Category Archives: book spotlight

Spotlight – The ‘Real’ American Diet

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About the Author

Kevin C. Alston

Born & raised in the small town of Mullins, SC, by God-fearing parents who instilled religion into his life at an early age, he’s had an insatiable appetite for knowledge since birth. God blessed him with a keen, analytical mind, & an almost feverish desire to help others. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, married to the love of his life, with five wonderful kids, & a deep passion that still burns within him to help the less fortunate, through whatever means necessary. The correlation between what we eat & the epidemic-like rise in diseases of today has the author on an impassioned mission to get to the bottom of what he thinks is a big conspiracy by our government & Big Business.

His latest book is The ‘Real’ American Diet.

Website Link: http://diet4america.wix.com/real ,

https://youtu.be/sQ8LOeFoj68

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/kcasrkev1

Facebook Link: http://facebook.com/kcasrkev

 

About the Book:

Title: THE ‘REAL’ AMERICAN DIET
Author: Kevin Alston
Publisher: Xlibris Publishing
Pages: 48
Genre: Memoir/Nonfiction

The Real American Diet

BOOK BLURB:

This book is a culmination of the author’s life, but mainly the past 10 years, where personal tragedies have led him to discover more about the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today, & how it affects us all.

This program is an experiment of sorts, with the author using himself as the guinea pig, with positive results having been discovered, & hopefully, in time, even bigger positive results yet to come.

Between our government & Big Business, we, the people, are already involved in an experiment. It’s like a big laboratory. With all of the harmful toxins that are allowed in our air, food, & water, diseases are at epidemic-like levels, & the author, for one, would like to know if there is more to this than is being told to us. It speaks volumes when other nations refuse to accept grains & meats from us, or at least it does to the author.

Most of the ailments we suffer from today emanate from our guts, & our poor diets keep the sickness-wheels turning, costing each of us millions of dollars, a whole lot of heartache, pain, & suffering. It’s time to make a change, & that change started with the author’s experiment on himself.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Real-American-Diet-Kevin-Alston-ebook/dp/B0794MPWWD/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+%27Real%27+American+Diet+kevin+alston&qid=1552343215&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell

Book Excerpt:

Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

IF YOU’VE BEEN dieting forever with very mixed results, then you’ve finally come to the right place. These lifestyle changes that I am recommending will be like no diet that you have ever attempted, so if you combine what I’m about to teach you with the proven methods that Dr. Joel Fuhrman teaches you in his books—Eat to Live is the best one to start off with—you will be well on your way to attaining your goal of losing the dreaded weight that you have been desperately seeking to get rid of for so long.

Book Trailer

https://youtu.be/sQ8LOeFoj68

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Spotlight – CRAVED by Keli Hammond

Craved-Front

Book Description:
What does it take to stand out from the crowd? How do you build a brand people notice, connect with, and trust? What does it really take to get (and keep) a constant flow of incoming and loyal customers and opportunities?

In CRAVED, Keli Hammond walks you through the ins and outs of building a brand that is not only noticed, but sought-after and profitable. She uncovers the key elements needed to craft cohesive and clever marketing campaigns and demystifies the components needed to gain influence and be memorable.

In this book, Hammond combines decades of award-winning industry knowledge with helpful stories and advice that illustrates what not to do in brand building. She walks you through how to build a loyal tribe that advocates for you and endorses you.

Because marketing rules change quickly, the things that worked five years ago are now outdated and old-fashioned. The guidance you get from CRAVED will help you elevate your profile, attract more people to you, monetize your influence, and set the stage for long-term profit for your personal brand or business.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at this for a while, this is the resource you need to help make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Transform your life by strategically creating a brand people CRAVE.

Author Bio

Keli Hammond head shot

Keli Hammond is a nationally-recognized, award-winning expert on marketing. The author of CRAVED: The Secret Sauce to Building a Highly-Successful, Standout Brand; Keli knows what it takes to make people stop, listen, engage, and invest in brands (both personal and business). With a focus on brand acceleration and positioning, Keli’s expertise helps people pinpoint hurdles to success and pivot their marketing to achieve maximum results and brand loyalty.

Keli owns B Classic, a Washington, DC-based marketing and communications agency that helps entrepreneurs, corporations, non-profits, and government agencies better educate, entice, inspire, and engage their target consumers.

Keli distilled over 15 years of marketing know-how into her debut book, aptly named CRAVED, which offers practical tips and resources that provide clarity on how to turn a passion into profit by becoming a dynamic marketer.

A highly sought after speaker, trainer and writer, Keli regularly speaks to groups of business owners, students and women on personal branding, marketing, and social media. Keli holds a BA in Advertising from Temple University and certification in Change Leadership (Change Management) from Cornell University.

Get the book on Amazon.

Spotlight – The Guild Saga Series

About the Author

John Joseph Doody

I earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Coral Ridge University and Seminary, as well as an M.A. in Political Science from George Wythe College. My first publication was a short story, TELEPIO 690, which appeared in Sidetrekked Magazine, Issue #48. My other publications are, my first novel (actually a novella), THE WONK DECELERATOR, my second novel, THE LATE, GREAT BENJAMIN BALE, my third novel, RETURN OF THE CRIMSON WITCH and a fourth mini-book, a prequel to the Guild Series, THE DAUGHTER OF GETH, which is available only in ebook. I am currently working on a science fiction/horror novel, THE DARK. One of these days I might even finish it.

Happily, I have a wife and four children and live in Florida.

Website Link: www.johndoody.com

Twitter Link: @johnjosephdoody

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/authorjohnjosephdoody/

 

Inside the Books

The Wonk Decelerator

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: THE WONK DECELERATOR (Book 1)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 131
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

For Earthers dwelling in Guild space, it is a one-hundred year journey back to Earth. An unimaginable voyage, until now.

When Guild commander and crack pilot, Thad Cochran boards the shuttle destined for the casinos of Timmerus, finding a way back to Earth is not on his radar. He wants the five-percent finder’s fee the Guild is offering for a black box held by the lizard-like Yazz. Thad has a dream: With the loot he will get for stealing the Wonk Decelerator, he can buy a ranch on Beta Prime.

But things begin to fall apart for him in the dark caverns of Timmerus, and Thad must reconsider his priorities in life. Has he discovered a cause greater than his dream? Are there actually more important things to life than money and his dream? What about the woman who is waiting for him? What about freedom in the galaxy? And what about his discovery, fashioned by the gnarled hands of a brilliant, old Yazz, that could change everything?

Thad Cochran has a choice to make. He can fulfill his quest, escape with his life and be rich. Or he can fly with the Wonks … one more time.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/Wonk-Decelerator-Guild-Saga/dp/1937809323/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_3?keywords=john+joseph+doody&qid=1551501377&s=gateway&sr=8-3-fkmrnull

Book Excerpt:

Thad opened his eyes, aware of a sense that the murky sun was dropping on the horizon. He panicked momentarily until he realized he still had a half hour before the prearranged confab with Maggie.

He headed for the bathroom to change into darker clothes for the journey. The bathroom had Thandimonean stone flooring, golden faucets and a huge commode one nearly needed a ladder to get up on.

Thad rubbed his face and ran his tongue over his teeth. He might as well clean up while he was in here. He stripped, broke out his toothbrush and was busy about his business when he heard a creaking hinge.

He stepped out of the bathroom in his skivvies, toothpaste frothing in his mouth.

“Commander Cochran.”

He heard the voice, glanced at the open door, but saw no one.

“Yeph?!” he gurgled, toothpaste spraying everywhere as his voice took on a falsetto tone.

“I’m up here, silly boy.”

Thad looked up, and his heart tried to jump out of his gullet. The woman, the one he had seen in the space port

and had suspected of being a droid, crawled across the ceiling like a spider chasing after a bug. How she managed to cling, upside down, her head twisted a hundred and eighty degrees and looking directly at him, was a repulsive mystery to him.

Oh, you’re a droid all right! 

He had never seen a Mandroid capable of walking on ceilings. This droid’s techno was impressive and scary.

“You should go back to your people, Commander Cochran,” she said, as she crawled down the wall, her head twisting again, cracking and popping back to its original position.

He knew there was no sense in trying to get away, or in trying to fight with this droid. She was too fast, too strong. He had no weapon to use against her, and worst of all, he was in his underwear.

Thad swallowed his toothpaste.

Once on the floor, she meandered over to him and, with a critical expression, eyed him from head to toe. She was beautiful, but she smelled of a peculiar blend of perfume and something like burnt rubber.

“There’s only death waiting for you here on Gar Mega. Go back, Commander, before it’s too late.”

With that, she walked stiffly from the room, leaving the door open. Thad wasted no time, sprinted to the door, locked it and leaned against the wall, his legs trembling beneath him.

She’s probably got a key that pops out of her finger or something. I know I locked that.

Inside the Book

The Late Great Benjamin Bale

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: THE LATE, GREAT BENJAMIN BALE (Book 2)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 370
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

The destinies of two men depend on Maggie Thorn. One is dying and the other is dead…or is he?

Captain Maggie Thorn is on a formal Guild mission, supposedly to kidnap the yazz scientist, Gravian Endrenicus, and return him to Thandimone. But she also has a personal score to settle with the lizard-like inhabitants of Timmerus. She intends to make the yazz pay for what they did to Thad Cochran—the one the yazz call the Thieves Guild pilot. The man she loves.

Supreme Fleet Commander, Admiral Geoff Grangore knows of only one man who could get Maggie to Timmerus and back while traitorous eyes are watching. That man is an old drunk who lives deep in the Thandimonean wilderness with his pet Eno, Snot. Benjamin Bale is suicidal and cantankerous, and Maggie can’t stand him—at first.

Bale is a dead man. At least, that’s what everyone was told. But this dead man has a final mission to perform. The greatest star pilot in the galaxy has a chance to redeem himself and make right a great wrong. A wrong which he can never forgive or forget. A wrong that cost him everything.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193780948X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Inside the Book

Return of the Crimson Witch

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: RETURN OF THE CRIMSON WITCH (Book 3)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 407
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

The Bashtier call Wonk space, Eerindark—The Place of the Dead—and Thad Cochran, the only pilot to go there and live, will soon find out why. The sacrifice of Benjamin Bale brings Thad back from the dead. But is he truly free from the death grip of the Wonks?

A body is discovered behind an apartment wall in a small town on the planet Daggon. With the mystery thrust upon him, Admiral Geoff Grangore must pursue a dangerous quest for the truth—is it somehow connected to The Wonk Decelerator?

Dreams and visions are dancing in the heads of the yazz. Something bad is coming to the frontier—a hidden enemy only the Guild traitor, Alexander Hamilton Patho knows.
Patho sends an assassin to Daggon and his conniving gaze is on the M-3 Wonk vessel. It seems civil war is imminent and those who control the power of Wonk travel will rule the known galaxy. Therefore, it must not fall into Patho’s hands.

It is time for war, and time for Maggie Thorn to learn the truth about who she really is. It is also time for The Return of the Crimson Witch.

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/Return-Crimson-Witch-Book-Guild/dp/1942391242/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Spotlight – The Consequence of Stars

The Consequence of Stars banner

About the Author

David W. Berner

David W. Berner is a memoirist whose personal stories tell all of our stories. His memoirs reflect on our collective relationships and how those experiences link us to the world we share. From stories of fathers and sons, to road trips, travel memoir, pets, and music, David’s books are mirrors of our common human experience. 

Storytelling has been a part of David’s life since his days as a young boy, delivering The Pittsburgh Press newspaper. He began telling his own stories and the stories of others as a reporter for numerous radio stations, including freelance work at National Public Radio and more recently for CBS in Chicago.

David’s reporting background has given birth to award-winning memoirs and novels based on his own experiences.

He has been the Writer-in-Residence for the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, where he was privileged to live and work at the Kerouac House in Orlando for two-and-a-half months. He later was honored with the Writer-in-Residence position at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois.

Website: https://www.davidwberner.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/davidwberner

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidWBernerWriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour  (David W. Berner—Writer)

About the Book:

Title: CONSEQUENCES OF STARS: A MEMOIR
Author: David W. Berner
Publisher: Adelaide Books New Yotk/Lisbon
Pages: 200
Genre: Memoir/Essays

The Consequence of Stars

BOOK BLURB:

THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS is a unique and thoughtful memoir on our eternal search for home. Told in a series of essays on love, loss, travel, music, spirituality, and the joys of solitude, memoirist David W. Berner, reaches deep to discover where he belongs and ultimately where all of us belong.

“Berner gives us both travelogue and memoir in living, breathing depth and color.” — D.S. White, Editor-in-Chief, Longshot Island. 

“A writer with an enormous sense of humanity.” — San Francisco Review of Books

“Reflective, engaging…Berner’s authentic storytelling takes you with him on his travels through the chapters of his life where in the end, he reveals connections to finding a place to be, his home under the stars.” — Nancy Chadwick, author of Under the Birch Tree

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Adelaide Books

http://www.adelaidebooks.org/consequence_of_stars.html

Book Excerpt:

From FIRST THOUGHTS –

“This memoir—written in a series of linked essays—was

born from that spirit, to examine the broad notion of home,

how it morphs and eludes, and the search for it—from family

roots to personal discoveries—growing up, moving on, returning

to, and embracing a singular sliver of the universe.

Like many, I have investigated near and far, from my boyhood

home’s big side porch to destinations around the world and

down the street, stumbling and tripping, hoping to uncover

pieces of myself in some way through work, leisure, and love,

taking fragments of my experiences with me to build something—

a home, a place under the stars. And it is the consequence

of all those stars that is the eternal search. There is no

straight path. There is no map.”

Spotlight – Josephine Baker’s Last Dance

Josephine Baker's Last Dance banner

About the Author

Sherry Jones2

Author and journalist Sherry Jones is best known for her international bestseller The Jewel of Medina. She is also the author of The Sword of MedinaFour SistersAll QueensThe Sharp Hook of Love, and the novella White Heart.  Sherry lives in Spokane, WA, where, like Josephine Baker, she enjoys dancing, singing, eating, advocating for equality, and drinking champagne.

Her latest novel is Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

Website: http://authorsherryjones.com
Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/sherryjones
Pinterest: 
https://www.pinterest.com/sherryjones
BookBub: 
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones
Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/sherryjonesfanpage
Instagram: 
https://www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance
LinkedIn: 
https://www.linkedin.com/in/cybersecuritytechnologywriter
Goodreads: 
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

 

About the Book:

Title: JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE
Author: Sherry Jones
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 304
Genre: Biography/Historical

From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures.

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine’s early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.

With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.

Purchase Josephine Baker’s Last Dance in paperback,  ebook,  and  audiobook  formats on  Simon and Schuster’s website (available on Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  BooksAMillion,  Indiebound,  Kobo,  and  other sites). Learn more about Sherry’s books  at  www.authorsherryjones.com

Josephine Baker's Last Dance

Link to book trailer:

Behind the Mic: JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE with Adenrele Ojo. Listen as she discusses what it was like to narrate this epic book: https://youtu.be/lHd0amFM3oo

 

Book Excerpt:

Just before she entered the stage door, a drop of rain hit her on the head. No, that was not a bad omen, only a reminder to do her best, to shine like the star she was, or would be. Wilsie came running up—Mr. Sissle was there, but Mr. Blake had yet to arrive. “You’ll knock ’em dead, Tumpy. Just do your dancing and forget the rest.” Josephine didn’t need to be told that. She was ready.

She flexed and stretched her arms as she walked with Wilsie across the stage, past the musicians gathering, trumpets and saxophones and drums and a clarinet, down into the auditorium, where a slender man spoke to a white-haired man at his side. He turned his head very slightly and looked her up and down from the corners of his shrewd, hard eyes. His mouth pursed.

How old are you?” he’d said before Wilsie had even introduced them. The stage door opened, and a very dark-skinned man with a bald head hurried in, talking about “the damned rain,” scampering down the steps, striding up the aisle, shaking water from his clothes.

Eubie Blake,” he said, smiling, holding out his hand to her.

This is Tumpy, Mr. Blake, the one I told you about,” Wilsie said. “She’s here to audition for Clara’s spot in the chorus.”

The man with Mr. Sissle—the stage manager—motioned to her and she followed him up the stage steps. Did she know the songs? Could she dance to “I’m Just Wild about Harry”? Josephine wanted to jump for joy. She pretended to watch as Wilsie showed her the steps, which she already knew as if she’d made them up herself. Josephine stripped down to her dingy leotard, tossed her clothes on a chair, then ran and leaped to the center of the stage. This was it. She bent over to grasp her ankles, stretching her legs, then stood and pulled her arms over her head.

Ready?” Mr. Sissle barked. The music started, and she began the dance, so simple she could have done it in her sleep. Practicing in the Standard, she’d gotten bored with it and had made up her own steps, throwing in a little Black Bottom, wiggling her ass and kicking her legs twice as high as they wanted to go, taken by the music, played by it, the instruments’ instrument, flapping her hands, step and kick and spin and spin and squat and jump and down in a split, up and jump and kick and spin—oops, the steps, she didn’t need no damn steps, she had better ones—and kick and jump and wiggle and spin. She looked out into the auditorium—a big mistake: Mr. Blake’s mouth was open and Mr. Sissle’s eyes had narrowed to slits. Don’t be nervous, just dance. Only the music remained now, her feet and the stage.

When she’d finished, panting, and pulled on her dress and shoes, Wilsie came running over, her eyes shining. “You made their heads spin, you better believe it,” she whispered, but when they went down into the aisle Josephine heard Mr. Sissle muttering.

Too young, too dark, too ugly,” he said. The world stopped turning, then, the sun frozen in its arc, every clock still, every breath caught in every throat. Mr. Blake turned to her, smiling as if everything were normal, and congratulated her on “a remarkable dance.”

I can see that you are well qualified for our chorus, Tumpy,” he said, and on his lips, the name sounded like a little child’s.

You have real talent, and spark, besides. How did you learn to do that at such a young age? You are—how old?”

Fifteen,” she said.

Mr. Sissle snorted, and cut Wilsie a look. “Wasting my time,” he said. Mr. Blake looked at her as if she’d just wandered in from the orphanage.

I’m very sorry, there’s been a mix-up,” he said. “You must be sixteen to dance professionally in New York State.”

I’ll be sixteen in June,” Josephine said. Her voice sounded plaintive and faraway.

We need someone now.” Mr. Sissle folded his arms as if she were underage on purpose. Mr. Blake led her toward the stage door, an apologetic Wilsie saying she hadn’t known. Mr. Sissle followed, talking to Mr. Blake about adding some steps to “I’m Just Wild about Harry,” saying they should put in some kicks, that he’d been thinking about it for a while. Uh-huh.

Come and see us in New York after your birthday, doll,” Mr. Blake said. “You never know when we might have an opening.” He opened the door and let the rain pour in before shutting it again. He looked at Josephine’s thin, optimistic dress. Where was her umbrella? She hung her head. He stepped over to retrieve a black umbrella propped against the wall and handed it to her. She took it without even knowing, her thoughts colliding like too many birds in a cage. She would have to stay in Philadelphia, she had failed—too young, too dark, too ugly—she should have lied about her age, what had gotten into her? Showing off, that was what.

And now Mr. Sissle disliked her, and she would never get into their show; it didn’t matter how many times she went back. As she stepped out into the rain with that big umbrella in her hands unopened and felt the rain pour down her face; she was glad, for now they would think it was water instead of tears, but when she looked back, Wilsie was crying, too, in the open doorway.

Seeing the men watching from a window, she stopped. They wouldn’t forget her; she’d make them remember. She walked slowly, her silk dress dripping, while Mr. Sissle gesticulated with excitement as he stole her ideas—authentic Negro dancing were the last words she’d heard—and Mr. Blake looking as if he wanted to run out there, scoop her up, and carry her back inside.

( Continued… )

© 2018 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sherry Jones. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Spotlight – The Desire Card

The Desire Card banner

 

About the Author

Lee Matthew Goldberg

 Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG.

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 About the Book

Title: THE DESIRE CARD
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
Pages: TBA
Genre: Crime/Suspense

The Desire Card

BOOK BLURB:

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

PRAISE:

“Careful what you wish for, especially from a nefarious shadow organization, in this gripping start to Lee Matthew Goldberg’s fast-paced, highly compelling, buzz worthy new series. If you love characters morally compromised, richly drawn, and constantly surprising, you’ll love THE DESIRE CARD. I burned through the first book and can’t wait to get my hands on PREY NO MORE to see where this endlessly exciting story takes me next! Loved it!” – Daniel Palmer, critically acclaimed suspense author

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

Book Excerpt:

HARRISON STUMBLED INTO CENTRAL PARK CLUTCHING THE SILVER BRIEFCASE, HIS BODY SHAKING FROM BEING HUNTED. Clouds clogged the sky. The trees seemed like creatures towering over him. He turned around to see the man in the Humphrey Bogart mask running toward the entrance, a gun bulging from the guy’s inside pocket. The man’s cold eyes scanned the park, zeroing in. Harrison took off down a dirt path until he was alone with only the wind ringing in his ears.

He wanted to collapse; he begged himself to just give in. Nature would destroy him soon anyway, and his shins were starting to feel like they’d been repeatedly stabbed. He coughed up an excess of blood and mucus that spilled down a rock. Now he’d gone so far down the trail that he couldn’t see where he entered. The sound of footsteps came from all directions. A distorted laugh caused all the nearby pigeons to shoot toward the sky. The laugh was followed by an eerie whistle that became louder and louder as he spun around expecting to see his pursuer.

A shadow passed behind a tree, bigger than any animal. He propped himself up against a rock, too exhausted to move any farther, closing his eyes and waiting to die. He could see tomorrow’s headlines declaring his death as a mugging gone wrong.

“Gracie,” he cried, trembling. “Brent, my boy…oh God.”

He had pissed himself now, the urine hot and sticky as it trickled down his pants leg. He still held the silver briefcase close to his chest, resolving not to let it go without a fight.

The man in the Bogart mask emerged from behind a tree holding a gun.

“Just hand it over, Mr. Stockton,” the man said. The voice box attached to his mouth made him sound robotic, weirdly calm. “You don’t want this to get any more complicated than it already has.”

The man made a grab for the briefcase, but Harrison held on tight.

“You’ll kill me anyway,” Harrison yelled, spooking any pigeons that hadn’t already flown away.

“Only if you force me to do so.”

The man kicked Harrison in the shin, causing him to nearly buckle over. Harrison was thrown to the ground, the man pinning him down. He still managed to hold onto the briefcase as if it was fused to his hand.

“The Boss doesn’t know about what you’ve done yet,” the man said, hitting Harrison’s head against the hard dirt. “Do you understand what that means? That means you can still live. And he’ll never find out as long as we get what we’re owed.”

“Why would you do that for me?” he asked, seeing four masked men spinning around.

The man stepped back and pointed the gun between Harrison’s eyes.

“The Boss doesn’t like when things don’t go according to plan. I could be in as much trouble as you for letting this slip-up happen. So let’s make this easy for both of us.”

Harrison got on one elbow and hoisted himself up.

“Do I have your word?”

The man nodded.

“And my family? My wife…my kids? I wouldn’t have to worry about them being hurt?”

“As much as you might think that you are our sole concern, we have an entire organization to run beyond your pithy life. Now I will count to ten and if you don’t hand over the briefcase, I’ll put a bullet between your eyes.”

Harrison thought about what his life had really amounted to. All the hours he’d slaved at Sanford & Co., making rich people boatloads richer. Getting into the office before dawn and often heading home in the middle of the night. Sacrificing his family, his youth, his sanity. How it had made him into a drinker, a serial gorger of all vices, just so he could forget about what he was losing. After all of that, what did he have left to show?

“…8…9…10,” the man said, about to pull the trigger.

“All right, all right.”

Harrison handed over the briefcase. The man opened it up and appeared to be satisfied, a smirking grin visible through his mask.

“I’ll leave you with this nugget of wisdom,” he said, without putting the gun away. “If what you did manages to compromise us in any way, if there are any rippling after-effects, be prepared to come across the Boss. He’s known to wear a Clark Gable mask.” The man’s smirk had disappeared. “He only appears when he’s ready to bloody his hands. Good day, Mr. Stockton.”

“Who are you people? Under the masks…who are you really?”

The man raised the gun over Harrison’s head.

“I doubt you’ll ever find out,” he said, and struck Harrison on the forehead with the handle.

A trickle of blood spilled down Harrison’s nose and felt cold on his tongue. He slunk down and rested his cheek against the dirt, watching the man in the mask take off through the trees, the silver briefcase shining like a beam of light snaking through the leaves. And then the man finally disappeared—as if he was nothing more than a nightmare brought to life and extinguished once the fitful dreamer finally woke.

Harrison pressed against his rib cage and felt for his engorged liver. Cursed at it. Wanted to tear it from his stomach. He’d been poisoned from within for too long, his unending punishment for all of his crimes. Blood zigzagged into his eyes as the wound on his forehead opened up even more. With his other hand he reached into his pocket and removed his wallet. A thin metallic card fell from out of a sleeve and sat in a puddle of blood that had collected in the dirt.

He crumpled it up in his fist since it was responsible for letting these psychopaths into his life. He knew he’d never feel completely settled again, always worried that they might come after him and his family. The Desire Card had caused him to seek out gruesome and despicable wishes. From the instant this devil’s temptation had been placed in his hands, his moral compass never stood a chance. So he chucked it into the air and watched it sail over the rocks for some other fool to find.

“I’m sorry, Helene,” he mumbled to the wind. He knew he’d have to come clean about everything. His head throbbed, and he recalled a memory from twenty-five years ago. Spying her in the quad at Chilton College drinking a cherry Coke, tan and shapely from field hockey, the entire campus becoming muted except for her. He took a chance by flirting miserably and changing the course of their lives.

She would’ve been better off if they had never met. In such a short amount of time, he’d fallen so far. Now because of him people had been sliced up, left for dead, and soon he’d follow them to his own grave. As he drifted off into unconsciousness, he remembered that it all began to spiral out of control on his last day at Sanford & Co. over a month ago, this treacherous path he embarked on, his dark and dried-up destiny.

Spotlight – The Old Man’s Request

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About the Author

Joab Stieglitz

Joab Stieglitz was born and raised in the Warren, New Jersey. He is an Application Consultant for a software company. He has also worked as a software trainer, a network engineer, a project manager, and a technical writer over his 30 year career. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Joab is an avid tabletop RPG player and game master of horror, espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres, including Savage Worlds (Mars, Deadlands, Agents of Oblivion, Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Herald: Tesla and Lovecraft, Thrilling Tales, and others), Call of Cthulhu, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Pathfinder.

Joab channeled his role-playing experiences in the Utgarda Series, which are pulp adventure novels with Lovecraftian influences set in the 1920’s.

Website Address: http://joabstieglitz.com

Twitter Address: @joabstieglitz

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

About the Book:

Title: THE OLD MAN’S REQUEST
Author: Joab Stieglitz
Publisher: Rantings of a Wandering Mind
Pages: 117
Genre: Historical Suspense

The Old Man's Request

BOOK BLURB:

An Innocent Favor for a Dying Old Friend…

Fifty years ago, a group of college friends dabbled in the occult and released a malign presence on the world. Now, on his deathbed, the last of the students, now a trustee of Reister University enlists the aid of three newcomers to banish the thing they summoned.

Russian anthropologist Anna Rykov, doctor Harry Lamb, and Father Sean O’Malley are all indebted the ailing trustee for their positions. Together, they pursue the knowledge and resources needed to perform the ritual.

Hampered by the old man’s greedy son, the wizened director of the university library, and a private investigator with a troubled past, can they perform the ritual and banish the entity?

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Book Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

June 18, 1929

Final papers in hand, Anna emerged from the Edison science building and made her way toward Olson Street to catch the trolley to the house she was renting on the other side of the river. She was petite, with dark bobbed hair, and smooth pale skin, and wore a fashionable blue, knee-length skirted suit, white blouse, and a loose, black necktie which flapped gently in the breezes blowing eastward off the slow-moving Woolley River.

It was another typically beautiful day, warm and dry, in Wellersburg. About halfway across the quad, she spied Father O’Malley approaching hurriedly. “Hello. Father,” she said with a smile, her Russian accent revealing her origins. “Is it not a fine day?” O’Malley, a tall, slender man with short, curly brown hair, usually had a warm, engaging smile, but today his expression was grim.

“Jason Longborough is in the hospital again,” O’Malley said. “It doesn’t look good, and he’s asked to speak to you with some urgency.” Anna was concerned and a little surprised. The ailing trustee of the university had been her champion in the faculty selection committee last summer, but she had neither seen nor spoken with him since that time. He was directly responsible for her appointment to fill Dr. McMahon’s chair for three years while he and his team were on their expedition to Australia. Longborough was also instrumental in Father O’Malley’s appointment to the Ancient History department to fill similar vacancies during the Egyptian expedition, which was to occur concurrently.

“Of course,” Anna replied without hesitation, “I will just drop off these papers in office.”

“He may not hold out that long. Please come with me now. It may be your only opportunity.” With that, the priest took the pile of exam papers from her and led the way toward the Reister University Hospital.

Anna was born Tatyana Trevena, the sole daughter of poor Russian immigrants. In exchange for passage to Brooklyn, the sixteen-year-old was married to the much older, exiled Fyodor Rykov shortly after their arrival in America in 1912. Rykov was an old world man. He treated his young wife as his property and she lived in submission to him until he died of a heart attack two years later.

Tatyana inherited a modest fortune. Wanting to be more American, and having the means to do so, she adopted the name Anna and attended Columbia University, where she studied Anthropology. She completed her degree in three years and went on to pursue a doctorate. In 1924, she did field research for the Russian archaeologist Aleksey Sergeyevich Uvarov in Gnyozdovo, a part of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the site of a ring of 10th century Viking settlements.

Upon returning to the United States in 1926, Dr. Anna Rykov, expert in the Varangians, or Russian Vikings, found that there was little interest in a female professor, especially one of Russian descent, who had done field work in the Soviet Union and could have potentially been a Bolshevik. When Jason Longborough reached out to her with a temporary position at Reister University filling in for tenured staff while they were on a three-year expedition, she gladly took the offer.

There were many new instructors at Reister. Among them, Anna met Harry Lamb and Sean O’Malley. Dr. Lamb had just completed his residency at Reister University Hospital and was teaching Basic Anatomy to first year medical students. Father O’Malley was well-versed in Middle and Far Eastern history and served as an Ancient History instructor. Anna, Harry, and Sean were all new to the area, and the three quickly became friends exploring their new home together.

She was enjoying the small college-town life in Wellersburg and its uncrowded streets. The people of Wellersburg were courteous and friendly, even to a Russian immigrant, on account of the more cosmopolitan influences of the university. She enjoyed the peace and tranquility of a small town where everyone knew everyone, and no one locked their doors.

The hospital room was small and dark, illuminated by a lone window on the far side of the room. Jason Longborough lay in his bed. The withered old trustee was frail beneath his shock of gray hairs. He had looked much stronger when Anna had seen him last. Now his yellow complexion and paper-like skin clearly indicated his infirmity. Dr. Harold Lamb stood over the patient, taking his pulse. Lamb was taller than average and muscular, with broad shoulders and short, black hair neatly parted on the right. He wore a blue, pinstriped suit and a yellow tie under his lab coat. The doctor smiled slightly when the two entered the room. Longborough was alerted to their presence by the closing of the door.

“It was good of you to come,” the patient said with some effort. “My time draws to an end soon, and there is a grave matter from my past that must be addressed.” Some strength returned to his voice. “I fear I have become too feeble to attempt it myself, and wish to enlist your services in this matter.” He sighed heavily.

“How can I be of service to you, sir?” Anna asked. While she was indebted to Longborough for her position at the university, she was hardly acquainted with the man. What could a businessman like Longborough need of an archaeologist?

“Sit. I have a story to tell you.” He gestured to two chairs by the side of the bed.

“I’ll be back to check on you later,” Dr. Lamb said as he started for the door. Suddenly, with uncharacteristic dexterity, the ailing trustee reached out and grasped his wrist.

“I wish you to aid me as well, Doctor.” His gaze was fixed on Lamb’s eyes. The physician left the room, and a moment later brought a chair in from the hall.

“I can spare a few minutes, but then I must complete my rounds.”

“This is not a long story.” The trustee cleared his throat and Anna poured a glass of water for him. He took a few sips from it, and then cleared his throat again. “Back in the spring of ‘71, when I was a freshman here at Reister, I came upon an interesting upperclassman named Brent Hanke, an amateur occultist.” He coughed painfully.

“Five of us formed a group to explore the secrets of the unknown. We called it ‘the Cabal.’ It was quite innocuous at first, but after a while other students became disturbed by our activities, and so we bought an old farmhouse in Stuckley for some privacy.” He coughed again and took another drink of water.

“It was at the farmhouse that things grew out of hand. Brent Hanke’s family was in shipping, and as a result, he was able to obtain rare and unique items from the Old World. He used these trinkets to keep us interested. Among these was a small gold box of Russian origin,” he indicated a length of about eight inches with his bent fingers, “that contained a piece of amber. According to a ritual he found in an ancient tome, this amber could be used to contact a powerful oracle. Being precocious lads, we set out to cast the spell at the farm and seek our fortunes.”

Longborough’s subsequent coughing fit caused the onlookers to jump, and Dr. Lamb went to call a nurse, but the old man recovered quickly and motioned for them all to sit again. After a few fairly deep breaths and another drink of water, he continued his tale.

“It was clear that night in March of 1871. I remember the full moon illuminating the living room of the farmhouse so brightly that Brent was worried that there might be too much light. Still we continued, lighting the fire in the fireplace as well as several candles, and drawing a pentagram in chalk on the floor. In the center, Brent placed the amber. As designated observer, I sat in a corner and wrote down the events of the evening in my journal. The others sat in a circle and recited the incantation while Brent threw some foul-smelling powder into the fire.”

“This continued for nearly two hours. Finally, something happened. A plume of smoke arose from the amber and it began to melt. Then it came!” Longborough began to hyperventilate. Dr. Lamb sprang to the bedside and adjusted his position, putting the patient’s head back to open his throat. After a moment of coughing and wheezing, Longborough recovered.

“It was insubstantial.” The trustee’s voice was still agitated. “Barely perceptible in the moonlight, but it was there. And it made a horrible growling sound. Brent threw some of the powder on the creature, and all chaos broke out. Most of us were paralyzed by the sight. John Dalton, however, rose to his feet and stepped forward to embrace the entity. The creature grasped his head in its indescribable appendages and twisted it with a terrible snap. Then it threw the head back to land in Homer Cunningham’s lap. Homer’s face turned white and he began making that chirping sound.” Longborough stared off into space for a moment.

“Roger Furlong apparently doomed us all,” he continued after a pause. “He destroyed part of the pentagram. Free from the bonds of its confines, the creature burst from the house with the force of a hurricane and was gone.” He stopped to catch his breath. “Nevertheless, Hanke believed there was still hope. The spell bound the creature to the house, so it would have to return, and the many glyphs and warding symbols Hanke had previously carved into its structure allowed the creature to only inhabit the attic.”

“Mr. Longborough,” Doctor Lamb said with skepticism, “this kind of superstitious fantasy is probably what caused your condition in the first place. You were probably enjoying the effects of some hallucinogenic drugs this Hanke character threw into the fire.”

“John Dalton was found decapitated the next morning.” The aged and frail patient bore down on Lamb with a look of rage. “We staged an accident with a carriage and said he was run over. The authorities believed us, and they took Homer Cunningham to the Old Oak Sanitarium. He was never released. Brett said that if the spell is cast again in reverse, the creature could be destroyed, or at least sent back to where it came from . That is what I want you to do.”

“Still,” Dr. Lamb continued, “you can’t expect us to believe that reciting some ancient poetry will lay a ghost to rest?”

Anna was divided. The story was completely unbelievable, especially by a scientist such as herself, but how could she deny the request of a dying man?

“You want us to cast this spell?” Father O’Malley asked indignantly.

“Yes,” Longborough said, his features calm and sharp, “I do.”

“By all that is holy, that is the worst kind of sacrilege.” But Sean O’Malley was not a typical parish priest. He was a Professor of Ancient History specializing in the Dark Ages. His training had been under the tutelage of Father Christophé, the exorcist from Martinique regarded as the Church’s leading “expert” on the activities various “nameless cults.” O’Malley was more than prepared to accept Satan’s intervention in the sorry affairs of this once gullible youth. The sly smile from his lips surprised his two colleagues. Finally, he said, “But I accept your request.”

“Are you crazy?” Lamb exclaimed. “This delusion has gone far enough. It’s nearly killed this man. Father, I think we should let this matter, and this patient, rest.” He rose and started off to return his chair to the hall.

“What difference does it make?” Anna asked in earnest. “Mr. Longborough believes that there is threat to all in Stuckley. If it is just a fantasy, then all that will come of it is the easing of his conscience for the unfortunate incident with his friends.”

“Then you’ll help me?” the old man inquired of Anna with hope in his eyes.

“Yes, sir,” she said, holding his hands in hers. “I owe it to you for all you have done for me.” He smiled.

Rykov and O’Malley cast questioning glances at Dr. Lamb. He looked at them incredulously, and then back at Longborough, who returned his gaze with a pitiable look. After a moment, he sighed and said, “O.K., I’m in. But nothing is going to happen. You’ll see.”

“You don’t understand,” the patient started. “You must believe in the innate power in all of us. You must tap into that power to perform the ritual. Only if you are committed will the spell be successful. If you fail, the creature will be released from the house! The little remaining power I can still muster won’t be able to keep it there much longer. Whenever I let my guard down, it got out and killed someone.” He started to gasp and wheeze. Immediately, Dr. Lamb burst from the room to get assistance.

Longborough indicated the drawer of the nightstand beside Rykov and she picked up a locked metal box from it. Then he removed a key from around his neck and handed it to her. “Take these,” he said with the last of his breath, “it is all the help I can give you.” With that, his breathing became erratic. Moments later, Lamb returned with some orderlies and a nurse and ushered the pair from the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why Defining Your Setting is Important

A lot of would-be writers set out to write a specific story: a fantasy with wizards and dragons, a spy thriller with a megalomaniac villain out to conquer the world, a vampire and werewolf love story, etc. These are all fine ideas, but where they take place is just as important as the characters and the plot.

Just as you want three-dimensional heroes and villains, a well-developed setting is imperative for your story to come to life. Locations are more than an address. They are sights and sounds, past and current events, the physical and emotional sensations that are evoked. All these aspects add to the reader’s immersion into the environment.

For example

The agent’s’ eyes were stung by the smoke as they descended. The remote darkness was broken by the flames of the nearby village that had been their destination. The sounds of machinery announced the passage of the column of troop carriers, the smell of exhaust filling the air as they carried the villagers away.

This scene implies a lot of things that the author needs to know and bring out in the narrative. Where does the story take place? When? Is this Nazi occupied France, post apocalypse Colorado, or Alpha Centuri Prime? Are the agents parachuting, in an aircraft, or falling from orbit in drop pods?

Filling out the details of the environment allows you to add “reality” to your story by making the reader part of the scene rather than just an observer. When the reader experiences sensations in addition to the characters’ thoughts and actions, and a clear understanding of things such as the environment, the weather, and the social and political situation will make a scene come alive.

In my books, I have selected a very specific time and place: immediate pre-Depression New York. Through this lens I can present attitudes, experiences, personalities, and perspectives that are unique. My heroine, Dr. Anna Rykov, is a woman, a Russian immigrant, and a professional. These qualities present specific challenges to her in 1929.

The choice of genre is the first step. An even bigger decision is the setting. An author needs to understand the environment in which the story takes place to present a complete picture to the reade

Spotlight – Material Things

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About the Author

Larry Spencer

LARRY SPENCER published his first novel, The Tipping Point Of Oliver Bass in the summer of 2017. A story that covered the life of a pathologically arrogant, wealthy young man who sets off on a journey of self-discovery, family tragedy, and sexual conquest in a modern California noir backdrop. Spencer has been a Writer’s Guild of America member since the late 70s, having written and produced a multitude of highly successful TV shows, which culminated into writing several feature films. He was then encouraged to pen his second book, Material Things, a story based on true events that takes place in the 60s &70s and tackles organized crime, drugs and embezzlement during a time when bellbottom pants ruled the fashion scene. He lives in Valley Village, California.

Visit his website at www.larryspencerauthor.com.

About the Book:

Title: MATERIAL THINGS
Author: Larry Spencer
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 367
Genre: Fiction

Material Things

BOOK BLURB:

Larry Spencer’s riveting, interlocking narratives circle the lives of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis and Christopher Styles, in a 1970s California backdrop that takes them from owning and operating a fashionable clothing boutique into the gripping world of an FBI under cover operation, drug trafficking, prostitution and a nefarious criminal element, that brings to light a Mafia contract killer, who’s out to bump off a stoolie in their midst.

Material Things is based on true events surrounding the store that introduced bellbottom jeans to a hip Southern California crowd and how it became, not only a cottage industry but also an arena fraught with danger and moral strife that put the store and it’s owners under close scrutiny after an alarming number of felonious activities surface.

The climax is anything but conventional as Matthew, Jon and Christopher are confronted with a life threatening reality that they never imagined could happen just by selling bellbottom pants.

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Book Excerpt

It’s 1:15 a.m. in California, so you can bet this call was not a frivolous inquiry about the weather. It had to be serious, and Matthew was guessing this was one of those rare holy crap moments that jolt you out of your comfort zone. Someone had died. Someone he knew. Either in an awful twisted-like-an-accordion car wreck or a body was found in a shallow grave somewhere in the Mojave Desert. With his ear pressed to the receiver, Matthew waited with trepidation for the news—he was right on target, speculating death. Chris, his voice at a low pitch, tells him that their estranged friend and former business partner, Logan Alexander, shot himself in the head this last weekend.        

   “Accident?” Matthew asks.

Intentional. In his garage. In front of his car and the lawn mower,” he says. 

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