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VBT – The Long Lost

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About the Author

 Tom Nixon

Tom Nixon is an author and entrepreneur with writing credits to his name that span artistic genres. He has written multiple novels, two screenplays, several short stories, a children’s story, and has five music albums in his catalogue, for which he wrote both music and lyrics. He discovered his passion for writing and reading at an early age, going on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan. He resides in Michigan with his wife and children, along with a couple of the canine variety.

His latest book is the suspense novel, The Long Lost.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

 The Long Lost

Title: THE LONG LOST
Author: Tom Nixon
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 418
Genre: Suspense

BOOK BLURB:

The sudden and strange disappearance of Joel Thomas brings together his ex-wife and best friend in a search for answers. As Mary and Jason seek out the truth, their quest consistently turns up more questions than clues. In another time, the story of a long-time group of college friends plays out across 30 years of history, revealing the highs and lows of a group that vowed to maintain their friendship until death. Is the answer to Joel’s mysterious departure found in a simple note sent to Mary, or is it locked somewhere back in time? Told in alternating voices and timelines, Nixon’s The Long Lost tells a story of both intrigue and suspense — along with sentimentality and introspection — as he examines the painful discoveries realized when childhood friends grow up…and grow apart.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Book Excerpt:

EVERYBODY knows someone like Joel Thomas.

I once heard someone describe him as the man who was friendly with everyone…but friends with no one. Which isn’t exactly true. It’s not that he was particularly at odds with any one person, or even that he was standoffish. It’s just that, when it came to having meaningful, deep friendships or relationships, there was nobody you could point to and say, “Those two are very close.”

But yet, there he was. Joel was at every party…every night out…every group outing. He seemed to like sports, the arts, movies, TV, pop culture. He knew a little bit about everything, so he always seemed to fit in, no matter what the occasion. But you were hard-pressed to say why, if asked.

Joel was married for a little more than 16 years to Mary, a woman he met in college during his study abroad program. They never had kids, but they did acquire the obligatory dog and 2,500-square-foot ranch in the suburbs. It was a normal life, if unspectacular. But that was Joel. Normal, sure. But unspectacular. A man that was seemingly liked by all…but loved by nobody in particular.

It would be a shock, then, when Joel suddenly disappeared.

I got the call around 7:30 that night. Mary seemed put off, but not frantic. I can’t tell you why I remember her demeanor in that way, only that it seemed significant at the time. Was I expecting the reaction an actress might have on a bad primetime cop show? I don’t know. Then again, Mary was Joel’s mirror image in some ways, so a subdued (though, certainly distraught) state of mind wasn’t entirely out of character. Still, it just seemed…different. Different than what I’d suspect, but I wasn’t sure if it was meaningfully different, or just different.

And I can’t claim to have been in the proper state of mind to be a judge of such things. Not that night. It’s a strange thing when you get “the call.” Or, in the movies, it’s the knock on the door. If you’ve never been so unfortunate, you’ll know when it happens. I’ll never forget watching my dad get the call when grandpa died. I’d never seen my old man cry before. It was jarring. It was a shock, to be sure…but grandpa was 84, and with a history of heart problems.

There’s a part of you that expects it…one that has been waiting for such a call. There’s another part of you in paralyzing shock. And there’s this weird part of you that starts immediately and reflexively having the sort of reaction others might expect you to have. Like you’re the one on the TV show. Call it, macabre exhilaration? This is happening. It’s horrible. But it’s excitement, in a sick sort of way. All of those parts of you begin an instant quarrel inside of you for supremacy, and it’s not until several hours, days or weeks later that reality sets in, and you hate yourself for feeling anything other than grief.

“Jason? Hi, it’s Mary. Sorry for calling so late.” A long, pregnant pause. “It’s Joel.”

Shit. Those words rang out like a shotgun in the open prairie air. It’s Joel. Whatever came next, I knew it wasn’t good. I immediately hunched down into a chair at the kitchen table. I’m not sure if I said anything, let out a self-defeated groan, or just waited in stunned silence for Mary to continue.

“It’s Joel. He’s not answering.”

“Not answering what?” I asked, now grasping to a lifeline of hope. Maybe I got ahead of myself with needless worry.

“Anything,” Mary responded, immediately sucking the wind out of my hopeful sails. “The phone, texts, the door. Normally I wouldn’t worry. We sometimes go weeks — maybe months — without talking. In fact, we usually do.”

“So what’s the worry?”

Mary paused. I could tell there was a “next part” that she didn’t want to get to. But she gave in. “It’s not normal.”

“What’s not?” I pressed.

“To get something in the mail.”

“What something? Something in the mail? From who? What was it?”

Another long pause.

“From Joel.”

“Mary, what are you saying? What the hell happened? Spit it out.”

Mary started slowly and softly, building both pace and volume as she continued. “I’ve been trying to get ahold of Joel for a few days. We got a strange tax thing in the mail, and it didn’t seem to make any sense, so I scanned it over to Joel last week. Followed up with a phone call. No answer. Then the texts. Nothing.”

“Yeah…” I needed her to get to the point.

“So I stopped by a couple days ago. No answer at his place. His car was there, though. I kinda poked around a bit, peeked in some windows…nothing. So I called the office. They said he’s on vacation. So I started to calm down…didn’t think much of it.”

“There ya go,” I reassured her. “He’s probably just out of the country or something. No cell service, ignoring emails and stuff.”

“That’s what I thought,” she continued. “Then I got this in the mail.”

“What?”

“A note. In a box. Like a cardboard shipping box. It looked more like a parcel at first, with no return address. But it was light…like a letter, you know? I opened the box, and there was just this note in there.”

“Yeah?”

“Jason. It was Joel’s handwriting.”

“So? What did it say?”

And now, the longest, most silent, pause.

“Mary, what did the letter say? Read it to me.”

“Read it to you?”

“Yes! Read it to me!”

“No need to read it…I have it memorized…it was only two words.”

“Mary, what the hell did the letter say?”

A shorter pause. A softer voice. A slower pace. Finally, Mary got to the point.

“Tell Jason.”

 

 

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VBT – Black and White

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About the Book

Title: Black and White

Author: Ben Burgess Jr

Genre: Contemporary

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When the prestigious law firm of Wayne, Rothstein, and Lincoln catches two major cases—a rape case where a White NBA star allegedly raped a Black stripper, and a murder case where a Black rapper allegedly killed a gay couple and two policemen—Bill O’Neil and Ben Turner are tasked to handle these racially charged litigations. The cases hit emotional chords with the two lawyers and force them to reckon with their interracial relationships and families. Will the racial tension of their cases destroy them or make them stronger?

Author Bio

Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award-winning novels “Monster,” “Wounded,” “Love and Happiness,” ” Daddy’s Girl,” and the new novel “Black and White.” He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in and to never give up on their dreams. His novels “Monster” and “Wounded” are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management and an MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughters Jaelynn and Jaclyn and he is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.

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Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ben-Burgess-Jr./e/B00BCKZPHK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Website: http://www.benburgessjr.com/

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VBT – Ariella’s Escape

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About the Book

Title: Ariella’s Escape

Author: Carolee Croft

Genre: Epic Fantasy Romance

Ariella had always believed that the life of a warrior should include indulging in wine and men whenever they were on offer… And in Chaldea, the capital of the old empire, they certainly were.

Especially the man she finds in her bedchamber, a slave provided by her hosts to entertain her in any way she wishes.

But when betrayed and surrounded by enemies in a strange land, there is only one man she can trust—the slave who was meant only for her pleasure but is much more than he seems.

Demetrius had been captured in a battle at the age of fifteen, and slavery was all he had known in his adult life. When his chance for freedom comes along, his fate is bound to the noble warrior maiden whose voice and body he cannot resist. Duty calls him to return to his kingdom, but the journey will take him places that will change him forever.

Together, they make their way through a den of thieves and an enchanted elf forest, but the biggest danger of all may be their fiery attraction to each other and the secret that will draw a dividing line between them.

Author Bio

Enchanted by romance on page and screen, I have always tried to write my own versions of the perfect fairytale. As for real life, I believe I may have already found the man of my dreams, but I still haven’t found the dog of my dreams. Currently, I’m obsessed with Italian greyhounds. I can usually be found enjoying the outdoors or relaxing with a good book on the west coast of Canada.

Connect with Carolee:

Blog

Twitter

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Goodreads

Links

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Nook

Kobo

iTunes

Book Excerpt

It was strangely reassuring to know that he was not Chaldean, judging from his sun-bronzed skin, fine eyebrows and long brown hair, a shade so dark it was nearly black. And his eyes… like two pieces of a summer sky. She had always been a fool for a blue-eyed man. Judging by his elegant speech, very likely, he came from a noble lineage but was held here as a hostage to ensure peace with another kingdom.

“Then what is it, my lady?”

He sat down beside her on the bed, the scent of some innocent field flower with something more heady and musk-like tempting her to get closer to his bronzed body. She tried to discern his age… late twenties perhaps. His forehead was unlined, but there was something about him that made him appear older, a world-weariness perhaps behind his charming and carefree disposition.

There had been one or two times when she had bedded a man after less conversation than this, but this was strange territory with too many possible complications, and she could not afford to indulge herself on a whim. There was also his status to consider. As a slave, he was obviously not free in his choices, and she could sympathise with that. Ariella knew she would loathe being ordered to “entertain” guests in this manner were she in his place.

“Do my looks please you?” she asked tentatively.

“Yes,” he replied, a slight hoarseness in his voice.

His eyes scorched her, and she had to look away.

“It’s just that… I do not wish you to do this merely out of a sense of duty…” she said softly, “that is… if you did not want to…”

“My lady, I want to,” he said.

VBT – THE LAWMAN’S APACHE MOON

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THE LAWMAN’S APACHE MOON
by Debra Holt

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GENRE: Romance

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BLURB:

“No more detours!” That was the promise Angelina Lord made to herself when she accepted a ride from a wedding in Texas, with the best man to her destination in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What could possibly go wrong?

Angelina is focused on one thing–opening a fashion boutique in Santa Fe. What she really doesn’t need is one full-of-himself lawman with his aggravating air of superiority and soul-searing eyes…not to mention heart-stopping kisses…coming to her rescue. If she lets him get too close to the truth, he could bring down the wall she erected around her well-ordered life and her heart.

United States Marshal Jace Blackhawke holds family and traditions as the center of his life. He isn’t part of Angie’s world and she certainly isn’t part of his. Will their differences prove to be too insurmountable in the face of the truth that will not stay silent?

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Book Excerpt

At first, Clay remained silent. When Jace was about to prompt him again, he finally began to open up. “A long time ago, I thought I did the right thing. It hurt like hell to do it. Then I did something else that seemed to be the honorable thing. And that went bad, too. I paid for it all for twelve long years. Now, Kaitlyn comes back here because her grandmother needed to see her. I thought I was beyond all the feelings, all the memories and the pain from a dozen years ago. But turns out, I am still the world’s biggest fool. I put my heart out there once again. But I should have known it was too late.” He’d probably left out the more personal details, but what he told Jace was enough to have him shaking his head when Clay finally finished with his departure from the ranch that morning and his arrival at Lou’s Bar.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraHoltBooks

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lawmans-Apache-Moon-Texas-Lawmen-ebook/dp/B0721YWNWG/ref=sr_1_1

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lawmans-apache-moon-debra-holt/1126590975?ean=2940157402365

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:

$10 Amazon/BN GC

Please use the following Rafflecopter code:

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

VBT ~ Time to Live and Time to Die

Inside the Book:

 
 
Title: Time to Die
Author: John Gilstrap
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Ebook
WIN, LOSE, OR DIE
 

In the fourth electrifying installment of John Gilstrap’s five-part novel, a desperate manhunt for two reckless lovers takes a dangerous turn—heading straight for a dead end . . .

Nicki Janssen is no longer the innocent little girl her father thinks she is. She’s a wanted criminal on the run—with a convicted killer she thought she could trust . . .

Brad Ward knows he can’t outrun the cops forever. But it’s too late to stop now. With Nicki’s life and health at risk, he’s got no time to waste—and nothing left to lose . . .

Speeding away from the scene of a brutal robbery-murder, the lovers manage to stay one step ahead of the law. Nicki’s father, Carter Janssen, teams up with Deputy Sheriff Darla Sweet to follow their trail across North Carolina. But when Alex and Nicki hijack a car—and take two hostages with them—all bets are off. All stakes are raised. And all roads lead straight to danger . . .

“Grabs hold of you on page one and doesn’t let go.”—Harlan Coben

“Gilstrap as a master of jaw-dropping action and heart-squeezing suspense.”—Austin Camacho

“If you like Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, you’ll love John Gilstrap.”—Gayle Lynds

“Gilstrap is one of the finest thriller writers on the planet.”—Tess Gerritsen

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 Inside the Book:

  Title: Time to Live
Author: John Gilstrap
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Ebook

Fasten Your Seatbelts

In the explosive conclusion of John Gilstrap’s five-part novel, the high-speed pursuit of two fugitive lovers kicks into overdrive–on the ultimate collison course with destiny . . .

Nick Of Time
Part 5: Time to Live

After plotting their escape, evading the police, and witnessing a murder, Nicki and Brad have reached the end of the line–and there’s nowhere left to hide . . .

Holed up in a house in a North Carolina fishing village, they’ve run out of time, run out of luck, and run out of options. All they’ve got are a couple of hostages . . .

Two innocent people–a feisty senior and her grandson–are the bargaining chips Alex needs to buy more time. But Nicki can’t wait any longer. Her life is in jeopardy, and her father is desperate enough to do anything to save her. Deputy Sheriff Darla Sweet is finding evidence that could change everything for the young lovers. But when every second counts, the only real justice comes in a hail of bullets. . .

“Gilstrap is a master of action and drama.”–Gayle Lynds

“When you pick up a Gilstrap novel, one thing is always true–you are going to be entertained at a high rate of speed.”–Suspense Magazine

“One of the best thriller writers.”–Genre Go Round

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Meet the Author:

John Gilstrap is the acclaimed author of eight thrillers: Threat Warning, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Six Minutes To Freedom, Scott Free, Even Steven, At All Costs, and Nathan’s Run. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages. A safety and environmental expert and former firefighter, he holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. John has also adapted four books for the big screen: Red Dragon (uncredited) from the Thomas Harris novel, Word Of Honor from the Nelson DeMille novel; and Young Men And Fire, from the Norman Maclean book. He lives in near Washington, D.C.

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Interview With … Piers Platt

We’re thrilled to be hosting Piers Platt’s RATH’S DECEPTION blog tour today!

Title: Rath’s Deception
Author: Piers Platt
Publisher: Piers Platt
Pages: 350
Genre: Sci Fi/Thriller

On the cut-throat streets of Tarkis, orphaned teens like Rath end up jailed … or dead. So when the shadowy Janus Group offers Rath a chance to earn riches beyond his wildest dreams, he seizes it. But the Janus Group is as ruthless as the elite assassins it controls. Rath will have to survive their grueling, off-world training, and fulfill all fifty kills in his contract before a single cent comes his way. And ending so many lives comes with a price Rath can’t anticipate. It’ll certainly cost him what’s left of his innocence. It may well cost him his life.

For More Information

  • Rath’s Deception is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

A light flickered on the edge of Rath’s peripheral vision: his internal heads-up display had an incoming message.

 <Urgent: mission update>

<New target: Deputy Ambassador Sorgens>

<Original target is not to be harmed>

Rath felt a bead of sweat form at his brow. He smiled at another group of guests and offered them his tray of canapés, simultaneously advancing through screens in his heads-up display to find a photo of Sorgens in order to identify him.

Okay, got it.

“We’re all done, thanks,” one of the guests told him.

“Of course,” Rath said. “Sorry.”

Guess I lingered a little longer than a normal server would have. He stepped away from the group, spinning slowly in place as if planning which group he would approach next.  There’s Sorgens – far side of the room.

Rath stopped at three other groups of party-goers, working his way around the outside of the room in a looping curve, careful to avoid heading directly for the Deputy Ambassador. As he left the third group, he rearranged the napkins on his tray, as if straightening them, and surreptitiously jabbed one of the canapés with a tiny hypodermic needle, before slipping the needle back into his sleeve. Then he turned and headed for the Deputy Ambassador, but a security guard cut in front of him. Rath changed direction smoothly and headed for a different group, but he kept Sorgens in his line of sight. The security guard was leaning in close to Sorgens, covering his mouth to whisper in his ear. Rath dialed up his audio implants.

“… credible threat. Intelligence is rated ‘High Reliability,’ so we’re taking it very seriously,” Rath heard the man say. The Deputy Ambassador blanched, his face turning nearly as white as his tuxedo shirt. “I’d like to get you out of here right now, sir.”

Sorgens turned to the other guests, and made his apologies. “I’m sorry – I’m afraid duty calls, there’s an urgent message that needs my attention.” He headed toward the room’s exit, closely followed by the guard.

Want a snack before you go? Rath thought, chagrined. He broke away from the group he was serving and walked briskly toward the kitchen, which was in the same direction Sorgens was headed.

Let’s hope the kitchen has another exit close to wherever Sorgens is headed.

Rath ducked inside – to his relief, he saw an exit at the far side of the crowded room. He dumped his tray into the first trash can he saw and elbowed through the servers and cooks, heading for the door.

“Hey, watch it, asshole!” a busboy protested, spilling several plates onto a steel countertop.

Rath ignored him and continued toward the back of the room, pushing through the swinging door. Sorgens was just disappearing through a side door halfway down the corridor, while the guard positioned himself outside the door. That looks like a restroom. Rath walked toward the guard, who was watching his approach closely, hands behind his back.

Probably got a pistol in a belt holster back there, Rath decided.  So much for the frontal assault.

Instead he took a sharp right turn down a side corridor, disappearing from the guard’s view. Mechanical plates implanted within his face shifted, obeying Rath’s commands, while his hair greyed, and his skin tone lightened. In the space of three seconds, he looked exactly like his original target. He turned on his heel, and stepped back out into the main corridor, looking both ways before appearing to notice the guard.

“You,” Rath pointed at the man, “have you seen my deputy around here?”

“Sir?” the guard asked, confused. “Oh, yes, Mr. Ambassador: Deputy Ambassador Sorgens is right in here.”

“Ah, excellent,” Rath said, walking up. He was at least two inches shorter and thirty pounds lighter than the real ambassador, but people were slow to notice body type differences – if the face and hair matched, such discrepancies were usually dismissed. Rath’s voice matched the Ambassador’s as well. As ever, hearing another man’s computer-generated voice from his own lips made Rath’s skin crawl. “Let me just have a word, and then you can get him out of here,” Rath told the guard.

“Of course, sir,” the guard said, holding the door open for him.

Rath let the door close behind him, then strode over toward Sorgens, who was standing at a urinal along the wall. Sorgens looked up and saw Rath.

“You heard about the threat?” Sorgens asked.

“I did,” Rath replied. “Glad to see you’re on your way out of here.” He called up the targeting module in his heads-up display, and slipped a pen out of his pocket. The implement was known as a ballistic pen, built out of reinforced titanium for use as a close-quarters weapon, and modified by Rath to include a nerve toxin coating, for a faster kill. As Sorgens zipped himself up, Rath’s eye implant overlaid an anatomical model on his image, matching it to fit his size and body orientation relative to Rath, highlighting his bone structure and major organs. Sorgens turned away from the wall, and Rath stepped forward, putting his full body momentum behind the thrust. The pen punched between two ribs, directly into the highlighted outline of Sorgens’ heart, while Rath covered Sorgens’ mouth with his other hand, stifling his shocked gasp of pain. Rath left the pen embedded to minimize the bleeding, and, still covering Sorgens’ mouth, he grabbed him under the arm and dragged him silently across the room into one of the toilet stalls. He propped the dying man on top of the toilet, pulled the door shut behind him, and walked over to the sink, where the ambassador’s reflection stared back at him.

Need to wash this blood off my hands. But my guess is that guard is supposed to escort Sorgens out of the building, so it’ll be an easier exit if I pose as him.

“Everything okay, sir?” The security guard was pushing open the door.

Rath reacted instinctively, and bent over the sink, splashing his face with water as he shifted his hair and face to match Sorgens’. He stood up and reached blindly for the paper towels, and dabbed at his face as he completed the transformation. When he opened his eyes, the guard was eying him in the mirror.

“Ready to go, sir?” the man asked.

“Yes – let’s get going,” Rath told him. The guard glanced at the closed stall door and Rath tensed himself in readiness, but the man simply turned and walked back out into the hall, checking in both directions before motioning for Rath to follow.  That was close, Rath thought, falling into step as they headed off down the hallway. He’s going to be pissed when he finds out he personally escorted the killer out of the building.

 About the Author

Piers Platt is the New York Times bestselling author of “Combat and Other Shenanigans,” a memoir of his year-long deployment to Iraq as a tank and scout platoon leader. Piers grew up in Boston, but spent most of his childhood in various boarding schools, including getting trained as a classical singer at a choir school for boys. He joined the Army in 2002, and spent four years on active duty.

When he’s not writing or spending time with his lovely wife and daughter, Piers works as a strategy consultant in New York city.

His latest book is the sci fi/thriller, Rath’s Deception.

For More Information

INTERVIEW

Thanks for being here today. Tell us about you
I’m kind of tricky to pigeonhole. I was a boy chorister – the red robes, daily church services, the whole thing. But I’m also a combat veteran, who led tank and scout platoons in Iraq. I love to scuba dive with my wife, and spend time with my 4-year-old daughter. And I write!

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The goal of being a full-time writer. After serving in Iraq for a year, I’m just happy to be home in one piece, and with a wonderful family and a decent job to boot. But the dream is to write full time, so that’s what I’m focused on.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Hugh Howey. I’d bore the crap out of him with questions about his path to success. And he just bought a jaw-droppingly beautiful yacht, and I love to sail. Hugh: contact info below, hit me up.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Rath’s Deception is based on a short story called Last Pursuit [available for free wherever ebooks are sold, here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Pursuit-Piers-Platt-ebook/dp/B00JFXTW84/] that I wrote some time ago – Last Pursuit is the same concept / setting, it just focuses on a single mission for one assassin. Readers really enjoyed the story, but many said they wished it was longer…so I expanded it into a full book…and then a trilogy!

Tell us your writing process
I outline at a high level – definitely know the beginning and ending (I like twists and big climaxes), but I like to let my imagination fill in the details along the way. So I know the plot, but I let the characters develop organically. I have a 90 minute commute each morning and evening, so that’s when I write.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Age ten. Yeah, pretty early on! I was at summer camp, and I got bored canoeing around the lake, and had finished all of the books I brought with me to read. So I sat down under a tree and wrote a horror story about an alien that crash-landed in the lake and slowly picked off my fellow campers, one by one. I would finish a chapter, and give it to my friends to read…and by the end of the week, I had people begging me to kill them off next. That’s when I knew.

Tell us about your main character:
Rath is a street-smart kid who’s just trying to stay one step ahead of the cops. He’s fairly cynical, and can be quite impulsive…and he’s definitely a wise-ass. When the book begins, he’s just trying to scrape by, so when the Janus Group offers him a contract to be an assassin and possibly earn millions of dollars, they get his full attention. He also has a special talent that has nothing to do with killing, but I won’t spoil that for you…

What are you working on next?
Books 2 and 3! Actually, they’re already written – just doing final edits and getting them ready for publication later this year. I thought it was important to have the entire story arc completed before I released Book 1, so readers aren’t waiting around too long to see how it ends.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
Singing. I wish I had time to sing nowadays, I really miss it. But back in the day, we were trained and sang at the professional level, and we used to learn 400 new pieces of music every year, so I’m a pretty good sight-reader – meaning I can generally sing anything I see on a sheet of music, without hearing it first.

Who are your favorite authors?
Orson Scott Card, Tom Clancy, Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony, Robert Heinlein, Richard K. Morgan…I should probably stop, or I’ll just keep going!

What do you like to do with your free time?
What is this “free time” you speak of?! I spend as much time as I can with my daughter. We love to play wooden trains together, and read.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I’m toying around with Book 4 in the Janus Group series. I have some ideas, but I need to be sure there’s a compelling story to tell about Rath and his friends. Book 3 wraps things up rather nicely, so I’d have to “upset the apple cart” a bit to make it interesting.

Where can people find you on the web?
www.piersplatt.com – and go to http://www.piersplatt.com/newsletter to get a free copy of Combat and Other Shenanigans, my NY Times bestselling Iraq War memoir.
I’m also on Twitter: www.twitter.com/piersplatt
And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Piers-Platts-Books/260070717516391?fref=ts

Any final thoughts?
Thanks for having me!

Book Tour – The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram

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Title: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur
Author: Fiona Ingram
Publisher: Biblio Publishing
Pages: 376
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

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Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Join Justin and Adam as they search not only for the second Stone of Power, but also for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, they learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped. Book extras include some historical background on King Arthur, the Dark Ages, warfare and weaponry during Arthur’s time, and details on Excalibur. A fascinating peek into the life and times of the real King Arthur, perfect for young time travelers and budding archaeologists.

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Find out the latest on the book at Facebook.

About The Author

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Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. Fiona has just published the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, a treat for young King Arthur fans. She is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

Visit Fiona Ingram’s website.
Connect with Fiona on Facebook and Twitter.
Find out more about Fiona at Goodreads.
Visit Fiona’s blog.

Book Excerpt:

Adam shivered in the chilly air. It was hard to tell if it was early morning or late evening because the moon was still visible, a pale disc hanging in a dark gray sky. Ragged shreds of clouds scudded across the moon’s face, casting strange shadows on the ground in front of him. Mist floated around his ankles and swirled in soft eddies when he moved his feet. In front of him lay an open field, grayish green in the dim light. Farther away, he saw the mound of a huge hill. Adam got the feeling he had fallen through a hole in time—back to the Dark Ages, back to Arthur’s era.
He heard a faint howling noise in the distance. Wolves? Adam froze with fear. He desperately tried to remember whether there had still been wolves in England during the Dark Ages. There must have been because there was no other sound quite like the howl of a wolf. The hairs on his arms rose as he heard the howl again. Although he pinched himself to wake up, it was no good; he remained in the dream. At the sound of distant hoof beats, he shrank back against a large tree trunk. There was no time to run away because suddenly the drumming hooves were all around him. Then came the faint melancholy wail of a battle horn and the tinny sound of chinking metal. He could hear the crisp snap-snap of fluttering pennants and when he turned, he glimpsed banners waving among the trees. The surge of spectral riders halted and one man, seated on a white horse, appeared at the head of the cavalcade.
The eerie figure came closer, the horse lifting its feet carefully, clip-clopping right up to the trembling boy. The horse was huge, its trappings gleaming with pinpoints of metal rosettes, its long tail and mane hanging like ghostly cobwebs in the pale moonlight. The beast snorted and stamped restlessly. Adam saw the burnished glint of a helmet with a dragon-shaped crest topped by a red plume. Although the cheek pieces of the helmet obscured the man’s features, the shadowy figure was looking right at him. A red cloak swirled around the warrior’s body and, as the fabric swung aside, Adam saw the gleam of chain mail and the dark shape of a breastplate on the man’s chest. The warrior’s armor seemed more Roman than he expected. A banner flapped from the spear of a man behind the warrior: a red dragon on a white background. The warrior raised one arm, and a roar erupted as the sounds of cheering burst from what seemed to be thousands of throats. Although Adam heard strange words in another language, somehow he understood what the voices said.
“Hail the Pendragon!”
Adam was so close that he could have reached out and touched the rider. The spectral figure drew his sword from its scabbard and held it aloft. It seemed to Adam that he saw every detail with strangely magnified clarity. It was the same sword from the museum, but it looked so different now. The metal gleamed with a peculiar bluish sheen. Curious characters embossed the length of the blade. At the top, just under the crossguard, was a small circle with a seven-pointed star inside it. Sparkling gems decorated the hilt and pommel, with two dragons’ heads facing inward on the crossguard. The stone between the dragons’ open mouths glowed brilliant red. Suddenly, a fiery, almost blinding light shot from the stone, dazzling him. The white horse reared on its hindquarters. The radiant beam lit up the forest as the warrior whirled the blade around his head several times. Adam fell to his knees, shaking with a mixture of terror and excitement as he realized the second Stone of Power was embedded in the sword of Arthur. But the stone in the museum sword was nothing like this one.

Interview

Fiona, thanks for being my guest today. Tell us what inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There’s so much work to do, so much to write, so much to research … I even have problems sleeping in on a Sunday morning!

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I think British actor, author and all-round Very Interesting Person, Stephen Fry. He has a wonderful sense of humour and turn of phrase, and is just such a fascinating personality. (I hope he reads this!)

What’s the story behind your latest book?
The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is the second book in my Middle Grade adventure series, The Chronicles of the Stone. Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did their Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Tell us your writing process
For my middle grade adventure series it is rather a fixed process because while I was writing Book 1, I was already envisioning the following books in the series. So, since each location is already set, I plan the chain of events (lots of danger, mystery and intrigue!), research endlessly to make sure my historical, archaeological and geographical facts are correct, and start writing. I also write animal rescue which is much simpler, being basically the story of the rescued animal and how people can do more for animal rescue. I write Regency romances under a pseudonym (Arabella Sheraton) and these are really fun romantic romps, which are more spontaneous rather than planned.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always written, from the time during childhood when I wrote plays for my four brothers and me to act out for my ever patient and long suffering parents, to making up ghost stories to entertain my brothers and their friends, to writing comical poetry about family members or amusing events. I guess actually sitting down one day and writing a children’s book was inevitable.

Tell us about your main character:
My main characters have, by Book 2 in the series, become a trio. Adam is the reluctant hero, charged with being connected to all the ancient Stones of Power that drive the series; his cousin Justin is the brawn of the bunch; and Kim, a girl around the same age as the cousins, is the one with the most common sense and keeps the boys grounded. Between them they bring different perspectives to the quest which is fraught with lots of danger and excitement.

What are you working on next?
Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is at the editor. This is the third stage of the quest and takes the trio to Mexico where they crash land into the Mexican jungle on page one and are rescued by an uncontacted tribe. Very exciting!!

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I can’t sing a note, and I struggle to learn dance steps, but I am an extremely good cook, and my desserts are delicious. My specialty is amazing home made ice cream made without using an ice cream maker (it can be done!).

Who are your favorite authors?
It’s hard to say. I read everything from the classics to thrillers and detective stories, to no holds barred adventure.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Free time? What’s that? When I do have time to spare, I love movies, reading, listening to music, being at home, and thinking about my next book/s or the characters…

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I’m working on Book 4: The Cabal of the Ouroboros set in the catacombs of Paris, as well as developing the plot of my next Regency romance novel with a difference – a time travel, murder mystery this time. I am dying to write a murder mystery and this might just be the perfect opportunity.

Where can people find you on the web?

Please visit my social sites and follow my news!
Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com
Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Any final thoughts?
Reading is the most wonderful experience for anyone, regardless of their age. If you are a parent, the best gift you can give your child is the gift of literacy. So make sure you follow your child’s reading interests and encourage them to read, read and read some more.

Book Tour ~ Overcoming Anxiety by David Berndt

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Title: Overcoming Anxiety
Author: David Berndt, Ph.D.
Publisher: David Berndt, Ph.D.
Pages: 110
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help
Format: Kindle

The good news is that anxiety can be overcome without relying on medication. Psychologist David Berndt, Ph.D., in Overcoming Anxiety outlines several self-help methods for management of anxiety and worry. In clear simple language and a conversational style, Dr. Berndt shares with the reader powerful step by step proven techniques for anxiety management.

You will learn:

  • A Self-hypnosis grounding technique in the Ericksonian tradition.
  • Box Breathing, Seven Eleven and similar breathing techniques for anxiety relief.
  • How to stop or interrupt toxic thoughts that keep you locked in anxiety.
  • How to harness and utilize your worries, so they work for you.
  • Relief from anxiety through desensitization and exposure therapy.

The book was designed to be used alone as self-help or in conjunction with professional treatment Dr. Berndt draws upon his experience as a clinician and academic researcher to give accessible help to the reader who wants to understand and manage their anxiety.

Overcoming Anxiety

For More Information

Overcoming Anxiety is available at Amazon.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

About The Author

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David J. Berndt, Ph.D. was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago where he published or presented over 80 papers and articles before establishing a private practice. Dr. Berndt currently lives in Charleston, S.C. where he also teaches in an adjunct capacity at the College of Charleston. He is best known for his psychological tests The Multiscore Depression Inventory, and the Multiscore Depression Inventory for Children, both from Western Psychological Services.

His latest book is the nonfiction self-help, Overcoming Anxiety.

For More Information

Visit David Berndt’s website.
Connect with David on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit David’s blog.

Author Interview

David. Thanks for being here today. Tell us about you
I am a clinical psychologist by day, and an author after hours. I live in beautiful Charleston, SC.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I really like not only being able to make a difference in the lives of my clients, but being able to learn new things every day to improve my craft (both my therapy and my writing).

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I am pretty sure my first choice would be Meher Baba, the man who is probably most famous for the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” quote that Bobby McFerrin turned into a song.. As far as I can tell he was probably not only the most loving and compassionate man of his time, but also the most fun. Second choice would probably be Ernest Hemmingway, especially if the Spanish civil war was still raging.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Up until now all my publications were aimed at colleagues, but I realized that much of what I have learned over the past 20 years was from my clients, and they have taught me ways to improve and make my interventions more effective. It seemed like sharing some of that knowledge with a wider audience would be helpful. This book is actually the first in the Psychology Knowledge series, and I am committed to doing at least three more.

Tell us your writing process
I actually have a full private practice and a full social life, so in order to write this book, I had to seriously cut back on poker playing. I usually write, at most, in three or four hour blocks, supported by plenty of caffeine.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always written, but mostly for my colleagues. The idea to write for the public grew from a confluence of two lines of experience: First, as I mentioned above, I wanted to share more widely what I had learned practically over the years. The other factor was that I had supported a family member’s literary career by doing her publicity, even winning an award for that effort. So, I was somewhat confident that I could get the word out and the book would be read.

What are you working on next?
I have a series of books coming out, with one scheduled for late October that I am still working on and that addresses Special Topics in Anxiety. It deals with less prominent anxiety related problems ranging from skin picking and hair pulling to Complex Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder and insomnia. Anyone wanting to keep up with what I am writing and also get free reports and information that I am sharing should join the Psychology Knowledge Readers Group.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
When I keep up with it, I am a pretty good poker player, sometimes competing in WSOP circuit events. Of course psychology comes in handy there. I also play bass guitar, but it has been a while since I played with a band.

Who are your favorite authors?
Hemmingway and Tom Robbins stand out for me but I can’t leave out my beach reading obsessions like Lee Childs, James Lee Burke, and Charlotte Hughes, all New York Times bestsellers. Charlotte also happens to be my wife.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Travel. I have been to all over (India, China, Morocco, Brazil, Turkey to name a few) but my favorite vacation is the Greek Islands. One place I haven’t been that I would love to see is Australia and New Zealand.

 

Any final thoughts?
If you are struggling with anxiety, Overcoming Anxiety can help you build a set of tools that can empower you to tame and harness your feelings. Please let me have your feedback, that’s how I learn and grow. It’s fine to tell me how much you liked the book, but it is even better to let me know how I could explain something more clearly or when you make a suggestion of what I left out that was the most helpful to you. Thanks again for the opportunity to have this interview. It happens to come during my launch extravaganza in which the Kindle ™ version of the book is marked down from 5.99 to only 99 cents so, if you want the eBook version, you probably don’t want to wait to buy. Also, while the print book is everywhere the digital book is, for now, exclusive to Amazon ™

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