Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things Book Blast

We’re thrilled to be hosting Martina McAtee’s CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS Book Blast today!

Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Pages: 450
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.

They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

For More Information

  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.”

She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response.

She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.

Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”

There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed.

He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin.

She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first.

They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too?

She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.

She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own.

“What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?”

He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?”

She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.”

Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.”

He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.

“We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other.”

Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.

She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.

He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.

He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”

He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch, “You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”

She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”

She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.

She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.

But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do?

Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.

“What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.

He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”

“Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.

“Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.

“Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”

He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.

She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”

He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.

“Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”

He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.

“I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”

He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”

He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”

Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.

“Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.

He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”

Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”

“I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.

She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.

“I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.

She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.

She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say.

About the Author

Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she’s reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.

For More Information

Interview with Olivia Hardin, author of All For Family

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

Howdy from Texas!  Thanks so much for having me.  All for the Family is a standalone contemporary romance taking place within my Rawley Family saga.  But this story became much more than I first expected when I explored the ways in which Meg’s body image issues affected her as she struggled through a painful divorce.

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

I’m independently published so for me the first step in promoting was building up the expected release with my existing fan base.  I stoked their excitement with a weeklong cover reveal, shared my musical inspiration for the book and sent out newsletter teasers.  In addition, I made the first Rawley Family Novel free on all ebook retailers in order to help increase that reader base.

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?

When I did it, I actually enjoyed blogging, but I rarely have time for it so I finally let my blog go for the most part.  But I still think bloggers, as in readers who blog, can be an important part of building up a readership.

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?

Facebook is my mainstay.  A recent poll of readers indicates that many of them are still getting their reading recommendations from Facebook.  I have a special group called Team OH that is just for my readers and fans.  Those people get first looks at my covers, my teasers, etc.  I also, from time to time ask their opinions and even write some of them into the stories.  We have a lot of fun, talk about life in general and they also tell everyone they know about me and my books.  I also do some Facebook ads, using book trailers and alluring images to grab people’s attention so they’ll look at my books.

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

Paid newsletter promotion is probably the most effective, with Bookbub being the best option.  It’s hard to get picked for Bookbub, but it definitely drives the sales.  Other paid promo like Robin Reads, Ereaders News Today, Bargain Booksy, Ebook Soda and My Romance Reads have all been good to me as well.

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?

Yes, the Indie Author Power Pack, which includes amazing advice from David Gaughran, Joanna Penn, Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant.  There is such a wealth of information there that you can reread it over and over again to catch new tips and trends.

About The Book

Title: All For Family (A Rawley Family Novel)

Author: Olivia Hardin

Publisher: Olivia Hardin

Publication Date: August 24, 2015

Format: Paperback / eBook / PDF

Pages: 200


Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy The Book:


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Discuss this book at our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Wedding bells will soon be ringing in the Rawley family, but gearing up for Van and Kay’s nuptials revives old securities for Kay’s sister-in-law Meg. When she learns that her ex-husband is asking for her from his hospital bed, Meg must confront the painful memories of her past.

Family is everything for Jeremy Rawley. Most important is the one he and Meg created together. But their beginning was tangled in memories he wishes he wife could forget for good. A call from her past brings them back to a place he thought they’d never have to be again.

Forgiveness may be the key, but the first step is finding the locked heart that needs it.

Book Excerpt:

He watched her slide her feet back and forth against the carpet. “Whew … there’s a reason big girls shouldn’t wear heels.”

Jeremy finished his own drink and sat back down beside her, this time reaching down and taking her feet to pull them up into her lap. She made a face as if she would protest, but when he began circling his thumbs into the arches of her feet, she leaned back against the arm of the couch and moaned. “Oh, that’s nice. Do they teach that at earl school?”

As he massaged, she pointed her feet in a stretch, and her toes brushed a feather’s touch against his thighs. Damn, but the woman could get a reaction from him almost without warning. He continued rubbing, then slipped his fingers between her toes.

“Oh, no, no, no,” she squealed, jerking to try to pull away from him. “Ticklish.”

“I figured…” One corner of his mouth turned up in a grin. He tugged her feet back to his lap, and when he did, the skirt of her dress hitched up almost past her knees. She immediately took hold of the hem and tried to push it back down.

He encircled both her ankles with his hands and then slid them upward along her calves, kneading the muscles of each leg as he went along.

“Jeremy, you don’t have to …”

“Shh …”

Her eyes were open wide, so many emotions in their depths that it was hard to figure what she was feeling. Fear? Embarrassment? Excitement? He pushed one of her legs to the side until it slipped off the couch, then he scooted forward into the open space between her thighs. With one ankle still in his hand, he lifted it so that he could sweep his lips across the creamy smooth skin of her calf, working his way upward.

She was still holding her dress, doing her best to cover up, but the hypnosis of his stare had her. She never once looked away from him as he made his way higher. When he nipped his teeth to the tender spot at the crook of her knee she flinched, then sucked her lip into her mouth.

He was so desperate to kiss her that he almost rose up to smother her body with his and claim her mouth. But he didn’t. Instead he let go of her leg and then took her hands, loosening the tight hold she had on her hemline. The satiny material dropped, sliding down her thighs to bunch at her waist. Under she had on tight nude-colored shapewear, which she was clearly embarrassed about.

Gazing up at her, he brought one of her hands to his cheek. Her fingers stretched long, tentatively touching his lips. When he sucked two of them into his mouth, she moaned and closed her eyes.

“Jeremy, why are you doing this?” She snatched her hands away and to her lap where she once again tried to hide herself under folds of orange fabric.

“I want there to be a day when you won’t ask that question. Maybe it won’t be with me, but one day, you won’t have to wonder why a man would worship you and your body.”

About The Author

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again.

Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,” and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic.

A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.

Connect with Olivia:

Author Website:




Virtual Book Tour Event Page

Interview with Paulita Kincer, author of Trail Mix

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

My novel Trail Mix is about two women who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail as the ultimate diet plan, at least, that’s what they say. They don’t mention the needy teenagers who are home from college or their disgruntled husbands who they are happy to escape from for the summer as they attempt the 2,168-mile hike. Since neither woman has much experience hiking or camping, the endeavor provides plenty of novel experiences as the two learn about themselves, each other, and the families they left behind while they struggle to survive the trail.

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

My first stop when I have exciting publishing news is Facebook. I have an author page there and a burgeoning group of friends and fans who support me. I also have a lot of support from readers and writers on my blog.

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?

Sometimes I’ll “boost” a post on Facebook, which means I’ll pay to have it appear as a “sponsored” post on people’s newsfeeds. Some people find that annoying. I get to pick the audience by listing things that I hope will attract readers to the book, like people who enjoy reading or hiking or the Appalachian Trail, in particular.

Offering a free copy of my novel on Goodreads can convince people to add it to their “want-to-read” list, but I don’t see the sales growing too much with the giveaway. It does increase awareness of the book.

I haven’t seen tweeting increase my book sales, and I’m not active enough on Pinterest to see if that works well.

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

With Trail Mix, I had a launch party. To me, a launch party should have been a celebration, but my friends convinced me that I should have copies of my book for sale, as well. I did sell a lot of books to both friends and strangers. If I had it to do over again, I’d put someone else in charge of selling the books so I could relax and enjoy socializing with everyone.

I’m still judging the effectiveness of paying to join a virtual book tour. Once an author pays for this, the organizer arranges book reviews and guest posts that will appear on various blogs, which should increase attention for the novel, and hopefully increase sales too. A lot of times, too much repetitive information appears on the blogs, so I fear that readers might not pay attention to the actual words about the book or the author.

Another promotional tool that increases sales is offering a reduced price on Amazon. Sales go up while the book price is reduced, and they continue to stay high after the book has returned to regular price. If sales jump up because of a reduced price, that pushes the novel up in Amazon’s top 25 or top 100 sub-categories, which helps more people to see it and become interested in buying it.

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?

Creating a blog that draws readers who are book bloggers has been the best marketing tool for my novels. Authors and publishers always encourage writers to build a platform, but that seems so far away. As we write and pitch books, months and years pass, and we could have begun to build our platforms. Once I have readers posting reviews, I can then share those reviews on my blog, as well as on other forms of social media, like Goodreads, Amazon or Facebook. All of this free marketing helps to increase my sales.

About The Book

TitleTrail Mix

Author: Paulita Kincer

Publisher: Oblique Presse

Publication Date: August 30, 2014

Format: Paperback / eBook (.mobi format for Kindle)

Pages: 220

ISBN: 978-1312462502

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Travel / Adventure

Buy The Book:


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Book Trailer:

Book Description:

In the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, comes a novel of two suburban women who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail, escaping their lives as moms and wives in search of nature, adventure, and the ultimate diet plan.

How does a woman know what she wants after spending 20 years thinking about her husband and children? Sometimes it takes a distraction from everyday life, time to examine the forest before the trees become clear. With no previous camping experience, Andi and Jess begin the 2100-mile odyssey from Georgia to Maine. The friends figure life on the trail can’t possibly be worse than dealing with disgruntled husbands, sullen teens home from college, and a general malaise that has crept up in their daily lives. At the very least, the women are bound to return home thin.

Book Excerpt:


Raindrops trickled down Jess’ nose. Her sodden boots plodded along, squooshing the mud with each step.

“Why did I do this?” She threw her head back, her face raised in lament to the sky. The hood of her rain poncho slipped off. The empty forest around her offered no answer, just a steady rain. Then, far above the treetops, she glimpsed a bolt of lightning streaking toward a nearby mountain and heard an answering boom of thunder. She cringed and scuttled faster down the trail.

For nearly two hours, since the wind first whispered its urgency through the leaves, and the raindrops began to fall, Jess had been hiking through the thunderstorm with no place to stop and dry off. No place to get warm. No offer of coffee or a dryer where she could heat up her clingy socks. She walked alone on the Appalachian Trail.

Like being in the middle of labor and deciding she didn’t want to give birth after all, Jess could not turn back. Well, she could turn back, but she would find only more of the same — woods and rain and an endless trail.

This adventure was all Andi’s idea. As Jess trudged through the forest in the unrelenting rain, she blamed her best friend and hiking companion, Andi, who had pushed the hike as a great way to lose weight. And, when Jess’ teenagers took off for the summer leaving a big gap where the role of mother used to be, she thought a hike with Andi might fill that space. Andi, who, with her long legs, strode ahead, maybe miles away by now, claiming she had to hurry to the nearest shelter to keep the tent dry. Andi had tucked Jess’ poncho around her pack before presenting her back for Jess to return the favor.

“See you at the shelter,” Andi had called. “Only about three miles farther.”

In the city, a three-mile walk might take 45 minutes, an hour if she stopped to window shop. Here, in the mountains, it could last days as she climbed up peaks and descended into valleys. Oh, who was she kidding? She would never walk three miles in the city. She would get in her car and drive.

The thunder crashed louder, and Jess eyed the spiky greenery of a large fir tree. She could take cover under the tree, be a little bit sheltered. Even as she considered taking refuge, she stumbled past the tree, walking, walking.

Tears joined the rain on her face. She felt trapped. No exit ramps in sight. She could only continue to walk.

The wind ripped at her poncho as she climbed slippery stones that had been placed to form stairs. At the top, the wind gusts grew stronger and tried to push her back down. She hurried on along the ridge. Her walking poles dug into the mud that edged the rocks along the path.

On this crest, she stood exposed to the wind and rain and lightning. Rhododendron bushes lined the trail below, but the only plant that dared to peek through the crevices on this crag was a lone sycamore tree. If Jess could escape this bare slope, the trees ahead would provide an arching umbrella across the trail. As she started to descend with the trail, her boot slid across a slick stone, and she toppled backward in slow motion. She wheeled her arms, trying to right herself, but could not stop the plunge until her backpack hit the ground, and she landed – thump – on top of it.

This was supposed to be a diet plan, not a death sentence, she thought, lying on her back like a turtle on its shell, her arms and legs sprawled helplessly at her side. I may drown. The downpour pummeled her full in the face, but she lacked the energy to sit up, free herself from the 30-pound pack, heft it onto her back, and start the hike again.

As the rain doused her face, she slipped one arm from her pack and turned onto her side, away from the sky. For just a moment, she allowed herself to rest, curled into the fetal position beside her pack. A tingle began in her spine, and, in the moment she pondered why—everything went black.

About The Author

Paulita Kincer is the author of three novels, The Summer of FranceI See London I See France, and Trail Mix. She has an M.A. in journalism from American University and has written for The Baltimore Sun, The St. Petersburg Times, The Tampa Tribune, and The Columbus Dispatch. She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three children.

Connect with Paulita:

Author Website:

Author Blog:




Virtual Book Tour Event Page

Interview with Larry Laswell, author of Vows To The Fallen

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

Vows to the Fallen follows a young naval officer stationed in the Pacific during World War II. In a way, it was inspired by Tom Hanks’s character in Saving Private Ryan, who grapples with the responsibilities of command, especially having to make decisions that cost men their lives.

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

I am self-published, so the onus of promoting my book is on me. My central strategy has three parts. First, I’ve made Vows to the Fallen available for prerelease sale at one-third of the regular price. Second, I am running a contest to award the first three readers who can identify the poems one of my characters spouts off at all the wrong times in the novel. Third, I am promoting the prerelease reduced price and the contest with Twitter and blog tour campaigns. The jury is still out on that strategy, so stay tuned.

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 have a blog, and I try to blog in one form or another three to four times a month. Blogging does several things for me. First, it’s an outlet for me when I have an urge to write something different; it’s brain candy. Second, blogging brings a high number of visitors to my site. However, as yet, I can’t see any connection between the traffic and sales.

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 started out with both Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t seem to gain any traction with Facebook, but I saw a slight sales uptick from Twitter. I dropped Facebook and I am investing heavily in Twitter, trying to find the ways to break the code. I find tweets that ask intriguing questions to be the most effective.

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

Blogging, Twitter, my website, and this blog tour make up my total marking program.

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?

Some days I feel the most effective marketing tool is my rabbit’s foot. There are thousands of great novels with four- and five-star reviews waiting to be found. As of yet, no one has found the magic formula that can guarantee a well-written novel will take off. I have personally spoken with several successful authors, and they all say it begins with luck. If there is a trick to it, it’s being persistent and having a social platform ready to go when the fates bless you with good luck. It will happen sooner or later.

About The Book
Vows To The Fallen

Title: Vows to the Fallen

Author: Larry Laswell

Publisher: Marshell Publishing

Publication Date: August 14, 2015

Format: Paperback – 277 pages / eBook  / PDF

ISBN: 978-0986385322

Genre: Historical Fiction / Military / Sea Story
Buy The Book:

Book Description:

Vows to the Fallen
An Officer’s Journey Through Guilt and Grief
Another techno-thriller from the author of The Marathon Watch

August 9, 1942, 01:42 hours
USS Green on patrol off Red Beach, Guadalcanal
Bridge Officer: Lieutenant Patrick O’Toole
Lieutenant O’Toole’s goal is simple: someday he wants to become an admiral. But in a few moments, his life will change . . . forever. Yesterday, the marines stormed the beaches of Guadalcanal. Today, the Japanese Navy will strike back. The sudden and horrific carnage scars O’Toole for life and throws him into the abyss of survivor’s guilt and posttraumatic stress.
The Pacific War does not wait for O’Toole to heal. Duty calls, each new assignment brings more responsibility, and the roll call of the fallen grows. At the Battle of Mujatto Gulf, O’Toole faces a superior battle-hardened Japanese fleet and discovers the strength within him to climb from the abyss and find his true life’s mission. To the fallen, he vows never to abandon that mission no matter how high the cost.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

August 8, 1942, 2346 Hours

USS Green; 45 nautical miles northwest of Red Beach, Guadalcanal

Lieutenant Patrick O’Toole considered himself a career naval officer, and someday he hoped to be promoted to admiral. At Annapolis, his teachers had taught him the horrors of war, but he had never experienced combat. That was about to change and it would change him forever.

The steel ladder rattled as he clambered to the wheelhouse deck to assume the midwatch. On the wheelhouse deck, the port fifty-caliber gunner slouched with his back to the sea and chatted with the lookout on the flying bridge one level above. The helmsman faced the starboard bridge wing and had but one hand on the wheel. Dim red lights above the chart table and the polished brass compass binnacle added little illumination to the wheelhouse, and the men, gray smudges in the dark, seemed unconcerned. O’Toole’s concern bordered on anger, but he remained silent.

Find out what’s going on then fix it.

A man on the flying bridge lit a cigarette. This was way out of bounds. “Snuff your butt. The enemy can see that for miles,” O’Toole said, hoping his voice had a bark to it.

O’Toole had seen this before. Captain Levitte ran a relaxed ship, but this wasn’t peacetime. They were at war in enemy waters. O’Toole read the message dispatches, the captain’s night orders, and the chart. None of it good news, especially the report of a Japanese battlegroup headed south.

He located Lieutenant Karl, the officer of the deck on the port bridge wing. Karl’s life jacket vest was open, revealing a sweat-soaked khaki shirt, and sweat beaded on his brow.

Karl slouched on the bridge railing as O’Toole approached “What’s your status?” O’Toole asked.
Karl rubbed his day-old stubble. “At Condition III. Fire in all four boilers. Superheat lit, and the plant is cross-connected. Starboard steering motor, port steering engine” Karl droned as he went through the standard litany of the watch change. “On course zero-seven-zero at ten knots. Straight line patrol between points Able and Baker on the chart as per the captain. You have about ten minutes before you turn around and head back to point Baker. Received a report of Japanese ships headed south five hours ago. Told the captain, and he said Intel couldn’t tell the difference between a cruiser and a sampan. Besides, nothing will happen before dawn. Aircraft overhead, told the captain, he says they’re from our carriers. That, and the captain said to cut the crew some slack; they’re tired. I just ordered the cooks to make a fresh batch of coffee; you’re gonna need it. That’s about it.”

“Why aren’t we zigzagging?”

“Captain’s orders. Straight line patrol between points Able and Baker is what he wanted.”

“With an enemy force headed south we should be at Condition II at least.”

“I don’t know about that, but the captain wants to give the crew some rest.”

“Do we have star shells loaded or at the ready?”


“Which gun mounts are manned?”

“Mounts 51 and 55.”

“Only two?”

“Yes, and before you ask, one-third of the anti-aircraft batteries are manned, and I told those gun crews they could sleep at their stations.”

“Are the crews in Mounts 51 and 55 asleep?”


Out of professional courtesy, O’Toole didn’t challenge Karl, even though he would have been justified in refusing to relieve Karl of the watch until Karl corrected the battle readiness of the ship.

O’Toole saluted Lieutenant Karl and said, “I relieve you, sir.”

Karl nodded. “This is Mister Karl, Mister O’Toole has the deck and the conn,” Karl said to the bridge crew.

“This is Mister O’Toole, I have the deck and the conn,” O’Toole replied.

Karl handed O’Toole his life jacket, helmet, and gun belt and walked to the small chart table in the forward port section of the wheelhouse to complete his log entries. O’Toole brushed back his flaming red hair and put on the helmet, life jacket, and gun making sure all straps were cinched tight.

“Boats, over here,” O’Toole said to the boatswain mate of the watch as he headed to the starboard bridge wing. It was a lazy night: clear sky, high overhead clouds, calm sea, a slight breeze, and the ship plodding forward at ten knots. A night like this could dull the senses of the best of men. He couldn’t let that happen.

“Boats, square your watch away. We are in enemy waters, and there are reports of a column of Jap cruisers headed our way. I want everyone on their toes.”

“Aye, aye, sir.”

“Messenger, over here,” O’Toole said, beckoning the watch messenger.

“Go below and wake up the chiefs and tell them there are enemy ships in the area. I want them to make sure their watches are alert and ready. Tell the gunnery chief I want him on the bridge.”

“Yes, sir,” the messenger said and headed for the ladder.

A few minutes later, the gunnery chief appeared barefooted and in a white T-shirt. “Yes, sir, you wanted to see me?”

“Jap ships are headed our way. Check your gun crews; I want them alert with their eyes to the sea. Bring six star shells to the ready with one round in the mount. If we come under fire, I want Mount 51 to fire three star shells in a 180-degree spread without orders from the bridge.”

“What’s up, sir?”

“Not sure, chief, except we are in dangerous waters and the crew is asleep.”

“Will do, sir. Should I stay with the gun crews?”

“Wouldn’t be a bad idea, chief. Do what you think is best, but be aware things might get worse at dawn.”

“Yes, sir.” The chief trotted to the ladder and disappeared.

Lieutenant Karl finished his log entries and left the bridge. O’Toole stood next to the quartermaster at the chart table in the forward port section of the wheelhouse. He retrieved the sighting report. Five Japanese cruisers and four destroyers headed south at thirty knots. O’Toole plotted the ten-hour-old sighting location on the chart and walked the dividers across the chart to estimate the current location of Japanese forces. They would have passed the Green an hour ago and would now be on top of the northern defense line around Red Beach.

The receding drone of an aircraft off the port bow caught his ear. They were too far from the Japanese airbase at Rabaul for them to have planes this far south at night. It didn’t make sense: he didn’t think the carrier aircraft could operate at night, but spotter planes from a cruiser could.

Nothing had happened. Maybe the Japanese column had slowed or diverted. Naval doctrine taught officers to avoid night attacks since it complicated the battle, and everyone knew you couldn’t shoot at an enemy hiding in the darkness. Still, everything added up to a night counterattack against the Guadalcanal invasion force.

“Get the captain up here on the double. I’ll be on the flying bridge,” O’Toole said the watch messenger.

He felt better on the flying bridge where he had an unobstructed view of the sea and sky. He swept the horizon with his binoculars: nothing but a black night.

The crew was exhausted from the invasion of Guadalcanal the prior morning. The shirtless bodies of a hundred sleeping men escaping the oppressive heat and humidity of their berthing spaces lay on the dark main deck. Not regular navy, O’Toole thought, but he couldn’t object because the crew needed the sleep.

“What’s up, Pat?” Captain Levitte asked as soon as his head popped above the flying bridge deck level.

“I think we have trouble, Captain. The Japanese column sighted in the intelligence report should be on top of the northern defense line right about now. We should be at general quarters or at least Condition II and be zigzagging. There could be subs in the area.”

Levitte rubbed the back of his neck, then put his hands in his pockets, and walked in a tight circle with his eyes on the deck. “Look, the Japs aren’t that smart, and you should know not even the Japs are dumb enough to attack at night. Nothing will happen until the sun comes up. In the meantime, cut the crew some slack; they’re tired and need their sleep.”

“I’m sorry, Captain, but that doesn’t make sense. The sighting said the Japs were at thirty knots. They wouldn’t do that and then slow down to wait for the sun to come up.”

“No matter what happens we’ll kick their ass,” Levitte began. “We kicked their ass in the Coral Sea and Midway. Now we’re kicking their ass off Guadalcanal. The marines ran the Jap garrison into the jungle before lunch. They can’t stand up to us no matter what, so there’s no reason to get worked up about it.”

“To be safe, let me take the ship to Condition II and zigzag. It won’t hurt anything.”

“No, lieutenant. My night orders said to cut the crew some slack, and there is no need to waste fuel zigzagging. You read my night orders, didn’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Follow them, and let me get some sleep.”

The shirtless lookout stiffened. “Sir, light flashes, port beam.”

Both men turned. Staccato bursts of light above the southern horizon illuminated the sky.

Another voice called out, “Flares off the port beam.”

The night erupted. White-golden flashes close to port blinded O’Toole. Captain Levitte’s chest exploded into a mist of blood. Shells exploded against the mast, and men dove to the deck.

On his stomach, O’Toole fought his life jacket as he rolled to the starboard edge of the deck. Crawling under the railing, he let himself over the side. He was about to let himself drop the last three feet when a jolt catapulted him to the deck below. His head hit the deck, and despite his cinched helmet, the blow stunned him to the precipice of unconsciousness. O’Toole fought to bring himself back to the present as he wobbled to a crouched position.

Concussions from explosions aft the wheelhouse punched at his chest and abdomen. He had to go through the wheelhouse to the port side to see the enemy ship. In the wheelhouse, only the quartermaster was up, crouching in the corner by the chart table. Sparks and flashes of incoming fire covered the aft bulkhead and enveloped the wheelhouse in smoke, shrapnel, and debris. Broken, screaming bodies littered the deck.

He fought his way through the wheelhouse across shattered glass that slid like ice across the blood-drenched deck. The Green’s guns hadn’t returned fire.

He turned to find the phone talker. A flash memory of the phone talker’s body falling next to the captain made him stop. The phone talker was dead along with most of the bridge crew. He was alone; he had no bridge crew, and there was no one left to command. To anyone who could hear, he yelled, “Tell the gun crews to return fire.”

On the port bridge wing, he peered over the railing. A thousand yards away, two searchlights blinded him, and a torrent of tracer fire arched toward the Green. Muzzle flashes from the enemy ship’s heavy guns ripped at the darkness, and spasmodic explosions on the Green followed each flash.

On his stomach looking aft, he tried to understand the hell erupting around him. Black smoke spewed from golden fires, and smoke boiled across the fantail near the depth charge racks. Antiaircraft rounds raked the Green’s main deck, tearing men apart; the lucky ones leapt overboard.

In the forward boiler room, the port bulkhead ruptured three feet below the waterline in a flash of light, wrenching the keel. Shrapnel pierced the two Babcock & Wilcox boilers, which exploded upward, shredding the main deck overhead. A half-second later, a second explosion severed the keel, and a third tore the shattered hull of the Green in two.

Sheets of water vaulted into the air, and the explosions pushed the Green hard to starboard and lifted it upward in a death spasm.

Torpedoes. The word lingered in O’Toole’s mind until he understood, then it vanished. He pulled himself to his feet. Ruptured boilers roared beneath clouds of steam.

The Green hinged aft the deckhouse. The stern rose and began its slide beneath the surface. When the cool seawater reached the aft boilers they blew a ten-foot mound of white water to the surface. The mound collapsed into a steam haze low above the water. As the first wisps of steam dissipated, they dragged O’Toole from his stupor.

The gunfire stopped. The searchlights were gone. Screams, moans, and the sound of rushing water welled up to fill the silence. He strained his eyes for an enemy invisible in the night. They had vanished. The battle was over.

There was no time for thinking or words; the conclusions flashed through his mind fully formed.

When the armed depth charges on the sinking fantail detonated, anyone in the water would suffer intestinal hemorrhaging and a slow, excruciating death.

To the men below he yelled, “Stay with the ship! Don’t go in the water; depth charges! Get everyone in the water back aboard!”

O’Toole took inventory. The forward part of the ship, though sinking, seemed stable. The wheelhouse was a confusing mass of shadows cut against golden fires, and the smell of blood and noxious nitrate gasses filled his head.

He entered the wheelhouse and stumbled. His knee landed on something soft. He looked down at the chest of a headless body. O’Toole’s stomach wrenched.

A figure appeared. “Sir, we took three torpedoes. No water pressure to fight the fires, no power, and we are flooding forward.”

One by one the sinking depth charges designed to sink submarines began to detonate, sending tremors from each concussive blow through the ship. When the explosions stopped, O’Toole took a deep breath, and the acid-laced air burned his lungs. “Get below. Pass the word to abandon ship.”

O’Toole turned his attention to the main deck, and released the one remaining life raft stored just below the bridge railing. Not waiting for orders, shirtless survivors leapt overboard. It seemed to take hours, but soon the decks were empty and the survivors were off the ship. With nothing left to do, he wondered if radio managed to send a message. He doubted it. He turned to the quartermaster and said, “Let’s go.”

The quartermaster collected the ship’s logs and joined O’Toole.

As he prepared to jump the last ten feet into the ocean, the quartermaster yelled, “Stop! Your helmet, sir.”

O’Toole had forgotten he was wearing it. Going overboard with a cinched helmet would break your neck. He tore it off, and they jumped together.

There was no past and no future, only the immediate need to survive. O’Toole swam from the sinking bow section, demanding his muscles move faster before her sinking hulk sucked him under. His muscles grew tired from the frenzied effort until a voice yelled, “She’s going down.”

He stopped and turned to what remained of the Green. Out of breath, he bobbed in the one-foot swells and coughed to clear the salt water from his lungs. The Green’s prow swung skyward while the hulk of the remaining bow section backed into the depths. The sea extinguished the fires as she slid under.

She died a silent death. After the tip of the bow disappeared, his eyes lost focus and he stared at the empty sea for several seconds, unable to grasp the meaning of this moment.

He linked up with a small group of survivors, and they linked up with other groups. They located two floater nets, lashed them together, and placed the injured in them. They found several of the watertight powder canisters used to protect the five-inch brass powder casings while in the magazines. The crew used empty canisters to stow stable dry food and water with the floater nets. He ordered several men to attract scattered survivors by yelling into the night.

At first, groups of four would swim toward them. Now an occasional lone survivor would show up. O’Toole gathered the surviving officers and chief petty officers. The group of seven rolled with the lazy sea, clutching the floater net to stay together. Three wore life jackets; the other four relied on the floater net.

“Someone said there is another group with a floater net south of us.” Pointing to Ensigns Carter and Fitch, O’Toole said, “Swim to the south floater net, if there is one, take a count, and tell them to swim their way to us and lash-in. While you’re at it, round up volunteers to scavenge for debris we can use. The men should also collect all the powder canisters and bring them here.”

Turning to Chief Brandon, he said, “Make sure the injured are wearing life jackets, and get those with serious wounds in the floater nets.” Brandon swam off.

To Ensigns Parker and Adbury, he said, “You two make the rounds and get a head count of the healthy, injured, and critically wounded. After you report back, take charge of the injured. Collect the morphine ampules from the crew.” O’Toole reached into his trouser pocket and handed over two morphine ampules. “Bring the wounded together, especially those with bleeding wounds. Get them in the floater nets and get the bleeding stopped; the sharks will show up soon enough.”

To Chief Zies, O’Toole said, “Chief, make the rounds, talk to everyone, and make sure their heads are on straight. Find anyone who might lose it and buddy them up with someone. We don’t want panic or men going nuts.”

Chief Zies swam off, and O’Toole reached underwater to remove his shoes. He tied the laces together and draped them over his neck.

Chief Zies made his rounds and returned to O’Toole’s position.

“You get a head count yet?” O’Toole asked.

“My count is fifty-seven, including you.”

“Just fifty-seven?”

“Lieutenant, the aft two-thirds of the ship sank like a rock. From the time the Japs attacked to the time the stern sank wasn’t more than a minute. I’m surprised we have this many left.”

O’Toole’s chest went hollow, and his mind went blank. Visions of shattered bodies and blood-soaked decks, the sound of dying men flashed through his mind. His gut radiated the hollowness of failure.

The dark corners of his mind whispered, “You’ll never be the same.”

“Three-fourths of the crew is missing,” O’Toole said.

“There has to be more out there,” Zies said.

“Yeah, there has to more out there,” O’Toole said.

As the deck officer, he was responsible for the safety of the ship and crew.

He had scanned the horizon, and he had jacked up the lookouts and the bridge crew. It hadn’t been enough. Either way it was his responsibility. It takes three minutes to get a torpedo firing solution, and one zigzag might have destroyed their firing solution and saved the ship. He hadn’t seen his options; the wall had blocked him again. His grandfather’s words stabbed at him.

You’re not adequate.

It was the story of his life; he always fell short of adequacy. There was always one more thing he might have done, but he could never see it until it was too late. The wall was always there to stop him and hide the solution. His wall had damned him to failure again. The wall was always there blocking his way a single step short of success.

Ensign Parker swam over to him. “Got the head count. Fifty-seven men. Twenty-one wounded. Six critical. That includes the south floater net we got lashed-in.”

“We’ll wait till dawn to find the others,” Zies said. “What the heck happened, sir?”

“Wish I knew,” O’Toole began. “A column of Jap ships were headed to Guadalcanal to counterattack. I suspect they left a destroyer behind to ambush us once the fight off Guadalcanal started.”

“That means they spotted us, but how did that happen without us seeing them?” Zies asked.

“That part is easy. We weren’t looking, but I still can’t figure out how we missed them once we did start looking. I should have zigzagged despite the captain’s orders.”

Zies looked at O’Toole for a long minute. “You’re not blaming yourself for this, are you?”

O’Toole didn’t answer.

“Are you?”

The question tore at O’Toole, but he had to look forward, and swore the wall would not stop him. “For now, we’re not losing any more men, Chief. Keep the men together. They’ll start looking for survivors tomorrow; they’ll find us.” O’Toole said.

Voices shouted. Zies turned. A searchlight from an approaching ship probed the surrounding sea. When it reached the far end of the floater nets, gunfire erupted. Spikes of water shot up around the Green’s survivors.

Both O’Toole and Zies screamed, “Everyone down!”

O’Toole shed his life jacket, took a deep breath, and dove. He figured five feet would be enough. He pivoted his feet beneath him and tried to maintain his depth. When the burning in his lungs became unbearable, he kicked hard to reach the surface. When his head cleared the water, he sucked in a chest of air, preparing to dive again, but the gunfire stopped.

The searchlight now centered itself on his small group, and a Japanese heavy cruiser loomed over them. With his hand, he blocked the searchlight so he could see the bridge. He studied the bridge and a man with a patch over his left eye. By his position on the bridge wing, his carriage, and the separation between him and the other officers, O’Toole guessed he was the captain.

They locked eyes. Neither man flinched. After several seconds, the Japanese captain walked away. The cruiser picked up speed and disappeared into the night.

Zies asked O’Toole, “What was going on between you and the guy with the eye patch?”

“I wanted the bastard to know we weren’t defeated,” O’Toole began. “The Japs won this battle not with equipment but with smarter officers and sharper training. How they pulled it off was brilliant: at night, torpedoes first, guns second, no star shells. They mauled us with their guns, but knew that wouldn’t sink us. Once the Jap ship saw the torpedoes hit, there was no need to continue a gun battle and endanger their ship; they knew they had sunk us, so they vanished into the night.”

O’Toole shook his head; he would have to figure out what happened later; he put it out of his mind.

“Okay, Chief, have the men with life jackets chain up. Make sure they lash in each chain to a floater net. As you make the rounds, make sure everyone is secure for the night. By God, we’re not losing any more men.”

“Aye, sir.” Zies swam away, yelling, “Everyone chain up and lash in!”

Men formed spiral chains. One man would loop his arm through the hole below the high collar of the next man’s life jacket, burying the arm to the shoulder. The chains provided security, extra buoyancy, and a way to sleep without drifting away.

About The Author

Larry Laswell

Larry Laswell served in the US Navy for eight years. In navy parlance, he was a mustang, someone who rose from the enlisted ranks to receive an officer’s commission. While enlisted, he was assigned to the USS John Marshall SSBN-611 (Gold Crew). After earning his commission, he served as main engines officer aboard the USS Intrepid CV-11. His last assignment was as a submarine warfare officer aboard the USS William M. Wood DD-715 while she was home ported in Elefsis, Greece.
In addition to writing, Larry, a retired CEO fills his spare time with woodworking and furniture design. He continues to work on The Marathon Watch series, an upcoming science fiction series titled The Ethosians, and an anthology of over eighty humorous sea stories titled A Ship-load of Sea Stories & 1 Fairy Tale.

You can visit Larry Laswell’s website at
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Poetry Contest

Win a dinner for two, a night on the town, or whatever you want to do with $250!

Enter Larry Laswell’s Vows to the Fallen Poetry Contest!

Pre-release sales of Vows to the Fallen will begin on July 1, 2015 for release on August 14th. One of the characters in the book has a habit of reciting excerpts from classic poems. If you are the first to correctly name all of the poems you win! $150 for second place and $100 for third place.

Here are the rules:

1. Order Vows to the Fallen in Amazon’s Kindle store.

2. At midnight (EST) download Vows to the Fallen and read it to find the poetry excerpts.

3. Leave a review on Amazon (How you rate the book has no bearing on your eligibility to win.)

3. Go to and click on “Contest.” In the form tell Larry under what name you left the review, and then list the poems by name and author. (Watch your spelling – it must be exact!)
4. The first correct entrant who left a review wins a dinner for two, a night on the town, or whatever they want to do with $250!

5. If Larry cannot identify the entrant’s review they will be disqualified (don’t use an anonymous name!)

6. If Larry receives more than one entry at the same time stamp, Larry will hold a drawing to determine the winners.

7. Any organization, or individual who received an advance review copy, their employees or family are ineligible.

8. Larry is the contest judge, and his judgement is final.

9. Larry is not responsible for delivery delays in the Amazon Kindle system.

10. Larry will post the winners on his website at 8AM EST on September 1, 2015.

Pre-order Vows to the Fallen today!

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Interview with Daniel R. Mathews, author of The Demons of Plainville

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

The Demons of Plainville is a candid memoir of my childhood journey through a nightmarish labyrinth of emotional and physical abuse, homophobia and bullying. It’s a journey in which I’m forced to confront the demons of rage, regret, sorrow, self-doubt and loneliness to discover my true identity and stand up for myself. It’s a memoir that delves into living with mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism and how I was able to maintain a slender hold on my own sanity. And in some sense, The Demons of Plainville is very much a story about the power of friendship and adult mentors in the life of a troubled child who is running out of hope.

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

Since The Demons of Plainville is self-published, the marketing began before the final round of editing was completed. The first task was to have a professional copywriter craft some marketing copy in advance for the book’s back matter and description. I felt this would be instrumental in pitching the book to readers and libraries.

After that, what happened?

After the marketing copy was complete, I sent out Advanced Reader Copies to The Midwest Book Review and Reader’s Favorite to obtain some pre-release reviews that could accompany the professionally written marketing copy. I felt that obtaining some legitimate reviews to accompany the release would lend more weight and credibility to my marketing efforts once the book had officially launched.

What’s your opinion on blogging?

I think that blogging is a two-edged sword, but one that no author should ignore. I see every blog post as an opportunity to hone my craft, display my skills and try to forge a bond with my readers. So, in my mind, blogging is far more than just another marketing effort. As an author who blogs, you’re making a concerted effort to directly engage both fans and prospective readers. While blogging can be a time sink, it’s not something I think an author can afford to ignore.

Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?

Right now I don’t see my Wordpress blog as making any difference in sales. However, I only just launched the book and have no preexisting readership. As a first-time author, my blog serves as a platform to try to organically grow and identify with that readership over the long term. I’m fairly confident that no author sees immediate results from blogging unless they’ve already secured a substantial base of fans. Instead, I take blogging as a long term strategy to build an enduring platform.

If you blog, do you blog often?

I’m doing something a little different. I’m trying to script a Podcast once or twice a month, then use some of the content from that podcast to serve as stand-alone blog posts. This helps increase the efficiency of my time spent on the website and social media platforms. That being said, I want to ensure there are at least a few new posts appearing on my website monthly, to give a reason for people to return to my blog on a regular basis. Whether you’re dealing with a blog or social media, I believe that consistency is important.

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 am currently leveraging Twitter, Facebook and a new author-centric service called Bublish to reach out to perspective readers and build a marketing platform. I’ve received little attention with Facebook, but Twitter is at least garnering some mentions and attention. However, using Bublish in tandem with Twitter is resulting in a nearly 3% click-through-rate to my Bublish profile and a 1.1% conversion to my Amazon and Barnes & Noble buy pages. While those figures are not spectacular, I anticipate these conversion rates to improve as my library of available work and Twitter presence grows.

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

Right now I’m on a blog tour, which I believe is my most cost effective option to evangelize my brand as an author, and to gain potential readers for my work. In terms of organic Search Engine Optimization, I don’t think you’ll find a more legitimate, efficient means to build links to your own author website and social media platform. Best of all, you’re given the opportunity to display your skills to prospective readers, bloggers, and the media that might otherwise never run across your work. I don’t believe blog tours necessarily translate into immediate sales, but rather these tours gradually increase your influence and reach as an author over time and that is what leads to more sales.

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?

In terms of cost per conversion, right now Bublish is yielding the most tangible results for me. Bublish costs $7.95 per month, and in the past 30 days yielded 12 conversions which translates to $0.66 per lead. Unfortunately, I can’t be entirely sure whether those driven to the Amazon and B&N pages actually bought the book, but there is a correlation between the dates of the conversion and my Amazon sales rank. So, I do believe at least some of those conversions did translate directly into sales. For the low cost per month, that’s probably the most cost effective deal running.

Now since my blog tour has only just begun, it would be unfair to discount its effectiveness. So let’s say that Twitter and Bublish may represent my most effective short-term marketing tool, but the blog tour may ultimately prove to be the best long-term tool.

About The Book

Title: The Demons of Plainville: A Survivor’s Story of Storms and Reconstruction

Author: Daniel R. Mathews

Publisher: Lost Legacy Press

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Format: Paperback – 292 pages / eBook  / PDF

ISBN: 978-0990710745

Genre: Autobiography / Memoir / LGBT / Non Fiction
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Book Description:

Some true stories read like fiction, but for those who have to personally live through the experiences, the nightmare is vividly real. Daniel R. Mathews digs into the darkness of his past with his haunting memoir, The Demons of Plainville.

As a child, Daniel struggles to find his footing in an upside-down world. His mother is mentally ill and addicted to drugs; she performs black masses to summon demons, is physically abusive, and plays brutal mind games that make him doubt his sanity and despair of ever making sense of life or himself. Even his father beats Daniel after “rescuing” him from his mother. Thanks to a few unexpected friends, Daniel survives his devastating youth and emerges stronger for it.

But Daniel’s battles aren’t over. Finally free of his abusive parents, he now must face himself and wrestle with his sexual identity in a community that sees nothing wrong with homophobia.

Candid and compelling, this is a triumphant tale of a young man who walked through the darkness, bravely faced his demons, and against all odds carried the faint light of hope with him every step of the way.
Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1: Telling The Truth

Accusations. This is how it always begins. S Screaming follows when my answers prove inadequate. Then come the threats, and finally the misery of surrender.

I was about eight at the time, living in a small red brick apartment building

in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Our apartment was on the basement floor, so

there was not a good view outside, only a few small quarter windows allowing

in some daylight. The building stood on a grassy hill that overlooked Myles

Standish State Forest. Some days I would just curl up on the sun-warmed

grass, staring down into the forest below me and imagining that I was a bird

darting between the trees.

My anger grew as we went through the same cycle day after day. I stood

in our tiny living room facing the yellow sofa with my mother giving me that

disdainful stare that made me feel ashamed. I’d look towards the light tan

carpet, afraid to make eye contact with her. The details of the accusation did

not matter, as I seldom had any idea what she was talking about. Whether

there was a quarter missing from her bureau or the bathroom light being left

on at night, there was no end to the possibilities of accusations. Each day the

school bus dropped me off at the bottom of the hill, I paused at the bus-stop

to gather whatever courage I could muster. I knew that a new accusation

would be awaiting me, starting the cycle anew.

“Stand up straight when I’m talking to you!” She barks at me. “And stop looking

down at your feet. Where is it, what did you do with it?” she screams, finger

pointed towards me.

“I don’t know,” I say defensively, shrugging my shoulders.

“You little fucking liar,” she says, standing up from the couch and slapping my

face. “Now get in your room!”

I would rush into my small room in our apartment, slamming the white door

shut before ripping clumps of my own short blond hair out. I hid the hair

under my giant stuffed bear, which stood up to my waist in height. The bear

was a gift from my maternal grandparents, ever standing ready to accept my

love. I clung to the bear; its soft white and gray fur brought me comfort during

times of sadness or anger.

My mother grew suspicious of the growing bald spot on the top of my

head and one afternoon decided to tear the room apart. Eventually, she found

the tangled lump of blond hair hidden under the bear and challenged me for

answers, answers I did not have. I could not explain the anger inside me, at

least not an explanation I dared speak in front of her. I had begun craving

independence and the seeds of rebellion sprouted forth. She pushed me at

every opportunity, accused and cursed me for anything ranging from theft to

family misfortune. I just did not understand.

My only outlet was to punish myself through self-inflicted pain, just to

release the frustration. My mother took an attitude of open hostility against

me, one that persisted throughout my childhood.

“I’m going to send you to a mental institution!” she screamed at me, her long

dirty blond hair swinging between her shoulder blades as she frantically shook

her head. She wiped the sweat from her flushed brow then paused for a moment

and looked down at me with great disgust waving the fist full of my hair

she found at me. I clung to my stuffed bear, looking up at her.

“If you do not learn to behave, I’m going to send you to a reform school

for boys.” She had hesitated for just a moment longer before her voice shifted

into a menacing tone. “They just love cute little white boys at the reform

school. They will take care of you real good.” Turning her back on me, she

stormed out of the room, leaving me weeping into my bear’s fur while I continued

to hug it with all my strength.

I’d heard of reform school before I was in second grade. However, I was

left pondering the nature of how they would take care of me. Strange feelings

overtook me. At first, heat surged through my body, then excitement.

My heart began to beat faster, and for the first time that day I smiled. The

words take care of you echoed in my mind over and over. Other boys at this reform

school were going to take care of me. My mind reinterpreted her hidden

threat; other boys were going to be touching me. I did not understand what

this might mean, but I wanted desperately to find out. These strange longings

would grow and expand in time. The seed long within me had sprouted. Yet,

it did not grow for a while.

We eventually moved from the basement apartment to my grandparents’

house in the same town. The small ranch style house was nestled in small

groves of pine and oak trees. There were numerous cranberry bogs in the

area and a large waterfront district a few miles east of the house. Small single

engine airplanes frequently flew overhead, taking off and landing at the local

airport just to the north.

The yard was ideal for play, with a large back yard that sloped down into

a small grove of pines and blueberry bushes. The neighbors behind the house

owned a pair of horses that I visited every day. The house had three small

bedrooms. My room was adjacent to the living room, just wide enough to fit

my bed and a small dresser. When in the house I spent most of my time looking

out the large living room bay window watching the cars and trucks drive

by. Otherwise, I sat on the back deck with my grandmother. We would try

to identify the particular birds visiting the feeder using a small field guide to

birds. I went down the stairs and tossed a ball around with my grandfather on

the lawn or helped him weed his small garden.

Because of the influence and presence of my grandparents (my mother’s

parents), my problems decreased. More often than not, my mother would

go off with her cousin Alice, leaving me behind. Alice’s arrival frequently

corresponded with noticeable changes in my mother’s behavior. Alice was

stern yet generally pleasant towards me. However, when they left together,

they would return in a giggly or light-hearted mood, which would come

crashing down a few hours later. I found the sudden mood shifts to be the

most troubling occurrence because it added uncertainty and fear to my already

besieged mind. One afternoon, though, while my grandparents were

out for the day, my mother and her cousin called me into the small bedroom

my mother was staying in at the end of the house.

Mother closes the curtains and shades, leaving just a shaft of sunlight entering the

room. She held a large red case, almost like a toolbox of some sort. She opened

the case and took out some items, including candles, a bell, incense, goblet,

matches, and a book. The book was entitled The Satanic Bible. She placed the

black and red candles around in a pattern that she refers to as a pentagram

with a circle around it. She ordered me into the imaginary circle and told me

to remain silent and not leave the center of the circle for any reason,” or else.”

She and Alice joined me in the circle while they lit a burner and then some

incense. The snaking trail of smoke climbed towards the ceiling. The ritual

was both exciting and frightening. She picked up the book and looked over at

me, smiling. She told me that she would pray to Satan and summon demons,

but the demons were not allowed to enter the circle. As long as I remained

calm, I would be protected.

She began the mass by ringing the bells; she used the book to speak words

I’d never heard before. The ringing echoed faintly in the room, combining

with the sweet smell of the incense. I felt almost dizzy, overcome by a giddy

feeling of excitement.

She proceeded to cut herself with a silver knife with an ornate looking

pearl handle, just enough to draw a steady trickle of blood from her finger, allowing

it to flow into a tarnished bronze colored chalice. Alice took the knife

and sliced her own finger, allowing drops of blood to fall into the chalice. My

mother held the chalice upwards as an offering and mumbled a few words.

After placing it back on the ground, she took a long slender writing instrument

and dipped it into the blood. The blood served as the ink, allowing her

to write on a small blank piece of white paper. I couldn’t see the writing, but

she told me it was an offering for our luck and fortune. She ripped the paper

into small pieces and set it ablaze. The mass finished with a final ringing of

the bells, driving away the demons.

I couldn’t see these creatures, but the air was laden with smoke and darkness.

I was sure the demons were there.

That afternoon was my first introduction to the “Lucifer,” originally the chosen

angel. The year was 1976 but on this otherwise bright summer afternoon,

it might have been 1692. Witchcraft was alive and well in the suburbs of


Mother and Alice repeated this scene several times during the summer,

always when my grandparents were out of the house. Since these rituals were

never performed in their presence, I always wondered what the ramifications

would be if they found out. As strange as it sounds, these were the few times I

felt emotionally close and accepted by my mother, so I was grateful for them.

As October approached, we were on the road once again. My mother,

Alice and I settled down one town over into a small cottage in the woods

of Carver. The cottage was just a ten minutes’ drive from my grandparents’

home, nestled amid lush green pines and small evergreen trees. Alice worked

for the state in Boston and money my mother received from welfare covered

the cottage’s rent. The commute from Carver to Boston was long, so Alice left

early in the morning before I got the bus and did not return home until the

sun had set. My mother spent a great deal of time sleeping during these times,

taking various prescriptions that generally left her tired and moody.

Loving the outdoors and the woods, I approved of our new home’s location.

Surrounded by miles of forest and a large lake that reflected the sunlight

in shimmering ripples of yellow, it was almost a boy’s dream come true. The

dream didn’t last long though.

I started the third grade at age nine that autumn. School became an issue

for me almost immediately. The first day I climbed into the bus, the driver

assumed I was a girl, as did the kids on the bus.

“Who are you?” the bus driver inquired, searching his list.

Before I could answer, he said, “Oh, there must be a mistake. Your name

is Danielle, right?”

I looked at him in surprise, “No, it’s Daniel!” I snapped back. The kids

in the front seat immediately giggled and pointed at me. I looked down and

began blushing.

The bus driver cleared his throat. “Well, Danielle is French for Daniel. So

climb on in, let’s go.”

This led to the unavoidable teasing and taunting one would naturally

expect from such a mistake. I could barely contain the tears of shame though

I did a reasonable job of keeping some composure for the trip to school. My

natural femininity provided a constant source of irritation throughout the

first semester, though eventually the kids forgot about it. Perhaps subconsciously,

I began to isolate myself.

Yet school was only a passing nuisance because my mother’s attitude towards

me changed quickly. She resented my growing desire for privacy and

independence. Away from the influence of my grandparents, my mother’s disposition

soured. The cycle of accusations and threats began to accelerate, taking

on a more menacing tone.
Book Trailer:

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

About The Author

An avid reader of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, Daniel R. Mathews is a novelist and nonfiction writer whose books feature LGBT youth braving danger with honor and dignity, including his personal memoir, The Demons of Plainville, and debut horror novel, The Unseen Kingdom.

For the past two decades, Mathews has worked as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified ground instructor, meteorologist, and a member of the web development and Internet technical support community. He currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Connect with Daniel R. Mathews:





Virtual Book Tour Page

Interview with Julie Rowe, Author of Deadly Strain

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

Deadly Strain is a military bioterrorism story with some dirty cave sex and a whole lot of romance.

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

I posted my good news to Twitter and Facebook.

After that, what happened?

Then I had to get to work and finish the damn book. I sold this as part of a three book series on proposal, so I only had the first three chapter of book one done and only a synopsis for books two and three.

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

They’re hosting me on their blog as well as on the main Harlequin blog. They will feature me on their Facebook page and on Twitter as well. Later in the summer, Carina Press is shooting for a bookpub ad.

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 like guest blogging a lot. I don’t have a blog myself. I tend to blog more often around releases, but won’t turn an opportunity to blog down if its presented to me.

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 a big fan of Twitter and Facebook and find them both effective.

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

I’ve got some ads on a couple of review sites and I’m trying to expand my reach through word of mouth.

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?

Word of mouth.

About The Book

TitleDeadly Strain

Book 1: Biological Response Team Series

Author: Julie Rowe

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: June 15, 2015

Pages: 260


Genre: Romantic Suspense

Format: eBook, PDF
Buy The Book:


Barnes & Noble:


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking:

Book Description:

Book one of Biological Response Team Series

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster.
Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.
Sharp is Grace’s most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can’t watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.
Book Excerpt:

The battle line between good and evil runs
through the heart of every man. —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Chapter One
“I’m so dead.” Dr. Grace Samuels stared at
the chessboard. There was no hope. None. Not a single move left open to her.
Except for one.
She sighed, shook
her head at the patience on her opponent’s face. “I concede.”
“Want to know
where you went wrong?” he asked as he cleared the board. He set the pieces up
again. Those big hands of his could bandage a wounded soldier, field strip a 9
mm and box her into checkmate with equal skill.
“I sat down in
this chair,” she answered with a straight face. The mess hall was busy with
soldiers, American and Afghan alike, either beginning their day or ending their
“No,” he said.
“You played the board.”
Grace thought
about it for a second, but it still didn’t make any sense. Then again, it was
0600 and she’d only been up for twenty minutes. “Huh?”
Special Forces
Weapons Sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster looked at her earnestly. “You played the
board,” he repeated. “You should have been playing the man.”
He winked and she
had to fight not to roll her eyes. When she first met him she’d thought his
flirting was for real, and had been worried she’d have to shut him down. She
didn’t want to, because he was hilarious, but the impropriety couldn’t be
ignored. Then, she discovered when he wasn’t on the job, he had a wicked sense
of humor, and everyone was a target.
“Then I suppose
I’ll have to study you.” She leaned forward and made a show of giving him a
thorough once-over.
He grinned and
spread his hands wide. “By all means, study me.”
Sharp was a big
man, about six-two, and she’d guess he weighed about two hundred pounds. He
flexed his biceps and waggled his eyebrows in response to her joke. Though he
had brown hair, with a mustache and beard to match, he had the lightest blue
eyes she’d ever seen—like looking into glacial ice.
Right now, those
eyes were challenging her. She just wasn’t sure if it was regarding the game or
something she didn’t want to talk about. At all.
Sharp wasn’t going to leave it alone. The chess game should have warned her.
They usually played poker.
She watched him
reset the chessboard while, for the first time in a week, letting her mind go
back to the moment she realized she was in trouble. On her way to her quarters
late at night. They’d arrived at Forward Operating Base Bostick the week
before, and she’d been introduced to the base commander, Colonel Marshall. He’d
barely spoken to her. So why was he waiting for her outside her quarters with
clenched fists and a face so blank she knew he was in the grip of a powerful
The colonel wasn’t
known for any kind of emotion.
She stopped
several feet away. “What are you doing here at this hour, sir?”
One corner of his
upper lip lifted in a sneer and he snarled, “I wanted a private conversation.”
His words
triggered every internal red flag she had. “I don’t understand.”
response was two words. One name. “Joseph Cranston.”
A name she wished
she could forget. “You…knew him?”
Scorn turned his
words into weapons. “He was my son.”
Oh God.
Grace took an
involuntary step backward. Now that she knew, she could see the son in his
father’s face, the same eyes and jawline as the young man whose features she
couldn’t forget. As if conjured, his shade floated in front of her mind’s eye,
thrusting her into a memory she wanted desperately to erase. His face, covered
with blood, whipped her heart into a gallop. Her breathing bellowed, lungs
attempting to push air through her terror-closed throat. She fought the
invisible hands pulling at her and her vision spiraled into a narrow tunnel.
Sharp had surfaced
out of the dark, his presence breaking the memory’s chokehold.
He’d crouched in
front of her, calling her name, ordering her to respond before he did something
stupid like give her mouth-to-mouth. She coughed out a response, couldn’t
remember what, and fought her way to her feet.
Sharp didn’t try
to hold her. He didn’t touch her at all, but he shielded her body from prying
eyes with his own. He refused to leave her, facing down Colonel Marshall, who
showed no sympathy and less tolerance for her fainting spell. Two of Sharp’s team members appeared and, after
glaring at them all, Marshall left without saying anything else.
She managed to get
inside her quarters before anyone could demand an explanation, shut the door
and locked it. She’d only felt relief when no one knocked to ask for an
explanation. It wasn’t until the next day that she realized their lack of
questions was as suspect as her behavior.
She hadn’t
expected to meet anyone connected to Joseph Cranston outside of the United
States. Hadn’t expected something that happened that long ago to thrust her
into a memory like it was happening all over again.
In the days since,
Sharp had been mother-henning her like she was some fragile little chick, and
she’d had about as much of that as she could take. She was a Samuels. Her
father, also a military doctor, had just retired from the army, and her
grandfather had run a MASH unit during the Korean War. He’d met her grandmother
during WWII; she’d been one of the first Air Force service pilots. If there was
one thing she wouldn’t accept from anyone, it was pity.
“I’ve been
studying you for a while.” Sharp finished setting up the board and met her
gaze. “You’re a damn good doctor, a hellacious good shot on the range and you
put up with our male stupidity with more patience than we deserve.”
“I hear the but coming.”
“What happened
between you and Marshall?”
“None of your damn
When he continued
to stare at her, she added, “Look, I’m not going to saddle anyone else with my
personal grievances or the fact that I don’t get along with someone.”
grievances?” Sharp asked. “Twice last week I thought you were going to damage a
guy for jostling you in the chow line. What’s going on with you?”
Shit, of course he
would notice. She’d damn near freaked out each time, a scream hovering on her
lips, her hands and feet moving to defend against an enemy who wasn’t there.
The enemy wasn’t there. No gunfire. No
weapons pointed at her, yet she still found herself reacting as if it were
happening all over again.
She hadn’t been
reacting that way until Marshall had confronted her. Meeting the father of a
soldier who’d died an unnecessary death in front of her must have detonated an
emotional trip wire in her head. One she needed to deal with.
Not an easy thing
when on active duty and nowhere near a base with more than a glorified
first-aid station.
It seemed like
anywhere she went on the base, Sharp or one of the guys from the A-Team was
there. Not doing anything, just there. They weren’t fooling her.
Damn alpha males
and their overprotective tendencies.
“Nothing I can’t
handle. I take care of myself.” She narrowed her eyes. Her sidearm, a Beretta M9,
might have to make an appearance. Then Sharp’s words sunk all the way in.
“Wait. Are you telling me I should play chess with the same mind-set as poker?” She buried his ass every time they played poker. He was
terrible at keeping his attention on his cards and lousy at pretending he
wasn’t checking her out—not that he was serious about it. He knew the rules
same as she, and she was glad, ridiculously
glad, she had a friend she could count on, someone she could trust.
“Sort of. Chess
demands more of you than poker, but the principles are the same.”
Them’s fightin’ words. “The hell you
say.” She’d been playing poker with her dad since she was ten years old. He’d
taught her how to bluff anyone.
“Doc,” Sharp said,
chuckling. “If I were lying, you’d be beating me, but you aren’t.”
“Ha.” She leaned
forward and tapped the board. “Make your move.”
Sharp opened his
mouth to respond, but he never got a chance to say anything before another
Beret, the team’s other weapons sergeant, Harvey Runnel, strode over to them.
It wasn’t the speed he was moving that drew her and Sharp’s attention, it was
the look on the soldier’s face. Flattened lips, clenched jaw and a slightly
flared nose. She couldn’t see his eyes due to the tinted safety glasses he
wore, but she could guess that the skin around them would be tight—a man who
was on full alert.
Special Forces
soldiers did not get amped up for no reason.
“Playtime’s over,”
Runnel said. “Doc, grab your go-bag.”
A mental blanket
sank over her, numbing her to the horror to come. It was the first
self-preservation tactic doctors learned. Compartmentalize all that terrible
stuff or go crazy in a week. Sometimes she wondered when all those boxes in her
mind would break open and rip her apart from the inside out.
There was an
entire crate named Joseph Cranston.
“Warm or cold?”
She asked even though she already knew the answer. Runnel never looked this
rattled. Please say warm.
Her warm go-bag
was a trauma kit, a backpack with everything she’d need if she was dealing with
bullet holes, shrapnel lacerations or broken bones. The typical things most
people expected her to treat since she was a trauma surgeon. But that wasn’t
all she was.
She was also an
infectious disease specialist.
Her cold go-bag
contained the very latest in biological detection technology. One- or two-step
tests that identified anything from anthrax to Ebola to a weaponized flu. She
was a member of a select group of virologists, microbiologists and infectious
disease specialists the US Army relied on to train not only their own troops,
but the soldiers of other nations, in the detection of and protection against
biological weapons. They were known officially as the Biological Rapid Response
team, but most soldiers called them Icemen or Icequeens.
Lately the army
had been assigning BRR team members to work with Army Special Forces
teams—Green Berets. She’d been working with Sharp’s team for almost a year. Her
job was to assist in training Afghan forces in everything from combat and
demolitions to the most survivable responses to biological, chemical or nuclear
“Cold,” Runnel
said. “No drill.”
Adrenaline spiked
through her system as Grace got up and followed Runnel. He led the way back to
whoever was calling the shots, Sharp right behind her as they ran at a trot.
She might be the base’s resident expert on biological weapons, but it was
knowledge she wished fervently she didn’t have to use.
They entered the
staging area where she’d been doing some of the training. Several members of
Sharp’s team were using it to gear up. Runnel glanced at her and angled his
head toward the base commander, a tall man in his forties who wore a permanent
frown. He was looking at a map with several ranking officers, including the
A-Team’s commander, Geoffry Cutter.
Cutter glanced at
her. “The major is here, sir.”
Base Commander
Colonel Marshall gave her a glare before returning his attention to the map in
front of him.
He’d called her a fucking quack yesterday as he walked
past her. If he kept demeaning her in front of the Afghan forces and their own
soldiers, she’d lose the credibility she needed to successfully train them.
“Major,” Marshall
said without looking at her. “One of our patrols reported in about ten minutes
ago with what appears to be a
biological incident.”
She waited, but he
didn’t add any more details. “What led them to believe that, sir?”
He met her gaze
with an even colder expression. “An entire village dead. Some of the bodies
show lesions and bleeding from the nose, mouth and eyes.”
Holy Mother of God.
Bad. This was very bad.
“I concur with
their assessment of the situation, sir. Your orders?”
“Get the fuck out
there,” he snarled at her. “Figure out what happened and fix it.”
That part she knew
already. Asshat. She’d hoped he’d
give her some detailed orders, with a timeline and what kind of manpower she
could expect. Not more sarcasm and snark.
She came to attention and saluted. “Yes, sir.”
He took two steps,
then stopped and turned around. He addressed Cutter and only Cutter, who had
somehow inched his way over until he was right next to her, with Sharp on the
other side. What a couple of papa bears. “Send half of your A-Team with the
Icequeen. The other half will stay here in case I need a second team to go in.”
Grace bit her
tongue hard to keep from telling what she thought of him and his orders, and
mentally promoted him to asshole.
“Yes, sir.” Cutter
saluted. “The location of the village is here.” He glanced at Grace and pointed
to a spot on the map. From a distance Cutter looked like the least threatening
person in the room. He was the shortest, skinniest guy on the A-Team, but he
more than made up for that in stubbornness and stamina.
Grace moved closer
so she could get a better look. “How far is it from the Pakistan border?”
“About two
“Not very damn
far.” She ran her index finger over the spot on the map. “Mountain valley?”
“Yeah. It’s a
small village. Less than one hundred people.”
“The patrol found
no one alive?”
“No one.”
Grace breathed in
through her nose and out through her mouth. “Did they get their breathing gear
on right away?”
“According to
their report they did, but they’re nervous. Whatever killed those people,
killed them fast.”
“Okay. I don’t
have to tell you guys how to prep. You’re as well trained as I am. Consider
this a live weapon.”
“Will do,” Cutter
responded. He looked at Sharp standing next to her. “I’m assigning Sharp to
ride herd on you, Doc. Where you go, he goes.”
“I’m not arguing,
Commander. I’ve worked with Sharp plenty of times.”
“Good. We leave in
fifteen.” Cutter nodded at her, gave Sharp a nod, then moved off to brief the
rest of his team.
“I have to get my
go-bag and the rest of my gear,” she said to Sharp, her mind on the eight
million things she needed to do before those fifteen minutes were up.
“I’ll give you a
“Thanks, but I
don’t need any help.” She was going to have to deal with his protective crap
sooner rather than later, but carefully. “I do need every friend I can get,
though. Are you in for that?”
At his grin, she
relaxed a little and refocused on the job at hand.
* * *
Sharp watched Grace rush away for about two
seconds too long.
“Do I need to
replace you with Runnel?” Cutter asked.
He jerked his head
around to stare at his commander. He’d thought Cutter had been briefing the
rest of the team. “No.”
Cutter stood with
his arms crossed over his chest and his feet apart. “Then pull your tongue back
into your head. You’re damn near panting after her.”
“Not fucking
likely. She’s just the only person on this base who can beat me in poker. If
something happens to her, I’ll have nothing to do for the next month,” he said.
“Besides, something’s not right. She’s been off her game since Marshall decided
to be an ass. She’s our number-one asset. I’m worried.” The way he’d found her
the other day, damn near passed out, shaking and hyperventilating like she was
about to fly apart… It had hit him—a sucker punch to the gut. She was reliving
something awful.
Post-traumatic stress disorder.
How many guys did
he know who lived with PTSD? Ten, twenty, fifty?
What was Marshall’s
connection? Something he’d done or said had set off a bomb in Grace’s head.
Even weirder,
Marshall hadn’t liked it when Sharp wouldn’t leave Grace alone with him.
What the hell had
Grace been involved with that earned her the dislike of a career military man
who normally didn’t give a rat’s ass about what a doctor like her might be
doing or not doing?
“Still, watch
yourself. Word around the base is, he’s got a hate on for the doc and you got
in the way.”
“What do you know,
“Nothing specific.
Marshall hasn’t talked, but his attitude toward the doc is clear. He hates her
Cutter was right,
Marshall’s face had been twisted by disgust and hostility as he stared at her
the night he got between her and the colonel. What had happened to cause it?
Whatever it was, Sharp wasn’t going to let anyone hurt her. She worked just as
hard and long at training their allied troops as the A-Team did. And she was good.
“Sharp.” Cutter’s
voice had a wary edge and he took a step closer. “Be careful, man. I like the
doc, too. Hell, the whole team likes her, but you and I both know falling for
someone while on deployment is a mistake.”
“Preaching to the
choir here, boss. I might enjoy the view on occasion, but there’s a line I have
no interest in crossing.”
They’d both
watched as a former team member fell hard for a woman he’d met while overseas.
The relationship disintegrated within weeks after he’d been reassigned. It had
damn near broke him, and he’d left the military altogether.
“I respect her,”
Sharp told his commander. “She’s smart and she’s worked her ass off this last
year. I also think Marshall has some kind of vendetta against her. The look on
his face the other night…” Sharp shook his head. “He’d have killed her if he
could have. She belongs to us.”
Cutter was silent
for a couple of moments, his gaze steady on Sharp’s face. Finally, he angled
his head toward the knot of soldiers and gear. “Come on, no one is going to
bother her now. Marshall needs her. Get your shit together.”
Cutter had one
thing right. He needed to keep his focus on the mission. Sharp followed the
other man, but there wasn’t much for any of them to do, since they were always
ready to move out on a moment’s notice. Every man on the team had developed the
habit during training and had only refined it since. One of their instructors
used to say that an unprepared soldier was a dead soldier.
Sharp joined the
rest of his team, double-checked his weapons, pulled on his battered gear and
bio-suit and got out of the way. Focus.
Cutter was talking
with Bart, one of their communications guys, when Colonel Marshall walked in a
few minutes later with another half-dozen soldiers behind him and headed
straight for the Special Forces group.
“Cutter, storm
coming at twelve o’clock,” Sharp informed him quietly.
By the time
Marshall came to a stop, the entire A-Team was standing at attention.
“Sir,” Cutter said
with a salute. “The go-team is ready, sir.”
“Where’s that damn
“She’ll be here in
six minutes, sir.”
Marshall grunted.
“You’re taking these men with you on this mission. Two additional medics, Yanik
and Anderson, and four of my infantry for security. Your mission objective is
to assist Major Samuels.”
For the first time
since their arrival two weeks ago, Marshall was actually helping a situation
rather than shitting all over it.
“And make sure
that bitch doesn’t screw up,” Marshall added. “I want the men on that patrol
back in one piece. Understand?”
“Yes, sir.”
The team saluted
and Marshall stalked off like he was Patton or something.
“So much for that
guy not being a tremendous bag of dicks,” the team’s second in command, John
Leonard, said in an undertone.

About The Author

Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”.In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living.

You can reach Julie at , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page:

Connect with Julie:

Author Website:




Virtual Book Tour Page

Interview with Douglas Gardham, author of The Drive In

Title: The Drive In

Author: Douglas Gardham

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 130

Genre: Short Stories

Format: Kindle/Paperback

Have you ever been intrigued by what mysteries lie behind the doors and windows of the places you pass by on your drive into work everyday? The Drive In takes you on Tom Johnson‘s commute. Unlike Tom, you’ll get to peek behind some of those closed doors. Remember going to the “Drive-In” theatre? Each story reveals what goes on like watching the “dusk ‘til dawn” features through your car’s windshield. Meet the people at the places Tom only passes by each day. Then discover how his drive in ends like no other.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?
The short stories of this collection have been written over the past twenty years and cover many genres. Most of those short stories have been rewritten many times over the years. That effort has faded with time. The connecting story that I wrote during 2014 turned out to be very challenging. A cathartic exercise in moving from a somewhat traditional career in engineering and manufacturing into this new thing of writing full-time, the story originally was very “business” oriented which I didn’t like. After many rewrites it evolved into more a story of the emotions one goes through driving alone to work in their car. I was very pleased with the final outcome.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
I have several excerpts that I particularly like. Here’s a couple.
He never realized how much he had to change to become who he really was.
At one moment, he was extoling the purity and virtue of creativity and innovation to create a better future and the next considering actions that were contrary to being a good human being.
He smiled thinking of something he’d heard. ‘If I don’t do anything, I won’t make any mistakes. If I don’t make any mistakes, I’ll be perfect. Therefore, by doing nothing, I’ll be perfect’ … and succeed. It was a ridiculous play on words but he didn’t like how it made him feel when he really thought about it.
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
I hope they are entertained by the stories and that it leaves them with some food for thought about all that goes on around them—good and bad.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
I’ve written short stories since I started writing. Years ago while driving to work, I was struck by the idea of the places I passed on my way being a unique way to bring a collection of short stories together. I forgot about it. When I suggested to my publisher of wanting to publish a couple of my short stories to help promote my STARBook awarded novel The Actor, iUniverse suggested I put a number of my short stories together in a collection. My “drive in to work” idea came back and hence The Drive In came to fruition.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
I’ve had two very special mentors in my life that The Drive In is dedicated to. I don’t know why I’ve had the good fortunate to be raised by two such special people. Who picked me up when I tripped and fell and who were always there for me whether I wanted them to be or not.
I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
Reading was probably my first love. I liked to read at a very young age but had no inclination to write until later in my teen years. I didn’t take earnestly to writing until my mid-twenties and have never looked back. I can’t imagine a world without books.

Douglas Gardham is the author of the STARbook-awarded novel The Actor. He lives near Toronto, Canada with his wife, dog and cat. He loves books, music and movies. This is his second published novel.

Interview with Tito Capaldo, author of The Rabbit Culture

Title: The Rabbit Culture

Author: Tito Capaldo

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Pages: 200

Genre: Family/Relationship

Format: Kindle/Paperback

Direct and vivid in its telling of the details of the adoption of a 7-year old boy from Romania after the collapse of Communism, the novel manages ultimately to deliver much more. Despite this story, I have been very lucky in my life …

I had two wonderful parents, who, in their simplicity they taught me to love and respect Nature and its Laws. I have had satisfactory work experience both economically and professionally, first as a military pilot in the Italian Air Force, and now as a Fire fighting Pilot for the Civil Defence . I am not rich, but I can not complain ..

I have everything I need. If you have the adventure to stumble upon this book and buy it, you can be sure that every cent will be used for the survival of the protagonist, my adoptive son ,when I’m gone.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Find a correct  Publisher.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
Direct and vivid in its telling of the details of the adoption of a 7-year old boy from Romania after the collapse of Communism, the novel manages ultimately to deliver much more.
Through reminiscence of his happy childhood, his family ties, his values, his father figure, the environment he grew up in, Antonio Capaldo portraits the widening gap between that real world and the current virtual one:
“In the village everybody knew one another, as kids we had the feeling we were doing what we wanted, but, the truth is we were closely watched. Anyone, uncle, aunt, friend was of course entitled to reproach us, threatening us to inform our parents. It was a kind of extended family that seemed to work fine”.
Difficulties inevitably connected with the adoption bring the writer to explore the darkest places of human nature: schizophrenia, mental disorders, drugs and homosexuality.
In the everlasting clash between Law and Faith, Rules and Revealed Truth, Relativism and Absolutism, the only Law we can hold on to is the Law of Nature, the natural order of things:
“If you get rid of the absolute (principles) you’ll find out a world surprisingly made of balance, serenity and tolerance […] you feel master of yourself, […] fear of death vanishes and death reveals itself as an act of life”.
If we rise above the myth of the Revealed Truth, we’ll be able to finally set some Shared Rules which do not claim to have any divine link:
“[…] even if we are labelled as Christian and Muslim we belong to the same rich yet diverse pack. […] Everybody will enjoy – in their differences – the purpose of unity”.
Thus many current subjects such as politics, information, justice, war, death, euthanasia, religion, fundamentalism can be seen from a much more balanced, yet trenchant viewpoint.
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
That we, human beings, with the animals, we are in the same boat; that Christian, jew, muslim, are the adjectives of the most important thing … the person. That religion is a purely personal, and does not admit intermediaries type: bishops, mullahs or rabbis. That if we will not put in place a serious policy of birth control… Nature with it laws will admonish the evil, rearrange and re-adjust the balance. Unfortunately for us and especially for our children and grandchildren, the price to pay will be extremely high.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
Reality, “The Natural Order of Things”, and the suffering of my adopted son because of the trauma of abandonment! …. No condition of indigence or poverty justifies the abandonment of a child. As far as my own experience is concerned I am sure that a child would rather die of starvation or get to know that his parents are in prison, but they did not abandoned him.
If genocide is a crime against humanity, the abandonment of a child is much more, it calls into question the first ethical principle for our survival: a mother who abandons a child. Animals do not do that, or do so only if the little ones are naturally self-sufficient by birth.
It is an everlasting torture and I am sure that my son is wondering – in his own confusion – why he did not get what many people were granted.
I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
Philosophy, religion, politics, nature…

Antonio Capaldo was born at Campo di Giove (AQ) on 14thJuly 1948. Authentic mountaineer, he spent his adolescence in close contact with nature in a mainly agricultural and pastoral farming environment at the foot of the Majella massif. After high school he passed the admission course and joined the Air Force Academy, then he obtained the license as military pilot at USAF Air Force School in the US. He served as an Air Force Pilot on C-130 aircraft at Pisa Air Base for 19 years. He had the opportunity to travel around the world and carry out several humanitarian missions. Then he was transferred to Latina Flight School where he worked as an instructor and flight examiner where he held the position of Group commander. After a 2-year service for the Major Staf (Italian Air Force) he went on leave.

Interview with Judy Carlson, author of The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom, and the Sea Princess

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

This is an epic-sized ideal romantic adventure in the tradition of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. With abundant imagination and great Biblical sensibilities, and the ancient story of the Eastern Islands, now overtaken by the mysterious and evil Lord Regent. The battle to restore righteousness, liberty, and justice takes place just as the White Knight’s Prince Lael meets the intriguing and beautiful sea princess.

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

Wrote to the C S Lewis company for permission to publish as they had refused.

After that, what happened?

They wrote back and relented because I used none of his universe from The Chronicles of Narnia.

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

Put it up on Amazon. Placed various adds in magazines etc.

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?

Have just begun. My book was just released July 1.

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?

Facebook. Voxer. Linked in

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

ICRS in Orlando Fl. Book Signings. Contacting book stores in my area.

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?

All of my children , grandchildren, friends and family using the social network reaching worldwide.

About The Book

The White Knight
TitleThe White Knight, the Lost Kingdom, and the Sea Princess
Author: Judy Carlson
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: July 1, 2015
Format: eBook / PDF / Paperback
Pages: 476
ISBN: 978-0983195757
Genre: Mythical Fantasy

Buy The Book:

Book Description:

Just as the creator of the Chronicles of Narnia decided to try his writer’s hand and imagination, I decided to try something too.  And so, I have written a story of my own having been prompted by that same idea of creating a God presence in another place.  No, it is not Narnia but it is a new world similar yet different from our own.  Surely, as I write this, I was inspired by the man who has invited tens of thousands of readers and not a few writers to write, think and look beyond this ‘shadow land’ called earth.  I have named it The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom, and the Sea Princess’.

It is a story of intrigue and ever present danger in a world populated by creatures and mortals, whose destiny hangs by the threads of an Emperor’s vision,  a prince’s lost love,  mysterious foes, enchanting  forest maidens, unlikely heroes, and a mermaid-heroine. All of this is wrapped up in a champion so invincible, yet mysterious, that he challenges the Dark Sorcerer with supernatural forces of a fascinating nature, using even the humblest of defenders.  This profound love story will leave you with a taste for a country and a universe beyond your dreams and even imaginings.  A world that is A fairy tale come true, and one “you will never want to end”.


Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1:

The Vanquished Kingdom

Under the Laws of Providence
We have duties which are perilous.
–Austin Phelps

Affliction is a treasure,
and scarce any man hath enough of it.
–John Donne
A deathly pall hung over the palace and the city of Ajar as
the threatening presence of the insidious Black Guard

“Hurry!” called the Queen to her maidservant, “Come quickly,

“Yes, Your Majesty!”

“The trunk is in my wardrobe closet. Count Amas has ordered
two of his trusted men to secure it for me. They will take it to
the cottage of the nursemaid Elnora and secret it there. We only
hope they can avoid discovery.”

“Yes, madam,” the girl answered in a trembling voice.

“Disguise it with this linen cloth, Dianna, and lay flowers
upon it. If noticed at all, a covered table will arouse less suspicion
than a royal trunk.” The Queen of the Eastern Islands paused and
lowered her head for a moment. Then glancing up at the servant
girl, she said, “If evil befalls both Lady Elnora and me, reveal the
trunk’s whereabouts only to a trusted friend. Perhaps my son
Loren still has breath somewhere in this dim world and will come
thither to claim it one day.”

“But, Your Majesty, surely the Lord Regent would not dare to
hurt you!” The girl began weeping. Queen Maybella took her by
the shoulders, fighting back her own tears.

“Forgive us, maiden, for we allowed evil to enter our beloved
kingdom. Weep not for us. If we perish, we shall go to the
White City. Weep for those who remain here in this place.” The
lady’s voice became intense. “You must flee the palace if we
are . . .removed. This wicked Usurper will come to his undoing
some day. Yet as for you, without my protection, you will be. . . .
Please, you must flee. Trust no strangers, Dianna. Aryel the
White Knight will return. Be strong until then.”

(The increased power and control of the Lord Regent and
his Black Guard had rendered the king and his advisors only
figureheads. The royal family were little more than prisoners in
their own palace. Fear of the attacks of a horrible dragon had
spread like an epidemic over the citizens of the Eastern Island
Kingdom of Ajar. In as much as it seemed only the Lord Regent
had power over the fearsome beast, they had capitulated. Kneel
or perish was his mantra. They were a free people no more. The
few citizens who rebelled were killed, and so the underground
resistance was born.)

The handmaiden of the queen did as her mistress bid her.
When the soldiers came to take the trunk, it appeared to be a
bench or table adorned for a summer tea. Several hours later,
there came shouts and then screams from the royal family’s
quarters. King Elmern’s voice was commanding, but to no avail.
“Do not harm my sons! Take me only!”

A thunderous voice roared back, “Silence, you fool! If I would
destroy you, why then would I leave an heir!” Following a tortuous
silence, the Black Guards’ boots stomped through the
halls. Then they paused behind the chapel door. The door shook
from their pounding blows. The maidservant yet stayed by her

About The Author

Judy Carlson

Judy Carlson is from St. Paul, MN. She and husband Tim have six children and 20 grandchildren and reside in Missouri. Judy has a BA in English from Trinity International University. Her lifetime passion for literature and writing and the works of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien has permeated this novel with their characteristic sense of wonder. She  wrote her first story at age nine, and has been the grand storyteller to her children and grandchildren.

Connect with Judy:
Publisher Website:

Virtual Book Tour Event Page

The White Knight Banner

Interview with Anne C. Graham, author of Profit In Plain Sight

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

Let’s start by dispelling the myth that any book about Profitability is going to be all about dry, dull accounting!  There’s a reason the subtitle of Profit in Plain Sight is The Proven Leadership Path to Unlock Profit, Passion and Growth. It’s all about rediscovering the passion in your business that drives profitability higher, and for almost every business leader, passion has to do with coming up with innovative, creative solutions for customers, while also leading their business in ways that get employees to behave like owners.  I wrote Profit in Plain Sight to include two powerful Drivers that immediately engage employees in doing the right things, followed by solutions to 5 specific business challenges that are all about creating extraordinary value and experiences for customers.  Yet make no mistake – each of the Drivers and each of the Solutions deliver tangible, take it to the bank results.  What I think readers will enjoy most are the colourful success stories, the practical action plans, the wealth of downloadable resources that help turn “shoulds” into “hows”, and the way everything is designed to be implemented for impact in less time per week than most executives are spending on email per day.

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

My publisher accepted my manuscript shortly after I had self-published, and I had already been promoting the book long before I had any tangible copies of any kind in my hands.  As an international speaker, I initially put my audiences to work, helping me title-test various options for the book, and asking them to peer-review several of the chapters.  Although it was all great feedback for me, it was also very successful promotion.  I ended up with a lot of early testimonials and success stories, not to mention an audience clamoring for the book to be released.  Once I had the publishing contract, I continued to promote my self-published version in my speaking engagements while I was waiting for the Morgan James version to be available.

After that, what happened?

I really started to pay attention to building out my “platform” as publishers call it, which is really my circle of influence.  I also developed a comprehensive marketing plan for Profit in Plain Sight, because my goal is to reach and impact 5 million business leaders.  It took Good to Great about a dozen years to reach that level, and I’m hoping to do it in less than 10.  My plan includes a multitude of ways to bring the book to the attention of business leaders who are passionate about their business, yet finding that often a good year on the top line doesn’t translate into much on the bottom line.  It’s funny, but ambitious entrepreneurs would never START a business without a Business Plan.  Experienced executives would never try to LEAD their business without a Strategic Plan.  But leaders at all levels routinely try to GROW their business without a Profit Plan.  That’s the gap that Profit in Plain Sight fills, and whether I’m using social media efforts, partnering with business-minded associations, delivering a keynote speech, being interviewed in the media, sharing selected sections of the book in teleseminars, or simply asking colleagues to help generate word-of-mouth, it’s all about getting the word out to let business leaders know that for less than $25, this solution-packed book will be one of the best investments they’ll make all year.

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

Morgan James holds the key to that all-important bookstore distribution for the business marketplace, whether that’s in airports, a downtown business core, or the suburbs.  Business leaders are starting to embrace E-books so all the E-book versions are available, however the demographics suggest that business leaders are still happy to browse the bookstore shelves for something to take on a long plane ride or vacation.  I hope Profit in Plain Sight will be their choice.  Morgan James has also helped me create a comprehensive Author Central page on Amazon, and has introduced me to book-excerpting services such as 1-800-CEO-Read.

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?

As with many people, my blog has not yet built up enough traffic to be a major force in terms of sales, primarily because I foolishly neglected it during the 3 years I spent writing my book, and I completely re-branded and re-developed my website during that time.  I intend to utilize my blog very differently in future with the 3 other books I have planned, actually using the blog to share advance content and get feedback, much as I did with the live speaking engagements.  I currently blog once or twice a week and with the introduction of Linked In Pulse, I’m able to share my blog  with a wider cross-section of readers who otherwise might never find my content.  I think blogs, especially high-traffic blogs, are a core component of any comprehensive book marketing plan.

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 at the tail end of the Boomer Generation, and as with many of my colleagues, I’ve been slow to embrace social media… until I found a terrific virtual assistant as a result of her use of social media and became an instant convert!  My go-to social media are Linked In and Twitter, both of which are popular with the business community.  My next social network to tackle is YouTube, because I’ve become very proficient at making the training videos that are available in Profit in Plain Sight as complimentary downloads.  I’ll be creating short videos weekly for YouTube called The 101 Great Profit and Growth Questions Good Leaders Ask Their Teams.  I’m less active on Facebook and Google+, but I maintain a presence on both of those.  I haven’t yet figured out how to leverage the image-driven sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, however I’m sure my assistant will help me figure them out as she’s from the generation which is far more competent in social media!

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

My business cards have a photo of Profit in Plain Sight on them along with a free-resource offer to help me build by platform, and I pass those cards out everywhere.  I speak internationally many times per year, and I include a copy of  Profit in Plain Sight for every attendee with my speaking fee.   Alternatively I do a “do not disturb-style” door hanger with notes and tips which coincidentally promotes the book.  On each one of my monthly teleseminars, I introduce myself as a Best Selling Author and mention the book.  I have a professional publicist who books me on radio shows, on TV, and in print.   I have a virtual sales team who specializes in bulk book orders as incentive and reward programs for corporations.  Last but not least, my website includes a free chapter and a fun book trailer for Profit in Plain Sight.

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?

That’s a very tough question!  I think all of the tools have to work together in a concerted groundswell of impact when it comes to a business book like Profit in Plain Sight.  Executives have many channels competing for their attention all day long.  It’s about meeting them where they are with a compelling solution to a problem they’ve often come to take for granted, in a high impact way that breaks through the clutter and gains their attention and interest.

About The Book

Title:  Profit In Plain Sight

Author: Anne C. Graham

Publisher: Morgan James

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Pages: 289

Format: eBook / Hardcover / Paperback / PDF

ISBN: 978-1-63047-293-1

Genre: Business

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Buy The Book:


Barnes & Noble:

Book Description:

  1. 84% of business owners and CEOs surveyed score a C, D or F on the Return on People Benchmark – they can’t even give every employee a decent raise, let alone hire, invest in facilities, equipment or technology, or expand into new markets!
  2. 40% companies who increase their revenues in a given year will actually decrease their profits… and there’s a better way to increase both.
  3. 96% of companies will put their greater goals on hold this year with one simple phrase: We don’t have the budget for that.

Imagine if leaders were able to break free of their profit constraints, stop being victims of exchange rates and oil prices, and be in control of earning all the profit they need to fund the growth they want.

Savvy entrepreneurs would never start a new business without a Business Plan.  Experienced executives would never try to lead their business without a Strategic Plan.  But almost every manager confesses that they don’t have a Profit Plan beyond their P&L, and that means that profit becomes the leftovers between disappointing revenues and higher-than-expected costs.

Profit in Plain Sight offers the Profit Plan that’s missing, with a step-by-step roadmap that enables these busy leaders to grasp the big picture, and to implement solutions in less time per week than they are spending on email per day.

Unlike many  business books, Profit in Plain Sight gives readers access to the “hows”, not just the “shoulds”, with downloadable training resources and action plans  at the end of every chapter, plus regular opportunities for the reader to reflect on how their thinking is changing and growing.

This book finally helps leaders who are passionate about their business have all the profit they need to fund the growth they want, with tough questions to start changing the conversations in everyday management meetings, with practical, actionable techniques that are quite different from conventional cost-cutting approaches or the all-too-dangerous “increase revenues at all costs” techniques.  Instead, Profit In Plain Sight offers take-it-to-the-bank results.

Book Excerpt:

Prepare to Transform Your Most Persistent Market
Challenges into Profit, Passion, and Growth
… with The Proven Leadership Path that Delivers
  • How much easier would igniting profit, passion, and growth be if everyone in your
    business embraced change and became part of it?
  • What would be possible
    if transforming your business felt more like play than like work?
  • How quickly could you
    turn good intentions into tangible results
    if you
    simply could take small steps that
    require less time than you are devoting
    to e-mail in a
    given day?
IBM is a legendary company, not only because of its
enduring success for over 100 years in the fast-changing world of technology,
but because it leads its category
by a factor of
in terms of
profitability and continues to transform itself to
generate growth opportunities. Customers are incredibly loyal, the company has
a stellar reputation for quality, and, as the holder of more patents than any
other high-technology company, its strengths in innovation are readily
apparent. It seems that IBM has found ways to conquer some stubborn challenges,
doesn’t it?
But it didn’t start that way. IBM’s roots go back
to the 1880s and at one time its products consisted of employee time-keeping
systems, weigh scales, automatic meat slicers, coffee grinders, and punched
card equipment. Hardly the glamorous “Creating a Smarter
Planet” organization we know today.
IBM’s secrets to success came from an unlikely
resource who was named President in 1915: Thomas J. Watson, the second in
command at National Cash Register. With just a few practical
tenets, Watson laid down the enduring foundation
for IBM’s success — a focus on the customer and on customer service, a sales
culture that built trust and respect, and an environment that instilled pride
and loyalty into every worker. The result? Profit, passion, and growth, with
integrity. In the 1990s, IBM had to reinvent itself or risk becoming irrelevant
in the marketplace, which it did by reemphasizing its customer focus and
creating clarity in its positioning.
In the 2000s, it had to reinvent itself again as
the competitive landscape shifted once more, which it did by emphasizing its
role in providing integrated solutions, not merely products.
This is not a book about IBM. But as subsequent
legendary leaders have proven, those enduring, practical tenets can serve every
business well.
How Many of these Stubborn Market Challenges Are
Grinding You Down?
Each year a variety of organizations publish lists
of the Top 10 CEO Challenges based on polling business owners and leaders. And
inevitably, five stubborn market-related issues keep coming up again and again
on these lists, although the order may shift from year to year:
1. Earning
Customer Loyalty and Retention
2. Generating
Sustained and Steady Top-Line Growth
3. Ensuring
Bottom-Line Growth in Profit
4. Building a
Corporate Reputation for Quality Products and Services
5. Stimulating
Innovation and Creativity and Enabling Entrepreneurship
Why don’t we ever get traction and put those
Challenges behind us? Because 70 years of thought leadership in the business
press, from universities and in executive programs, has left us with more
shoulds than hows and a lot of flavor-of-the-month distractions that
sound promising but are hard to translate into bottom-line impact.
Let’s change that.
This Book Is for You When …
… most of the books you’ve read are sitting
on your shelf and have not had any impact on your business;
… some of the books you’ve read have inspired
you but you struggled when you tried to put them into practice because the
author shared the
shoulds but left you to figure out the hows; and
… you’ve tried to implement ideas in the past
as an army of one only to run out of steam, run out of time, or run out of
focus when you find yourself spending more time trying to get people to change
and get on board than actually implementing anything.
Move Beyond the Myths
Here’s your wake-up call and a bold promise.
We’re Too Busy
FACT: All of us are
busy. None of us have spare time. Or do we? Over 90% of executives polled admit
that they spend between 1 and 2 hours a day on e-mail … often more. So here’s
your wake-up call: unless you work in the order entry department, e-mail does
not move the needle
in your business because it does
not create cash flow, profit, or growth. In fact, it
leaves you working everyone  else’s
agenda when, as a leader, it is up to you to set the direction and lead by
doing. E-mail is a nice, easy, reactive way to start the day and waste most of
the morning. And it’s killing your company.
We Have to Be “Always On”
FACT: We’re tethered
to responding instantaneously to our phones, our e-mail, and other
interruptions, and there are times when that’s appropriate, but more often it’s
simply busy work. I’m not saying that you have to abandon e-mail — it’s a part
of our lives in the 21st century, just as the telephone and voice mail became a
reality in the 20th. But what is currently in your in-box or on your priority
list that is
more important than securing the future of your business for your
employees, your family, and your community? What’s more important than building
a profitable, growing business
that can weather any economic turmoil that global
change can throw at it?
There’s No Way Out
FACT: The noise is
getting louder now that texting and social media elements are also in the mix
of e-mail, voice mail, and more. Yet one simple shift is all that’s required to
completely transform
noise into results, and I invite you to share
Appendix 1 with your entire organization to help them make that shift. In the
meantime, here’s my bold promise.
If you have
time for e-mail, you have time
to once and for
all overcome the stubborn
challenges holding you back.
When you follow the Solutions in Plain Sight
outlined in this book and access the Rapid Results Resources that ensure you
have to waste precious time reinventing the wheel, you will transform your
business in less time than you’re currently spending on e-mail.
Close the Gaps when you apply uncommon strategies
and tactics that will shift your thinking forever
Our biggest challenge as business leaders at all
levels is simply to overcome the thinking that’s kept us stuck with those
Challenges. Many of us were taught old-world thinking, long before today’s realities
of the Internet, globalization, recurring corporate scandals, all-too-frequent
recessions, and a rate of change that’s difficult to keep up with. It’s time to
hold our beliefs, myths, and common practices up to a very harsh light of
uncommon sense and retool for the future. It’s time to replace them with a road
map that delivers results. This first section, Possibilities, is going to give
you two powerful tools to do just that.
Most businesses won’t succeed in making the shift.
They’ll remain mired in the “we’ve always done it this way” paradigm, because
they simply won’t invest the time and energy to be open
to new approaches, and they won’t take the time to
build a road map that takes them to their Possibilities, step by step. They’ll continue
to default back to “business as usual,” because they think it’s easier, even
though they know it’s not working, and they need a new approach. Unfortunately,
they’re unknowingly making their lives and the lives of everyone in the
organization more difficult, and more uncertain.
Take a look at the shapes Figure 1. How many forms
of transportation can you spot? Look carefully, as the shapes hold the key to
your transformation. How many did you see? What were they? (Go to Appendix 2
for the answer.)

Rapid Results Resources: Put
some energy into your regular meetings and start the process of
Transformation with “The 101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership
Team.” Use a couple of the questions every week to get your team thinking about
Profit, Passion, and Growth, and to get their creative juices flowing. Download
your copy at
Solutions in Plain Sight: Inform. Inspire.
Motivate. Systematically Transform.
By opening the cover of Profit
in Plain Sight
, you’ve already taken your
first step to becoming more open, more focused, and more successful. You’ve
taken your first step towards creating a process for sustainable levels of
increased profits. And you’ve taken your first step that will differentiate
your business from your competitors’ when you implement well. Just keep turning
the pages to make it happen.
Infuse Your Employees With Possibilities
What does it mean to Infuse
employees? It means embedding the desire to be part
of something more, to be the best, to behave every
day in
ways that add value to your customers, and to earn profit with integrity that
will help the entire company grow and succeed in the future.
It means engaging them with the Drivers of
Transformation that you’ll see in Part I, Possibilities, which will give them
the powerful AHA! Moments of information, inspiration, and motivation.
It means involving them in creating the road map
forward, because information, inspiration, motivation, and good intentions need
to be turned into action before you can transform stubborn challenges into
Profit, Passion, and Growth (see Figure 2).
People support what they create. When you Infuse your teams with the passion and talent to be part of the solution,
you’ll divide and conquer the workload and transform your profit and growth
more easily than you might imagine.
Enthuse Your Customers
What does it mean to Enthuse
your customers? It means creating an environment
where they love doing business with you and know that your success is part of
their success, because you save them time, make or save them money, solve real
problems for them, give them peace of mind, and make them feel good. It means
being the path of least resistance and getting it right the first time. It
means they’re happy to pay for the value you provide.
It’s what happens in Part II, Practicalities, when
you take action with the systematic approach of the Profit in Plain Sight
Framework to solve the five stubborn challenges that are holding you back from leading
your market by industriously activating your road map to success (see Figure
Activate the
power of
Infused employees with the Two Drivers of Transformation.
Trigger the
factors that
Enthuse customers as you systematically overcome five
stubborn market-driven challenges with integrated solutions that build upon each
Achieve Profit,
Passion, and Growth … in less time than you’re spending on e-mail.
Overcome Your Biggest Obstacles
Right now you may be thinking you don’t have the
time. Your people aren’t onside. You have other priorities that need your
attention and focus. You’re uncertain of whether you can make a commitment to
see this through. You don’t believe that significant profit increases are
possible in your business or in your industry. Hogwash!
Bringing the voices of your customers into your organization is a
powerful, counterintuitive, yet proven, approach to see what’s possible from a
tactical perspective and will powerfully move you past
“we’ve always done it this way” thinking with each of five stubborn
market-driven challenges. In this book, you’ll learn exactly how to do that for
You’ll stop guessing at what it will take to keep your customers loyal
for longer and know for certain how to become their preferred partner. You’ll
stop guessing what they might value and know for certain how to deliver value
to them that results in Top-Line Growth. You’ll stop applying bandaids to
quality issues and get the sludge out of your system to stop the profit leaks
and grow your Bottom Line. And you’ll know exactly how to avoid “me too”
inventions that are passing for innovation and innovate in low-risk, low-cost ways
that will set you apart from your competitors.
The Only Person Who Likes Change Is a Baby with a
Wet Diaper
Even with technology, globalization, credit crunches,
and economic turmoil, people still need to buy goods and services and people
still do business with people. The need to
your customers
with the desire to do
business with you and to
infuse your
with the passion and talent to deliver never
What does need to change is how you tackle those
five stubborn market-driven challenges, and therein lies the stumbling block.
Your people can’t buy into the typical approach of
an endless stream of unrelated tasks, so-called best practices (which
don’t differentiate
you from your competitors), flavor-of-the-month management and proverbial
silver bullets. Over 90% of business owners, leaders, and key employees polled
admit they get lost chasing bright shiny objects, and those are simply the equivalent
of trying to change nice, dry, comfortable diapers to icky wet diapers
that don’t make sense to your people. Uncertainty, seemingly wasted time,
wasted effort, confusion, and the feeling of a lack of progress simply causes
fear and resistance.
Harvard Professor W. Earl Sasser was the first to refer to the plethora
of stand-alone tactics as “Kidney Stone Management” (his lengthy list back in
the 1990s has only expanded with time).
We’ve trained our staff to expect that whatever new idea is out there,
it’s a kidney stone
— it will only cause them
pain for a while, it will pass, and business as usual can return
. No wonder our people are burned-out and skeptical when so many new
initiatives are launched, so many seem important, and so many run out of steam.
Explain Kidney Stone Management to your executive and management teams at all
levels. You’re guaranteed a few rueful chuckles of recognition and an AHA!
Moment that indicates that approach is no longer going to be part of your
leadership practices.
That’s the reason Profit in Plain Sight will make a difference when others haven’t — solving these Challenges
for good comes down to realizing that you’re in wet diapers and wanting the dry
ones you’ll get by shifting the way you do business. Dry diapers are the result
of implementing the step-by-step road map of over 57 detailed, value-add Profit
and Growth Accelerators for
near term yet sustainable Profit, Passion, and Growth.
When your people have a mental map of where they’re going, and how
they’re going to get there (see Figure 3), Kidney Stone Manage-ment is no
longer a problem and they will be informed,
inspired, and motivated to get into the dry diapers. A systematic and integrated process rather
than a series of disconnected events will consistently create successes and a
sense of forward momentum and progress — the transformation you’re looking for.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Unsuccessful businesspeople try to go it alone,
reluctant to show their weakness by asking for help. Successful businesspeople
ask for help all the time. They call it getting input and they know the value
not reinventing the
Profit in Plain Sight is the window to Rapid Results Resources that are not just shoulds but specific hows — proven step-by-step instructions plus additional
proven strategies and tactics that are beyond the scope of this book.
They deliver results more rapidly and easily than
you might imagine. They deliver
smart practices specifically implemented in the context
of your unique company. All you have to do is commit to transforming
passive reading into active learning
for results.
Every business leader who has succeeded in doubling
their profitability or more — in less than one year, in less time than they and
their team were spending on e-mail — has identified obstacles to success. And
as they began the process, they found that each and every obstacle dissolved
with the straightforward, practical approaches laid out in this book. At this
point, all you need to do is finish reading the next two pages, and take the
actions outlined. Then, turn the page and do it again. That’s it. Are you with
We’ve all heard that you can lead a horse to water
but you can’t make it drink. But I always say that you
can make the horse
thirsty or make the water sweeter. From the sheer fact that you’re reading P
in Plain Sight
, I know you’re thirsty.
Make Your Horses Thirsty Too
Embracing a process to transform challenges into
opportunities doesn’t come from rigorous change management processes that
try to force-fit people into a change that they haven’t bought into. That’s
just leading the horse to water. Instead, it comes from naturally leading your
team where you want them to go by building an
infused culture that thirsts for excellence and that reflects their desire to
find the easiest and most effective ways to achieve that end. When you share
this book throughout your organization, you’ll help lead your teams’ thirst for
where you want them to go.
Make the Water Sweeter
Sweeter water means helping you and your organization find ways to
streamline complexity and stay focused on what really drives your business
forward. That’s where the systematic Profit in Plain Sight Framework is
extremely valuable — bite-sized modules are easy to implement, in less time
than you’re currently spending on e-mail. Make the process painless and make
the water sweet when you take an integrated approach rather than succumbing to
Kidney Stone Management.
I’ve spent time in the trenches “doing,” and even longer with the responsibilities
of leading others. I’ve experienced the frustration of dealing with these
Challenges over and over, just as you have.
I’ve used every one of these Solutions in Plain Sight, as a leader in large
and small companies and with my consulting clients. They’ve worked across a
broad range of industries and they’ll work for you too.
Simply. Accelerate Your Results
There is really only one theme to this book — driving Profit, Passion, and Growth. We’re going to
put many lenses on that theme, but never lose sight of that as our goal.
There are only two outcomes you need to achieve in order to realize Profit, Passion, and
Growth —
enthusing your customers, and infusing your employees. I’ll show you what you need to do
accomplish both.
There are Two Drivers of Transformation that serve
as wet diapers to motivate change and, in Part I, you’ll see Possibilities as you
learn how to activate them to kick-start the process and help
you measure success and progress.
There are 15 practical, actionable Solutions in
Plain Sight in this book and a total of 57 Profit and Growth Accelerators in
the Profit in Plain Sight Framework. In Part II, Shift to Practicalities,
you’ll see your Profit in Plain Sight road map
unfold as we tackle each of the five stubborn market-driven challenges.
Whether you take action on every Challenge or
cherry-pick just those that are holding your business back the most, you will
see impact on your Profit. You’ll impact the Passion your teams bring to the
business. And you’ll sow the seeds for Growth.
There are no quick fixes … but Rapid Results are
within your reach.
You can reach and exceed your goals. You can secure your
business from the ups and downs of economic turmoil, and invest in everything
you need to take your business to the next level and help drive our economy
forward. You
can finally feel confident in your plan for the future.
If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?
Work is slogging it
out in isolation;
play is getting support to achieve breakthroughs and
feeling a sense of progress. So go ahead and put some play back in your day and
some bucks on your bottom line.
This Works.
You Can Do It. You Will Succeed.

Take these Actions
Download your copy of “The
101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership Teams” at
to start changing the conversations at every level of your organization.
This is an ideal tool for executives and mid-level managers to use to spice up your
regular team meetings and begin to shift your culture to one of profit and
See Appendix 1 for the
secrets of achieving focus and transformation in less time than you’re
currently spending on e-mail.
Check out Appendix 2 for
the solution to the “forms of transportation” brain teaser at the beginning of
this Chapter.
Small Steps.
Big Impact!
Five Minutes, Five Questions:
Reflect for Deeper Learning
Reflective questions at the end of every Chapter offer powerful deeper learning
on how your thinking is changing, so that you can generate the AHA! Moments to
break free of the conventional thinking that keeps you stuck when trying to
solve five stubborn market-driven
Reflection simply means taking the time to monitor what’s happening in
your own mind, evaluate what you’re learning, and ponder what is shifting or
changing in terms of your attitudes and behaviors, with the goal of eventually
building a new mental framework of how things work. This will allow you to
continually add relevant information and discard the irrelevant.
Your first step is internal transformation, to identify what attitudes have already shifted and what
behaviors will follow.
But the reflective process only works if you use it.
Ask yourself these questions right now:
1. How can I use the reframing approach I saw in the brain teaser as a
metaphor for opportunities hidden in our business?

2. Which items on the list of five stubborn market-driven challenges are
top of mind for me right now — and why?


3. How effectively are we solving those challenges today?


4. How often do our people see our efforts as Kidney Stones because we fail
to give them the big picture with a road map for implementation?


5. How committed am I to create an environment where my horses are thirsty
and the water is sweet?

Inspire. Motivate. Transform.
Are you ready to get started with the Two Drivers
of Transformation that deliver big wake-up calls and pave the way to transform your
business more quickly and easily than you might imagine?
If you prefer, you can go right to whichever
Challenge is your greatest burning issue today, and then work backwards to put the
foundational work in place that may be required to trigger the


About The Author

Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more in less than one year, in less time than they’re spending on email.  Drawing on over 25 years of deep profit and growth expertise from her “in the trenches” and executive experiences with Fortune 500 companies and smaller firms, she closes the all-too-frequent gap between the good intentions vs. year-end results.  The solution is the roadmap she wishes she’d had – a Profit Plan that transforms “we don’t have the budget for that!” into a “YES!” to funding every greater dream and goal for their business as they create prosperity for their company, their employees, their customers, and their communities.

As a best-selling author, international speaker, and accelerator, Anne inspires thousands of business leaders each year to Profit… On Purpose by moving past conventional thinking to discover Profit In Plain Sight.  Audiences and clients love Anne’s fun and interactive approach based on value to the customer, NOT accounting, and her ability to create profound AHA! Moments so that participants leave with a new perspective of their possibilities plus practical actions they can implement for immediate impact.  Anne is the Managing Director of the Legendary Value Institute, a popular faculty member in an award-winning MBA program, and a passionate boater on west coast of British Columbia.

You can visit Anne’s website at
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