Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Spotlight: Electricity by Christopher P. Ring


Author: Christopher P. Ring
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: December 5, 2014
Pages: 73
Genre: Literary / New Adult / Short Stories Collection
Format: eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF

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Book Synopsis:

A teenager wrestles with the meaning of love when his parent’s high-voltage marriage turns deadly.   School boys playing chicken with a commuter train, search for answers about life and death.  An American teacher working in Peru struggles to reconcile the gap between her idealism and the reality of poverty when an act of kindness leads to a frightening episode.  Covert baptisms, duels of love and highway robberies:  the coming-of-age stories in Electricity share a vision of America marked by tainted innocence and misguided idealism.

Book Excerpt:

But Licho remains tall.  Scanning the horizon of the classroom, his hand blocks out an imagined sun.  Micah follows his vision across the walls.  They are tacked with pictures she has torn from history books and language books.  There are pictures of Quechua farmers from the hills re-enacting ancient Inca dances for Inti-Ramin, and next to those, pictures of Gene Kelly and Audrey Hepburn dancing on the Seine in Paris.  On the back wall there are pictures of conquistadors and ancient emperors, Pizarro paired with Atahualpa, Cortez paired with Pachacutec.  And then Licho’s face expresses the consternation of a soldier under attack.
            “Look, Injuns,” Licho calls, pointing over Micah’s head.  “Man the fart.”
            She laughs.  “It’s fort.” 
            “Fort!” he says.  “Man the fort!”
            He leaps off the desk and runs for the far wall.  Then he comes back slowly, touching the ground and smelling his hand, like an Indian tracking an animal.  This, from a man who kills pigs and tars roads.  Nothing seems to phase him.  Yet, she knows she would starve if she had to do these same things to feed herself.
            “I thought you worked nights only?” Micah asks.  “What happened to work tonight?”
            Licho leaps to her desk and scurries across it like a crab.
            “Stop it Licho.  What happened?”
            “No work,” he says, falling backwards into her desk chair.  It groans as he slides backwards.  Suddenly he seems sullen.  “How do you say in Amer-eeca.  Fried?”
            “You got fired!”
            “Now you.”
            Licho springs to his feet and nudges Micah towards the stack of chairs.  “Now you.  Tell what you see.”  He slides the desk closer and jerks his head in an upward motion. 
            “No,” she says, listlessly.
            “Vengas.  I will hold chairs.”
            She feels silly doing this, but thinks she owes it to him.  After all, he has given up the afternoon, reading to one group while she read with another.  And she has seen a world he has not seen, a world he wants to see, and she feels sorry.  Yet, this is what scares her.  She is afraid of what he might expect; with her, he could escape it all.  She climbs on to the desk and feels his hands pushing and holding her waist at the same time.  The stack of chairs is a teetering ladder and for a moment, looking down on him, Licho seems small.
            “What do you see?” he yells out to her excitedly.
            Shhh!  Micah puts a finger to her lips.  The principal is in his office a few rooms down the line from hers.  Micah should be gone already.  With a free hand she grabs at the tiled windowsill.  The moon is streaking down across the courtyard, the dirt pale and white like dried bones.
            “I see the moonlight,” she says.  “And dirt.  And a pencil in the moonlight.”
            “Si, si.  More.  What else?”
            “Nothing.”  The game feels silly.  She is thirty, not twenty-one.  What she has seen in Peru has made it hard to pretend.   If she really wants to look, she already knows what she will see - the things she has not been able to look beyond.  Alcoholics littering the streets with empty bottles of rubbing alcohol, stray dogs, piles of garbage clogging the river, four year old children selling candy, dirty children, poverty.  A city still recovering from an earthquake twenty years earlier.  Decay.  “Nothing,” she retorts.
            “Liar.  Let me look.  I will show.  I can see.”
            From her perch the emptiness of her classroom seems out of tune with the life her students bring.  Licho reaches up for her hand and pulls her down.  His hand goes up the back of her shirt and it pinches her.  She stiffens.
            “That hurt,” she says. 
            “Sorry.”  He puts one hand to his lips, reaches out with the other.  His finger tips are coated in tar, small pebbles dried into them.  “No com off.”
            Micah relaxes.  It is his right to imagine, to hope for something better.  He has dreams, damn it.  They, too, must pinch.  She can still feel where his hand touched her, perhaps as much as he had hoped for, but she gives him a shoulder and helps him up.  He rises against the glow of the window.
            There is silence.
            “Hmm,” he says.  “Oh yes.  I see.”
            Licho talks about getting a job as a handyman in an apartment building in Denver.  He paints dreams of ten hour work days and coming home to sit on a balcony that overlooks the freeway, and sipping Pisco Sour’s.  A movie theater is a block away and there are three markets on the corner.  Nothing changes in his America but the numbers.  There are more jobs, more cars, twice as many food stands, trains and buses going to more places, elections every week.  Micah stands by the door and looks out.
            “Maybe you have apartamento on other side of road.  We sit on balcony and wave to each other after work.  Maybe you com over. We have ceviche or MeecDonald’s.   Yes, I see.”  He looks at Micah in the doorway and squints.  “You see, yes?”
            He climbs down and turns her towards the stack of chairs.  “I show you,” he says.  She can feel his hands against her ribs as he urges her to climb again, but she doesn’t want to.  This is unrealistic.  It is a fantasy she knows not to encourage, yet she does not want to break it.  She grabs the edge of a chair and resists.  With her legs she pushes back against Licho.  She feels the back of her head knock into his teeth. 
            “Puta!” he says, pinning her with his rough hands.  The stack slides up against the window sill.  Down the hill there are people working and walking the streets, but they are miles away at this point.
            “Mentirosa!” he spits.  Liar.  Micah is gated between his arms and the chairs and she can feel his breath on her neck.  Its sweet smell of cola mixes with the dried tar on his shirt.   Twisting her by the arms he wrenches her loose as the chairs topple over in a big crash.  The small room is split in half by the meager courtyard light.  Where they stand by the desk the light is soft and dusty, but the far end by the doorway is darkness.  She winds her way through the fallen desks, stepping on markers and crayons that she had to purchase with her own money.  Holding close to the back wall Micah finds herself crossing out of the light, but away from the doorway.   She remembers the old woman squatting on the corner a few days earlier whom he had scolded, swatted at the woman’s head with a rag he was carrying.  “Puerco,” he’d said.  Pig.  She’d gotten mad at him for that, though at the time it seemed innocent.  A woman should not have to see that, he’d said.
            “Puta,” he calls over softly, leaning into the desk.  The single drawer is open.  In his hand he is waving something, her passport.  For a moment her breath is paralyzed.

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

About The Author

Christopher Ring 2

Christopher P. Ring writes fiction, poetry, children’s stories, travel essays, social commentaries, humor and screen plays.  His writing has appeared in numerous regional magazine and small literary journals such as Caldera and The Broken Bridge Review.  He received his Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire and taught High School English for several years in the U.S. and abroad.   He continues to teach the art storytelling to Elementary school students in Southern Maine, where he resides with his wife (a teacher too) and two children.

Much of his fiction draws on the experiences and discoveries of his life as a “rambler”.  Growing up in Long Island, New York, he developed an insatiable thirst to escape the confines of conventional living, spending his twenties and early thirties travelling the globe to off the beaten path places in search of adventure.  He has called many regions of the U.S. his home and has also lived in Ireland, the Andes of Colombia, and Vienna, Austria.  As with the cultures and places he has visited, the settings in his story shape the events and characters profoundly.

You can learn more about Christopher P. Ring and check out other writing of his at

His next book, The Glow, a collection of speculative fiction short stories, will be available in April, 2015.

Connect with Christopher:

Author Website: 
Author Blog:
Twitter:   Goodreads:


Friday, March 27, 2015

Book Review: ITGIRL4LIFE by Tamara Branch

Author: Tamara Branch
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing
Pages: 98
Genre: YA/Self-Esteem
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

My Review:

When I was a teen, I had so many issues it would make your head swim.  Had someone told me this was normal and I wasn't the only one going through this horrible stage, it would have made things a whole lot easier.  I agreed to review ITGIRL4LIFE by Tamara Branch just for this reason.  Could I revert back to a teenager even for just a few minutes and see if this book would help?

You bet your sweet bippy.  I looooved this book!

Inside you will find so many ways to deal with teen self-esteem and all of them are right on point.  What this book does is give you a pep talk but not speaking down to you.  After reading it, you want to hold your head high and shout to the world, "It's me and I'm proud of who I am!"

It literally builds your potential no matter how small you feel you are or how much of an outcast others have led you to believe you are.  Even at my age, I felt like climbing Mt. Everest after reading it.  It builds you up in ways that connect to your innerself.

If you know of a teen that needs some building up, ITGIRL4LIFE is the one you should get!  For this, creativity and writing style, I give this book 5 book trees.

My Rating:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Spotlight: I Just Wanted Love by D.J. Burr

 I Just Wanted Love

TitleI Just Wanted Love: Recovery of a Codependent, Sex and Love Addict
Author: D.J. Burr
Publisher: ABLE Counseling Services, LLC
Publication Date: December 31, 2014
Pages: 232 pages
ISBN: 978-0692299128
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback, eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF

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Link to book trailer

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

D.J. Burr is a man on a mission; successful business owner, highly respected psychotherapist and survivor of a dysfunctional life. At a young age, all he wanted was to be loved, but instead found himself targeted by a sexual predator. D.J. slipped into a life of addiction and clawed his way through broken relationships and seedy sex clubs–looking for love in all the wrong places. D.J. will take readers on a roller coaster of emotions as he details his search for grace and love.

Book Excerpt:



Someone actually said they were addicted to me, and that was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I could no longer hold in all the pain and shame. I cried out in grief as I had this man inside of me and said, “Take the condom off. I need you. I am addicted to you too.” Every ounce of who I was washed out of me as I climaxed multiple times with this man who was not wearing a condom. When it got right down to it, I just didn’t believe I was worth anything. I wish I could say that I learned from my mistake that day, but I didn’t. I took that risk again and again with him and others.
At this point, I was utterly spent thinking about all the emotional baggage I had in my life. I just wanted to be wanted for me and who I was, but I didn’t know how to get there. Somehow, I thought I would find the answers to my questions at the bathhouse. The bathhouse I frequented was a place where men could freely have sex out in the open or in private rooms. There was porn, a steam room, and showers. The facility even provided vending machines that were stocked with lubricant, condoms, and candy.
I found a sense of false confidence when I visited the bathhouse. For example, when someone approached me and wanted to have sex, I felt empowered. After all, I could say, “yes” or “no.” I hardly ever said no. But, the joy of being needed by others was only temporary, and the power I felt was an inauthentic. It never lasted more than 10 minutes after I left. Always, I worried someone would see me walking out. Often, feared I might see a client there, and then what would I do?
With everything going on in my life at the time, I thought my business was the only thing worth salvaging, but I was wrong. I didn’t realize that through my obsessive sexual behavior, I was abandoning my own business too. I spent so much time worrying about my next sexual fix that often my focus and attention was not on my therapy practice and its growing clientele. Also, I was doing things that were actually illegal, such as videotaping men in restrooms or locker rooms. But what can I say? I got high from that kind of thing which temporarily relieved the pain and chaos swirling around inside me. The fact that I wasn’t getting caught was exhilarating. I actually thought this was normal behavior. In fact, I thought it was so normal that I never hesitated to send copies of my illegal videos and pictures to friends. They sent me their photos too.
I needed serious help. I started seeing a forensic psychologist who has been in the business for over 30 years. Every week I told him about my struggles, and every week he said the same thing, “Go to a meeting.”
But, I didn’t want to hear about going to meetings. However, my therapist was insistent; he wanted me to see how 12-Step meetings could work for me. During our sessions, he often pulled out the AA Big Book, having me read through “The 12 Steps.”
He encouraged me to go to Codependents Anonymous, but at the time, I didn’t get it. Along with “not getting it,” I didn’t want anyone to tell me about how I was “codependent.” Frankly, I didn’t have a real sense of what the word even meant. Most weeks, after therapy, I continued to walk down to the bathhouse to have sex for a few hours. Was I codependent on the sex?
Looking back at the summer after my sophomore year of high school, I now recognize this is when my codependence and sex and love addiction fully emerged. I wish someone would have told me that I was being targeted by a sick, child molester. While hanging out at my great-grandmother, Mama Sara’s house, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye. It was Kenny. I had always known him as one of my dad’s closest friends. While growing up, I had gone over to his home many times to play with his nephew. Kenny had always been friendly to me. He lived right across the street from Mama Sara.
After catching Kenny’s glance out of the corner of my eye, he walked over and asked if he could sit down next to me. I said, “Sure.” I had noticed that his wife and two boys were hanging out on his front porch…I didn’t really know them all that well. Kenny and I started talking, and he asked what was going on with me. Like always, he asked when was the last time I had spoken to my dad. Honestly, I couldn’t remember. Kenny always insisted that I call my dad and try to work things out. He was pretty much a broken record when it came to that subject.
After getting all the formalities out of the way, the conversation slowly turned to an awkward topic. In short, Kenny said he knew what was going on with my family and me. At first, I was puzzled. What he was talking about. But as he continued, it was like he had been a fly on the wall inside my house; he knew I was gay. I was baffled.
At first, I was angry and upset with Kenny. Then he told me he was interested in talking with me about it. He had genuine empathy for my situation, and he made an effort to understand what I must have been going through. Finally, I said to myself, here is someone who is finally willing to listen to me and possibly be objective about the whole thing. At that moment, I felt a ton of weight lifted from my shoulders. But the weightlessness didn’t last long.
After a while, the conversation between Kenny and I turned a little dark. It was like he was too supportive. It was like he was trying to coax me into saying something he wanted to hear, but I had no clue what that was. Throughout our conversation, I kept glancing at him, and he was just staring at me really intensely. His was a look I had never seen before in my life, and I started to get nervous. I felt shaky, and my hands got very clammy. Then, he popped the question I will never forget for as long as I live. He straightforwardly asked me to kiss him. I couldn’t believe my ears. This man was no less than two feet from my face, and he was asking me to kiss him. My heart started to race. At first I thought his gesture was some kind of joke, especially since his family was sitting on his front porch, directly across the street from us, probably wondering why he was even talking to me in the first place. And now, he was asking for a kiss?
I was now beyond nervous. I mustered up the courage to ask him what the hell he was talking about and why he was asking for such a thing, especially since his wife was right across the way. I asked if he was gay. He said he didn’t like “labels.” I thought this was kind of funny because I assumed his label as husband and father, should stand for a lot. But, I guess not. That’s when he told me he was interested in me. That was all I needed to hear to get totally freaked out. I had no earthly idea what to do next. I wondered, what interest could a 40-something have in a 16-year old? I told him I had to go inside, and he looked at me as if I were Juliet and him, Romeo. There was so much intensity in that look, and I was actually scared.
Now, I am aware the interaction I had with Kenny that weekend was his initial step in him “grooming” me for a secret, sexual relationship. It was a gradual, calculated process. Step 1: Targeting the victim Kenny sized my vulnerabilities up that day. He was empathic to my situation at home and assured me he was not going to be just one more adult interested in judging me for being gay. Kenny wanted to “protect” me.
I hurried into the house and went straight to my room. Once there, I began to cry. I was so confused. There were a billion questions rolling around in my head. I didn’t understand what had just happened. This grown man—my dad’s friend, a married man, a father—had just told me of his interest in me. He had asked for a kiss while his wife sat only 50 feet away. I was in total shock. Since I had no one to talk to, I had to deal with it all on my own. I definitely didn’t want to risk my family finding out. I cried myself to sleep that night.
Several days passed, and I hadn’t seen or heard from Kenny. I just kept thinking that the whole thing had to be some kind of joke. I tried my best to banish the incident from my mind. Well, no sooner did I try to do that, and I saw him again. Getting off the bus for my job at the mall, there he was.
We engaged in small talk. He told me he now worked a taxi route that included the mall.  When I heard this, I let out a scream in the back of my mind—this was all too much for me. If he was now working at the mall where I worked, this increased my chances of seeing him on a regular basis. Which really scared me. It occurred to me that maybe he was some sick man who lusted after young boys. If only I had decided to trust my own instincts. But eventually, I decided to throw that idea out the window because, if that were the case, why didn’t he do anything or say something before now?
One afternoon after working the morning shift, I walked across the street from the mall to catch the bus home. Kenny’s car was parked near the bus stop.  He had also been working that day, so we engaged in casual conversation at the bus stop for a few minutes. Our small talk wasn’t anything really dramatic, but I noticed more and more that I had these crazy feelings whenever I was around him. I found myself growing awkwardly attracted to this man who was old enough to be my father. After all, Kenny was 45 at the time, which was way older than my own dad.
Our conversation ended when the bus arrived. A few days later, I worked the evening shift and once again, rode the bus home. By the time I made it back to my neighborhood, it was dark. I got off the bus and headed down the hill to Mama Sara’s house. Everything was fine until I heard a car pull up behind me. I knew it was Kenny because his car made this awful sound. He stopped the car, and I turned around to see what he wanted. He asked if I wanted a lift to my place. Stage two: Gaining a victim’s trust I thought about it for a minute, and then I got into the car with him. That’s when he said he needed to make a quick detour to the local drugstore to pick up some ice cream for his wife.
We ended up talking all the way to the drugstore, and it was really interesting having such a lengthy discussion with him. I didn’t feel like a child when I talked to him. I felt as though he valued my opinions. I felt a connection with him. We walked into the store together to get what he needed and then headed back toward home.
On the ride back, the conversation took a turn to the topic of him and me. I still thought he was crazy. Why would he want me? I still hadn’t figured this man out. All I knew was that I was growing really attracted to him, and this became evident because I was so aroused around him. I couldn’t tell him whether or not anything could actually develop between us. I couldn’t think that far in advance at that moment.
The car finally reached his house and we got out and stood around on the sidewalk for a few minutes. Since Mama Sara’s house was right there, I was scared that someone would see me with him. As I started to leave to walk home, he pulled me back and held me. I froze. I liked it. I liked the feeling of his hands on me. But then, I quickly snapped out of it, pulled away from him, and hurried home. I knew right then I was in trouble. I actually liked this man, and he liked me. What was I to do? Kenny gained my trust, and I was on my way to “needing” him.
Stage three: filling a need A few days later I got a page on my pager. It was Kenny. I had totally forgotten I had given him my pager number. I called him back, and he wanted to know what I was doing and when I had to work. I told him I had to work that morning, and apparently, so did he. He gave me a ride to work, and it was so strange being in his car this time. I felt like a fugitive on the run. I rendezvoused with him further down my street so my family wouldn’t see me getting into his car. As he drove me to work, I kept an eye out for other family members’ cars. I just knew I would be dead if they knew I was with Kenny.
I finally made it to work undetected, and, afterwards, we planned to go to lunch. So after our shifts ended, we hooked back up in the mall parking lot and went to lunch at this little diner down the street. I felt so strange being with him. I was worried about what people might say. Maybe, they thought I was his son or brother? Maybe, they thought we were lovers? Hell, I didn’t even know what we were.
All I really knew was that someone was paying attention to me and thought I was valuable. He was interested in what I had to say and how I felt. I didn’t feel lonely when he was around. I didn’t feel scared anymore.
After lunch, we got in the car and headed back home. On the way there, he reached over and touched my leg. It felt good. I got this warm sensation. It was unreal. I liked his affection. I believe, on some unconscious level, I forgot this man had a wife and kids. Was I wrong for doing this? I didn’t know then. I was enjoying myself. After all the hell I had been through, I thought I needed to enjoy my surroundings, and he just happened to be a part of those surroundings. That’s what I told myself. I was a scared kid looking for safety.
We finally made it back to our street, and he pulled into his driveway. I looked back, and I could only make out part of Mama Sara’s house, so I doubted anyone could see me. He hopped out of the car and told me to come in. My heart sank. I couldn’t move. I told him there was no way in hell I was going into his house, but he kept begging me. He even came over to my door and playfully tried to drag me out. But still, I didn’t budge. Truth be told; I was terrified because of a serious look on his face, and I knew what was going on in his mind—he wanted to mess around. But, I knew there was no way I could do that. I knew I had to get my ass out of that car. He finally backed off, and I went home. I was relieved to be home, my heart pounding. I was all worked up.
The following days and weeks were filled with him trying to pursue me, and me not knowing what to do. He called me constantly. It didn’t matter where I was; he just kept calling. Having my pager going off so much was sort of nerve–racking, but I secretly enjoyed sneaking off to use the phone to see what Kenny wanted. Kenny called me from his home, work, anywhere—and this made me feel good. I felt like I was the only person in his life whenever I was around him. He paid so much attention to me, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Eventually, the fact that he had a wife didn’t seem to bother me at all, because soon he and I finally had sex.
It all went down one afternoon after he gave me a ride home from work. This time when he pulled into his driveway and asked me to come in, I didn’t hesitate. He took me to the back bedroom in his house.  There was a bathroom, mini-kitchenette, futon bed, and phone—it was like his own studio apartment. He showed me around the other parts of the house, and I saw his family portraits—he had a great-looking family. Step four: Isolation He closed and locked the bedroom door, and my heart jumped out of my chest.
At first, I tried to play it calm, walking around the room, hoping he wouldn’t try to do anything—but in the back of my mind, I wanted him just as badly as he wanted me. I had never been in a situation like this before. I had never even been interested in older men.
Step five: Sexualizing the relationship Then, it finally happened. He came up to me turned me around, and we kissed. I couldn’t feel my feet…I was floating on air. His lips tasted so good (smoker’s breath, but still good). The next thing I knew our clothes were coming off and we were having wild, passionate, uncontrolled sex. I had never had it like that before, so I just let myself go.
Kenny was so gentle with me. I felt so wanted, so loved at that moment. It was like nothing I had ever imagined or experienced. After we both had climaxed, he ran some bath water, and we both got in. I was in heaven. He washed my throbbing body, and it felt so, so good. We kissed some more and fondled each other in the bath.
I didn’t know what to think about the whole scenario that day. I was partially relieved because I didn’t have to keep telling him “no.” I was feeling very anxious because I worried that my family would find out. I became trapped in a web of lies and became even more isolated from my family and dependent on Kenny.
Step six: Maintaining control In the following weeks, we met secretly at his home, at work, around the block, in the shrubs near the mall—anywhere we could kiss and makeout. We would even sit out in broad daylight kissing in his car in the mall parking lot. It felt like a real relationship. I bought him sweet little cards from Hallmark, wrote him poetry, and did anything else I could do to show him how much he meant to me. He took me out to lunch occasionally. One time he even went to help me shop for school clothes. We bought matching “K-Swiss” t-shirts! Sometimes I looked out my window, and I could see him wearing his t-shirt, and I just knew it was some kind of sign that he was thinking about me.
Late at night, he came down to my house and talked to me while I sat on my screened-in front porch. He usually stood out in the street while we talked. One night, all hell broke loose. Mama Sara had apparently started noticing how Kenny was always coming over to talk to me (it was usually around 11 or midnight, but she noticed). Kenny and I were standing there talking about random things when my cousin, Samantha, came storming out of the house, demanding that Kenny leave me alone. She started ranting and raving about how he had no business talking to me. It was such a mess. I was pissed beyond belief. Kenny left, and I went inside demanding to know why in the hell she had decided I couldn’t talk to him.
I walked into the living room all fired up. I couldn’t believe Samantha had embarrassed me like that. I demanded an answer as to why I couldn’t talk to Kenny. That’s when Mama Sara said that she knew all about Kenny, and she knew he was trying to mess with me.
I told her that she had no right to tell me whom I could talk to or see. Then, she played the AIDS card. She went on and on about our neighbor whose son died of AIDS because he was gay. I had no clue why she couldn’t understand that anybody can contract AIDS, not just gay people. She got all emotional and started saying that she didn’t want me to be like all the other gays and die.
She then took it further by claiming that I was the cause of some fight Kenny and his wife supposedly had out on the street a few days back. I hadn’t heard about any fight. I asked how she knew about it. Just like I figured, she heard about it from all the neighborhood gossip. I was appalled. I wanted to get out of that fucking house so bad at that moment. I called Kenny and told him what went down. He claimed he had no idea what Mama Sara was talking about concerning a fight. From that day forward, everything at my great-grandmother’s house got worse.
Finally, it got to the point where I started lying about going to the library, so I could see Kenny. I thought my family was trying to take me away from the one that I loved so much. I had fallen hard for this man in just a month’s time. I wrote countless poems that expressed my undying love for Kenny. Here is a sample of one of the poems I wrote to him:
Piece of My Heart

Like a ray of light, you shined into my life.
You took my hand and held it tight.
I looked at you, very sweet, indeed.
You touched my soul and, like a thief in the night, you stole my heart.
I wasn’t willing to, give at first, but with your honesty and trust, I must.
Forever in a day, every second of every hour, every day of every month, I will always
Know you have a piece of my heart.
You cherish me, as I do you.
I may not be yours in the fullest extent, but in our hearts we’ll always be.
I love you with every inch of my heart, but remember only one piece is given when
We part.

I became even more isolated from my family that summer. Kenny had come into my life and became everything I thought I was missing. Every chance I could take to see him, I did. He told me he needed me. He told me he loved me. I was convinced that I was in love too. It wasn’t clear at the time, but I now know that my child molester had the ultimate grip on my reality.
It was as if I were under a spell. Never had I disobeyed my family like this and lied to so many people. I was different now; I was not myself. I became obsessed with Kenny. But, he knew I was only staying with Mama Sara for the summer, so he slowly tried to push me away. He finally succeeded when he asked me if I thought he would ever leave his family for me. I said I hoped that he would. He said there was no way he would.
And so, there it was. In a single instant, Kenny went from this caring, loving friend and lover to this evil user. But, I still couldn’t hate him. Before I left, he said he would always love me and cherish everything I had ever given to him. All of these moments ignited my addictions, but the stage was set much earlier in my childhood.

About The Author

D.J. Burr

Darrett “D.J.” Burr is a licensed mental health counselor in the Washington State; national certified counselor and a specialist in problematic sexual behavior. He has been in private practice in Seattle, WA for five years. D.J. is the co-founder, owner, and Executive Director of A.B.L.E. Counseling Services, LLC.

D.J. is the creator of ABLE Affirmations, ABLE Life Recovery, and the ABLE Care Clinic. D.J. published Unfinished: A GLBT Domestic Violence Workbook while completing his Masters in Community Counseling at Argosy University-Atlanta in 2009.

Born in raised in Marietta, GA, D.J. has been known to many as a survivor. His childhood was less-than-nurturing. D.J. spent the majority of his early years tending to other’s needs and wants; not knowing what his were. He kept fighting for more–more understanding of himself.

Unfortunately, D.J. lost focus after being targeted by a sexual predator. D.J. lapsed into addiction to numb the pain of the molestation, broken relationships, dysfunctional family of origin, and loss of his childhood. However, the addiction did not stop him.

Over 15 years later, D.J. has learned to live life instead of surviving life. D.J. found answers to his long unanswered questions, primarily, who loves me? Twelve Step recovery and rigorous honesty saved D.J. from a life of addiction. He can now say, “I love myself.” Loving himself allowed D.J. to stop chasing unavailable people, places, and things. He now focuses on his recovery, which impacts every facet of his life.

D.J. enjoys writing, watching movies, especially horror/suspense. His favorite band is Nickelback. His favorite R&B group is Destiny’s Child. D.J. is also a huge fan of old 80s-90s cartoons like Transformers.

You can visit D.J. Burr’s website at

Connect with D.J.:
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Cover Reveal ~ Two Princes: The Biker and The Billionaire by Victoria Danann

 About The Book 

Title:  Two Princes: The Biker and The Billionaire
Author: Victoria Danann
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  dba7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC
Publication Date: June 16, 2015

Preorder Book Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble
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Brigid Roan is a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle had started to seem impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with ties to The Sons of Sanctuary.

What she wanted was information to prove a proposition. What she didn’t want was to fall for one of the members of the club. Especially since she had set out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society.

Brash Fornight was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him.

After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his club, The Sons of Sanctuary, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his Jeep at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find the guy who was walking around with his face.

Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a collision course with destiny and a woman who thought she won a prize when she was allowed a look inside the Sons of Sanctuary MC.

About The Author

Victoria Danann

Victoria Danann is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of The Knights of Black Swan, which has won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW (2013, 2014). Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria writes cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. She is making her debut into contemporary romance with publication of the SUMMER FIRE ultimate romance collection anthology. It contains a novella intro to the Sons of Sanctuary MC series. The first full novel of the series will be released June 16, 2015.

Contact Victoria at:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Every Move She Makes, Death and Desire and Twelve Hours Book Feature

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Every Move She MakesTitle: Every Move She Makes
Author: Jannine Gallant
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Kindle

  No matter where she goes, he knows her every move…

 Long ago, Rachel Carpenter was a glamorous soap star. She gave it all up to move to Napa Valley with her daughters to open up a bookstore near her family vineyard. Her life is safe and dependable, until she encounters Kane Lafferty at a wilderness camp in the rugged High Sierra. A burned-out police detective struggling with his own demons, Kane is instantly attracted to Rachel. And like Rachel, he isn’t sure if he’s ready to open up his heart. But everything is about to change…

 Someone is watching from the darkness. A fanatic obsessed with Rachel for years has decided to claim what he believes is his. It will be up to Kane to not only protect his new love and her family, but to uncover the identity of the stalker before it’s too late for all of them…

For More Information

  • Every Move She Makes is available at Amazon.
Jannine Gallant 
Write about what you know. I've taken this advice to heart, creating characters who live in small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors.I grew up in Gasquet, a tiny town in Northern California, where as kids we swam in the river, ran wild in the woods, and rode our bikes every-where we wanted to go. Now I live in Tahoe City with my husband, two daughters, and dog, Ginger. When I'm not busy writing or being a full time mom, I enjoy taking Ginger for hikes in the woods around our home.Whether I'm writing romantic suspense, contemporary, or historical romance, I try to bring the beauty of nature to my stories.I graduated from U.C. Davis with a double major in history and creative writing. Though I've worked in both the restaurant and ski industries, I never wanted to be anything but a writer. After many years of pursuing my passion, I've finally achieved success, proof positive that dreams do come true!

For More Information

  Visit Jannine’s website.
  Connect with Jannine on Facebook 
Visit Jannine’s blog.

Death and DesireTitle: Death and Desire
Author: P.H. Turner
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Kindle

 Ancient rituals. Up-to-the minute deception. Reporter Taylor McWhorter knows something is going on at the newly reopened uranium mine on the local Navajo reservation. The Native workers are being fired. Rumors of bad Native American spirits and shapeshifters mingle with the stink of leach pit mining. The rough red mountains and steep canyons hide more passes and getaway trails than any maze. And Taylor’s sources keep turning up dead… Until she meets Captain Trace Yazzie, head of the tribal police force and plenty to reckon with on his own. The chemistry between them is enough to incinerate Taylor’s rule about mixing business and pleasure. But with a murderer on the loose, priceless Navajo artifacts turning up in the wrong places, and Trace’s suggestion that spirits disturbed from looted burial sites might be part of the problem, Taylor can’t afford to lose her head to lust. This might be the story of the year. But unless she keeps her wits about her, it could be the last one Taylor ever tells…

For More Information

  • Death and Desire is available at Amazon.
P.H. Turner  Teaching and shooting news and documentaries took me to work on the East and West coasts, the Midwest and an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Born a fourth generation Texan, I live in Denver with an energetic mutt that waits patiently every day for me to come home and work on my second novel.

  For More Information
  Visit P.H.’s blog 
Twelve HoursConnect with P.H. on Facebook     

Title: Twelve Hours
Author: Leo J. Maloney
Publisher: Pinnacle
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Kindle

  “A must!” —Lee Child Black Ops veteran Leo J. Maloney delivers an explosive tale of international intrigue and the menace of a third World War. The clock is ticking…

  Twelve Hours

 New York City is under siege. A bomb has exploded in Penn Station. Islamic terrorists have occupied the Waldorf Astoria. And a bloody, catastrophic battle is being fought in Grand Central  Station. It’s all part of an insidious plot targeting a visiting head of state. Dan Morgan knows what he has to do to prevent an irreversible domino effect from bringing the world to its knees. There’s just one catch. Dan’s teenage daughter is trapped among the hostages. And she’s determined to fight her way out…

For More Information

  • Twelve Hours is available at Amazon.
Leo Maloney  Leo Maloney was born in Massachusetts, where he spent his childhood and graduated from high school and attended Northeastern University. In the mid 1960’s, while in the army, he was recruited to become a deep cover black ops contractor for a clandestine government agency. While he was serving his country in the secretive world of Black Ops over 30 years, he operated several “cover” businesses including a classic car brokerage, promotions and limousine companies, and a detective agency. He served as a municipal police officer in Revere, Massachusetts and is still a licensed private investigator in the state of Massachusetts. After leaving his career in black ops, Leo continued several of his cover businesses, and also had the opportunity to try his hand at acting in independent films and TV commercials. Leo has 5 movies to his credit both as an actor and behind the camera as a producer, technical advisor, and assistant director. In his most recent project, Leo began writing, reliving many of his Black Ops experiences and evolving them into his books. In 2011 he signed a contract with Kensington Publishing Corp for the Dan Morgan thriller series. The first book, Termination Orders, was released in September 2012. The second book, Silent Assassin, was released in August of 2013. The third book, Black Skies, was released on 26 August 2014. The fourth book a novella, Twelve Hours, will be released in March of 2015. It’s now official, Leo has signed a movie deal with Amber Entertainment in LA / London to bring the “Dan Morgan” thriller series to the “BIG SCREEN”. It is slated to begin filming in 2015. Leo currently resides in a suburb north of Boston with his wife and their German Shepherd, Neika.

  For More Information

  Visit Leo’s website.
  Connect with Leo on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Spotlight: Derek The Dragon by Leela Hope

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About The Childrens Book Collection
Derek The Dragon (Book 1)

TitleDerek The Dragon 
Author: Leela Hope
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Pages: 22
Genre: Childrens Books
Format: eBook (.mobi - Kindle) / PDF

Purchase The Book - Amazon:

Derek The Dragon

Do your kids ever feel sad?

Do they have trouble making friends?

An amazing story for all ages to enjoy, aimed at children 0-5 years of age. Watch as Derek the Dragon learns about the meaning of happiness in this tale. Come and meet an adventurous dormouse who decides that he can change his lot in life and through caring about others he ends up saving his village. The story is told through rhyming verse and vivid illustration. Derek the Dragon contains a great message about caring and friendship for parents to share with their children.  

Derek The Dragon (Book 2)

TitleDerek The Dragon And The Missing Socks 
Author: Leela Hope
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 25, 2015
Pages: 22
Genre: Childrens Books
Format: eBook (.mobi - Kindle) / PDF

Purchase The Book - Amazon:

Derek The Dragon And The Missing Socks

Do your kids forget to clean up their rooms?

Have they ever asked you to find things for them?

This story is pure family entertainment. It is great for kids 2-82 but it is aimed at the 0-5 age group. The book covers a very important life skill, cleaning. Derek the dragon does not like to clean, but he learns that he needs to get his house clean if he is ever going to find his lucky socks. Devin the dormouse comes to help his friend and shows him the way to get his house clean. The friends clean the cave and find the lucky socks. The story is brought to life through vivid illustrations and is told in rhyming verse.

     Derek The Dragon (Book 3)   

TitleDerek The Dragon and Princess Dayna 
Author: Leela Hope 
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing 
Publication Date: January 25, 2015 
Pages: 22 
Genre: Childrens Books 
Format: eBook (.mobi - Kindle) / PDF 

Derek The Dragon and Princess Dayna 

Do you or your kids have trouble with people who are different? 

Do your kids have trouble making friends? 

This is a terrific story aimed at kids 0-5, and yet, it is fun for the whole family to read and enjoy. Derek the Dragon, the dormouse, Devin and Princess Dayna all learn a lot about friendship. The book deals with misunderstandings and stereotypes, but in a way that is very palatable for little children to understand. The villagers are worried about a dragon flying around their village. They send their princess off to deal with the situation. The story is told in rhyming verse and featuring dynamic illustrations. It is a story for the whole family to enjoy.   

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

Meet The Author

Leela Hope is a writer with over 22 years of experience in writing endearing children's fiction. Her lively characters have entranced and captivated her audience, and she has taken great joy in writing the three series of books, each beautifully illustrated with love and care. Her stories concentrate on the adventures of floppy eared bunnies and wide-eyed children learning lessons in life, before returning home wiser and eager for sleep. leela hope writes her stories to entertain the very young, but also to educate. Her vision is always of a parent sitting on a child's bed, reciting the stories each night, while the young one drifts off to sleep, lulled into a dream world full of fun and adventure. 

From her very earliest years of childhood, Leela made up stories in her head, telling them to her younger brother and sister. The stories flowed easily from her mind, and it wasn't long before she realized she had a gift for writing. By the age of 14, she had already written a small book of short stories for her own entertainment, and by the age of 22, she had published her first full-fledged children's fiction in several magazines. Leela hope was destined to be an author and she knew exactly what genre of fiction she wanted to dedicate her life too.

Born in San Diego, California, and still residing in the area, Leela studied English Literature at Berkeley, earning a degree in 1989. Her writing covers a span of several genres, but she always returns to her first love, children's fiction. She enjoys scuba diving and visiting wildlife parks, seeking new inspiration for cuddly characters for her stories. leela hope lives in an urban area of San Diego and is presently at work on a new book.

Connect with Leela:

Amazon Author Page:




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