VBT – SMUGGLER

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Smuggler
by Nicholas Fillmore

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GENRE: Memoir/True Crime

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BLURB:

When twenty-something post-grad Nick Fillmore discovers the zine he’s been recruited to edit is a front for drug profits, he begins a dangerous flirtation with an international heroin smuggling operation and in a matter of months finds himself on a fast ride he doesn’t know how to get off of.

After a bag goes missing in an airport transit lounge he is summoned to West Africa to take a voodoo oath with Nigerian mafia. Bound to drug boss Alhaji, he returns to Europe to put the job right, but in Chicago O’Hare customs agents “blitz” the plane and a courier is arrested.

Thus begins a harried yearlong effort to elude the Feds, prison and a looming existential dead end…. Smuggler relates the real events behind OITNB.

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Excerpt:

At the other end of the terminal was another set of steel doors—simple double doors leading right out to the street, daylight and fresh air strobing through each time someone exited; cabs lined up and waiting, freedom lingering out there.

I hoisted my bag over my shoulder, bypassing the baggage carousels where a cop was walking around with a dog, and headed towards the doors. A single Customs Agent was perched on a stool to the far right, reading a magazine. As I got about a third of the way there, he seemed to stir. I changed direction ever so slightly.

He roused himself. A small group was moving toward him from the right, but he seemed to ignore them.

I looked out the corner of my eyes for someone, anyone I could fall in behind, but everyone seemed blissfully out of reach—and I imagined this is what it must feel like to drown: to take one last desperate look at help swimming strongly away.

Then the agent sauntered ever so slowly out into the middle of the room. My heart raced. Then he looked up. I saw it coming, could feel it coming. Oblivious to the rest of the herd, he’d singled me out; and for a second I felt I might just swoon right there. Then some sort of instinct kicked in. I resigned myself to being questioned and headed right at him.

For some seconds he hung back as I did my best to play the part of the unassuming traveler.

“Where are you coming from, sir?” he asked, at an angle.

“Paris,” I said.

“Can I see your ticket?”

I handed him my ticket.

“How long were you in Paris?”

“A week.”

“What were you doing there?”

“Business.”

“What kind of business.”

“Magazine. Publishing.”

“What magazine?”

And here I faltered. Nun Civa Orcus. What the hell was that? My mind raced for all sorts of explanations. For a second I considered making something up. But that would only mean trouble. You tend to say stupid things when you veer from the script like that. Someone might ask your name, for instance, and under duress you might say Peter Rabbit or Dick Nixon, who the hell knew? Had he detected my hesitation? I had to speak.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Nicholas Fillmore attended the graduate writing program at University of New Hampshire. He was a finalist for the Juniper Prize in poetry and co-founded and published SQUiD magazine in Provincetown, MA. He is currently at work on Sins of Our Fathers, a family romance and works as a reporter and lecturer in English. He lives on windward Oahu with his wife, his daughter and three dogs.

Author website: http://www.nicholasfillmore.com
Publisher Website http://www.iambicbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/Nicholas.Fillmore.10/
https://twitter.com/nicholasfillmor

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Nicholas Fillmore will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview With …

Tell us about you as a person. 
I should have stayed on the farm, so to speak. My parents are nice, small-town people. And I’m really a simple, shy person at heart, given to daydreaming and writing poetry. But life comes at you and you grow up.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why? 
I have to say it would be Jesus. Running around Palestine denouncing the scribes and Pharisees, and preaching to the multitudes whilst the political powers of the ancient world hang like dark clouds in the offing—this is my idea of a good time.

What’s the story behind your latest book? 
As memoir that’s pretty straight forward. I got hooked into this heroin smuggling conspiracy—part out of boredom, part out of greed, part out of a desire for adventure and part out of a desire to take a burden upon myself (to write about.)

What is your writing process? 
Usually I write late at night. I might listen to music or not, but not with lyrics, which counts out most pop music. I can’t write while someone else is talking. Otherwise, as far as “process” I’m pretty recursive, which is a leftover poetry habit and a problem; when you’ve gone over a sentence or paragraph or chapter so many times with an eye toward its inner coherence, it can become a little insular. Writing Smuggler I learned that sometimes you need to let up on the verbosity so that when you do want to write from some elevated state it shows up. Of course later on you can obsessively pour over every phrase and comma.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why. 
I’m not quite up on the young film stars. A young Tim Roth?

What are you working on next? 
It’s called Sins of Our Fathers, an attempt to reimagine family incidents over several generations that inform the family’s fortunes, such as they are.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now? 
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
I would say ESP which has its obvious benefits. The implications for being a writer are interesting. It seems there would be little room for the imagination, though you could do staggering historical works.

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  1. Finish next novel.
  2. Move to Paris.
  3. Write another novel.
  4. Get daughter into college.
  5. Write another novel.

Where can readers find you on the web?

http://www.nicholasfillmore.com 

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VBT – FOR HER HONOR

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Holly Bush will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1873 –

Adam Gentry, heir to the celebrated Paradise Stables in Virginia, is haunted by the visions of his lost love. Feeling cursed by fate, he slips deeper into grief, shrouded in a cloud of liquor and depression, and neglects his duties and responsibilities. But when Adam is forced to accept that there’s nothing he can do to change his past, he knows he must move on.

And he accepts his own destiny: that he will never love again.

Emmaline Somerset finds herself in the worst possible position any unmarried woman can be in. She will have to abandon all of her plans, hopes, and dreams for an independence using her own talents. The only viable solution is to move to a distant relative’s home and reinvent herself as a widow with an infant. No one will ever be the wiser.

Adam, now determined to secure the Gentry legacy, plans to save longtime family friend Emmaline from her embarrassment with an offer of marriage. But what Adam didn’t plan on was how his unexpected attraction to her would stir something inside of him, something he’s kept locked deep within.

Can love finds its way between two troubled souls, one driven by duty, the other by honor, both determined to find their way home?

Read an Excerpt:

Emmaline Somerset’s bedroom door opened, and her mother poked her head inside.

“Mother, please,” she began but stopped speaking as the door opened wide and Adam Gentry walked into her room.

“I know this is unusual, Mrs. Somerset, but certainly you’ve known me and my family long enough to know that I intend nothing untoward. But I would like to speak to your daughter alone.”

Adam stared at her as he spoke to her mother and she could see Jane and Betsy behind him, eyes wide and their hands over their mouths.

“It’s not p-proper, Adam,” her mother stuttered.

“I’m fine, Mother. Stand outside my door if you wish.”

Emmaline looked at him and noticed that he was thinner than the last time she saw him. He was still very handsome and even intimidating, filling the room with his presence. He was the oldest among her generation of Gentrys and Somersets but had been removed a bit from the rest of them as they grew up together. A bit apart from John and Matthew and Jim, who’d been fast friends growing up, and from Olivia and Nettie and Marabelle Winston, whose family owned the mercantile, and her. He hadn’t been aloof, but he hadn’t gotten into the same type of trouble that John and Matthew had.

Women swooned over him, and he smiled back and tipped his hat in such a way that made a female feel as if she was the only person of her sex in the world. Except right now he wasn’t looking so sure of himself and not particularly happy, either.

About the Author:

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and an occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

http://www.hollybushbooks.com
http://www.twitter.com/hollybushbooks

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Holly-Bush/247399131941435

http://www.amazon.com/Holly-Bush/e/B006ZDTQ1A/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Holly Bush will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Spotlight – The Liebold Protocol

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About the Authors

Michael McMenamin

Michael McMenamin is the co-author with his son Patrick of the award winning 1930s era historical novels featuring Winston Churchill and his fictional Scottish goddaughter, the adventure-seeking Hearst photojournalist Mattie McGary. The first five novels in the series—The DeValera Deception, The Parsifal Pursuit, The Gemini Agenda, The Berghof Betrayal and The Silver Mosaic—received a total of 15 literary awards. He is currently at work with his daughter Kathleen McMenamin on the sixth Winston and Mattie historical adventure, The Liebold Protocol.

Michael is the author of the critically acclaimed Becoming Winston Churchill, The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor [Hardcover, Greenwood 2007; Paperback, Enigma 2009] and the co-author of Milking the Public, Political Scandals of the Dairy Lobby from LBJ to Jimmy Carter [Nelson Hall, 1980]. He is an editorial board member of Finest Hour, the quarterly journal of the International Churchill Society and a contributing editor for the libertarian magazine Reason. His work also has appeared in The Churchills in Ireland, 1660-1965, Corrections and Controversies [Irish Academic Press, 2012] as well as two Reason anthologies, Free Minds & Free Markets, Twenty Five Years of Reason [Pacific Research Institute, 1993] and Choice, the Best of Reason [BenBella Books, 2004]. A full-time writer, he was formerly a first amendment and media defense lawyer and a U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent. 

Kathleen McMenamin

Kathleen, the other half of the father-daughter writing team, has been editing her father’s writing for longer than she cares to remember. She is the co-author with her sister Kelly of the critically acclaimed Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality [Sterling, 2017]. The two sisters are professional organizers, personality-type experts and the founders of PixiesDidIt, a home and life organization business. Kathleen is an honors graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and has an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. The novella Appointment in Prague is her second joint writing project with her father. Their first was “Bringing Home the First Amendment”, a review in the August 1984 Reason magazine of Nat Hentoff’s The Day They Came to Arrest the Book.  While a teen-ager, she and her father would often take runs together, creating plots for adventure stories as they ran.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

The Liebold Protocol

Title: THE LIEBOLD PROTOCOL: a Mattie McGary + Winston Churchill World War 2 Adventure
Author: Michael & Kathleen McMenamin
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
Pages: 389
Genre: Historical Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

Winston Churchill’s Scottish goddaughter, Mattie McGary, the adventure-seeking Hearst photojournalist, reluctantly returns to Nazi Germany in the summer of 1934 and once again finds herself in deadly peril in a gangster state where widespread kidnappings and ransoms are sanctioned by the new government.

Mattie turns down an early request by her boss Hearst to go to Germany to report on how Hitler will deal with the SA Brown Shirts of Ernst Rohm who want a true socialist ‘second revolution’ to follow Hitler’s stunning first revolution in 1933. Having been away from Germany for over a year, her reputation as “Hitler’s favorite foreign journalist” is fading and she wants to keep it that way.

Instead, at Churchill’s suggestion, she persuades Hearst to let her investigate one of the best-kept secrets of the Great War—that in 1915, facilitated by a sinister German-American working for Henry Ford, British and Imperial German officials essentially committed treason by agreeing Britain would sell raw rubber to Germany in exchange for it selling precision optical equipment to Britain. Why? To keep the war going and the profits flowing. After Mattie interviews Ford’s German-American go-between, however, agents of Scotland Yard’s Special Branch are sent by Churchill’s political opponents in the British government to rough her up and warn her she will be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act unless she backs off the story.

Left no choice, Mattie sets out for Germany to investigate the story from the German side and interview the German nobleman who negotiated the optics for rubber deal. There, Mattie lands right in the middle of what Hearst originally wanted her to investigate—Adolf Hitler believes one revolution is enough—and she learns that Hitler has ordered the SS to assassinate all the senior leadership of Ernst Rohm’s SA Brown Shirts as well as other political enemies on Saturday 30 June, an event soon known to History as ‘The Night of the Long Knives’.

Mattie must flee Germany to save her life. Not only does the German-American working for Henry Ford want her story on the optics for rubber treason killed, he wants her dead along with it. Worse, Mattie’s nemesis, the ‘Blond Beast’ of the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, is in charge of Hitler’s purge and he’s secretly put her name on his list…

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Book Excerpt:

Mattie McGary

21 Club

21 West 52nd Street

New York City

Wednesday, 13 June 1934

MATTIE McGARY tipped the taxi driver and stepped from the Yellow Cab and walked under the portico of the 21 Club, the former 1930’s speakeasy that had become, after the end of prohibition, one of the most popular watering holes in New York. It was known to its regulars, of which Mattie was one, as Jack and Charlie’s or simply 21. She was a few minutes early, but she didn’t want to keep her boss, William Randolph Hearst, waiting. The new Hearst headquarters building was just up the street at West 57th and Eighth Avenue and he also might be early.

Mattie was a tall, attractive and some—including her husband—would say stunning redhead whose figure turned heads in any room she entered. Now, she entered the Bar Room at 21 and stood there, scanning the room until she saw Hearst at his favorite table, #4, in the far left-hand corner of the room. Her hair was cut in a short tousled style that she had somewhat patterned after the American aviatrix Amelia Earhart. She wore a royal blue matching silk jacket and form-fitting skirt flattering a figure that, judging from the number of male heads that turned as she waved at Hearst and walked the length of the dark mahogany-lined room, drew men’s attention wherever she went. As she was the only woman in the Bar Room, she had no doubt most men were checking out her ass. She had wedding and engagement rings on her left hand, but she knew what her assets were.

There were various model aircraft hanging from the Bar Room’s low, dark ceiling. These included a British Imperial Airways Flying Boat, a Pan American Clipper, Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, a Ford Tri-Motor, a giant Handley-Page HP-42 bi-plane airliner, and, of personal interest to her, a Pitcairn-Cierva PCA-2 autogiro and the new German Zeppelin, the Graf Bismarck, formerly the British Vickers-built airship the R-100.

The autogiro was a model of the Celtic Princess, her husband Bourke Cockran’s aircraft. A few years ago she and her then-fiancé had flown it cross-country in an unsuccessful attempt to break America Earhart’s record set earlier that year. The zeppelin was the model of an airship commanded by her good friend Kurt von Sturm with whom, to her regret, she had a brief affair several years ago when she and Cockran had been briefly estranged and she thought, erroneously, that he had dropped her and taken up with a new blonde client.

Hearst stood up to greet Mattie when she arrived at his table. They exchanged brief kisses on the cheek and then a waiter arrived to pull out the table so she could sit beside him on the banquette. 21 had a specific protocol that if two people were dining together at a banquette table, then they had to sit next to each other facing out to the room.

Hearst was a tall, shambling man, well over 6 feet with a comma of gray hair boyishly falling over his forehead. He had clear, blue eyes and didn’t look his 71 years of age. For such a large man, however, he had a surprisingly high voice.

Thanks for joining me for lunch, Mattie, I appreciate it.”

Mattie had been surprised Hearst asked her to lunch at 21 when she called him yesterday to schedule an appointment to discuss her next assignment. Usually, on those occasions, they met at his castle-like estate on Long Island Sound when he was on the East coast. “Any time you want to treat me to lunch at Jack and Charlie’s, Chief, all you have to do is ask and I’ll be there with bells on. What’s the occasion?”

Hearst smiled. “I always take my Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalists to celebrate at 21.”

Well, Chief, this is the second year in a row I’ve had some stories nominated for a Pulitzer, but that’s not the same as being a winner.”

In fact, Mattie had four stories from 1933 nominated for a Pulitzer, all of which she believed deserved to be winners. One involved the Transfer Agreement between the Jewish Palestine Authority and the German government in which the Nazis agreed to allow Jews emigrating to Palestine to avoid the currency rules which forbade any German emigrant from taking assets with him. In exchange for allowing emigrating Jews to take with them to Palestine the equivalent of $5,000 US, the Jewish Palestine Authority agreed to buy exports of agricultural equipment from Germany in an equivalent amount. Further, the Jewish Authority agreed to actively oppose the Jewish-led worldwide boycott of German exports that was threatening to cripple the German economy and bring down the new Nazi government.

A companion story concerned the Concordat negotiated between the Vatican and the Nazis whereby the German government agreed to allow the Catholic Church to operate freely in Germany with no interference. In exchange, the Church agreed to forbid its clergy—priests, monks and nuns—from engaging in ‘political activity’ of any kind with the Nazis being the sole arbiter of what constituted ‘political activity’.

The third story consisted of exclusive interviews with the new German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, and the new U.S. President, Franklin Roosevelt, right before assassination attempts on both where Mattie had been sitting beside them during the attempts. A fourth story concerned the rise of the fascist movement in America, focusing on the Silver Legion of America and Friends of New Germany.

Hearst raised his hand and a waiter came over with a silver bucket of ice on a pedestal, inside of which was a bottle of champagne. He placed two champagne flutes on the table and held the bottle up for Hearst’s inspection. He nodded his approval and the waiter undid the foil, popped the cork and filled Mattie’s flute halfway to the top. She smiled when she noticed the champagne was Pol Roger, the favorite of her godfather Winston Churchill.

Once Hearst’s flute was filled, he stood up, tapped his spoon against the flute until the buzz of noise from the many luncheon conversations in that section of the room had died down. Then he raised his flute and said in a loud voice that carried to the front of the Bar Room. “I propose a toast to the Hearst organization’s newest Pulitzer Prize winner.”

Mattie blushed as applause and not a few wolf whistles greeted Hearst’s toast.

Really, Chief, I won?” Mattie asked as she reached over and hugged Hearst after he sat down. “Which story was it?” she asked, her voice full of excitement.

Actually, it was all four stories and two prizes. You received the prize for ‘Correspondence’ for your stories from Germany on the Transfer Agreement and the Concordat. I think it was your interview with Hermann Göring that did the trick. No other story had that. You got the ‘Reporting’ prize for your stories on the Hitler and FDR assassination attempts after your exclusive interviews with them as well as your story on American fascists. The panelists were impressed by your courage under fire with Hitler and FDR as well as your running the gauntlet of the Silver Shirts and the Friends of New Germany in front of Severance Hall in Cleveland.”

Hearst reached down into a briefcase beside him and pulled up a galley proof of The New York American dated for tomorrow and handed it to her. There, on the front page and above the fold was a bold headline: ‘Two Pulitzers For Hearst Papers’ Mattie McGary’. Right below it was a two-year-old photo of Mattie standing in front of Cockran’s autogiro that she had just flown across the country, almost breaking Amelia Earhart’s record. Shot from below, it was her favorite. She was wearing a leather flying outfit from head to toe—a shearling–lined sheepskin flying jacket, trousers and boots—a camera in one hand, her leather flight helmet and goggles in the other, her tousled red hair blowing in the wind and a big grin on her face.

That’s only the galley for The American,” Hearst said, “but the same story in the same place will run in all my papers tomorrow.”

Thanks, Chief,” Mattie said as she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “I really appreciate it.”

It’s a shame,” Hearst said, “that the Transfer Agreement and the Concordat undercut the anti-Nazi boycott of German exports that otherwise might have crippled the German economy and brought down the new Nazi government.”

True, it didn’t do that,” Mattie allowed, “but don’t overlook the silver lining of the boycott. It accomplished two big things. It’s all there in my interview with Göring. First, Hitler issued a directive to the SA and its brown-shirted Storm Troopers to cease any actions like boycotts against the mostly Jewish-owned department stores and their suppliers. He even authorized a loan to a Jewish Department store that was close to bankruptcy. Sure, Hitler only did it to keep thousands of Aryans off the unemployment rolls if any department stores had to close their doors because of brown-shirt bullying, but he still did it and those stores remained open and prospering.”

Mattie paused and took a sip of champagne. “The second thing Hitler and Göring did in response to the boycott last year was even bigger. They forbade all violence against the Jews that the SA had been committing without authorization of the government. The penalty for doing so was, at a minimum, confinement to a concentration camp or, at the other end, death.”

Really, death?” Hearst asked. “I don’t recall you mentioning that in your article.”

I didn’t go into any detail,” Mattie replied, “and only mentioned it in passing. You remember Bobby Sullivan?”

Sure, I first met him at San Simeon in 1929 right before the reception of the Graf Zeppelin when it arrived in Los Angeles on the round-the-world voyage I sponsored. He was in your wedding party last year in Scotland. Wasn’t he ex-IRA or something?”

More like the Irish Republican Brotherhood led by Michael Collins. He was a member of ‘The Apostles’, Collins’ hit squad in the Anglo-Irish War in 1920 to 1921. Anyway, Bobby’s sister was married to a Jewish physician in Berlin who the SA castrated and killed last year. Göring practically gave Bobby a license to kill in taking revenge on all those responsible. He showed me photographs of Bobby’s six victims, all of them naked below the waist and missing their manly parts. Each man had a sign pinned to his chest that said ‘This is what happens to all who disobey the Fuhrer and kill Jews without his consent.’ We obviously couldn’t use them in your papers, but Göring actually had them published on the front page of Der Angriff.”

Congratulations, Miss McGary,” the waiter said as he returned to their table to take their lunch orders. Mattie thanked him and then ordered a dozen oysters and chicken hash while Hearst went for the Dover Sole and, to her surprise, another bottle of Pol Roger. Her boss rarely drank alcohol and, in fact, prohibited alcohol in the guest rooms at San Simeon, his elaborate Spanish mission-style estate in Central California.

I must say Göring was right,” Mattie continued after the waiter had left, “when he said the SA loved their, uh, genitals more than they hated Jews because violence against Jews over the course of the next year practically disappeared, especially in large cities where most German Jews live. I think the boycott deserves the credit for forcing Hitler’s hand to issue those decrees.”

Okay, Mattie, what’s next? What are you going to give me to enter in next year’s Pulitzers? I’d really like to see you follow up on that SA leader Ernst Rohm and the story our Berlin correspondent filed in March about a speech he gave in early February. He said that the SA was the true army of National Socialism and that the Reichswehr should be limited to being a training organization for the SA. I’d like to know what your friend Göring thinks about that, not to mention the German General Staff.”

Mattie frowned. It had been well over a year since last she had been in Germany. As a consequence, her reputation in Germany as ‘Hitler’s favorite foreign journalist’ was beginning to fade. The last thing she wanted to do was revive that by doing a story on the SA and the German Army, notwithstanding that she had many high-level contacts in Nazi Germany including Göring and the Nazi foreign press chief Ernst ‘Putzi’ Hanfstaengl as well as Hitler himself.

Göring is not my friend, Chief. He is a source and that only because my friend Kurt von Sturm is his principle adviser on airships. Speaking of airships, Bourke and I are flying to Europe this Saturday on the Graf Bismarck. We’re going to spend the summer at our new house in Ireland. Bourke is going to finish his book on political assassinations and I’m going to use it as a base of operations for what I hope you’ll approve as my next story. Patrick and his grandmother Mary Morrissey sail tomorrow for Ireland. He’s going to spend a month in Galway with her getting to know his first and second cousins before he comes up to join us in Donegal.”

That sounds like a wonderful summer. What did you have in mind for your next story, my dear?”

Fascist movements in Europe other than Germany and Italy. A companion piece, if you will, to my story on fascism in America. Democracy is in trouble, Chief. I’ve done the preliminary research and there are fascist movements all over Europe. If the world’s economy stays bad, many of them could come to power just like Hitler and Mussolini.”
Her oysters arrived and Mattie ate one, took a sip of champagne and continued.

She held up her hand, and ticked them off on her fingers. “There are strong fascist parties in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Poland.”

Well,” Hearst began, “I suppose it would be a good follow-up to the American fascist story, but I really was hoping to have an in-depth piece on the growing tension between Rohm’s SA and the German General Staff who I imagine don’t take kindly to becoming just a training cadre for Nazi Storm Troopers. Our new Berlin correspondent, Prescott Talbot, is good, but he’s not as good as his predecessor Isaac Rosenbaum or, for that matter, you.”

Mattie began to reply, but she was interrupted by their entrées being served. After the waiter had left and she had sampled her chicken hash, she looked over at Hearst. “Yes, it’s a shame you had to reassign Zack, but you had no choice after those SA thugs fractured his skull and cut off his ear for a souvenir. London is a far safer place for a Jewish journalist. Look, I really don’t want to get involved in any story about Ernst Rohm.”

Why is that?” Hearst asked.

Because when I was working on the Transfer Agreement, Kurt von Sturm and I were kidnapped at the Reichsbank one night by SA Storm Troopers and brought to Rohm’s hotel suite where, in plain view, he was buggering one of his adjutants, a young, very naked blond Storm Trooper.”

Hearst’s eyes went wide. “Oh, my God!” Hearst exclaimed. “I had no idea.”

Wait. It gets worse. It’s common knowledge that Rohm is homosexual, so I wasn’t surprised, but doing it right in front of us was a tad off-putting. What’s worse is that he threatened to do the same to me if Kurt and I didn’t tell him why we had been at the Reichsbank that evening.”

That’s…I’m at a loss…What a horrible person.” Hearst said.

Yep,” Mattie said and slurped another oyster. “Fortunately, Sturm bluffed our way out of Rohm’s clutches. He said that I was an undercover Gestapo agent who used my position as a journalist with the Hearst papers as a cover for my work for the Reich and that we had been on a top-secret mission inside the Reichsbank at the behest of Reichsminister Göring with the blessing of the Fuhrer.”

Well, given that, I understand your reluctance to go anywhere near that man again, but can’t you do the story without interviewing him?” Hearst said.

Here’s what I can do. “Mattie concluded, “Göring and Rohm are bitter enemies. I’ve known Göring since 1923 when he commandeered my motorcar as a machine gun platform in the Munich putsch. If I have Sturm convey my request to Göring to have him give an exclusive interview to Prescott Talbot on the subject of Ernst Rohm, I’m sure he’ll agree. I’ll have Kurt brief Talbot off the record on what he knows. Göring has wiretaps on all the top SA people, not just Rohm. Transcripts of the calls are made daily. They’re called the ‘Brown Pages’ because of the color of the paper on which they’re typed. Sturm is on the approved list so he may well know a lot about what Rohm and other SA thugs are up to.”

Hearst sighed. “Well, it’s not the same as you doing the interview, but it’s better than what Talbot could do on his own. I’m not enthusiastic about your European fascist story, but let me think about it some more and I’ll get back to you. Why do I have the idea you always get the better of me when we disagree on your next story?”

Mattie grinned. “A faulty memory on your part, Chief. Sooner or later, you always get your way.”

BUZZ: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BOOK MARKETING

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a 30 minute book marketing consultation to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Congratulations, indie author!

You’ve finished your book—now all that’s left is to get it out into the world. Unfortunately, for many authors, it’s that step of the process that’s the hardest. Marketing is seen as something to be feared, dreaded, and outsourced as much as possible—a daunting task that will leave you drained.

But fear not! The team at Wise Ink knows a thing or two about how to sell your book. And they’re here to tell you everything.

Buzz is the indie author’s ultimate guide to marketing effectively, inexpensively, and excitingly. Within its pages, you’ll find answers to the questions on every writer’s mind:

• What does it really mean to “market” my book?

• How do I best reach my specific audience?

• What are effective ways to promote my book via social media?

• Do I really need to be a public speaker?

In addition to this, the Wise Ink marketing team has provided sample content calendars, email promotions, a marketing starter kit, and more to ensure you’re prepared to get out there and sell your book.

Marketing doesn’t have to be a horror story! Let Buzz teach you how to take your book to its maximum potential.

Read an Excerpt:

How do I best reach my specific audience?

You will hear us say this over and over again, as it is one of the Ten Commandments of book publishing: Know thine audience!

Think carefully about your “ideal” reader. What do they do in their spare time? Where do they normally purchase things? Where do they go for information? And most importantly, what are some unique and organic ways to get your book and message in front of them?

Hopefully, by the time you begin marketing your book, you will have already thought through these things carefully. Still, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory. Also, be concrete in how you determine your market demographics. Go deeper than the standard questions around gender, age, education, and geographic location. Those are just places to start.

When describing your ideal reader, be specific with the details that matter, such as how much time they have to read, how they might use your book day-to-day, and how they generally make recommendations to others. Another thing to do is segment your readers into three specialized subgroups—communities that align with each reader’s professional identities and personal aspirations. This helps you dig even deeper into the psychology of how to sell your book smartly and where it makes the most sense to spend your time. As an example: To market your business book, you might segment your readers into millennials and recent grads, aspiring entrepreneurs, and motivational speakers. If you’ve just published a sci-fi thriller, your subgroups might include fans of the popular sci-fi series Black Mirror, sci-fi writers who frequent fan-fiction sites, and people who attend conventions like WorldCon.

How does your ideal reader obtain information? Blogs? Magazines? Newspapers? Ads? What social media sites do they frequent? Be as specific as you can here. These are the places you will want to target in terms of marketing.

Where does your ideal reader shop? Think beyond bookstores. Are they frequent travelers? (Maybe they shop in airports a lot.) Do they have stores they tend to gravitate toward? Make a list of these places, and find connections there to share your book with.

About the Authors: Roseanne Cheng is a former high school English teacher and author of two young adult books, The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High and Edge the Bare Garden, which won the gold medal for young adult fiction at the Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. She now works as Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing where she holds the secondary title of “Author Therapist” and has the pleasure of helping authors create plans to get their work into the world. When she’s not reading a book or practicing yoga, you can probably find her hanging out with her hilarious husband of ten years and their two ridiculously awesome kids. Follow her on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/teachablelit.

Dara Beevas believes that books can save lives, open doors, and build bridges. As co-founder of Wise Ink, she encourages authors to share powerful stories that ignite change, tolerance, and growth. She has been involved in the publishing community for fifteen years, acquiring manuscripts, managing projects, and creating marketing and sales strategies for authors and publishers. She’s helped more than four hundred authors publish their books. She is the author of The Indie Author Revolution and co-author of Social Media Secrets for Authors. When she’s not busy pushing the envelope in this crazy world of publishing and networking with inspiring entrepreneurs, she’s traveling and enjoying her husband Tomme’s delicious Jamaican meals with her daughter Genesis. Follow her on http://www.twitter.com/darairene or http://www.instagram.com/darairene.

Website: http://www.wiseink.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WiseInkPub
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Wiseink
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/wise_ink
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/wiseink/pins/

Buy Link: https://wiseink.com/store/buzz-the-ultimate-guide-to-book-marketing

The authors will be awarding a 30 minute book marketing consultation to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Blast – D’Zia’s Dilemma

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Princess Bride.

The second book in the trilogy, D’zia’s Dilemma features a disembodied galactic gangster, a snarky spybot, and a sentient, lovesick spaceship. If you like non-stop action, powerful emotions, and sensual aliens, you’ll love the next installment of An Alien Exchange.

A woman betrayed. An alien duke faced with an impossible decision. Can two lovers who long to be together overcome those determined to keep them apart?

Lora Dharma Callahan excitedly agrees to leave Earth to attend “The Exchange” and meet the alien mate of her dreams. Instead of finding true love, she’s forcibly kidnapped and held captive by an alien lunatic who plans to take over the galaxy. He’s going to use her to create a serum that will ultimately enslave every human female on Earth. But no emperor wannabe is going to keep this girl down. Lora will find a way to save not only herself, but her planet as well.

Duke D’zia Yaq E’etu, cousin to the crown prince of Zerin, suspects a malicious plot to overthrow the galactic government. When the opportunity arises to insinuate himself in the suspected traitor’s stronghold, he doesn’t hesitate to use his infiltration skills. While there, he encounters Lora, whom he soon recognizes as his TrueBond. The only problem…she’s imprisoned and scheduled for experiments that will destroy her.

Now D’zia has a hard choice to make. Should he stay and get the proof he needs to prevent a narcissistic megalomaniac from taking over the galactic government…or escape with the only female he can claim as his own?

Read an Excerpt

An eternity passed before Lora’s brain cells decided to come back online. Which wasn’t easy since D’zia had pulled her hips into his hard groin. Holy shamoka, was all of that for her? Wait, what did he say? Something about a JR10?

“D’zia.” She pulled her mouth away from his while her inner nasty girl screamed to keep going. “Don’t, I can’t think when you kiss me.” Her heartbeat was going crazy and it was hard to breathe.

Okay, take in a few deep gulps of air…yeah, now she was calm. Right. She put her hands on the sides of his face to place him farther back from her so she could gaze into his eyes. Feminine pride warmed her as she took in the dazed, unfocused stare he gave back. Lordy, those dual-colored orbs were beyond beautiful, especially dilated in passion. His wet, full lips were tempting, and she’d love to spend eternity bathing in the weight of his intense focus.

His three-fingered hands burrowed under her loose tunic to wrap around her naked waist, his palms massaged her eager skin in heavy strokes.

She jumped when warm oils under his hands caused a path of lightning to cover her skin wherever he caressed. A fleeting scent of spiced licorice teased her nose. She drew in a shuddering breath as she cleared her throat. “D’zia, please, let’s stop and think about this.”

About the Author:

“Author of otherworldly romantic adventures”

Keri Kruspe has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Her current works, An Alien Exchange trilogy had its first release Winter 2018. The trilogy continues with D’zia’s Dilemma and concludes with Ki’s Redemption — to be released by the first quarter of 2019.

A native Nevadan, Keri resides with her family in the wilds of Northwest Michigan where she enjoys the stark change in seasons and the pleasures each one brings. An avid reader, Keri loves an enjoyable bottle of red wine, a variety of delicious foods and watching action/adventure movies…usually at the same time. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world on her latest novel while foot tappin’ to classic rock. When not absorbed in her writing, Keri works alongside her husband in building their dream home or discovering intelligent life in America in their RV.

Website: https://www.kerikruspe.com
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/klkruspe15
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorkkruspe
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kerikruspe/
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MTGNR7D/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter

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Book Blast – IMMORTAL GIRL5

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Griffin Stark will be awarding a copy of the book (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The year is 1095, Normandy, France. Five year old Skylar runs away into the woods to escape nuns who are convinced her inexplicable seizures are the work of satan. She survives after being adopted by wolves, when two mysterious strangers appear and reveal Skylar’s destiny to her. Skylar is the first of the Immortal Girls, destined to save humanity from itself.

Immortal Girl5 (January 22, 2019) follows Skylar, Rachel, Caitlin, Beth, and Bethany, five immortal sisters who, over the course of a thousand years, attempt to learn the purpose of their own existence while hunting down the worst criminals this world has ever seen. They’ve faced the likes of Jack the Ripper and the Nazis, but as a new enemy arises to threaten the sisters’ survival they’ll soon learn that immortality doesn’t mean forever.

Read an Excerpt

She had never heard those words spoken to her—in a romantic way—in her entire existence. Her heart began to race, and Skylar felt something inside of her that was a combination of warmth, beauty, excitement and fear swirling within her soul, almost daring it to take a leap of faith. That was the second most important moment in Skylar’s existence, the first being the day that Isabelle and Alistair saved her life.

About the Author:

GRIFFIN STARK is an American author who proudly lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Even as a young child, Griffin had an active imagination. As an author of young adult fiction, he has harnessed his creativity to tell memorable stories filled with important life lessons.

Griffin served as a combat medic in The United States Air Force and later founded THE SHEEPDOG MOVEMENT to join in the fight against bullying of teens worldwide.

Visit http://immortalgirl5.com/ to learn more about Griffin and his YA fantasy novel, Immortal Girl5.

Watch the Immortal Girl5 book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C184CfqO380

And purchase a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Girl5-Griffin-Stark-ebook/dp/B07JZ52226/ref=sr_1_1

Griffin Stark will be awarding a copy of the book (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter

About the Author

A.L. Bryant was born and raised in St. Petersburg FL. She became interested in writing at an early age; an interest that depending on the circumstance brought punishment (detention for passing out the latest installment of her novella during class) and praise (being chosen for a youth writers conference at the Poynter Institute.) A.L. Bryant gets her inspiration from both her mother and her Great Grandmother. Her mother recently published an inspirational children’s book under a pseudonym and her great grandmother is South Carolina’s first published African-American female author and playwright.

Until recently writing had simply been a pastime for A.L. Bryant who although she attended several writing courses, graduated with a B.A. in International Business. It was shortly after her second job as a Financial Office Manager at a Goodwill correctional facility that she realized she loved writing more than anything else. It would still be some years before she would convert the short story she wrote in college into a novel.

Besides writing, A.L. Bryant loves traveling the world. God has blessed her with the opportunity to visit a total of seven countries. She has studied abroad in Seoul and has traveled throughout Kenya; two locations she researched for her Blessed series. Her dream is to visit every country in the world.

Her latest book is the supernatural Christian thriller horror novel, Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter.

SOCIAL LINKS:

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

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100029069148653

About the Book:

Title: BLESSED: THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER
Author: A.L. Bryant
Publisher: HSW Publications LLC
Pages: 279
Genre: Supernatural Christian Thriller/Horror

BOOK BLURB:

On New Year’s Eve 2021 the staff at St. Ann’s Hospital witness a medical miracle when a semi-conscious woman walks into the emergency room. The Jane Doe has been stabbed multiple times and as the staff struggle to keep the woman alive in the end all they can do is stand back and watch as their mysterious patient revives herself.

Glory wakes up in St. Ann’s Hospital gravely injured from an attack she cannot remember. However, her memory loss is no ordinary amnesia and she is no ordinary patient. Much to the shock of the hospital staff Glory heals at three times the rate of an average person. Soon the administration hears of her unique case and waste no time convincing the recovering Glory to be a part of an experiment to discover the origins of her power.

Once outside the comforting walls of the hospital it becomes apparent that healing is just a small portion of Glory’s capabilities. Abilities that to Glory’s distress are becoming increasingly unstable. Deciding that the hospital’s experiments are in vain, Glory embarks on her own Journey to discover the source of her power, unaware that she is a major pawn in a war between two secret organizations.

The two syndicates continue to clash in their fight for control and their battles result in several casualties. The crimes of their warfare surface and draw the attention of Dennis Wilson, a NYPD Detective known for solving his cases in the first forty-eight hours. Dennis follows the trail of bodies out of curiosity. But when his curiosity causes the deaths of his loved ones Detective Dennis becomes obsessed with the case.

In his overzealous attempts to find the murderer Dennis becomes the syndicates’ next target. Now the Detective must run for his life and the only person capable of saving him is the very person he suspects.

Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter is a hybrid of government espionage and supernatural Thriller. This novel is intended for audiences 18+ that seek an edgier outlook on Christian fiction. Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter is the first installment of the Blessed trilogy.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Book Excerpt

With a slight hesitation, Glory examined the entrance. Using the corner of her jacket she tested the knob, not overly surprised when the door opened easily. Behind her, she could still hear the muffled sounds of the girl’s sobs. Glory stepped one foot through the door and paused. She turned sideways and looked back out into the yard. With one foot inside the house and one still on the porch, she stared at the girl, whose eyes were as wide as her own. The side of her body that remained outside of the house felt light; she could feel the breeze whip her clothing. She raised her hand and, as expected, it lifted easily. Glory looked down at her other arm, the one in the corridor of the house. Sweat drizzled down her brow as she struggled to lift it.

Making sure to keep her voice light, Glory nodded in the direction of the gate. “Go home, I’ll get Mitch and he’ll call you afterwards.” She waited until the girl nodded reluctantly and disappeared.

Feeling a strong urge to leave, Glory turned as quickly as she could and closed the door behind her. Instant darkness. She pulled out the cell phone Dr. Stephens had helped her purchase shortly after she left the hospital, and turned its flashlight on. She had not paid the bill in a long time, so she had no service, but Glory still kept it charged. The corridor was short, maybe two or three large steps long. A staircase, which dominated the space in the narrow corridor, stood against the left wall. Glory shined the light up the steps trying to determine where they led, but the light’s range was too short.

Examining the staircase carefully to make sure it could hold her weight, Glory began ascending. The house had its own gravity; every step felt like moving through quicksand. By the time she made it to the top, she was winded. She leaned against the wall, shining her light around the area while she rested. She stood in another corridor, much larger than the first one. A solid wall lined one side; several doors, some of them mere centimeters apart, lined the other. She pushed herself away from the wall and walked to the first door, covered her hand with her jacket, turned the knob, and pushed the door. It gave way only slightly before it refused to open any farther. She tried pulling the door, but it could only be opened inward. She pushed one more time, shining a light through the narrow opening to see if she could locate the blockage—silently hoping it wasn’t the boy—but nothing met the light. Frustrated, she moved on to the next door, only to encounter the same problem.

By the sixth one, Glory started to wonder if any of them were meant to open. With each door, she put more strength and effort into her shoulders and arms, desperately trying to force her way through. By the twelfth, she was exhausted. She took a deep breath and shoved her shoulder against it. The door swung open, Glory stumbled two feet, and fell through the hole behind it. She fell through one story of the house into an open room and into the much bigger hole in that room’s floor. She fell through another story and into another room with another hole. She hit hard rock and slid until she landed on her back. Her head hit the floor and her eyes instantly clouded from the impact.

Glory’s breath and sight came back simultaneously. Slowly, she sat up with a grunt as she brought her right hand to her ribs. Not only had her pack survived the fall, but she had managed to hold on to her phone. Standing up, still favoring her left side, Glory began dusting herself off. Her hands shook and she took a deep breath to dispel the effects of the adrenaline still rushing through her body. Turning on the light so she could look around, Glory shifted her feet. Taking a small step forward, she tripped on something, but managed sustain her balance with a small hop to dislodge whatever had caught her foot.

Glory turned the light downward to look at the ground and saw a piece of cloth clinging to her boot. Ruffles—the cloth was filthy, covered in dust and grime, but the ruffles still maintained their shape. Forgetting herself, Glory reached out and ran her fingertips over the cloth, smoothing the dirt away so she could see the color. Her fingertips grew warm and her eyes widened as she realized what she had done. Too late, she snatched her hand away.

“This is so exciting!” A young woman in a blue ball gown tightened her grip on her friend’s arm, her gloved fingers long and delicate. Looking a little less interested, her friend, a tall, thin brunette, pried the girl’s hands from her arm, but her friend only returned them with slightly less bruising force.

“Yes, well, if my father knew I was here, it would be the end of me.”

“That’s what these are for, silly.” The young woman flipped her blonde hair behind her shoulders and tapped her masquerade mask with her folded fan.

“I shouldn’t have let you talk me into this. I have a bad feeling.”

“You are thinking far too much. Now tell me how beautiful I look and then let’s go get some refreshments.”

The brunette stood back and pretended to consider her friend. “You look positively stunning as always, Annabelle. Your dress is lovely; I could never pull off so many ruffles.”

Annabelle waved the last statement away. “Nonsense, Sarah, I’m sure you would look just as lovely in ruffles. I don’t know why you insist on wearing such drab garments.” She looked her friend up and down, a frown on her face as she examined the dark green dress that covered Sarah, from its unfashionably high neckline down to the slightly pointed toes of her boots.

Sarah grimaced. “My father does not agree with today’s fashions. He thinks exposing shoulders, wrists, and cleavage is unseemly.” Trying to distract her friend from her dress, she made a show of looking around. “This is an extremely odd house, isn’t it? Why would he build a staircase directly at the entrance?”

“For that matter, why build a staircase that only goes to the top floor when there are four flights in between?”

“We’ve been here less than an hour and I’m already confused. So many corridors and staircases.”

“And how many rooms are there, anyway? There are doors everywhere you look.” The girls spoke frantically now, their intertwined arms squeezing together as they became more excited.

Annabelle turned to her friend. “Let’s explore the house more.”

Sarah looked over her shoulder. “I don’t know. We haven’t even greeted the host yet. It would be bad manners.”

Annabelle shrugged. “It was bad manners for him not to show himself so he could be greeted.”

Keeping an eye on the group they had been standing with, Annabelle pulled Sarah toward the door, only to stop mid-stride as their path was cut off by a large figure in an expensive dinner jacket and a full porcelain mask.

“Good evening, ladies.”

Annabelle released Sarah’s arm and took a step closer, resting her hand coquettishly on her bosom. “Good evening.” She let the greeting hang in the air. When the man merely nodded, Annabelle tried again.

“I do not recognize you, and since I know everyone in this town except the owner of this fine home, you must be…”

“The owner? That is correct.”

Barely masking her annoyance, Annabelle turned to her companion. “This is…”

The man held up his hand, effectively cutting off the introduction.

“If I wished to know the identity of my guests, then I would not have made this a masquerade ball.”

Flustered by her mistake, Annabelle released a breathy chuckle. “My apologies, I don’t know what I was thinking. We must keep the mystery up.”

The man turned his head to the side as he considered the two ladies. “Do you like mysteries?”

Eager to impress, Annabelle stepped forward. “Yes, I do!”

The man turned to look at Sarah, who hovered in the background, not at all certain she wanted to join in the conversation.

“And what about horrors?”

Taken aback, Annabelle frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

“Do you like to be frightened?”

Not sure where this was leading, Annabelle glanced at her friend. “I suppose being frightened every once in a while can be thrilling.”

The man nodded slowly as if contemplating her answer. “Do you believe in the supernatural?”

Annabelle laughed. “Do you mean ghosts and goblins? I think it’s nonsense.” She waved a delicate hand. “Stories to scare children.”

“And what of demons?”

Annabelle paused, the smile wiped from her face. “The church tells us that they exist, so I believe in them.”

The man leaned back on his heels and shoved his hands into his pockets. “So do I. I have always been curious, and judging by the turnout of this gathering, I’m not the only curious one.”

While he surveyed his guests, Sarah inched forward and grabbed her friend’s arm.

“Come, Annabelle.” Annabelle ignored her, staring at the man as if mesmerized. Sarah pulled sharply on her arm. “You said you wanted to explore the house.” This time Annabelle looked at her and nodded, allowing Sarah to lead her around the man and toward the door.

“Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be possessed?” Both girls turned to look back at the man as he spoke. “All the power of the demons and none of the rigid rules of the angels.”

Sarah trembled. “At the expense of our souls and sanity? No, thank you. You can keep your so-called demonic power.” She pulled Annabelle forward and escorted her through the door. Before she could close it behind them, she looked up to see the man looking directly into her eyes for the first time.

“There is only one way to leave this house, and it isn’t the way by which you entered. I doubt you could find the exit even if you stayed here a hundred years.” He turned and headed toward his other guests. “I wish you the best of luck.”

Sarah closed the door. “What an unpleasant man.”

Annabelle shrugged, walking along the corridor, sliding her hand along the wall. “I think he’s fascinating.”

“I think we should leave, Annabelle.”

Annabelle swung around. “I’m not leaving until I’ve explored this house.” When Sarah didn’t make a move to follow, Annabelle turned her mouth down, opened her eyes wide, and lifted her pupils, creating the perfect pout. “Just this one corridor and then I promise we will leave post haste.”

Sarah studied her friend and then nodded. “Just this one corridor and then we’re leaving.”

Annabelle smiled and skipped toward her friend, linking their arms once more.

Trying to take her mind off the eerie darkness of the corridor, Sarah changed the subject. “I wonder what he meant when he said that judging from the turnout, there were a lot of people curious about demons.”

“Oh!” Annabelle swatted the question away. “He was just referring to his invitations.”

Sarah looked over her shoulder. Had she heard something? “What about his invitations?”

“In his invitation, he appealed to those of us who were interested in a thrilling evening. Something about satisfying curiosity about demons in—and these are his words—the demons’ playground.”

“What?” Sarah stopped walking. She stared in Annabelle’s direction, but could barely see her in the dim lighting.

Misinterpreting, Annabelle shrugged. “I know… Who would name their house that?”

Sarah grabbed Annabelle’s shoulders. “Who cares about the name—why did you come? Why are we here?”

Annabelle tried to pry Sarah’s bruising grip from her shoulders. “Calm yourself, Sarah. It’s like taking a ghost tour, there is no need to be—”

Sarah covered Annabelle’s mouth with her hand. “What is that?” The question was rhetorical; the noise was piercing and distinct.

“W-why is everyone screaming?” Annabelle, who had taken Sarah’s hand from her mouth, stared back toward the ballroom. Sarah grabbed her friend and made a move back toward the sound—but more importantly toward the path she hoped would lead to the exit. The girls had only gotten a few feet when the corridor erupted in chaos.

Terrified men and women spilled from the room, tripping over each other in their panic and trampling the people in their way. They didn’t run back the way they came. Instead, they ran toward the two girls, their bodies pressing forward trying to propel themselves farther away from the ballroom. Everything happened so fast that it took Sarah a couple of seconds to react. In that short period of time, the mass of people was almost upon them. Sarah swung around and pushed the startled Annabelle farther into the corridor.

“Get into one of the rooms!” Annabelle grabbed the closest doorknob. She leaned her weight against it. Sarah came to help.

“It won’t open!” Annabelle cried.

“It’s locked?”

“Not locked—just won’t open!”

“Try the next one. Hurry!” Giving up on that door, Sarah followed Annabelle to the next one. She looked over her shoulder to find the crowd less than ten feet from them. Directly behind her friend, she cried out in relief as Annabelle opened the door. But her world came crashing down as she watched her friend disappear in that same second.

Glory sat up sharply. A full minute passed before she stopped gasping and coughing. She had made some progress in controlling the duration of her illusions. Standing, she dusted herself off and picked up her cellphone. From what she could tell, she was underground in a place that resembled a dungeon carved from the rock that the mansion had been built on. It was large and dark. There was no place for light to shine through, so even during the daytime, the room would still be pitch black.

Spotlight – The Kinfolk

The Kinfolk banner

About the Author

Josh Hickman

Equally fascinated with horror movies, comedians, and true crime since early childhood, Josh Hickman spent equal time wading in the heady waters of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, the Three Stooges comedy shorts, and Helter Skelter while growing up in various parts of Texas. When he became a writer, Hickman incorporated his comedic sensibility and lifelong love of the horror and true crime genres into his satiric writings. His past comic novels also include the fictional comedy bio THROUGH TICK & TINN: THE TRUE STORY OF THE GREATEST UNKNOWN COMEDY TEAM EVER KNOWN and the illustrated surreal, cautionary high-seas treasure-hunt saga AMBERGRIS. Hickman lives and works in Hollywood.

His latest book is the satirical fantasy, The Kinfolk: Cult of Sex and Cheese.

Visit his website at http://www.joshhickmanbooks.com.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


About the Book:

Title: THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE
Author: Josh Hickman
Publisher: Polyester Press
Pages: 299
Genre: Satirical Fantasy

The Kinfolk

BOOK BLURB:

Hollywood Author Josh Hickman will release his latest brand of satirical, humorous books in mid-November. In the author’s new book, THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE he explores the maddening world of cults. Mr. Hickman’s new novel follows his last satirical fantasy book, FIVE SLICES OF FEAR, that has received much critical praise from book reviewers.

Hollywood writer Mr. Hickman releases his new book as the fourth in a fantasy book series he has created and published. In THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE he chronicles the rise and fall of a “seductive, fanatical cult” led by the enigmatic Dillman “Papa Dilly” Bradford.

With THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE once again fact meets fiction in the funny fantasy worlds author Josh Hickman creates. This time his fascination with cults has produced a fresh, yet familiar cast of charlatans, rubes, losers, and lucky fools, finding laughs in the cult impulse, religious fervor, and the common pathos of the average person who will do anything to find solace and belonging. Once more, author Hickman focuses his gaze on tragic comedy that is human existence–with all its fears, pitfalls, trials, and triumphs–and again he speaks hilarious truth to power in his latest entry THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE.

“For as long as I’ve read books I’ve always been a huge fan of comedic novels,” Hickman asserted. “It was time I decided to start expressing my own comedic side of creative writing.”

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Book Excerpt:

To get close to something a million times is the same as being a mile away from it!” Papa Dilly reminded a hastily-gathered group of upper-level Kinfolk in a scornful shout, wagging his finger judgmentally. “What you see to believe in is what you need… If you need a doorstop, I’ll be your doorstop. As you need me as your aquarium, I’ll be your aquarium, for those of you that don’t have an aquarium… If you need me as your Pat Boone, I’ll be your Pat Boone. Need a pimp? Say ‘Hello’ to Silky Bradford, welcome to my stable! I am just a holy mirror. Turn your nose up at me, you’ll see a beggar. Worship me, you’ll see a higher being. Look me straight in the eye, you’ll see yourself. If you need me as your merciless vengeful God, I’ll be your merciless vengeful God!”

The windows rattled in the long, sweaty pauses as the winds outside grew with the rhetoric. I’m not God,” Papa Dilly clarified paradoxically. “God is me!

_____________________

GIVEAWAY!

Josh Hickman is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.

  • This giveaway ends midnight January 31.

  • Winner will be contacted via email on February 1.

  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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