Monthly Archives: October 2018

VBT – The Childless Ones

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Book description

The Childless Ones - ebook Cover CORRECTED copy

TWO WORLDS…TWO ALTERNATING NARRATIVES…A REALIST RELATIONSHIP DRAMA…AN EPIC FANTASY…

In the “real world,” we open with Jack Ampong just leaving a prostitute when he receives a phone call that his wife Sarah has been assaulted. With this incident as a jumping off point, we watch as Jack and Sarah deal with past guilt and regrets as well as their own ongoing struggles with relationships, infertility and parenthood.

In the “fantasy world”—ostensibly written by Jack—a bureaucratic Empire rules with an iron fist…an ancient sect of sorcerers have extraordinary powers but are cursed with the inability to have children… and a race of beings called the Mandrakar live lives one quarter the length of normal people, but have memories that are passed on to future generations through the last of an ancient breed of tree. Along the way, we meet a crotchety governor who just wants to do right by his granddaughter, a hardboiled, lesbian, dwarf detective who just wants another drink, and a villainous sorcerer whose motives form one of the central mysteries of the story.

Throughout the book, the two narratives echo off one another—often in surprising ways—ultimately commenting on the very nature of storytelling itself.

About the Author

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Cam Rhys Lay received his Bachelors Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his MFA from the University of Kansas. For five years, he worked as an Associate Publisher at The Easton Press in Connecticut. Currently he lives in Brooklyn, New York where he runs marketing for Skillshare, an online learning community for creators. The Childless Ones is his first book. To learn more about Cam and his writing, please visit him at camrhyslay.com.

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Amazon link (Preorder):

https://www.amazon.com/Childless-Ones-Cam-Rhys-Lay-ebook/dp/B07HKKMLTP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537745122&sr=8-1&keywords=cam+lay+book

Barnes and Noble (Preorder):

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-childless-ones-cam-rhys-lay/1129615699;jsessionid=7597B204866FE41827603D0BF6915A4F.prodny_store01-atgap17?ean=9781732103511

Add it on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41957989-the-childless-ones

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Praise:

“impressively creates two vivid worlds, each with its own history and compelling characters, while also offering a meditation on the relationship between creativity, fertility, and shared memory. A stunning fantasy debut.” — Kirkus Reviews

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Cam Rhys Lay will be giving away Print copy of The Childless Ones

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/56a2244761/

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Reality Vs Myth Time – Publish or Not To Publish

Many do seem to think that when they have a book published, the extent of marketing is limited to:
1. One image of the book cover to go along with the 10 thousand other images of them in a bathroom, selfies, and food snaps that are uploaded to Fb, Twitter, Instagram or other SM.
2. Released a self-pub book and think that their work is done.

Reality – Being an author makes you a BRAND. Hence, you need to spend at least 10 hours a week marketing your book. That includes: Virtual Book Tours, Trade Shows, Hitting book buyers (Schools, clubs), and doing everything you can to ensure your book is a success.

Excuses not to market your book:
1. I don’t have time. Answer: Hire a PR or Marketing agency who will do this for you for a cost.
2. I don’t have the funds. Answer: Then you need to promote your work yourself.
3. I don’t know how marketing works. Answer: Get educated and learn marketing techniques, or refer to the Answer in Point 1.

Traditional Publishing has changed so much in recent years. Many traditional publishers will expect you to do a bulk of your own marketing, and even fewer will offer an advance. This is because too many authors sit and do nothing and have the mindset of “I thought I could sit back and watch the royalty checks come in“.

Even Self-Pub through eNook (B&N) has requirements, whereas to host a book signing, you need to have a minimum of 500 copies of your eBook sold within 12 months. Now unless you are going to get all your family to purchase a ton of eBooks so you can have a signing at B&N, you better know how to market yourself effectively.

If you do not understand the constant changing techniques of marketing, hire a PR/ Marketing Agency who can do this for you. Or, run with a Hybrid Publisher who already knows how marketing works.

Opera Snapshot_2018-10-30_141617_press.barnesandnoble.com

VBT – Love for Two Lifetimes

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About the Book

Title: Love for Two Lifetimes

Author: Martina Boone

Genre: Coming of Age / Young Adult

Two generations, two great loves, one devastating lie . . . 

When Izzy unexpectedly loses her mother in a car accident, her world shatters. Their relationship has always been so close that Izzy can’t imagine life without her. Nor can she begin to understand when she finds a secret box of love letters that her mother wrote but never sent. The idea of her mother hiding such intense feelings for more than twenty years without so much as a hint makes Izzy question everything she thought she knew–including the identity of her father. 

Following a trail of clues overseas, Izzy steps into a world of glamour and English royalty, one which years ago forced her mother to choose between her obligation to her musical gift and her lover’s obligations to his family, title, and estate. It’s a world of secrets and masquerades, of heartache and betrayal. And in the midst of this world, Izzy finds a young man who feels as broken as she does herself. The two are drawn to each other–only to find that their parents’ lies may present an insurmountable obstacle between them.

Thrown together on a coming of age journey of discovery that spans two lifetimes and takes them from a grand estate in the Cotswolds to a hospital bedside in India and ultimately to the Taj Mahal, Izzy and Malcolm try desperately not to fall in love. But some things are impossible… 

And some loves are worth any sacrifice… 

Uplifting, funny, tragic, and unforgettably, luminously romantic, Love for Two Lifetimes is a tale of two generations of love, a lifetime of friendship, a history of sacrifice, and one last, heartbreaking and hopeful choice revealed in prose, texts, and love letters. Written for young adults and grown-up romantics, if you love the romance of the royal weddings or any story by Nicholas Sparks, Love for Two Lifetimes will have you turning pages late into the night.

“Heartwarming, lyrical, soulful, and with just the right amount of humor: this book sparkles with authentic, layered characters and beautiful, thoughtful prose.” — Jodi Meadows, NYT bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane

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Author Bio

Martina Boone is the award-winning author of Love for Two Lifetimes and the romantic Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island series, including CompulsionPersuasion, and Illusion for young adults from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse as well as romantic fiction for adult readers in the Celtic Legends Collection starting with Lake of DestinyShe’s also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a three-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers Site. She’s dedicated to encouraging literacy and reader engagement through a celebration of literature, and she’s on the Board of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and runs the CompulsionForReading.com program to distribute books to underfunded schools and libraries.

She lives in Virginia with her husband, children, Shetland Sheepdog, and a lopsided cat, and she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she loves to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate-flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website:  http://www.MartinaBoone.com

Blog: http://www.AdventuresInYAPublishing.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/martina.boone

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/martinaaboone

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/martinaaboone 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6423161.Martina_Boone

Cover link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/41459519.jpg

Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41459519-love-for-two-lifetimes

Love for Two Lifetimes is available now in hardcover, trade paperback, and digital. There’s a special early order campaign with exclusive goodies for anyone who orders the book before November 1st. Additional incentives are available if you order from One More Page Books.

See here for details: http://martinaboone.com/index.php/books/young-adult-books/2608-2/early-order-incentives/ 

Or order from your favorite retailer:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Two-Lifetimes-Martina-Boone/dp/1946773212/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-for-two-lifetimes-martina-boone/1129424162?ean=9781946773197

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/love-for-two-lifetimes/id1434336651?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-for-two-lifetimes

Book Excerpt

IzzyThe End

This isn’t a story about death or grief. It’s about grabbing love while you can.

Malcolm and I are in the hospital corridor in front of the cardiac care unit, and the too-familiar alarms, hurrying feet, and acrid scents of disease melt away around us. There are only the answers we don’t have. And the possibility that loving him may, with the speaking of a single word, turn out to be biblically, terrifyingly wrong.

His hands shake on my arms. His knees bend so we can look straight at each other. I love the sea-ice green of his eyes beneath the dark swoops of brow, the dimple in his chin, the way he concentrates.

We’re pulled together, our bodies tipping closer, millimeter by millimeter, my skin alive beneath his fingers, our heartbeats echoes of one another.

In German, there’s a word for a kiss that makes up for kisses that never happened. In case there can never be more between us, that’s exactly what I need: one last kiss to hold all the kisses that might have been, not only mine and Malcolm’s, but all those that were missing from my mother’s life.

Interview With … Ivy Keating

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

Grab your copy now!!       Amazon     Champagne Books     Goodreads

Tell us about you. 

I’m an optimistic person; I’m happiest with my family, writing, and finding time to sit through an entire movie.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Having goals. I’m not comfortable letting things happen. I like having a plan. Everyday I look forward to working on my next book. I’ve written the first draft and am going through a rewrite now. In the morning, I set a goal of ten pages–I tell myself that’s the work that needs to be done. I usually fall short but I love the plan.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

Any one of the Avengers, or the Russo brothers because my daughter’s a huge fan, (and a film major), and I know it would impress her.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

A missing person investigation leads a new police chief to the discovery of a deadly prehistoric creature. To save his town, he must decide if he will follow the orders of his superior and destroy it, or side with a group a scientists in direct opposition. He puts his career on the line to do what he thinks is right, but his decision may have dire consequences.

Tell us your writing process.

I start with a story–an entire story that I want to tell. After the first few chapters, I listen to the characters and see how the plot develops and then write accordingly.

What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book.

The effort you put into writing your book must be the same as the effort you put into marketing your book. There are no short cuts. I would suggest having a strategy that includes how you will reach readers and who can help you within a budget you are comfortable with. Don’t take a bumpy road. What I mean by this is everyone that looks for good books to read may not read the type of book you’ve created. Find the audience that  loves your genre. Search for help on the internet. Work with the people who’ve helped you along the way. I was very fortunate to have an amazing editor. When the book was finished, I asked her if she could help with marketing. I learned her company, ‘Book Mistress’ offered this service-I was lucky!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer.

I started as a storyteller. While working on my first draft, I quickly realized that if anyone was going to enjoy my story I had to create a well written piece. The process of finding a publisher, and editing,helped me understand I needed to sharpen my skills as an author. So on my way to publishing Camouflage, I embraced being a writer.

Tell us about your main character.

Officer Sean Dermott is a newly appointed police chief, arguably young for the position at thirty-six years old. His desire to be an officer stems from a childhood incident where a close family member was brutally beaten while being mugged. It affected his childhood, and when he became an adult he sought to protect people from that type of trauma. He’s rugged, smart, and successful at his job. However, his superior, Colonel Frank Gunner, does not respect him. The colonel put forth his own candidate for the senior position. Now Frank uses every opportunity to question Sean’s  leadership. Faced with constant scrutiny, Sean must figure out how to save the citizens he’s sworn to protect.

What are you working on next.

My next novel is a fantasy set in the middle ages. Magical creatures called Valomeres elevate the power of monarchs and sorcerers. King Edmund, the evil king of Bounten, controls a Valomere that can cause instant death. He plans to invade the other kingdoms for their resources. Only one thing can stop his reign of terror–a commoner with a secret past, and a powerful Valomere of her own.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents.

I wouldn’t call this extraordinary, but I have a masters degree in social work, and I’ve studied human behavior. My education helps me analyze what my characters do and why.

Who are your favorite authors.

I’m in love with science fiction classics: Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstien, Bram Stoker’s, Dracula.

What do you like to do with your free time.

I love taking photos for my Instagram page. It’s dedicated to the New England landscape, and taking these pictures has helped me appreciate the beauty of the area. I also enjoy watching movies when I can find the time.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

I’m working on my fantasy novel, Sarana and the Dark King. I’m hoping to have a draft to show my publisher before the end of the year.

Where can people find you on the web?

My website is, ivykeating.com   https://www.ivykeating.com/

Instagram, @ivykeating

Facebook, @ivykeating

Twitter, @ivy_keating

I have 3 short nature videos on youtube. I posted them for fun; they mention Camouflage, but they are not trailers; Dragonfly: https://youtu.be/JWweZ69T6_Y   Butterfly: https://youtu.be/wSWA3FvHuHo  Slug: https://youtu.be/U_5qo1_osZg. A trailer for Camouflage will be available soon.

Any final thoughts?

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and my work. I would love to hear from readers directly, and I encourage anyone to contact me with questions about my book and/or the writing process.

About Ivy Keating…

Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world.

A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England.

An area that inspired the question… what if?

Social Media Links:

www.ivykeating.com     Instagram     Twitter

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.

The next paragraph got him thinking.

A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.

He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.

The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”

Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.

“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.

After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

 

 

 

Spotlight – Camouflage

TBM

Camouflage

By

Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson

Blurb

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HM7WV76/

http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42076080-camouflage

Author Bio

Author Pic Ivy Keating

Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world. A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England. An area that inspired the question… what if?

Social Media Links:

http://www.ivykeating.com

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ivykeating/?hl=en

Twitter @ivy_keating

facebook @ivykeating

Excerpt

Cover - Camouflage

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

“The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.”
The next paragraph got him thinking.

“A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.”

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.
He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.
The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”
Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.

“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.
After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

VBT – Reckless Beginnings

TourBanner_Reckless Beginnings

Reckless Beginnings
by Tina Hogan Grant

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GENRE: Women’s Fiction (based on true events)

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BLURB:

Tammy Mellows, a fourteen-year-old native of England, was shocked when her father and troubled older sister, Donna, moved to the States.

With her family now separated by divorce and divided by an ocean, Tammy felt helpless when she learned Donna had run away and couldn’t be found.

Thanks to her father insisting she stay behind in England to finish school, Tammy could do nothing for the next three years but pray that Donna would be found safe.

When Tammy’s lifelong dream of moving to the States was finally fulfilled, she had high hopes of looking for Donna. But with no leads and faced with turmoil in her own life, there wasn’t much Tammy could do.

After a forbidden secret love affair and a catastrophic dispute with her father, Tammy eventually meets Steven, settles down and has his child, only to discover he is a heroin addict. Thrown into a life of drugs and violence. Shadowed by his addiction, she becomes the silent and forgotten one. Living in fear of what Steven might be capable of and struggling alone to provide for her young son.

What consequences might she face if she leaves Steven? Is she ever going to find her sister alive? Will she have enough courage to conquer the impossible challenges of her twisted world and still come out on top?

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BookCover_RecklessBeginnings

Excerpt

“What do you mean she’s gone, John?”

Who was gone? Tammy wondered.

Her mother became angry. “She can’t just disappear, John! Someone must know where she is!”

Glued to the railings, Tammy was dying to know who and what they were talking about.

Then her mother began to cry hysterically while she held the phone tight and screamed into it, “She’s still a child, John. She’s just seventeen. You should never have put her in that home! She isn’t an object you can just discard because she’s in your way. She’s your daughter!”

Tammy remembered how her heart sank to the floor when she suddenly realized they were talking about Donna. Her sister had run away and was now missing. She wanted to race down the stairs and snatch the phone from her mother’s hands and ask her father WHY? Why had he put her in that awful place?

Donna had written a letter to Tammy and Jenny, telling them how much she hated being in the home. How no one wanted her anymore and she was going to run away. Frightened by what she had read, Tammy showed the letter to their mother. As upset as she was by both the letter and the fact that Donna had written to her sisters and not her, Rose never believed Donna would actually run away. “I’m sure she’ll be okay. She just needs time to adjust. It’s all new to her. We have to trust your father’s judgment. He said this would be good for her. I have to believe that. She is a very troubled young girl and needs help,” her mother had told her. But she had run away, and now no one knew where she was.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

Tina Hogan Grant was born in England and grew up in a small town on the Yorkshire Moors. She is the youngest daughter of science fiction author, James P. Hogan. After moving to California, she became a commercial lobster fisherwoman, fishing off the coast of Southern California for ten years with her husband Gordon.

For fourteen years, she’d had a notion of writing her debut novel “Reckless Beginnings”. But it wasn’t until the sudden death of her father in 2010 and a battle with breast cancer a year later that she made the decision to get it done. Seven years later, she finally completed it. She is now working on a sequel titled, “Better Endings.”

She currently resides with her husband in the small mountain community of Frazier Park in Southern California. Together they enjoy anything that involves the outdoors, fishing, hiking, kayaking and riding quads.

Website: www.tinahogangrant.com
Buy Links may be found here: https://tinahogangrant.com/tina-hogan-grant-press-kit-book-reckless-beginnings/

Social Media Accounts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tina.Hogan.Grant.Author/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TinaHoganGrant
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tina_hogan_grant/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tinahogangrant/

Book Video

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hybrid publishing: another option for today’s writer

Read the full article here on how Hybrid Publishing works:

 

https://christiehawkes.com/hybrid-publishing-another-option-for-todays-writer/

Open For Submissions

At the home office we have seen a few good submissions come in over the last few weeks. There have been some titles that we have already taken on board from authors in the US, UK and Australia.

Keep them coming people.

Open to both fiction and non-fiction titles.

http://www.asjpublishing.com/hybrid-publishing/

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