Blog Archives

VBT – Inside the Chinese Wine Industry

 

Book Trailer

About the Book

Title: Inside the Chinese Wine Industry

Author: Loren Mayshark

Genre: Nonfiction

The wine business is one of the world’s most fascinating industries and China is considered the rising star. A hidden secret, the Chinese wine industry continues to grow at an amazing pace and is projected to soon enter the top five producing nations, supplanting long established countries such as Australia. Inside the Chinese Wine Industry: The Past, Present, and Future of Wine in China takes you through the growing Chinese wine scene.

Wine has had a meteoric rise in China over the past two decades. The nation is projected to become the second most valuable market for wine in the world by 2020. One recent study concluded that 96% of young Chinese adults consider wine their alcoholic drink of choice. Not only does Inside the Chinese Wine Industry explore current expansion and business models, it journeys back to the past to see where it all began.

There are more than seven hundred wineries in China today. Although it’s bit of an oversimplification, the vast majority of the wineries fit into one of two categories: the larger established producers who churn out mostly plonk to meet the growing demand for inexpensive wine and the newer wineries that try to cater to the tastes of the wealthy Chinese with money to spend on luxury goods like fine wine. In the words of wine guru Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, “The cheap wines from the very large producers have mostly verged on dismal.” However, this should not be considered a blanket statement regarding every wine from large producers. Also, she has positive reflections regarding the level of wine produced by “cutting-edge wineries” which she finds “far better.” How good are they? MacNeil asserts: “Some of these wines are so good they could easily pass for a California or Bordeaux wine in a blind tasting.”

Author Bio

Loren Mayshark studied Chinese art, religion, philosophy, and history while earning a B.A. in history from Manhattanville College in New York. After graduation, he attended The Gotham Writers Workshop and the prestigious New York Writers Workshop. He has written about the Chinese wine industry for The Jovial Journey and Sublime China.

After college, he supported his itinerant lifestyle by working dozens of jobs, including golf caddy, travel writer, construction worker, fireworks salesman, substitute teacher, and vineyard laborer. Predominantly his jobs have been in the restaurant industry. He cut his teeth as a server, maître d’, and bartender at San Francisco’s historic Fisherman’s Grotto #9, the original restaurant on the Fisherman’s Wharf. While working with a colorful crew of primarily Mexican and Chinese co-workers.

He spent much of his young adult life exploring the wine industry from Sonoma Valley to the North Fork of Long Island, immersing himself in vineyards and learning valuable lessons. He has traveled extensively in South America, Europe, and Asia. He presently splits his time between Western New York and Sweden.

His first book, Death: An Exploration, won the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award in the category of Death and Dying and was a finalist for book of the year in the 2016 Foreword INDIES Awards in the category of Grief/Grieving (Adult Nonfiction). Inside the Chinese Wine Industry is his third book.

For more information visit his website: lorenmayshark.com.

Keep up with him on Twitter: @LorenMayshark

 

Links

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

Facebook Book Page and Facebook Author Page

Author Website

Advertisements

VBT – Love for Two Lifetimes

lovetwolifetimesbanner

About the Book

Title: Love for Two Lifetimes

Author: Martina Boone

Genre: Coming of Age / Young Adult

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

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

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

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

And some loves are worth any sacrifice… 

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

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

jack6.000x9.000.indd

Author Bio

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

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

Website:  http://www.MartinaBoone.com

Blog: http://www.AdventuresInYAPublishing.com

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

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

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

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

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

Links

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

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

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

Or order from your favorite retailer:

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

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

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

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

Book Excerpt

IzzyThe End

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

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

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

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

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

VBT – Curse of the Sea

curseseabanner


About the Book

Title: Curse of the Sea

Author: Joni Parker

Genre: Urban Fantasy

A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior, Lady Alexin, is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.

Ebook cover

Author Bio

Fantasy novels are Joni Parker’s writing passion. Thus far, she’s written two series—“The Seaward Isle Saga,” a trilogy, and “The Chronicles of Eledon,” the award-winning four-book series. Her latest project, “Curse of the Sea” is her eighth book and begins a new trilogy. Her work extends beyond novels into short stories with two appearing in an anthology, “Tucson and Beyond” by the Tucson Science Fiction Fantasy writers’ group. Joni’s retired from military and federal government service and devotes her time to writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FLBT312

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ParkerJoni

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoniParker

Website/Blog: http://www.joni-parker.com

Giveaway

Win a print copy of “Curse of the Sea”!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OWVmMzUzNWJlY2NjOWExMTIxY2QwNzQ2NmEzMTdiOjU5NQ==/?

Book Excerpt

Chapter 2:

A short while later, Captain Jonas returned, accompanied by a middle-aged woman and a group of young sailors, male and female. The woman wore a mottled blue camouflage uniform and her blond hair was tucked under a dark blue cap with a brim and the name USS Lonestar emblazoned in gold.

Alex, this is Captain Williams. She’ll take over…this place.” He grimaced as he looked around. “Captain Williams, I’ll check in later.” He nodded to her and marched out.

Nice to meet you, Miss.” Captain Williams held out her hand.

Alex shook her hand and noticed the eagle pins on her collar. She was the same rank as Captain Jonas, equivalent to a Colonel, the rank of her foster father, Colonel Penser. “My name’s Alex. They allow women to be in charge of ships?”

The Captain’s smile grew. “Yep, sure do. Half my crew is female.” She winked. “The Captain disapproves.”

I get the same reaction. Are you an American?” Alex’s smile broadened.

Yes, ma’am, from Houston, Texas. Where’re you from?”

I was born here, but my foster father’s from Texas. He’s a colonel and in charge of the Nyla Army Garrison. I thought I recognized your accent.”

How long has he been here?”

A long time. He said he was in a place called ‘Nam before.”

You mean Vietnam?” The Captain rubbed her chin. “That was about sixty years ago.”

Oh, he hasn’t been here that long.”

The woman paused, uncertain how to react and pressed her lips together. She turned to monitor the cleaning crew. “When was the last time this hospital was used?”

We call it a healing house. I was here about three or four years ago. I guess no one’s needed it since.”

What kind of equipment do you have? An X-ray machine?” She took notice of the bare walls. “What about electrical outlets? Running water?”

Alex shook her head. “We don’t have outlets for anything, but you can get water from the pump outside. We don’t have any kind of X equipment.”

Uh, where exactly are we?”

Seaward Isle. It’s part of Eledon, the Elf world. We haven’t had a shipwreck here in years and we just fixed the Elf grid to keep this from happening.”

VBT – The McKenzie Files

mckenziebanner

About the Book

Title: The McKenzie Files

Author: Barry K. Nelson

Genre: Science-Fiction

12723909-mckenzie-files-book-cover

The United Protectorate is under attack by the Brelac, a bloodthirsty reptilian alien race bent on destroying humanity. A dark alliance between the Brelac and the Vendetta, a separatist organization, looms over the Protectorate. The Brelac’s onslaught brings forth the creation of the genetically engineered humanoid weapons called Reploids. Reploids are identical copies of real humans captured, killed, cloned, embedded with powerful psionic abilities, and programmed to serve the Brelac. They are untraceable and blend into human society so believably, the Reploids themselves do not know they are clones.

Colin McKenzie, part of a military team sent to a remote planet to investigate and capture a downed Brelac ship, turns on his commanding officer in an attempt to protect a shipwrecked band of Brelac soldiers. But he is captured and reprogrammed – along with two other arrested Reploids – to serve the government they were originally created to destroy.

The balance is upset when a weapon powerful enough to bring the Protectorate to its knees is about to be unleashed – and the Protectorate’s only hope of stopping it is the three Reploids.

Author Bio

11039213_10205290132229998_7124926170345869633_n
A Pennsylvania native, Barry K. Nelson has attended college and has worked at a variety of jobs, including retail and the corporate environment. Barry enjoys reading and gardening and is a fan of science fiction and horror movies, Marvel comic collecting, and the X-box gaming.

Barry has written several short stories, and his first book in the science fiction series, The McKenzie Files, followed by the sequels, Assassination Anxiety, Obliteration, and Maximum Deevor.

Barry is a member of Ning and Goodreads, can be found on Facebook, and can also be reached through Dreaming Big Publications..

Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barry.k.nelson
Publisher: http://www.dreamingbigpublications.com
Amazon (eBook): https://www.amazon.com/McKenzie-Files-Barry-Nelson-ebook/dp/B07FTJ4C9V/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1534348561&sr=1-4
Amazon (Paperback): https://www.amazon.com/McKenzie-Files-Book-One/dp/1947381040/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1534348561&sr=1-4

Book Excerpt

For a moment the Brelac standing before Fenlow remained silent. Fenlow’s skin twitched, apprehensive as to what would happen next. He had limited personal involvement with these creatures, but knew that they were as unpredictable as they were vicious. He eyed the rows of long teeth under the curled lips and suppressed a shudder.

The Brelac uttered a deep growl to slowly form a single name. “Fenlow. So, you’re the Great Doctor Fenlow. One of the first traitors in the brief history of this war. We finally meet.”

“I find the word traitor to be a little too malignant to suit my purpose,” Fenlow said quickly. “I’d like to think of myself as an entrepreneur.”

The Brelac growled again. Showing more of his sharp teeth. “Traitor, entrepreneur. It’s all the same to me. The point is that you’re here. The question is, why?”

“I’m here to speak to Bane Mariner. I have a proposition for him.”

“You are addressing Governor General Bane Mariner. Supreme Commander of the Brelac Empire. And I hope that your proposition is worth my time.”

“It is,” Fenlow assured him. “What I’m about to propose will greatly benefit both you and my company.”

“Carp Technologies,” Mariner leaned back on his heels, his tail stretching out to counterbalance his shifting weight. “I admire your company. Playing both sides of the war for their own benefit. All the while maintaining the facade of a benevolent corporation serving your little corner of the universe. I wonder, what your people would say if they knew that you and your company were working with us to create the Reploid menace?”

“I’m…I’m afraid that the Reploid program has been discontinued for the present time. More especially the advanced Reploids. En-route to Helios on the planet Meridan one of your shuttles carrying several Reploid units was shot down by Protectorate forces. Three Reploids were captured by the military. Carp considered this to be a threat to company security and decided to halt the project.”

Fenlow withheld the fact that he himself had recommended halting the project. Aided by Carp’s resources, Fenlow produced the Reploids in a laboratory within a company research vessel stationed at a secret location in space. Fenlow notified his Brelac contact on a secured channel when each shipment of Reploids would be due for delivery, and would then meet a Brelac transport shuttle at a designated rendezvous point.

Curious about the Brelac’s vision without the use of physical eyes, Fenlow had asked to examine their psionic implants. After months of extensive research he’d been able to create a more advanced version of the implants, and promised to deliver dozens of Reploids armed with the implants to help the Brelac achieve a swifter victory. Highly treasonous acts that would certainly earn Fenlow and others within Carp Technologies a swift death sentence.

“Those Reploids in the hands of your military could pose a problem,” Mariner stated, cracking his knuckles.

“They’re no threat. There are only three of them. The military will make limited use of their abilities, and I’ve already taken steps to diminish their effectiveness,” Fenlow paused. “Carp’s board of directors has decided to move forward with Operation Broad Axe. I have to do what I can to insure that the plan is successful. This means that I have to begin some of the more advanced projects that I’ve been working on.”

“And you need my help to pull all this off,” Mariner added. He went silent, his eyeless face studying Fenlow. “Let him go,” he growled.

Both guards raised their left hands to their heads in a familiar military salute and exited the hall with haste.

Fenlow thought that it was curious how the two Brelac saluted in such a fashion. As if they were mimicking human troopers. He suspected that he would learn a great deal about these creatures by working closely among them in the days ahead.

“Fix this man a seat next to mine,” Mariner blared out. “He’s my guest of honor.”
The attendants serving food and drink quickly provided a place at the table on Mariner’s right side, and Fenlow sat as instructed, his hands slightly shaking in his lap. Using a long, two-pronged fork an attendant quickly loaded his plate with three long sections of the pale snake-like meats and two of the centipedes, steam rising from their cooked flesh.
Fenlow stared at his plate. The appearance of the food before him was nauseating enough, but it’s oily smell combined with a sour milk odor left him near paralyzed.

Mariner silently faced him, and a thin stream of saliva dripped out of the right side of his mouth. Fenlow shuddered, slightly spooked in the close sight of Mariner’s scaled face and the long pointed teeth in the constant grin.

Fenlow nervously cleared his throat. “I suppose you’re not serving any salads.”

A faint, hoarse growl came from Mariner’s throat. “Nothing so elaborate here.”

“I see.

Fenlow looked to the left and right side of his plate and saw no silverware. He quietly groaned in frustration. It was evident that the Brelac were eating with their hands, and Fenlow desired to blend in with his hosts. He gingerly picked up a centipede. It was warm and soft to the touch. He held it up to his face and managed not to flinch away. At least he was able to distinguish which item smelled like sour milk.

A deep grunt came from Mariner. “You look like you were just kissed by Pandora. Don’t worry, Doctor. It won’t bite you back.”

Kissed by Pandora. A strange terminology to use. Perhaps an example of their alien culture?

But the name, Pandora, stuck in Fenlow’s mind. There was something familiar about it. He thought that this would be the perfect time to get a little more background on his allies. He laid his centipede back down on his plate but kept his fingers on it.

“So, I’ve done a little research and found that you Brelac are Reploids yourselves,” he said.

“To a degree we are all the same,” Mariner sluggishly droned out, grabbing his own centipede and downing it in one loud gulp. “Our race needed a technological means to insure its continuation.”

“A technological means,” Fenlow repeated. “And what of your females? I noticed that through all the grunting and growling you all sound male.”

“As I have already explained, we are all the same,” Mariner said. “We have created the means of producing the perfect military force. Our soldiers originate from templates that are devoid of fear, unhindered by compassionate doubts, and minds that are not mired by the frivolous aberrations that obstruct you humans.”

“What about these original templates that you mentioned? I’m assuming that it’s some sort of original genetic stock.”

“Our original source is centuries old and continues to endure. But its history is not important.” He waved a clawed hand. “All that matters is that it serves us as we produce our numbers en-masse in order to achieve our objective.”

“And that objective would be?” Fenlow asked, suspecting he already knew the answer.
“Our objective is to spread ourselves across this universe and administer retribution to any and all opposition. Then we will become the only supreme power. That is our mission passed down to us through generations. This is what we will achieve. And you, Doctor Fenlow, will help us.”

Fenlow pondered Mariner’s words, fingertips stroking the soft white flesh of the centipede on his plate. He was still dreading the notion of being forced to eat this thing.

The Brelac mission of conquest and retribution. A chilling thought.

But Fenlow’s job was to find a way to work Carp Technologies’ interests into the mission so that their own plans could materialize unscathed. And with the Brelac’s help his job would be much easier.

“I’ll help you,” Fenlow told him, nodding.

He took a long look at the centipede he was holding. He picked it up and slowly raised it to his face, holding his breath against the smell. He opened his mouth.

Release Blitz – The Heart of Aleppo

About the Book

Title: The Heart of Aleppo

Author: Ammar Habib

Genre: Young Adult / Coming of Age / Contemporary

Page Count: 235

After standing for over 7,000 years, Aleppo’s ruin came overnight. Separated from his family during the night the rebels attacked the city, thirteen-year-old Zaid Kadir is lost in the middle of a war zone. Alongside his friends, he is forced to survive the dangers of a civil war he does not even fully understand. Zaid witnesses the destruction of the brutal Syrian Civil War as it grows more deadly by the day and rips his city apart. However, as he braves this destruction, as he desperately tries to survive this catastrophe, he discovers something. Zaid realizes that it is in the darkest hours when humanity’s spirit of hope burns brightest.

Links

Goodreads

Amazon

About the Author

Ammar Habib is a bestselling and award-winning author who was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1993. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining but will also stay with the reader for a long time. Ammar presently resides in his hometown with his family, all of whom are his biggest fans. He draws his inspiration from his family, imagination, and the world around him.

Social Media

Website:www.ammarahsenhabib.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ammarahsenhabib

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmmarAHabib1

@AmmarAHabib1

Blog: www.ammarhabibblog.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Ammar_Habib

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ammar.a.habib/

@Ammar.A.Habib

Giveaway

In conjunction with the release of The Heart of Aleppo, Ammar is running a giveaway from July 26th to August 3rd. The prize of the giveaway is a signed copy of his national award-winning novel, Memories of My Future. Memories of My Future is a historical/inspirational novel that was published in 2016. It received several accolades after its release, including the Independent Press Award in May 2017.

Go here to visit the giveaway!

 

Why Ammar wrote The Heart of Aleppo:

I personally believe that the Syrian Civil War is one of this generation’s greatest tragedies. With the way it is proceeding, it’ll be remembered by future generations in the same manner that we remember the Rwandan genocide and the Bosnian War of the 1990s.

The motivation for writing The Heart of Aleppo was simple: I wished to bring more global attention to this crisis. Although the characters are fictitious, this novel accurately depicts the events that transpired in Aleppo during the summer of 2012. I hope that reading this will lead readers to have a greater understanding of the plight those in Syria face, as well as those in other war-torn regions. If this work helps garner more attention for those in Syria, then I will have considered this project a success.

In an over-politicized world, my wish is for this work to humanize those we call “refugees”. The Heart of Aleppo is not about the politics of the Syrian Civil War or any other conflict. Its aim is not to convince readers to support any faction or political party. Instead, this story is about the unbreakable spirit of humanity. It is about how humanity often shows its true strength during the darkest times.

I truly hope that these themes of hope and strength will resonate with readers. I know that simply writing this The Heart of Aleppo changed me as a person, and it made me more aware of everything that transpires in the world around me. Although the world will never be perfect, I believe that if we keep our faith in the human spirit and keep striving to always better ourselves and those around us, then we can create a little piece of heaven on earth.

Writing Playlist for The Heart of Aleppo

  1. “Sadness and Sorrow”

Youtube

  1. “Sound of Hugh Glass”

Youtube

  1. “Despair”

Youtube

  1. “Man of the World”

Youtube

First excerpt from The Heart of Aleppo:

Two days before Nabeel leaves for the last time, I find him standing at the kitchen counter with his friend, Zakariah. I don’t know his rank, but Zakariah serves directly under Nabeel in the army and only lives two miles down the road. The two of them always seem to be on leave at the same time.

Their voices are low, almost secretive, but I catch the look in Nabeel’s eye. Except back then, I didn’t recognize it.

“What are you guys talking about?”

Seeing me enter and hearing my voice, they both look my way before exchanging glances. That gleam in Nabeel’s eyes disappears.

I excitedly run up to the two of them. “Tell me!”

Nabeel looks back down at me as he stops leaning against the counter. Reaching down, he ruffles my hair. “You’re too young to know about that, Zaid.”

“Aww, what’s that about? I’m not part of the group now—”

My brother playfully flicks me on the forehead as he crouches down a little. “I’m sorry, buddy. Maybe next time.”

“You’re always saying that.”

Zakariah laughs as he comes closer to me. He puts his hand on my shoulder. “That’s just not fair, Nabeel. You’re a horrible brother for leaving Zaid out like that.”

I see a concerned expression momentarily wash over Nabeel’s face.

However, Zakariah glances up at Nabeel and shoots him a quick wink as he continues. “Why don’t I just tell you then?”

My eyes light up. “Really! You’re the best, Zakariah.”

Coming to his knees, he puts his arm around my shoulders and leans close, acting as if he is about to tell me the world’s biggest secret. “You see, Zaid, your brother and I were having a discussion about which one of us would win in a wrestling match. We all know that I’m stronger, but he just won’t admit it.” He sighs and shakes his head as he looks back at Nabeel. “But you agree with me, don’t you, Zaid?”

I don’t hesitate to respond. “No way!”

He moves his head back in surprise. “Huh?”

“Sure you’re pretty strong, but my brother would beat you!”

Zakariah is slow to reply, taken aback by the statement. “C’mon, Zaid. You do realize that I’m older than him—”

“Age has nothing to do with it, Zakariah! My brother was the school’s wrestling champion. He wouldn’t lose to you.” I whip my head to look back at Nabeel. “Right, big brother?”

Nabeel is slightly smiling now.

With a chuckle, Zakariah rises back to his feet. “Alright, alright. Well, I best be off, Nabeel. We can finish our little discussion next time.”

Nabeel shakes his hand. “Give my greetings to your folks.”

“I will.” Zakariah grabs my shoulder and gives it a squeeze. “See you, Zaid—no, sorry: Dr. Zaid.”

Did he really just call me that? How did he know?

Hearing Zakariah’s footsteps grow faint, I turn back to Nabeel. He opens the fridge door and rummages through it.

“You told him?” I ask.

Nabeel doesn’t look my way. “I tell everyone.”

I watch him pull out a pound of chicken meat rolled up in brown paper as he turns back to me.

“Aisha is visiting her parents tonight and Abbi and Ummi are having dinner with friends. So looks like it’ll just be you and me.” Nabeel shoots me a wink. “I’m going to make some shwarma for dinner. Just the way you like it: tomatoes, lettuce, onions, lots of chicken, and even more spices.” He starts setting the ingredients on the countertop. “I went by Sohail’s shop today. The mangoes he was selling were ripe, so I picked some up. We can have them for dessert. That is if we have room.”

He looks back at me with a smile, but it fades when he sees my expression.

“What’s wrong, Zaid?”

I glance at the ground before replying, “I don’t think I want to be a doctor anymore.”

“Why not?”

“…I don’t think I can.”

He takes a few steps towards me before crouching down to come to my eye level, urging me to continue.

“Ms. Farooq said I’m not smart enough.”

“She did?”

“I got the lowest score in the class on the last math test. She said I’m not cut out for it.”

“I didn’t realize Ms. Farooq could tell the future.”

I don’t respond.

“Did you tell Abbi or Ummi?”

I shake my head.

He takes a deep breath and glances down at my feet. His eyes look like he’s weighing something, wondering if he should say it or not. When he does speak, his voice is different. It’s no longer speaking to me as his younger brother but as his friend. “You know, Zaid, Zakariah was joking about what we were talking about.”

“Really?”

He nods before his gaze focuses back on me. “Not even a few weeks ago, my soldiers and I were in a bit of a… well, situation.”

“What happened?”

“We were in Homs. The people we were fighting—the rebels—had heavy control of some neighborhoods. We were trying to take them back. It was…”

A silence ensues as he searches for the word.

“Difficult.” Nabeel pauses. “Some soldiers were pinned. The army tried an airstrike to break the rebel lines. It was a heavy bombardment that leveled entire streets. The cost was high. But we couldn’t break their lines.”

I don’t interrupt him.

“Our intelligence said it was a lost cause. We were ordered to abandon the soldiers. They said we would lose more men than we would save. But even the army’s ‘intelligence’ doesn’t know everything.” He looks away. “Zakariah and I disobeyed our commanding officer. As did our men. Those soldiers that were pinned weren’t just men. They were my friends… my brothers. And I would never abandon them, even if it led to…”

For a moment, his eyes again display that same gleam, but it disappears as quickly as it came.

His gaze again meets mine. It’s firmer this time, stronger. “It doesn’t matter what people say, Zaid. It doesn’t matter what the facts say. All that matters is what you say. And, maybe more importantly, what you do.”

I hang on his words, unable to say anything.

“Why do you want to be a doctor, Zaid?”

“I’ve always wanted to.”

“But why?”

“Because… I don’t want to see people suffer. I… I want to be the one to help others. I want to save lives, make a difference and put others before myself. I want to make this world a better place. Just like the Imam always talks about.”

Nabeel smiles. “Never forget that. And never go back on your word. No matter what happens. Please never forget one thing, Zaid: I love you. No matter the circumstance—no matter if I’m so far from you that you may never see me again, know that I’m with you.” He presses his finger against my heart. “I believe in you, Zaid.”

 

VBT – Memoirs of a Road Warrior

memoirsroadwarrior

About the Book
Title: Memoirs of a Road Warrior
Author: Fred Klein
Genre: Humor

CoverScan

Andrew Livingston, a young, naive college graduate gets a job as a sales engineer for a crazy company. Set in New York in the corporate raider 1980’s this humorous book is a recounting of all the strange history of a high-tech company with an eccentric CEO.
This character gathers together a strange assortment of employees who endeavor to manufacture and sell their products to an equally strange collection of customers. The book tells of their amusing conflicts and experiences throughout the decades.
Follow the company’s encounters with Chinese agents, horse trailers, rocket fuel disasters, con-men, bedbugs, and airplane crashes. Learn how not to run a business!

bookcover

Author Bio

Authorpic

Fred Klein is a new author of his humorous novel MEMOIRS OF A ROAD WARRIOR. He was a sales engineer for 30 years selling scientific instruments throughout North America. He is a private pilot, a drummer in a band, and presently lives with his wife in California. Fred is not a natural comedian but funny things always see to happen around him.

Links

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/
webpage: http://www.humorous-book.com
email: memoirsofaroadwarrior@gmail.com
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fred.klein56232
twitter: https://twitter.com/Author3333
wordpress: www.humorousbook.wordpress.com
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/81816063

VBT – The Sunwright Chronicles: A New World

sunwrightchroniclesbanner

About the Book
Title: The Sunwright Chronicles: A New World
Author: Kevin Villegas
Genre: Fantasy

The Sunwright Chronicles_cover

Join the magical adventures of the Sunwright family as they live, love and defend their high magic home of Alavar. It is the beginning of a new phase in the lives of the Sunwright’s castoff’s from an unloving modern Earth, they seek their fortunes in a brand new world. Enjoy these brand new adventures filled with; romance, intrigue, murder, and revenge! Watch their interactions with the powerful Elves of Alavar, how drama unfolds as a great disease hits the Elven population and all eyes turn to one Sunwright who can save them all. Will the Elves prosper or fall to the disease, and what consequences will the dreaded disease have on the burgeoning Elven civilization?

Author Bio

Author Photo 2

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My ongoing series “The Sunwright Chronicles.” Is a culmination of fifteen years of creating a unique living world with a rich history. I am currently writing the second book in the series. Besides writing I enjoy computer gaming, reading, watching the history and science channels. My favorite activity is hanging out with my awesome family :).

Links
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KnpMdT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunwrightchronicles/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sunwrightcron

VBT – The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures

theimmortalseedsbanner2

About the Book
Title: The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures
Author: Sambath Meas
Genre: Family Memoir

Imortal Seeds eBook Cover

This is a story about a father’s dream of escaping a war-torn country in search of stability and freedom, so that his children can live and thrive.

Sarin Meas, who was born and grew up in a remote village in Trangel, Kampong Chhnang, drifts from one place to another in search of a purpose, and a better life. In Pailin, a small town in western Cambodia known for its richness of gemstones, he meets a poor and uneducated girl whose daily life, from dusk until dawn, is strained by hard work: selling fruits and vegetables at the local market, along with cooking, doing laundry and cleaning up after strangers and relatives whom her aunt has taken in. If she doesn’t do her chores correctly and one of them tells on her, her aunt, a woman whose mood changes like a person suffering from a split personality, hurls foul language at her and beats her with any heavy object in sight. Sarin realizes that this young woman, whom everyone calls Thach, will die if she continues to live like this. So he marries her out of compassion. His compassion turns into love. Sarin and Thach form a family.

Tragically, after fifteen years of peaceful existence and independence from France, Cambodia gets sucked into the war of idealism between the world’s super powers—America, China, and the Soviet Union—by way of the Vietnam War. Cambodian leaders and people take sides. The Khmer Republic (backed by the United States) and the Khmer Rouge (backed by China, the Soviet Union and Vietnam) fight each other acrimoniously. After five years of battle, the relentless Khmer Rouge soldiers emerge victorious. Sarin has an opportunity to escape to Thailand with his family, but chooses to remain behind out of fear of the unknown. Soon he realizes the victors don’t know how to manage the country. Fear, paranoia and revenge turn them and their supporters into a killing machine. Sarin, through cleverness and luck, helps his family navigate the horror of communism. When a second opportunity arrives, like thousands of other surviving Cambodians, he takes the chance to venture to the unknown—to find freedom, opportunity, and a better life for his family.

The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures is not only about the continuing of a family’s life cycle; it is also about a father’s idea—a purpose—that gets passed on to his daughter. In turn she hopes to pass it on to people not only within her community but also around the world.

“King Grandfather would like to wish that your memoir The Immortal Seeds will become successful.”Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia

“The Immortal Seeds is a story of war, love, and the unbreakable bonds of family. Touchingly told, Sambath pays homage to her family across the generations, and shares how they helped the Meases to survive the war and thrive in peace.”Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child

“The Immortal Seeds exhibits a memoir’s emphasis on highly personalized, if not fully contextualized, experiences.”The Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s Newspaper

Author Bio

IMG_8060

SAMBATH MEAS was born in Pailin, Cambodia at a time of civil war. Having survived the effects of the Vietnam War, the Khmer Civil War, and the Maoist-inspired Khmer Rouge regime, her parents decided not to stick around for another phase of mass killings. Her family, like thousands of other Khmers, fled to the Cambodian-Thai border in 1979. After being displaced in refugee camps for two years, Chicago became their new home in 1981. Meas graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a B.A. in political science and is taking writing classes at Northwestern University. She has worked in the legal industry for over 19 years and contributes to the richness that is Chicago literature. In her spare time, she helps novice writers to get started with their stories. Her current projects include self-help, science fiction, graphic novel, and young adult fantasy books. She writes fiction, focusing on murder mystery, fantasy, and science fiction; and nonfiction, focusing on memoir, biography, and self-improvement.

You can follow the author at the following sites:
Website: www.sambathmeas.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sambathmeas1
Twitter: @MissSambathMeas
Instagram: smeasuniverse
Newsletter:
https://mailchi.mp/53478904a49a/thank-you-for-subscribing-to-sambath-meass-author-page-37615

Giveaway

Win an eBook copy of one of the author’s other books, “The Governor’s Daughter, The Mysteries of Colonial Cambodia”:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Book Excerpt

The weather was as it had always been during April— sunny and scorching hot; but against the backdrop of the massive American bombardment and the raging Khmer civil war, it was everything people had imagined hell would be. Pailin was not as stifling as many other parts of the country due to its thick forest and mountain ranges. On April 15, 1975, the biggest and most festive national celebration of Cambodia arrived. Khmer people had always welcomed it by bathing the Gautama Buddha statues, cleaning pagodas, building sand hills, setting off big fireworks displays in the shapes of amazing images of apsaras, lions, nagas, garudas, etc., floating intricately arranged floral lanterns on the riverbanks, attending traditional and modern dances, playing Khmer games, and sharing bountiful food with relatives, friends, and neighbors. Sadly, nothing was festive about it this time.

The fighting throughout the country between the Khmer Rouge and Khmer Republic continued to be intense and acrimonious. Pailin seemed a bit more stable. There were families who celebrated Bonn Chol Chhnam or Entering the New Year quietly at home. A thirty-year old Sarin with prominent eyebrows, his twenty-six-year-old wife Srey Touch with eyes like a bushbaby, and her relatives who live in O Ta Prang, a plantation in Pailin, didn’t celebrate the New Year. The uncertainty brought about by war and anarchy had killed their moods.

In the tug of war between ending capitalism and guarding the country against socialism, the communists emerged victorious on the last of the three days of the Khmer New Year.
A firm yet sad voice echoed from a Phnom Penh radio station, as if he was forced at gunpoint to make the announcement. “Brothers and sisters, we have liberated Phnom Penh. The [Republican] soldiers have dropped their weapons.”

 

%d bloggers like this: