The Color of Pain

 

Contemporary Fiction
Date Published:  March 2016
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As a small boy, Alex becomes ensnared in the schemes of his mother, Cathlean, as she seeks to entrap a white British soldier, John, and “marry up” to improve her status in life. Her plan comes to fruition when John becomes obsessed with his black wife, marries her, then takes her and her son away from her native country of Belize to live in England. Cathlean becomes the society woman in England but begs her husband to return to Belize so she can show off her new status to her friends and fellow “good-time” girls. They return ten years later, but an unhappy Alex seeks solace in the arms of Sherrette. They fall head over heels but soon find their own problems as fast-paced revelations affect their fragile relationship. Told in a first-person view of life in Dangriga, Belize, young Alex’s story reflects on the color of his pain as he seems to bear the brunt of Cathlean’s selfish brand of pain that she calls love.
Excerpt

 

Prologue
Present-Day Dangríga
Stann Creek District

Belize, Central America

Friday night, and the plain pine coffin stood on three unpainted sawhorses in the middle of the floor. Mourners murmured among themselves as they gathered under the white tent and stood directly in front of the coffin looking down at the almost angelic face of the deceased. A copper penny had been placed on top of each of the deceased’s eyelids in true Garífuna fashion. The toes of the new white socks had been attached together with a shiny safety pin; that too was a Garífuna tradition, origin unknown. The copper pennies were vaguely representative of the “toll” that the dead would have to pay to get a pass from Saint Peter into heaven. Yes, you couldn’t always tell, but Garífunas, one of which the deceased was, believed in heaven, hell, and an afterlife.

Sure, they dabbled in Obeah, the Belizean-African system of spells, hexes curses, and magic, and they regularly participated in Dugú, a voodoo-like healing ritual, in the Dabúyabah (Temple) to appease the spirits, but they wanted to make absolutely sure the deceased paid their way into heaven. They, functioning in the shadowy, dual world of Christianity and spiritualism, wanted to make sure that all bases were covered, just in case the deceased needed help to get to meet their maker.

Directly to the right of the coffin sat a woman in a wheelchair, a tragic figure, her head bent and sobbing or at times wailing and cursing at God, blaming him for the loss of the deceased. An average, nondescript gentleman stood awkwardly behind her, talking soothingly to her, rubbing her shoulders and back, trying in vain to comfort her.
Another male, this one a stranger, stood near the inside entrance of the tent, shuffling from one foot to the other, twisting a beat-up brown fedora between gnarled hands. He seemed ill at ease, reeking of marijuana and rum; he too was sobbing pitifully. Some people whispered to each other, wondering who he was, what his connection to the deceased was, and why he was there, but nobody was brave enough to ask him. The few who knew who he was would not satisfy the curiosity of those clueless to his identity.
To complete the tableau of mourners, near the front, just to the left of the coffin, was a young girl of about fifteen or sixteen years of age, beautiful but clearly wracked with sorrow, with head bowed as she shrieked in agony. You could tell from looking at her that she was hugely pregnant, like she was about eight and a half months along. Many of those present wondered whether she would last through the funeral or if she would have to be rushed to the hospital even before the night was over. She was quite literally “ready to pop” and deliver her baby, but some were reassured because they saw that Mamma Graciela, the local midwife known for her magic fingers and calm demeanor, even in breech-birth situations, was in the crowd. They were confident that she would be able to handle things or whatever complications would arise.
A local band kept a lively flow of Punta music and other favorites going; people were nodding their heads and shaking their bodies to the sounds, even the non-Garífunas: Kriols, Indians, Spanish, or gi-yows as they were called. Papa Deuce had his card table set up in a corner and was doing a brisk business at four different tables at a dollar buy-in; one table was dedicated to the dice game “under or over,” the second to five-card Pitty Pat, the third to checkers, and the fourth to a cutthroat game of dominoes, or “bones.” The domino table drew the largest crowd as gleeful players loudly yelled “Domino!” as they slapped winning tiles to the appropriate end of the domino board.The louder the slap at the placing of that final tile, the more in-your face the win and temporary bragging rights until that winner was taken down by the next challenger, and so on. Marty, the most recent winner, taunted Louis as he slammed the winning domino tile down.
About the Author
MELISA E. ARNOLD was born in Dangriga, Belize, Central America, and has been writing stories since she was a young girl. Her family says she always created stories and always won essay-writing competitions in school. She is a thrice-published poet but has always felt that she had at least “one great novel” in her that needed to be written. This book is the result of her collaboration with fellow Belizean expatriate Alexander Cassanova, with whom she discovered she had much in common as they make their way in their new country of residence, the United States of America. Ms. Arnold resides in Los Angeles, California.
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Echo

Echo
Nana Malone
(The Player #3)
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

Money, power, prestige…freedom. Echo Coulter is—The Player.

You are a Coulter. You will be perfect. That’s what Echo has been told every day of her life. As the only girl in the Coulter clan, she knows it’s her job to be the glue of the family. But with the Olympics looming, the last thing she wants is to follow the rules. She wants to break free, and she knows just the guy to help her.

Cole Atkins has no interest in spoiled little rich girls. Besides, he’s got the job of a lifetime and just met the girl of his dreams…That is, until she ditches him under the cover of darkness. He can put her out of his head and deal with a spoiled princess for a couple of months right?

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EXCERPT:

He knew where his mind should be. But that didn’t matter because right now it was filled with her, and how the scent of her clung to his skin. Someone that was supposed to be a one-night stand had somehow burrowed her way into his mind. Fine, whatever. He’d figure it out. He could find her again. How hard could it be?

Pulling on a pair of boxers, he looked around his apartment for any trace of her, but found nothing. No excuse to look her up to return something she forgot. If he wanted to see her again, he’d have to find her. And he was surprised by how strong that impulse was.

He’d hooked up a lot, but he’d never had a one-night stand that had gone quite like that. But then, he rarely woke during the night, and so he’d never taken the time to talk, like he had with Cece. Or maybe they’d overshared. He wondered if that was what had run her off so easily. He shook his head to force the thought aside. Not with what had happened between them after their little talk. He wouldn’t believe that they’d been able to connect so strongly physically, if the personal things they shared were what had made her run.

He’d never felt a connection like that before. Maybe her friend had dropped digits. If he couldn’t find her, that was it, he’d let it go. But he at least had to try.

 

Author Bio:

USA Today Best Seller, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she “borrowed” from her cousin.

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Want to know when the next book is coming? Hit up her Newsletter here. You’ll only get updated when there is a new release or a special promotion for her Sexy, Sassy Readers. http://eepurl.com/2PeXb

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Purgatory Reign

 


PURGATORY REIGN

Purgatory Reign
Book One
LM Preston
Genre: YA, Romance, Paranormal,
Adventure, Mystery
Publisher: Phenomenal One Press
Date of Publication:  02/16/2013
ISBN: 9780985025144
ASIN: B01N6ZTBNX
Number of pages: 307
Word Count:  79K
Cover Artist: Emma Michaels
Tagline: Something evil this way comes, unfortunately for it Peter Saints awaits.
Book Description:
Peter Saints’ life stinks. But things are about to get much worse. First, his parents are murdered in front of him. Then another victim dies in his arms. Visions plague Peter with warnings that something wants him for a sinister cause. It desires the one thing that Peter refuses to give, his blood.
Peter carries within him the one gift or curse that could unlock a secret to destroy the human race. On the run with Angel, a scruffy kid, Peter starts to unravel the mystery. It is the one treasure the heavens sought to hide from the world.
Unfortunately, when Peter finds the answer he hopes that will save the girl he loves, he opens the door to a great evil that happens to be salivating to meet him.
Purgatory Reign is Book 1 in the series including Deviant Storm, Fierce Tides and Kindle World novella Colliding Souls from Runes World.
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DEVIANT STORM

Purgatory Reign
Book Two
LM Preston
Genre: YA, Romance, Paranormal,
Adventure, Mystery
Publisher: Phenomenal One Press
Date of Publication:  02/16/2013
ISBN: 9780996919500
ASIN: B016NU9CWC
Number of pages: 252
Word Count:  68K
Formats available: ebook
Cover Artist: Emma Michaels
Tagline: Something evil this way comes, unfortunately for it Peter Saints awaits.
Book Description:
The battle is on. Peter Saints thought he’d killed It. But bad people never stay down. Now the jail of his enemy is weakening. Luck is running out for Peter and the girl he saved by wagering the Earth. Only now, with each second and secret revealed, his enemy gains the answers to destroy Peter and devour the world.
Expect FIERCE TIDES (Book 3 of 3) in Dec. 2017 and COLLIDING SOULS (Character Spin off: April 2017)
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About the Author:
LM. Preston was born and raised in Washington, DC. An avid reader, she loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl. With a thirst for knowledge she attended college at Bowie State University, and worked in the IT field as a Techie and Educator for over sixteen years. She started writing science fiction under the encouragement of her husband who was a Sci-Fi buff and her four kids. They inspired the beginning of her obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds. She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing.

 

 

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Worthy of This Great City

COVER
 

 Literary / Satire

Date Published: October 2016

 Publisher: JAM Publishing

Ruth Askew, a minor celebrity, is spouting some highly incompetent philosophy about the end of virtue. Con Manos, a journalist, is attempting to uncover a political scandal or two. Add some undistinguished members of City Council, an easy listening radio station, a disorganized charity, a prestigious Philadelphia newspaper, and any number of lawyers and other professional criminals. In Worthy Of This Great City the compelling stories of two stubborn individualists intertwine in a brisk, scathing satire that invites you to question everything you think you think about today’s most discussed issues: populism and elitism, the possibility of truth, the reach of profound stupidity, and the limits of personal responsibility in these post-truth, morally uncertain times.

 

Review

This novel had a lot of things going on. You are following multiple people with multiple agendas. Then they are connected and you have that aspect of the story as well.
I enjoyed the writing and how Mike Miller bounced from each of these. Things can easily convoluted and I never felt lost.
There are many issues discussed in this novel and you will most likely not agree with everything. You need to have an open mind and allow yourself to think about the things taking place.
I found it enlightening and informative without being preachy.
About the Author
If you know my website and Twitter addresses (asmikemiller.com and asmikemiller, respectively), you must realize Mike Miller is only an author name. It’s not a matter of privacy
or secrecy; anybody can find me with minimal effort. It’s about keeping things separate. My writing is about what appears on the page. It’s not about my personal politics or religion or history.
Worthy Of This Great City is a B-game book. I’m ambiguous about this, being interested in money like most people, but I don’t want to compete with a slick professional cover or smooth editing so I’ve stuck to a sort of reasonable, human middle ground. I value those things for what they are, of course, but I see them as artifacts, part of a system of publishing that fought like hell for a week’s worth of shelf space, that fought to catch the eye, not the mind or heart.
As my character Con Manos says: “It’s a revolution, isn’t it?” I say: Why fight on the side of the enemy? Why imitate and thus perpetuate a business model that stifles originality? Just to show you can? Unless, of course, you’re fighting to attract the eye, not the mind or heart.
I’ve played a joke with this novel – my first, incidentally. Played with the idea of narration and who can be speaking after all. It’s all very literary.

 

Contact Information

Website: asmikemiller.com

Twitter: @asmikemiller

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The Supernatural Pet Sitter

The Supernatural Pet Sitter
Diane Moat
(The Magic Thief, #1)
Publication date: March 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Middle-Grade

Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen.

Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others.

Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.

In order to protect the animal’s magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.

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EXCERPT:

Familiars don’t do well when they are separated from their witches. That was how Pepper got into the business of pet sitting. Gnomes have a low-level connection with all supernatural animals. Gnomes are kind of like the Dog Whisperer, except that they communicate well with Familiars, basilisks (a magical lizard), unicorns and so on, rather than the more usual “pets”.

Pepper’s business of helping witches by taking care of their Familiars had boomed over the past year. Thank goodness she wasn’t sitting for the McCrorys last month when “it” happened.

Mr. McCrory was an accountant and Mrs. McCrory worked part-time at the downtown Dewitt Mall. Their two kids lived away at college. Mrs. M’s Familiar was a huge, bright-green-and-blue parrot named Frank. Pepper had only checked on the parrot once when the McCrorys drove their kids to their out-of-state campus several months earlier. Frank didn’t cause any trouble, so the job was easy money.

Supposedly, Mrs. M was at work one day last month when she had a “bad feeling” that prompted her to go home to check on Frank. The house seemed undisturbed, and everything looked fine at first. But when Mrs. M went to Frank’s cage, she found him looking away from her. He wouldn’t even turn around when she called his name. When she walked around the cage to greet Frank face-to-face, he had only ducked and bobbed his head the way a normal parrot would. But Frank wasn’t normal.

Next, Mrs. M had reached out to the Familiar with her magic, but got no response from him. Not only that, but she said she had trouble focusing, and even her own magic had felt weak. With hands trembling, she had picked up Frank to try again. Nothing. Since that day, Frank’s magic was gone, and Mrs. M’s magic was broken.


Author Bio:

Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. Dog Gone is her debut novel, born from years of hearing animal rescuers say about animal abusers, “If only I could get my hands on that person…” Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.

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Turn Tables

Turn Tables
Stacey Rourke
Publication date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness—one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

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EXCERPT:

Perched on the balls of my feet, I wriggled my skirt farther down my thighs and mentally scolded myself for not dressing for this covert operation. “Can you hear anything?”

Squatted beside me, Aubrey blew a stray lock of hair—which had slipped free from her messy bun—out of her face. “Nothing over the flapping wings of my last shred of dignity fluttering away.”

“Stop complaining.” Brushing mulch from my palms, I peeked over the three-foot shrub in hopes of getting a glimpse of Matthew and Greta. Lurking around the castle made it easy to listen in on them undetected … until they wandered into the hedge maze. Our only logical plan—and I’m playing it fast and loose on the use of that word—was to follow them in and crouch out of sight. “As my best friend, you are required to love me and commit senseless acts alongside me in support of my lunacy. It was in the fine print of our friendship clause.”

Shifting her weight from one foot to the other, Aubrey tried to find a more comfortable way to maintain her hunkered posture. “I’m kneeling in foliage and lack the know-how to pick poison ivy out of a lineup of daisies. I think we need to take a second to appreciate the level of love actually happening here.”

“Shh!” I stabbed my finger to her lips to hush her, only to have her swat my hand away. “They’re coming this way! Go! Around that bend! Go-go-go-go!”

“Working the quads, and the bum,” Aubrey quietly coached herself, leading us in a duck-waddle to a more concealed spot. “You know, if they had one of those tall mazes like in The Shining we could stroll around at a leisurely pace. What we have here is a lack of proper shrubbery.”

Talk less and shuffle faster!” I goaded in an urgent hiss, Mateo’s voice swelling behind me.

Exactly what he was saying couldn’t be deciphered over the crunches of twigs and bark under our hurried steps. Toddling around the corner, I slammed into Aubrey’s back when she came to an abrupt stop.

Rocking back and forth, she turned to face me, alarm stitching her eyebrows tight to her hairline. “It’s a dead-end!”

“What do you mean dead-end? Find a way out!

“I don’t think you’re understanding the concept of a dead-end. There is no way out.”

Shoving my way around her, I wobbled on cramping legs to investigate for myself. I pressed my palms into the manicured greenery, ignoring the branches scratching against my skin in my desperate search for a hidden passage. “Why would they block the exit?”

“Because it’s a maze?” Aubrey offered, glancing over her shoulder at the lighthearted lilt of Greta’s laughter riding in on a breeze.

Spinning around as fast as I could totter, I grabbed her hand in both of mine and squeezed hard enough to make her wince. “They can’t find us here! I am not meeting the possible future Mrs. Greta Cruz Queen of the World after popping out of a bush like a friggin’ jack-in-the-box!”

Aubrey pressed her lips into a thin line, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a giggle. “There’s a chance you’re overreacting.”

“Wh-what? I-I—” I stammered in full huff.

“Well said,” Aubrey replied with a sympathetic nod, keeping her tone calm and soothing. “If I may offer a counter point? These hedges are literally the height of a toddler. I could stand up, and find us a way out.”

“No!” Pulling her hand down to the ground, I rooted it there with me. “They can’t find us here! Please, don’t let them find us!

“I think you’re confusing me with your other best friend that can harness the power of invisibility.”

 

Author Bio:

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel

Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012

Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013

Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015

Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

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Working For the Billionaires

Working for The Billionaires Club
Sky Corgan
Publication date: August 16th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Now enlisting volunteers! Looking for ten super-rich men willing to please some lucky ladies for a good cause.

Requirements: You must make at least a billion dollars annually. You must be hot as hell. You must be a stud in the bedroom.

Job duties: Treat our clients like the queens they are. Fulfill their every fantasy while they enjoy their stay at our state of the art resort. You’ll have access to all of our amenities and fantasy rooms so that you can create the best experience for our clients.

The Billionaires Club is a non-profit organization. Clients pay good money for your time, and all proceeds go to a charity of their choice.

Do something great for your community and have some fun in the process. Join The Billionaires Club!

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On sale from 03/15 – 03/21 only!

EXCERPT:

“I wouldn’t trade you for any woman in the world, Raven.” He clutches my hand tightly before pressing it over his chest. “You are my heart. I love you, and I’d never do anything to fuck things up between us again.”

I smile, letting my guard down. “You’re a really good guy sometimes, you know.”

“I’m a really good guy for you. I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me.”

“You’re a really good guy. Don’t pretend to be an asshole.” I tap my fingers over his heart.

He draws me to him, and I rest my head on his chest, listening to the rhythmic sound of his heartbeat. “I would kill any man who ever tried to touch you. You are mine.”

“I am yours,” I reply, dropping my walls and allowing myself to feel for him.

 

Author Bio:

Sky Corgan is a USA Today Best-Selling author. When she’s not typing away at the next steamy romance series, she’s busy planning for future vacations.

You can get a FREE Sky Corgan book and stay up to date on her latest releases by signing up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/v0PwX

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