Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Character Q&A: Misty Indigo Summers of Avery Daniels' First Bite @my_averydaniels @pumpupyourbook #characterinterview





Today's guest is Misty Indigo Summers from inside the pages of FIRST BITE by Avery Daniels.  It is a pleasure to have her with us at The Literary Nook!



What is your name?  Misty Indigo Summers.  My mother was going through a little bit of a hippy phase.

What do you look like?  I have been told I look like a grown up version of a 1930’s child actress named Shirley Temple.  I have a mass of blond curly hair, not tight but loose curls.  I wear glasses, too.  I like to think I look as sunny as the bright outlook on life I try to have.

Where are you today and what are you doing?  Well today is my day off from the PI agency I’m a secretary at (although I started investigating… sshhhhh).  I get a lot of old television shows so I’m bing watching the old MacGyver and I recently found the old show Greatest American Hero.  Later tonight I’m going over to my bestie’s place for dinner and a movie.  Although I won’t be eating since I’m now a vampire.  I miss Italian food and a good glass of wine.

Describe the outside of your home.  Right now I live in the basement apartment of a two story house.  I’ve known the widow who owns the house for about nine years since I cleaned house for her as a teen for my first job.  The home is nice, but not old.  It looks like those nice new homes that are in new developments.  It is painted a muted teal with white trim which goes with the lake theme of the town.

You come face to face with your worse enemy. How do you react? My worst enemy at the moment is the person who sired me (turned me into a vampire.)  That person assaulted me and then left me to figure what had happened.  The bad part is that person is turning others too and the Meta-Mundane Council is asking me to track the rogue vampire (since they think I’m a PI, not the secretary– long story) so they can bring him or her to justice.  I am terrified of this being, but I have to channel my inner predator to get tougher.

You keep a photo album of memories from your lifetime. If you could only keep one photo, which one would that be?  The photo I have framed of my bestie, Courtney, and I during high school art class when we were throwing paint at canvas and got carried away.  We are covered in paint.  It took a week to get all the colors completely washed out of our hair.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?  Now that I’m a vampire, you would think I’m a night owl, but I’m trying to keep my normal schedule for my job.  A girl’s got to pay the rent and car insurance.  But daytime is a slog, a real fight, like I’m walking in water. 

A police officer stops you for a minor violation. What violation is that and how do you react?  I would most likely be pulled over for speeding, I’m a bit of a lead-foot. I would start saying affirmations that the policeman would just give me a warning because I really can’t afford my insurance going up.  I would be very quiet and keep saying the affirmation.

You move into a new home. What's the first thing you buy for it?  Heavy drapes for when I’m home to block the sun.  Also more plants.  I need the plants to feel close to nature, which gives me more rejuvenation energy.  I leave the curtains open while I’m at work for the plants, but as soon as I’m home, the drapes are closed and it is like a cave.

How do you feel about mortality?  Wow, that one has definitely changed.  I’m still in my twenties so it’s not like I thought about it a lot.  But now I’m facing a much longer existence.  Apparently, as a vampire, the core of who you are is magnified and my wanting to make a difference and help people is really coming out strongly.  For the time I have, I want to help people with the new and improved me, teeth and all.  My working at the PI company is perfect, even if I’m not supposed to be investigating (that’s our little secret).  When the time comes to finally take a “dirt nap”, I hope to feel good about how I helped the people I met.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?  Play with my Tuxedo cat, Winston.  I’m doing my best to reassure the little fur-ball that he will never have to fear me.  So I play with him before “rejuvenation” at night, because I don’t really sleep any more.

Are you married or in a relationship?  Well, I’m not really either… but there is this wizard that helped me out when I didn’t know I was a vampire yet.  He saved me by getting me some nourishment and explaining things to me.  But the Meta-Mundane Council has these archaic ideas that the meta species should be segregated and not mingle.  We are working together with the Council’s okay to catch the rogue vampire and his help on some of my cases.  But I have a terrible romantic track record, so I’m not reading anything into the chemistry I think is there.


 
About the Book   

In 24 hours, Misty Summers had the worst date of her life, was bit by a vampire, and her PI boss may close his business as he goes through a divorce. Looking on the positive side, she decides to use her new vampire assets and become the private investigator to keep her income. She doesn’t know what her future holds, but it can’t be any worse! When she starts following up on a missing woman’s case, she finds herself in the middle of murder.

Book Information

Release Date: May 1, 2022

Publisher:  Blazing Sword

Ebook: ASIN; 290 pages; $2.99

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3OmzDl4

 

About the Author 

Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

Her latest book is the paranormal cozy mystery, First Bite.

You can visit her website at http://avery-daniels.com/. Connect with her on TwitterFacebookGoodreadsBookBuband Bingebook.

Sign up for her newsletter at www.tinyurl.com/2p952mcv.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Book Watch: MENDEL by Damone Bester @damonebester @pumpupyourbook #bookwatch

 



Imagine the mid 1980’s, last day of school, summer break. A teen rushes to meet his mother, who is being released from the hospital after cancer surgery. When the teen arrives, he finds out his mother is dead, but his ex-gangbanging dad, who has been in jail the last seven years, is at the hospital ready to take the teen home.

Mendel, is a coming-of-age story about a senior at Chicago’s legendary Mendel High who must learn how to forgive as he navigates life without his mother. Things come to a head when the teen accidentally finds his mom’s diary. In the journal, he discovers his mother’s dreams of becoming a collegiate track star were derailed due to getting pregnant with him. To honor his mother, he joins Mendel’s track team and excels, but before he can cash in on any scholarship offers, his father’s thuggish past catches up with them when a gun toting nemesis comes seeking revenge. The teen must decide between saving his own life or sacrificing it all to save his estranged father.

Book Information

Release Date: April 26, 2022

Publisher:  The Story Plant

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1611883268; 288 pages; $16.95; E-Book, $7.99

Amazon: https://amzn.to/37qfkCC

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3NYZ0cS

Indigo: https://bit.ly/37qF69y

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781611883268

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Mendel-Damone-Bester/9781611883268





Love is sacrificial and often comes at great cost. My parents taught me that through their own sacrifices. It took me a while to learn it, but once I did, it was a lesson I have never forgotten. One doesn’t simply live in my hood; you survive.


Yet not everyone can survive growing up the Chicago way. It takes a certain kind of toughness, tenacity, grit. Some people fold, others break; few survive. Survival looks different to many people. For a young Black male living on the South Side of Chicago, survival isn’t guaranteed. That’s why my story’s atypical, and maybe by sharing my story I can help other kids my age too.


My life in Chicago was—I loved Chicago. I still do. The neighborhoods, the parties, the music, my family, friends, enemies, even the gangs, all had a part in raising me. Everything about Chicago—especially my old high school, Mendel—shaped me into the person I am today.


Founded back in the fall of 1951, Mendel was run by the Augustinians. It was named after Gregor Mendel, who was called the Father of Genetics. My old high school sat on a luxurious plot of land nearing forty acres.


During the spring and summertime, Mendel looked like it had been plopped down in the middle of a plush forest. Green was everywhere. Huge shrubs and sky-scraping evergreens stretched for blocks, encircling the monstrous campus.


Bordering the prickly pines was a continuous chain-linked fence topped with barbwire that surrounded the entire school. The never-ending fence was about eight feet tall and was so close to the trees that the brush needles protruded out the mesh gate. This made Mendel look more like an impenetrable fortress than an inner- city high school.


People constantly joked that I attended high school on a college campus. Mendel even had a pond smack dab in front of the school’s main building. It was rumored the pond was originally made to look like the capital letter P for Pullman. That was the name of the school before it was Mendel, Pullman Tech. I believed the rumors were true because there was an old, corroded patch of land at the north end of the pond. It was clear to me that this “island” probably served as the hollowed-out portion of the capital letter P. Over the years, the apparently once beautiful pond morphed into the shimmering gray puddle that we were stuck with.


During my tenure at Mendel, many freshmen got dumped into the school’s pond. It was almost like a rite of passage for seniors to dunk the freshman. Thankfully, I never had the privilege of being dunked. Neither did I attempt to drown any freshman. Although, there were a couple that I wanted to humiliate in the waters of “Lake Mendel,” like when Prince embarrassed Apollonia in Purple Rain. But I didn’t want to get suspended.


On either side of the main building, where most of the classes were held, were two other buildings. The tan brick building to the left was Mendel’s gymnasium and cafeteria. That’s where all the good grub, exciting hoop squad games, and after parties went down.


The one on the right was the school’s monastery. That’s where the chemistry lab, the art classes, and the band practices were held. Not to mention where we would congregate for Mass every week like clockwork. Mendel was a Catholic college preparatory school situated in the Roseland community on the city’s South Side. Unfortunately, my neighborhood gained the notoriety of being called the Wild-Wild or as others called it The Wild Hundreds. Not the kind of monikers you want your community to be known for, being wild.


Yet on Mendel’s campus, my crew and I always felt safe. We were a city unto ourselves, the students, faculty, and staff. Within Mendel’s “city” gates, both the teachers and students strived for excellence. That was their reputation way before I got there. In fact, many of the teachers at Mendel were once students. That showed how special of a place Mendel really was to have former students come back there to teach. The Mendel community had always been a close-knit family.
And in every family, there’s a history that laid the foundation for the future.

One of the things I loved about Mendel was they didn’t have the same old classes that every other school had: English 101, Intermediate Algebra, Geography. Boring! We had classes like Life Skills, the private school’s version of Home Economics. Life Skills was taught by Brother Tyler. In that class, we learned how to balance a checkbook, create a budget, shop for groceries, even change a tire.


In Mrs. Epps class, My Own Biz, for juniors and seniors, we learned how to set up a business plan, learned whether to become a sole proprietor or an LLC, learned
how to invest in real estate, and learned how to gauge if a business would turn a profit or fold in the first two years.

 

But my all-time favorite class was Morality & Ethics, taught, oddly enough by Mrs. Morales. Mrs. Morales was a gorgeous, fiery Latina. My boys and I loved Morality & Ethics class because we could argue at the top of our lungs when debating our point.


The way Mrs. Morales’ class worked was she would introduce a topic at the beginning of class. Then we had ten minutes to come up with our arguments as to why the topic was or was not morally ethical and we’d discuss the topic for the majority of the class. During the last five to ten minutes, Mrs. Morales would give her supposition of the topic. It was great. Sometimes she would break us up into teams, other times, she’d have us fend for ourselves, individually.


But it was midterms; that meant we had to write out our answers in essay form. I had already zipped through my exam and was daydreaming about how horrible Christmas break was going to be when the school bell rudely interrupted.


I whipped my head around. A parade of classmates passed my desk donning their mandatory private-school dress code attire. The girls in their white, pink, or pastel blue blouses with black or gray skirts. Guys with our gray, black, or navy-blue slacks and cardigans along with white or pastel button-down shirts. We were already looked at a bit differently by our public-school friends for going to private school so, most of us felt that we were branded by having to wear uniforms on top of it.


Since Mendel’s inception, we had been an all-boy’s school. Yet due to increasing financial woes, we turned co-ed that semester to expand admissions, which made for a pleasant experience.


The hallways suddenly smelled fresh and perfumy. Guys didn’t beef as much anymore because they wanted to show how popular and cool they were. The girls at Mendel were attracted to a smidgen of bad boy. No one really wanted an outright hoodlum. And for some reason, even most of the teachers seemed nicer once the girls arrived.


We descended upon Mrs. Morales’ desk like a gaggle of geese being fed Ritz crackers. I was last in line to hand in my exam. I placed my test on the desk and turned to leave. Mrs. Morales’ accented shriek stopped me dead in my tracks. I looked back over my shoulder.


Mrs. Morales waved me over.


I huffed out a sigh and obeyed her command. Her eyes peered at me over the top of her wire rimmed glasses as I approached. She waited patiently for the last student to exit.

“Thought about what we discussed?”


“Some,” I answered respectfully unenthused.


“Well?”


“I. . .I don’t know.”


Mrs. Morales sighed a deep sigh and leaned back in her chair, “See the nine o’clock news last night?”


“No.”


“There was a student, graduated from Julian last year,” she sat up again. “He wasn’t working. Didn’t go to college. Just hanging around taking the year to decide what he wanted to do with his life, family says. He was shot in the head yesterday, died on the spot. You know why?”


“Any number of reasons. Owed somebody money, disrespected someone, um—”


“No. He didn’t have a plan. You only have one semester left, BJ. What’s your plan?”


“I don’t know Mrs. Morales.”


“Armed forces?”


“No.”


“College?”


“No.”


“Why not?”


“Who has the money for that?”


“Get a scholarship.”


“A scholarship? Doing what?”


“I don’t care. Anything Brandon.”


Mrs. Morales took a deep breath turning her head slightly. She removed her glasses. Looking up at me genuinely, calmly, she said, “You need to come up with a plan for your life, BJ, or you’ll be the next person shot ‘for any number of reasons.’ Comprende?”


I nodded.


“Now, go on. You don’t want to be late picking up Monica.”


Even though she dismissed me, I knew she wasn’t finished with this discussion by a long shot.


“Have a good Christmas,” I said softly.


“Mm-Hmm, you too,” Mrs. Morales replied scooping up the test papers. I could tell by the way she banged the exams on the desk straightening them into a pile she was slightly annoyed with me. I wish I cared more than I did. Truth was, I didn’t know what the future held for me. I didn’t care whether I lived or died.





"Uplifting...compelling...emotionally impactful"






Damone Bester
 was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside to blue-collar parents who were married 49 years, and one older brother, whose backyard scuffles taught Damone one lesson: “Never quit.” He wasn’t just a student at Mendel; he lived and breathed “Blue Smoke,” the mantra of his track team brethren. A brief conversation with another Mendel alum stoked the fire to pen his first novel about the school he so loved.

Damone is an author, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and voiceover artist. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University and has spent most of his profession in the Social Services sector. He currently lives in the Twin Cities area and enjoys fishing, bowling, basketball (watching, not playing), bean bags, and bragging about his nephew and nieces.

You can visit his website at www.DamoneBester.com or connect with him on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.








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Friday, May 6, 2022

Book Watch: THE ROAD TO ME by Laura Drake @lauradrakebooks @pumpupyourbook #bookwatch

 








Jacqueline Oliver is an indie perfumer, trying to bury her ravaged childhood by shoveling ground under her own feet. Then she gets a call she dreads―the hippie grandmother she bitterly resents was apprehended when police busted a charlatan shaman’s sweat lodge. Others scattered, but Nellie was slowed by her walker and the fact that she was wearing nothing but a few Mardi-Gras beads. Jacqueline is her only kin, so, like it or not, she’s responsible.

Despite being late-developing next year’s scent, Jacqueline drops everything to travel to Arizona and pick up her free-range grandma. But the Universe conspires to set them on a Route 66 road trip together. What Jacqueline discovers out there could not only heal the scars of her childhood but open her to a brighter future.

“The Road to Me is an unforgettable story of self-discovery and survival, reconciliation and redemption.” — Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise Between Us

“In The Road to Me, Laura Drake takes on the complexities of one family struggle to get over a lifetime of mistakes and misunderstandings, expertly blending the heartbreak of a grandmother’s past and a granddaughter’s reluctance to trust her. The Road to Me offers a fresh and entrancing take on reconciliation and forgiveness, a truly captivating story filled with wisdom and a whole lot of heart.” — Donna Everhart, author of The Education of Dixie Dupree

Book Information

Release Date: April 19, 2022

Publisher:  The Story Plant

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1611883251; 320 pages; $16.95; E-Book, $7.49

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3rLfg82

Barnes & Noblehttps://bit.ly/3oFFvdZ

Apple Bookshttps://apple.co/3BeUEIy

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3subeQs

Indigo: https://bit.ly/3Js09GJ

IndieBoundhttps://bit.ly/3rGew41

Book Trailer: https://lauradrakebooks.com/2021/11/18/book-trailer-the-road-to-me/






Saturday~


I should be preparing for the show that could be the rocket fuel to propel my small business to the big time. Instead, I’m picking up my jail-break grandmother in the desert in back-of-beyond, Arizona.
 

It turns out, to get to this Show Low place in less than two days, I had to fly from Seattle to Phoenix, rent a car, and drive a hundred eighty miles. And the earliest flight I could get arrived here at two.
 

I spent the last hour driving, worrying about how much all this is costing me. I had to withdraw funds from my safety net for the plane ticket, and none of this was in the budget. No helping it, though. No one can accuse me of not taking care of my grandmother. When she broke her hip, falling out of a chair in geriatric yoga class, I had her seen by the most prominent orthopedist. He didn’t take Medicare, so I paid the bill myself. If Nellie’d been in charge, she’d have had a native shaman. The rehab center is the best in the desert, but they’re not used to patients trying to get away. Especially ones with fresh pins in their hip.
 

A deputy called last night to tell me they found her. They did a raid on a charlatan doing “sweats” in the desert. They arrested the leader, but most of the followers scattered. Nellie couldn’t make a clean getaway, what with her walker. And the fact that, except for several strands of Mardi Gras beads, she was naked.


I tried to talk him into putting her on a plane, but he said he’d only release her to next-of-kin. She’d told him there was a conspiracy at the facility to sell her into sexual slavery. He didn’t buy it, and he wanted a family member to come take charge.


That’s me. The last of the line. I’m a failed third-generation hippie. I know where the second generation is—under a marble slab at Long Rest Cemetery. It’s the first generation who’s gone AWOL. Again.





"Funny...emotional...tear jerker..."









Laura Drake’s
 first novel, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist and then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 11 more novels. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn, Writers in the Storm blog, as well as a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways or serious cowboy crush. She gave up a corporate CFO gig to write full-time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Her latest book is the literary fiction, The Road to Me.

Visit her website at: https://lauradrakebooks.com/ or connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.







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