Book Feature: A Fresh Take on Ergonomics by Betsy Oldenburg

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Inside the Book:

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

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

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

Meet the Author:

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

Giveaway

Betsy is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

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

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Inside the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

Meet the Author:

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

Giveaway

Katherine is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

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

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Inside the Book:

Fumi Book

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

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

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

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

Release Your Vision Torch cannot be refuted or disproved.

Release Your Vision Torch is

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

~ Maxine Holt Donaldson

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

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

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

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

Meet the Author

Fumi Hancock

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

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

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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Gabrielle Pelicci

Dr. Gabby is a leading expert on Holistic Medicine and TV Host at Miami-based Health & Wellness Channel.  Dr. Gabby has traveled to 40 countries, worked with thousands of clients – including celebrities and high profile people – and has more than a decade of teaching experience under her belt at top universities in Mind-Body Medicine and Holistic Health. Dr. Gabby’s expertise is regularly featured in National and Local Media such as MSNBC, The New York Post, and the Huffington Post. Dr. Gabby is the Founder of Women in Wellness Career Training, a one-of-a-kind course and community designed to empower and inform you about how to build a purposeful and profitable holistic business.

Her latest book is Blissful Business: A Gorgeous Guide to Creating Your Dream Career in Health & Wellness.

For More Information

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

I started my journey into wellness back in 2001 when I enrolled in a massage therapy program and healing touch (energy medicine) program. I was having migraines, panic attacks and other problems from YEARS of being stressed out and I needed to find a way to heal myself.  When I enrolled in these programs, I felt like I had found my “home” – I knew that this was the kind of work that I wanted to do with others.  Fast-forward 15 years, and I’ve touched thousands of clients, taught hundreds of students, and traveled to more than 40 countries to learn about different approaches to healing.

I wrote this book because I really wanted to share everything that I’ve learned about how to build a purposeful and profitable holistic business and I wanted the information to be affordable and accessible to new practitioners like yoga teachers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, nurses, homeopaths, energy healers and other light-workers.

There is so much information out there and it can be really overwhelming.  This book is a simple, easy guidebook that covers all the critical things that you need to know to be prosperous. It is both creative and practical – a combination of both left and right brain thinking – a truly holistic approach.

I really had to dig into all of my experiences and extract the wisdom that allowed me to travel around the world as a massage therapist, open a wellness center, teach yoga and meditation, become a professor of holistic health and more. I wanted to create a blueprint because I never had one – and I wished that I had! It would have been so helpful to have a guideline instead of trying to figure everything out by trial and error.

I came up with the title “Blissful Business” because I am blissful when my business is running smoothly and I believe that everyone should have the same experience with their work – joyful, happy, satisfying pleasure of doing work that you love and having a positive impact on the world.  I spent over a year designing and writing this book so that it would be super easy to understand and super effective in helping others to have more success no matter what stage of business that they are in.

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

This is a self-published book.

After that, what happened?

After I published it, I signed up with Pump Up Your Book to do a virtual book tour and promoted it to my community.

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

I blog once a week on my website GabriellePelicci.com.  I also have an expert blog on SheKnows.com.  Blogging is a great way to get exposure and build awareness about your work.  It also builds your credibility and your following.

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

I use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.   I find Facebook to be the most effective in building community and driving traffic to my website.

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

I signed up with Pump Up Your Book to do a virtual book tour and I sent announcements to my mailing list.

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

I think that having my book available on Amazon is a very effective way of promoting it.

Interview with Trillian Anderson, author of Unawakened

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

Thanks for having me! Unawakened continues the story of Alexa Daegberht as she learns to cope with the changed reality brought on by the Dawn of Dae. Her relationship with Rob grows, and when her world is turned upside down again, she begins to discover her true strengths despite being a normal, unawakened human.

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

I’m a self-published author, and unlike many of my other novels, I decided to do a larger book launch party on facebook. So, the first thing I did to promote the book was to get the ball rolling on that party. Of all of the things I’ve tried, it was definitely my favorite way to celebrate a release of a novel!

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 primarily use facebook and twitter, but my social media usage often fluctuates by how much writing I’m doing. When I’m having a good writing sprint, I use social media very little. That’s not necessarily a good thing! That said, I honestly use social media as a way to take short breaks in the day and chat about what I’m up to. I use it to chat with friends and fans who want to say hi.

As for effectiveness… I’ve gradually been shifting my opinion of viewing social media as effective or ineffective. Sure, some folks have a lot of success with social media, but I really like just using it to talk to friends and fans.

Instead of stressing over it, I’ve decided I’d just rather keep writing more books. (Which tends to make my friends and fans happy!)

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

I occasionally use crowdfunding as a way of connecting with readers and financing future books. I’m a multi-pseudonym author, which is a bit of a challenge. Crowdfunding is a really different but interesting platform. In the current crowdfund I’m working on, for my primary pseudonym, the primary reward is a coloring book—one I’ve drawn and inked myself. I’m hoping to use my art to help promote (and pay for) my fiction work in the future.

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?

While I am not sure if it has been the most effective (I don’t have enough data) I really enjoyed the recent facebook launch party I did for Unawakened. It was a great way to meet with new and old fans alike, which was really rewarding for me—and worth far more than just monetary gain.

About The Book



Title: Unawakened
Series: Dae Portals Book 2
Author: Trillian Anderson
Publisher: Bright Day Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Format: eBook  / ePub / PDF – 305 pages
ASIN: B017WHH9EI
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Buy The Book:


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads
Book Description:


In order to restore peace after the Dawn of Dae, the United States has declared martial law. Enforcing the militant regime won’t be easy, and a new policing force of dae and their bonded humans has been mustered to keep the populace under tight control.

Alexa wants nothing to do with the government, its army, or the special forces meant to keep rebellion at bay, but she has a choice: do what Kenneth Smith wants or die a quick death. As one of the unawakened, she has no chance of infiltrating the police on her own. Forced to partner with Kenneth’s dae, who dislikes her almost as much as she dislikes it, her life hinges on how well she convinces others she’s a big, bad monster just like them instead of an ordinary human woman.

Working for the police is no easier than dealing with Kenneth’s work. During the day, she’s a part of the law, but at night, she’s a tool of crime and war. It’s only a matter of time before she’s caught–or fails her mission and is killed by her drug-dealing boss.

If she wants to live a free life, she’ll need to take care of Kenneth once and for all. Since he won’t listen to reason and let her go, she’s determined to buy her freedom with his death.

Unfortunately, Kenneth isn’t the only problem in her life, and unless she does something about Rob, she’ll lose the independence she fought so hard for. Worse, unless she’s careful, he’ll make her like it…


Book Excerpt:


Chapter One
Three months after Kenneth Smith had tried to kill me, I returned to his home with a katana and a gun. I wore the sword as a message and a promise I wouldn’t go quietly if Kenneth or one of his other hounds tried to kill me again.
The gun would be how I kept my lethal promise, and its weight in my shoulder holster reassured me. Despite the early winter chill, I left my leather coat open so I could reach my Beretta if I needed it.
I likely would.
Violence I understood, and I found the presence of both my weapons comforting. The day was ripe for bloodshed, and my sword and gun wouldn’t help me against many of the magical dae, but I did my best to ignore that fact. It hadn’t been so long ago the bonded had been regular humans without the strength and power the magical dae gave them.
Humans remembered the purpose of a sword, and the dae bled when cut. The problem was getting close enough to kill them before they killed me.
The sunrise painted the eastern sky in red and gold, and while I wanted to find somewhere quiet to watch it, I didn’t dare. I had a limited window of opportunity to act, and I couldn’t afford to waste it.
Before the Dawn of Dae, the early hour wouldn’t have been so peaceful, safe, or quiet. The emergence of the magical had turned sunrise into one of the serene parts of the day. Many of the dangerous dae were returning to their homes to sleep while the more cautious and mundane remained indoors.
In an hour, the city would awaken. I wanted to be done with Kenneth Smith so I could get on with my life, not that I was sure what sort of life waited for me. While I hadn’t been expelled from college, classes hadn’t resumed, and no one was really sure if they would.
For the moment, education came second to restructuring society. The police and military ruled in a state of martial law implemented at the government’s decree. Despite the chokehold on the population—or because of it—things were slowly returning to normal. Most businesses had reopened, and life went on. Most of the bonded and their dae had adapted to their new partnerships and circumstances, although there were still those like Arthur around, who wanted to use their newfound powers to control, destroy, or change the world.
Dae like Arthur, ready and willing to use their powers to get what they wanted, frightened me far more than I wanted to admit. With Rob’s help, I had no scars from my time in captivity—not visible ones, at least. Some of the wounds the fire breather had inflicted on me wouldn’t heal, not until I saw to Arthur’s death myself.
I’d let Rob and Colby help. They deserved satisfaction, too. Before I could hunt Arthur, however, I needed to deal with Kenneth Smith once and for all.
I reached his street, and it didn’t surprise me to find Kenneth’s favorite bitch, Lily, waiting on his doorstep. Unlike me, she held her gun out in the open, and the instant her gaze settled on me, I understood her silent message.
One of us would walk away alive. The other wouldn’t.
I smiled. Lily’s challenge changed nothing. Kenneth Smith would fall, and if I had to take out his favorite bitch first, so be it. Business was business.
We had never liked each other anyway.
Lily watched me approach, and her eyes caught my attention. Before the Dawn of Dae, they had been blue, accenting her porcelain skin. The emergence of the dae hadn’t been kind to her, graying her complexion and turning her irises a burning orange.
Passion, love, hatred, and anger gave fire breathers their strength; that much I had learned from Rob. Lily fidgeted, flexing her left hand. A thin coating of yellow fur sprouted over her skin.
I sighed, well aware of the lethal combination of werewolf and fire breather. In a way, I had hoped Lily hadn’t bonded with a dae, although the development didn’t surprise me very much. People like me, the unawakened, were few and far between, and most dae didn’t know what to make of us.
I didn’t know what to make of us, either, which didn’t help matters any. I’d yet to meet someone like me, someone who lacked a dae to teach them the new ways of the world.
“You shouldn’t have come back,” Lily said, and flames crackled in her voice.
Why did she carry a gun? I considered her weapon; it was an antique, far older than my Beretta. Rust marred its surface. It was the type of weapon Kenneth liked, so old the government didn’t view it as too much of a threat. If the authorities found it, the deteriorating state of the pistol would convince most it wasn’t a real danger to anyone.
Kenneth, thanks to his rank, would probably get away with having it, as long as no one found any ammunition to go with it.
I knew better, though. Maybe the gun appeared damaged beyond repair, but if Lily cocked it and pulled the trigger, I’d die all the same. Kenneth didn’t keep useless things around, people included.
Lily’s gaze lowered to my katana, and the woman smiled. “That won’t save you.”
“Nice to see you, too. Is Kenneth around?”
“You won’t be seeing him.” Lily’s smile widened, and she fiddled with the hammer of the pistol. “I’d be happy to leave a message for you, though.”
I glanced in the direction of Kenneth’s house and smiled for the hidden cameras. “Yeah, I have a message you can give him.”
“Oh?” Lily adjusted the grip on her pistol, her thumb poised over the hammer, although she didn’t cock it.
In addition to the cameras, the front of Kenneth’s house was wired with microphones, so if my boss was watching, he’d get my message loud and clear. I matched the woman’s fake smile and crossed my arms over my chest. I slipped my right hand beneath the leather jacket Rob had given to me.
Lily’s posture remained relaxed, and her thumb slid away from her pistol’s hammer. “Well? What’s your message? Tell me and leave. You don’t belong here anymore.”
Escaping Kenneth Smith wasn’t so easy, and Rob had told me my boss wanted to speak with me. Rob hadn’t been happy about relaying the message, either.
The next day, he had disappeared.
If Kenneth Smith was behind Rob’s vanishing act, I’d do a hell of a lot more to him than kill his favorite bitch. I’d ruin his wealth and reputation before I murdered him and his dae.
In a way, the Dawn of Dae had been a blessing in disguise. I had Rob, and I had Colby. Maybe my future was uncertain at best, but I no longer needed Kenneth to survive. New paths had opened to me.
Lily glared at me when I remained silent. “I’m not letting you into the house.”
“Are those Kenneth’s orders?” I tilted my head to the side. “I was given a message he wanted to see me.”
“I’m not letting you into the house.”
Two could play the repetition game, and I had no intention of losing. “Are those Kenneth’s orders?”
“Are you deaf? I’m not letting you into the house. I’m giving you one chance to turn around and walk away. I’ll shoot you and throw your body in the river. No one will miss you.”
If I turned and walked away, she’d shoot me anyway; I saw her desire for my death in the way she smiled. We had been on neutral terms for a long time. When I made her job with Kenneth harder, I bribed her, but because of my stubbornness and my inability to sleep with our boss, she had many reasons to hate me. Just hearing my name was probably enough to anger Kenneth since Rob had stolen me from him.
I preferred to think I had stolen Rob with no intention of letting the dae escape me, but that was another matter entirely. My sometimes roommate, frequent lover, and partner-in-crime wouldn’t be happy when he found out I had gone to see Kenneth alone.
The remorse of killing the woman would hit me later, but such was life on the fringe while working for the elite. Kill or be killed, and I had no intention of dying quite yet.
After several months of waiting for my broken ribs to heal, my patience with Kenneth and his operations had grown thin. I pulled my gun out of its holster, took aim, and before she could do more than gasp and flinch, I fired.
Lily crumpled to the sidewalk, twitched, and fell still. I waited until her blood stained the ground around her before stepping to her body, gun ready in case she decided to get back up.
Even the weakest of the dae and their bonded had ceased decaying to ash last month. Rob had sounded both pleased and annoyed by the development. I touched my fingers to Lily’s neck in search of a pulse.
She was already cold, as though all of the heat had been sucked out of her body right along with the fires that had burned in her eyes. Her blood stained my hand. Some people loved to kill, but I wasn’t one of them. I couldn’t even force myself to look at her. I swallowed several times so I wouldn’t throw up, rose to my feet, and headed for Kenneth’s door.
It opened before I had a chance to knock. Kenneth scowled at Lily’s body before turning his attention to me. “Was shooting her necessary?”
“She would have shot me if I had turned around, and she wasn’t letting me in.”
“All I have to do to lock you away for a long time is make a single call and inform the police you shot someone,” my boss hissed through clenched teeth.
“And I’ll tell them she’s a fire breather who was armed with an illegal gun. She threatened me.” I stowed my Beretta, pulled out my wallet, and flipped it open so Kenneth could see my concealed carry license. “Unlike her, I’m allowed to shoot people who threaten me, Mr. Smith. Rob told me you wanted to speak with me?”
“Come in, Collie.” Backing out of the way to give me space to slip in, he shut the door behind me and gestured to the basement stairwell. “I’m surprised you came.”
“Rob approved of our meeting.” Rob hadn’t been happy about it, but if he thought it was important enough to involve me in Kenneth Smith’s dealings once again, I’d listen—and look for a way out of working with him permanently.
“He has you eating out of his hand,” Kenneth snarled, stalking me down the stairs to his basement lounge. I flopped on the couch, propping my booted feet up on the antique coffee table. If Kenneth noticed the fine leather, I hoped he would wonder if I had purchased them for myself or if Rob had acquired them for me.
While Rob had made the purchase, I had paid the dae back for the boots by doing tedious paperwork for him—one of the few activities I could manage while my concussion and ribs healed.
Working with Rob had a lot more perks and a lot better pay than dealing with Kenneth. Whatever he wanted had to be important if Rob wanted me to deal with him again.
“So what? Business, Mr. Smith. You need me for something, else you wouldn’t have talked with Rob. I just killed your favorite, and you’re ignoring it. What do you need me for, what’s my pay, and when do you need it done?”
“As astute as ever. Very well. I’ve gone over the documents you provided, and I want you to sniff out Terry Moore’s associates, including the dean of your college. I also have a second job for you, if you’re up for the challenge.”
Dean Lewis had been paying Terry Moore to murder women while they were under the influence of Kenneth’s drugs. Not only had Terry murdered them, he had raped them, and the drugs had ensured they enjoyed it right up until he had killed them.
The thought of killing again didn’t enthuse me, but I was prepared to make an exception for the dean of my college. I still had the video evidence, hidden away where no one would find it without my help. I still had a copy of them on my personal laptop, too, waiting for me to delve into their horrors in search of answers. I didn’t need them anymore, though. The videos’ content was seared into my memories, and I woke too often from nightmares where I was one of Terry’s victims.
Sometimes, Terry became Arthur in my nightmares, and those were the nights I woke up drenched in a cold sweat. The dreams had gotten worse since Rob had vanished, as though his presence in my bed somehow kept them away. A few times when I had woken up from nightmares and Rob had been there, he chased them away and replaced my fear with more pleasant things.
“You’re asking a lot,” I grumbled.
“You’re the only one I have in a position to get what I need from him.”
I frowned, leaning back and stretching my arms along the back of the couch, positioning myself so Kenneth got a good look at my Beretta. “Likely true. What do you need me to find out?”
“First, I want you to find out what he was having Terry Moore do with my drugs. The earliest invoices were dated a week after I supplied him. Seems like too much of a coincidence to me.”
“I see. I guess I need to know what the drugs do. You gave me a brief summary of the effects. They can’t be detected on the current tests. They’re mild. But what do they actually do?”
Kenneth smiled, but there was nothing friendly about his expression.
I tensed, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something dark coming towards me. I whipped my hand to my gun, but Kenneth’s dae was faster. He caught my wrist, yanked my arm back, and before I could even scream, he jabbed a needle into my arm.
Kenneth had moved while I was distracted by his dae. He clamped his hand over my mouth to keep me quiet. I thrashed, but the two didn’t release me until Kenneth’s dae pulled the needle out and tossed the syringe on the coffee table.
A few smears of red lingered in the barrel, and I trembled, remembering what the drugs had done to Terry Moore’s victims.
“I don’t know exactly what they do. That’s not my problem, Miss Daegberht. It is, however, now yours. I expect a full report when it wears off. Don’t worry. Jacob will take you home so you don’t have any unfortunate mishaps on the way. I’ve been told by reputable sources it takes about twenty minutes to kick in, no matter how it’s taken.”
Kenneth pulled his hand away from my mouth, and I realized he was wearing gloves. I shuddered.
Had Rob told them about my allergy? To cover my growing fear, I snapped my teeth together and sat straighter. “You son of a bitch.” I rubbed where I had been stabbed with the needle. Kenneth’s dae had also been wearing gloves.
At least I wouldn’t have to deal with an allergic reaction in addition to being drugged.
“You should be happy, Miss Daegberht. This is the good stuff, the stuff you couldn’t afford even if you wanted it. You’ll finally have the perfect high you’ve been searching for all this time. Don’t think I hadn’t noticed you wanting another hit, no matter how good a job you did fighting it.”
“Give me a reason I shouldn’t kill you right now.”
“You’ll die, for starters. You’d probably be dead before you could pull the trigger. Don’t kid yourself. You won’t do it. You only killed Lily because she always had what you wanted. Take her home, Jacob. No side trips. However appealing she might be to you, she’s off limits—for now.”
I spat curses at him and reached for my gun. Kenneth’s dae grabbed my arm and hauled me to my feet. In spite of Kenneth’s estimate of twenty minutes, the drugs were doing something to me—something that made it difficult to resist the dae.
“Oh, and another thing, Miss Daegberht. It should wear off in about twelve hours. If my understanding of the drug is correct, I recommend you stay home. Do try not to forget to write notes on the drug’s effects. It may be important for your research later. We can talk more about your job after you’ve recovered. Perhaps I’ll come visit you a little later tonight, once you’ve gotten accustomed to the drug.”
There was so much I wanted to tell him, but my tongue refused to obey me. My arms and legs were no better. Kenneth’s dae dragged me towards the stairwell, and I stumbled along with him. By the time Jacob got me into Kenneth’s car, I could barely stay on my feet, let alone fight him. Had Rob set me up? If so, why?
When the first tingling wave of the high hit, everything narrowed to the sensation of my clothes caressing my skin, the leather rubbing against me, and the pleasure of even the lightest touch.
The initial surge of the drug’s influence subsided by the time Jacob dropped me off in front of my apartment, although my skin’s hypersensitivity to touch remained. The dae leered at me, leaving me with zero doubt of what he had in mind for me.
I liked when Rob looked me over head to toe, but Jacob doing it sent chills through me. I scrambled out of the car, backed out of the dae’s reach, and slipped my hand into my coat for my Beretta.
“You don’t want to do that, Miss Daegberht.”
“Oh, I do,” I replied, although I didn’t pull out the weapon. “If he even thinks of backstabbing me again, I’ll start sending his hounds back to him in pieces, and I’ll take out his most useful ones first. Lily was just the start. No more tricks. If he really wants my help, he better get his head out of his ass, because right now, I’m not feeling very benevolent. I may decide Dean Lewis might be interested in knowing Kenneth Smith is gunning for him.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“I wouldn’t? Are you so sure about that? I would, Jacob. I would, and I wouldn’t even hesitate. He broke his trust with me. If he’s stupid enough to think I’m going to just accept his attempt to kill me was a part of the work, he’s mistaken. He can also expect a hefty bill for this… stunt.”
Maybe the drug made all of my nerves sing, but once the initial surge of pleasure had faded, it hadn’t affected my ability to think. It didn’t smother my anger, either. I closed my fingers around my Beretta’s grip, wondering if I could get away with leaving another body lying around for someone to find.
With the emergence of the dae, bodies were plentiful and few seemed to miss the dead. Given time, once friendships and lives were rebuilt, people would miss those who were gone, but the world was currently inhabited by the strange who were also strangers. For all the dae often took on monstrous forms, they were still a lot like humans.
They only cared for those with close ties to them, ties most hadn’t had time to form.
“I’ll make certain he is aware of your opinion.”
“My opinion is non-negotiable, Mr. Jacob. Perhaps this will wake him up to reality: I’m tired of being stepped on. If he even thinks of trying to ruin my schooling, remind him if I can go behind his back and get admittance into Bach studies, there’s a lot more I can do, too.” While some of my speech was bluffing, one important fact remained: I had leverage on Dean Lewis and Kenneth Smith, if I could figure out the best way to use it. “Ask him if he wants me on his side, or should I have a talk with Dean Lewis?”
“Are you threatening him, Miss Daegberht?” the dae growled.
“I don’t make threats, dae. I make promises. Remember, he backstabbed me first. If he hadn’t sabotaged my gear, he wouldn’t be in this position right now. Get the fuck out of my sight. You and your pathetic master sicken me.”
I turned and stormed to my apartment building. If Jacob said anything, I didn’t hear him over the bang of me slamming the front door.

About The Author

Opener of Portals. Urban Fantasy Author. Mistress of Giggles. Warped Sense of Humor.
Trillian Anderson is, like so many of us, a figment of someone’s imagination. She was born somewhere in the United States, loves to travel, and has no scruples about moving to new and interesting places around the world. She loves fantasy fiction of all types, but holds a special fondness for urban fantasies, epic fantasies, and stories capable of capturing her imagine.
Most of all, she enjoys grabbing a flashlight, hiding under the blankets, and pretending she’s asleep when she’s, in actuality, reading a beloved book.
Connect with Trillian Anderson:
Virtual Book Tour




Book Feature: Candlelight in a Storm by Naveen Sridhar

Inside the Book:

Title: Candlelight in a Storm
Author: Naveen Sridhar
Publisher: Authorhouse
Pages: 280
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

“Candlelight in a Storm by Naveen Sridhar is the historical biography of his wife. Born during World War II and fleeing the violence there, later fleeing communist regimes as a teenager, and traveling the world, her story is at once colorful and harrowing. John F. Kennedy came to Germany and said ‘Ich bin ein Berliner,’ signifying that Germany did not need to be forever tarnished with the legacy of the Nazi party, and there was a generation of Germans looking to establish peace and freedom in the country. Candlelight in a Storm is the ode to this generation. Self-published historical memoirs can, at times, seem like a vanity project, i.e. something for the family to read, but less interesting for the casual, unaffiliated reader. Sridhar doesn’t fall into this trap due to the strength of his writing and the thoroughness of his research. As he makes clear in his introduction, he interviewed many people to prepare this book, so this is far more than a family history, it’s a history of an entire generation. For anyone thinking of writing this sort of family biography, this is a textbook in how to do it: combine objective overview with subjective experience. It helps that Sridhar’s writing is so stylistically rich. The narrative manages to be both detailed and breezy, with enough dialogue to make it really come to life, rather than being a turgid, fact-driven history.

If you are interested in World War II and haven’t gotten the “other side of the story,” Candlelight in a Storm is a good place to begin, and succeeds in telling an oft-neglected side of the history of these events.”—4.5 stars SPR Book Review. www.selfpublishingreview.com

“A must-read for those interested in Germany, the UK, and India post-World War Two. A fascinating, well-written book by an author who was there.”—Dan Poynter, author of The Self-Publishing Manual.

ORDER INFORMATION
Candlelight in a Storm is available for order at
amazon

Meet the Author:

Naveen Sridhar is a scientist and an author living in Germany. He has a Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical engineering. In his career as a research scientist in the German industry he has published a vast number of scientific articles. Beside his profession he was also active in the field of entertainment and authored in 2011 the book A Complete Guide to Ventriloquism: Principles, Practice and Performance. Born in India, he migrated to Germany at an early age for studies at the Technical University of Berlin. Widely travelled, he is fluent in eight languages. He lives with his wife in Germany. They have two grown sons.

Giveaway

Naveen is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins February 22 and ends on March 4.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 5.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

Interview with Nick A. Shepherd, author of Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations

Inside the Book

Reflective LeadersTitle: Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations
Author: Nick A. Shepherd and Peter J. Smyth
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Business and Economics
Format: Ebook/Paperback

An organization operating in the twenty-first century is different from one that operated during the Industrial Revolution. Today’s focus is on optimizing human potential; people are the enablers of most aspects of intangible value. People develop relationships with suppliers, customers, distributors, and other third parties through which work is executed. In Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations, authors Nick Shepherd and Peter Smyth take an integrated view of organizational performance that blends a focus on both outcomes and relationships.

Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations suggests a framework for developing and applying an improved approach to organizational leadership and management. In addition to philosophy and conceptual approaches, it presents tested practical tools and direction. It also delivers case studies of organizations that have applied Shepherd’s and Smyth’s ideas and realized measurable improvements in the day-to-day activities of the organization, along with measurably improved outcomes from the organizational activity.

Using over twenty years of practical consulting experience as well as careers in management, Shepherd and Smyth demonstrate how effective leaders can maintain a focus on organizational tasks and outcomes and do this while building and enhancing human relationships.

ORDER INFORMATION

Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations is available for order at

amazon

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Our book is about effective leadership. Children won’t learn from, or trust parents who say one thing and do another, and it’s the same for effective leaders. This book is designed to help existing and aspiring leaders of all kinds “reflect” upon their own personality and behavior and think about the impact this has on how others “see them.”

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

In many ways life and experience are the inspiration. Both of us have spent over 40 years each in the workplace and have come to realize that leadership is what “makes the difference” in an organization. We wanted to share what we have learned together in our last 25 years in management consulting especially in how behavior and personality are key success factors – for both individuals and organizations.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

People; we believe that the greatest waste in the world is the waste of human talent that comes from poor leadership. Almost all people are incredibly talented and the job of the leader is to recognize the unique talents in others and help them develop themselves.

Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?

Not really – other than reviewing the work and learning what we will do better the next time! One piece of writing is similar to one consulting contract – each of them offers a learning opportunity and hopefully helps enhance our personal wisdom that we can then share with others.

Who has influenced you throughout your writing career?

In this particular book we have influenced each other having come from very different backgrounds. It’s probably safe to say that for both of us every single person that we have met in our lives has, in some way impacted and influenced our thoughts and ideas.

What are some of your long term goals?

Nick wants to have “He made a difference” on his headstone; for both of us our whole focus in our careers has been to help others lead more effective lives and develop their own confidence, happiness and self-worth.

Meet the Author

Nick A. Shepherd has more than forty years of business experience. Since 1989, he has owned the management-consulting and professional-development company, EduVision Inc., which provides management-consulting and development services to public and private sector organizations.

Peter J. Smyth has over thirty-five years of experience in the fields of adult education and organizational consultation, counseling, psychology, social work, and mental health. He holds numerous qualifications in the areas of teamwork, leadership, coaching, emotional intelligence, and personal and organizational assessment.

Shepherd and Smyth have worked together for over twenty-five years facilitating workshops and helping clients enhance their teams and leadership capabilities.

Interview with Trillian Anderson, author of The Dawn of Dae

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

Hi! Thanks for having me. The Dawn of Dae is a slipstream urban fantasy and sci-fi dystopian novel that follows the adventures of Alexa Daegberht, who lives to witness the entire world change overnight. Faced with the mystical and magical, she becomes a rare normal human struggling to adapt to the drastically changed society… only to discover that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

With a few new friends in tow, she learns just what it’ll take to survive in a world gone mad. (We’re all mad hatters here! Except Alexa. She’s not.)

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

I’m a self-published author, although the process isn’t all that different from traditional publication. It really involves a lot of detail work, double checking everything, finding people who love books as much as I do, and working to make point a and point b all come together.

Mostly, I edited, edited, and edited the book. And then I edited it some more. (My boss (me) is a bit of a wench.)

After that, what happened?

I released my baby into the wilds and let it fly. Flying often involves a few crash landings, but we got off the ground with little difficulty. Here’s hoping for a long and safe flight, my precious book!

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

Despite some misconceptions, self-publishers have to promote pretty much the same way traditional publishers do… we often just don’t have the same budget they do!

Promoting is actually pretty fun sometimes. Although I didn’t do this with The Dawn of Dae’s release, I did have a pretty swanky launch party on facebook, where I gave away a bunch of awesome prizes to new and old fans alike.

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 love blogging. It’s fun. I usually review things on my blog, or I just talk about the state of the union. Sometimes I write about things that catch my attention. As for book sales, I can’t say my blog sells a lot of books, but it does sometimes, which makes it worth it.

Usually, though, my blog is for the hardcore fans who just want to see what I’m up to—and that’s really just as important, if not more important, than the actual sales. It’s also a branding thing. If you see a name often enough…

Well, I wish I could say people have seen my name often enough, but that hasn’t happened quite yet. Maybe soon.

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

I use facebook and twitter the most, as these social media outlets let me focus on my writing more than others. I really love google+, but it’s a major time sink for me, and posting to it has become more difficult since they cut off integration with gmail. So, I stopped using it as a general rule, doing once a week or so updates. I really want to get back into it, but I can’t afford hours a day on it.

Are they effective? Sure, I think they are—but you get out of it what you put in. That’s always the rule. Some days, I wish there was a way around this rule.

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

I do giveaways on amazon, and when one is running, I notify a lot of book sites to announce the promotion. I’ll also pay to be included in a email blast. Mostly, I just ride social media and hook in with bloggers, as I do enjoy engaging with people directly. A lot of forms of advertisement don’t allow that.

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?

Hmm. This is a tough question. I’d have to say book blog tours; I like the intimacy of them, and the book reviews these tours often bring are critical. Without reviews, readers aren’t likely to invest in a title without personally knowing the author—or having the book vetted by a really large publishing house.

Thanks so much for having me—really appreciated.

About The Book



Title: The Dawn of Dae
Series: Dae Portals Book 1
Author: Trillian Anderson
Publisher: Bright Day Publishing
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Format: eBook  / ePub / PDF – 222 pages
ASIN: B0161ZVY6G
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Buy The Book:


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE
Book Description:
The chance to attend college is just what Alexa Daegberht needs to break out the mold of her caste. If she can become a Bach, she can escape the poverty she’s endured ever since her parents died when she was five. Only through education can she rise above her birth caste–and she knows it.
All of her plans fall to dust when she opens a portal within her refrigerator, turning her macaroni and cheese casserole into a sentient being. By dawn the next day, the mysterious dae have come to Earth to stay. Hundreds of thousands of people vanish into thin air, and as the days pass, the total of the missing number in the millions. Some say it’s the rapture of the Christian faith.
Alexa knows better: their dae ate them, leaving behind nothing more than dust as evidence of their hunger.
As one of the unawakened, she doesn’t have a dae, nor can she manifest any forms of magical powers. She’s lacking the innate knowledge of what the dae are and what they mean for the world. Now more than ever, she is an outsider. Her survival hinges on her ability to adapt to a world she no longer understands.
Unfortunately, one of the dae has taken notice of her, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her. Alexa’s problems pile up as she’s forced to pick her allegiances. Will she submit to the new ways of the world? Will she become some monster’s pawn? Or, against all odds, can she forge her own path and prove normal humans can thrive among those gifted with powers once the domain of fantasies and nightmares?

Book Excerpt:


Chapter One

My first real memory of my parents was also my last.
It was the refrigerator’s fault I remembered. I should’ve known
better than to expect new appliances in my new apartment; I was lucky to have
appliances at all. I sure as hell couldn’t afford to buy new ones.
The refrigerator, however, was a problem. Every time I looked at it,
I remembered—and my first memory of my parents was how I, Alexa Zoe Daegberht,
had killed them with a wish.
It was the same refrigerator, right down to its smoke-stained,
pebbled surface and its loose handle. The years hadn’t done the damned thing
any favors, and I wondered if the door would fall off its hinges when I opened
it. Then again, they had built things better when I had been a child.
It was too bad I hadn’t been built a bit better. A lot of things
would have been different. It wasn’t my father’s fault no one could touch me
without irritating my sensitive skin. It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t kiss my
cheek like other fathers could with their daughters.
It was his fault he had forgotten; if he hadn’t, my face wouldn’t
have been itching and burning. If he hadn’t forgotten, I wouldn’t have run to
the fridge, using it as a shield against his touch. If he hadn’t forgotten, I
wouldn’t have parroted what he too often said while fighting with my mother:
If you walk out that door, don’t you ever come
back.
Because I had believed it, had wanted it, and had prayed for it,
wishing on a shooting star that night, I had gotten exactly what I wanted. My
parents had walked out the door and left me behind, never to return.
The ocean didn’t like giving up its dead, and planes smacking into
the water didn’t leave a whole lot to salvage.
I dropped my bags on the kitchen floor, spat curses, and kicked the
refrigerator.
It won; beneath the plastic was metal, and it refused to bend. All I
did was crunch my toes, and howling, I hopped around on one foot. Through
tear-blurred eyes, I glared at the offensive appliance.
“I’ll end you,” I swore.
Maybe I could spray paint the damned thing pink; it’d be at least
four years before I earned my degree and rank as a Bach, and until then, I was
stuck with it. Once I became a Bach, I’d be elevated to a better caste—a caste
with a future, and a bright one at that. Once I was a Bach, I could afford to
buy my own appliances, and I’d never have to see that make or model of
refrigerator ever again. If I scored well enough on the exit exams, I had the
slim chance of being accepted for Master training.
I had my entire life ahead of me, and it would be a good one. There
was no way I’d let a stupid refrigerator take that from me.
I kept telling myself that, but I didn’t believe it.
I gave up and went for my last ditch resort; if macaroni and cheese
couldn’t make things better, nothing could.

I left my apartment to explore my new neighborhood and find work,
leaving behind the devil-spawned refrigerator with a week’s worth of macaroni
and cheese casserole cooling inside. If any of the other students found out I
was surviving on pasta flavored with neon-orange powder, I’d be the laughing
stock of the college.
I wanted to create the illusion of having come from somewhere other
than the poorest district in the city, and to do that, I needed money.
Merit-based students like me paid off tuition and housing in labor; I was
doomed to at least four years serving as some professor’s slave. At least I had
ranked high enough to have an apartment instead of a closet in the shared
dorms, but unlike on-campus students, I was on my own for the basics.
There was one place I knew I could find a job in a hurry: the Inner
Harbor. If I had come from any other district, if I had belonged to any other
caste, I wouldn’t have needed to turn to Kenneth Smith for work. But Kenneth
took in those others wouldn’t and made them do his dirty work.
Unfortunately for me, I was good at doing his dirty work. Sighing, I
ducked my head, adopted a brisk stride, and headed towards the water.
Baltimore was a big place, and it took me an hour to navigate my way
through the city’s heart, skirting around the fringe I had once called home. On
the surface, it was a clean, quiet place with carefully trimmed lawns, neatly
pruned trees, and flowers contained in concrete planters.
The scars of rebellion pockmarked the brick buildings, a reminder of
the violence Kenneth Smith and his cohorts had stamped out years ago, turning a
slum into the elite’s paradise.
Once upon a time, the Inner Harbor had been the entertainment
district of Baltimore, a place prone to rioting, a place everyone, no matter
what caste, could go and gamble away their money or find other pursuits, many
of them illegal. Sporting events were popular—if you could afford the entry
fee.
I couldn’t, and Kenneth Smith counted on that. He didn’t want me as a
client, anyway.
He wanted me as one of his hounds, a dog of his endless drug war,
hunting down his non-paying clients, sniffing out dirt on them, and either
luring them into one of his little traps or otherwise acquiring his money. The
method didn’t matter; the money did, and that was that.
I hated the Inner Harbor; if I had a pack of matches, I wouldn’t have
hesitated to light one up in the hope of burning the whole place to the ground.
My temper soured the closer I got to the little townhouse located where the
fringe began and the elite’s playground ended.
No one in their right mind would have believed, not even for a
moment, that Baltimore’s charming, ruthless, and despicable criminal mastermind
lived in such a dingy place, and that was exactly the way Kenneth Smith liked
it.
I knocked four times, paused, and because I was in a bad mood, I gave
the dark-painted door a solid kick, jamming my already aching toes. I didn’t
hop around as I had in my apartment.
One of Smith’s bitches didn’t do something so undignified, not in
public.
The pain I wanted; it served to focus my attention and remind me of
the misery my boss would inflict if I screwed up. Clenching my teeth to keep
quiet, I waited. I heard the thump of someone coming down the stairs, and
several moments later, the lock clicked. The door opened, and Smith’s favorite
dog answered, glaring at me through narrowed eyes.
“You again?”
I smiled at Lily because I knew it would piss her off. “What do you
know? It is! Astonishing. Can I come in, or are we going to put on a show for
everyone in the neighborhood? I didn’t dress the part. I left my lacy panties
at home.”
I didn’t own any lacy panties, but all things considered, I was going
to die a virgin anyway. A kiss on the cheek was enough to give me hives. What
would happen if someone tried to kiss me on the mouth—or do something
far more interesting with me?
I’d probably die.
Lily snarled something incomprehensible under her breath, stepping
back to let me in. “Prissy bitch.”
Blond-haired, blue-eyed, pasty-skinned Lily belonged in a doll shop,
but instead of telling her to go back to selling herself on the street like I
wanted, I asked, “Where’s the boss?”
“Down in the den. He’s with a guest. Wait in the parlor. He’ll come
for you himself, I’m sure.” Lily glared at me, slammed the door, and stomped
her way up the staircase to the second floor, leaving me to mind my own
business in the entry.
I waited by the door.
The parlor always reeked of drugs, but I had kicked my various habits
years ago. As always, the parlor made me want a hit so I could forget
everything, right down to who I was and what I had done to get by.
I had changed. I wasn’t going to let anyone forget it, myself
included.

When the boss came upstairs from the basement alone, I worried.
Waiting the hour for him to finish wasn’t unusual, but the fact he hadn’t
brought his client along meant one of two things: the client had either left
through the tunnels, a conceit of the elite, or I was about to be introduced to
them.
Nothing good happened when my boss introduced me to his clients.
Nothing good came out of meeting with Kenneth right after an audience with one
of the elite.
His fellow elite had a way of pissing him off, especially when they
thought themselves above paying back their debts.
I examined the shining hardwood, wondering if Kenneth made Lily get
on her hands and knees to polish it to perfection. I doubted it; if he had,
neither one of them would have gotten any real work done, and that would hurt
his bottom line.
“It’s not like you to come around here without a summons,” my boss
said, and his soft-spoken words warned me of trouble.
Kenneth was a lot of things, and passionate was one of them. If he
was moderating his voice, it was because he had graduated from annoyed to
murderous, and he didn’t feel like killing me today.
I should’ve been grateful for that.
“You always need another nose to the ground, sir,” I murmured,
keeping still despite my desire to fidget.
Lily really had done a stellar job with the floors. While I couldn’t
make out the details, the wood reflected my dark hair and bronzed skin. My
heritage remained a mystery, dying along with my parents.
Some folks said German because of my last name, but none of the
German-descents I knew had such bronzed skin. I rivaled an Italian, but no
self-respecting Italian I knew had a last name like mine.
I decided it was a good thing I wasn’t all that pretty. I didn’t want
to end up just like Lily, serving the boss to keep him from killing the rest of
us when he had a bad day. I had too many scars, and not all of them marked my
skin.
If he found out about my inability to handle human contact, he’d
probably enjoy knowing he could hurt me with his touch alone. When I left, I’d
have to thank Lily and offer to run errands for her. It was wise to pay back
debts, in advance whenever possible.
The silence stretched on. I gave into my restlessness, shifting my
weight from one foot to the other. My toes still throbbed from their
introduction to his door and the devil-spawned refrigerator in my apartment.
“Fine. Come on, then,” he snapped, pivoting on a heel to head back in
the direction of the basement stairwell.
I followed him, keeping my gaze fixed on his black oxfords, which had
been polished almost as shiny as his prized floors. He took the stairs two at a
time while I took the more cautious approach. With my luck, I’d snap my neck
tumbling down the steps.
“Sit,” he ordered as soon as I crossed over the threshold into his
den.
His den was larger than my apartment, although that wasn’t much of a
feat. Someone had been smoking something recently, and the fumes were strong
enough to make my nose sting. I took a cautious sniff.
Cigar smoke.
At least my standing at college wouldn’t be risked by inhaling
residue from one of Kenneth’s cocktails. If they ever found out I was one of
his associates, though, I was screwed. I relaxed and, without looking up from
his floor, made my way around the couch closest to the door and plopped down on
it. I heard him sit on his armchair, which squeaked as he leaned back.
“I’m not in the mood for your bullshit tonight, my little collie.” My
boss lit up, and the stench of his cigar choked off my breath. I knew better
than to cough, though. All I’d do was piss him off even more.
I chose to ignore the fact he was calling me by a dog breed instead
of my name and nodded my agreement. At least he hadn’t called me Lassie.
If I followed the rules, I’d be okay. I’d leave his house just
fine—and Lily wouldn’t have any extra reasons to hate me. Speaking only when
spoken to, nodding when appropriate, and always, always addressing him by sir
would get me through the meeting.
If the boss had a job for me and paid up, maybe I’d buy Lily a pair
of lace panties—in silk. I could get them now, as long as I had the cash for
them. All I had to do was survive the meeting with Kenneth and do one last job
for him.
“You’re a freshman now, aren’t you?”
Kenneth’s voice was still soft, quiet, and utterly devoid of emotion,
so I drew a deep breath, nodded my head obediently, and whispered, “Yes, sir.”
“Full-merit,” he commented, and his tone took on a rueful edge.
“Yes, sir.”
“Now how the hell did a little mutt like you get into Bach studies on
full-merit?” he demanded, thumping his fist on the arm of his chair. He smacked
it several more times before sighing gustily. “You’re something else, that’s
what you are. I obviously wasn’t keeping you busy enough. I am to blame.”
I flinched.
Whoever had been meeting with him before I had arrived had left
Kenneth in a bad mood, and his ire was directed at me. Any other day, I would
have told him to go cry a river and fill the Chesapeake. I wanted to tell him
to stuff it, but I needed the work, and he needed me.
I could go to the places he couldn’t, and he knew it.
“I studied, sir.”
“You studied. No shit, Collie. What I want to know is how you got
through the application process right under my nose without me knowing a thing
until Lily went out earlier to summon you. Your pad’s already been taken over,
if you weren’t aware.”
The vultures had likely swooped in the minute I had left, but I kept
my mouth shut. If I said a word, it would be something I’d regret. Granted, I
likely wouldn’t regret it for long, but that was a different matter entirely.
I nodded and resumed studying the floor. Lily had missed a spot, and
I’d been around Kenneth Smith long enough to recognize dried blood when I saw
it.
At least it wasn’t fresh.
“Cat’s got your tongue? Fine. Maybe for the better. You’d open your
mouth and make me want to shoot you. You’re right. I want your nose. Son of a
bitch elite backed out on his debt. He’s in Bach studies just like you. Sniff
the bastard out for me. He’s got a taste for crystals and a head for scents. He
also seems to believe he can back out on his debts to me. Get close to him,
learn his haunts, and report to me. I want to know who or what can be used
against him, where he lives, and any significant people in his life—preferably
women. Better yet, make yourself a significant woman to him. You need to
relax.”
I risked lifting my head and stared at Kenneth Smith.
It amazed me I didn’t break out in a rash just from looking at him.
In so many ways, he was an average man; not too tall, not too short, not too
anything, which conspired to make him right in all the wrong ways. My brown
eyes were too dark for any sort of warmth, while his were melted chocolate,
tempting and sensual.
Despite the annoyance of his tone, the corners of his mouth quirked
up in a smile.
I hated Kenneth Smith. Every time I saw him, I wondered what it would
be like to kiss someone. It was his damned mouth, which could flatten to a line
or curve into a ripe smile, shifting with his mood. I could always tell his
mood from the movements of his lips.
His voice said angry, but his mouth promised all of those interesting
things I couldn’t do and Lily could—and would, probably as soon as I left the
house.
“What’s his name?” I asked, reminding myself Kenneth was a dangerous,
foul man. A smart girl didn’t deal with the devil or take him to her
bedroom.
I’d already struck out once in the smart department. I’d probably
punch my own ticket if I tried anything with him. If I didn’t die from an
allergic reaction to him, he wouldn’t appreciate me throwing up on him.
Men had that effect on me.
Kenneth sighed, and I echoed him.
I wondered if he realized we were probably sighing for the same
reason. He had already slept with all of his other bitches, leaving me as the
one who always got away.
If he found out about my allergy, I’d never live it down.
“Sir?”
Silence wasn’t like Kenneth. He chomped on his cigar, grunting his
acknowledgment of my question. I waited, lowering my gaze to the floor to stare
at the brown splotch marring the hardwood.
“Terry Moore. His father runs the stadium. He got hooked six months
back, paid for three months worth of supplies, and decided he was above paying
the rest of the balance.”
I did some mental math, clucking my tongue as I ran through the
various costs of crystals and scents. Crystals appealed to those who enjoyed
tasting their drugs, slowly dissolving on the tongue, while scents came as
either incenses or other forms of inhaled narcotics. Big league players often
spend thousands a week for the good stuff.
The elite settled for nothing less.
If Terry was studying for his Bach like me, he had friends—elite
friends. Buying friendships through drugs wasn’t uncommon, especially among
those who were supposed to be too good for the trade.
“A hundred and fifty thou,” I said, straightening my back and lifting
my chin, defying my boss with my glare. “Small change for you. There’s gotta be
more to it than that. You don’t move against the elite for pennies.” I paused,
sucked in a breath as I remembered I wasn’t supposed to piss him off, and
added, “Sir.”
Kenneth’s smile widened to a grin. “Can’t let anything slip by you,
can I? You’re right. It is small change. Under normal circumstances, I’d let it
get up to at least half a mil. But, he made off with some of my new stuff, and
I want it back.”
Reaching down beside his chair, he lifted up a metal cage containing
a variety of test tubes. They were filled with a red liquid with the same
viscosity as blood. He lifted one out, sloshing it around. “Little Bachs don’t
want to get caught on the tests, so he wanted something for school-year use.
This baby doesn’t register on any of the current tests. You can dry it into a
powder. You can inject it, and you can even drink it if you want. It’s mellow
enough, long-lasting, gives one hell of a nice high, and doesn’t impair
function too much. Best of all, it doesn’t seem to cause much damage when it
wears off.”
If he was speaking the truth, he had likely found the Holy Grail of
the drug world.
“How many uses in one of those vials?”
“A few,” he evaded.
I narrowed my eyes, considered the few clues he had given me, and
shrugged. “How many vials did he make off with?”
“A dozen.”
“And you haven’t killed him yet?” I blurted.
Kenneth arched a brow at me. “He can’t pay me if he’s dead. After
he’s paid, I’ll think about it.”
I grimaced. One day I would learn to keep my mouth shut. “Get the
info and retrieve the drugs if possible. Anything else, sir?”
“I wouldn’t say no to you bringing me my money along with the info
and the drugs.”
Somehow, I kept from saying even one of the hundreds of snarky,
sarcastic comments flitting through my head. Any one of them would piss him off
even more, and there was only so far I could push him before he decided to go
for his gun. “I don’t think I can carry that much cash, sir, and I really doubt
he’ll give me his bank account details.”
“You could always sniff them out for me. You’re good at sneaking off
to places you shouldn’t go—like college.”
I scowled. “I said I would sniff, not bite, sir. Biting is Lily’s
job.”
“One of these days, Collie, you’re going to piss me off.”
I widened my eyes, raising my hand to cover my mouth. “You mean I
haven’t already?”
“Every day. Get out of here, bitch. I don’t want to see your face at
my house until you have his info and my drugs. And don’t you even think about
forgetting my money.”
I escaped while I could and risked taking the steps two at a time.
About The Author
Opener of Portals. Urban Fantasy Author. Mistress of Giggles. Warped Sense of Humor.
Trillian Anderson is, like so many of us, a figment of someone’s imagination. She was born somewhere in the United States, loves to travel, and has no scruples about moving to new and interesting places around the world. She loves fantasy fiction of all types, but holds a special fondness for urban fantasies, epic fantasies, and stories capable of capturing her imagine.
Most of all, she enjoys grabbing a flashlight, hiding under the blankets, and pretending she’s asleep when she’s, in actuality, reading a beloved book.
Connect with Trillian Anderson:
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Book Feature! The Somerset Ball by Mikel D. Smith – Win a $25 Gift Card

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Somerset Ball

Title: The Somerset Ball

Author: Mikel D. Smith

Publisher: iUniverse

Genre: Sport & Recreation

Format: Ebook

The 1970 Tilghman baseball team was a conglomeration of students from all over Paducah, a town of about thirty thousand in West Kentucky. The Blue Tornado already had a proud history of success in football, basketball, track and baseball.

However, little was expected from this year’s team. Fielding a starting roster and coaches with limited experience, the team began with a mediocre record, but became a tough opponent as the season progressed- ultimately surprising everyone by making it to the finals of the Kentucky State High School Tournament. The tournament was one of the most memorable in Kentucky sports history, including teams from Madisonville, Louisville Trinity, Lexington Lafayette, Somerset, Russell, Covington Catholic, Elizabethtown and Paducah Tilghman.

This is a story about growing up in a small Midwestern town – remembering life in Paducah and a tribute to the great players across the State as told through photographs, statistics, news accounts and memories of the 1960s.

ORDER INFORMATION
The Somerset Ball is available for order at
amazon

Mikel D. Smith, MD is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He grew up in Paducah, Kentucky, and was a 1970 graduate of Paducah Tilghman High School, where he played baseball in his senior year. The great memories of his childhood and his love of sports inspired him to write this book.

Mikel is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins January 11 and ends on January 22.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on January 23.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Book Feature! The Prevention of Crohn’s Disease by Gilles R.G. Monif M.D.

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Inside the Book:

The Prevention of Crohn's Disease
Title: The Prevention of Crohn’s Disease
Author: Gilles R.G. Monif, M.D.
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Health
Format: Ebook

Prior to 1936, Crohn’s disease was a rare and unrecognized disease entity. Today, the United States is the midst of a rapidly growing epidemic. It is estimated that between 800,000 and 1.2 million citizens are currently afflicted. The unanswered question is WHY? In the 1990s, circumstantial scientific data inferred a potential causal relationship between Crohn’s disease in humans and mycobacterial pathogen in domestic animals, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). When it was documented that MAP survived pasteurization and was potentially present in milk, infant formula, and powdered milk, a global precautionary alarm button should have been pushed by those who govern in the public trust. PREVENTION OF CROHN’S DISEASE describes MAP’s journey across the zoonotic bridge between animals and humans and the unique circumstances by which it allegedly produces disease.

ORDER INFORMATION
The Prevention of Crohn’s Disease is available for order at
amazon

Meet the Author:

Gilles R. G. Monif, M.D. has served as Special Interest Consultant for Infectious Diseases to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A world recognized leader in infectious diseases that affect women and their unborn infants, he co-founded the Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology. His text book Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology, currently in its sixth edition, is the standing reference text for the discipline.

Giveaway

Gilles is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins January 11 and ends on January 22.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on January 23.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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