the cadets were subjected to a physical fitness test, and I scored the highest in my squadron. At about the same time, we also went on a survival exercise in the mountains for which we were organized into small groups with twenty-four hours’ worth of food and about a week’s time to find our way back to the academy. The experience was particularly taxing for me. I became so obsessed with saving my food that I still had some left when we got back to the academy.

After the final tests, those of us who successfully completed basic cadet summer became fourth classmen. My personal excitement was not long lasting, however. Although I had scored high marks on the physical tests, I was disappointed with my first academic grades, which included some Bs, as I was used to all As in high school. When I asked a first classman for his opinion, he said I did just fine considering that I came from a weak high school.

Basic cadet summer had ended—then the meningitis hit. I’ve since read that physical illness can trigger the onset of bipolar disorder, and although the diagnosis was not made at that time, I believe that is what had happened. My father eventually was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder also, so it appears that I was genetically predisposed to the condition, as is often the case.

I had entered the academy in June 1963, and I received an honorable medical discharge that December; whether I was right or wrong, I considered the situation a great disgrace. It was definitely a life-defining event for me, and I was overcome with depression.

But, there was another aspect to my failure at the Air Force Academy that I didn’t disclose to anyone else until years later: part of the reason I attended the academy was that I had presidential ambitions, which I knew would be shattered by the stigma of mental illness. I internalized and brooded over that stigma for the next forty years.

To make matters even worse, when I finally got home I also lost my girlfriend.

It was quite a shock to me and had a negative effect on my confidence with the women I would date for most of the rest of my life.

I have often wondered what would have happened had I not had the meningitis and bipolar episode. What aspects of my life would have been altered? It’s a haunting possibility to consider.

Still, even though the realization of some of my dreams has eluded me, I have had and am having an interesting, fulfilling life in spite of bipolar disorder, and I invite you to understand its role as I work toward what I believe is my destiny.

Interview with Patrick Barnes, author of The Avocadonine and Spring Stone

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is a somewhat absurd high school classic about a boy named Rey who, in the process of finding his first girlfriend, stumbles upon a conspiracy at his school that stretches back generations to a malicious woman and a girl named Spring Stone.  There seems to be something the students are drinking that is enabling someone to control their minds.  Rey has to figure out who is behind the plot, what they want to accomplish, and how to stop them.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

I drafted flyers of the book cover with reviews on them.  I got on Twitter.  I utilized Facebook.  I put my first chapter on Fiction Press.  I went through several book covers until I felt I had found the right one.  And I prayed my book would sell.

After that, what happened?

I sold some books.  But not enough for it to even make a financial dent in my wallet.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

I had a blog when I was getting my Masters in Library Science at the University of South Carolina.  I posted information about my assignments, plans, and also my book.  I found it difficult to garner enough followers to really make it worth my while.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

My sister has thousands of friends on Facebook.  I unfortunately do not.  I’ve heard Facebook is a good way to get you book sold.  However, I haven’t sold many books with Facebook.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I’m using Pump Up Your Book.  The team putting my tour together have been really diligent in finding good ways for me to promote.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?


Telling people to read it.  I’ve found friends, family, co-workers etc. who are more than happy to read a book written by someone they know.  Their feedback has been inspiring.  So  many of them say it’s one of the best YA fiction novels they’ve ever read.  The feedback on Amazon.com from people who read the book echoes that sentiment.


Inside the Book:



Title: The Avocadonine and Spring Stone
Author: Patrick Barnes
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Pages: 334
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Book Description:

Praised by many as one of the best YA fiction books you’ll ever read.
Rey Naresh, a likeable kid worth rooting for, is going into the ninth grade at Pemota High.  He’s not sure what to expect being fresh off a visit with a gypsy who may or may not have been psychic, but he’s hoping in ninth grade he’ll get to meet his crush, the pretty green eyed, Christy Lane.  He’s wanted her to notice him since sixth grade and keeps a letter to her in his backpack.  The school bully, Huxley Core, and his friends, who call themselves Nadine’s Puppies, threaten to publish something about Rey in their libelous newsletter.  As Rey looks up at the stars one night he realizes he will have to confront Huxley and be man enough to make Christy fall for him.

One day, on the bus, fellow ninth grader, Ryan O’toole, says to Rey that there’s something wrong with something the students are drinking and that electronics are making a humming sound when he’s near them.  It sounds to Rey like looney toons, but are other students having a similar problem?  Rey and Christy unite and embark on a quest that seems to have to do with mind control by an evil administration and provides a quandary for philosophical thought.  A mystery seems to have taken hold of Pemota High, one that may stretch back generations to a malicious woman and a story of her relationship with a student named Spring Stone.


Book Excerpt:
Chapter 17

Rey got Isabel to make the call to Jocelyn Stone.  Her caretaker picked up.  Isabel explained that they had some information about Jocelyn’s late daughter Spring, and Rey and Christy wanted to speak to Jocelyn.  As it turned out, Jocelyn had had a stroke and was unable to speak.  Her chances of recovery were small and the caretaker didn’t want anyone to say anything to her that might upset her.  Isabel said that she understood and she’d tell Rey.  Rey said they were going to make the trip to see her anyway.  It was a forty-five minute drive.

The BMW 3 Series Compact had a sun roof open and it was freezing.  Tristan had explained to them what happened yesterday with the three lemon trees.  He told the two of them that he and Roach had brought garbage bags and a chainsaw to the trees.  Holly North had been outside the school.  She told them she planned on screaming to everyone coming out of the school that the Nadine’s Puppies article wasn’t true as they handed out Hochus Mochus and Mountain Springs.  By the time she was through, only twenty-five people made the walk to the trees.  They all ended up finding the trees cut down and the lemons missing.

Tristan had a lot of questions and Rey told him they would explain things to him on the ride down.  It was 9:45 a.m. and Christy told Brianna that it might be a day-long excursion so Brianna decided not to accompany them.  Brianna said she had something to do before work anyway.  When Christy asked her “what,” Brianna said she had to visit a friend.

The expressway was smooth and after Tristan closed the sun roof the drive was enjoyable.  When they arrived at Sea Eagle Watch they saw the high-end homes, all clad with porches and well-kept lawns.  They turned into Jocelyn’s driveway thankful for Tristan’s Mom’s car’s GPS, and sat in the car nervously waiting, trying to think of how best to proceed.  Tristan said they should just be honest and explain things to her.  Rey had brought the article Aba Brule had sent, “Track Star Doesn’t Go to State Championships,” and the letter sent from Aba Brule as well.  If worst came to worst, Rey said, they would just ask the caretaker if Jocelyn had any of Spring’s old possessions and look for clues.

They walked up the steps and rang the doorbell.

—-

The door opened and Miss Shumana stood there frowning, as if the last person on earth she wanted to see right now was Brianna Lane.  Brianna felt they were on a first name basis.

“Hello Evelyn.  It’s been a long time.”

Evelyn Shumana looked from right to left as if someone was hidden in the shrubs.  Then her eyes came to rest on her recently purchased Mercedes E Class Sedan in the driveway.  She looked down for a few moments.  Then said, “Come in.”

She closed the door and revealed her living room — a stark contrast with the run-down exterior of the green Cape Cod home.  Brianna sat down on one of her top-of-the-line leather sofas.

“What do you want?”  Evelyn said.  “Don’t tell me you missed me.”  She took out a box of cigarettes, and lit one up.  Then she removed her red hair — it was a wig.  She shook her blond hair free, then took off her black glasses, and sat across from Brianna.

“I have the non-prescription ones also,” Brianna said.  “Although I think while I’m reading my diploma, you’re going to be driving up past the Canadian border in that practically stolen Mercedes.”

Evelyn breathed out a stream of smoke.  “You’re not exactly an angel yourself, Brianna.  I think I saw you more during your senior year than any other student.  Only girl I ever caught having sex in the janitor’s closet.  I take it you’re still a drug abusing slut.  Or did Leander turn you into an Amish princess?”

“A Queen, really.”

“Oh.  Still at Lots for Littles?  Using Skywarriors to get students to rebel against authority figures?  I sure know you don’t buy them.  Could get you fired pretty easily.”

“Perhaps, we can reach an understanding.”

“We’ll be in school for another week.”  Evelyn dropped some ashes into a tray.  “Every parent of practically every student has been taken care of.  We’re paying them a million dollars to help further the development towards the archetypes.  If anything goes wrong, Alexa has a helicopter waiting for us to be taken away to wherever we want to go.  The chemical has a psychic property.  It’s Spring, but it’s also whatever you believe it is.  So if the meaning changes for Pemota High, it changes for everyone.  So now that we understand one another, what would it take for you to,” she took another drag off her cigarette, “help us with something that looks great on a college app.”  She put the cigarette out and raised her eyebrows.

—-

“Well, we think she needs to see us,” Rey said.  “See, the entire ninth grade at Pemota High is going to want to know what happened between Jocelyn and Spring.  Just give us five minutes and if she doesn’t want to talk to us, we’ll leave.”

The caretaker, Marie, looked back into the home wrestling with this.  “She can’t talk.  She has damage to the left side of her brain.  Spring was a long time ago.  Jocelyn has had three kids since.  I think it would be best if you left.”

A thumping sound from down the hall caused Marie to run back inside.  They stepped into the foyer and closed the door behind them.  They stood on the oriental carpet listening to Marie’s hushed whispers from down the hall.  Christy took her shoes off and gave Rey and Tristan a look.  They both reluctantly removed their shoes and Rey placed his backpack beside his.

Marie returned.  “Come with me.”  Marie walked down the hallway and they followed.  “This is her second stroke,” Marie said.  “Jocelyn is lucky enough to have the means to afford in-home care.  Her chances of recovering are better that way.”  They stopped in front of a door.  “She can’t talk.  And she usually doesn’t understand language.  But you can try.”

Jocelyn lay in bed, white sheets covering her, and surrounded by equipment.  She had short blond hair, and dim blue eyes in an exorbitantly wrinkled face.  She saw them and a fearful look came into her eyes.

“Hi, Miss Stone,” Christy said.  “My name’s Christy.  This is Rey and Tristan.”

Rey withdrew the article from his pocket and the letter from Aba Brule.  He handed them to Jocelyn.  “Miss Stone,” Rey said.  “We need to talk to you about your daughter, Spring.”

Jocelyn looked at the article then tossed it aside.  Then she looked at the letter from Aba Brule.  She let it drop on the bed sheet.

“She can’t understand it,” Marie said.  “She can’t read or write.”

“How faraway is she?”  Rey asked.

“A part of her brain has been compromised.  Sometimes people make full recoveries,” Marie said.  “But I think all you’re doing is upsetting her.”

“I have the syringe in my backpack,” Rey said.  “We could just put the chemical in some water.  It’s worth a try.”

“If it kills her, it’s murder,” Tristan said.

“There’s a chemical,” Rey said.  “It doesn’t kill anyone who ingests it.  It’s just lemon juice and purple dye.  But it has an effect on brain chemistry.  I just want to give her a little of it.”

Then something extraordinary happened.  Jocelyn turned to them and spoke.  “I want you to do it.”

Marie was stunned.  “Miss Stone?”

“Is it okay?” Rey asked.

“Miss Stone?”  Marie said again, now at her bedside.  They all stared at her.  She was silent.  “It’s okay,” Marie said to Rey.

Rey went and got the vile of purple fluid.  Jocelyn had a glass of water by her bedside and Rey poured a small amount of the fluid into the glass.  Jocelyn picked up the water glass and drank it.  They waited for almost a full minute for a reaction.  Then Jocelyn turned to them and her eyes seemed to come to life.

Marie brought in two more chairs and they all sat and stared at each other.  “Tell her about what’s going on,” Christy said to Rey.

Rey told Jocelyn the whole story — everything that had happened, from Aba Brule to Inez Castel.  “We want to know about Spring,” Rey said.

Jocelyn seemed to become aware that she was uncomfortable.  She tried to lift her pillow up.  Tristan stood up and helped her.  She sat up.  Then she spoke.  She was clear, lucid even.  “I knew this would happen.  I always knew I’d hear about this again.”

“Tell us,” Christy said.

“I’ve read that article.  Many times.  The story starts the year Alexa became principal at Pemota Regional High School.  In 1975.”

For More Information:
The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads


Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author



Patrick Barnes lives in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is his second book.  It has been awarded a five star review from Readers Favorite, and a four and a half star average among critics on Amazon.com.  He has a Bachelors Degree in Film and Writing from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters in Library Science from the University of South Carolina.  He has won first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing at the Yankee Penn Journalism Conference, and has worked as a Librarian at the Folly Beach Public Library.  When he’s not writing, he likes to walk on the beach with his dog, and watch movies.
For More Information:

Virtual Book Tour

Interview with L.B. Johnson, author of The Book of Barkley

Inside the Book:

Title: The Book of Barkley
Author: L.B. Johnson
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Memoir
Format: Ecopy/Paperback

2015 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree.

2015 Reader’s Favorite International Book Award – Silver Winner.

Gripping Memoir, Hailed “An Instant Classic” by Critics, Shares Journey of Love & Life through the Inspirational Eyes of Man’s Best Friend…

Crafted from the heart and experiences of L.B. Johnson, ‘The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever’ takes readers from the author’s depths of grief and personal despair to an empowering new life chock-full of love. But Johnson’s radical life change didn’t come from finding God or attending a cookie-cutter support group, but instead from a black Labrador called Barkley who taught her the real, innate meaning of love.

In a wholly-unique and uplifting new memoir, Johnson tells the deeply-personal story of her life and experiences with a rambunctious Labrador Retriever named Barkley. It’s not just a story of one woman and her dog; but a bold journey to discover what love really is, and why learning to live like a dog gives humanity a powerful new meaning.

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N

Is this your first book?

Yes, I’ve since written a second on human and pet adoption.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

I thought about self publishing but ended up using a small publishing company that would let me control a lot of the process, but guide and offer professional editing and marketing services that I didn’t yet have the skills to do.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

Talk to other authors and find out their experiences.  There’s a lot of good information on forums such as Good Reads and other places as well as blogs maintained by people who love the crafting of books and their publishing that will assist you.  I found the writing community extremely welcoming.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

I went with the same publisher with my second book, which also became a No. 1 best seller in genre at Amazon so I’m pretty pleased.

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?

I used Outskirts press, and for the price, was very pleased with the service and how they didn’t pressure me to add on services I didn’t need as I gained more experience with my own marketing.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

I’m a scientist by trade (criminal justice and forensic anthropology majors) and Ph.D. NOT a writer by profession.  If I can do it, you can, you just have to believe in your dream.

Meet the Author

A former commercial pilot, LB Johnson grew up out West where she later received a doctorate in a Criminal Justice related field in order to pursue a career in federal service after hanging up her wings. She lives in Chicago with her husband and rescue dog Abby. Mrs. Johnson is active in animal rescue and donates 100% of her writing proceeds to animal rescue organizations across the United States as well as Search Dog Foundation.
Her books include the #1 Amazon Best Sellers “The Book of Barkley” and “Saving Grace – a Story of Adoption”. She also has been awarded the Readers Favorite International Silver Book Award for Excellence in Writing.
Check out writing updates and news at her author’s webpage http://lbjohnsonauthor.blogspot.com/
www

Interview with Lane Everett, author of A Northern Gentleman

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

Sure! A Northern Gentleman is an historical fiction adventure story about the handsome and quick-witted Drucker May, who is miserable in the privileged life that he leads working at a bank in Atlanta.

So he runs away.

He wants to find what it is that he’s really supposed to do with his life and he wants to have a good time doing it. Because the year is 1890, the people who he meets after he leaves Atlanta have no easy way to find out who he really is, allowing Drucker to reinvent himself in each stop that he makes along the way to California.

As he travels, he explores late 19th century America as well as his own identity – both real and mistaken – all while solving a mystery, falling in love and getting caught up in a wild west caper gone awry.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

I chose to self-publish using CreateSpace and had a wonderful experience. It allowed me to retain complete creative control over the cover and content of the book — including the title, which was the very first part of the book that came to me — which isn’t always the case with the traditional publishing route. From what I’ve heard, it’s often the opposite. Self-publishing also has given me control over the marketing process, and since I love marketing and advertising, I’ve enjoyed learning a lot by getting my hands dirty with that process as well.

My first marketing move was to make a list of everyone I felt comfortable reaching out to with a personal email to let them know about my book. This friends and family outreach resulted in plenty of great leads and connections to marketing help, book clubs, etc…

After that, what happened?

After that, I hired a marketing firm to help me get the word out about A Northern Gentleman. I’m working with Michelle Vandepas and her team.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

I think it’s important to create content that people can connect with. I blog a bit, but I spend more time creating that content that people can identify with for other people’s blogs. That is, for people who already have an audience built.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

I’m working on building a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I partner with book clubs by providing discounted copies and a book club discussion guide on my website. If you’re interested in purchasing discounted copies for your book club, reach out to me via the contact page on my site.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

So far the most effective marketing has been the good reviews my book has been getting on Amazon. A reader recommendation goes a long way.

About The Book



Title: A Northern Gentleman
Author: Lane Everett
Publisher: Senior Prospect Publishing Co.
Publication Date: July 15, 2015
Format: eBook / Paperback (US Only) / PDF – 298 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Buy The Book:

Discuss this book on our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads


Book Description:

Handsome and quick-witted Drucker May is miserable in the privileged life that he leads working at a bank in Atlanta. So he runs away. He wants to find what it is that he’s really supposed to do with his life and he wants to have a good time doing it.

Because the year is 1890, the people who he meets after he leaves Atlanta have no easy way to find out who he really is, allowing Drucker to reinvent himself in each stop that he makes along the way to California. As he travels, he explores late 19th century America as well as his own identity – both real and mistaken – all while solving a mystery, falling in love and getting caught up in a wild west caper gone awry.

This story isn’t just a rollicking ride from one town and one mistaken identity to the next, though. It’s the tale of a man trying to strike a balance between his responsibility to his family and his desire to be his own man. Alternately moving and laugh out loud funny, A Northern Gentleman chronicles the adventures that unfold when one man decides to leave his boring desk-work behind to seek out the life he’s meant to lead and to find that special something that his life has been missing.
Book Excerpt:

I. Atlanta

Chapter 1
There’s a photograph that’s kept upstairs in the same wooden box that holds the invitation to Grandmother’s wedding and some yellowing stationery that is all but illegible, and an election-year button that used to be blue and bears a name that used to be important. The photograph is black-and-white and there’s an inscription on the back of it, in looping longhand, in dark ink. Five words, each character tied together by a dragging pen as their author noted what the photo captured: Atlanta Southern National Bank, 1890.
The picture is a portrait, though there’s no one in the photograph. There’s a desk, but no one sits behind it. There’s a window, but no one looks through it. Instead, what must have been the golden light of a low and setting sun streams through the window onto the lonely desk. And somehow, though the sloping curves of human flesh are absent, and in their place only the severe angles of lifeless wood appear, the photograph becomes a portrait nonetheless. A portrait that, even without eyes or lips or teeth, captures the stilted smile of capitalism begging the question of the hour: Isn’t there something more than this?
The desk didn’t always sit unmanned, and to glimpse this particular photograph is to witness a ship without its captain. With a broad body of dark wood, the desk was itself both ocean liner and iceberg. It was a vessel on which one could have enjoyed a comfortable cruise up the corporate ladder; yet, simultaneously, it formed a ruinous blockade against all that stood beyond the door. And though its home in the office of the vice president of Atlanta Southern National Bank should have made it a vehicle of transport to the highest ranks of economy and society, to its owner it was a slave ship.
When the desk belonged to Atlanta Southern National Bank’s vice president, Drucker May, the desk sat squarely in the middle of an office that was regal in its décor. A green rug lay underfoot, gold cresting marked the line where wall ended and ceiling began, and a garish bronze sculpture of a tufted eagle perched above a second doorway.
In an office quite remarkable for its ornamentation, that second door was perhaps the most notable sign of prosperity. Though the door itself was unembellished, confederate in its colorlessness, its value was inflated greatly by a single fact: it led directly to the bank president’s adjoining office, which was twice the depth, thrice the length, and many multiples as lavish as its neighbor. The desk there was no dowdy brunette, but rather a brilliant blonde, painted in gold leaf, and more like a banquet table than a workstation. Next to it, Drucker’s mahogany steamship was reduced to tugboat. It was as if the bank’s own vault had been emptied and its content melted and molded into the shape of a desk, behind which sat the bank’s president, a king on his throne, presiding over business.
Daily, the door that joined the offices would swing open, and the booming voice of the bank’s president would rouse Drucker from his daydreams. The accuracy of a clock could be measured against the precisely timed roar that each day at half past one prompted a dozen bankers to rush to the threshold of the ornamented office. Drucker was among the crowd, though he was never the first to arrive, which the president was pained to notice every time.
This daily assembly was brief and usually followed by a demand that some item or other that the president had misplaced be found before the hour was up, inevitably prompting a scramble.
The lengthier congress would follow each day at three. One financier would read aloud from the newspaper. Another would recite notes from a pad—covered in his own scribbles—on the availability of silver or the latest blustering of William Jennings Bryan, at which all in attendance would groan in unison. No matter how little there was to say, the meeting would always manage to drag on for an hour.
For Drucker, the afternoon assembly was a prime opportunity for him to do what he was best at: daydream that he was somewhere else. As his eyes wandered to the windows, his thoughts drifting in the same direction, he would lose himself in a world where the memories he had mingled with the ones he had not yet made, where he could be anyone, do anything, live anyplace. Though he was careful to keep a straight face so as to appear engaged, in his mind he was running, arms flailing, through a meadow of tall grasses, never looking back as the banality of a life spent behind that wooden desk grew smaller and smaller in the distance behind him.
Outside the boardroom’s window, the sun shone brightly over Atlanta’s verdant Peachtree Street. There was one tree in particular that had the same branch structure as the one Drucker used to climb as a boy, when Atlanta was nursing its burn wounds and the talk of rebuilding, like the lemonade he would gulp on blistering afternoons, was endless. These days it seemed that the only thing endless was the daily midafternoon summit, and so Drucker allowed himself to drift back into the comfortable memory of what it felt like to perch in the highest branches of the tree.
***
“Drucker!” The voice was sweet but sharp, the last syllable pronounced fully, unlike when his mother called his name, dropping the final ‘r’.
“I brought you a glass,” called Lucy.
“Just one?” asked Drucker, looking down through a leafy web of foliage below him.
“Yes. And a peach.”
“Throw it up here,” instructed Drucker. “The peach, not the glass,” he added slyly, “I’ll have the lemonade when I come down.”
Even through layers of leaves and branches he could see her frowning. “Ten minutes,” she sighed. “Or I’ll climb up there and get you. Your mother wants you to know that dinner is at six, and if you’re late, you won’t be served.”
Drucker reached out his hands, beckoning for her to toss up the peach. Lucy was more than a governess to Drucker. She was an ally and a friend, and he had no doubt that his mother had instructed her not to give him the peach, but she had snuck it to him anyway. “Toss it,” he urged. “C’mon, toss it up here.”
Toss she did, but the arch of the fruit’s trajectory was short of where Drucker could reach, and Lucy threw up her arms, waving him off from the catch. “No, no! You’ll fall!” she called up to him as the peach thumped back into her outstretched palms.
“Aw, Lucy,” he teased, “I thought you could have thrown it better than that!”
“You know I could have thrown better than that.”
“Or forgot that you couldn’t throw it better than that,” he taunted from a dozen feet off the ground.
The playful exchange delighted nine-year-old Drucker, who prided himself on keeping pace with the twenty-six-year-old blonde who had lived upstairs for as long as he could remember. Drucker considered her a best friend, and it had never occurred to him that she felt any different than he, or that the fact that she was paid to look after him was the reason they spent their days together. Though to his mother she was one among a crew of employees who flitted about the property, gardening and cooking and generally serving as directed, to Drucker she more than took the place of the sisters and brothers his parents never gave him, and she lavished on him the attention and affection his parents similarly failed to provide.
***
A slap on the table ceremoniously ended the meeting. The men rose to their feet and shuffled papers and murmured to one another, their voices blending into a single sustained note. It was not unlike the drone of the meeting itself, which was little more to Drucker than a continuous low-pitched whine.
Back at his desk, Drucker eased into his chair, reclining for a few moments before hearing footsteps approaching his door and, on cue, straightening his spine. He glued his eyes to the front page of the newspaper that lay across his desk. Not a sentence was familiar, though the meeting had been dedicated to hashing through each and every headline.
“Hello, Drucker. I’m sorry to interrupt.”
Drucker looked up from his display of feigned diligence. The interruption was, in fact, not an interruption at all, as the scene in which Drucker was consumed by work was no more than a show, performed for the benefit of his one-man audience.
“I just spoke with Hank,” continued the bank’s president before Drucker could get a word in, “and I’m more than a bit concerned. Another five accounts have moved over to Georgia Consolidated Bank, and Hank expects the Langdons will move most of their assets by the end of the year. That damn bank hasn’t been operating six months, and already we’ve lost a dozen of Atlanta Southern’s…” he hesitated, grasping for the right word.
“Richest sons of—” Drucker tried to offer.
“Beloved patrons,” the bank’s president cut him off, giving Drucker a stern glance.
Drucker smirked but returned to the question at hand. “Five more accounts,” he mused.
“Since March, no less. At this rate we’ll be sucked dry in a matter of months,” the president replied, gravely.
“Well,” said Drucker, feeling apathetic, “I’d say it sounds as if this calls for a detailed discussion in tomorrow’s afternoon meeting.”
Sarcasm was always lost on the bank’s president. “Forget the meeting,” said the president, waving a dismissive hand. “This is a project for you.”
He looked down at Drucker’s desk, which was artfully staged to look like the station of a diligent worker. “You’re very busy, I know, but we’ll just have to find someone else to take the rest of this.” He motioned toward the stacks of financial records and yellowing newspapers on Drucker’s desk, all of which had been carefully arranged to look worn out from frequent and heavy use.
Drucker admired the scene he had crafted. “It is tiring,” he said. This was the truth. He couldn’t fight the sedative effect that all things banking had on him, even the relatively exciting prospect of the bank’s demise.
“Good then, it’s settled,” said the president. “You’ll be in charge,” he added, gaining momentum, “of making sure that Atlanta Southern doesn’t see the—suffer from the—well, that we don’t…” Momentum halted. He stammered through a long sentence that ultimately went unfinished.
“To be clear,” said Drucker, “you’re telling me that you’ll give all my work to someone else in exchange for me coming up with a plan to stop our accounts from moving to our competitor?” It suddenly occurred to him that this was a disadvantageous trade. He had made a practice of doing practically nothing all day, and suddenly here he was being asked to barter it away for a nearly impossible task.
The president nodded. “Precisely. This will look quite good for the board review, too.” It was widely known that the president intended to step down by year’s end, and the board would soon be appointing his replacement. Despite Drucker’s lackluster performance at every element of his job, the president threw the full weight of his portly existence behind the naming of Drucker as his successor.
“Or, I suppose, it could look quite bad for the board review. That is, if Georgia Consolidated continues to steal our customers,” Drucker replied evenly.
The president cringed deeply. “It could, yes, if you fail. But if you fail, I suppose we all shall. And if there is no bank for me to preside over, there will be no bank for you to preside over.”
A glum thought, but for some reason it delighted Drucker. “Well, when you put it that way,” said Drucker, “you give me no choice.”
Another glum thought, but for some reason it delighted the president. “Good, then it’s settled. I’ll tell Hank. I’ll tell him I’ve put you in charge, and that Atlanta Southern is in good hands.” He paused to consider his last statement and then added without humor, “It’s sink or swim now, Drucker, but you’ll keep us afloat. Won’t you?”
“Yes,” said Drucker quietly. “Of course, I will, Father.”

About The Author

Author Lauren Tanick Epshteyn, using the pen name Lane Everett, has nurtured a life-long love of the written word. At 10 years old she knew that someday she wanted to be a New York Times best-seller. A voracious reader, Lauren loves American Historical fiction, making it easy and interesting to research the 1890’s for her debut novel A Northern Gentleman.

The novel follows Drucker May who abandons his privileged life, embarking on a series of adventures allowing him to reinvent himself at every stop while searching for the life he’s always longed for and discovering the man he’s meant to be.

Her writing has been formed through writing education attained through Brown University (Providence, RI) creative writing courses, plenty of writing on the topic of American Government during her undergraduate education at Georgetown University (Washington, DC) and plenty more writing on the topic of American Business History, her chosen field of concentration for her MBA at NYU (New York, NY).

For More Information:
Author Website

Author.LaneEverett@gmail.com

Virtual Book Tour


Interview with Thomas Barr Jr, author of Risen

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

The growth of “Mega churches” has risen considerably in the 21st century as compared to the past. Miami Urban Chronicles Volume I: Risen, seeks to set forth a fictional biopic of the rise of spiritual leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh of the Liberty City based movement the Nation of Yahweh, “Ben Yahweh’s.”

Chauncey Miller, the main character in the story is determined to be a success. He uses his natural skills of cultivating relationships and influence to draw his followers. Despite his meager rural southern background he dreams big and takes risks head-on in realization of his goals. It is significant in modern 21st century times that individuals take control of their life’s path. The urban youth particularly need to realize by making deliberate decisions concerning their life they can live their dreams.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

I developed a marketing plan and researched viable promotion strategies to reach the public.

After that, what happened?

I awaited a release date for my book assigned by the publisher and sent press releases to media outlets.

What did your publisher do to promote your book? (ignore this is you’re self-published)

My publisher organized a social media campaigned and distributed pre-copies of the book to media outlets.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

I blog on my personal website at least once a week.  I find it helps in getting my name out in relation to being an author.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

I use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  They are all useful in getting my books noticed by the masses of readers.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I use press releases and book club contacts.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

I would say the most effective was PUMP UP YOUR BOOK!

Inside the Book:

Title: Risen
Author: Thomas Barr Jr.
Publisher: Printhouse Books
Publication Date: January 15, 2016
Pages: 188
ISBN: 978-0997001624
Genre: Urban Fiction


Book Description:
The growth of “Mega churches” has risen considerably in the 21st century as compared to the past. Miami Urban Chronicles Volume I: Risen, seeks to set forth a fictional biopic of the rise of spiritual leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh of the Liberty City based movement the Nation of Yahweh, “Ben Yahweh’s.”

Chauncey Miller, the main character in the story is determined to be a success. He uses his natural skills of cultivating relationships and influence to draw his followers. Despite his meager rural southern background he dreams big and takes risks head-on in realization of his goals. It is significant in modern 21st century times that individuals take control of their life’s path. The urban youth particularly need to realize by making deliberate decisions concerning their life they can live their dreams.

Chauncey meets a mentor whom cultivates his ideology and sharpens his mediation skills in working with people. He harnesses his skills by working with the youth ministry of a local church. As he attends college he learns the basics of economics and administration in his courses. He understands education is just one tool that can help him along his path. Individuals must utilize opportunities as they present themselves along life’s path. The main character seizes upon this truth and follows it down the rabbit hole in a manner of speaking.

In most communities the Church is a place of worship, fellowship, family, communal meetings and refuge. Individuals seek comfort in its walls and the main character leverages this in amassing followers. Modern successful pastors have PhD’s and fancy seminary school training. The main character can be viewed as the progenitor to the modern “Mega church” system. He is of the conviction that god must call a person to preach which is a spiritual mission.

The main character takes this mission on as any other profession and is determined to be a success as a spiritual leader, messenger of god, as well as a successful business entrepreneur. The main character goes from city to city while growing his followership and refining his professional talents. In addition his studies have led to him evolving his religious convictions.

The story enthralls with the turmoil of power, beliefs, sex, control, and all the human pitfalls that too often affect successful professionals. In desiring success and wealth upon any career path it is important to maintain composure. Chauncey, although a spiritual leader, is in realization of this truth.
In paralleling the lifestyles of the larger community many individuals become disillusioned and pigeonhole themselves. Only in selflessness can individuals walk a blemish-less path. Particularly urban youth must learn the lesson in traversing modern life goal paths in reaching their dreams.

This chronicle wraps with Chauncey answering to the communal guidelines of this prescribed society. All must answer to the allegations of their fellow community members and none is an exception to this rule. In acquisition of success and goal setting humility can be a lifesaver.
Book Excerpt:

Chauncey Miller was a Carolina native that grew up in the south and knew the hard work of the tobacco fields.  Raised in a Christian household he was fascinated with the bible and studied religion with a fervor.  Little did his contemporaries know that he would rise to the level of a spiritual leader commanding a multi-million dollar enterprise.  They surely wouldn’t realize that he was a megalomaniac capable of manipulating a band of killers.
It’s a sunny afternoon in 1976 and Chauncey was on the corner of 125th Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia.  He had a stack of paper leaflets, as he is approached by pedestrians he offered a flyer to a man dressed in a black suit.  The man took the flyer and read it, mouthed the words soundlessly.
“Do you believe in god,” asked the man in black.
“Surely I do,” responded Chauncey sternly.
The man continued to look at the flyer; he wore iron rimmed glasses and had shiny black shoes.
“I’m a history professor at the local community college and would like to have you join one of my focus group,” he asked.
The man stood and looked Chauncey in the face awaiting an answer to his inquiry.  Chauncey had not expected such an immediate attention to himself and paused in response noting the man’s patient nature.
“I’m not sure what focus groups do but if you give me the address I’ll check it out,” said Chauncey.
The man pulled a business card from his blazer and handed it to Chauncey as pedestrians ushered pass them on the street.  No one seemed to notice the exchange between the two men and was oblivious of them obstructing the walk way as they chatted.
“Don’t worry you’ll find out when you show,” the man replied.
He placed the flyer Chauncey had been passing to people on the street in his coat and continued on his way.  Chauncey looked down at the flyers he had been passing out for the street team company. He had been working for the company weekends and at afterhours bar locations.  Exhausted he read it. It said, let me tell you why the white man is the devil.  Come hear CL Cayman speak truth to power at White Hall located on Jackie Robinson Avenue.
Chauncey never took notice of the leaflets he passed along to pedestrians and this one had a very inquisitive message.  He wondered about the thoughts of the gentleman in which he had just met, had the message affected him so profoundly?  He took the business card from his pocket looked at the address and contemplated the location.  He had seen the address before on something he read at home and could not recall it do to his momentary failing memory.
The stack of leaflets sat on the sidewalk near a lamp post.  A gust of wind arose that blew some of the top flyers into the street.  The sudden barrage of papers broke his thoughts and he scrambled to grab them as people continued to bustle past.
“Get out the street,” yelled a disgruntled driver.
He blew his horn as he drove past and Chauncey continued to pick up the flyers ignoring the outburst.  Chauncey had hardened his feelings to ridicule and he believed with his ability to project an icy persona could ward off potential personal threats.  He had developed this ability while in grade school and used it throughout his young adult life as he entered his college years.  As a youth he had dealt with bullies and experienced being singled out for jokes among friends in the neighborhood.
He decided he would attend the focus group the following day after his last class on campus and find out more about the strange gentleman that intrigued him on their meet.
***
Claude Donors was a tall wiry light skinned complexioned man with green eyes in his sixties and did social research on religions in historical contexts.  He was an eccentric man with a direct nature.  Chauncey’s curiosity of the gentleman had led him to the campus upon the issued invitation.  Chauncey entered his office at the university and was immediately stopped at the door by Donor’s secretary.
“I’m sorry sir do you have an appointment?”  She inquired.
The young woman was very pretty and Chauncey noticed that she had a curvy figure.  He could see that she was highly educated by the way she addressed him.  She was smartly dressed in a business suit.  She smelled of light perfume and mints.  Her hair was penned up into a bun and she sat positioned at her office desk.  He quickly handed over the business card given him and she looked at the back of the card for a moment.
“Have a seat Dr. Donors will be with you in a minute,” said the young lady.
Chauncey took back the card he had given the girl and looked on the back of it as she did, his curiosity peeked.  Let this man pass, it said written in a very legible hand written signature.  He had not noticed it the entire time he had possession of the card and was surprised at himself for not realizing that fact.
As he sat awaiting Dr. Donors he noticed the office was cozy and decorated with plaques along the light blue colored walls.  The carpet smelled as if it was freshly vacuumed and it being in the late evening not much pedestrian traffic came in or out.  He noticed the young lady pick up the phone a number of times and she talked for just a few minutes on each instance.  He assumed it was Donors and thought if he made the right decision in coming.  Just as the thought popped in his head Donors brushed by him.
“Let’s go young man, we’re late.” He said.
Chauncey was out of his chair and behind Donors as he strode down the hallway taking giant steps to quickly reach his desired location.
“My focus group is designed to record the assumptions, thoughts and impressions of religion on the average working class individual,” he said as they walked.
“By the way what’s your name?” he asked turning to look at Chauncey.
“Chauncey Miller,” Chauncey replied.
“Well Mr. Miller you should find this to be very interesting,” he said as they entered a room with about seven people sitting around a circular table.  Upon introduction by the four males and three females it was noted two were teachers, one was a factory worker, two were students, one was a paramedic and one was a shop keeper.  The questions posed to the group were designed to elicit discussion and all responses were recorded by the professor.
The first question posed was do you believe in god followed up with what do you think about religion.  All the participants believed in god but it was interesting to see their apparent ambiguity in the actual practice of religion.  As the professor guided the group’s discussion a light bulb went off in Chauncey’s head.  He had wondered throughout his life what his purpose was in this world.  He had attended college and taken on various odd jobs to support himself in the city.  He’d bounced around in search of a career interest to no avail.  He was articulate and well regarded for his ability to persuade others.  In observing the professor’s research he saw a need and an opportunity that could possibly be exploited.  He decided from that instance he wanted to know more about the professor and the purpose for his work.
The session ended after about an hour of discussion and all the participants departed leaving Chauncey along with the professor in the room.  As the professor put the finishing touches on the session notes Chauncey broke the silence which permeated the room after the last departed guest.

For More Information:
Risen is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author

Born in Lake City, South Carolina home of the 2nd African American astronaut, killed on the Challenger space mission, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.  I was the grandson of a share cropper whom taught me about hard work and education.  At age 17 I began college at Bethune-Cookman University and graduated Cum Laude with honors.  While in college I was inspired to write when I read the novel, Black Boy by Richard Wright.  I began writing short stories for campus publications and won a $500 dollar publication contest in a local campus circular.  I Entered the Air Force after college and spent two tours of duty in the gulf during the Persian Gulf War.  Upon leaving the Military I went back to school and completed graduate school at the University of Akron in Ohio earning a master of public administration.  I began a career in government as an Intern with the Ohio legislature and later became employed with the Florida Senate as a legislative assistant.   I currently work for the City of Miami as a civil servant in administration.
See website http://www.thomasbarrjr.com/ for more details.
For More Information:

Virtual Book Tour


Book Feature: A Fresh Take on Ergonomics by Betsy Oldenburg

698535BLOG TOUR

Inside the Book:

A Fresh Take on Ergonomics
Title: A Fresh Take On Ergonomics
Author: Betsy Oldenburg
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Personal and Practical Guides
Format: Ebook

“As someone who has suffered for decades with an old whip lash injury, I finally have the tools needed to control the pain and repair the damage. Some of these tools are basic, but were never mentioned by the many doctors I have seen over the years. Betsy Oldenburg, a nationally certified therapeutic massage/bodywork therapist with over 30 years of experience shared those tools and techniques with me when I was referred to Integrative Therapies. Because I had such a positive experience, I arranged a Lunch and Learn (Feel and Look Great Despite your Computer) for my co-workers. We had approximately 30 in attendance ranging in age from 20’s to 60’s. Everyone in the room benefited from Betsy’s expertise and warm, approachable style. Several volunteers were lucky enough to experience hands-on treatment/techniques. I would recommend Betsy’s presentation to any organization that has employees who suffer from neck and back pain. It is amazing how one hour with the right person can both educate and motivate employees toward a healthier work style”.
Jane Milanese
“Betsy Oldenburg’s keen eye and straightforward approach to working with imbalances in my body have been a great help. By incorporating her suggestions for posture corrections and specific stretches, in addition to receiving her bodywork, I have felt more aligned physically and mentally. There’s something about standing straight that clears one’s mind. Betsy has helped me move in that direction”.
Anne Willson

ORDER INFORMATION
A Fresh Take on Ergonomics is available for order at
amazon

Meet the Author:

Betsy Oldenburg is a certified practitioner and tutor of The Trager Approach®, and licensed massage therapist for thirty years. She has worked in chiropractic, orthopedic, and pain clinics. She teaches classes in ergonomics for office workers, and on movement for bone health. Betsy maintains a private practice in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Giveaway

Betsy is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins March 14 and ends on March 25.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 26.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Feature: My Journey in and out of Community by Katherine Zyczynska

Inside the Book:

Title: My Journey In and Out of Community
Author: Katherine Zyczynska
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Religious
Format: Ebook

After Kata’s father dies in a car accident when she is just eleven and a half years old, she continually searches for parental love. She makes bad choice after bad choice and looks for love in all the wrong places. When she’s eighteen years old, her family decides she needs a change.

The idea of moving to California sounds exciting to Kata, but she knows leaving Michigan will be difficult, especially being separated from her mother. Kata understands she must leave the past behind and look forward. In California, she joins a Christian commune where people gather to become closer to God. She stays for thirty-two years.

In My Journey in and out of Community, author Katherine Zyczynska shares a fictionalized account of her personal experiences in a religious community. She narrates how Kata becomes a new person, willing to be led easily by those in authority, which almost ruins her life. But God held her in the palm of his almighty hands as she experienced the highs and lows of her walk with Jesus.

ORDER INFORMATION
A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom is available for order at
amazon

Meet the Author:

Katherine Zyczynska lives in Vista, California, and is a live-in caregiver. She also works as an instructor of cake decorating and is on staff at her church as lead sacristan/kitchen manager. Based on facts from her life, this is her first novel.

Giveaway

Katherine is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins March 14 and ends on March 25.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 26.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Dr. Princess Fumi Hancock, author of Release Your Vision Torch

Inside the Book:

Fumi Book

Title:
Release Your Vision Torch
Author: Dr. Princess Fumi Hancock
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Pages: 346
Publisher: Princess of Suburbia
Genre: Motivational/Inspirational
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Paperback

Release Your Vision Torch will take you on a life journey. The exercises ushers you into a place where you have to be brutally truthful, for restored strength and rejuvenation to occur. Reading Release Your Vision Torch made me get real with myself about my life, relationships, pass failures and aspirations.

This book should be used as a roadmap to renew your passion in life and as a guide to the keys, unlocking your hidden potentials. At the end of this experience, you will not only learn who is in your train or if you have derailed your vision; but also learn who’s on your boat or if you are heading for a shipwreck.

Once you finish the “Step out “development process in the book, you are transformed. It’s like having a makeover for your life or a life hack that will change your spirit.

Release Your Vision Torch cannot be refuted or disproved.

Release Your Vision Torch is

“Undeniable”, “Tangible”, “Honest”, “Irrefutable”, “Concrete”, “Authentic=Real” and “Fire in the Belly.”

~ Maxine Holt Donaldson

Vogue Model, Vice President & Co-Host, Southern Warrior Sister-Tribe

Release YOUR VISION TORCH, a Success Blueprint for Achieving Your Dreams, Igniting Your Vision, & Re-engineering Your Purpose, part of YOUR VISION TORCH series is not a book! It is a system… an innovative program which is geared to help you move from where you are to where you ought to be. Therefore as an innovative system, it will require a lot of you…. It will insist that you be a participant in your own success journey…. It will push you to think, address, and confront issues you would ordinarily sweep under the rug. Release Your Vision Torch will demand you tell the truth, tear the veil, and unmask the hidden parts of you which have literally set you back for years! It will not indulge you but provide tools to help re-engineer your life purpose, rediscover or for some people discover your dream, fuel your vision, and ultimately liberate your inner genius.

Release Your Inner Genius! Unshackle Your True Calling. ~ Dr. Princess Fumi Hancock

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N

Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?
I have always wanted to write ever since I can remember. Release Your Vision Torch™ was written to provide exit strategy and success blueprint for those who are overwhelmed, frustrated, confused and ready to transition from where they are (i.e. discontent, disconnected, or misaligned) to where they ought to be (i.e. aligned) with their life purpose. I provide accounts of my own journey from being broken spiritually, physically, financially, and mentally loosing my 1st marriage, my businesses, my mind, and left with two very young children (ages 2 and 1yr) to now having 4 bestsellers under my belt, a thriving Lifestyle brand, radio show, Hollywood film award and having a book made into a feature film.  It is not a book but an innovative system whose goal is to help discover, ignite, launch, and live your passion fearlessly, without going broke!
Is this your first book?
No, this is my 13th book.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
My parents told me I started writing at the age of 2 when I would lay my hands on anything not nailed down. At first, it was cute to everyone who visited our home in West Africa and guests would laugh as they watch me scribble on the newspaper and share the story I was trying to convey. After finally getting a hold of an important document and scribbled on it, my parents finally decided to wear me off by locking me in a room and placing all the newspapers they could lay their hands on. They in their opinion would bring some sense into my writing journey. Needless to say, it did not work. They now understood my need to write. For over 30 years, I tried to get a traditional publisher to peek at any of my writings but none took interest. So, I decided to start building my own lifestyle brand, The Princess of Suburbia® (www.theprincessofsuburbia.com) which now publishes my books and makes films in conjunction with its principal film company, Cambium Break Pictures. Since then, I have published 15 books, 4 of which became bestsellers!( http://theprincessofsuburbia.com/literary-works)  One of it, Of Sentimental Value, which became a bestseller, too has been made into a feature film scheduled for release in theaters this year, 2016!         ( http://theprincessofsuburbia.com/screenwriter-and-filmmaker). Since it’s production, it has won 5 Hollywood & International film awards. I have won two African Oscars, one for adapting Of Sentimental Value into a Screenplay and just last year, September 15, 2015. I was in Hollywood as the very first recipient of Literary Arts Award. I want someone who has been told it will never happen to get inspired by this imagery (https://youtu.be/ScL2QsoEgDw).
The morale of my journey is to never count yourself out, even when it looks like it will never happen! When the doors keep getting shut, in one direction it may be that there is a major way ahead of you in the opposite direction, one that may not be treaded by many others. Since I branded myself, many more doors have opened. Just few months ago, I signed an historical licensing agreement with an international fashion house. We will be releasing the collection, THE PRINCESS OF SUBURBIA Couture in April 2016 and will be showcasing the collection in Las Vegas this month: (http://theprincessofsuburbia.com/fashion). Not only that, because of all the mistakes and hardship I made through my 30 year journey and many people reaching out to me to mentor them, my company has now launched some mentoring programs which will cater to those, particularly women who are looking to write their own stories, career women who are ready to ditch fear, quit their jobs and earn living in writing and film, stay at home mothers who are not only nursing their children but their vision babies as writers. Bottom-line aspiring writers, filmmakers.
More information can be found here:
(http://theprincessofsuburbia.com/mentoring-programs) and on my daily motivational scopes on Periscope: @PrincessinSub. I have terrific news coming up in March 2016; one, which will change the life of one person whose story needs to be heard globally. So, I urge your readers to keep dialed into my periscope broadcast. What a journey.
What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?
The industry is quite unpredictable. Because you wrote a book and everyone in your circle love it does not mean those who the traditional publishing houses will! Understand that their no does not mean you failed as a writer and it is certainly not a signal to stop but an opportunity to really build your own empire with you in the director’s seat.  Their opinion is just that, theirs and everyone are entitled to one.
If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?
Absolutely nothing. I don’t regret going to self-publishing route. I had a choice to wait beyond 30 years and keep day dreaming about one day writing, or just learn the ropes, build my brand and keep it moving. I choice the latter and it has paid off far more than even traditional publishing would have.
Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?
YOUR VISION TORCH™ series of which Release YOUR VISION TORCH™: A for Blueprint Success is one of was published through Ingram Spark. This was a tasking journey, as they required perfection in publication. The end result was however incredible… The best publication I have ever had. I also want to credit my Book cover artist in Britain, Tim: noveldesignstudio@hotmail.com. He helped to define the book presentation all over my social media and the covers too. A big thank you to Nick Wale (nick@nickwale.org) who is part of the team helping in launching the book, Jay Caple and his team who developed my latest website and are doing more behind the scenes. My wonderful husband, Dr. David Allen Hancock who helped in editing the collection; our children, Bola, Demola, Holly, Marlee who are always my inspiration for wanting to be the best (not perfect) role model for them; and yes my family in particular my parents, Prince & Princess T.A. Ogunleye (Adumori Nigerian Royal Family: http://theprincessofsuburbia.com/bio ) who are constantly nudging me to reach for the stars even at an age, over 50! Yes, I am an authentic African Princess living in Diaspora, which is another story for another time.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Never! Never! Never give up! Do not allow anyone to tell you that you don’t have what it takes. If you are willing to do the work, get organized, reach out and be mentored by those who have worked the path, invest in yourself and in your future, if it means getting someone to mentor, you give yourself and your dream a chance to be ignited. IT ALL STARTS WITH YOU FIRST BELIEVING!

Meet the Author

Fumi Hancock

Did you ever wonder if the story “Coming to America” was true? This is a Cinderella story about an African Princess. Only, this is not a fairy tale but a true story. Fumi grew up in the Western Region of Nigeria, West Africa as an African Princess. Her grandfather, Odundun Ogunleye ruled the people in peace and harmony. As a young princess being groomed to one day take up her responsibility in the royal household, that is, to help her kingdom, Emure Kingdom, she had other dreams of also becoming a prolific and celebrated writer both in the literary world and in the movies. Her dreams to one day write books, design clothes and make name for herself outside of royalty, was the driving force behind her agreeing to her father’s demands to come to America to further her post-graduate studies at the age of 17.

One thing her father did not bank on was that Princess Fumi would later on decide to stay behind in America, fend for herself and live a simple life amongst Americans. Now, almost 30 years; she realizes the importance of her royal blood, the responsibilities and the obligations she must face on a daily basis to help her people in Emure Kingdom. Six years ago, with the advent of the reigning King- His Royal Majesty- Emmanuel Adebayo, she finally discloses her royal status to her American friends and now shuttles between the kingdom and her home in USA to bridge the gap between both worlds. 2010 when the King visited her at her US residence, it marked a pivotal moment as the capital of the Kingdom was named a sister city to Spring Hill, TN, a TN suburb where the princess has also called home for years. This marked a new era for Princess Fumi and the saga continues….

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