Categories

EVERY PLACE by Philonda C. Johnson

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce Every Place by Philonda Johnson, Virtual Book Tour May 15-26, 2017.

Genre: Christian, Business

Book Release: March 31, 2017

Philonda Johnson is the dynamic combination of successful entrepreneur and engaging speaker with valuable insight to share. Her mission is to help others fight for their MasterPurpose by empowering them to realize their Divine value and need for faith-fueled courage.

She is the Founder and CEO of The Leadership Playground, a development company that focuses on kick-starting the growth of a leader by focusing on the power of play, creativity and wholehearted living. She often draws from her background in Psychology and a decade of experience as an urban educator to inspire her coaching and leadership work. Philonda’s employment expertise is derived from serving 9 years as the Founding Principal of a successful charter school in Washington, DC. Philonda has a deep heart for and is dedicated to advancing women of color leaders, spirit-led entrepreneurs, and school administrators.

Philonda hosts her own motivational online radio show and podcast, The Audacity to Shine with Coach Philonda, and Every Place on her newly launched Network, the Brave Entrepreneur Radio Network. She is excited for the release her first major book, Every Place: When our intimacy with God transforms how we experience fear and launch our MasterPurpose Business. Philonda’s book will be released March 31st, 2017.

She incorporates her professional expertise, personal trials and life triumphs into every presentation and conversation to have a transformational impact. She can connect with and inspire her audience. Philonda can weave her training goals into a beautiful story that makes key concepts sticky and actionable. Her energetic and audacious approach is refreshing, honest and leaves the audience ready to achieve their goals. Her mission is to help others fight for their MasterPurpose by empowering them to realize their Divine value and need for faith-fueled courage.

Every Place isn’t your typical book about entrepreneurship. It is Philonda’s beautiful and intimate testimony of how she overcame fear, developed a deeper relationship with God, uncovered her Master Purpose and transformed as a leader in her business. Every Place provides an exciting roadmap for Christian entrepreneurs who desire to design, build and launch their business God’s Way. Using the Biblical character Joshua’s legacy as a leader, readers will learn the essential tools and strategies required to experience breakthroughs and success in your Christ-centered business. Philonda pushes Christian entrepreneurs to be audacious and to S.L.A.Y. in their business: Seek God, Love God, Act for God and Yield Fruit for God. This book was written in honor of every brave entrepreneur that has struggled to find their Divine purpose and launch a business in alignment with their dreams. This book was written for you.

Excerpt

You made it—you finally made it! You are the guest of honor at the fabulous bash thrown to celebrate the audacious decision you’ve made to pursue a life of abundance, power and liberty. When it comes to getting what you want out of life, the single most important thing to know is that God has already blessed your path. Joshua 1:3 says, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” (NLT) Now, with the realization of this beautiful promise, all you must do is choose. Choose to construct a masterpiece life built on a deep understanding of the God you serve and your Divine purpose. I love to call this your MasterPurpose. Clarity about your MasterPurpose will impact how you will show up in the world and leave your mark as an Entrepreneur. 

When you decide to step out of your own way and into beautiful alignment with your MasterPurpose, all things are possible. This is a brave c hoice and not for the scared, timid or weak leader. It is a declaration to the world that you believe your life, purpose, message and talents are worth fighting for. To reach our fullest potential, we must train ourselves to have an audacious mindset, which frames how we perceive and respond to situations especially adversity. An audacious mindset is the defining factor between experiencing a life of abundance or scarcity. Remaining connected to your MasterPurpose requires a shift in your thinking and actions. It requires a deep and intimate relationship with God.

I yearn to be close and in the presence of God. The battle wounds and scars of life have taught me one important lesson. As I have matured as a believer, I have learned that I am nothing without an intimate relationship with my creator. For in his presence, all things are made new. More specifically, in his presence all believers have access to God’s peace, love, mercy and wisdom. Our close relationship with God activates our MasterPurpose, the Divine plan for our life. He shows us the desires of His heart for us and is the source of our own ambition. He inspires us to dream big and desire radical success in every area and level of our lives. Your MasterPurpose could be a ministry, an entrepreneurial venture, a book, a family or even a school. Your MasterPurpose births your entrepreneurial venture. It could be a book, a clothing company, a law practice or even a school. It is the idea you believe God has commissioned you to lead to benefit His people. We all have been called to be leaders of faith entrusted with an assignment to fulfill while here on Earth.

Facebook

Author Website

Tour hosted by Write Now Literary
Follow the tour here: 

UNSTOPPABLE – Activating your gifts by Shaniece M. Wise

Write Now Literary Book Tours is pleased to announce Activating Your Gifts, by Shaniece M. Wise Virtual Book Tour, May 1-12, 2017.

Genre: Business Owners, Aspiring Business Owners, Professionals, Inspiration, Growth, Development.

ISBN-10: 0997576006

ISBN-13: 978-0997576009

ASIN: B01K6PELIA

Speaker | Personal and Business Development Coach | Executive Trainer | Author

Shaniece M. Wise is a Speaker, Personal and Business Development Coach, Executive Trainer and Author who helps others identify, activate, and maximize their gifts. As a coach, she considers herself an “Activation Specialists,” who empowers people in discovering and activating their interest, developing a career around their interest, and turning that passion into income. She brings these strategies to life through fifteen years of success in direct selling, coaching, and mentoring. Her successful experiences have provided her with both the confidence and knowledge to teach audiences across the United States how to move from a place of survival, to a place of thriving by turning thoughts into actions.

Shaniece is also the founder of the Unstoppable Community TN. Unstoppable Community is a community for Entrepreneurs, Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Professionals that are looking to grow personally and professionally in order to serve others with their gifts.

Over the last fifteen years Shaniece has traveled around the United States teaching and coaching on self-motivation, growth and development, and how to live life with expectation. After years of experience, she transitioned from career to purpose, and that is when her Coaching Practice was brought to life.

“Activating Your Gifts Workbook”

What Is This Workbook Designed To Do?


This is the first workbook in the “Awakening Series: Activating Your Gift.” It is designed to aid you in identifying your gift that God has put inside of you. The goal of this workbook is to make you feel uncomfortable in operating in the same place. My prayer is that it causes you to want to shift from a place of being complacent, and challenge you to be exactly what you are supposed to be; no longer just existing, but thriving and living an abundant life. It is designed to make you look at yourself, identify what you enjoy, and allow you to dream again. It is designed to assist you with letting some things go that may be blocking you from your successful future and a life of abundance.

The Activation Process is about development and growth. It is about getting to know your gifts and strengths. Realizing that you already have exactly what you need to be successful, you must learn how to activate it. The ultimate goal is to operate in a career that you absolutely love, create an organization that changes the world, and become the person that you are destined to be.

When you break down the Activation Process, the first step is to identify what your gifts and strengths are. That is the focus of this workbook. You must identify what makes you happy and what brings you joy. The definition of “Identify” means to establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is. This is the first step to beginning your journey.

Once you identify what your gift is, you use the tools provided to get into action and activate it. This is where you research, develop, figure out your target markets, build your customer base, and execute. This definition of “Activation” is to make (something) active or operative; to convert (a substance, molecule, etc.) into a reactive form.

The last piece of the Activation Process is where you maximize your gifts and strengths in a way that allows you to earn an income. This is where the sky is the limit for you. The definition of “Maximize” is to make as large or great as possible; to make the best use of.

Excerpt

Transformation . . .


I want to challenge you to take a look at yourself and identify what is keeping you from reaching your highest destination. What is hindering the gift that is inside of you from being ignited and birthed? I want to see you transform from the inner to the outer. The definition of “transform” is to make a thorough or dramatic change in form, appearance, or character. Let’s choose today to begin transforming your thoughts, views, and actions, so that you can begin to identify, activate, and maximize the gifts that have been lying dormant.

I have observed many entrepreneurs who start businesses and have great success . . . until life throws them a curveball. When entrepreneurs fail to deal with the personal issues that seem to be holding them down, it is possible that they will fall and never get up. These issues, situations, and relationships are like road blocks hindering them from truly activating the gifts that are stored inside of them. We must learn how to personally develop, declutter, and grow to change our situation and create a life of abundance. My goal is for you to activate your gift and become the 360 degree person that I know you can be. Your gift is waiting patiently to be ignited, birthed, and developed.

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Tour hosted by Write Now Literary

Click here to follow the tour 

A chat w/Kevin Michaels, author of STILL BLACK REMAINS

Please tell us about STILL BLACK REMAINS.

Still Black Remains” tells the story of Twist, one of the leaders of an inner city gang named the Skulls, and the architect of his gang’s decision to kidnap a mafia soldier in a last-ditch attempt to end a violent turf war.  The war started when the Skulls tried carving out a bigger piece of the drug business in their Newark, New Jersey neighborhood from the organized crime family who had once been their partners.  Like most great ideas, the plan doesn’t turn out as expected. Negotiations deteriorate, words fail, the violence escalates, and the only recourse left is the inevitable execution of the hostage.  Chosen to be the one to execute the prisoner, the story covers Twist’s ability to pull the trigger, the consequences of that action, and his own internal struggle.  As the volatile situation grows more explosive by the hour, the lines between right and wrong blur; resolution comes with a price and Twist has to decide if pulling the trigger will get him what he wants, and if he can live with that cost.

From the description, it seems there are a lot of morality issues at play. Was that intentional or just an outgrowth of the story.

None of that was planned. My intention when I started was to write a story about life in a gritty, violent neighborhood where violence is justified as being “part of the game”.

I wanted to explore life in America’s inner cities and possibly capture the voice of a different generation struggling against all odds, through any means possible.  The characters in “Still Black Remains” learned that hard work by itself will never help them achieve what they want.  They have to work outside the system to get what they want. For Twist, it’s a struggle between his own individual desires and the subordination to the Skulls’ goals and needs.

The morality issues were an outgrowth of his character’s development – sometimes that takes you in directions you don’t necessarily plan to go and opens possibilities in the story.

Twist’s conflict is more personal than his gang’s conflict – it’s about using Michael Valentine’s kidnapping to get Malik back, or at least find out information about where he’s being held.  What’s at stake for Twist is his soul – he’s forced to wrestle with the question of whether or not he can pull the trigger to kill Valentine and if he does, live with those consequences.  The heart of the conflict has Twist questioning the limits of his own capacity for violence, struggling to confront the differences between vengeance and valor. 

Is there another genre you can see yourself writing in or that appeals to you, as far as writing?

I don’t have any specific genre in mind when I sit down to write.  It usually just starts with a story, an idea, or characters and builds from there without any thought to a genre.  I like to think that good stories can cross other categories and find an audience, and as a writer (and a reader), I appreciate stories that across a variety of genres.  Although I’m open to all genres, I don’t think I have the ability to write science fiction or fantasy – my imagination doesn’t work that way and I don’t have the kind of technical imagination based in science  that good sci-fi writers seem have.  Clearly I should have paid more attention to science when I was in school.

Did you always want to write?

Yes.  I loved writing assignments, essays, and research papers in school.  I wrote in high school and college (school newspapers and magazines), although it wasn’t until ten years ago, after a career as a corporate warrior that I decided to pursue my dream of writing fulltime.  I had written while working but never pursued it seriously.  Throughout all the years I worked in the business world I felt that dissatisfaction gnawing at me, and I knew I would never be happy until I pursued my dream. It comes down to that desire and need to tell a story.  Writing gives me complete satisfaction and in a lot of ways, creates the kind of happiness I had always been seeking and never found in business 

My only regret is that I didn’t choose this path earlier.

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

I love it all – from the initial draft where you just throw everything out on paper to the subsequent drafts where you shape, edit, and refine the story until you have a finished product.  If I had to choose one aspect I like best, I would say that I love writing dialogue.  There is something about putting together a conversation between two characters – telling a story through their conversation that I enjoy immensely. Good dialogue makes a story come alive for me.

Least favorite?

No. No such thing. Like my characters in “Still Black Remains” say: “it’s all part of the game”.

Did you grow up a reader? If so, what was your favorite book?

I was an avid reader as a kid – I read any and every book I could get my hands on, and I always loved the way writers created their own universe to tell their stories. It was all about the power of imagination – as a writer you could tell any story you wanted.

I’ve always loved crime fiction, and when I was younger I fell in love with stories by writers like Donald Westlake, Raymond Chandler, James Cain, and John MacDonald, then discovered Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block, and Robert B. Parker. 

But for me, the book that made a difference was “Prince of Tides”. There’s a certain beauty in the writing of Pat Conroy that is awe-inspiring – he is so vivid and paints incredible images with his words.  “Prince of Tides” and “South of Broad” both take away my breath – not only the beauty of his words, but the grace and style of the imagery in everything he wrote.  There are times when you sit back as a writer, admire what someone else has written, and just say, “Damn….I wish I could write like that”. 

Do you have a Work In Progress you can share a bit about?

I have two other novels in the pipeline – the first that I’m finishing is one entitled “All Those Yesterdays” which is about domestic violence crossing three generations of a family.   Domestic violence is a subject that I’ve actively written about over the past few years, and this book allows me to not only explore the topic in detail but to feature a strong female character at the heart of the story.  In my other books I haven’t had the opportunity to do that, and it’s been exciting creating that kind of character while giving voice to a problem that affects individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. 

The second is tentatively entitled “A Steady Rain” and falls within the more traditional crime fiction category (“Breaking Bad” meets “Justified” with a touch of “Winter’s Bone” and “A Simple Plan”)

Have you ever had any fun being mistaken for Bryan Cranston?

It happens all the time so I’ve gotten used to it, and it’s kind of fun playing along when people ask, “Do you know who you look like”? 

I’ve had random strangers approach me in airports, grocery stores, even standing in line for a Broadway play – although if I was really Bryan Cranston I doubt I’d be waiting in line.  But any number of people have stopped me so they could pose for selfies and pictures, even after I’ve explained that “I’m not him”.  One lady said she thought I was Bryan Cranston, but after hearing me speak said I cursed more like Samuel L. Jackson.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished Laura McHugh’s “Arrowood” which was excellent, and Wallace Stroby’s “The Devil’s Share”.  If you’re a mystery/crime reader and haven’t yet discovered Stroby, you’re missing out on an excellent writer.

I’m all over the place with my reading list – a couple of the books on the nightstand right now are:

Next up:

Rise” by Cara Brookins

Bad Boy Boogie” by Thomas Pluck

Savages #2” by Don Winslow

The Second Mrs Hockaday” by Susan Rivers

Appreciate you taking the time to visit with Manic Readers, Kevin. Think a book or two has been added to my reading list.

“Still Black Remains” is an original work of fiction.  It tells the story of Twist, one of the leaders of an inner city gang named the Skulls, and the architect of his gang’s decision to kidnap a mafia soldier in a last-ditch attempt to end a violent turf war.  The war started when the Skulls tried taking a bigger piece of the drug business in their Newark, New Jersey neighborhood from the organized crime family who had once been their partners.  Like most great ideas, the plan doesn’t turn out as expected. Negotiations between the gangs deteriorate, words fail, the violence escalates, and the only recourse left is the inevitable execution of the hostage.  Chosen to be the one to execute the prisoner, the story covers Twist’s ability to pull the trigger, the consequences of that action, and his internal struggle.  As the volatile situation grows more explosive by the hour, the lines between right and wrong blur; resolution comes with a price and Twist has to decide if pulling the trigger will get him what he wants, and if he can live with that cost. 

 Kevin Michaels is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel LOST EXIT, as well as two entries in the FIGHT CARD BOOKS series: HARD ROAD and CAN’T MISS CONTENDER. He also released a collection of short stories entitled NINE IN THE MORNING. His short stories and flash fiction have also appeared in a number of magazines and indie zines, and in 2011 he was nominated for two separate Pushcart Prize awards for his short stories. Other shorts have been included in the anthologies for SIX SENTENCES (volumes II and III) and ACTION: PULSE POUNDING TALES (2).

In April 2017 his latest novel STILL BLACK REMAINS will be published by Literary Wanderlust LLC.

He has also published a number non-fiction articles and stories in print publications ranging from the NYTimes.com and the Life/Style section of The Boston Globe to The Bergen News and Press Journal and raged in print at places like the triCity News, NY Daily News, and The Press.

He is the Founder and Creative Director of Story Tellers which is a community-based organization that develops and promotes literacy through writing. Story Tellers provides under-served teenagers, young adults, and women from distressed situations the opportunity to discover the strength and power of their own voices (self-empowerment through self-expression).

Originally from New Jersey, he carries the attitude, edginess, and love of all things Bruce Springsteen common in his home state, although he left the Garden State to live and work in the foothills of the Appalachians (Georgia) with his wife, Helen and an assortment of children and pets.

HAROLD HARDSCRABBLE by G. D. Dess

Harold Hardscrabble is a sympathetic novel filled with philosophical musings on the state of society and our place within it. It captures the feelings of frustration and helplessness that many of us experience in our daily lives. These sentiments are embodied in the story’s contemplative, quietly charming protagonist, Harold, who, like Walter Mitty, lives largely in his own world of thoughts and dreams. We follow Harold’s transformation from a dreamer to a man of action as he struggles to discover how to live a meaningful life in a materialistic world.

A contemporary novel that recounts the journey of its ordinary, quietly charming protagonist Harold, whose search for self-realization goes extraordinarily wrong. It is today’s American tragedy.

 

Harold remains resilient in the face of the many disasters and injustices that assail him along the way; but, finally overcome by despondency, he feels forced to take matters into his own hands to attain justice for all the misfortunes he has been made to suffer. The story of his quest for self-realization unfolds slowly as it builds to its ineluctable, explosive climax.

“Harold Hardscrabble is a thoughtful and well-written observation of the human condition. Dess pushes members of the modern world to question many things and consider that maybe even something unlikely could come to be true.” Red City Review

“Harold Hardscrabble is smartly written, informed by the philosophies and ideas of various documents and writers, including Karl Marx, David Foster Wallace and Noam Chomsky.”Blue Ink Review

 Amazon     Goodreads

G.D. Dess is the author of the novel His Vision of Her (Harper & Row). His critical reviews and essays appear in the Los Angeles Review of Books and Goodreads. Mr. Dess was born in Michigan and has lived in six states and ten cities throughout the country. For several years, he lived in Paris, France, where he taught English and worked as a translator. Currently he lives on the east coast with his Wheaton Terrier, Beckett.

 

AN AMOROUS DANCE by Jessica Lauryn

Hello, everyone!  I’m excited to be back, sharing my latest release, An Amorous Dance [The Rabourn Theater Series]!  Set in a majestic theater in New York, An Amorous Dance is a second-chance romance featuring a rather “villainous” hero, stage director Evan Masters, a man in need of reform and a lesson in the error of his ways, prior to winning the heart of his former flame, theater owner, Hannah Rabourn.

While writing my debut novel, Dangerous Ally, I fell in love with the idea of reforming former villains.  Much like the woman who pines for a dangerous man from the wrong side of the tracks and dreams of reforming him, I often find myself writing and reading about heroes plagued demons, in need of the love of the right woman, who alone can set them on a better path.  I enjoy writing series and I have been known to take the villain from a previous story and transform him into the hero in my current work.  In fact I like it so much, and have so many thoughts on the subject that a couple of years ago I crafted a workshop and hosted it for my writer friends from New Jersey Romance Writers (our local chapter of Romance Writers of America) entitled, Reforming the Former Villain: Does He Have What it Takes to be a Hero?

So, why reform a former villain?  In short, no work of fiction I’ve ever has the potential to bring about a more powerful happily ever after.  Think about it.  That moment in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, when the formerly unloving Scrooge has seen the error of his ways and he goes out into the world as a new man, brightening the lives of everyone he’s wronged.  The moment is incredibly profound, and that’s because we’ve seen Scrooge make such tremendous strides, having had, essentially, a total transformation of character.  The transformation is thrilling.  And the journey of a hero-to-reform is one well-worth reading!

When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater’s late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah’s antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah’s suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she’s falling in love with for the second time knows more than he’s letting on.

Evan Masters’s dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn’s former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn’s daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.

But Evan’s feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah’s life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart.

 

Unable to stay still, Hannah maneuvered her way around the surrounding obstacles so that she could pace. She’d been trying to convince herself that these flashes of memory didn’t mean what they appeared to, but the truth was that she’d always had her suspicions about the way her father died.

The doctors she’d spoken with had confirmed her father had a heart attack, but she’d always found it hard to believe that a man in his fifties—a man in excellent physical condition with no history of heart disease—would die suddenly, for what appeared to be no reason at all. Having felt this way from the get-go, she’d conducted a bit of research, from which she’d discovered that her father had had an argument with Bruce Lancaster prior to the start of her birthday dinner. The stress of whatever the they’d discussed might have taken a toll on him, and for years Hannah had believed that a heated discussion with the theater’s former owner had directly contributed to her father’s death. But if the images she’d been seeing were real, maybe her father’s death had had nothing to do with physiology at all.

Maybe he had been murdered.

“Hannah?” Evan called out as he opened the door. Failing to flick the light switch, he made his way around, almost tripping over the settee in the corner before asking, “Hannah, are you in here?”

Hannah covered her tearstained mouth. She had no desire to reveal herself, but she realized before she could hide that Evan had already seen her. After hastily wiping her face in hopes that he wouldn’t realize she’d been crying, she snapped, “What the hell are you doing in here?”

“Me? What the bloody hell do you think I’m doing in here?” Evan demanded, squinting at the gigantic mushrooms behind his back, as if they were going to agree with how ridiculous her question was.

“You shouldn’t have followed me. I wasn’t thrilled to see that my cousin decided to stay in a show her former stalker is a part of, but…I’m a big girl. I can handle anything that’s thrown my way, Evan Masters, I promise you.”

“Hannah, you’re shaking,” Evan said, catching her arm and pulling her back to him before she could walk away.

As Hannah looked downward, she realized Evan had no intention of releasing her. His grip was strong, but his palm felt like melted butter against her skin. She attempted to laugh at him, but instead fresh tears formed in her eyes. Evan took her into his arms before she could stop him, bringing her against his body with a force that demonstrated he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Unable to fight him, or whatever it was he was doing, Hannah allowed herself to be drawn against his warmth. His lightly bearded cheek sent tingles up her spine as it brushed against her own.

Evan held her, cupping the back of her head as he urged her toward the settee he’d all but killed himself staggering over a moment before. As he whispered a couple of soft, indiscernible things into her ear, the familiarity of his masculine scent soothed her raw nerves. In her mind, she held an unpleasant picture of him about to kiss her cousin’s shoulders, but the present moment played right over it, and Hannah let go of her anxiety, allowing herself to simply feel, to let her lover from another lifetime make everything right.

Evan brought his fingers beneath her chin and lifted her head so she was looking into his eyes. His smile giving way to a smirk, he said, “I saw you, Hannah. I saw the way you were looking at me when I was holding your cousin. The heat in your eyes wasn’t there out of concern for Alicia, or even because you were angry about my going ahead with the play. You emitted that scream because you wanted to be playing Blair on that stage. More so, because you wanted to be the woman that I was holding in my arms.”

Her eyes widening as her body grew cold with fury, Hannah said, “Clearly the sky-high opinion you’ve always had of yourself has only gotten higher. You make it sound as though you actually think I could still want you after all this time, knowing that I’m fully aware of what a bastard you really are.”

“You may hate me on the surface, Hannah, but I daresay your body responds quite differently. You shiver when I touch you and your skin warms on contact because it wants more, just as you wanted more the night I carried you off to the dressing room and gave you the passion that both of us so desperately craved.”

“So apparently you aren’t just egotistical, you’re also certifiably insane. You know, you’re offered an extensive benefits package as part of the position that you cling to with the very balls of your existence. You ought to ask HR for a referral—clearly the shrink who ought to be treating Sebastian Nathanson has some extra time on her hands.”

Evan secured her in a grip that prevented her from running. Easing her back against the wall, he said with fire in his eyes, “Is this crazy, Hannah?”

 

Website   Amazon    Goodreads    Newsletter

Bookstrand

Jessica Lauryn is the author of the bestselling romantic suspense series, The Pinnacles of Power. The Romance Reviews says that her debut release, Dangerous Ally, has, All the twists that a good suspense should have with just the right amount of passion and romance! Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America as well as her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers, for which she has served on the executive board in several capacities. She has a talent for remembering her dreams, many of which are explored in detail in her stories. Though she resides in central New Jersey, her heart will forever belong to the picturesque White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

A PASSIONATE PLAY By Jessica Lauryn

Hello, Manic Readers!  I’m excited to be here today, sharing a bit about my latest release, A Passionate Play [The Rabourn Theater Series], a contemporary romantic suspense, set in a majestic theater in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

As people who are constantly on the go, we do and are responsible for doing many things in any given day.  But one thing that I always look forward to—and make the time for—is reading.  Fiction is so powerful as it holds the ability to transport you, the reader, to another place and time.  It does not subtract anything from the world around us but rather, it enhances our world, stirring our imaginations and giving us jolts of inspiration that fuels creativity into our thoughts and into our lives.

Whenever I am asked the single most important piece of advice I’d give to other writers, I say, “Write the story that’s in your heart!”  I have great respect for writers who follow trends, who strive to give readers the popular sub-genre of the moment, which takes a large deal of effort and dedication to deliver.  But for me, I like to take a different approach, go where the wind takes me so-to-speak. Sometimes it only takes a moment, for a thought, a phrase, or a person I encounter to inspire and single story. And after one magical night at the theater I was filled with the inspiration that was to blossom into 5 action-packed stories full of drama, romance and passion so strong my characters would kill for it, and in some instances, do!  I hope you enjoy this preview into the world of Rabourn Theater. It promises to be a most suspenseful ride!

On the heels of a major performance, theater actress Alicia Coleman is attacked in an alleyway. She is struck over the head with a pistol and the blow causes her to lose her memory. Injured and afraid, Alicia struggles to remember the details of her life. The only person who appears to know who she is, is the man she fears may also be her attacker.

In the midst of several failed attempts to escape, Alicia comes to know the man whose home she awoke in and realizes that the two of them share a complicated past. Though Nick refuses to tell her much beyond her first name, a series of dreams, in which she and he are sharing a lot more than the second story of a secluded mansion, cause Alicia to suspect the most outrageous of possibilities—that the man holding her prisoner may actually be her lover. Surrounding threats, including that of a midnight intruder, cause Alicia to realize that proving her theory true (or not) may be her only chance of keeping her attacker from coming after her a second time.

 

“I mentioned to you that we’re in Mohegan Lake,” Nick said some time later, “in Westchester County, New York. Does the name of the town, the county, or the state sound at all familiar to you?”

“Not really.” Alicia racked her brain. “Should they?”

Nick shrugged. “Only if you think they should. So, you really don’t remember anything about your life, your friends, or your career before waking up in this house?”

“My career?” Alicia dropped her empty glass onto the table. Having felt a sensation comparable to an electric shock when he’d said the word career, she asked, “What is it that I do, exactly? Am I a lawyer? Do I perform surgeries alongside of a team of brain surgeons?”

“Something like that,” Nick answered with a secretive smile.

Furious that he refused to tell her whatever he knew about her life, Alicia said, “You must be holding out on me because you’re familiar with my work and the knowledge of my success makes you feel completely emasculated.”

“I never said—”

“Understandable. Considering that you appear to spend the majority of your time hiding out in the woods, collecting the latest additions from Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.”

Failing to offer anything in the way of a response, Nick grunted.

“I may not remember what I do for a living but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m capable of doing a lot of interesting things.”

“Are you now?” Her companion gave her a thoughtful glance. Coming to his feet, he extended his hand and said, “How about sharing a dance with me?”

Alicia’s face became as hot as the candle flames. Looking from Nick’s open palm to the empty room around them, she swallowed and said, “There’s no music.”

“Well, I think we can do something about that.” Nick wandered across the floor to the area behind the curio cabinet. There was a stereo there that Alicia hadn’t noticed before. He pressed a button, causing the room to fill with soft, romantic music.

Nick extended his hand once more as he came toward her. His smile was cool but also insistent and it contained a hint of danger. Dark brown eyes looked into hers, willing her to trust, to comply with her very mysterious and yet compelling desires.

Allowing herself to operate on pure instinct, Alicia slipped her hand into Nick’s. His warmth surrounded her and she felt a hint of anticipation as he urged her gently forward. Nick led her into the middle of the floor. Placing one large hand against her waist, he brought her beside his powerful, broad frame.

They began to move and Alicia swayed in unison with her partner as though they had danced together a thousand times before. In her mind, she was in the arms of a stranger, but her body reacted as though he was anything but, as though he were someone whom she knew intimately. Nick’s eyes, his scent, the very feel of him seemed familiar to her, and as his hand slid from her hip to the small of her back she realized that she ought to be telling him he was getting too close. Except she didn’t want him to back away—it felt good, being close to him like this.

As her partner drew her closer still, Alicia felt chills, yet at the same time she began to let go of the tension she was holding. She was encased in a blanket of heat, and as that blanket spun her around and brought her back against its softness she was taken into a realm of comfort and dreams. Dancing with her captor felt right to her and in a strange way, safe. Nick had gone out of his way to make her happy tonight and she got the feeling that wasn’t something he did every day. Letting her eyes fall closed, she inched beside him and when he didn’t resist she rested her head against the cushion of his shoulder.

Nick’s arms enveloped her, and Alicia became aware that he didn’t only smell of pinewood but of something darker, something she couldn’t quite define. She sensed a degree of rebelliousness in this man and for some strange reason the idea of that intrigued her. Strength seemed to emanate from every part of him and she wondered what it would be like to taste that strength. Filled with the strongest desire to do just that, she settled her hand against the back of his neck and tilted his head so that she could just about feel what she wanted to so desperately.

“Kiss me,” she insisted, lifting her chin.

Nick stilled but didn’t comply. She opened her eyes to find his lips were looming above hers.

“Alicia, I….”

The music stopped playing as if on cue. Nick held her, not quite letting go but not doing what she’d asked him to, either. After a long moment, he released her. He cleared his throat and shifted his eyes, making sure that she was steady on her feet before backing away. He paced the length of the room.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Stopping in front of the table, Nick said, “I’ll get this cleaned up. You ought to get back to bed. You’ve had a hell of a day, and even though you slept a good bit of it you still need your rest. I’ll be up to check on you in a few hours. Good night, Alicia.”

Turning to hide a face that was surely as red as it felt, Alicia walked to the door. She offered a cool smile along with a wave before slipping soundlessly from the room.

Alone in the foyer, Alicia placed one hand over her trembling mouth. She released it a moment later, body braced against the wall as she said to herself quietly, “Good night, Nickolas.”

Website   Amazon    Goodreads    Newsletter

Amazon    B&N     Bookstrand     Google Play     iBooks     Kobo

Jessica Lauryn is the author of the bestselling romantic suspense series, The Pinnacles of Power. The Romance Reviews says that her debut release, Dangerous Ally, has, All the twists that a good suspense should have with just the right amount of passion and romance! Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America as well as her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers, for which she has served on the executive board in several capacities. She has a talent for remembering her dreams, many of which are explored in detail in her stories. Though she resides in central New Jersey, her heart will forever belong to the picturesque White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

Five Jetsetter Settings from Nikki Navarre's Foreign Affairs Series

 

A Whirlwind Tour of Five Jetsetter Settings

in Nikki Navarre’s Foreign Affairs Series

 

Nikki Navarre is a globetrotting ex-diplomat and award-winning author of the sexy spy romance Foreign Affairs series. Loosely inspired by her work as a weapons of mass destruction expert at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, she writes about renegade Russian submarine captains, ex-KGB agents, fighter pilots, cyber spies and smugglers—and the brainy, beautiful, rising-star American diplomats who can’t resist falling for them.

Strap in for a whirlwind tour of Nikki’s top five jetsetter settings:

  1. Moscow, Russia: In modern-day Moscow, Las Vegas meets the Wild West. Every girl’s a supermodel or a spy, every guy’s a mobster or a mole, and the energy’s as bracing as a bucket of ice water flung in your face. In The Russian Seduction, the U.S. Embassy’s a citadel in a storm. Where sober-suited diplomats execute classified orders with discretion and decorum…most of the time.

 

  1. Siberia: In Stalin’s day, rebellious Russians were shipped off to the gulag in Russia’s frozen north. Today, if you’re chemical weapons expert Skylar Rossi, determined to uncover the truth about a Russian military site secretly churning out tons of deadly nerve agent, you pull on your fur hat and silk thermals and catch the night train to Siberia.

 

  1. Isle of Capri: A Roman villa on this affluent Italian island in The Russian Temptation is where refined and lethal ex-KBG hit man Nikolai “the Maestro” Markov is hired to take out the only target who’s ever eluded him—a brainy and beautiful American ambassador who just won’t do what she’s told. Nikolai never expects to find himself wanting to protect her instead.

 

  1. Juba, Sudan: Ex-Russian fighter pilot Max Vasylko will fly your illicit cargo anywhere in the world in twenty-four hours—no questions asked. Even if his cargo is a smart, scared, scrappy viral engineer named Christabel with two passports, one backpack, and no memory. In a Turkish bath in a breakaway African republic, the heat melts even Max’s battle-hardened heart.

 

  1. Cloud Cap, Corsica: A champagne magnate once built this ultra-luxe mountain hideaway for his femme fatale mistress on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. In The Russian Obsession, it’s where the love-him-or-leave-him clock strikes midnight for Max and Christa.

Hope this whirlwind tour piqued your interest!

Bon Voyage and Happy Reading!

 

www.NikkiNavarre.com

www.Facebook.com/NikkiNavarreAuthor

www.twitter.com/Nikki_Navarre

 

Read an excerpt from BUNYAN'S GUIDE to the GREAT AMERICAN WILDLIFE

 Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife
by Quentin Canterel

What happens when the Manhattan zoo empties its cages?

John, part radicalized anarchist, part ticking time bomb, is haunted by a particular story, that of Willow, a 9-year old mute who flees to New York after her brutal rape. The only way his girlfriend, Felicity, can stop the clock counting down is by disentangling the riddle of their pasts, before their entwined futures are blown to pieces.
Quentin Canterel’s second novel presents a collage of voices, dead and alive, in a unique and unnerving novel that experiments with form, structure and language. Truly a mystery shrouded in an enigma.

Author’s Website     Amazon       Goodreads

 

Oh, muses, what shall we say about Felicity: Church of England, slender, little beanpole, waxy pallor of a holy relic, blush of a broken rose, cupid bow lips, preternatural and possibly, yes probably, possessed.

And you, John, black raven-haired, androgynous locks, the faintest of crow’s feet, fashionably skinny and, for a man, certainly heteroclite. Thin voice and long fingers, slender lips always a snide remark away from disaster.

“U ARE A SHITHEAD”

In those days (really the cigarette butts of nights snuffed out at 2 or 3a.m), your daily toil up Hill Lucre began at six crossing paths in the Financial District with By-ends and that unrestful gaggle of carbon suited I-bankers. In the fogs and snows of February, the city was given over to grisaille. Always late, you hopped on the R line. Arriving, at Rector Street, only to be met by “that Basilisk”, your boss, the abdominous Mr Skill. For months, you toiled in that “slick glass dick”, temping for $14.50 an hour. What prosperity!

“These shitheads are virtually throwing money out the windows. Bankers paying me for next to nothing.”

It was then, while collecting rejection slips from small magazines, that you began The Guide. In between fits of all-nighters, you’d invite me round and we became a threesome, united by a common hatred of clubs, house music, and nouvelle French cafes. Building, by fits and starts, our own little mutual admiration society…

I remember us once being stuck uptown at an illegal rave, the Russians and Israelites taking turns spinning their trance, the base tones detonating like little depth charges through the low hum of gas generators. We swayed in the summer heat and leaned against a tree stump as a police boat cast its fiery eye through the surrounding trees, setting each branch aflame. You somehow managed to share a bitter pill of ecstasy with that tenderest of Felicities so that the world nudged against you like purest organza silk.

About the author: Born in and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Quentin Canterel grew up never far away from stream, glade or wood. Quentin went on to study at Yale University, ultimately graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. Pursuing a career in New York, he wrote for journals such as Fortune magazine and also embarked on a career in quantitative research and programming. Moving to London in 2005, he continued his graduate studies at the University of London. He currently resides in London with his wife.

MOONLIGHT w/ Ines Johnson

“Moonlight” by Ines Johnon

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

She was no damsel but he rescued her anyway.

You can never go home again…

Viviane Veracruz is on her way home from university with a degree in one hand…and a baby in her belly. Desperate to escape the judgement of her family, she accepts a sexy stranger’s offer to pose as the father for a few days. The plan is for him to run off leaving her family none the wiser. But the longer Pierce Alcede stays, the more she can’t let him go.

Home is where the heart is…

Pierce Alcede has finally come to terms with the fact that he is a lone wolf, prone to roam the wilderness alone and never settle down with a family of his own. When he meets a pregnant woman in need, he thinks nothing of stepping in to take the brunt of her family’s ire. But somewhere between working on the Veracruz Ranch by day and climbing into Viviane’s bed at night, Pierce forgets to run away.

Can a woman searching for a place to belong find a home with a man who lives to roam?

Moonlight is the second in a paranormal romance series full of alpha men and the strong, capable women that bend them to their knees. If you like a touch of magic in your romance novels, then you’ll love the witches, fairies, and wolves in the dystopian world of the moonkind.

“Is this seat taken?”

The husky feminine voice called Pierce’s attention away from the window and up long legs, down dangerously curved hips, around high, pert breasts to end at a heart-shaped face engulfed in a halo of dark curls. The dark curls and lush curves marked her as a wolf.

Pierce cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. He motioned with his hands for the she-wolf to take the place across from him. She struggled to lift her luggage into the overhead compartment. Pierce stood to offer assistance.

“I’ve got it,” she insisted and hefted the bulk over her head with a grunt.

Pierce stepped back. He was used to strong, independent women. He’d been surrounded by them his whole life. He took no offense that this woman didn’t want his assistance. That didn’t mean he wasn’t a gentleman. He waited to be sure she’d secured the case. Then he waited some more until she was seated.

When she’d finished with her case and stepped into the booth, she stopped in front of her seat and blinked at him. Confusion and then irritation played across the angles of her beautiful face. Her brows rose to her hairline. She tilted her head towards his seat. When he failed to sit down, she motioned with her hand.

Pierce flustered down into his seat, averting his gaze. Had he made a mistake?

Perhaps she wasn’t a wolf? Perhaps she was a witch?

It wouldn’t be the first time he’d mistaken a witch for a wolf. His last encounter with a witch -on a train no less- had led to a wedding. It had nearly been his wedding. Until his older brother, Jackson, had stepped in and claimed Lucia as the mate to his soul. The wolf and witch lived happily in a quaint little cottage in the woods.

With Pierce now in his seat, the woman sat. She crossed those mile long legs. Then she cleared her throat.

Pierce blinked. Then he realized; he’d been staring. That’s when he knew she wasn’t a witch. Had she been one he’d have been under a spell by now.

He looked up to offer a sheepish apology. When his eyes met hers, his breath caught in his throat. Beneath the halo of dark, thick hair she had eyes of the lightest blue. Pierce had seen the ocean of the Arctic. That body of water was a dark, murky swamp compared to the crystals set deep in this woman’s face.

He was a lone wolf, prone to roam. He was also a man with needs. Both man and wolf salivated at this woman before him. He was certain his interest was plain. He heard himself panting. His mouth watered. He brushed his thumb at the corner of his lip to capture the drop of evidence.

In response, the she-wolf closed her eyes and sighed. Her foot tapped an irritated song on the floorboards. She turned her head and focused her attention outside at the scenery.

“This is beautiful countryside,” he tried.

They were now far from Sequoia and nearer to the Mexican border.

“Yes,” she said. She turned her head from the window and produced a book from the bag in her lap. She held the book up in front of her face, blocking him from her beauty.

The terse response indicated that she wasn’t interested in him. It should’ve turned Pierce off. It didn’t. The last thing he wanted was an entanglement. Her disinterest in him would serve him well. If he could flip that disinterest, and by extension her, on its back for the morning.

Pierce rarely went for she-wolves. The hot-blooded females could form attachments with males who were not their mates. It was in their natures.

He saw no bite marks on her collarbone. He scented no other wolf on her skin. Though he noted a male scent; probably human. Wolves played with humans, but they didn’t mate for life. Which meant she likely wasn’t looking for any entanglements herself. If he could just capture her attention, he might spark her interest.

“I hope you don’t mind my saying,” he began, a wolfish smile on his face. “But you have the most beautiful-”

“You know, I’m perfectly fine if we dispense with all the niceties and sit here in companionable silence.” She said it with the most polite, most beatific smile.

That smile made Pierce’s blood pump and his cock harden. He’d give her anything to keep her smiling at him like that. “If that’s what you wish.” “It is.” She aimed the smile pointedly at him.

From his peripheral view, he caught a look at the stupid grin on his face in the glass window. “Then that’s what you’ll have.”

“Thank you.” She pulled the book up, hiding her smile and those eyes, breaking the spell.

With her smile gone, Pierce’s grin turned into a frown. He read the cover of the thick book in her hands; Sheep Health, Husbandry, and Disease. He doubted it was for pleasure reading. Perhaps it was a textbook? Maybe she was a student? Sequoia University was near the train station.

“Are you a student?”

She lowered the book and arrowed those light-colored eyes at him. “I thought we agreed to dispense with the niceties?” She smiled, but the facial expression was tight and full of annoyed patience.

His wolf wanted to poke it with his paw. “I can’t help it. I’m always nice. My mother raised a gentleman.”

Her false facade dropped at the word gentleman. “The only time males are gentlemen,” she practically spat the word, “is when they want to get up a female’s skirt.”

Pierce’s eyes darted to those long legs and the hem of her skirt. By the time he made it back to her face, he knew he was caught. He put on his most winning smile. This smile had gotten him an A in Ms. Peckham’s Chemistry class even after he failed both the midterm and final exams. Fairies fell to their knees at this smile. Hell, even a witch had fallen under the spell of this smile. Pierce launched it at the wolf across from him.

Before he could put forth words, she opened her mouth to speak. Then she swallowed. She rubbed her hand over her flat abdomen. Finally, she lurched forward, vomiting in his lap.

So much for his A game.

Amazon    FB        Twitter      Website

THE MOONKIND SERIES

Kevin Pryslak’s THE *%&# IT LIST w/ giveaway

Bucket Lists are everywhere. Everyone’s always talking about adding things to theirs or being able to mark something off. Not me, no bucket list here and there never will be. Kevin Pryslak shares my opinion of these self induced lil stress lists and has taken it a step further. He’s written THE *%#@ IT LIST. According to Kevin, he wrote THE *%#@ IT LIST because:

I was at my 30 year college reunion and all of my “college friends” were talking about all the things on their bucket lists. Needless to say I thought they were all pretty pathetic. Who really wants to swim in the Ganges in feces? Who wants to go to a nudist colony? I don’t know about you guys but I have nothing there to write home about. Plus they have a new thing called an iPhone! This book is full of things I have no interest in doing and quite frankly you shouldn’t either.

Also, I needed the money!”  

Face it, life is short and who has time to see 1000 places, read 1000 more “classics” or see 1000 movies somebody else deems essential, and all that nonsense? Here is a list of 101 things you should never bother with from the fiendishly clever mind of Kevin Pryslak. The F*ck It List is a hilarious middle-finger salute to all those absurd life goals that will ensure an anxiety-filled middle age will be followed by shame-filled golden years. It pokes a sorely needed pin into a bloated rite of passage that’s ripe for deflation. Do you really need to firewalk or didn’t Oprah and Tony Robbins take care of that for us? Swimming with sharks is a really dumb idea, so let’s leave that with the gullible reality tv desperadoes, shall we? Kevin Pryslak has come up with a “to don’t list” that will have you laughing out loud and leave you with lots more time to do the all the things YOU really want to do!

Chapters include:

  • I’m not going to a nudist colony
  • I’m not going to become a millionaire
  • I’m not getting a coffee enema
  • I’m not getting back in shape
  • I’m not going to start a band
  • I’m not walking the Great Wall of China
  • I’m not going to run for public office
  • I’m not going to quit work

So, where do you stand on Bucket Lists, yay or nay?  Tell us, keeping it PG please, and be entered to win a copy. Winner will be chosen at random on Christmas Eve night (EST).  Please be sure and leave your email in your comment so you can be contacted if you win. Good Luck!

Kevin Pryslak maintains his existence in Brooklyn, NY. When he’s not writing about things that suck, you can find him reviewing delivery dumplings, playing with his two rescue dogs, Stevey and Gilligan, organizing his socks by color and length.