Monday, February 29, 2016

Announcing Larry D. Thompson's DARK MONEY BOOK BLAST Today!

We're thrilled to be hosting Larry D. Thompson's DARK MONEY Book Blast today!  Pick up your copy!

Title: DARK MONEY           
Author: Larry D. Thompson
Publisher: Story Merchant Books
Pages: 420
Genre: Legal Thriller
DARK MONEY is a thriller, a mystery and an expose’ of the corruption of money in politics.

Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy, Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.

Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fund raiser dressed as a cat burglar---wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape.
Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack the Alamo Defenders’ compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case---but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fund raiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.

For More Information

  • Dark Money is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:

Jack Bryant turned his old red Dodge Ram pickup into the driveway of the Greek revival mansion at the end of the cul-de-sac in Westover Hills, an exclusive neighborhood in Fort Worth. He was amused to see Halloween ghosts and goblins hanging from the two enormous live oaks that fronted the house. The driveway led to wrought iron gates that permitted entry to the back. A heavy set Hispanic man with a Poncho Villa mustache in a security guard uniform stood beside the driveway near the gates, clipboard in hand. He was unarmed.

Jack stopped beside him and lowered his window. “Afternoon, officer. Fine autumn day, isn’t it?”

The guard sized up the old pick-up and the man wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. “You here to make a delivery?”

Jack reached into his left rear pocket and retrieved his wallet from which he extracted a laminated card. “No, sir. Name’s Jackson Douglas Bryant. I’m a lawyer and a Tarrant County Reserve Deputy. My friend, Walter Frazier, is part of the Governor’s Protective Detail. Said Governor Lardner is attending some big shindig here tomorrow night and asked me to lend a hand in checking the place out before he hits town. My name
should be on that clipboard.”

The guard took the card, studied it closely and handed it back to Jack. He flipped to the second page. “There it is. Let me open the gates. Park down at the end of the driveway. You’ll see another wall with a gate. Walk on through and you’ll find your way to the ballroom where the party’s being held tomorrow. I’ll radio Sergeant Frazier to let him know you’re on your way.”

The gates silently opened, and Jack drove slowly to the back, admiring the house and grounds. The house had to be half a football field in length. Giant arched windows were spaced every ten feet with smaller ones above, apparently illuminating the second floor. To Jack’s right was an eight foot wall. First security issue. Not very hard to figure out a way to scale it. Fortunately, cameras and lights were mounted on fifteen foot poles that appeared to blanket the area.

Jack parked where he was directed and climbed from his truck. Before shutting the door, he took his cane from behind the driver’s seat. He flexed his left knee. It felt pretty good. He might not even need the cane. Still, he usually carried it since he never knew when he might take a step and have it buckle under him. Better to carry the cane than to fall on his ass.

He found himself in front of another wall. He was studying it when Walt came through the gate. Walt was ten years his junior, six feet, two inches of solid muscle. He bounded across the driveway to greet Jack. They first shook hands and then bear-hugged
each other like the old army buddies that they were.

Walt pulled back and looked at Jack. “Damn, it’s good to see you. Been, what, about three years since you were in Austin for some lawyer meeting?”

“Could have been four. I think I was practicing in Beaumont then.”

“Still carrying the cane. That injury at the barracks causing you more problems?”

“No worse, not any better. Every once in a while the damn knee gives out with no warning. I may have to put an artificial one in some day. Meantime, the cane does just fine. I’ve got a collection of about twenty of them in an old whiskey barrel beside the back door of my house. This one is my Bubba Stick. Picked it up at a service station a while back.”

Walt’s voice dropped to just above a whisper. “Follow me into the garden. There are some tables there. We can sit for a few minutes while I explain what’s coming down.”
They walked through the gate. Beyond it was a garden, obviously tended by loving hands. Cobblestone paths wound their way through fall plantings of Yellow Copper Canyon Daises, Fall Aster, Apricot-colored Angel’s Trumpet, Mexican Marigold and
the like. Walt led the way to a wrought iron table beside a fish pond with a fountain in the middle, spraying water from the mouth of a cherub’s statue. The two friends settled into chairs, facing the pond.

“This is what the help call the little garden. In a minute we’ll go around the house to the big garden and pool that fronts the ballroom. You know whose house this is?”

“No idea.”

“Belongs to Oscar Hale. He and his brother, Edward, are the two richest men in Fort Worth. Their daddy was one of the old Texas wildcatters. The two brothers were worth a few hundred million each, mainly from some old oil holdings down in South Texas and out around Midland. Life must have been pretty good.

Then it got better about ten years ago when the oil boys started fracking and horizontal drilling. Counting proven reserves still in the ground, word is they’re worth eighty billion, well, maybe just a little less now that we have an oil glut.”

“Edward still around?”

One of the servers in the kitchen had seen the two men and brought two bottles of water on a silver tray.

“Thanks…Sorry, I forgot your name.”

“Sarah Jane, Walt. My pleasure. Let me know if you need anything else.”

Walt took a sip from his bottle as Sarah Jane returned to the house. “Yeah. His legal residence is still in Fort Worth, and I understand he and his wife vote in this precinct, only they really live in New York City. He always kept an apartment there. When the oil money started gushing, he upgraded to a twenty room penthouse that I hear overlooks Central Park. He’s big in the arts scene up there, opera, ballet, you name it. He’s also building the Hale Museum of Fine Art here in Fort Worth.”

Jack nodded his head. “Okay, I know who you’re talking about. My girlfriend is thrilled about another museum in Fort Worth. She’s into that kind of thing. When I moved here, she took me to every damn one of them. The western art in the Amon Carter museum was really all that interested me. So, the Hales play with the big boys, and the governor’s coming. From what I read, Governor Lardner travels all over the world. Never seems to have a problem. What’s the big deal here?”

About the Author

Larry D. Thompson was first a trial lawyer. He tried more than 300 cases throughout Texas, winning in excess of 95% of them. When his youngest son graduated from college, he decided to write his first novel. Since his mother was an English teacher and his brother, Thomas Thompson, had been a best-selling author, it seemed the natural thing to do.

Larry writes about what he knows best…lawyers, courtrooms and trials. The legal thriller is his genre. DARK MONEY is his fifth story and the second in the Jack Bryant series.
Larry and his wife, Vicki, call Houston home and spend their summers on a mountain top in Vail, Colorado. He has two daughters, two sons and four grandchildren.
For More Information

Friday, February 26, 2016

Interview with 'The Emerging Sensitive' Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of HSP Health and Sensitive Evolution. She is a lifelong explorer of the sensitive experience and the challenges of bridging the difference between sensitive and non-sensitive people. Her interest in wisdom traditions, and new developments in the understanding of patterns of human behavior and living provides a unique perspective about the value of the sensitive trait and the needs of highly sensitive people.

For More Information

Thanks for this interview, Maria.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

I am a nonfiction writer although I have a special place in my heart for fiction. I have a website, Sensitive Evolution, which is dedicated to the self development of sensitive people. It has a large blog, library, books, courses, app etc. Most of my recent writing is for the website. The book, which is my first published work,  emerged from my surveys and coaching calls with sensitive people as well as my own interest in evolutional psychology and the huge transition the human race is going through to make the world a better place.

I have taken a number of creative writing courses and love fiction writing because it allows me to be so creative. Creativity is one of my strengths.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

Like most sensitive people, being in nature is the most relaxing and healing activity for me. I am also an artist and love to paint abstract shapes. I also love animals.

Do you have a day job? Or a night one?

My day job is the development of the Sensitive Evolution website and its programs for sensitive people.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

I think it was pretty smooth sailing for writing a book. I was able to see it through once I started it and although it was a lot of work as all books are, I felt that the process once started flowed well. However, a lot of the material has been simmering in my mind for a long time. If that had not been the case, I imagine that writing the book would have been a lot more difficult.

What is it about the self-help genre that appeals more than any other genre you would choose to write?

I love the idea of helping other people find inner peace. I am a thinker; I find that my insights help people feel better about themselves and I like to do that. People are taught to feel bad about themselves too much so whatever I can do to reverse that brings me joy.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

The Emerging Sensitive provides a sensitive person with a unique perspective about their nature and challenges in living in an aggressive world as well as tools and a road map for creating a more fulfilling life for themselves.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

Most books for highly sensitive people discuss the characteristics of sensitivity and strategies for handling overwhelm. The Emerging Sensitive discusses the trait from an historic and cultural perspective, examines frameworks that explain the challenge sensitive people have with capitalism and other cultural systems and illuminates where new opportunities for sensitive people are emerging. It is a very different book about sensitivity that embraces the visionary qualities of a sensitive person and shows where they can be of service now.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

July 4th. The Emerging Sensitive gives sensitive people inner freedom by helping them feel more comfortable with themselves, their challenges and their ability to have a satisfying life.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I am planning on writing more books about sensitivity but I do not know if they would fit the definition of a series like the Harry Potter books.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Grappling with problems and things I do not understand has provided me with food for thought my whole life and now supplies me with endless topics for writing.

What’s next for you?

I have developed some courses that go with the Emerging Sensitive Book and I plan on doing more writing for my website and have several new books on sensitivity that I would like to write.

About the Book:

Title: The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World
Author: Maria Hill
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 150
Genre: Self-Improvement

Having only been given a name for their unique nature a few decades ago, highly sensitive people, or HSPs, are finally able to identify their traits and connect with one another in new and beneficial ways. In her book, The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World, Maria Hill illuminates the path to self exploration and discovery for HSPs. Drawing on work of HSP expert Dr. Elaine Aron’s “DOES” model, Hill paints a vivid picture of the world as seen through the eyes of a highly sensitive person. She traces the roots of HSPs back to the earliest civilizations by following the evolutional framework of Spiral Dynamics as laid out by Don Beck and Chris Cowan. In doing so, she reveals the shifting roles of highly sensitive people in societies throughout the ages and exploring what the future holds as the culture shifts to a more HSP-friendly stage. Along the journey, Hill provides key insights and tools like the Whole Self framework of Bill Plotkin for highly sensitive people to take control of their lives and embrace their sensitive natures. With the guidance and resources contained within this book, HSPs can begin to discover and nurture their true potential.
Praise for The Emerging Sensitive:

“The Emerging Sensitive is an essential resource in supporting highly sensitive people in showing up in relevant ways, and not at a cost to them. The culture we live in has created many challenges to sensitivity and those who are more highly sensitive. Connection has created pain and therefore avoidance for many highly sensitive people. The cost to being present has been the sensitive self. But, it is changing. It needs to change further. I believe our culture will change the more highly sensitive people can join in and offer themselves genuinely, without compromise. I believe strongly in changing the way we all use sensitivity, and this book is a solid contribution to that effort. It is full of great resources to help a spectrum of highly sensitive people in finding their place and bring their gifts to light.”

--Ane Axford, Sensitive Leadership

For More Information

  • The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Feature: Reel Rebels: The London Film-Makers' Co-Operative 1966 to 1996 by Joy I. Payne

Inside the Book:

Title: Reel Rebels 
Author: Joy I. Payne 
Publisher: Authorhouse 
Pages: 294 
Genre: Performing Art 
Format: Ebook

The London FilmMakers' Cooperative was founded in 1966 by a group of artists who sought to explore the possibilities of the moving image whilst maintaining autonomy over the production, distribution, and exhibition of their work. Although their films were not overtly political, artists nevertheless expressed their political attitudes by creating nonnarrative films, thereby rejecting conventional narrative structures associated with mainstream, commercial cinema, which they perceived as supporting the dominant ideology in society. A return to narrative in the 1980s coincided with the introduction of British Art Cinema and the art-house films of Derek Jarman, Peter Greenaway, and Sally Potter, all of whom made experimental films in the early days of the London Co-op.
Reel Rebels is available for order at

Meet the Author:

Joyce Isabella Payne was born in South Africa and grew up in Rhodesia. She has lived in England since 1979 and now lives in Dorking. She studied with the open university for some years, during which time she was awarded BA and MA degrees as well as a PhD in history in 2010. She was curator of the Stanley Picker Art Gallery in Kingston from 1981 until 2008, after which she worked part-time at the gallery until retirement in 2010.


Joy is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

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


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cover Reveal: Swept Away by Kristina Mathews

Swept Away Banner

Inside the Book:

Title: Swept Away
Author: Kristina Mathews
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ecopy

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N292865-apple-ibooks-logo    

Meet the Author


Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.

While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member, or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books. She proudly tells her students she writes romance novels that they can read when they’re older.

Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. As a veteran road tripper, amateur renovator, and sports fanatic, she hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors, and someday throw out the first pitch for the San Francisco Giants.

For More Information

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Feature: Hazard of Shadows by Mike Phillips

Inside the Book:

Title: Hazard of Shadows
Author:Mike Phillips
Publisher: Caliburn Press
Pages: 280
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ecopy/Paperback
The enchanted creatures of legend still exist, taking refuge from an age of camera phones and government labs in a secret place called the World Below. After leading a revolution against Baron Finkbeiner, the despotic ruler of the World Below, Mitch Hardy has taken the throne. Unknown to him, ancient powers are at work. The Lords of Faerie seek to revenge the death of Baron Finkbeiner and recover the mysterious Blade of Caro. Soon Mitch is fighting for his life against hellish monsters, the likes of which he never imagined.
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N   

Meet the Author

Mike Phillips grew up on a small farm in West Michigan, living much the way people did at the turn of the century. Whether it was growing fruits and vegetables or raising livestock, Mike learned the value of hard work and responsibility at a young age.
While his friends spent their summers watching reruns of bad sitcoms, Mike’s father gave him a very special gift. He turned off the television. With what was affectionately referred to as “the idiot box” no longer a distraction, Mike was left to discover the fantastic worlds that only exist in books. When not tending sheep, gardening, building furniture, chopping wood, or just goofing off, Mike spent his time reading.
With all that hard work at home, Mike was always eager to go to school. He excelled as a student and went on to pursue a career in the sciences. Working as a Safety Engineer in the Insurance Industry, Mike soon became bored with the corporate grind. Writing engaged him like nothing else. After a few novels and numerous short stories, he thought getting published would be a pretty neat idea. And so, here it goes…


Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Spotlight: Risen by Thomas Barr Jr.

Inside the Book:

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

Book Description:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Excerpt:

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

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

Meet the Author

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

For More Information:

Virtual Book Tour

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Feature: The Berkshire Jack Russells by Eileen Chatwin

Inside the Book:

Title: The Berkshire Jack Russells 
Author: Eileen Chatwin 
Publisher: Authorhouse 
Pages: 108 
Genre: Memoir 
Format: Ebook

This is a true story about two Jack Russell's who lived in Berskhire with my me and my children. They truly had a wonderful life and I think you should read about them, what they got up to and they places they visited. When you hear other people saying it's a dogs life, they mean that they think that dogs have an easy life. Well that is not true as they are always guarding their owners as well as trying to enjoy themselves. They also met some interesting animals during their travels so why not read about them.
The Berkshire Jack Russells is available for order at

Meet the Author:

Having been the owner and lived with these two Jack Russells, Gabby and Boni, all their lives, l thought there was a story to be told about them as they were the most loyal and fun loving dogs you could wish to have owned. They were mother and daughter, as we had two litters of puppies, but we did not keep any from the second litter as we thought two dogs were enough in a house. We took them everywhere we travelled both in England and abroad, and wherever we lived they were constantly on guard for our personal safety whether that be out walking on a lead or in bed when they were guarding the house. When they died, almost within a year of each other, we realized what a difference they had made in our lives as a family. They were missed almost every day, you had got so used to them bouding around the house. My grown up daughter's have families of their own now and are going to have some Jack Russells very soon of their own for their children. My late husband would love to have known that a book had been written about our two dogs as he thought they were great. Gabby was born in June 1976 and died in September 1992 and Boni was born in May 1978 and died in October 1993. I live in the County of Berkshire in England where there are a lot of Stud Farms that breed Jack Russells so you see a lot of them around. I do creative writing as a hobby now that I am retired and thought how delighted my late husband and of course my own children would be if I wrote about the dogs we had. I am a widow and live on my own but have plenty of good memories to keep me going. My grandchiildren are always asking for stories about the dogs that their mum's had and of course I always oblige. Happy Days.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir Cover Reveal!

Congratulations to Janelle Jalbert on her new cover for WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir!

About the Book:

It’s love at first sight...for both of them. An abandoned yet tenacious pup with one blue eye and one brown eye beats the odds and is enlisted as one woman’s WINGDOG. It's a role he takes seriously, but he knows that his human needs more than just another set of eyes and ears. He must show her how to laugh and how to love again. His loyalty knows no bounds, and he takes his duties seriously riding shotgun as the pair travel life’s highway.

A dog may be man’s best friend, but the truth is…A WINGDOG is truly a woman’s gift.

For readers who enjoy contemporary canine classics such as MARLEY & ME, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, and A DOG’S PURPOSE, Janelle Jalbert’s ‘Magical Mutt Memoir’ combines the best of these storytelling traditions. Told as a memoir - adhering to how events unfolded - one woman seeks establish a new life after moving across the country from California to North Carolina.

Her chance at a new normal arrives in the form of Goose, a pup that melts not only her heart but also the hearts of everyone that he meets. As they travel coast-to-coast and places in between, the bond that the two share proves that love and loyalty can transcend even the greatest of obstacles.

WINGDOG: SOUL PUP is a heart-warming, emotional – and oftentimes comical – tale of how one pup becomes the consummate WINGDOG only to transform into the ultimate Soul Pup.

For More Information

  • WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir is available at Amazon.
Book Excerpt:
First Date

Yes, I slept with him on our first date. It felt so good to have his warm body against mine. He was gorgeous and sweet as slumber set in, and I couldn’t help but curl up closer. We were already doing our own version of spooning, just hours after meeting. Everything was once again right with the world thanks to his warmth by my side. It was a case of love at first sight that grew deeper in the darkness of the bedroom around us.
I couldn’t help but run my fingers through his fur as his brindled coat rose and fell with deep, sleep-filled breathing. His fur was the perfect texture, not too course but without fluff. The hairs behind his bouncy ears were already my favorite, so silky fine. He sighed as I continued rubbing up and down his side before once more scratching behind his ear. With the ear rubs, he pushed closer into me. His sixteen pound body firmly tucked at my hip.
Ah, I’m home.
I wasn’t sure if it was my thought because it could have easily come from the pup at my side. For the first time in weeks, I began to doze off, peaceful and content. The neighbor problems that plagued my previous weeks faded away with his comforting presence.
Sometimes it does all work out. Bad things can lead to great opportunities.
The stress of moving from California to North Carolina evaporated. The distress that plagued me eased. It was what I'd been craving: a chance to forget and to enjoy life again. It was what my soul needed. I sighed and let go. All was good, at last.
* * *
The day started like most of late when I got sidetracked by my inbox after clicking on the message. A small, brown puppy snuggled face-to-face with a tabby kitten appeared. The expression in the picture wasn’t curiosity. It was more like a big brother protecting a younger sibling. The other picture was of the same puppy looking up at the camera. His brown ears were as big as his head. The look in his eyes was that of questioning intelligence, and only the slightest hint of his blue left eye opposite the brown one showed. He seemed to know it was not simply a picture being taken.
It took less than thirty seconds. I was in love.
            Immediately, I hit reply. He’s adorable. I’d love to meet him!
With that, a flurry of emails was exchanged. I rushed out into the silvery, fall day, filled with clouds. I stopped at the ATM before getting on the highway for the trip down to Rock Hill from Charlotte. It felt odd to pull money out to buy a dog. Granted, I rescued pups before, but this felt different. Then, it hit me. There’s something not all together right about exchanging money for a living creature’s spirit, and that thought caught me off guard.
“What’s that all about?” I muttered as I turned down the onramp to Highway 85, heading south. I shook off the feeling with the thought that it helped pay for his care rather than buying him per say.
            As I made the transition to the 77 near uptown Charlotte, I started thinking of names for the pup. Angie named him ‘Ace of Spades’ or Ace for ease, but that wasn’t right. I knew that instantly. My dogs have always named themselves. He’ll let me know. I thought, but still names flitted through my mind.
What do I want from all this? That made me laugh. It’s a dog adoption, not a marriage. The truth was already apparent. This was going to be bigger than a simple custody transfer. The anxiety over recent events with neighbors at my apartment complex threatened to rear up again. I needed someone…something…to help watch my back. I wanted a right-hand man…a wingman…or, in this case, a ‘wingdog’.
That’s it! Goose. Like the wingman in Top Gun, he’d be my extra pair of eyes and ears. I loved it immediately and settled on it before remembering that the dog does the choosing.
“Okay, just keep it in mind,” I mumbled as I got off the highway and made a convoluted trip to the apartment. I texted Angie from the parking lot because I couldn’t make sense of the numbers in the complex, so she agreed to bring him down to meet me. I waited in the car for a few minutes, laughing at myself for having a bit of ‘first date’ jitters about meeting a puppy.
They seemed to appear out of nowhere and stopped at the end of the walkway.
I got out, and as soon as I cleared the bumper, he spotted me. It was magic - a connection in an instant - as he leapt towards me despite his leash. His eyes lit up like I’m sure mine did. With a big smile and open arms, I walked up to him at Angie’s side and said hello. He barely reached my kneecap, but his eyes were wide and bright. I dropped to my knee. Given my earlier thoughts about marriage, I chuckled and shook my head to clear the whole proposal analogy from my head. He nuzzled into me immediately and toppled me onto my rear.
Who are YOU? I haven’t seen you before. He did a once over with his nose. Yep, you smell nice. You’re a good one. How ya doin’?
I smiled ear to ear as I situated myself, sitting cross-legged so the little guy could sniff away at will. If that isn’t an enthusiastic yes, I don’t know what is. My heart swelled as his furry little body shivered with excitement. His wild tail matched the leaping in my chest. I looked into his wide, trusting eyes: one brown, the other blue. It was a match. You choose me too! I thought as I wrapped my arms around the brindled bundle showering me in warm wet pup kisses.
“We found him on the highway. He was in bad shape, but we nursed him back to health. He’s been dewormed too.”
He sat listening to the conversation like he would chime in at any time, sneaking glances at me as Angie debriefed me about his circumstances.
How could someone be so evil to such an adorable boy?
            “Several people have come to look at him, but the brindle coloring gives the impression of a pit bull.” Angie sighed. “He’s incredibly friendly, but the people who’ve come to see him have scared him as well as my husband and me. It’s like he knows they’re not right. My husband and I figured they were looking for fighting dogs, or even bait dogs, when they start asking about his bloodlines.”
A chill traveled down my spine at the thought of people looking to sacrifice a loving creature for a blood sport.
Angie continued, “That’s why we’ve been saying that he’s a Jack Russell mix. We’re not sure though, and we can’t keep him anyway.” Angie went on to explain about their impending move as Goose scanned the yard of the apartment complex.
Hold on. His name isn’t Goose yet. I thought as my mind and heart made the leap. He gets a vote. Remember?
            “He’s big into sticks,” Angie stated as she reached up into the branches of a small, almost bare tree near us and broke off a branch for Goose. He immediately plopped down to tackle his new toy. “I was going to name him Lucky, but that’s too common. So, I thought that the Ace of Spades is a lucky card. That’s how he got his name.”
I noticed that he wasn’t too fond of the name either, since he didn’t even twitch when he heard her say it. Good boy! You’re definitely a smart one. I thought. I could tell Angie was stalling a bit with her continued chatting.
            “He’s still damp. I was cleaning the bird cage in the bathtub, and he jumped right in too. He loves water.”
            “Perfect! I’m a surfer girl who needs to be around water all the time.” I said with a laugh and smile. “Yeah, I know Charlotte’s not near the ocean, but we’ll be at the lake a lot.” I felt like I was selling myself to win favor.
            “He loves going for rides too. My husband has to take him every time he goes to the store or wherever.”
            “That works out perfectly too. Though I am teaching online classes fulltime, I’m a bit of a road warrior right now with a side gig as a motorsports reporter. That’s what brought me to NC. We’ll be going to California in a couple of weeks for the Phoenix race, Thanksgiving, and Champ Week. He’ll get the ride of his puppy life.”
            Angie’s shoulders slumped as we transferred his things to the car, and I handed Angie a hundred dollars for both the pup and all of her supplies. There wasn’t much: a used cat collar, a small leash, some food and a bowl, but it was a start. The supermarket dog food was going to be replaced immediately.
You’ll be eating way better than that. I vowed silently. I could tell that Angie was both happy and sad. I passed the test. He was going to a good home, but it meant that he was leaving her.
Whether it was Angie’s demeanor or plain puppy energy, he grew restless, starting to explore the yard as much as he could while still on a leash. After Angie ran out of things to chit-chat about, I opened the passenger’s side door and cradled him in my arms. His warmth traveled to my core as the soft bundle of brown, black and white fur rested close to my heart. A sigh escaped as I held him to my chest before placing him on the seat.
Shotgun! He perked up and sniffed the interior, which was already filling with the smell of kibble.
His investigation stopped abruptly and he stared at Angie and me. He knew something was different. This wasn’t a casual, meet-someone-on-a-walk encounter anymore. It was a strange new car. He looked at Angie. Thank you. I’m happy. She’s a good one.
Angie sighed. “Bye, Ace. You’re a good boy.”
He seemed to smile as he stretched, puffing out his puppy chest. Then he got distracted by the straw to my iced coffee. He was at ease, and inside of two hours, I became a pup mom. Life wasn’t going to be the same again.

About the Author

Janelle Jalbert had two light bulb moments at the age of 10. One involved teaching. She began teaching her stuffed animals daily lessons after school. The other was the result of an obsession with reading. Just like her dad, Janelle loved to plow through books like any child racing to the presents under a tree on Christmas morning. Her favorite YA series featured a main character that aspired to be a writer, and Janelle exclaimed “I wanna do that!”

Flash forward to a decade or so later, Janelle pursued her love of teaching, but her passion for writing remained a glowing ember. It took a car accident to get Janelle writing once again. She wrote and published Success Skills for Middle and High School Students (2001) to help her students with their major educational transitions. Not one to do the same old thing as everyone else, Janelle had a hint of things to come when she was looking for a “different” topic to focus on for her master’s thesis. She was drawn to Magical Realism. Years later, she blended her love for helping others and creative entrepreneurialism with her writing and contributed a chapter to Conscious Entrepreneurs (2008). It was another hint of what was to come for Janelle with the theme for her segment in the anthology being a call to take charge of your life by becoming the star of your life by step into your own spotlight.

It sounds simple enough, but Janelle’s journey towards fulfilling her early dream was not that straight-forward…for either better or worse. After transitioning from the traditional classroom to online teaching and moving from K12 to university teaching, Janelle decided to pursue a doctoral program. While juggling teaching, studies, and growing a college admissions counseling business, Janelle had another light bulb moment during a trip to a NASCAR race weekend in Fontana.

Janelle and her sister were always around cars and loved racing. One of their rituals was making the trek to racing events in Southern California. That morning in the spring of 2009, Janelle watched people walking in and out of the garage as practice sessions were going. Again, she heard the voice “I wanna do that!” Given that she was teaching English and doing studies in education, it was a fleeting moment that she quickly forgot.

Three months later, after covering graduate schools in the Los Angeles area for, Janelle got a wild idea. She asked her editor in education for the sports editor’s contact information and pitched him the role of Southern California Motorsports Examiner. Not only did she land the position, she was also named NASCAR Truck Series Examiner. By the time that NASCAR returned to Fontana that fall, Janelle was working the garage as a reporter and photographer. In fact, it wasn’t until she was halfway through her first morning there that she remembered what happened during the spring race. It was a little bit of magic, a touch of nerve, and some talent that had Janelle smiling that October day. Janelle went on to travel the country covering motorsports, including moving to North Carolina for an extended period, while still teaching and pursuing graduate work.

The unlikely fairytale story did not an easy happily-ever-after ending though. As her fortieth birthday approached, the rumblings of a major life change began. Even though Janelle loved teaching, she realized that education was not where she needed to be. Then the universe reaffirmed her belief when her teaching position was phased out. Though Janelle was already growing a small business startup, she struggled to find her footing.

Months later, Janelle walked out of a local restaurant and was hit with a story idea that grabbed her. She hadn’t worked on fiction since she was a teen, but the story kept screaming to her. Another voice gave her pause though. “You need to do it in 30 days.” It seemed illogical and even melodramatic. (No, it wasn’t a NANOWRIMO challenge either.) Still, she began drafting. It flowed, even if it wasn’t in linear fashion, and Janelle felt the fire back in her life.

Then, Janelle learned why there was a 30-day warning. She was about 90% done with the draft when her father went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had surgery days later. Though he pulled through the procedure, doctors explained that he had multiple advanced cancers. In the weeks that followed, Janelle finished the draft while her dad battled cancer. He was too ill to read it and passed on New Year’s night. The person who gave Janelle the love of the written word was gone, but life was to take a few more turns.

By spring, Janelle pursued writing in all types of formats, from copywriting and ghostwriting to other genres, to pay the bills. In March, she submitted to Flash Fiction Magazine and was published on the first attempt. A month later, she took another leap and pitched a book to another publisher. The topic was rejected, but they asked if she had any expertise in the other areas that they were seeking. By the end of the week, Janelle had a book contract to write Wine for Beginners. While drafting that book, Janelle also asked to contribute on a regular basis to Flash Fiction Magazine which led her to develop a collection of stories.

Within months, Janelle finished the draft of Wine for Beginners. After finalizing the submission, she poured a glass of bubbly and went to celebrate with her mother and sister. The elation did an immediate 180. Instead of toasting for a much needed celebration, she was helping her sister prepare to go to the emergency room. Less than 12 hours after pouring the glass of bubbly, Janelle’s sister lost her fight with complication from a life-long disability.

So, Janelle’s still working on that happily-ever-after ending. In November 2014, Janelle publishing a collection of flash fiction title Flash 40: Life’s Moments. Wine for Beginners was released in 2015, and the novel, Triangulating Bliss, which rekindled Janelle’s writing passion is due for release in the Fall of 2015.

Janelle currently resides in Southern California, with her pack of pups. When the dogs allow, Janelle regularly returns to her second home of sorts in North Carolina. Her interests are diverse and keep life interesting by giving her experiences that make great stories. More than likely, you can find Janelle enjoying a good wine with friends, feeding her wanderlust beast, or giving into her guilty pleasure of a HEA story in film or written form.

Her latest book is the memoir, WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir.

For More Information