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Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Blast: The Moreva of Astoreth by Roxanne Bland


We're happy to be hosting Roxanne Bland's THE MOREVA OF ASTORETH Book Blast today!





Title: THE MOREVA OF ASTORETH
Author: Roxanne Bland
Publisher: Blackrose Press
Pages: 607
Genre: Science Fiction

Moreva Tehi, scientist, healer, priestess of the Goddess of Love and three-quarters god, is a bigot. She hates the hakoi who are the Temple’s slaves. When she misses an important ritual because the enslaved hakoi are participants, her grandmother, the Goddess Astoreth, punishes her by exiling her for a year from her beloved southern desert home to the far north village of Mjor in the Syren Perritory, (where the hakoi are free) to steward Astoreth’s landing beacon. But Astoreth forbids her from taking with her scientific research on red fever, a devastating scourge that afflicts the hakoi. She does so, anyway.

The first Mjoran she meets is Laerd Teger, the hakoi chief of the village, who appears to hate her. She also meets Hyme, the hakoi village healer, and much to Moreva Tehi’s surprise, they form a fast friendship. This friendship forces her to set upon a spiritual journey to confront her bigotry. While doing so, she falls in love with Laerd Teger, who returns her love. She eventually has a revelation about the meaning of love, and rids herself of her bigotry. And she develops a cure for red fever, and is the first healer to do so.

But there is a price for her love for Laerd Teger, and that is her certain execution by the Goddess Astoreth upon her return home because she has broken her sacred vows. But then, through Laerd Teger, she learns a terrible secret about her gods, that they are not gods at all, but aliens, and rather than being part god, she is part alien. Her world destroyed, she turns on Laerd Teger for showing her the truth. They eventually reconcile. But there is still the problem about her love for Laerd Teger. Astoreth will know what she has done and will execute her. She formulates a plan, involving the erasure of her memory, in which she will bargain for her life by giving Astoreth the formula for red fever. Astoreth agrees. For breaking her vows and disobeying a direct order not to take her red fever research to Mjor, Astoreth strips her of her morevic status and exiles her again to Mjor. Back in Mjor, she recovers her memory and sends the red fever formula to Astoreth. Now freed from the constraints of being a Moreva, Tehi and Teger embark on a new life together.

For More Information

  • The Moreva of Astoreth is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:
The airship landed on its pad. After the pilot, a Devi lesser god, gave the “all clear” I stepped out the machine onto the stone slab and walked away.
The trip to the Syren Perritory had been awful. I’d never flown in a Devi airship, and I was sick the entire time. Seeing my distress, the pilot took pity on me and handed me a bag. I promptly threw up into it. Then he turned in his seat and peered at my face. Reaching behind him, he handed me a stack of bags. I took one and vomited into that, too. Two bags later, I thought I’d finally be all right. Then we flew into something the pilot called turbulence. Despite its leviathan size, the airship was buffeted about, and I was sure we would die. I picked up another bag. I don’t know how many bags I used.
At long last, we reached our destination. Even during our descent, I could see the landing beacon. A colossus, the beacon sat on its tower of white kyrolite, its stationary dish resembling a silver flame in the twin sunslight. On the ground, I could see alongside the tower two late-model tanks. Dwarfed by the tower’s size, they looked insignificant.
After getting off the airship, I walked toward a large group of people standing in the distance. I took in the place where I would stay for the next year. All I saw was a wall of grayish-black stone, with two huge and closed stone doors set in its middle. At least eighty šīzu high, the wall was crenelated at the top with deep, narrow slits. A steep-pitched roof partially covered it. Two towers, much smaller and shorter than the beacon, anchored the wall at each end. A short, covered kyrolite bridge beneath its roof connected the top of the smaller tower on the right to the beacon. On the ground, the tower was connected to the beacon itself. I straightened my neck and looked directly ahead. Next to the fortress, the enormous beacon tower looked out of place.
I reached the first of three people standing out from all the rest. Morevi Eresh, the morev who’d been on duty for the past year, stood before the garrison. Eresh and I couldn’t have looked more different. His skin was three shades lighter than my medium-hued, blue-violet Devi coloring. He had long, tight curls like mine but whereas mine were white—like the Devi—his were black. He was tall and slender like all morevs, except me. I had the jutting breasts, small waist and flaring hips of the Devi, but instead of being statuesque like them, I was short.
I liked Eresh. He was funny and irreverent, unlike the rest of the morevs serving the Temple. He was my best friend. He was my only friend. I’d missed him terribly.
The forty-one person garrison stood at attention. Wearing a solemn expression, Eresh placed his hands together, palm to palm. I did the same. We gave each other a deep bow. “Moreva Tehi, may the Most Holy One turn Her face to you.”
“And to you, Morevi Eresh.”
Our formal greeting accomplished, Eresh smiled a little. “Welcome to the Syren Perritory and the Mjor village.” Then he turned to a blue-uniformed hakoi standing a step behind him. “This is your second in command, Kepten Yose.”
I nodded once. “Kepten.” Kepten Yose was short, too, but not as short as me.
“Moreva Tehi.” He inclined his head and clicked his heels, a proper military salute to a superior officer. “Garrison ready for inspection, Moreva.”
I looked sideways at Eresh, who gave me a nod. “Very well, Kepten. Lead the way.”
We walked along the ten orderly rows of four troops each. They looked straight ahead, their eyes never veering from whatever it was they were looking at. Craning my neck, I peered into their faces. They were blank, but there was something in the eyes I couldn’t place, a look the hakoi in Uruk didn’t have. I wondered about it for a moment, then dismissed it. It was probably my imagination. At least they didn’t smell.
Inspection completed, I turned to meet my host. My gaze, starting at his brown fur vest-covered midriff, slowly traveled up, and up some more. He was the biggest hakoi I’d ever seen. His muscular shoulders looked as broad as the mountains that surrounded us. His skin, deep bronze, wasn’t like that of the Kherah hakoi, who were pale. His long, thick golden hair, ruffled by the breeze, was the same shade as the third, summer sun. He had light-colored brows—almost white—and a short beard of the same color. But it was his eyes that intrigued me most. All the hakoi I’d ever known had brown eyes. His eyes were blue, like the stars, and just as cold.
I didn’t like him. Judging by his scowl, he didn’t like me, either.

About the Author


Roxanne Bland grew up in Washington, D.C., where she discovered strange and wonderful new worlds through her local public library and bookstores. These and other life experiences have convinced her that reality is highly overrated. Ms. Bland lives in Rosedale, Maryland with her Great Dane, Daisy Mae.

Her latest book is the science fiction novel, The Moreva of Astoreth.

For More Information

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Eat It Later by Michael Alvear Book Feature

Title: Eat It Later
Author: Michael Alvear
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Woodpecker Media
Genre: Diet/Wellness
Format: Ebook/Paperback

  “A wellness strategy that changes the way you think about food. Alvear’s writing style and the structure of his book make for an easy read and, more importantly, easy use in daily life.” -- Kirkus Reviews

You Don’t Need A Diet. You Need An Eating Strategy. Use these proven psychological methods to reduce cravings, eliminate overeating, “shrink” your stomach and help you eat in moderation--without feeling deprived.

  • Cut Up To 90% Of Your Snacking Without Feeling Cheated.  Use Habituation and Systematic Desensitization to dramatically cut how much you eat without feeling deprived. Psychologists use these treatments to get people off Vicodin and Xanax. Imagine how well they work on chips and cookies.

  • Control Your Cravings With Delayed Gratification Techniques That Teach Discipline Without Suffering.  Based on famed psychologist Walter Mischel’s “Marshmallow” experiments, they will painlessly help you master self-control.

  • Eat Healthier Without Forcing Yourself To Eat What You Don’t Like.  Use the “Nutrilicious” concept to make healthier choices without sacrificing taste or preferences. This book is about how I lost 14 pounds and 2 waist sizes and kept it off for 25 years without ever going on a diet. Inspired by Walter Mischel’s iconic The Marshmallow Test, Eat It Later is a science-based, psychological approach to developing weight-reducing eating habits. It chronicles how I did it and lays out a plan for how you can too.

  Learn Techniques For Eating Less Without Feeling Deprived.  Today, I don't eat three Oreos at a sitting and force myself from the table, biting my fist and longing for the 16 I used to eat. I am as satisfied with three as I used to be with 16. Habituation, desensitization and delayed gratification techniques stopped my mindless eating and painlessly “shrank” my stomach so that I could eat much smaller portions without feeling cheated or deprived. Like most people, I thought, “eating in moderation” was code for “you’ll never feel full again.” I thought portion control meant pain management. I thought volume reduction meant perpetual dissatisfaction. I was wrong. If you make the kind of tiny, systematic reductions I show you in this book, your body will adapt to the new normal without any pain or suffering.

  Learn The Keys To Self-Control.  You are not going to get a list of foods to eat or avoid. Or recipes or meal suggestions. I am not going to ask you to count calories, fat, carbs or sugar. I am simply going to show you how to permanently change the amount of food you eat. And to do it with strategies identified by researchers and psychologists as the keys to self-control—habituation, systematic desensitization and delayed gratification techniques.

  Ever Finish A Bagel And Say, “Why Did I Eat It–I Wasn’t That Hungry?”  You do that because you don’t have an intuitive eating system that separates no/low cravings from high cravings. Eat It Later shows you mindful eating techniques that take about 3 seconds to separate low from medium and high cravings.

  Say Goodbye To Will Power Fatigue.  Diets force you to white-knuckle your way through 5-alarm cravingsand leave the table feeling hungry and deprived. But with habituation, desensitization and delayed gratification techniques you will never experience will power fatigue because there is nothing to be fatigued about—you will have what you like but through an intuitive eating mindset.

ORDER INFORMATION
Eat It Later is available for order at  
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Michael Alvear
     
Find out more  here
 

Book Feature! Black Forest Reckoning by Bluette Matthey

Black Forest Reckoning Book Banner

blackforesFrontB-3Title: Black Forest Reckoning
Author: Bluette Matthey
Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing
Pages: 299
Genre: Travel Mystery

 Outfitter Hardy Durkin and company are visiting the Black Forest area of Germany, staying in the guest wing of a local castle, Schloss Haeflin. In the midst of hiking the Black Forest, enjoying all things Swabian, and spending a day in Baden-Baden, the hikers find themselves at ground zero for coeds disappearing from the nearby University of Freiburg and foul play is suspected. Unresolved personal issues of several members of the group threaten the tour’s cohesion, and Hardy discovers the Baron, who owns the schloss, has stolen someone’s identity as well as his fortune. Ever the sleuth, Hardy untangles the web of deceit, madness, and murder in ‘The Black Forest Reckoning’.  

Bluette Matthey Bluette Matthey is a third generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she keeps a mystery with her to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, faithful dog, and band of loving cats.

You can visit Bluette’s website at www.bluettematthey.com

  For More Information
 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Interview: Florence Byham Weinberg, Author of ‘Dolet’


florenceWelcome my special guest, Florence Byham Weinberg. Born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Weinberg lived on a ranch, on a farm, and traveled with her military family. After earning a PhD, she taught for 36 years in three universities. She published four scholarly books. Since retiring, she has written seven historical novels and one philosophical fantasy/thriller. She lives in San Antonio, loves cats, dogs and horses, and great-souled friends with good conversation. She’s here today to talk about her latest book, a nonfiction historical novel titled, Dolet.
Visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Dolet. When did you start writing and what got you into historical fiction? 
If you count scholarly books, I began writing in 1967 and wrote four. My novel-writing began in 1999. I chose historical fiction because of my interest in history. I am a time-traveler by nature and it seemed only natural to choose subjects in time periods I had studied because they fascinated me. My first venture into historical fiction was a novel (well researched) about the founding of the five 18th-century Franciscan missions located in and around San Antonio, Texas. The Alamo is one of them. I have written three more books on the history of the Southwest since then and am working on yet another. Other books are set in 18th-century Europe and in the 16th century French Renaissance. 
Dolet_medWhat is your book about?  
Etienne Dolet, 1509-1546, son of a cloth merchant, studied under the eminent humanist and Ciceronian Latinist, Nicolas Bérault, and later with Simon Villanovanus. He then studied Law at the University of Toulouse. In two public Latin orations, he denounced the city authorities for persecuting his fraternity and for burning a favorite professor at the stake. Imprisoned and then expelled from the city, he fled to Lyon. After apprenticing with the noted printer, Sebastien Gryphius, he became an independent printer, licensed by King François I. He married a printer’s daughter, Louise Giraud, and had a son, Claude. In a duel provoked by Henri Guillot, Dolet killed his opponent by lucky chance. Imprisoned for murder, he escaped and procured the king’s pardon. In the struggle of the workers in printing establishments for fair wages, Dolet took their part and won the enmity of many printers. They framed him by sending boxes of “heretical” books to Paris under his name. He was captured, tried for heresy, and burned at the stake on his 37th birthday. 
What was your inspiration for it? 
My dissertation, two further scholarly books and a number of articles are about literary figures in 16th-century France. I knew something about the Lyonese publisher, Etienne Dolet, from those studies. He was a man who told the truth to friend and foe alike, and who consequently made enemies. But he was an upright, erudite and just man, cut off before he reached what we now think of as middle age, at 37 years. For instance, he fought to raise the wages of the print-shop workers, but other printers colluded in destroying him by giving the Inquisition false reason to believe he was aiding and abetting the Protestant reform movement. I wanted to set the record about him straight, since, thanks to the inquisitorial record that has been handed down through the centuries and the false woodcut portraying him as a long-bearded, devil-faced gargoyle, he has generally been known as a disagreeable, degenerate character and as a heretic.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
I hope the book will entertain them, gain sympathy for Etienne Dolet, and set the record straight, or at least lay before the reader the other side of the story. There is a lot of evidence that indicates that my view is correct. The book is no scholarly tract and therefore has no bibliography and footnotes, but there is a lot of research behind it.
How do you keep your narrative exciting? 
The story of Dolet’s life is exciting in itself. The times were “interesting” in the Chinese sense—unsettled, violent, with the French Gallican Church (of Rome) desperately trying to maintain the absolute authority it had gained during the late Middle Ages. Luther had posted his 95 theses on the cathedral door of Wittenberg in 1517 (Etienne Dolet was born in 1509) and the reform movement had spread like wildfire. Etienne, who was studying law at the University of Toulouse, saw one of his professors burned alive at the stake, accused of Lutheran heresy, and his revulsion set him on the path that would ultimately guarantee his destruction. Simply telling this story competently enough kept my narrative exciting. 
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined? 
I do my best to write after breakfast for at least two hours, then after supper as long as I feel like. The writing session the following morning begins with editing what I wrote the previous day, which acts as a springboard for continuing my story. At night, if I am on a roll and my Muse is with me, I often write furiously until 2:00 AM, which, since I always get up latest at 8:00 AM (often by necessity earlier) makes it necessary for me to take a nap in the afternoon. Generally speaking, I have finished my research before I start writing, so I can write for long stretches at a time. This way, once I settle down to writing a book, I can finish it in a few months, say 3-6, depending on its difficulty. The preliminary work is what takes a long time: researching in libraries and archives here and abroad. Yes, I would say that I am disciplined. 
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work? 
My website is www.florenceweinberg.com. I describe all my books there and print an excerpt of each, so anyone interested can see at once whether they want to read on. The book has a link to my publisher, Twilight Times Books, where the reader can quickly order the book, or they can go to www.amazon.com  or www.barnesandnoble.com, or to any local indie bookstore to order my books, which are available both in e-book and trade paperback form. Twilight Times Books is a small but traditional publisher with very high standards, and has been written up twice in Publishers Weekly as an exemplary small press. 
What is your advice for aspiring authors? 
As I said before, you need to be disciplined. You need to have a large vocabulary and use the English language correctly. So, read, read, read. Set up a time and a special place to write every day. Have at least a general idea of your plot before you begin, but don’t outline everything. If you do, your protagonists won’t have the freedom to lead you in unexpected directions. They will do that if you let them, and usually, they improve the book. Edit your own work, then pass it on to at least two friends who won’t be afraid to tell you what they think is wrong. Listen to their critiques. If possible, join a critique group. I belong to one and have profited enormously from the interaction. Go to writers’ conferences and network. Get to know other authors. If there are agents there, make appointments and talk to them. They may be your ticket to getting published. Most of all, write, write, write! 
George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”  
Writing is an obsession, a compulsion without which you cannot live. So far, Orwell is right. But, unless your Muse deserts you, or if you have chosen to write about something that becomes loathsome to you, you should not suffer as he apparently did. After all, he was writing about horrible, depressing subjects. On the contrary, I find writing — when it goes well — to be the greatest joy I have experienced; an exultation. If I were never recognized, never published, never read, it would still be worth it. Even when the writing hits a hum-drum patch, it is still a pleasant occupation. I suppose one’s reaction to the writing life depends upon one’s character. I tend to be optimistic and happy even in bad times. So, my readers, my fellow writers, I wish you all happy dispositions and joy in your writing, and as I just said, the important thing is that you write, write, write!

Monday, November 23, 2015

'Latina Authors and Their Muses' - Paperback available now for pre-order!

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As the Hispanic American population of the U.S. increases, with influences ranging from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean, so does interest in literature inspired by those cultures.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has now edited a collection of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the U.S. and writing in English. Latina Authors and Their Muses is an inspirational and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, one that provides aspiring writers with the nuts and bolts of the business.
Purchase the ebook NOW on Amazon or B&N
Pre-order the paperback NOW on Amazon or B&N
Official paperback release date: December 15, 2015
ramses and I
About the Editor
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter's Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Writing Life with S.W. O’Connell, Author of 'The Cavalier Spy'


S.W. O’Connell is the author of the Yankee Doodle Spies series of action and espionage novels set during the American Revolutionary War. The author is a retired Army officer with over twenty years of experience in a variety of intelligence-related assignments around the world. He is long time student of history and lover of the historical novel genre. So it was no surprise that he turned to that genre when he decided to write back in 2009. He lives in Virginia.

Welcome to The Writer's Life eMagazine and congratulations on the release of your book, The Cavalier Spy! Tell us, what’s inside the mind of a historical fiction author? 

I think that historical fiction writers are in two worlds and have two objectives. They are in the world of the novelist and the world of the historian. They want to present a great story. But they also want to present great history. It can divide you a bit so the right balance needs to be met.

What is so great about being an author? 

Well it is two phase thing, in my mind. Phase one, the writing process, is a very private endeavor. You do it alone bringing thoughts and senses together. It’s very introverted pastime: hours alone at the keyboard or pen, hours of research, hours of revisions. But the second phase, the publishing process, becomes a more public endeavor. That side of it – getting a book out and then promoting it, is more of an extrovert endeavor. Dealing with editors, publishers, artists, and in my case, map makers, makes it a team effort. I like both sides of it. Oh yes, and I like crafting stories that people enjoy.

When do you hate it? 

Well I hate it… never. But it is hard. It sometimes can be very hard to develop ideas and build a world, so to speak. And it can be tedious.  And the commitment takes you away from other things (and people) you love.

What is a regular writing day like for you? 

Honestly, I don’t have a regular day. I set aside chunks of days and try to bang out 20 thousand words or so.  Then I recharge my batteries and begin another chunk of days. I do my best writing from mid-morning to midafternoon. Rarely anything before six am. And rarely anything after seven pm. I do write on vacation as well. I can take only so much beach or golf. But vacation writing is usually polishing things up.

Do you think authors have big egos? 

I think so. To take your innermost thoughts and ideas and lay them out for the world to see (and criticize) takes some ego. Writing is pretty personal.  I have enough of an ego to do it, yes. But there are times you must put your ego in a box. That’s during the publication process. I almost always submit to editorial comments. One involved how my main character should behave with certain women. I pushed back at first, but she ultimately convinced me that there were certain ways eighteenth century men and women interacted when they were of a certain social strata.

How do you handle negative reviews? 

That depends on the review. If the negative review is constructive, it’s certainly easier to take, and also to take into consideration. If the review is a hatchet job, then it becomes clear to me that the reviewer and I are on different planes. I sort of shrug them off.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author? They often say, “Really?” Then, “What do you write?”

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break? 

I have a life outside of writing. But on days I don’t sit down to pound out some words I am active on social media for at least one hour daily. I had to develop a web page, a Blog and Facebook Page, an Amazon Author’s Page, and a Twitter Page. My Blog is called Yankee Doodle Spies. It is generally profiles of people, places or things involving the American Revolution.  Itry and write it in an easy, if not whimsical, style. My Facebook page is a daily posting of American Revolution events – mostly this day in 1776 kind of stuff. I’d say anyone who reads my page daily is getting a pretty intense course on the American Revolution. On my Facebook Timeline I post similar things plus anything current involving Revolutionary War events, historical sites, groups, museums, etc. The same goes for Twitter.  I do occasionally put out stuff about my writing and point folks to web sites where the can learn more and purchase, primarily Amazon and B&N.

Any writing quirks?  

Quirks to you perhaps. To me, just the way I’m wired. I like to re-write sentences as I go along, so I don’t like hand writing my manuscripts. I tend to draft up a plan for the book with a chapter by chapter template. But I usually wander from it. In that sense I’m like a my Labrador retriever Jeb… who I walk to the Potomac River whenever I need a break to clear the air. He wanders off at any opportunity. As I write action scenes I try and put myself in the moment. Those are intense for me. And I often just move to a new chapter without a rule for how many pages it should be.

Have you worked on your novel intoxicated? Yes I have. 

What was the result?  

Read the book! Seriously, I occasionally will have a beverage when I am reviewing and amending. But it is usually green tea.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby? 

Well I think some do. I had a whole life in the Army before I started all this. It’s hard for some to not think of you only as that Army guy they knew. Who knows, maybe they are right. But such notions don’t affect the fact that I write and the stories I am trying to get out.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?  

Yes I can relate. I love getting the story out. Tales that need telling. Both my fictional plots and the factual events I weave them through. But the process can be painful.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money? 

As an author, yes.  As a writer, no. Hermann Melville was not well received in his time. So as an American author he was unsuccessful. But many decades later, his work was” discovered” by British critics and he was recognized as a great American writer.

Leave us with some words of wisdom. Write what you love. Love what you write. 

////////////////////////////////////

Title: The Cavalier Spy
Genre: Historical
Author: S. W. O’Connell
Publisher: Twilight Times Books


About the Book:


1776: His army clinging to New York by a thread, a desperate General George Washington sends Lieutenant Jeremiah Creed behind British lines once more. But even the audacity of Creed and his band of spies cannot stop the British juggernaut from driving the Americans from New York, and chasing them across New Jersey in a blitzkrieg fashion. Realizing the imminent loss of one of the new nation’s most important states to the enemy, Washington sends Creed into the war-torn Hackensack Valley. His mission: recruit and train a gang of rogues to work behind British lines. 

However, his mission takes a strange twist when the British high command plots to kidnap a senior American officer and a mysterious young woman comes between Creed and his plans. The British drive Washington’s army across the Delaware. The new nation faces its darkest moment. But Washington plans a surprise return led by young Creed, who must strike into hostile land so that Washington can rally his army for an audacious gamble that could win, or lose, the war.

"More than a great spy story... it is about leadership and courage in the face of adversity...The Cavalier Spy is the story of America's first army and the few... those officers and soldiers who gave their all to a cause that was seemingly lost..."
~ Les Brownlee, former Acting Secretary of the Army and retired Army Colonel

"Secret meetings, skirmishes and scorching battles... The Cavalier Spy takes the reader through America's darkest times and greatest triumphs thanks to its powerful array of fictional and historical characters... this book shows that courage, leadership and audacity are the key elements in war..."

~ F. William Smullen, Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University's Maxwell School and Author of Ways and Means for Managing UP

Friday, November 20, 2015

Book Blast! The Way We Lived Then by Adrienne Fox - Win a $25 Gift Card

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The Way We LivedTitle: The Way We Lived Then
Author: Adrienne Fox
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Family and Relationship
Format: Ebook

Adrienne Fox is a retired musician who began her literary career reviewing concerts. This is her fifth novel. The other novels are the following: The Retirement, Starstruck, Tit for Tat, and IQ. Adrienne Fox writes about life in Britain from 1941–1963, when old traditions came head-to-head with new ideas as wartime austerity gave way to the Swinging Sixties. She colorfully describes growing up in a constant conflict of the morals, views, and opinions at a time when material goods were in short supply, conversation took the place of electronic entertainment, and serious communication was restricted to letter writing. Through wry humor, she tells of her efforts to understand family conflicts and of her own ill-formed ambitions. Desperately wanting to please in order to “keep the peace” but frequently appearing to fall short, “Can’t do right for doing wrong” aptly describes periods of her progress. Her story paints a tragic-comic picture of the incidents and attitudes within the time frame beginning in a northern industrial town, where the ration books vied with the hymn books in the family home, to college life in London and trying to find a job.

ORDER INFORMATION
The Way We Lived Then is available for order at
amazon
BN


 
Adrienne Fox is a retired musician who began her literary career reviewing concerts. This is her fifth novel. The other novels are the following: The Retirement, Starstruck, Tit for Tat, and IQ.   

Adrienne 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 November 16 and ends on November 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 28.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chapter reveal: Adrenaline, by John Benedict


adrenalineTitle: ADRENALINE
Genre: THRILLER
Author: JOHN BENEDICT
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book: A sensational, skillful and highly suspenseful tale, Adrenaline introduces anesthesiologist protagonist Doug Landry. About Adrenaline: When patients start dying unexpectedly in the O.R. at Mercy Hospital, Doug Landry finds himself the focus of the blame. Is he really incompetent or is there something more sinister going on? As Doug struggles to clear his name and untangle the secrets surrounding these mysterious deaths, it becomes exceedingly clear that someone is serious—dead serious—about keeping the devastating truth from ever seeing the light of day. As he launches a pulse-quickening race against time to prevent more deaths, Doug soon finds that the lives of his patients aren’t the only lives at stake.  Seems that someone will stop at nothing to keep Doug from revealing the truth. Could it be that murder is the ultimate rush?
CHAPTER ONE
“Shit!  Don’t give me any bullshit!” said Dr. Mike Carlucci under his breath, as his gaze locked on the unusual rhythm displayed on the EKG monitor.  His warning was meant mostly for his patient, Mr. Rakovic, who was scheduled to undergo an arthroscopy of his right knee.  Mike’s plea was also directed at God, just in case he was listening, and at the monitor itself to cover all bases.  Mike didn’t expect a reply from any of them.  Mr. Rakovic was deeply unconscious with an endotracheal tube sprouting from his mouth.  Mike had just induced general anesthesia and was preparing to fill out his chart when the trouble began.
Mike stared grimly at the potentially lethal dysrhythmia known as ventricular tachycardia, or V-tach, and felt the first raw edge of fear scrape lightly across his nerves.  It occurred to him that he had never actually seen V-tach during a routine induction in his six years at Mercy Hospital, or during any induction for that matter.  It was something that happened in the case reports, not in real life.  He wondered if Doug Landry, his best friend and colleague, had ever seen it.
His first instinct was to doubt the EKG.  Frequently movement of the patient or electrical interference caused the EKG to register falsely.  He rapidly scanned his array of other monitors.  Modern anesthetic workstations had upwards of ten sophisticated computer-driven monitors.  Substantial redundancy of these instruments allowed him to check one machine’s errors against another.  The pulse oximeter, a small finger-clip sensor, beeped at a heart rate exactly the same as the EKG.  This unfortunately ruled out the possibility of EKG artifact; there was no false reading this time.
Mike absently fingered the gold crucifix dangling from his neck.  Grandma Carlucci had brought it back from Lourdes, and had given it to him when he had graduated from med school.  The medallion always comforted him.  He punched his Dinamap, the automatic blood pressure machine, for a stat reading.  The mass spectrometer system, which continually monitored the gasses going in and out of Mr. Rakovic’s lungs via the endotracheal tube, registered normal carbon dioxide levels.  Mike breathed a sigh of relief; it meant the breathing tube was properly positioned in his patient’s trachea and not in the esophagus.  He quickly checked breath sounds with his stethoscope to ensure both lungs were being ventilated normally.  They were.  The pulse oximeter showed a ninety-eight percent oxygen saturation level, confirming beyond doubt that his patient was being adequately oxygenated.  Again good.  However, nothing to explain the sudden appearance of V-tach.
The blood pressure reading would be key for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, Mike knew he must treat the offending rhythm; its cause was of secondary importance at the moment.  A normal blood pressure reading would mean Mr. Rakovic would still have adequate blood flow to his vital organs—brain most importantly—in spite of the rhythm disturbance.  Mike knew that as V-tach accelerates, the heart can beat so fast it doesn’t have time to fill and fails as a reliable pump.  The blood pressure can fall drastically or disappear altogether.
“C’mon you piece of shit!  Read, damn it!”  Mike hissed under his breath to his Dinamap.  Fifteen seconds never seemed so long.  While waiting for the blood pressure, he opened the top drawer of his anesthesia cart and pulled out two boxes of premixed Lidocaine, a first-line emergency antidysrhythmic drug.  He ripped open the boxes and assembled the syringes.  He glanced up at Diane, the circulating nurse.  She was busily filling out her paperwork, oblivious to any problem.
“Diane,” Mike called out, “I got trouble here.  Get the crash cart!”
“Jesus, Mike!  Are you kidding?” asked Diane, eyes bugging wide, pen frozen in mid-task.
“Serious badness,” Mike said, trying to keep the dread he felt out of his voice.  “Looks like V-tach.”  His voice sounded a little higher than he had intended.
“Oh shit!” she said as she hurried out of the room, almost tripping over the trash bucket.  Mike was thankful that Dr. Sanders, the orthopedic surgeon, was still out of the room scrubbing his hands.  No time to tell him just yet; he wouldn’t take it well.  If the blood pressure were unacceptably low, Mike would need to shock the patient back into a normal rhythm.  He injected one of the syringes of Lidocaine into the intravenous line and simultaneously felt Mr. Rakovic’s carotid pulse.  It was bounding, arguing against a low blood pressure.
250/120!  “Holy shit!  Where’d that come from?”  Mike asked the leering LED face of the Dinamap.  Accusatory alarms screeched from the Dinamap in response.  Mike truly had not expected such a high blood pressure and was momentarily confused.  The temperature in the OR seemed to have jumped twenty degrees, and he felt rivulets of sweat coursing down his arms.  The fear was back and not so easily dismissed this time.  Think, damn it, think!  What would Doug do?
He quickly reviewed what he knew of Mr. Rakovic’s medical history and his own induction sequence.  Mr. Rakovic was a sixty-two-year-old hypertensive with a history of coronary disease and a prior heart attack.  But, his hypertension was well controlled on his current regimen of beta and calcium-channel blockers.  Mike knew his patient had a bad heart, and had taken care to do a smooth induction along with all the usual precautions to avoid stressing the heart.  A blood pressure of 250/120 and V-tach at 160 beats-per-minute were about the worst stresses any heart could undergo.  Mike knew this, but was still baffled.  Be cool, Mike.  Be cool.
He had been stumped before; medicine was by no means an exact science, and anesthesia was one of the frontiers.  Mike also knew better than to waste precious time pondering this.  As long as he had reviewed it sufficiently to make sure he hadn’t overlooked something, it was time to move on to the immediate treatment.  He could replay the case to search for subtle clues when Mr. Rakovic was safely tucked in the recovery room.
What lurked in the back of Mike’s mind during these first few minutes, prodding him along, was the specter of ventricular fibrillation or V-fib.  V-tach was reversible with rapid proper treatment.  V-fib, on the other hand, was often refractory to treatment, leading to death.   The problem was that V-tach had a nasty habit of degenerating into the dreaded V-fib without warning.  The longer V-tach hung around, the more likely V-fib would appear.  So Mike knew time was of the essence.
“Gotta bring that pressure down,” Mike mumbled to himself.  He reached back into his drawer for Esmolol, a rapidly acting, short duration beta-blocker designed to lower blood pressure.  He drew up 30 mg and pumped it into the IV port.  He also punched in the second syringe of Lidocaine.  Mike tried hard not to take his eyes off the EKG monitor for long as he drew up and administered the drugs.  He wanted to see if the V-tach broke into a normal rhythm or converted into V-fib.  Irrationally, he felt that if he continued to watch the rhythm it wouldn’t convert to V-fib; if he took his eyes off it for too long, the demon might appear.
His Dinamap on STAT mode continued to pour forth BP readings every 45 seconds.  290/140.
“What the hell!”  Mike said.  Alarms were now singing wildly in the background, adding to the confusion.
Just then, Dr. Sanders charged into the room demanding answers.  “What’s going on here, Carlucci?” roared Sanders.
Mike didn’t have time to deal with the irate surgeon.  A wave of nausea swept over him as he felt events slipping out of control.  Things were moving so goddamned fast.  Fear threatened to engulf him.  “Hypertensive crisis!” he managed to blurt out while he grabbed for some Nipride, his strongest antihypertensive.  Unfortunately, it had to be mixed and given as an intravenous infusion rather than straight from the ampule.  This would take a minute Mike and his patient could ill-afford.  Diane returned with the crash cart and several other nurses.  She looked at Mike and said, “Do you need help?”  It certainly sounded like she thought he did.
“Get Landry in here stat!” Mike yelled in response.  He took his eyes off the monitor as he worked on the Nipride drip.  Just as he got the Nipride plugged into the IV port, he heard an ominous silence.
The pulse oximeter had become quiet.  Usually the pulse ox signaled trouble, such as a falling oxygen saturation, by a gradual lowering of the pitch, not an abrupt silence.  Mike could think of only three possible causes, and two of them were disasters—V-fib or cardiac standstill.  The third reason could be as simple as the probe slipping off the finger.  Although this third possibility was enormously more likely, Mike doubted it.  As he turned his head toward the EKG monitor, he knew with eerie prescience what awaited him.
V-fib greeted him from the monitor.  He had failed to get the blood pressure down fast enough.  The V-tach had degenerated into V-fib as the strain on the heart had become too much.  His Nipride was now useless; in fact, it was harmful.  He immediately shut it off.  Mike knew that in V-fib, the heart muscle doesn’t contract at all; it just sits there and quivers like a bowl full of jello.  No blood was being pumped.  High blood pressure had ceased to become a problem; now there was no blood pressure.  Brain damage would ensue in two minutes, death in four to five minutes.
Doug Landry, the anesthesiologist on call that day, burst through the OR door.  “What d’ya got Mike?” he asked, slightly out of breath.  Doug glanced at the EKG monitor and said, “Oh shit!  Fib!”
“Paddles!” shouted Mike, comforted by Doug’s presence.  “He went into V-tach, then shortly into fib,” said Mike, nodding at the monitor.
“Yeah, I see,” Doug said.  His large sinewy frame looked like it was coiled for action.  Diane handed Mike the defibrillator paddles.
“400 joules, asynchronous!”  Mike barked.
Diane stabbed some buttons on the defib unit and it emitted some hi-pitched electronic whines.  “Set,” Diane said shrilly.
“Clear!”  Mike shouted.
Mike fired the paddles, and a burst of high-energy electricity pulsed through Mr. Rakovic’s heart and body.  The EKG monitor first showed electrical interference from the high dose of electricity, then quickly coalesced into more V-fib.
“Shit!”  Mike said.  “No good.”  He had never appreciated how ugly those little spiky waves of V-fib were.
“Hit em again, Mike,” Doug said.
“OK.  Recharge paddles.”  The paddles took several seconds for the high amperage capacitors to charge between countershocks.  “Better start CPR,” Mike said as he began pumping on Mr. Rakovic’s chest.  His hands soon became slimed from the electrolyte gel left by the paddles on Mr. Rakovic’s chest.  God, he hated chest compressions.
“Paddles are ready, Doctor!” said Diane.  Her eyes were wider than before, and her mask ballooned in and out, as she gulped air.
‘Boom’ went the paddles again, and Mr. Rakovic’s body convulsed a second time.  Mike stared at Mr. Rakovic’s face as it contorted, reminding him of a medieval exorcism.  Mike held his breath and waited for the monitor to clear, pleading with it to show him some good news.
“Still fib!”  Mike growled.  He resumed chest compressions as he nodded to the circulator to recharge the paddles yet again.
“Epinephrine?  Bicarb?” asked Doug.
“Doug, I don’t think he needs epi,” Mike replied quickly.  Mike wondered if Doug was also feeling the pressure.  His voice was too damn even, though.  “His pressure went through the roof on induction.  I don’t know why, but I just can’t believe he needs epi.”
“Okay,” Doug said.  “The paddles are ready.”  Doug’s forehead creased momentarily, then he added, “V-fib in an elective case.  Unusual.  Any history, Mike?”
Mike stopped compressions long enough to fire the paddles a third time.  He smelled the ozone coming off the arcing paddles.  The V-fib continued.  Gimme a break, Mr. Rakovic!
“Shit!  Charge the paddles again,” Mike said to Diane.  He turned to Doug.  “Yeah, prior MI, stable angina, hypertension.  Doug, I think we better try Breytillium.  I already gave him two doses of Lidocaine.”  Sweat was now soaking through his scrub top, pants and surgical cap, and running down his face.
“Yeah, sounds like a good idea,” said Doug.  “I’ll take care of it.”
Mike glanced over at Doug and cursed his calm efficiency.  He knew ‘the Iceman’ was a veteran of the OR wars.  Doug had worked at Mercy for twelve years.  He had been on the front lines before and had always performed well.  Doug reminded Mike of his mentor in residency days, Dr. Hawkins.  Mike thought he could hear Dr. Hawkins now: “Retaining control and being cool are critical in these situations.  Split second decisions need to be made.  Panic is a luxury you can’t afford.”  The advice sounded hollow.
“Any allergies, Mike?” Doug asked.  “Malignant hyperthermia?  Breytillium’s ready.”
“No allergies.”  Mike was breathing hard now and had to space his words with short gasps.  “Doesn’t look like MH—no temp.  Hurry Doug.  Run that shit.  He’s been in fib for a while.  We’re running out of time.  He may never come out.”
“I’m bolusing now,” Doug said as he injected a large quantity, “and here goes the drip.”
Mike clung to Doug’s steady voice like a lifeline.  Mike realized that he was in danger of losing control.  He could see it in the trembling of his own hands and hear it in the huskiness of his own voice.  He wondered if Doug noticed.  Deal with it, Mike.  Deal with it. 
Hawkin’s words floated back to him again.  “It’s just like being in combat.  Soldiers can train and drill all they want, but they never really knew how they’ll react until the bullets are real and start to shriek by their heads.  Will they turn tail and run, or fight back?”  Leave me alone, Hawkins!
Mike looked around the room.  He felt they were all staring at him; he could read the expressions in their eyes:  “It’s your fault!  You screwed up!”
“Try it now, Mike,” Doug said, jolting him back to reality.
Mike grasped the paddles tightly to prevent them from slipping from his slick hands and applied them to Mr. Rakovic’s hairy chest for the fourth time.  He pushed the red trigger buttons on each paddle simultaneously to release the pent-up electricity.  All 280 pounds of Mr. Rakovic’s body heaved off the OR table again and crashed down, sending ripples through the fat of his protuberant abdomen.  Mike now smelled an acrid, ammoniacal odor and realized it was coming from the singed hairs on Mr. Rakovic’s chest.  He frantically wiped the burning sweat out of his eyes so he could see the monitor.  The V-fib continued stubbornly and had begun to degrade into fine fibrillations.  “Damn you!”  Mike yelled at the monitor.
“I’ll give you some bicarb,” Doug said.  Out of the corner of his eye, Mike thought he could see Doug shaking his head slightly.
The next fifteen minutes were a blur to Mike.  More chest compressions, more emergency last line drugs, many more countershocks were tried.  Nothing worked.  Mr. Rakovic continued to deteriorate, his pupils widening until at last they became fixed and dilated.  His skin was a gruesome, dusky purple-gray.  He was dead.  Doug finally called the code after fifty-three minutes and gently persuaded Mike to stop chest compressions.  Dr. Sanders walked out of the room without saying a word.
Mike was numb as he stared at the corpse in front of him.  One portion of his brain, however, continued to function all too well.  It kept replaying his initial encounter with Mr. Rakovic in the holding area.  He could see Mr. Rakovic in vivid color and hear him plainly, as the rest of the OR faded to silent gray.  They had joked about the Phillies’ pitching staff.  They wondered whether Barry Bonds would break Big Mac’s homerun record.  God, he wanted this to stop, to get his laughing, living face out of his mind.  But he couldn’t.  His mind was a demonic film projector playing it over and over.  He felt very sick to his stomach and had an overwhelming need to get out of the room and get out of the hospital with all its stinking smells.  Just go, anywhere but here.
God, this was what he hated about anesthesia.  One minute you’re having a casual conversation with a living, breathing, laughing, for God’s sakes, human being and the next you’re pumping on his chest.  He becomes subhuman before your eyes as his face turns all purple and mottled.  He cursed his decision to ever become an anesthesiologist.  What in God’s name was I thinking?  Frail human beings were not meant to hold someone’s life in their hands.  The responsibility was just too awesome.
“Mike.  Hey, Mike.  You OK?”  Doug put his hand on Mike’s slumped shoulders.  Mike came out of his trance enough to nod his head.  Several tears rolled down his cheeks.  “Mike, there’s nothing else you could’ve done,” Doug continued.  “We were all here too.  He must’ve had a massive MI on induction.  Not your fault.  Some of those guys just don’t turn around no matter what you do.  Don’t blame yourself.  We tried everything.”
“Yeah, I know Doug.  But I just can’t get his face out of my mind.  We were talking, joking just an hour ago.  Now he’s dead.”
“C’mon, let’s get out of here.”  Doug led Mike out of OR#2.  “I know you might not be up to this, but Mike, you’ve got to talk to the family.  Did he have any relatives here with him?”
Mike didn’t answer immediately.  As the adrenaline haze faded, he struggled to regain control.  He felt completely drained with an enormous sense of loss, but coaxed sanity back into place.  “Yeah, he came in with his wife.  Nice lady.”  Mike paused, feeling his vision blur again, this time with tears.  “What do you say, Doug?”
“Listen, I’ll go with you.  Just tell her what happened.  Everything was going fine.  He went to sleep and then bam, out of the blue, he had a massive heart attack.  Nothing in the world was going to save him.  We worked on him for almost an hour and tried everything.  Tell her we’re really sorry.”
“OK.  Help me, Doug.”  He would’ve rather stuck nails in his eyes than face Mrs. Rakovic at that moment.
The two men walked through the electronic entrance doors toward the OR waiting room.  Mike swallowed hard and entered the small windowless room.  Doug was right beside him.  Mike searched the faces until he found Mrs. Rakovic.  It wasn’t hard.  As soon as she saw him, she immediately leapt out of the chair with a quickness that belied her bulk.  Her frantic gestures revealed the depth of her hysteria.  Mike walked over and she collapsed into his arms.  “Tell me is not so!” she wailed in her thick, Slavic accent.  “Tell me Doctor Sanders made mistake.  Not my Joey!”  She cried convulsively.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Rakovic,” Mike said, blinking fast.  “He had a massive heart attack.  We tried everything.”  He felt her tears burn into his shoulder and then felt his own tears stream down his face.  “I’m sorry.”  Her wracking sobs shook them both.