Friday, November 30, 2018

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Mourning Dove Mysteries, Book 2
Mystery
Date Published: October 19, 2018
Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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Emory Rome is back in DEATH OPENS A WINDOW, Book 2 of the Mourning Dove Mysteries and the follow-up to the national bestseller MURDER ON THE LAKE OF FIRE.

As he struggles with the consequences of his last case, Emory must unravel the inexplicable death of a federal employee in a Knoxville high-rise. But while the reticent investigator is mired in a deep pool of suspects - from an old mountain witch to the powerful Tennessee Valley Authority - he misses a greater danger creeping from the shadows. The man in the ski mask returns to reveal himself, and the shocking crime of someone close is unearthed.



About the Author

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Bestselling mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson draws on his Southern roots for the Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee. Building on the success of the first book in the series, Wilson continues his “no guns or knives” philosophy for murder as he delves deeper into the lives of the characters and their evolving dynamics.




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Short Excerpt from Death Opens a Window

AT THIRTY-TWO STORIES, the Godfrey Tower jutted from the Knoxville skyline like a shark fin in the Tennessee River. Unseen through the frameless exterior walls of silvery, reflective glass, a young woman on the twenty-ninth floor sat with a phone held to her ear, pretending to be on a business call as she stared out the floor-to-ceiling window behind her desk. While her colleagues busied themselves on phones or computers at the dozens of cubicles throughout the large, open office space, Angie was not contributing to the organization’s productivity.
If she had looked down and across the street, the attractive brunette would’ve seen the unremarkable roof of the area’s next-tallest building fourteen floors below her. Instead she focused on the unobstructed view of downtown and the hazy, snow-peaked mountains beyond. She imagined herself hiking below the snowline with her new lumbersexual boyfriend and lying with him on a blanket before a tantric campfire. Angie could almost hear the crackling wood, until she realized the sound was coming from behind her.
She turned her chair around to see her boss tapping her desk with his pen. The hoary goat of a man stared her down, his pinched eyes straining to scold her through spotted glasses. “You’re having a rather one-sided conversation.”
Angie held up a silencing finger to her boss and made up something to say to her imaginary caller. “Thank you so much for your feedback, Mr. Watkins. We always appreciate hearing about good customer service, and I’ll be sure to pass along your kudos. Okay. Take care now.” She hung up the phone and greeted her boss with a smile. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t hear what you said.” She mimed a talking mouth with her hand. “He was talking my ear off.”
Mr. Ramsey, however, did not return her smile. In fact, a look of horror sprinted across his face as something behind her snatched his attention. Before Angie could turn around to see what it was, she heard a great shattering, followed by the pelting of glass on her back and right cheek.
A dark-haired man in a brown suit flew through the window headfirst and thudded face-up onto the floor beside her. The impact against the man’s back shoved the air from his lungs. He gurgled as he struggled to regain his breath – although no one could hear it over the screams of Angie and several of her co-workers. Shards of glass protruded from his head and neck, one at the base of an erratic fountain of blood that sprang from his carotid artery.
Angie, now shocked into silence, tore her eyes from the dying man and toward the broken window through which she had daydreamed just a moment earlier. Oblivious to the blood trickling from the small cuts on her own face, she took a step toward the large hole the man’s body had punched into the glass wall. She poked her head outside and looked all around.
Her boss grabbed her and pulled her away from the precarious opening. “Angie, what are you doing? It’s not safe!”
The young woman turned a confused face to him. “Where did he come from?”

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Review of AHS: Apocalypse-Is Hollywood taking God out of the Bible?

This year's American Horror Story theme was Apocalypse.  The season began with a nuclear war which leveled out the entire world.  The billionaires retreated to their underground bunkers.  Satan's son eventually showed up to each of the bunkers also called outposts.  As he gained power, a coven of witches with varying powers figured out ways to stop him and then SPOILER ALERT reversed the world back to its pre-nuclear ways.

My Review:  This season had less gore and more story line than previous seasons.  I really enjoyed most of the episodes.  They were entertaining and even funny.  For example, Sandra Bernhardt took the role of a priestess at a Satanic church.  She belittled her congregation at their silly evil deeds and then had a sacrifice for two do-gooders, a social worker and a doctor without borders.  There were many other laughs from other cast members as well.  One of the witches, Madison Montgomery, had the special power of counting the calories and gluten in food.  Another witch, Emma Roberts, was cast down to her personal hell of working at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  Stevie Nicks even made an appearance (and boy does she look amazing!) as a witch and sang Gyspy.

With all of the good things this season had, it still missed the mark of excellence.  I couldn't believe that the producers and writers would tackle the Apocalypse without Jesus or God.  They made biblical references, had an anti-Christ, and even mentioned the signs of the Tribulation, but no God.  At the very least, they could have had the witches be angels working for the Lord.  An effort to give God is proper credit in this story would have made it legitimate.  But then I got to thinking...is this another one of the many examples of how Hollywood wants to kick God out of our American culture?  I've seen it with the most recent Moses movie and then with the Noah movie, both times rewriting the Bible and trivializing God.  Is American Horror Story in cahoots with bringing down Christianity?  Leave a comment.  Love to know your thoughts.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

RABT Presents: Don't Expect Me to Cry by Janet Bentley

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Non-Fiction / Memoir
Date Published: October 24, 2018
Publisher: MBK Enterprises LLC / Spotlight Publishing

Don’t Expect Me To Cry is a powerful story of the horrors Janet experienced at the hands of multiple abusers, including her father, and her courageous journey to a life that is inspirational to other survivors.

Janet’s resilience is evident as she tells her story in three parts, reflecting her thoughts and experiences at critical stages of her life.

Don’t Expect Me To Cry - Starting with a child’s view of shocking abuse, Janet shares how she had to build defenses to survive the impact of the horrors of her childhood.

Don’t Expect Me To Lie – Continuing with her journey through early therapy, Janet describes the pain and fear she experienced as she started to share the ‘secret’.

Don’t Expect Me To Die - The final part tells how Janet hit ‘rock bottom’ and tried to end her life. From that place of despair, she learned that it is possible to heal from the dark shame and trauma.


About the Author

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Janet Bentley was raised in Southern California. She currently lives in Arizona where she founded the non-profits Courageous Survivors and Show Up For Children. Janet is a member of RAINN’s (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau, a facilitator of Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training, and a co-author of the international best-seller, We Choose To Thrive. She also started and facilitates a support group for survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Janet loves living in the beauty of the desert.



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Monday, November 19, 2018

RABT Presents: Gap-Toothed Girl by Ray Harvey


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Contemporary Fiction
Date Published: August 2018
Publisher: Pearl Button Press

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“Tournament night in a sweltering Las Vegas stadium, and the girl with the gap-toothed smile stood bleeding in her ballet slippers.”

Thus begins Gap-Toothed Girl, the story of Dusty May, a Lakota orphan with an iron will, who runs away from the horrific circumstances of her foster home and her foster father — a man of beast-like brilliance and power — to pursue her dream of lightness and ballet, even as her foster father unleashes an army to bring her down.

Part literary fiction, part thriller, part dance story, Gap-Toothed Girl is at its core a tale of human joy and freedom of will — a “relentlessly paced novel” combining “the surreal imagery of Nabokov with the psychological complexity of Dostoevsky” (Fort Collins Forum) to investigate the depths of the human psyche and the indomitable will to succeed, ultimately plumbing the very nature of human happiness and the human soul.



About the Author

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Ray A. Harvey, novelist, essayist, published poet, athlete, and editor, son of Firman Charles Harvey (RIP) and his wife Cecilia, youngest of thirteen half brothers and half sisters, was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. He’s worked as a short-order cook, copyeditor, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, pedi-cab driver, bartender, and more. He’s also written and ghostwritten a number of published books, poems, and essays, but no matter where he’s gone or what he’s done to earn a living, literature and learning have always existed at the core of his life.


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

VBT Presents: In the Key of Be by Lena Hubin


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Non-Fiction / Memoir
Date Published: April 2, 2018
Publisher:  Chatnoir Press

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Lena Hubin is a straight-A college senior when she lands in a psych ward. After her release, psychotherapy, illicit drugs, and sex distract her from her chronic anxiety--but none yields lasting relief. Despite teaching abroad, marrying, earning a masters and adopting two children, she remains haunted by anxiety. In her fifties, Lena returns with her family to the U.S., anticipating peace of mind. But when her son struggles with alcoholism, she feels her sanity swirling down the drain like the liquor she would dump--if she could find it. In a quest to help him, the author starts a journey that will change her life for good.


 About the Author

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Lena Hubin has been writing since she was a young kid growing up on a small Wisconsin dairy farm. She has had essays and articles published in ISS Newslinks, The International Educator, Midwest Living, and The Sun. For four years she wrote quarterly book reviews for In Recovery Magazine. She has a masters degree in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno. Lena writes, plays piano, teaches, and works for social justice in Prescott, Arizona, where she lives with her husband, dog, and cat.



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Friday, November 9, 2018

VBT Presents: Citadel


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Women’s literary fiction
Publisher: Quartet Global Books

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Irven DeVore, an evolutionary biologist, writes that "Males are a breeding experiment run by females."  What if, in fact, women ran everything?  What if women rejected the culture of rape and violence to take control of their lives in the safety of the Citadels? What if women could exist without males? CITADEL is a metafictional, apocalyptic story braided into a contemporary post-lesbian novel built on genetics.




Advance Praise

"I loved the book and I'm suggesting it to all the writers, editors and women I know as a must read. You blew me away... the book drew me in completely... great experience! 
 I'm not sure how you managed to come up with this... let alone research it... a story usually follows one or two Characters... I found myself following the writer, the editor, the publisher, not to mention the Characters in the book... and never got lost, never ended up wondering who someone was or why they did that? I read the book in short spurts and longer chunks depending on opportunity... but never had a problem of falling back into the story... you had me from page one to the end. Great job"  -- Wally Lane, filmmaker, screenwriter.



About the Author


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Jack Remick is the author of twenty books—novels, poetry, short stories, screenplays. He co-authored The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery with Robert J. Ray. His novel Gabriela and The Widow was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal as well as a finalist in Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. He reviews for the New York Journal of Books. He is a frequent guest and co-host on Michigan Avenue Media with Marsha Casper Cook. His novel Citadel, was featured in the July issue of the Australian magazine eYs.


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Thursday, November 8, 2018

VBT Presents: Animal Circus by Michael Batchelor


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Literary Fiction
Date Published: October 7th, 2018

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Doe’s Circus, one of the last of its kind in Australia. Travelling across the country all year round, thousands of humans visit to revel in the tradition of Dagwood dogs, dodgem cars and the weekend prime time show. 

Yet for the animals locked away in the small confines of the petting zoo, the circus is a neon-lit, human-infested nightmare.

Tormented by the ringmaster and his gang of tyrannical showmen, two pigs, a rooster and a sheep devise a plan to accomplish the impossible―escape the circus.

About the Author

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Michael Batchelor, born 1991, is an Australian author based on the Gold Coast, Queensland. He graduated from Griffith University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Communications and in 2015, published his first novel, The Red Chilli.

Michael’s greatest joy is to share his stories and ideas with the world.




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Monday, November 5, 2018

VBT Presents: First-Coming of Age Stories By People with Disabilities by BM Cipriani


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Memoir/Creative nonfiction/anthology
Date Published: October 1st, 2018
Publisher: Oleb Books

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Take a step back in time with some of the best writers with disabilities as they recount their first adventure, their first heartbreak, and the first time the unexpected treaded into their life. From body transformations to social setbacks, to love affairs and family trauma, Firsts collects the most thought-provoking and exciting stories of our time by people with disabilities. Contributors include Nigel David Kelly, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, Caitlin Hernandez, Andrew Gurza, and David-Elijah Nahmod

Baring It All By Andrew Gurza Ever since I was little, I’ve had someone seeing me naked as part of their job. In these instances, my body isn’t beautiful -- it’s broken. They come into my home every morning and night, put on sterile gloves that smell like latex and plastic, with machinelike precision and purpose, and begin handling my body. They pull open my scissored legs to wash and dry me. They quickly and fervently move their hurried hands across every part of me, ensuring every single patch of skin and every single bit is properly tucked and trimmed, so that once I am up in my wheelchair, ready to start the day, or to spend an evening on the town, I look presentable. Their hands feel cold and clinical. During these moments, my body isn’t really mine anymore. My naked body becomes little more than a thing to be taken care of; each part of me a checklist of steps that must be completed before we can move onto the next. In some small way, I try to desensitize myself to this experience, trying not to feel as though I am nothing more than something that needs to be cleaned and clinically tended to. Living with cerebral palsy, and being a wheelchair user since the age of four, this routine has become second nature to me, and has made me look at nudity and nakedness as a necessary requirement in order to complete a care task; nothing more or less than that. I understand these two systems quite well . . . now. I know that my queer, crippled body inhabits these two spaces simultaneously, and I have learned to navigate them well, and to compartmentalize my feelings in each space as required. It has taken me quite a long while to get to this place of understanding and acceptance of my body, but there was a time, not so long ago, when these two spaces came together in a rush of excitement, fear, anger, and pain that I won't soon forget. This moment in time undeniably shaped my relationship with my queerness and my disability. It transformed how I see myself as a man, and how other men see me. This moment was pivotal in my understanding of my body and what it means to me. I was nineteen years old, and I had just moved away from home to go to university in a different city, six hours away. My family and I were excited, because this meant a newfound independence that I had been longing for most of my teenage years. I have always been very close with my family -- our relationship and bond always strong, in part, thanks to my disability -- but we were both in need of this change. It meant I would be on my own, with the assistance of attendant care workers, a mixture of young men and women trained in personal support work, made available by the university. It meant I would finally have a taste of freedom, and my family would be able to see me in a different light -- as an independent, young man. That was an absolutely exhilarating feeling. I was also excited about something else. This was my chance to finally access my sexuality with other men, something I had been talking about and wanting desperately ever since I was fifteen years old. This was my chance to finally get naked with other men, and I was certainly going to capitalize on that experience….


About the Author


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Belo Miguel Cipriani is a columnist with the Bay Area Reporter. In 2017, his column on disability issues was recognized by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

He is the author of Blind: A Memoir (2011), which received an Honorable Mention for Best Nonfiction Book by the 2011 Rainbow Awards, and an Honorable Mention for Best Culture Book by the 2012 Eric Hoffer Awards.

He has received fellowships from Lambda Literary and Yaddo, and was the first blind writer to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Cipriani has guest lectured at Yale University, University of San Francisco, and University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, and was the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University from 2012 to 2016.

His writing has appeared in several publications, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Business Insider, and HuffPost. He was a contributor to the Ed Baxter Morning Show on iHeart Radio, and was also a frequent commentator on San Francisco’s KGO Radio, as well as on several NPR shows.

Cipriani has received numerous awards for his disability advocacy work, including being named “Best Disability Advocate” by SF Weekly (2015), an “Agent of Change” by HuffPost (2015), and an “ABC7 Star” by KGO-TV (2016). He was also honored as the first blind Grand Marshal at San Francisco’s 45th Annual Gay Pride Parade.

He currently works at the Center for Academic Excellence at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, where he helps students improve their writing skills.


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Saturday, November 3, 2018

VBT Presents: The Winter Riddle by Sam Hooker



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Fantasy (Humorous)
Date Published: 1 November 2018

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Publisher: Black Spot Books (https://blackspotbooks.com)


When destiny calls on the Winter Witch to save the North Pole, will she pretend she’s not in?

Once upon a time, the North Pole was a very noisy place. A kingdom cowered under the maniacal rule of the White Queen, The Vikings raided and pillaged as they were wont to do, and the Winter Witch avoided talking to any of them.

When her peace and quiet are obliterated by threats of war and Ragnarok, she’ll try anything to get them back. When casting spells to become nearly invisible and dealing with otherworldly powers fail, the Winter Witch needs to forge an alliance with Santa—a retired warrior who’s anything but jolly—to save the North Pole from calamity.

Will the Vikings take up arms against the frost giants? Will an evil necromancer keep the kingdom in the grip of fear? And for the love of Christmas, will everyone who isn’t the Winter Witch please stop meddling with dark forces beyond mortal comprehension for a bit?

Deck the halls and bar the doors! We’re in for a long winter’s night.


About the Author

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Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy. He is an entirely serious person, regardless of what you may have heard. Originally from Texas, he now resides in southern California with his wife, son, and dog.





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Thursday, November 1, 2018

VBT Presents: Silent Whispers by Tami Urbanek


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Non-Fiction
Date Published: January 7, 2018

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When Tami Urbanek began working with the public as a medium, she never envisioned how her path would change. Moving beyond working with people's spirit guides, deceased children began arriving to share their own shocking experiences. These children revealed the horrific torture and government scientific experiments that ultimately led to their death. With a heavy heart, Tami listened to their stories and helped them to feel loved and safe in order to cross over to the other side. Tami, along with two other women, began traveling to different locations, within the United States, to assist deceased children who were caught in a cycle of pain. Little did they know they would eventually begin attracting the attention of extraterrestrials. It became obvious the ETs were also invested in the experiments and they would attempt to thwart the efforts of these three women. Silent Whispers will challenge readers' belief system and perhaps lead them to question the reality that surrounds them.


About the Author

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Tami works with the public as a medium. She connects people with their spirit guides for life guidance and deep healing. On the side, she has many different paranormal experiences about which she writes and is working on her third book, a follow-up to Silent Whispers. For fun, Tami enjoys traveling, good food, and good wine. She and her family have lived in Colorado for most of her life.






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Thursday, October 18, 2018

RABT: Chance for Rain by Tricia Downing


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Fiction—Romance, Women’s Fiction
Date Published: August 2018
Publisher: Front Street Press

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Elite athlete Rainey Abbott is an intense competitor on the outside, but inside, she feels a daunting apprehension about her chances of finding true love. Her life as a downhill skier and race car driver keeps her on the edge, but her love life is stuck in neutral. A tragedy from her past has left her feeling insecure and unlovable.

Now that she’s in her thirties, Rainey’s best friend Natalie insists she take a leap and try online dating. Rainey connects with brian85 and becomes cautiously hopeful as a natural attraction grows between them. Fearful a face to face meeting could ruin the magic, Rainey enlists Natalie to scheme up an encounter between the two where Brian is unaware he is meeting his online mystery woman. Rainey is left feeling both guilty about the deception and disappointed by something Brian says.

When they finally meet in earnest, Rainey’s insecurities threaten to derail the blossoming romance. As she struggles with self-acceptance, she reveals the risks we all must take to have a chance for love.


About the Author


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Tricia Downing is recognized as a pioneer in the sport of women’s paratriathlon, as the first female paraplegic to finish an Iron distance triathlon. She has competed in that sport both nationally and internationally, in addition to competing in road racing and other endurance events. She has represented the United States in international competition in five different sport disciplines—cycling (as a tandem pilot prior to her 2000 accident), triathlon, duathlon, rowing and Olympic style shooting, in which she was a member of Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
She was featured in the Warren Miller documentary Superior Beings and on the lifestyle TV magazine show Life Moments. She has been featured in Muscle and Fitness Hers, Mile High Sports and Rocky Mountain Sports magazines.

Additionally, she is founder of The Cycle of Hope (www.thecycleofhope.org), a non-profit organization designed for female wheelchair users to promote health and healing on all levels—mind, body and spirit.

Tricia studied Journalism as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland and holds Masters degrees in both Sports Management (Eastern Illinois University) and Disability Studies (Regis University).

She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Steve and two cats, Jack and Charlie. Visit Tricia at triciadowning.com


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Mourning Dove Mysteries, Book 2 Mystery Date Published: October 19, 2018 Publisher: Acorn Publishing ...