Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Feature: The "No Title" Book by Lim Siew Lan


Inside the Book:


Title: The "No Title" Book 
Author: Lim Siew Lan 
Publisher: Partridge Publishing 
Genre: Self Help 
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover

Do you feel out of control, as though you’re not in charge of your own life? Does it seem like others are living your life for you? You have the power to change that feeling. You can take charge of your destiny. Author Lim Siew Lan believes we all have the capacity to meet a higher purpose by simply tapping into the depths of our own minds. In this inspirational manual, she presents a guide to discovering the depth and dimensionality of the mind through a series of an ancient time tested inspired steps designed to resemble those found in a common recipe book. She offers a true recipe for success in all aspects of life. Lim Siew Lan believes you are the captain of your own ship, and you must be well-trained and well-equipped in order to weather the storms that life brings to each of us. After a lifetime of dedicated spiritual study, she has created this collection of essential wisdom to help you delve deep into your own being and become aware of your own mind. Learning about yourself and what makes you tick is the key to a lifetime of success.  


Lim 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 May 23 and ends on June 3.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Book Feature: Restoring Patterns by Gabrielle F. Culmer


Inside the Book:

Title: Restoring Patterns 
Author: Gabrielle F. Culmer 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Romance 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Kascey Kann is a focused, cutting-edge fashion designer ready to take New York City by storm. She is in the process of breaking away from her current employer and starting her own clothing line. Meanwhile, her financier boyfriend, Grady Chisholm, is setting up a new IPO. In the midst of their busy working lives in the city and global business commitments, Kascey and Grady find time for relaxing summers in Cape Cod and Monaco. What's more, they are about to formalize their relationship through marriage. Life seems good. But when unexpected setbacks force them to reevaluate their working lives, they must start the process of rebuilding while turning to each other for support. As Kascey and Grady struggle to cling to their principles and triumph in their business endeavors, they rely on their relationship as the foundation for their lives. But are they on the road to success? In this modern professional romance, a hardworking and enterprising couple provide encouragement to one another as they forge a path toward entrepreneurial achievement.

Meet the Author

Gabrielle F. Culmer is a lawyer who holds degrees from universities in New York, Chicago, and the United Kingdom. She is also the author of three other novels-Arrive by DuskDamp Whisper, and A Matter of Keeping-and two collections of poetry: Glenely Bay and Nostalgia from Paris and Blue Streams to Paradise. She enjoys traveling to New York and Europe.


Gabrielle 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 May 23 and ends on June 3.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Book Feature: World Eternal by Donna R. Wittlif


Inside the Book:

Title: World Eternal: Proselytes 
Author: Donna R. Wittlif 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Futuristic Christian 
Format: Ebook

Picture it. The world is free of many of the major problems that plagued it for centuries. Hunger, homelessness, and natural disasters are no more. There’s no more disease. Who wouldn’t want to live in such a world? What price would anyone give to live in such a world? World Eternal has kept all the promises it made to the citizens of Earth in author Donna R. Wittlif’s first novel, World Eternal: Promises. In World Eternal: Proselytes, we learn things are not necessarily as they seem. When Jim and his friends learn the secret of World Eternal’s food source, they know the world is in danger. World Eternal’s promises come with a high price. Jim doesn’t understand how big a price until he loses what he holds most dear—his family. World Eternal: Proselytes is the exciting story of Jim’s efforts to rescue his family and to unveil the aliens’ sinister plans. His discoveries lead him to an ancient code book, which he must return to its rightful owner. Will Jim have the courage to find the book’s owner—even if it means his death? Can he find his family and rescue them before they are lost to Ouima? What price will James, Nell, Jim, and their fellow Christians have to pay for their faith? Find out in this exciting story that strengthens your resolve to follow Jesus.

Meet the Author:

Donna R. Wittlif earned a master’s degree and has taught in high schools and colleges. She has studied UFOs and related phenomena for more than ten years. She and her husband live near Denver, Colorado, where they enjoy writing, teaching Bible classes, gardening, and keeping up with their grandchildren.


Donna 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 May 23 and ends on June 3.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Book Feature: Musings of a Mad Scientist by David Gretch


Inside the Book:

Title: Musings of a Mad Scientist 
Author: David Gretch 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Philosophy/Mind and Body 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

What if human nature, in its most primal and innocent stage, is kind and gentle? What if despite the hostility, deception, and corruption of the moment, we earthlings are in fact spirit beings capable of reversion to our innate condition of being a kind and gentle species? If such a synchronous evolutionary leap in consciousness is possible, then past rules can be overlooked as newer and more positive perspectives emerge. Musings of a Mad Scientist attempts to revive an old conversation about what it is to be human, and it peers into our inner world, our inner sanctuary, and the inner quiet-something that scientists don't speak too much about. It explores these questions and answers with passion and a belief in God-something else scientists are not encouraged to do-and it prompts us to fight the exploitation and adverse social conditioning that results in the pestilence of weakness, disease, and economic turmoil. In the mad doctor's own words, "the arresting of adverse social conditioning is required for the solution of a nurturing, non-competitive global culture to optimally materialize." As the gentleness and kindness innate to our being reaches out with a mind of its own and yearns for a connection with like-minded humans, we can have the realization that we are all related in harmony with Mother Earth. This revival of the good spirit of humanity is about our inner selves, our outer connections, and how we should both understand ourselves and act as living, breathing spirits.  
Meet the Author:
David Gretch has doctoral degrees in both medicine and microbiology, and after a successful career in medical research he has turned his critical attention toward society and what it means to be human. A native of Montana, he now resides within the damp yet spectacular forests of the Pacific Northwest.    


David 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 May 23 and ends on June 3.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Book Feature: You Are Here by Chris Delyani


Title: You Are Here 
Author: Chris Delyani 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Romance 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

All Peter Bankston ever wanted to do was paint. An aspiring painter, Peter scratches out a pauper’s living in San Francisco, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Instead, he finds himself getting involved with not one but two very different men. Like Peter, getting involved with another man is the last thing on Nick Katsaris’s mind. Smart, handsome, and good-humored, Nick’s done more than just survive—he’s positively thriving in San Francisco. But when he meets Peter, what begins as fun and games quickly turns into a game he can’t control. Miles Bettencourt’s days are filled with longing. For him, San Francisco is haunted by Stuart, his missing ex-lover. Desperate to win him back, Miles wanders the streets in the hope of running into Stuart again. Instead, he runs into Peter—the one man who might hold the key to what Miles is looking for. These three gay men soon form one very unlikely love triangle. Sometimes, when people break apart and then come together, they learn that discovering that where you are is the key to knowing who you are.  

Meet the Author:

In 1993, Chris Delyani moved to San Francisco from his native Boston to devote his life to writing fiction—and he’s been at it ever since. His first novel, The Love Thing, was published in 2009. He lives in Oakland, California.    


Chris 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 May 23 and ends on June 3.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Interview with Charlotte, star of Girls' Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg


Inside the Book:

Girls' Weekend

Title: Girls' Weekend 
Author: Cara Sue Achterberg 
Release Date: May 3, 2016 
Publisher: The Story Plant 
Genre: Women's Fiction 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Dani, Meg, and Charlotte have bonded over babies, barbeques, and backyards, but when they escape for a girls' weekend away, they can't bring themselves to return to lives that don't seem to fit anymore.

Harried Dani can't explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy.

Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations.

Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.

All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining.

GIRLS' WEEKEND is a fun, yet poignant romp through the universal search of who we are, why we love, and what makes us happy by an author who is quickly emerging as one of our most incisive storytellers.

    photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N

Thank you so for this interview, Charlotte.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

It’s not like I’m the bad guy in my marriage. A woman like me can only handle being taken for granted and treated as the third wheel for so long. I tried very hard. But a relationship goes two ways. Both parties have to make the effort. The bottom line is that I wanted more from my life, from my husband – from our relationship. I suppose I didn’t appreciate what I had, but then, I don’t think many of us do.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I am a passionate person. I do not coast through this life.

Worst trait?

I suppose my worst trait is impatience. I want people/life/everything to move at a faster pace. Why should we wait around for anything?

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I do. Or at least I thought I did.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Things began to spin out of control after I got a glimpse of what I was sacrificing.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would never want to be Meg. And it’s not because I think her husband is a bore. I just don’t know how she can put one foot in front of the other after losing a child. I know I’m not as brave as her. I could never have survived what she’s been through.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I’m still not sure. I have my hopeful moments, but there are some things that are hard to un-do.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d prefer a younger version of me. There’s just so many adventures I could take readers on. I miss that me and I’m certain if given another chance that book might have to be shelved in the erotica section.

Thank you for this interview.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Hard to say. I believe the author is deeply involved with another woman.

Meet the Author:

Cara Sue
  Cara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Her first novel, I’m Not Her, was a national bestseller. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for living a more intentional life. Cara is a prolific blogger, occasional cowgirl, and busy mom whose essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at  

Book Feature: Little Cotton Heart by Florentine Pfluger


Inside the Book:

Title: Little Cotton Heart 
Author: Florentine Pfluger 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Poetry 
Format: Ebook

Author Florentine Pfluger was mentally and spiritually trapped in a religious cult, along with her husband and children, for approximately ten years. During that time, she kept journals in which she wrote original poetry. In Little Cotton Heart, Pfluger shares the verses that resulted from that period, progressing from the realization of her family’s entrapment through the process of being set free and into the mental breakdown that followed. She experienced a psychological crash that took her on a long and painful journey into the causes of her collapse, and these poems depict her desperate search for healing in the aftermath of trauma. In the end, Pfluger also presents poetry written at the start of a new and much happier time. She hopes that this poetic journey from darkness and confusion into the light will help others in similar circumstances to know they are not alone. This collection of poetry outlines a journey from the trauma of a religious cult through the healing process that followed escape and into the wholeness that finally resulted.  

Meet the Author:
Florentine Pfluger uses writing to navigate the trauma that she has experienced in life. A housewife, she is a mother of seven and a grandmother of five. She currently lives in Carmichael, California.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Feature: Death in Devon by Ian Sansom

Inside the Book:

Title: Death in Devon 
Author: Ian Sansom 
Release Date: May 10, 2016 
Publisher: Witness Impulse 
Genre: Mystery/Crime 
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover

Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley’s guide to Devon is a story of bygone England; quaint villages, eccentric locals—and murder…

Swanton Morely, the People’s Professor, sets off for Devon to continue his history of England, The County Guides. Morley’s daughter, Miriam, and his assistant, Stephen Sefton, pack up the Lagonda for a trip to the English Riviera. Morely has been invited to give the Founder’s Day speech at All Souls School in Rousdon. But when the trio arrive they discover that a boy has died in mysterious circumstances. Was it an accident or was it murder? Join Morely, Sefton, and Miriam on another adventure into the dark heart of 1940s England. A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Charles Todd, there’ll be plenty of murder, mystery, and mayhem to confound.  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png Witness Impulse

Meet the Author:

Ian Sansom is a frequent contributor and critic for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books, and The Spectator and a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. He is the author of nine books including Paper: An Elegy, and the Mobile Library Series.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: By Your Deeds by Boston Teran

Title: By Your Deeds
Author: Boston Teran
Publisher: High Top Publishing; http//:www.hightoppublishing.comNumber: ASBN: B01CZ3RTGM
Number of pages: 233; Published on April 2 2016

About the Book:

The latest book by award-winning author Boston Teran, BY YOUR DEEDS, follows the journey of a savvy attorney as she assists her unusual client, who is obsessed with locating the lost gravesite of the infamous Genghis Khan in Mongolia. The book includes several story lines focused on government conspiracies, gender discrimination, and an unexpected love affair. His discovery of the grave would instigate an international political firestorm and put him in the gun sights of two nations and turn him into one of the most wanted men in the world.
Violette Sier is a rarity in 1920s America: she is a practicing attorney. In the courtroom, Violette faces sexism and the need to be 100 percent better at her job than her male counterparts. When decorated war veteran Harlan Gamble becomes her client, Violette’s life and work change dramatically.
Harlan survived the First World War and the mustard gas that severely damaged his lungs. He is temporarily blinded during his recovery following the war and pays a fellow soldier to read to him. One book in particular about the life of Genghis Khan piques Harlan’s interest, and the search for the emperor’s hidden gravesite, known as the Almsgiver Castle, becomes his passion.
After his initial journey to Mongolia, Harlan travels to New York where he is committed to an asylum. His sponsor, Miss Jackobee, hires Violette to represent Harlan and to assist him in getting the book he has written about his quest published. When Violette gets him released from the asylum, Harlan thanks her with a kiss that sparks a fire between them.
Protecting Harlan from the US Justice Department, which is interested in the location of the Almsgiver Castle, soon becomes one of Violette’s duties. She skillfully fields questions from Justice Department agents concerning her elusive client and then travels to Europe to meet with Miss Jackobee and Harlan. When Harlan returns to Mongolia, Violette follows with a plan to end the US government’s pursuit of the Almsgiver Castle and her enigmatic client. Violette Sier’s coming of age in BY YOUR DEEDS mirrors the coming of age of America.
“Boston Teran has always been a master at combining history, facts, and literary narrative with seamless artistry,” states Donald V. Allen, the publisher of BY YOUR DEEDS. “His list of nominated and award-winning books has shown he can write like a poet, create images and scenes like a painter, and inhabit the pages with a dramatist’s sense of characterization.”

My Review:
In popular author Boston Teran's latest entry, By Your Deeds, an e-book at $9.99, the author has created a wonderful read for those who appreciate political thrillers intertwined with a powerful love story. The story and characters are compelling, riveting and above all stay with you after you have finished reading and closed the book. I have read some of Boston's other books such as The Creed of Violence and God is a Bullet too. For me, By Your Deeds is Boston at his or her best (we do not know what gender Boston's a secret, we assume)  and this book stands high among one of the best ever. The author craftily fuses romance, political intrigue and spirited adventure, all set in the prophetic and explosive 1920s era that is embodied in its two main characters  - - the early feminist lawyer Vivian Sier and the memorable and wounded war hero, Harlan Gamble, who is on a quest, among other things, to find the fabled grave of Genghis Khan in Mongolia. The book takes the reader on what often feels like "time travel"....on one page you find yourself maybe in Asia and soon, on another page, you’re on the streets of New York.  This is all woven together in By Your Deeds that is a true page turner and an e-book keeper for all times. If you have never read Boston Teran's books, pick up a copy and start your collection. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have. For me...I would guess Boston Teran is female.   

I give this book 5 book trees!


Book Feature: Woodwalker by Emily B. Martin

Inside the Book:

Title: Woodwalker
  Author: Emily B. Martin 
Release Date: June 14, 2016 
Publisher: Harper Voyager 
Genre: Fantasy/Coming of Age 
Format: Ebook

  “What on earth would I gain from that?” I asked him. “Risk my own neck by violating my banishment just to leave you? The sentence placed on me if I return is execution. If I’m entering the mountains again, I’d damn well better get something out of it.”

Exiled from the Silverwood and the people she loves, Mae has few illusions about ever returning to her home. But when she comes across three out-of-place strangers in her wanderings, she finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: risking death to help a deposed queen regain her throne.

And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect. Mae was once one of the best, and despite the potential of every tree limb to become the gibbet she’s hung from, she not only feels a duty to aide Mona and her brothers, but also to walk beneath her beloved trees once more.

A grand quest in the tradition of great epic fantasies, filled with adventure and the sharp wit—and tongue—of a unique hero, Woodwalker is the perfect novel to start your own journey into the realm of magical fiction.

   photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N

Meet the Author:

Emily B. Martin

 I am an author, illustrator, and environmental educator.  My favorite genre to write is fantasy-adventure, while my favorite reads are usually detailed, thought-provoking historical fiction. Digital painting is my usual art medium, but I also love keeping watercolor journals and pencil sketchbooks.

Writing and art aren't my only passions.  In fact, they're not even my official expertise (at least on paper).  In 2012, I earned my Master’s degree in Parks and Protected Area Management from Clemson University.  During the summer, I work as an interpretive park ranger with the National Park Service (with the hat and everything).

I love to hike, camp, and backpack with my family, and while I call southern Appalachia home, I have a not-so-secret love affair with the Rocky Mountains.  I live in South Carolina with my husband and two daughters.

I am represented by Valerie Noble of Donaghy Literary Agency.

Book Spotlight: The Day Of The Dragonking by Edward B. Irving

The Day of the Dragonking Banner

Inside the Book:

The Day of the Dragonking

Inside The Book
Title: The Day of the Dragonking
Book 1: The Last American Wizard Series
Author: Edward B. Irving
Publisher: Ronin Robot Press
Publication Date: Paperback - February 2, 2106 / eBook - May 17, 2016
Pages: 316 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Satire

Book Description:

A “mystical terrorist group” sacrifices an airplane full of innocents to a dragon and uses the deaths to power an event that wreaks magical havoc on Washington, D.C. All the wizards in the U.S. government’s employ abruptly lose access to magic, and the world’s computers and gadgets become sentient.

Second-string journalist Steven Rowan embodies the tarot's Fool and is forced to figure out the card's magic on the fly. Bombshell soldier Ace Morningstar, who used her magic to disguise herself as a man so she could become a SEAL, drafts Steve and his cell phone, which contains the ghost of a Chinese factory worker who now communicates through screen animations and bad autotranslations, to help fix the mess. Gathering allies, including NSA supercomputer Barnaby and Ace's BMW, Hans, the team fights off newly transformed demons, dog monsters, and ogres while trying to find out who is controlling the Illuminati before the villains embark on the next step of their world-domination strategy.

Book Excerpt:

The airplane crash woke Steven Rowan. To be entirely accurate, it wasn’t a crash.
It was the insane screaming of four of the world’s largest jet engines being pushed twenty percent past their factory- recommended maximum thrust only thirty feet over his head.
 In addition, awake wasn’t really the correct term for his state of consciousness at that point.
 Steve was standing stark naked in the center of the room, jerking back and forth in the classic fight-or-flight reflex–his mind frantically spinning between possibilities, developing and rejecting dozens of possible threats every second, and running throughas many options for escape. A small part of his mind was simultaneously working on the less-important questions of who he was, where he was, and what he’d done to himself the night before.
 The pulsating howl of the jet began to diminish, but the screaming only grew louder and more intense. Suddenly, Steve fell to his knees, slamming clenched fists into his temples over and over, and screaming at the top of his lungs.
 Tears flew from his eyes as he crawled forward and began to pound his head against the glass door to the balcony. A small rational part of his mind wondered that he could be driven to such desperation that he would fill his mind with self-inflicted pain in the vain hope that it would expel the shocking sound, the sheer terror, and the infinite grief.
He felt a sharp spark of agony as the glass cracked.
 Suddenly, as blood began to stream down his face, the terrible pain diminished. The confusion and terror, the immense waves of emotions, all of that continued to pour through him, but the anguish had ceased. The massive assault of sound began to break down into hundreds of what he could only think of as voices.
Men and women were screaming, a mother was kissing the top of a tiny head and whispering soothing sounds, a man on a cell phone was frantically dialing and redialing–desperate to leave a message. In contrast, two men were running through a checklist with professional calm, but curses tickled at their throats, fighting to get out.
In the center, he heard a steady sound. A quiet chanting– young voices tinged with success and anticipation.
 The glass door exploded.
It was going to be a lousy morning, his head hurt even worse than usual, and his head usually hurt like someone dying from alcoholpoisoning.
 Steve opened his eyes at the sound of someone singing about hiding in Honduras and needing “lawyers, guns, and money.”
 OK, that was Warren Zevon, so it was probably his phone ringing. On Mondays, he set it to Afroman’s Because I Got High just to irritate any senior editorial staff he might run into, but this song pretty well summed up his mood every other day.
 He waited patiently until the late Mr. Zevon finished singing about how “the shit has hit the fan” and then listened for the Asian gong that would indicate a phone message.
 Instead, Max Weinberg’s driving drumbeat pounded out the syncopated SOS that began Bruce Springsteen’s We Take Care of Our Own. Since every journalist knew (but would never report) that this song raised the dead whenever the Boss played within a mile of a graveyard, Steve figured someone was truly serious about talking to him.
 In addition, he was curious because he’d deleted it from his phone over a month ago, exhausted by its contrast between the American ideal of “help your neighbor” and the reality of greed and selfishness that was currently sweeping the nation.
There was a series of clicks and several of those odd changes in the quality of silence that indicate a call is being bounced from machine to machine or area code to area code. Of course, these were also the sounds that you heard when a telemarketer’s robot war dialer realized it had a fish on the line and switched in the human voice to make the sale.
 “Is this a freaking robot?” he said, sharply.
 There was a short pause without any clicks. For some reason, Steve thought the caller was thinking.
“Mr. Rowan?” It was a man–the deep and authoritative voice of someone used to giving commands.
“Who the hell wants to know?” Steve hated people with that kind of voice.
Another pause.
“Mr. Stephen Rowan of 14500 Windermere Drive, Apartment D2?” The voice had changed, just slightly. It wasn’t quite as abrasive and superior. Steve thought he could have a conversation with this guy.
“Yes.” Steve’s state of awareness was beginning to recover sufficiently so that it wasn’t taking all of his concentration to talk on the phone. Unfortunately, that allowed him to begin to look around the room. If he hadn’t just received his ten-year chip from Narcotics Anonymous, he would have instantly identified this as a drug dream—and not a pleasant one.
The smashed sliding door. Glass shards covering the carpet. The dozens of framed photographs he’d hung to remind himself of the good times when he’d worked in cool places were gone. They were in a heap of wood, glass, and photo paper on the other side of his bed. Only one remained. A picture of a Lebanese militiaman with an AK-47 wearing a T-shirt decorated with a picture of an AK-47 and the words “Lebanon War.” He reached over and straightened it.
 “Mr. Rowan.” The voice on the phone had changed again. Now it sounded like a person cowering with fear. Hell, this guy was afraid to speak to him. “Umm. Are you busy at the moment?”
 Steve looked around the wreckage of his apartment. His cheek tickled and he touched it with a finger. He stared at the blood on his fingertip. “Busy? No, not really.”
 “Would you be so kind as to consider possibly doing me a favor?”
 Now the voice had gone all the way to obsequious.
 “Not until you tell me who the hell you are and what the hell you want.” Steve licked his finger, tasting the blood as if it might tell him something about what had just happened. “And stop sucking up.”
 “‘Sucking up’?” There was another series of clicks and silences, and the caller continued in its previous, more confident tone. “Mr. Rowan. Let me ask you a question. Could you use a job?”
 Steve reached into his back pocket to check his wallet for his current financial position. Suddenly, he felt a hand stroke his butt. He jumped. When he looked down, he realized it was his own hand because he was still naked. Then, a sudden stab of pain proved that the silvery dust all over him was tiny bits of glass from his broken door and he’d just shoved a shard into his ass. He pulled his hand away sharply and held it out in front of him–carefully examining both sides.
 “Mr. Rowan?”]
 “Oh. Sorry, I was distracted for a second. What...Oh, yeah. I have plenty of money.”
“From your increasingly occasional work as a freelance reporter?”
Steve didn’t say anything. The caller continued. “How’s that working out for you?”
Steve surveyed his ruined stereo and television and stopped as he saw his metal-cased laptop. It was rolled into a cylinder. He wonderedwhat in hell could do that to an expensive computer. Or at least one that had been expensive when he’d bought it.
 “Don’t worry about the laptop. I think you’ll find your telephone will be sufficient."
Steve’s eyes widened and he slowly pulled the cell phone away from his ear and regarded it carefully–again, front and back. When he turned back to the main screen, a cartoon of a hand making a “thumbs up” sign had replaced his usual home screen picture of the Lebanese militiaman.
Steve just stood there and looked at the hand. He knew it was a cartoon because it only had three fingers and a thumb. Somehow, the artist had made it look happy and confident. That worried Steve.
He heard a faint squawking from the phone. He held the phone with only two fingers and raised it gingerly until it was an inch from his ear.
“Mr. Rowan? Can you hear me?”
 Steve cleared his throat and answered carefully. “Yes.” “Good, we can continue.”
 “Not until you tell me how you knew about my computer, we can’t.”
 “Your computer? Oh, you mean that you were looking at it?” “Yes. How did you know that I was looking at it?”
The voice sounded more confident, almost comradely. “That’s easy. Look straight out your window. See the apartment building with the exterior stairs?”
 “They all have exterior stairs.”
 “Well, the one with stairs and exceptionally ugly pink paint.” “Got it.”
“OK. Look at the left edge of the building and then run your eye straight up.”
 Steve saw the gleaming black cube of a building on the other side of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. There were dozens of round white satellite dishes on the roof.
 “OK, I see the building across the highway. The NSA or Fort Meade or whatever.”
 “Just keep watching.”
 Slowly, almost ceremonially, all the dishes on the roof turned, swiveled, swung, or tipped so that they were all pointed straight at him. Without thinking, Steve’s left hand moved to cover his crotch.
 He made a noise, but it wasn’t a word. Something between a cough and the beginning of a scream, but definitely not a word. On the top of the black building, all the dishes nodded up and down in what he could only describe as a friendly fashion, and then moved back to their original positions.
  “Mr. Rowan?”
 Steve cleared his throat again. “I guess you just made that happen.”
 “That was better than anything I ever saw in college, even on mushrooms, but it still doesn’t tell me who you are.”
 “But it does answer the question of how you could see me.” “Yes.”\\
“And demonstrates a certain amount of power over things.” “Things and quite a few people as well.”
“I would have to say that that remains to be proven, but I can agree that you’ve gone a long way in that direction.”
“Why don’t we leave the rest of your questions for a later time and let me ask you one?”\
Steve’s eyes wandered from the roof of the building across the highway. “What am I looking for?” he wondered.
Then he remembered.
 “Give me just one more question first.” Steve walked out on the balcony and scanned the horizon as far as he could. “Where is thesmoke?”
“Smoke. From the crash of the plane that just flew over me.”
“Mr. Rowan. Can I suggest you step back inside? Good. You were frightening several of your neighbors. No, there is no smoke and, as a matter of fact, no airplane. Since there is no airplane, there wasn’t a crash and, ergo, no smoke. That’s one of the things I’d like to hire you to investigate.”
 Steve thought for a second. “I don’t like it when people say ergo. But we can deal with that later. Right now, I’d like to know why–no wait, let’s begin with how I would investigate the nonexistent crash of an airplane that wasn’t there.”
 “You’re getting a bit redundant.”
“You’ll have to live with it. It’s a side effect of the unease I’m feeling due to the stress of this uncommon and aberrant situation.” Steve’s voice rose to a shout. “Stop fucking around and tell me what the hell is going on!”
 “Well.” The voice on the phone paused as if choosing the next words carefully. “The jetliner did crash. At the same time, it did notcrash.”
 “OK, I’m relieved that you made that clear. Now that I understand, I’m hanging up.”
“Mr. Rowan! Wait! Just one more minute.”
Steve didn’t say anything, but he didn’t punch the END symbol, either. He really wasn’t sure why.
“There has been a Change.”
Steve blinked and looked at the phone. He put it back to his ear. “Did you just capitalize the word change?”
“Hmm? Oh, yes, I suppose I did. This particular change is a pretty big deal and certainly deserves to be capitalized.”
“I’ll be the judge of that. What do you want me to do about this capitalized concept?”
 “Would you work for me? Investigate this Change?”
 Steve’s answer was quick and automatic. “I’m an experienced freelancer. I don’t work for just anyone.”
 “Really? Not even if it was for the Good of the Nation?”
“Stop talking in capitals and, if you mean working for the government, the answer isn’t ‘no.’ The answer is ‘Hell, No.’”
"I believe those last two words were capitalized.” Steve’s head felt like it was about to explode. 
“Would it make you feel better if I hired you on a temporary freelance basis?”
Once again, the answer was swift and automatic. “What are you paying?”
 “Well, I think I have unlimited funds...”
 “Then you’re full of crap. I’m hanging up now.”
The phone began to vibrate in his hand and the voice became agitated. “Mr. Rowan. Don’t do that! It has to be you. No one else observed the airplane!”
 Steve’s eyes closed and whatever it was that had woken him up came back with the feeling of a knockout punch. His face twisted up in anguish at the memory of all the people...their terror...their helpless panic. He groaned.
 “Mr. Rowan! Are you all right?”
“Not one of my better mornings.”
 “I am actually glad to hear that.” 
Because I’d hate to think of what it might take to cause a worse morning. What’s your daily rate?”
 “Five hundred dollars. Double over ten hours.” Steve always held out hope even though he hadn’t made over $350 a day for the pastdecade.
 “You’ve got it.”
 Steve opened his eyes. “Plus expenses?” “Expenses and the use of a car and driver."
“A car?” Steve walked over and looked out to the space in the parking lot where he’d parked his light-blue Prius. He thought it was still there, but it was difficult to tell because an enormous jet engine was smoking sullenly on top of the entire row of parked cars.
 He could make out some twisted pieces of light-blue plastic in his usual parking space.
 “I guess I will need a car.”
 “Good. Then we are in business, right?” “I guess so."
“Good. I’ve got some things to do right now, but I’d appreciate it if you could begin immediately.”
Steve slowly turned around and looked at his apartment. His clothes looked as though a knife-wielding fashion critic had attacked them. He touched his laptop and it rolled away, revealing fluttering bits of paper that he deduced must be his stack of notebooks. One of his shoes was lying by his right foot. He picked it up and slowly poured broken glass out onto the floor. “I’m going to need to be paid up front, I think.”
 “Not a problem. Just answer the door.” 
There was the synthetic clicking sound that cell phones made to indicate the end of a call.
 “Answer the–”
 There was a firm knock on his door.

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Meet the Author

Terry - Edward Irving

Edward Irving was a respectable television journalist for 40 years in Washington D.C. Any shred of respectability has been destroyed by "The Day of the Dragonking." He is waiting for the committee to call and demand his 4 Emmys back at any time.

He has worked for just about every TV channel: Nightline, Wolf Blitzer, Don Imus, and Fox News Sunday - talk about culture clash! He has written 4 documentaries - mostly on Moral Courage - and the last one was particularly fun since it was about rescuing Jews to the Philippines, a decision made over poker and cigars by Manuel Quezon, Dwight Eisenhower, a private detective named Angel Zervoulakos, and brothers from a family that was the biggest importer of cigars to the USA.

Mr. Irving enjoys many things he can't do anymore: motorcycles, racing cars, hang-gliding, scuba-diving, and long vacations. The good thing is that he can put them into books. He has a very forgiving wife, two kids, two grandkids, and a LOT of old books.

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