The Billy Battles Saga – Ron Yates #RRBC #RWISA

RRBC and RWISA author, Ron Yates has just released the third and final book of his Billy Battles series and I am honored to host him here today!

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Where in the world is Billy Battles?

As Book Three of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy begins we know where Billy is. He is in Chicago with his wife, the former Baroness Katharina von Schreiber living a sedate and comfortable life after years of adventure and tragedy. That changes with a single telephone call that yanks Billy and Katharina back into a life of turmoil and peril.

Persuaded by a powerful old friend to go undercover for the U.S. government the two find themselves in Mexico during the height of the violent 1910-1920 revolution. There they encounter assorted German spies, Mexican revolutionaries, devious political operatives, and other malefactors. Caught in the middle of the 1914 American invasion of Veracruz, they must find a way out while keeping their real identities secret.

After managing to extract themselves from danger, disaster strikes. It is a tragedy Billy is all too familiar with and one that will send him plummeting into a painful abyss of despair and agony. Consequently, Billy vanishes leaving family and friends to wonder what happened to him. Where is he? Is he dead or alive? What provoked his disappearance? In Book 3 of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy, those questions are answered, and the mystery behind Billy’s disappearance is finally revealed.

PURCHASE LINK: THE LOST YEARS OF BILLY BATTLES

And now a little about the rest of the series

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About the Finding Billy Battles Series

The Finding Billy Battles series tells the story of a man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. In between William Fitzroy Raglan Battles lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression, and redemption. Then, Billy (that’s what his friends call him) mysteriously disappears. For several years his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.

Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him — though he is not to receive them until he is much older.

Years later, the great-grandson reads the journals and fashions a three-volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather’s audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s—including French Indochina and The Philippines—and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. Trouble and tragedy dog Billy his entire life. In each book of the trilogy, we witness Billy’s ability to handle setbacks and misfortune as well as his successes and relationships.

Each chapter in the trilogy blends historical fact with fiction. The chapters are meticulously researched down to the last detail so readers not only find themselves immersed in a compelling story, but are exposed to historical events and real people that make the worlds of the late 19th and early 20th centuries come alive.

Before writing the Finding Billy Battles series, I spent some 27 years as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. During that time I lived and worked in Asia and Latin America, including most of the places in which my books are set. Therefore, descriptions of cities such as Saigon, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Veracruz, etc. are based on my personal experiences and observations.

During that time, I covered several wars, revolutions, and popular uprisings which greatly aided in the descriptions of conflict that arise occasionally in the trilogy.

My purpose in writing the series was to tell a compelling story that, while fiction, is grounded in accurate historical fact. As such, I was careful to use the vernacular of the time and to describe places and events as they were in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

There is no great literary message in the books, other than to demonstrate that many people in the past lived remarkable lives filled with adventure, sadness, struggle, joy, and love just as today. They were not, as so often portrayed in the pallid black and white photographs of the time, stiff, lifeless figures without vivacity and depth.

The Finding Billy Battles series is targeted at readers who enjoy historical fiction topped off with a generous helping of action and adventure. It takes readers to an earlier time devoid of the relentless intrusion of today’s prevailing technology.

People who lived during Billy’s prime were not dominated by and yoked to technology the way so many of us are today. It was a time when the notions of “honor,” “fidelity,” and “duty” were guiding principles in most people’s lives. People were less harried and stressed and more disposed to stop and smell the flowers than their 21st-century counterparts.

If there is one message my books have it is this: Reading a book is a lot like life; you live it one page at a time.

PURCHASE LINK FOR $$ SAVING BUNDLE: BILLY BATTLES TRILOGY BUNDLE

ABOUT RON YATES:

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RONALD E. YATES

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and award-winning Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans the world over who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.

His book, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles,” is the second in his Finding Billy Battles trilogy of novels and was published in June 2016. It has won multiple awards, including the 2017 KCT International Literary Award, the 2017 John E. Weaver Excellent Reads Award for Historical Fiction, the 2016 New Apple Literary Award in the Action/Adventure category and First Place in the 2016 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Literary Category. It was also a finalist for the United Kingdom’s Diamond Book Award. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,was published in 2014 and was a Kansas Book Festival Selection and a finalist for a Chanticleer Laramie Award. Book 3 of the trilogy (The Lost Years of Billy Battles) was published June 6, 2018.

Ron has been a presenting author at the Kansas Book Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, among other venues. He is also the author of The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill. Other books include Aboard the Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey through Japan, a collection of columns translated into Japanese, as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist’s Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a Global Economy.

Before leaving the world of professional journalism where he toiled 25 years, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places.

Ron’s work as a war correspondent resulted in several awards, including the Inter-American Press Association’s Tom Wallace Award for coverage of Central and South America; the Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; three Edward Scott Beck Awards for International Reporting, and three Pulitzer nominations.

He lives in Murrieta, California and is a proud graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.

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Ron Yates’ Amazon Author’s page:

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B001KHDVZI/-/e/B00KQAYMA8/?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

Website: https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/

Blog: https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/category/foreign-correspondent/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jhawker69

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

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RonYates

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/?trk=tab_h

 

 

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Amusement Park – 3

Last week, we left Jennifer on her way back to the amusement park after searching at home for her seven-year-old little sister who had mysteriously disappeared off the roller coaster ride. The owner of the amusement park, Mr. Parker, had recruited the other workers to help search for the little girl. Jennifer is just arriving back at the park. Let’s see if anyone has found Emily yet.

***

The look on Mr. Parker’s face told me they hadn’t found her yet. I shoved the cell phone back in his hand and muttered. “Thanks, Mr. Parker. Emily wasn’t there.”

Mr. Parker narrowed his eyes at me. “Where is your mother, young lady? She should be here.”

I cast my eyes to the ground. “She was out.”

“Well, no matter. Put your thinking cap on. What is Emily’s favorite part of the park?”

“She loves the hall of mirrors. She goes every chance she gets.”

“Then, let’s go look there.”

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I walked alongside the man who had shown nothing but kindness. Tears threatened to spill, and I blinked hard.

“Why do I have a feeling there is something you aren’t telling me, Jennifer?” He asked.

“I don’t know sir.” I picked up the pace and walked a few steps in front of him, reaching the Hall of Mirrors first. I stepped inside and called out. “Emily. Emily Ann, where are you? If you’re hiding you better come out right now or you’re in big trouble.”

The only response was a slight echo. I rushed through, not taking time to glance at my reflection in the mirrors that made Emmy giggle so. I just had to find her.

Mr. Parker’s phone jangled causing me to jump. “Hello,” he said. “Yeah, okay. We’ll be right there.”

“Did someone find her?” I tugged on his arm.

“It was Mickey. He just said to come quickly to the spooky tunnel. Let’s go.”

I didn’t wait for him. I ran as fast as I could through the maze of mirrors out into the fading sunlight and didn’t slow down until I reached the mouth of the darkened tunnel. My stomach turned a thousand summersaults.

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Mickey slouched against the opening of the darkened tunnel.

“Did you find her?”

He passed me his flashlight and motioned inside. I didn’t wait for him or Mr. Parker. I ran screaming. “Emily! Emmy! Where are you?”

“Sh,” A soft voice replied. “You’re gonna scare them.”

I didn’t exhale until I reached Emily. She sat on the ground deep in the tunnel with a tabby mama cat and a passel of kittens on her lap.

“Look, Jen.” She grinned up at me. “Aren’t they adorable? Can we take them home with us? Huh? Can we?”

I wrapped my arms around my little sister and wept into her soft brown hair. “Oh, Emmy. You scared me so bad. Why didn’t you tell me where you were going? We’ve looked all over and now Mr. Parker has had to pay everyone extra to stay and look for you.”

“But, I didn’t have time to tell you.” She stared at me with wide blue eyes. “I had to follow Miss Daisy and she wouldn’t wait. She needed my help.”

The mangy cat blinked her yellow-green eyes at me and meowed as if to confirm everything Emily said.

Tabby

Mr. Parker and Mickey reached us together.

“You gave us quite a scare, young lady,” Mr. Parker said with a deep stern voice.

“I’m sorry.” Emily’s bottom lip quivered. “I just had to help Miss Daisy.”

Mr. Parker replied, “Come on. We need to let the others know and call off the search.”

Emily stubbornly refused to stand up.

“Mr. Parker, you can go. I’ll deal with Emily and these cats.” I couldn’t stand to put him out any more than I already had. “And, sir, you can take out of my wages whatever you need to pay the others for staying.”

He laid a hand on my shoulder. “That won’t be necessary, Jennifer, but you are going to have to leave your little sister at home from now on when you come to work.”

I stared at the ground. “Yes, sir.”

As soon as they were gone, I dropped down beside my sister. “Oh, Emmy, you still don’t know what a problem you made, do you?”

“I didn’t mean to upset you and Mr. Parker. I just had to help Miss Daisy. She came and got me off the roller coaster when it stopped on the big curve.”

I smoothed back her hair. “I understand, but you can’t just disappear like that. If they had called the police, we’d both be in big trouble. You wouldn’t want us to be taken away and put in strange homes, would you?”

Tears welled up in her eyes. “No, Jenny. I wouldn’t want that at all.”

“Then you can’t just be disappearing without telling me, no matter what. Understand?”

Emily nodded and swiped at her nose.

“Well come on, then. We have to go. The park is closed.”

“But what about Miss Daisy and her kittens?”

“I’ll go find a box and we can take them with us. But, we have to go.”

Emily reached for my hand. “Thank you, Jenny.”

The cat meowed again.

What on earth was I going to do with more mouths to feed?

**This is NOT the end. I have lots more problems planned for these two girls. But, now that we’ve found Emily,  I am going to pull it off my blog and turn it into a YA novella. I hope I have enticed you enough with this opening to want to read more about Jennifer and Emily.**

The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Gwen Plano and John Howell

This honest and insightful interview with Gwen Plano and John Howell is so wonderful I had to share! Enjoy!

Author Don Massenzio

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

This week is a two for one special. I’m happy to be interviewing Gwen Plano and John Howell. Gwen and John have just released a book that they co-authored called The Contract. I’m happy to have them both join me in a ‘he said/she said’ type of format.

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Gwen Plano and John Howell:


Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Gwen: This is an interesting question, Don. I write because I am…

View original post 1,576 more words

The Alternative – New Release from S. Burke

It is my honor and pleasure to host this author and her new release! I was lucky enough to be a beta-reader for this collection of short stories and I can tell you they are not only compelling but downright riveting! 

Welcome to Day 3 of my Choose “THE ALTERNATIVE” Blog Tour.

With my grateful thanks to my marvelous host.

Thank you for joining me here.

BOOK COVER

BLURB

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.

They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.

Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.

There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.

Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …

These are their stories.

The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

***

Today I’d like to share with you a glimpse of the story behind one of the stories.

Part of my book blurb reads

“There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.”

This story fits within this premise.

Chapter 2. Human Disinterest.

Within the pages of this particular story is someone I knew and loved. And whilst this is a fictional work, the persona of Jenny Thurston is intensely real.

In the story, Jenny runs a charity organization desperately trying to keep the people that found themselves out on the dark city streets, warm, dry, fed and alive.

Jenny takes up a large television network’s offer to do a feature piece focused on informing the public and making them aware of the circumstances that caused these folks to be out there. She puts up one hell of a fight to protect the unprotected.

My Jenny was barely eight years old when I  met her. I was eleven.  Jenny had the oldest eyes I’ve ever seen. We came from different places, she and I, both of them equally painful and dark.

Jenny spent her entire life fighting cruelty in all of its dark permutations. She inspired me to be stronger, she gave me loving arms without judgment to cling to. She opened her wounded heart to all those in need that she encountered.

She helped me to laugh, and she taught me that I was capable of loving unconditionally.

Jenny lost her ongoing battle with life several years back. She had no fight left in her. She took her own life. It was the only promise she ever made me that she had broken.

I hope I have somehow shared a glimpse of her strength, resilience, frailty and warmth within the pages of this short story.

I miss her still.

Here is a brief extract from the opening of Chapter 2. “Human Disinterest”

Jenny Thurston hung up the phone, then sat in her creaking office chair and gazed longingly up at the brief glimpse of sky visible in the confined space permitted to a two-story building surrounded by towers of concrete and glass.

Brad Levinson hesitated momentarily outside the door, and then he walked heavily, the sound of his intrusive feet deliberately loud to gain his boss’s attention.

“’Sup, Jenny?” he asked.

“I had a phone call, just now. CNN wants to do one of their ‘A Day in the Life of…?’ programs.”

“Wow, Jenny … I mean, hon, that is huge!”

“Oh, it’s huge alright. It’s not a focus on me or our work here they’re after; they want to do a three-part series based on interviews with our street folks. They want me, as the head of Street Angels, to gain them introductions after they have carefully chosen their preference. Jesus, Brad … they don’t give a crap. They just want someone guaranteed to spike the ratings.”

“Well, that would have been a fast conversation. You didn’t threaten them, did you … Jenny?” He looked at her face and found his answer, “Oh, Jenny … not again?”

He was trying hard not to laugh and failed miserably.

“Winter is coming fast, Brad. I don’t have time for this shit. You know we stand to lose a few. The donations always slow down around now.” Jenny smiled and then said, “Anyways, I made them an offer.”

She stood then and stretched her lean frame. “Let’s go over those rosters again for tomorrow night. You know it’s going to get crazy. Friday night and a full moon both at once. I’ll need our most resilient on duty. Can you contact the guys for me, please?”

“Whoa, go back a second, you made them an offer? Please tell me it wasn’t one they couldn’t refuse.”

“Yeah … Don Corleone, I’m not.”

Brad just grinned and said, “Coffee first?”

“Always.”

He laughed again. Jenny was like this most of the time. The other times weren’t so hard to witness, knowing that this Jenny … his Jenny would always come back.

***

Thanks so much for joining in my New Release Promotion. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Again my sincere thanks to my host, and to the great crew at 4 Wills Publishing for organizing my blog tour.

“The Alternative” NOW Available Amazon.com

Author Bio:

Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.

Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.

Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in Kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.

Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke.

Suzanne Burke is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

My Blog

This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

Amusement Park – 3

If you’ve just tuned in for this story, you can find segments 1 and 2 in my archives. I post a new episode every Sunday. This story is a writing exercise for me on two levels. I am writing it in first person (I hardly ever do that) and I am working on ways to make horrible things happen to my characters (which I struggle with.)

Last week, Mr. Parker had rounded up all the employees who were still in the park and organized a search for six-year-old Emily who seems to have disappeared off the roller coaster ride earlier. Her older sister, Jennifer, is panicked. She is responsible for her sister. Let’s head to the amusement park and see what’s going on.

***

I half-listened as Mr. Parker assigned each man a different area of the park to search.

Fear gnawed at my gut. Time was wasting. I had to do something.

Finally, he turned to me. “Jennifer, I know this is not what you want to do, but I need you to check at home and see if Emily might have gone back there. And bring your mother with you when you return.” He shoved a cell phone into my hands. “I’ll call you if we find her.”

I nodded and dashed out the gate. I ran like the wind to our two-story wood-frame house six blocks over. I suppose she could have gotten bored and walked home.

What would I tell Mr. Parker when I returned without our mother? Bitterness arose in my throat. I couldn’t even say the word without feeling angry and sick.

No real mother would take off with some strange man and leave her fourteen and six-year-old daughters to fend for themselves without so much as a fare-you-well. She’d been gone for over six months this time. It didn’t matter much that old lady Jobe lived in the house. At 93, she was blind and almost totally deaf. She depended on me to help her with the smallest of tasks. But, she paid her rent every month and that kept the lights on.

“Oh, Emmy, where are you?” This could get really messy. Attention was the one thing I’d managed to avoid until now. I couldn’t lose Emmy. I just couldn’t, and I wouldn’t let them put us off in some strange foster home.

If nothing else, the woman who called herself my mother had taught me to lie…and lie I would.

I reached the front door out of breath and shoved it open screaming. “Emily! Emily, are you here?”

Old lady Jobe stirred in her chair. I shook her and yelled in her ear. “Have you seen Emily?”

“Huh?” the old lady looked dazed and confused.

“Emily,” I repeated. “Has she been here?”

“I don’t think so, child. What’s wrong?”

It took less than two minutes for me to scour every room in the house. Emily wasn’t there.

Without another word, I ran back to the amusement park. Maybe they’d found her by now.

Oh, if only our papa hadn’t gotten killed. None of this would be happening. Tears flowed as I remembered his strong arms around me in the warmest bear hug. Had it already been two years? Emily barely remembered him. It was after that our mother quit caring about anything or anyone but herself. I didn’t mind that she’d left. I’d been taking care of everything anyway.

From that day forward, it fell on my shoulders to take care of Emily and now I’d failed.

I sprinted through the amusement park gates.

To Be Continued…

 

Gunsmoke and Lace – New Release! Linda Broday

I am sure everyone who is a regular reader of my blog knows Linda Broday is my sister. But, I can tell you in ALL honesty that even if she wasn’t my sister, I’d want to tell you about this collection of short stories!

If you’d like to read the BLURB, click HERE

Gunsmoke and Lace

I figured the best way to tell you about it is to post my 5 star review here.

***

Linda Broday is well-known for the historical romance novels she’s been publishing for two decades. And, now she’s put together a collection of short stories set in the same historical time-period (1800s), in Texas.

The first two stories in the collection carry the same theme. Widows trying to carve out a living in a land that is harsh and unforgiving. Both are desperate, lonely and determined to survive. But that is where the similarities end.

In the first story, a young woman left alone with an infant to care for saves her sanity by tying notes to a scrawny tree. She needs to matter. She needs to let someone know she lived. Imagine her surprise when she finds a note tied to the tree that isn’t hers. With no one for miles around, she is baffled. I won’t spoil this story by telling you who has tied the notes or what happens. I’ll just say that she mattered more than she could imagine.

In the second story, the widow is completely alone with the nearest neighbor six miles away. Angry that her husband died, she has nowhere to go. While she desperately tries to survive the silence and loneliness, she is forced to ward off the unwanted attention of an evil suitor intent on having her. When a man stumbles onto her property carrying his saddle, gun hanging low on his hip, she doesn’t know whether to shoot or hide. I love the plot in this story. The backstory and history make it believable and real.

With the third story, it takes a completely different turn with a bounty hunter just one kill away from gaining his dream, and two small children seeking justice and revenge. The way the story weaves them together is heartwarming and satisfying.

The fourth and final story in this collection brings about a bit of humor when one man short on brains attempts various schemes to hold onto his land that the bank is closing in on. With the help of his lifetime friend, Logan, Wade achieves his goal but in the most unexpected way.

If you like variety, action, romance, and characters that come to life, you’ll love these short stories.

Available in both eBook and Print.

PURCHASE LINK

About Linda Broday:

Linda-outside-200x300

Linda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance.  She has been a “writer in training” her whole life. Many nights long after the house grew dark and everyone else was asleep, she’d lie beneath the covers and read by flashlight until she either reached the end of her book or her eyes got too heavy to see the words.

Cowboys have always fascinated her so it’s no wonder that she loves to write about them and their ladies and the struggles they endure in trying to carve out a small place to call home. It took some awfully tough men and women to settle this great country of ours.

Western romance is her passion. Humble roots and the love of family have become focal points in her stories. She strives to bring characters to life on the printed page.

For more, visit Linda’s Website: https://www.lindabroday.com/

For all of her books, visit her Amazon Author Central Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Broday/e/B001JRXWB2/

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Amusement Park – Part 2

Last week I started a new story and introduced you to a young girl in a panic because she cannot find her little sister. We don’t know much about these two girls yet except they appear to be on their own without parents. The setting is a small amusement park. Let’s check in and they have found Emily.

***

A rough callused hand grabbed my arm. “Hey! Slow down there, girlie. Where’s the fire?” Mr. Simpson had been the grounds caretaker since the amusement park opened, and that must have been at least fifty years ago. He’d always spoken kindly to me. But, right now, I didn’t trust anyone. Rheumy eyes stared down at me.

Rheumy_eyes_at_91

My breath came in ragged gasps. “It’s my little sister, Mr. Simpson. I can’t find her.”

“There, there.” He patted the top of my head. “She has to be here somewhere. Maybe she fell asleep.”

“I’m afraid something happened to her. Maybe she fell out of a ride and hit her head or what if someone took her?” I choked back tears.

“No need to think the worst, Jenny girl. Let’s go talk to Mr. Parker.”

I nodded.

“Come on now,” he prodded me. “Runnin’ around here helter skelter ain’t gonna do you or her any good.”

The old man moved like cold molasses and I resisted the urge to scream. Time was wasting. My gut told me Emmy was in trouble. I always trusted my gut.

But, I matched my steps with his shuffling feet while my eyes darted right and left looking for any tell-tale sign of Emmy.

We finally reached the office and I rushed inside. Cool air relieved my flushed face.

Mr. Parker sat behind his computer pinching the bridge of his nose. He looked up with kindly blue eyes. “What is it, Jennifer? Is something wrong.”

“Oh, Mr. Parker,” I blurted. “I brought Emily to work with me today and kept an eye on her until right before closing when it got busy. Now I can find her anywhere.” I brushed tears away with the back of my hand.

He pushed his chair back and stood. “Otis, who’s still here?”

“I saw Darren, Tom, Mickey, and Bart a few minutes ago,” Mr. Simpson replied.

“Go gather them up. No one leaves until we find the girl.”

Mr. Simpson nodded and shuffled away.

“Don’t worry, honey. ”  Mr. Parker put a hand on my shoulder and steered me toward the door. “Now, where was the last place anyone saw her?”

I quickly told him everything I knew.

“No one goes home today until we find her,” he declared. “We’ll search every inch of this place.”

Nothing would stop my heart from pounding until we found Emmy safe and sound. I’d never considered any of the guys that worked there dangerous or possibly pedophiles.

Had I been wrong? What had I done to jeopardize the only blood kin I had left in the world? Oh, God! What had I let happen to Emmy?

Cusp of Night – New Release from Mae Clair

Hi, Jan! Many thanks for inviting me to your blog today. I have a new release I’m thoroughly jazzed to share with your readers. Cusp of Night is a mystery/suspense novel that weaves timelines of the present with those of the past. Dual timelines are becoming trendy in fiction today, a pattern I’m more than happy to embrace. As a reader I’m thoroughly besotted by the idea. As a writer, I found it challenging to undertake.

Writing a book with dual timelines means you’re not telling one tale, but two. That means two sets of characters and two plots.

In Cusp of Night I have a mystery involving an assault and a mysterious “creature” set in modern day. Running parallel to that story is another tied to a murderous creature and the Spiritualist movement of the late 1800s. Both mysteries have to dovetail into a tidy bow at the end.

Challenging? Yes! Enjoyable? Thoroughly!

I had a blast working on this novel and can’t wait for readers to discover it. My lead character in the present is Maya Sinclair, a woman who has recently relocated to the town of Hode’s Hill to accept a job as a reference librarian. Maya is readjusting to life after a near fatal accident that left her clinically dead for the span of two minutes and twenty-two seconds.

In the past, Lucy Strick, and aerialist in a seedy carnival is eking out a living, when a strange enigmatic man offers a proposal. This short excerpt—which sets the tone for her future—is the moment when they meet:

Vintage circus poster advertising a performance by the "amazing Blue Lady" of the air

May 1, 1897

“Hello. Have I come at a bad time?” A tall, thin man strode into Lucy Strick’s tent as if he were an invited guest.

“Who the hell are you?” She lurched from the stool in front of her small dressing table, knocking a pot of face paint to the floor. Damn. Where was Burt? The roughy was supposed to keep cretins away. May Day always brought a good take for the circus, but seedy folk showed up right along with the local farmers. Sodbusters, she could handle. Rubes in colors as drab as the earth they plowed, slow and simple as mules.

This man didn’t look anything like them—or the lechers who thought the entrance fee to her aerial act bought a free grope on the side. Put her visitor in an audience and he’d stand out like a sleek crow in a flock of cowbirds. Fancy frock coat, weathered face, hair and eyes as black as the coal her brothers dug from the Blind Boy Mine. Odd sort. He might have been as old as her pap or as young as Anton, the Strongman.

“You ain’t answered me.” She hadn’t liked people staring at her when she was a kid and wouldn’t tolerate it now. She wasn’t a freak, no matter what her kinfolk said. “Who are you?”

He didn’t hesitate. “A man who finds you extraordinary.”

“That so?” She snorted. Indelicately. “Well, that uppity accent don’t impress me none, so you best skedaddle ’fore I holler for Burt and have him bend you fifty ways backward. I ain’t unarmed, you know.” She groped through the silks, feathers, and tinted creams on her dressing table. “I got a knife.”

“I don’t. I’m not armed, dear lady.”

“Lady?” She’d never heard the word attached to the likes of her. Charmed, she shoved a curtain of black hair from her shoulder and eyed him openly. “You got a strange way of talking. I bet you’re a snoop, huh? This ain’t no fleece or racket joint, mister. Oliver’s Emporium and Traveling Show is on the up-and-up. Just ’cause we pull up stakes after a spell don’t mean—”

“You’re wasted here.”

She clamped her mouth shut. Even soaring through the air, the ground a death trap below, she remained in control. But this man threw her off balance with his bold comments. Dumb slug. Didn’t he realize what she was? Didn’t he have eyes?

“There ain’t nowheres else for me.” She’d known the truth every time her ma held her down and scrubbed her skin till it bled. Every time her pap cuffed her and called her Hades-spawned. When she was twelve, a preacher slathered her in whitewash while her pap watched stonily and her ma prayed for her deliverance. Lucy had run off that same night, stumbling over Ollie’s traveling circus two days later. She’d never regretted her decision in the eight years she’d called the carnival home.

Raising her chin, she stood her ground. “Ollie takes good care of me.”

“Yes. It must be gratifying to go from backwater town to backwater town, eking out a meager existence.” The man’s voice lowered, his cultured accent crisp with reproach. “Do you enjoy the way men leer at you? The barbs women toss behind your back, labeling you devil-witch and daughter of demons?”

Lucy stiffened. Pious folk were the worst. Hiding behind crosses and Bibles, as if the Good Lord loved her any less because of her appearance. Maybe Ollie traded on her unusual looks, but he treated her like family. Far more than her own blood kin.

“You need to leave.” She hated being reminded of what she was.

The man’s expression softened. “Child, I don’t see you as any of the ignoble names you have been called. I see you as special. Do not be ashamed of your exotic beauty.” Looming over her, he turned her fingers toward the light. The kindness in his voice almost made her believe she was attractive.

Until she looked at her hand and saw the same damning color that covered every inch of her body—blue.

Tears threatened her eyes. Crying was a weakness she hadn’t embraced in years.

“I see the pain on your face.” The man tightened his long fingers around her hand. “Memories of cruel taunts and unjust words. Leave here with me, and you will never be ashamed of your lovely blue skin again.”

Oh, to believe!

She stared into his eyes. There was something hypnotic about his gaze, the rich timbre of his voice. Even his touch spoke to her, his palm not smooth as she’d expected, but lined with callouses earned by a life on the road. “Who are you? What do you want?”

He smiled, his eyes flashing with lightning and promise.

“My name is Simon Glass. I want to make you famous.”

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae Cllair
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Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

Release date is June 12th
PRE-ORDER FROM ANY MAJOR BOOKSELLER HERE

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links

bio box for author, Mae Clair

 

The Contract by John Howell & Gwen Plano #RRBC #RWISA

It is such an honor to tell you about this new book co-written by fellow RRBC and RWISA members, John Howell and Gwen Plano! Pick up a copy today. I promise you will enjoy it.

The CONTRACT between heaven and earth

By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

Thank you, Jan, for inviting us to join you today. We are honored and grateful to be featured on your blog where you have such good writing and music.

The Contract

 

Available on Kindle and Paperback

Kindle priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

The CONTRACT is a different story for writers John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano. For either of them, it is their first attempt at co-authorship. After a year of Hurricane Harvey and other challenges, they have created, what they have termed, an inspirational thriller that bridges heaven and earth.

Here is the blurb:

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.

Trailer

Here is an excerpt.

When they stepped out into the brisk air, Brad wrapped his arm around Sarah and pulled her close. “Will you be warm enough? I have a jacket in the car.”

Sarah didn’t know how to respond. With his arm around her, she felt warm—in fact, a bit more than just warm. Maybe I should accept his jacket, but I don’t want to wear it and give up his arm.

“Sarah?”

“I just thought that it had been a while since a gentleman had his arm around me.” I can’t believe I just said that.

Brad turned to face her, his hands now around her waist, “I hope you like being held close.”

Sarah nodded, her eyes welling. Brad leaned and offered a first kiss. Sarah felt fifteen again, swept off her feet by prince charming.

“If I keep my arm around you, will you be warm enough?”

Sarah beamed. He had reframed his question, and she nodded yes.

Brad smiled. “I thought so.”

Under a street lamp busy with swarming intruders, Brad drew Sarah close, and with tenderness, kissed her. When she relaxed into his arms, Brad took a deep breath in, and his eyes shone wetly as he exhaled. Was he falling in love with her too? It seemed that neither of them wanted the moment to end. Sarah savored Brad’s warmth and strength. It felt so right, so natural, as though he and she had been lovers in times past. This is where I belong, she thought, in his arms.

Authors Bio.

John Howell Head shotGwen's headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The last, Circumstances of Childhood is a family life thriller story and launched October 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Gwen had a lengthy career in higher education, and it was there that she published her first book, Beyond Boundaries, for students interested in volunteer work in developing countries. After she retired, she wrote her award-winning memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love.

Gwen lives in Branson, Missouri with her husband.

Gwen’s books.

Available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2wdXsrn

Both John and Gwen are members of the prestigious RAVE WRITERS INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS and THE RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Amusement Park – Part 1

Pixieland-Amusement-Park-Entrance

“Emily!” I yelled. “Emmy! It’s time to go home. Come on out wherever you are. The game’s over.”

She must be playing hide-and-seek with me like she did the other day in the grocery store. My patience was growing thin. I knew I shouldn’t have let her talk me into bringing her with me today. But, she begged and pleaded and said how much she hated staying with old lady Jobe on Saturdays while I tried to earn enough money to feed us.

Mr. Parker, the owner of Pixieland amusement park, had been generous enough to give me a job, even knowing I wasn’t old enough to work. Truth be told, I’m sure he felt sorry for me. Such a young girl on her own trying to take care of her little sister.

“Emmy! Where are you?” I looked under the empty chairs on the tilt-a-whirl then moved on to the carousel, sure she was hiding behind one of the horses or benches. She’d jump out any minute and yell “boo!” Then she’d giggle and I’d reprimand her for hiding and scaring me.

Sweat trickled down the back of my neck and my stomach growled. Funny how the atmosphere of the park changed when all the laughter from children was gone. I shivered in spite of the heat. Where was she? This game wasn’t funny anymore.

“Tom, have you seen my little sister anywhere?”

Tom methodically wiped down the safety bars on the rollercoaster. He was an odd man, tall and thin with a full beard and black mustache that curled at the sides of his mouth. He had a habit of chewing on it. Mr. Parker seemed to collect strays.

He never looked up. “Saw her get on the roller coaster.”

“Okay,” I said. “Did you see where she went when she got off?”

“Nope.” He paused and sprayed Lysol on a rag. “Didn’t get off.”

My heart pounded. “What do you mean she didn’t get off? She’s only six years old. She couldn’t just jump off. Are you sure she got on it?”

Tom nodded. “Yep. I’m sure. Wasn’t on it when it came back around.”

My hands shook. “And you didn’t bother to say anything to me? She could be hurt or…”

I couldn’t even say the words.

I took off running. The soles of my shoes pounded against the planks beside the Wooden Warrior keeping rhythm with my heart. “Emily,” I screamed. “Emmy! Where are you?”

wooden-warrior-roller

Thanks for tuning for the first episode of “Amusement Park.” I’ll put up a new segment every Sunday.