Monthly Archives: February 2019

VBT – ON THE COUNT OF THREE

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ON THE COUNT OF THREE
by Carolyn Arnold

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GENRE: Thriller

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BLURB:

And they thought prison was hell…

When a woman’s disappearance ticks off all the same boxes as two unsolved murders, Miami homicide detective Kelly Marsh is convinced there’s about to be a third. If she’s right and the killer sticks to their previous MO, she only has three days before Jenna Kelter’s decapitated head will show up somewhere in the city. With no time to waste, Kelly reaches out to the one person she knows can help: her former mentor and family friend Jack Harper, who just happens to lead a team with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.

BAU special agent and profiler Brandon Fisher easily sees the similarities between Detective Marsh’s missing person case and the two cold cases: all three victims served time for DUI vehicular homicide and disappeared three days after being released from prison. But is that enough to assume Kelter has been abducted by a serial killer? Brandon’s not so sure and fears his boss may have let his personal connection to Marsh cloud his judgment. Surely there isn’t any other explanation for why they jumped into an investigation less than twenty-four hours after Kelter was reported missing. Then again, maybe Brandon is letting his own differences with the detective affect his perspective. He’ll need to move past it, though—and quickly.

After all, this killer has evaded capture for the past six years, and they may be looking at a lot more victims than originally suspected. This serial killer is calling the shots and pulling them into a macabre game of cat and mouse. While the team has no choice but to play, if they don’t make the right moves, one of them may not make it out of Miami alive.

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Excerpt:

“We’ll start on the count of three,” he said in a singsong voice. The Night pulsed beneath his skin with a heartbeat of its own.

“No, no, please!” the woman screamed.

It pierced his ears, but he smiled, moving into position next to her. “One…” He reached out for the chain that suspended the blade. “T—” His phone rang. His body quaked, the tremors of the Night snaking through him.

He grabbed a roll of duct tape from a nearby utility shelf and slapped a piece across her mouth. He normally didn’t have to worry about their screams out there, but he wanted to answer this call. The ringtone told him it was his girlfriend, Roxanne. She fit into his life plan—at least for now—and he didn’t want to mess things up with her.

He kept his eyes on the woman as he answered his phone. “Hey, sweetie.”

He listened as his girlfriend prattled on about their plans for the following evening—dinner, then a movie. Nothing new there. She said maybe dancing afterward, but they’d never make it to a club. She’d be ready for bed by ten, and he’d tuck her in. She was as predictable as drying paint and about as exciting. But she played along with his sexual fantasies without contention, and she’d do anything to make him happy.

“You’ll pick me up? My place at six o’clock?” she asked.

“I can do that. I’m looking forward to spending some time with you.”

“Love you,” Roxanne told him.

“Love you, too.” He hung up, smiling, and let the expression carry for his victim to see. He set up his cell phone to record again and walked toward the woman. “Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?”

She was screaming behind the tape and bucking her head wildly. She was clearly trying to slide back, as if she could worm her way out of the guillotine.

Yes, fight. It makes it so much more fun…

“One,” he roared above her. “Two…” He wound the chain around his fingers. With a flick of his wrist, he released it. “Three.”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
Website – http://carolynarnold.net/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Carolyn will be giving away a paperback copy of Remnants

Enter to win a print copy of REMNANTS – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Spotlight – The Society

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About the Author

C.G. Abbot

CG Abbot was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration as well as a degree in Sacred Theology. While working in large companies and even Department of Defense, she dreamt of writing. She still resides in Colorado and enjoys creative outlets like scrapbooking, card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her family and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

Website Address: www.cgabbot.yolasite.com

About the Book:

Title: THE SOCIETY
Author: C.G. Abbot
Publisher: Blazing Sword Publishing
Pages: 367
Genre: Suspense Thriller

The Society

BOOK BLURB:

When Elizabeth Grant sees her childhood friend, she is thrown into a world of secret societies laced with conspiracies.

Elizabeth has been plagued with visions since the disappearance of Loralie. When she returns to the small town of her childhood, she’s unaware that she’s walking into the middle of what killed her friend.

Unknown to the rest of the world, The Society for a Restored America has been preparing to seize control of the government through manipulation of a national crisis. The Society’s membership has already infiltrated the government and military at the highest levels. The only thing between them and success is Elizabeth Grant.

Elizabeth must accept her special gift and stay alive long enough to uncover the Society’s dark plot to seize control from a nation that blindly supports them.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

https://www.amazon.com/Society-Elizabeth-Suspense-Thriller-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B07KN4MFTH/

Book Excerpt:

She hit the floor, hard. Thud. She just missed hitting her head on the nightstand. Her eyes darted around the room aglow with moonlight, out of breath from the nightmare. Where was she?

It wasn’t until her senses took in the ratty stuffed bear that sat on the white dresser, the white lace curtains that rustled from a whispered breeze heavy with scent of Magnolias, and the chorus of many crickets that she remembered. She was in Mississippi, hundreds of miles away from her Denver apartment. Her grandparent’s house, well… grandma’s ever since gramps had passed a few years ago.

Unease settled into the pit of her stomach, beyond what the vivid dream had produced. Loneliness assailed her and settled in her heart. Her first night back in Cyprus and her nightmares returned. Thought I was over all that.

Elizabeth took several deep breaths to steady her nerves and slow her breathing. Her muscles ached as she stood, legs like rubber and hands shaking. The recurring dream always produced such a physical reaction.

She knew from experience she wouldn’t… couldn’t, fall back asleep after her fight-or-flight response had kicked into overdrive. She made her way downstairs with care at each step.

Elizabeth grabbed the teakettle before its shrill whistle could disturb the tranquility; she was accustomed to living with a roommate and being quiet. Hopefully, some tea would help to calm her nerves… and her nausea. Another physical result of the nightmares. She poured the water over her waiting tea bag in a mug.

She rubbed her sore thigh and then rotated her aching shoulder from falling out of bed as the tea steeped. Her long chestnut hair was still disheveled and her pallor made the sprinkling of freckles across her face and cheeks stand out. Her heart was approaching a normal rate.

She settled into a worn chair in Grandma’s living room, last decorated a few decades ago when brown and gold country fabric patterns with heavy oak touches were all the rage. The scent of lemon furniture polish clung in the air. She breathed deeply the steam from the tea and let her breath out slowly. The subdued light from the one lamp created a cocoon of safety and comfort. Now that the adrenaline rush was fading maybe she could get another hour or two of sleep after all.

The nightmares would pass, she had to face them head-on like you would a bully.

She took in the room, each knick-knack and crocheted doily. She used to spend every summer with her grandma and grandpa. It had been like a second home. Her first summer spent here she was lonely, until she met Loralie, a local girl, in the park. She was only six and Loralie barely five then, and they had been like sisters from that moment. They were both raised by single moms and didn’t know their dads. Elizabeth’s life had changed in that instant in the park.

Until seven years ago when it all changed again, all because she didn’t come to visit over the summer. Her world shifted because of that simple decision. Loralie, the closest thing to a sister she ever had, disappeared the summer she didn’t come to visit, and worse – they had fought terribly only weeks before she vanished.

Digging up old bones.

Her life was moving along fine on a predictable path of school, and eventually college. When they had fought over Loralie’s brother, Jeremiah, she couldn’t have known that would be the last time they would speak, the last memory of her would be words of anger.

She took a sip of tea. Why had she started having the nightmares again? It had been over a year since the last one. But, this was her first visit to Mississippi since the night Loralie had gone missing.

Maybe just returning was enough to start her night terrors again. Shouldn’t it be ancient history and the nightmares long gone? Okay, she still felt guilty for not visiting that summer, as if she could have prevented whatever happened to Loralie.

She held out hope that her dearest friend had left town touring with a band or something and got out of Cyprus. One day her friend would call and share her adventures, and she’d be happy.

Nightmares were one thing and even understandable, but seeing things – visions or hallucinations – was a whole different matter.

The night Loralie went missing was the night she swore she saw a vision of Loralie in her bedroom in Denver, Colorado. An image of a beaten and bloody Loralie, who was physically in Cyprus hundreds of miles away, appeared right there in her bedroom, frantically reaching out to her. Then Elizabeth passed out. When she regained consciousness her mother was holding her in her arms and dabbing her face with a cold washcloth.

It was on Elizabeth’s insistent pleading that her mother called Mississippi in the middle of the night to ask a groggy Mrs. Carter to put Loralie on the phone. She remembered taking the phone, waiting for Loralie to talk to her so she could get that image out of her mind, only for Mrs. Carter to come back with ragged breaths and exclaim; “She’s not here. I can’t find her!”

It was the instant that she had that vision of Loralie which really changed her life. But she had seen her and was inconsolable for hours, so she was labeled “fragile”, “over-sensitive”, and “over-wrought”. Being at grandma’s was bringing it all back.

Digging up bones.

No physical trace was ever found of Loralie. Then the nightmares had started – and hallucinations of Loralie regularly over the last seven years. The nightmares terrified her, but the hallucinations… visions… whatever you called them – they left her doubting herself.

She made the mistake of researching what could cause hallucinations and was convinced she had a brain tumor or something for the first year. Still, she told nobody about her continued visions. As far as everybody else knew, her mother included, the night Loralie disappeared was the only time she experienced such a visual aberration, rather than the continual problem that plagued her still.

She shook her head to dismiss such serious thoughts. It was disconcerting to be here again. She wasn’t the same person who had last run happily through the house.

She rubbed her eyes and sipped at her tea, clearing her mind. She stiffened when she heard a car pull into the driveway. Every cell in her body listening.

This wasn’t Denver, people in rural little Cyprus were asleep at this hour. Maybe some were doing chores on the surrounding farms, but nobody was out visiting in the wee hours of the morning.

Barely audible footfalls on the veranda floorboards and a soft knocking at the door made her heart race. Just that quickly the feeling of a secure cocoon vanished – replaced by dread. She scanned the shadows and saw Loralie, forever sixteen, like an animated photograph, motioning with a degree of urgency for her to go answer the door. She swallowed, shakily set her tea down, and stood up.

Surely it’s nothing. It’ll be innocent, you’ll see. But, she felt like she was on the very edge of a cliff and everything in her life was about to change… again.

She took a deep breath to calm herself and rolled her shoulders back, crossed the living room to the door and slowly opened it.

On the wide white-painted veranda was an elderly black woman with her hand poised to knock again. She lowered her hand and smiled. It was wide genuine smile that made her eyes sparkle. In the illumination of the porch light, her coifed white hair looked more like a halo. She wore a turquoise cotton dress, was of average height, but stood proudly and with composure. Another time and place one might think she was Egyptian royalty.

“Hello dear, I’m Madame Antoinette of Shreveport, Louisiana. You must be Elizabeth. I’ve been driving all night to talk to you, hon.” Her voice was melodic with a reserved southern drawl. She watched expectantly as Elizabeth blinked a few times.

“Ma’am, you’re here to see me? At 4:30 in the morning? Are you sure you have the right house?” Elizabeth whispered because she instinctively felt the need to be quiet. A dog barked in the distance, then howled – a long mournful baying filled the air.

Madame looked around at the other houses on the street. All were dark and quiet. Returning her attention to Elizabeth she whispered, “I must speak with you about Loralie.” Looking around again she added, “I had to visit when it was least likely to be seen.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Spotlight – People Skills 101

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About the Author

Kerry O'Hallaron

Kerry O’Hallaron was born in St. Louis, MO. He attended college at the University of Missouri, and later “emigrated” to Florida. His passion in life is to help others maximize their own potential.

His latest book, “People Skills 101 – tm: How to Have More Friends, Fewer Conflicts, and Better Relationships,” is a compelling and life-changing new spin on one of the oldest “self-development” books in print. In it, he adds new color the art and science of people skills, which wealthy industrialist John D. Rockefeller called the most valuable asset under the sun. O’Hallaron teaches us in a humorous way how to use time-tested principles in our quest for friendships and positive business and personal relationships. The teachings aren’t new – but O’Hallaron’s unique twist on them certainly is. Whether you’re a shy, reserved introvert or a bubbly, outgoing extrovert, “People Skills 101” could be the only book you need to understand the simple tools that will help you both create and manage the perceptions people have of you.

You will be amazed how a few, subtle changes you can learn from this book will craft a new, more influential, more charismatic, more likable, YOU!

O’Hallaron lives in Tampa with his wife, Carol, and can’t seem to get away from spending significant parts of each year in his home town of St. Louis.

Website Address: www.peopleskills.training

Twitter Address: @ps101_book

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/PeopleSkills101/

About the Book:

Title: PEOPLE SKILLS 101: HOW TO HAVE MORE FRIENDS, FEWER CONFLICTS AND BETTER RELATIONSPS
Author: Kerry O’Hallaron
Publisher: Shamrock Publications
Pages: 301
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help/Self-Development

People Skills 101

BOOK BLURB:

A life changing modern-day twist on Dale Carnegie’s timeless classic – learn how to have more friends, show more charisma, and better manage every relationship – all in the comfort of your home.

“Kerry O’Hallaron simply nailed it with People Skills 101,” says Jason Broadman, international book critic. “He took something everyone needs to know, which nobody teaches, and made it interesting, eminently readable, entertaining, and exceptionally useful to just about everyone.”

Do you remember that course you took in school called “Basic People Skills?” You don’t, do you – because nobody, anywhere, teaches such a course. Whether grade school, high school, or beyond, NOBODY thought it was important to teach us how to interact. NOBODY thought it was important enough to teach us interpersonal skills – how to get people to like us, how to get them to see us the way we want to be seen, how to manage our relationships.Apparently they just assumed that we are either born with “people skills” – or we weren’t!

People Skills 101 offers an elegantly simple and completely unique solution. It works, whether you are a shy and reserved introvert, a bubbly and outgoing extrovert, or anywhere in between. Simply choose any three of the twenty-one “GoldenRules” offered in the book, begin to use them faithfully, and watch the results with awe. You will be amazed how a few, subtle changes will quickly craft a new, more influential, more charismatic, more likable, YOU!

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Book Excerpt:

1

How to INSTANTLY Become More Likeable

 

Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.”

(Christie Brinkley, American model, actress, and businesswoman, 1954- )

Legend has it that “Connie” (her real name – she’d be pleased to know that I’m sharing her story) came out of the womb with a smile on her face.

I wasn’t on this earth at the time, so I don’t know that for sure. I only knew her for the last two thirds of her many years. So let me share what I do know about her.

She was born in the Midwest United States, of hard-working middle-class parents who were not far removed from European immigrants. She had a happy childhood. In the middle of World War II, as a young adult, she married Don. They were together nearly sixty years – by all accounts a very happy union.

Connie, along with Don, raised six children. That alone was a herculean effort. Somehow, she managed to keep smiling through it all.

In the early 1970’s, as the children were progressing through their education, she entered the work force – during a time when many women could only get jobs as secretaries. Being a secretary, though, was not for Connie. Her exceptional work ethic and winning smile earned her the job of city clerk in her home town. She worked there until retirement, at which point she (showing her captivating smile as always) was featured in the local newspaper for being a one-of-a-kind woman.

She loved retirement, enjoying her relationships with Don, her children and grandchildren, and old friends. She lived the good life until the late 1990’s, when tragedy struck in the form of a massive stroke. Not one to give up easily, Connie survived the stroke well – except that it became difficult to verbalize what she was thinking. She thought clearly but spoke with great difficulty – often barely able to get a message across.

Previously, she had always communicated with a smile and a friendly word. Now she just had the smile, as many of her words did not make sense except to those closest to her.

If that bothered her, you’d never know it. Whenever someone came to visit her, her eyes lit up and her smile warmed the room. The smile projected a clear message: “Hi. I’m really glad to see you. I’m glad you are in my life. I’m glad you are here.” Her speech was challenged, but her communication was just a little different than yours and mine.

When Don died in 2004, she moved to a nice senior living facility, where her smile alone was enough to befriend residents and staff alike. She had constant visitors from her large extended family, friends, and residents, in spite of the speech challenge. Connie made life good.

I got to spend some time with her just a week before her death in 2014. We both seemed to know her time was coming – but she refused to give up that radiant smile even then. We spent time enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the home, looking at the flowers and listening to the birds. I talked; she smiled.

A week later, as she departed this world, she left behind a gift to everyone who knew her – now including you. She entrusted that wonderful, powerful smile to each of us, asking us to both keep it and share it with others, and make the world a little brighter place in the process.

(Rest in peace Connie O’Hallaron, a/k/a Mom, 1920-2014.)

Look around you, and you will see the effect a smile can have on people. A warm smile can strengthen a relationship. A smile from a physician in a hospital emergency room can instantly ease the patient’s fears. A smile in a job interview can put the candidate at ease. A sincere smile in a store may turn a “looker” into a customer.

The examples are endless. But Connie taught us best how powerful a genuine smile is, particularly in her later years. She realized that, because of her very limited speech, her primary way to communicate was through facial expressions. She knew, and she taught those of us who knew and loved her (it was impossible to know her without loving her), that the expression on her face had a powerful effect on the person she was sharing that expression with.

 She knew that if she smiled that warm smile, it would make the person feel good, loved, wanted, happy – often all at the same time. She also knew that if she frowned, or otherwise showed anger or displeasure, she could immediately have a powerful negative impact on that person. She could ruin that person’s day, or their morning, or at a very minimum their mood for a short term, just with a frown.

 She realized, either intuitively or consciously (or both), that what she projected would have a powerful effect on the person she projected it to – and that she greatly influenced whether that effect would be positive or negative. I’m not sure she ever actually wanted that kind of responsibility – but she was well prepared to handle it. She simply chose to have a positive impact on the lives of everyone she touched, every time she touched them!

I’d like to propose a little two-step exercise for you. The first step simply involves “people watching.”

Over the next few days, go about your work, family life, etc. doing things exactly as you’ve done in the past. However, pay close attention to the people you encounter. Watch for people who smile at you. I’m asking you to take a few days, because you may not encounter very many people who smile. But there will be some.

Watch carefully. Pay attention to the circumstances. Was it someone in the elevator, where most people try desperately to get to their floors without making eye contact? Was it someone in traffic? Was it a clerk at a store? Was it your spouse / significant other, child, or parent?

Now, as they smile at you, try to associate a meaning with the smile. In other words, try to imagine their smile is a form of communication, and guess what they are “saying.” What is the message that the person with the smile is conveying?

It may be, “Hi, how are you? Good to see you.” It may be, “Thanks for coming into our store/restaurant/place of business.” It may simply be a subconscious expression such as, “I’m friendly. Are you?” Or in a relationship, it may mean, “I’m really glad you’re here!” (My own beautiful wife realized the power of her smile over forty years ago when we first met, and she continues to use it daily to reinforce our relationship.)

OK, now it’s time to move on to part 2 of the exercise. In part 2, you do the exact same thing as in part 1, except as frequently as possible, make eye contact and smile at the other person. This may come easily to you, or it may not. But please try it. Do it several times a day for a few days.

And by the way, when you smile, do what Connie did and convey a message with your smile. The message should be appropriate to the person you’re smiling at. If it’s your boss, it should be along the lines of, “Hi, boss. It’s really good to see you.” If it’s a stranger, it should be along the lines of “Hi. How are you?” If it’s your significant other, you can use your own imagination, depending on the circumstances and his/her mood.

Here’s an easy trick: as you are smiling, think the message you are trying to project. If it’s your boss, think, “Hi, boss. It’s really good to see you.” Warning: this really works. So don’t smile at the boss while you are thinking, “Hi boss.You’re an idiot and I could do your job with my eyes closed!” Most people can “feel” when the message is incongruent. In other words, most people can sense an insincere smile!

So smile, think of the message you want to project, and watch closely when you do this. Watch their reactions, and try to imagine how they feel. You should see, as Connie did, that a simple, warm, genuine smile changes the entire trajectory of a person’s day, and maybe even of their whole life.

OK, one more homework assignment. But this one is simple. Think back to the last time you saw a baby smile. I’m told that after about six or eight weeks, many babies develop a “social smile.” In other words, after that age they really mean it – it’s not just “gas” or some involuntary reaction.

So think of the last time you saw a baby smile who was at least six or eight weeks old. If it’s ever happened, even once, I’m sure you remember it. The experience was almost priceless, wasn’t it? It’s hard to describe. It’s the same as any other person smiling, but so incredibly pure.

With a baby, there’s no possibility of a fake “politician” smile. It’s hard to know what the baby’s message is, because the baby doesn’t know a language yet that he/she can express with a smile. You get to assign your own message to the baby’s smile – but it’s almost certainly a positive message.

The baby might be saying, “OOH. You’re that nice person that feeds me. I like you.” Or, “You’re that nice lady that smells good and kisses me all over.” You don’t know exactly what the message is. All you know is, that smile warms your heart. Doesn’t it?

So how is it that so many of us intuitively know the power of a smile at eight weeks of age, and then proceed to forget it as we grow up?!!!

Connie’s smile would have melted your heart if you knew her. In fact, if you let it, just about every sincere smile you encounter will soften your disposition, improve your mood, make you feel better – and make you like the person who is doing the smiling. What if you were to simply turn things around, be on the giving end of a warm, sincere smile, and watch and feel the powerful effect it has on the other person? Try it. You’ll like it.

It takes less than a few seconds to smile. There are 86,400 seconds in every day. Make a commitment to invest just a few of them every day in giving genuine, warm, sincere smiles.

At the end of each section, we’ll propose a GoldenRule (see below). Each GoldenRule in this training will have some positive effect on your life and your relationships with others. They are all important and valuable. However, not one of them will have more of an impact than this one!

*****

GoldenRule #1

Smile like you genuinely mean it! Do it warmly and sincerely. It will move the world towards you in a small but unmistakable and irreversible way.

Release Blitz – Vincent Van Gogh: The Ambiguity of Insanity

 

About the Book

Title: Vincent Van Gogh: The Ambiguity of Insanity

Author: Giuseppe Cafiero

An abrasive itinerary of the presence of women, the landscape and obsession. Such are the internal paradigms that went through the compelling life of the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.

Not flesh and blood women, but the woman as a guide: Mrs. Jones, the woman as a mother; Kee Vos; Christine Hoornik of Siena; Margot Begemann. The Portrait-women such as Augustine Roulin and Madame Ginoux. And then the backgrounds, endless, unforgettable in this genius’s works: Isleworth, Amsterdam, le Borinage, Arles, St. Remy, Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent his life trying to capture the colors, the atmosphere, the light.

The pain of finitude and his obsession with achieving redemption through art, with intimate and stormy religiosity, with brotherly love, with the French noon sun and, in short, with death. A hard-working and unwavering life where art interacted, in a painful gesture, with the iron will of a hand that never lost its way.

The life of a beloved and devoted man, silenced by the anguish and despair of creation, who could only find peacefulness when he found his own death.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity is a fictionalized biography and gripping novel of the life of the Nineteenth-Century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The author, Giuseppe Cafiero, draws a psychological portrait of the Post-Impressionist painter through the women that marked his life and the cities in which he lived.

 

Links

USA

Amazon

Audible.com

iTunes

 

Canada

Amazon.ca

Audible.ca

iTunes

 

Australia

Amazon.com.au

Audible.com.au

iTunes

 

UK

Amazon.co.uk

Audible.co.uk

iTunes

Demonised by Dad: Three Ways van Gogh’s Life was Influenced by his God-Fearing Father

Vincent van Gogh’s troubled relationship with his pastor father influenced the painter’s work and melancholic outlook, writes the acclaimed Italian author and historian, Giuseppe Cafiero.

By Giuseppe Cafiero

use for blog 2- Theodorus van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh’s pious father, Theodorus, had a profound effect on his art and relationships. Here are three ways that van Gogh’s God-fearing father, Theodorus van Gogh, a pastor at the Dutch Reformed Church in Holland, influenced his son’s life.

  1. A Pious Youth

Van Gogh was raised in a small village called Zundert in the Netherlands. Thanks to his father’s religious zeal, the painter’s early life was constrained by the Church. While his childhood in the poor, medieval village was said to be pleasant, van Gogh did in my view yearn for bigger, brighter and better things. He craved culture and the freedom to do what he wanted without societal, disciplinary and religious restrictions and his over-zealous father’s unrealistic expectations.

  1. His Stillborn Brother

It is widely believed that van Gogh knew that in his father’s eyes, he was a disappointment and failure. Theodorus expected much of him as the oldest son, but Vincent never quite measured up; he had failed to follow in his father’s clergyman footsteps and had instead pursued his dream of becoming a painter. It is my view that Vincent lived under a constant pressure of living up to his father’s expectations and of ‘replacing’ his father’s first-born son, also named Vincent, who died at birth one year to the day before Vincent’s own birth.

  1. Escaping God’s Wrath

In the years 1877 to 1880, van Gogh himself turned to religion. He became a fanatic and was obsessively devoted to the Bible and to its teachings. But his attempt at religious life was unsuccessful and sent the artist into a period of depression and spiritual crisis. This is reflected in his artwork at the time and also in the increasingly tense relationship with his father, who as above had always dreamed of Vincent following him into the Clergy.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity by Giuseppe Cafiero is out now as an audiobook on Amazon, Audible.com and iTunes

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Spotlight – Obsessions of a Djinni

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About the Author

Claudia Herring

Claudia Herring writes romantic fantasy novels. Her Djinn Chronicles series are set in a world of mysterious powers and tumultuous intrigues fraught with subterfuge. They begin in Regency England where sensible mortals interact in disbelief with djinnis, magicians, sorceresses, and soothsayers.

 She would live in a library if she could.

 Is afraid of her cat.

 If you like Diana Gabaldon or Carol Berg, you’ll love Obsessions of a Djinni.

Website: https://claudiaherring.com/

Twitter: @claudiakherring

Facebook: claudia.herring.writer

About the Book:

Title: OBSESSIONS OF A DJINNI
Author: Claudia Herring
Publisher: Caravanserai Publishing
Pages: 374
Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Obsessions of a Djinni

BOOK BLURB:

A djinni seduces his master’s young bride, forcing her to make a fateful choice.

A world of mysterious powers and tumultuous intrigues comes to life in Regency England as a djinni, burdened with a dark secret, is thrown into a love triangle fraught with subterfuge.

Will he defeat his nemesis or be betrayed?

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Book Excerpt:

Prologue

I am Djinn. I am abandoned.

Another day of countless days. Waiting. A torture, but not the worst I have endured.

The light of this place sets me on edge. I know not its origin. Where the brightness falls illumines my carpets, colors rivaling my jewels, the finest weave of silk from Persian masters, treasures on which to tread. But I would gladly tread a floor of dirt strewn with rushes if I could be free.

I stretch my arms above my head. My kurta shimmers around my body, the gossamer silk the hard work of thousands of industrious and sacred lepidopteran larvae and their keepers. I see the gleam of silver and gold, the glimmer of gems on my ivory tabletop reflecting the rubies’ blood red, the emeralds’ echoing green and the ancient amber of the topaz as if it were a soft, tranquil pond.

I will be called. I know not when. My impending summons looms over me like the sword Dionysius hung above Damocles. I pray my next master will be kind, for I have had enough of cruelty. And if I could have wishes, if I could follow my heart, I would search for my Thalia.

Meanwhile, I am here, in Bramley House, for many years now. I sense I am in the East wing, upstairs, in one of the older bedchambers. Of over a hundred rooms in this centuries-old manor, this is one rarely used. In here are cast-offs of years gone by.

Among the clutter and jumble sits a marble bust of some long-forgotten statesman, transported to these misty isles to adorn the august Roman villa of one of England’s early conquerors. A magnificent, life-sized bronze stands by the window—an Indian god with four arms, dancing, dancing, dancing, a Natraj, Shiva, who keeps this world, where I am forced to exist, in motion. A few steps away, above the mahogany escritoire, hangs a drawing, elaborately framed in burnished gold leaf, the flowing black ink magically coalescing into my lady, my Lavinia, my Thalia, fixing you in her grave gaze, her somber eyes conveying the tragedy I made of her life.

And on the mantel the etched brass urn, securely lidded, where I am prisoner—for how long I do not know.

I remember being in this great house, living in its rooms, a real person in a real place. Happy. Reunited with my beloved, my heart, my Thalia. I remember sunlight streaming at an angle through the wavy old glass, warming my black velvet jacket, dust motes floating in the rays like stars within a galaxy. My hair pulled back in a queue secured with a black velvet ribbon, the style of the time. I took it all in, my treasures, my manor, my love, my life.

Even I never realized how quickly it could change.

Book Blast – MOSTLY INNOCENT

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.M. Jinks will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Meet Layla James, your typical smart and snarky chick—except for the whole succubus thing. After nearly a millennium on Earth, Layla’s settled down in a boring life in Palm Springs, until a smoking-hot hunter comes to arrest her for murder. But Layla knows the rules—she’d never kill someone and incite the wrath of The Powers That Be.

Elijah Daines is a hunter, maintaining the balance of good and evil in the mortal realm, his power stronger than any hunter she’s ever encountered. Plus, he’s a seriously sexy distraction. Too bad he’s accused her of a crime she didn’t commit.

As the killer continues a murder spree that not only frames Layla but threatens to expose the existence of supernatural creatures to humans, Layla and Elijah team up to investigate. Hopefully, they can fight off their escalating attraction for each other long enough to exonerate her and stop the murder madness.

Read an Excerpt

He edged nearer the counter. I, or maybe my succubus, decided on a whim I would not be intimidated by his power. I wasn’t sure where my sudden courage came from. He had to have sensed my succubus signature. We weren’t a violent race when we controlled our urges. I’m Queen of Control over here. I’m sure he knows I won’t hurt him. Right?

But why is he here? Something must be wrong.

With every step he took closer, I had a better look at him. His dark hair was in slight disarray and his crystal blue eyes scoured my face. He towered over me in every sense of the word. My stomach dipped.

He and Jolene should go back-to-back so I can get an accurate measure of his height.

I shook away my thoughts of him. Given his disapproving glare, he came here on a mission. Greek god or not, he was still a hunter, and I—

I was a product of evil, aka something he hunts.

“Succubus,” he growled. One little word filled with eons of unabashed hatred. It vibrated through me. All hopes of him wanting a new bathroom paint color vanished. No, this visit wouldn’t be pleasant, not at all.

Perhaps I could seduce him. Hell, he could do me right on the floor of aisle nine next to the light fixtures, if it kept him from killing me. I bit my lip. Hunters weren’t typically susceptible to succubi charms. A failed attempt of Aphrodisia could earn me more problems.

I released a breath. Some buried-deep, natural instinct rolled through me again, and I decided to stand my ground. I stood straighter and barked back, “Hunter.”

About the Author:

J.M. Jinks was born and raised in Southern California. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and two cats in her hometown. J has a Bachelor’s in French and a Master’s of Education. She is a teacher by day and a writer by night. J and her husband welcomed a baby boy in May 2018.

J has always had a love of reading that progressed into writing. Mostly Innocent is her first published manuscript.

J loves to connect with her readers. You can find her at:

Website/Blog: http://www.authorJMJinks.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authorjmjinks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorjmjinks

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/jmjinks

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https://www.amazon.com/Mostly-Innocent-Powers-That-Book-ebook/dp/B07JMCGNM6/ref=sr_1_1

J.M. Jinks will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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VBT – Mistress of Desire & The Orchid Lover ~ The Quest

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J. A. Jackson will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Neither Tiara Blake or Delmar Devereaux has a past to be proud of. With a joint history packed with dishonesty, blackmail—and a juicy, torrid love affair—the pair didn’t expect their paths would cross again.

Can a quest to break an ancient curse give two former lovers a second chance?

After a torrid love affair, shady businessman Delmar Devereaux disappeared from Tiara Blake’s life, leaving her to raise their twin sons on her own. So, when he shows up unannounced one day, her first instinct is to kick him to the curb.

But Delmar has discovered a centuries-old curse placed on the pair by their ancestors—and he needs Tiara’s help to break it. Ending the curse means they will have to learn to trust each other, which won’t be easy when their explosive secrets are revealed.

Once again torn between lust and duty, can Delmar and Tiara discover the true meaning of love in order to break the curse before it’s too late? Or will their complicated past doom them forever?

Join Delmar and Tiara in Book II of the Mistress of Desire and the Orchid Lover on their sensually sizzling action-packed adventure!

Read an Excerpt:

The room was silent except for the echoing sound of Nona’s vintage alligator peep-toed pumps as they slammed across the floor, as she charged in.

“You are late!”

“Now Glenda,” Nona excitedly exhaled. “You know I told you I had to go to Pointe Richmond, today? My favorite store was having their fifty percent off annual sale.”

Surprise and embarrassment ran a swift race across Glenda’s face. “Did you go to Ancient Ways? Oh, I’d forgotten.”

Nona hurried over and thrust a bag in Glenda’s hand. “See, I got you something.”

“Thank you,” Glenda muttered, with an apologetic tone in her voice.

Nona turned and made a beeline across the room. “Oh, and here’s yours Consuelo,” she said excitedly, handing her a bag.

Nona sighed heavily. “For some reason, the traffic on Highway 80 was ridiculous today.”

“Thank you, Nona,” Consuelo smiled and let her eyes settle on Nona’s for a second before she nodded agreement. “It’s true, about the traffic being heavy on Highway 80, today. Just this morning I saw it on the news, something to do with a big rig turning over,” she said, with a heavy Spanish accent.

Nona leaned in close and whispered. “Thanks for having my back Consuelo. By the way, I picked you up some that Herb man’s best sage, the one you like.”

“Excellent,” Consuelo replied with a look of surprise. “You must have read my mind. I was almost out.”

About the Author:

J.A. Jackson is the pseudonym for an author, who loves to write deliciously sultry adult romantic, suspenseful, entertaining novels with a unique twist. She lives in an enchanted little house she calls home in the Northern California foothills.

She spent over ten years working in the non-profit sector where she wrote grants, press releases and contributed many stories to their newsletter. She was their Newsletter editor for over ten years. She loves growing roses, a good pot of hot tea, chocolate, magical stories, suspense stories, ghost stories, and reading Jane Austen again and again in her past time.

https://www.amazon.com/author/jajackson

http://jerreeceannjackson.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jerreece-Ann-Jackson/204377496289139

https://twitter.com/jerreece

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01ISNR0B2

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HR1KSHN

J. A. Jackson will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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