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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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

XPresso Presents: Dark Falls by Lori Ryan


Dark Falls
Lori Ryan
(Dark Falls Series)
Publication date: October 9th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller
A cop hunting a violent thrill seeker. A woman from his past. Will their history and heated attraction put his case on ice?
Detective John Sevier never wanted to be anything but a cop. When a string of jewelry store heists threatens the woman he let get away years before, he’ll stop at nothing to bring the adrenaline junkie gang leader to justice.
Ava McNair never looked at her life as a sacrifice. She loves taking care of her dad and running her family’s jewelry store with her special needs sister. So what if that meant dropping out of college and leaving behind a man who just might have been the one? When fate gives her and the detective who got away a second shot at love, will she step up and take it or will life tear them apart again?
With Ava in the path of a killer, will John be able to move fast enough to take down a violent man set on wreaking as much damage as he can before he goes down?
Grab Dark Falls from NY Times Bestselling Author Lori Ryan and get ready for a night of “one more chapter” reading!
Dark Falls is the first book in the gripping new Dark Falls, CO romantic thriller series by Lori Ryan, Trish McCallan, Becca Jameson, Savannah Kade, Lisa-Marie Cabrelli, and Sandra Owens. Don’t miss a book!


Dark Secrets
Savannah Kade
(Dark Falls Series)
Publication date: October 9th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller
When Grace Lee storms into the Dark Falls Police Department, heads turn. But she only has eyes for Detective Nate Ryder—the officer who closed her brother Jimmy’s case too quickly, declaring his death a suicide rather than a murder. As a forensic scientist, Grace thinks the signs are obvious, the trick is convincing Nate.
Nate has to admit Grace’s argument makes a lot of sense, and he feels obligated to revisit the case. The problem is, while he’s following the old evidence, she’s collecting new samples—and putting herself in danger from the same organization that killed her brother. Jimmy was definitely onto something before he was murdered. Now, Nate has another worry: some of the new evidence Grace has found points back to members of the Dark Falls PD.
As strange coincidences turn deadly, Nate has to become Grace’s protector. They don’t know who they can trust and who they can’t. Will Grace and Nate be the next victims in a massive cover-up? Or can they figure out which cops are dirty fast enough to stay alive?
SNEAK PEEKS:
Dark Falls
Ava McNair smiled as she watched the couple leave her store. She loved seeing couples find the perfect engagement ring to start their lives together. These two were young, but she could see the devotion in the way they looked at each other.
He’d come in ahead of time to choose a ring, then told his girlfriend he needed to swing by and pick up a watch his mom left to be repaired. The look on her face was priceless when he dropped to one knee after Ava passed him the ring box.
“Nice,” Kirsten James said, winking at Ava from her spot by the door. The woman might look harsh in her guard uniform, but she was as much of a softy when it came to that kind of thing as Ava was.
Ava grinned and turned to go to the back to check on her sister, but the door chimed again. What she saw when she looked back was anything but expected.
The man entering her family’s jewelry store had filled out. His face was different, worn in a way, but in a good way. At least, she thought it looked good on him. His eyes were the same, though.
John Sevier’s eyes trapped and held her, his light brown gaze doing things to her just like they had years before when she’d been stupid enough to walk away from him.
To say he was the one who got away was an understatement. She’d been so naïve and focused on all the wrong things at that time in her life. She never realized what she was losing until it was far too late for her to do anything about it.
Not that she would have been able to hold on to him anyway. Halfway through college, her life had changed drastically, and she’d had to drop out to help her dad and sister. She would have lost John then, anyway. Still, an eighties rock ballad was playing in the back of her head somewhere as she thought about not knowing what you had ’til it was gone.
Kirsten stiffened and looked ready to move into action if Ava didn’t say anything. It was no wonder. A six-foot-one man who looked like he could eat glass for breakfast if he got the craving, was standing frozen in their showroom. And Ava probably looked like a deer in headlights.
“John.” Ava breathed the word out, then shook herself to clear the fog. She waved a hand at Kirsten. “It’s all right. John’s an old friend.”
She thought she saw something flicker in his eyes at the words, but if it had been anything more than her imagination, it was gone.
“Um…” Ava looked around the showroom. One of her salespeople was on the other side of the store helping an older gentleman pick out a bracelet for his granddaughter. Kirsten was still staring at her and John.
Ava swung a hand in the direction of the workshop and offices at the back of the store. “We could, um…”
Thankfully, John nodded, seemingly unconcerned at the fact she couldn’t seem to get a sentence out that didn’t include “um.” Scratch that, she hadn’t actually gotten a complete sentence out, period.
She went to the back, hoping to pass right through the workshop where her sister, Janna, designed most of the jewelry they carried. They had other artisans who worked for them, repairing jewelry and watches and such, but Janna was their only bench jeweler. Anything in their cases that her sister didn’t make was ordered from jewelry wholesalers or outside artisans.
Janna stood at her bench, the spotlights that surrounded her all aimed at a four-inch square space in front of her as her hands worked with small samplings of metals and gems. Janna had a habit of getting lost in her work, but today when Ava hoped she might do just that, her sister looked up.
Janna’s eyes went from Ava to John and back to Ava in a comic demonstration of her surprise at seeing a man with Ava.
Yeah, it was somewhat of a shock to Ava, too.
“John, this is my sister, Janna. Janna, John and I were friends in college.” Ava watched as Janna’s eyes went wide.
John smiled and nodded. Whether he remembered Ava mentioning Janna’s issues with anxiety when they dated, or he just read people really well, she didn’t know. But for whatever reason, he didn’t offer his hand to Janna to shake. That was good. It was what Janna was more comfortable with.
Janna looked to Ava. “Big John?”
Oh Lord.
Ava’s cheeks flamed hot, and she knew they must be red. She and Janna shared everything, which meant Janna knew all about the John Ava had dated in college. She just hadn’t expected Janna to put the man standing before her together with their conversations about John in college. And yes, Janna had truly nicknamed him Big John in college, but it wasn’t for the reasons one might think.
Not that he couldn’t have earned the nickname that way. Back in the day, one of Ava’s friends had described John’s body as “call him if you need your house moved over a few inches” kind of big. She wasn’t wrong.
Ava put her hands to her cheeks, and a small semblance of a laugh slipped from her lips. She dodged John’s smiling eyes and Janna’s impish grin without answering and led the way back to her office.
She could try to explain to John that Janna had given him the nickname because that was how he’d seemed to her at the time. Ava had talked about John so much when they were dating that Janna had labeled him “big” in Ava’s world.
She didn’t know how to say all that without making the whole situation worse, though, so she clamped down on her lips, imprisoning them between her teeth as she shut the door behind them.
The look he gave her told her he was enjoying this far too much.
“For your information,” she said, crossing her arms, “Big John is another John. Not you. It’s…” she didn’t have any ideas… “someone else.”
“Uh-huh.” He matched her crossed arms and let a smile cross his face.

Dark Secrets
Grace didn’t usually spray luminol and pull out her black light when she entered a motel room. But today she held the light up and frowned at the blood revealed by the generously applied chemiluminescent.
Old blood was everywhere. Small spots peeked out from under the edge of the bed where the old polyester blanket touched the carpeting. It looked to Grace as though something had happened in that spot and the bed had simply been moved.
In one corner, another streak of luminol glowed cautiously, the remnant of a merely passable scrubbing. Some of the luminescent spots revealed that her suspicions had been correct about the old carpeting, about this motel room, and about the stains.
Crap. This was the last thing she needed. She’d requested this room specifically. She didn’t always spray Luminol and pull out her black light when she rented a room. Then again, she couldn’t recall ever renting a room this awful in her life. She could imagine Jimmy here, though. If he was on one of his serious benders this would be nothing. Unfortunately, that meant there was nothing obvious here that supported her theory about her brother. She’d have to wait for lab results.
“Oh, Jimmy,” she lamented out loud to the dark room. “What did you get yourself into?”
The way her heart clenched couldn’t be stopped. No matter what the room looked like, no matter what she might be able to prove, none of it would change the facts. Jimmy was dead. Gone, after a life that had been a struggle from the beginning and continued to be one well into adulthood. Grace blinked back the tears that threatened.
Many people didn’t know what it was like having an addict in their lives. They were lucky. Addicts stole, they lied, they betrayed. And they often left you with only one option—completely cutting yourself off. She hadn’t been able to do it. Neither had her parents. So they’d all suffered alongside her little brother.
But, dammit, she’d really thought these last five years had seen a turnaround. He’d been clean and four months shy of his five-year chip. But the Dark Falls Police Department had written of Jimmy’s death as just another junkie overdose. Case closed.
Grace wasn’t buying it. Jimmy wasn’t using again. She knew it. She’d spoken to him just a few days before he died.
No one would believe her. No one did. Even her parents were skeptical, but she believed. She’d lived with Jimmy, and watched him turn to alcohol at age ten, then cocaine at thirteen, she’d gotten good at spotting the signs. Lots of siblings did. Sometimes parents tried to deny it. They turned their kids away, or they made up excuses and always believed the best. But siblings of addicts had a radar for it. Their investment was entirely different from a parental bond.
Grace knew. She’d talked about it in Al-Anon meetings. She’d gone steadily for almost two years, then off and on for another handful. The siblings of addicts all had similar stories. They knew. They could tell when their brothers or sisters were using again. Grace couldn’t count the number of times someone had showed up at a meeting with a suspicion, then even several months later said, “I was right.”
She’d had that feeling about Jimmy before. It happened the first time he’d gotten clean. He’d stayed clean for six months before relapsing. The second time—after their parents had paid to put him through an expensive rehab program—he’d stayed clean a year and a half. But Grace knew that his eighteen-month chip was an excuse to celebrate, to think he’d been cured only to have him slide back. But she didn’t have that feeling. Not this time. The third time seemed to have stuck.
Jimmy had moved to Dark Falls, something their mother had protested with every fiber of her being. He should be close to home. Part Vietnamese, part Chinese, and gay as the day was long, Jimmy wanted to get out of the South. Grace understood. She’d supported him. They texted daily, and she talked to him just a few days before he died. She did not believe he was using again.
She’d even demanded a full autopsy. She checked off her mental list as she looked around the room at the various splotches her quick test had revealed. She’d want samples of them all. Jimmy’s death was listed as an overdose. Had there been fresh blood, the police wouldn’t have been able to write it off so easily.
Grace had only pulled out the Luminol on a whim when she’d seen the dark patches in the carpeting. It could have been wine or cheap beer, but her senses told her to test it. Shit. She looked around behind her, holding the light up. A lot of it was faint, old, but she needed to know what it was.
She had her work cut out for her.
After gathering samples from at least five spots around the room—samples that she highly suspected would be all different—she turned off her black light and clicked the regular light back on.
Surveying the horrible room she didn’t want to be in, she pulled out her phone and called her oftentimes partner, Brad, back home. “Brad, I was right.”


Author Bio:
Savannah Kade grew up in East Tennessee and started writing when she was only 8 years old. It was a romance for the ages, but it will never see the light of day. She's been writing ever since and fighting for heroines who are quirky but not dumb, heroes who are real men, and for love stories that are more than just a cute trope. She now lives outside of Nashville with her amazing husband and 2 kids. She can usually be found working on her next novel.
Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance with steamy love scenes and characters you won't want to leave in the pages when the story is over.
Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has fallen in love with writing. She is the author of the Sutton Capital Series; the Heroes of Evers, Texas; and the Triple Play Curse Novellas, a set of novellas with sexy baseball players at their core as part of Bella Andre's Game For Love Kindle World. She has also published in Melanie Shawn's Hope Falls Kindle World and in Robyn Peterman's Magic and Mayhem Kindle World.
She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, and two mostly well-behaved dogs in Austin, Texas. It's a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn't change a thing. She loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

XPresso Presents: Raven Dock by Sara Caldwell


Raven Dock
Sara Caldwell
(Dark Coven #1)
Publication date: October 2nd 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Harper Duncan never fit in anywhere her family moved…and they moved a lot. But after her parents and brother die in a tragic accident, she finds out she’s adopted, and her birth mother lives in a remote retreat called Raven Dock. Harper ventures north and discovers a dark family secret: her birth mother is a witch. And she’s one too. As Harper Learns about her own hidden powers, will she choose to embrace her chilling heritage, or return to the safety of the ordinary world?
EXCERPT:
First Vision
When we finally entered the house, Olive began worrying I wouldn’t come back from my trip to visit Aunt Mary. I reminded her that I was only going for two weeks, and the retreat was in the middle of nowhere. I was a city girl at heart. I needed stuff to do, like going to movies, dancing to live music, and eating greasy hotdogs or gyro sandwiches. The thought of being stuck in some remote woodland frankly horrified me. I also wondered why Dad and his sister hadn’t spoken in so long. It must have been pretty bad to avoid each other all these years. Olive asked if I’d heard from Mary. I said not by phone, though I’d received a letter. Who knew people still wrote those?
I was surprised when Jeff had handed me the letter. You could tell that Mary handwrote it with a fountain pen, in neat cursive letters. Jeff was impressed. He loved old school stuff, like his prized LP collection. The letter was quite short. Mary wrote how sorry she was for my loss, how much she looked forward to seeing me, and that she was planning a big party in my honor. Olive made a bet that she’d serve herbal tea and quinoa. This made me laugh, but suddenly I felt dizzy.
“Are you okay?” asked Olive. Her voice seemed to come from far away. Everything was blurry. I blinked and suddenly found myself somewhere else. I wasn’t physically in this other place, just seeing it in a disembodied way, like in a virtual reality game. I was inside a school bus full of Mexican children, who were jumping between the seats as kids do. One little girl wore a white ribbon in her hair. She turned to look at me, with big brown eyes. She opened her mouth as if to say something.
“Harper?” I blinked again, and Olive was in front of me, looking at me quizzically. I didn’t want to freak her out about what I had just seen, even though I was shaking inside. I chalked it up to a hallucination. After all, I was a nervous, depressed wreck. My mind was undoubtedly on a slippery psychological slope. But it sure was a strange and vivid one. I made a mental note to ask Janet about it.
The strangeness persisted as we wandered through the empty house. It felt bigger without our stuff, and our bodies zigzagging through it with the business of each day. A thin layer of dust had built up on the wooden floors, which squeaked underfoot. I looked out the front window, to where the accident had happened. All the flowers and candles were finally gone, a painful reminder that life goes on. Jeff had taken me to the spot a few days after the accident, so I could appreciate the kindness of our neighbors and strangers, many of whom had left personalized notes.


Author Bio:
Sara Caldwell teaches screenwriting and digital media courses at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandizing (FIDIM) in Los Angeles. She has won many awards for her writing, including Best Original Screenplay at the Burbank International Film Festival. Sara has always been drawn to the supernatural and has produced a number of award-winning short horror films through House of Gorey Productions, along with her husband Walter Gorey. She is also a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA).
Like Harper in Raven Dock, Sara spent her childhood as a tumbleweed, moving around the United States and even to Guatemala, Spain and England. She's run three marathons, authored three nonfiction books, and has three cats that enjoy perching on her shoulder while she writes at her kitchen table. It goes without saying that three is her lucky number. She's also working on the remaining novels for the Dark Coven series, the next of which is titled Darkest Hour.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

RABT Presents: Scott Cramer's Eden Chip


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Science Fiction
Date Published: July 1, 2018

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Thanks to nanochips implanted in human brains, the world is at peace in 2055. But not everyone likes having their emotions controlled, or their religion suppressed.

Eighteen-year-old Raissa embarks upon a perilous mission to free the world, just days before the release of nanochip Version 7, which will broadcast every citizen's thoughts to the Collective.

The countdown has started, and Raissa must make choices that jeopardize the lives of billions, including the only boy she has ever loved.



Note: Some discussion of technology, some “techno-speak”; clean, no sex or swearing; some non-graphic violence, a tiny bit of graphic violence.


About the Author

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Scott Cramer has optioned two screenplays, written for national magazines, and authored four novels: EDEN CHIP and the TOUCAN TRILOGY (Night of the Purple Moon, Colony East & Generation M). Scott and his wife reside outside Lowell, Massachusetts.





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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

RABT: Grace's Kiss by Karen Tjebben


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Romantic Suspense/Psychological Thriller
Date Published: September 2018

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Grace followed the rules. She always played it safe and never put her heart in jeopardy. Until the night she met Ryan. She’d never imagined that she could connect with an alpha male like him. Giving herself to him as he'd cradled her in his arms came naturally... until she sobered up. He was everything that she’d convinced herself she didn’t need. Or was he everything she needed?

Ryan balanced on a thin line of gray. He’d killed his share of demons but managed to live at peace with his actions. Then he met Grace, a woman who pushed all his buttons and shook him to his core. The need to have her overwhelmed him, but she kept shooting him down. Could he convince her that he was exactly what she needed?


About the Author

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Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique characters that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters' eyes.



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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

RABT Presents: Witch Dance by Lori Crane


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Historical Thriller
Date Published: 9/15/18

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Just south of Tupelo, Mississippi on the Natchez Trace lies a place of mystery called Witch Dance.

When Thomas and Margaret Speedwell took their twins to Witch Dance for a weekend camping trip, they never imagined they would be pulled into a vortex of witchcraft, tragedy, and karma. One of the girls goes missing; the other won’t say what happened on the other side of the hill.

The tragedy pulls together a cast of characters from Margaret’s childhood and beyond – Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, Toltec ancestors, the extinct Hopewell tribe.

With the help of a childhood friend, a concerned newspaper reporter, and visions by a strange old woman, a two-thousand-year-old mystery begins to unfold, uncovering missing children throughout generations. Who is taking them? Could it be the infamous witches of Witch Dance?


About the Author

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BESTSELLING AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR LORI CRANE IS A WRITER OF HISTORICAL FICTION AND THE OCCASIONAL THRILLER. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including "Elly Hays" which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She is a professional musician by night - an indie author by day.





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Monday, October 1, 2018

XPresso Presents: James L. Weaver's Blackbird Road


Blackbird Road
James L. Weaver
(Jake Caldwell #3)
Published by: Lakewater Press
Publication date: September 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, Thriller
With his wedding day fast approaching and his PI boss heading out of town, ex-mob enforcer Jake Caldwell decides to take one more job before a much-needed vacation. But in a matter of days, his client is assassinated and her six-year-old son kidnapped.
With just a few clues, Jake calls on old friends to help track down the person responsible. Only this time his fiancée Maggie, desperate for Jake to leave his violent history behind, can’t guarantee she’ll be there when, or if, he comes home.
But Jake can’t turn his back on those who need him. It’s in his blood.
A perilous plot of lies and secrets unfolds, and Jake encounters criminals more brutal than ever. And when a threat to thousands of innocent lives is uncovered, Jake once again dives back into his past, requesting favors from some unexpected and unsavory contacts.
Jake needs to stay one step ahead of the bad guys if he’s to have any future at all.
The third book in the award-winning JAKE CALDWELL series is an intense, complex, and frantic race against time. Weaver has done it again in this raw and riveting read set in the Ozarks.
EXCERPT:
Dawson’s arm lashed out and backhanded the kid. The boy flew back and crashed to the gravel, hands covering his face. Dawson advanced on the crumpled figure, and Jake jammed his foot against the gas pedal.
“I’m fine,” he said. “Just gotta take care of something. I’ll call you back.”
He tossed the phone to the passenger seat as he maneuvered the truck toward the fork in the road. The heat crawled up his neck, flushing his face in a crimson hue, feeling the sting of the strike on his face as if Dawson struck him. Jake’s father was the master of the backhand slap, and Jake the recipient of it many times. The perfect balance of speed and stealth—you never saw it coming. As Jake wrung the life from the steering wheel and spun right at the fork in the road, he had to get his shit under control or it would be Dawson’s neck beneath his hands. That wouldn’t end well for anyone.
By the time Jake roared up the driveway, a woman made a feeble attempt to stand between Dawson and the boy. Another quick lash from Dawson’s hand sent her sprawling on the ground beside the kid. Jake slid to a stop in a cloud of dust and grabbed his pistol under the seat. Dawson jerked his head at the disturbance, a snarl rising on his stubbled face. Jake drew a deep breath of sanity through his nose and out his mouth, releasing the gun. It would be a horrible idea to bring it, and he wouldn’t need it anyway. If he couldn’t take care of a drunk wife beater, then he might as well give it all up and go work as a janitor somewhere.
Jake stomped from the truck, noting the blood trickling from the boy’s nose. Old, purple and yellow bruises lined the woman’s arm like a bad tattoo. The familiar scent of whiskey wafted from Dawson as Jake drew close, hurling him back to the house in Warsaw when he would lay on the floor after a beat down from his father, his mother shielding him from further blows.



The Jake Caldwell Workout Music Playlist
I’ve got hundreds of songs on my workout/running playlist and you want me to pick just ten?
1.       Dragula by Rob Zombie – If this song doesn’t get your blood pumping, you don’t have a heart. Weird ass video, though.
2.       Blackbird by Alter Bridge – This baby has slow parts, but you can lift or run through them because they are incredible. Besides, you know what’s coming up soon. Love this tune. I always hope the line “May you never be broken again” applies to me.
3.       White Flag by Bishop Briggs – When they make a television series about my exploits, this has to be the theme song. Smoke, fire, it’s all going up, don’t you know I ain’t afraid to shed a little blood? If that’s not me, I don’t know what is!
4.       Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard – I have a lot of Def Leppard in my playlist, but love the opening guitar riff on this one.
5.       Without Me by Eminem – When I hear that opening line of “Two trailer park girls go ‘round the outside”, it reminds me of the Halsey twins that Bear and I took to the homecoming dance in high school. That was one hell of a fun night. Probably a good thing they left Warsaw soon after.
6.       Awake by Godsmack – Just a throat roarin’ good tune.
7.       I Like It Heavy by Halestorm – Lzzy Hale has some serious pipes. I need the volume one louder than ten, I put the pedal to the metal, needle into the red. Oh yeah.
8.       Separate Ways by Journey – If I can block the God-awful video for this song from my brain, it’s a great song to run to. My feet smack the ground in perfect timing with it.
9.       Burn It to the Ground by Nickelback – Yeah, I know, everyone hates Nickelback. Even if you do, I don’t give a shit. This song gets me going and I like it. If you want to be an asshole and argue about it, we can meet up in a parking lot somewhere.
10.   Louder Than Ever – Daughtry – This song makes me think of summer nights in the car with Maggie – You were there in the front seat, windows down we were burnin’, those nights we used to sing along, we were livin’ a love song.

The Bear Parley Workout Music Playlist
LOL. Do I look like I work out let alone have a playlist for it? How about songs I turn up on the radio when I’m driving around doing Sheriff shit?
1.       Night Moves by Bob Seger – I didn’t have a ’60 Chevy, but I do remember workin’ on mysteries without any clues back in high school.
2.       Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – Love belting this out in the car when my wife is there and singing her name instead of Wendy in the song. She claims she hates it when I do it, but she always smiles.
3.       Photograph by Def Leppard – At least Jake and I agree on something. When we ride together, we can always play Def Leppard and not argue about the music.
4.       The Last Resort by The Eagles – It’s a long ass song, but I always loved it. Makes me feel like my history class in high school wasn’t wasted.
5.       Beer Can Chicken by Kenny Chesney – Song pretty much nails how I like to spend my weekends. It’s like Friday night workin’ on a three-day weekend, somethin’ in the jar just made for sippin’.
6.       When It Rains It Pours by Luke Combs – Kind of a newer song, but when a case is going south, I can dial this one up and it puts a grin on my mug.
7.       Glitter in the Air by Pink – Sorry, but I can’t help it and you can have my stupid Man Card if you want to be a douche. I was stuck watching the Grammy’s with my wife years ago and saw this incredibly beautiful and graceful woman twirling through the air while singing this song. Lord have Mercy.
8.       Gonna Get Over You by Sara Bareilles – Another I can’t help it. My daughter listened to this song over and over again until I knew the words to it. Now I can help tappin’ my steering wheel when it comes on.
9.       Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band – This one’s an oldie, but I always hope it comes on when my wife and I are together because she promises me a little afternoon delight if I sing it with her. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come on very often.

10.   Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band – Who doesn’t like a cold beer on a Friday night or a pair of jeans that fit just right?



Author Bio:
James L Weaver is the Kansas City author of the Jake Caldwell series featuring IAN Thriller of the Year finalist Poor Boy Road, and the IAN Thriller of the Year finalist and New Apple Official Selection sequel Ares Road from Lakewater Press. He makes his home in Olathe, Kansas with his wife of 20 years and two children. His previous publishing credits include a six part story called "The Nuts" and his 5-star rated debut novel Jack & Diane which is available on Amazon.com. Author note: a handful of the raters are actually not related to him.
His limited free time is spent writing into the wee hours of the morning, playing parental taxi cab to his kids' sporting endeavors, and binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Current favorite TV shows: The Walking Dead, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Game of Thrones, The Resident and Shameless.
Current favorite music artists: Alter Bridge, Rush, Sara Bareilles, Halestorm
Last best book read: Twisted Prey by John Sandford
Favorite comedians: John Caparulo, Kathleen Madigan, Mike Birbiglia, John Mulaney
You can follow him on Twitter @jlweaverbooks.

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

RABT Tours Presents: The Artist and the Soldier by Angelle Petta


Historical Fiction
Date Published: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Warren Publishing

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Two young men come of age and fall in love, set against the backdrop of true events in World War II


It’s 1938. Bastian Fisher and Max Amsel meet at an American-Nazi camp, Siegfried. Neither have any idea what to do with their blooming, confusing feelings for one another. Before they can begin to understand, the pair is yanked apart and forced in opposite directions. 

Five years later, during the heart of World War II, Bastian’s American army platoon lands in Salerno, Italy. Max is in Nazi-occupied Rome where he has negotiated a plan to hire Jews on as ‘extras’ in a movie—an elaborate ruse to escape the Nazis. Brought together by circumstance and war, Bastian and Max find one another again in Rome.

Exploring the true stories of Camp Siegfried and the making of the film, La Porta del Cielo, The Artist and the Soldier is intense, fast moving, and sheds light on largely untouched stories in American and Italian history.


EXCERPT:
They were in another clearing, this one consisting of five small boxing rings made of dirt and one large ring of sand. The boys surrounded the biggest circle, most wearing only their black sig rune shorts, while the rules were explained. Some of the boys were smaller and thin like Max, but most were built more like Bastian, thick shouldered and tall. The fights would take place in the smaller rings first and each winner would fight another winner until one was championed. Each match only lasted three minutes and the person who came out still standing—or, if both were standing, was better off— was the winner. Max hoped he would not be beaten too badly in the first fight, but badly enough he would not have to move on.

The rings around him filled and the boys jostled one another. They were having more fun and landing fewer punches than Max expected. Perhaps this part would not be so bad. The two officers who had explained the rules walked away together, bored by the lack of blood after three rounds. They handed their stopwatches over to a couple of the older boys to keep time.

Bastian joined a ring with another boy around his size. They bounced from foot to foot, throwing a few punches. When there were fifteen seconds left, Bastian punched the boy in the nose, causing it to bloody and knowing it would be enough to move him on. The crowd cheered. They stepped out of the ring and someone threw Bastian’s hand into the air in victory. Max felt like he would vomit. What would happen if he were placed in the ring with Bastian?

Bastian winked at Max. He was laughing, enjoying himself.

At the far end of the field, a man in uniform walked toward them. When he was closer, Bastian saw that it was Hans. He was smiling in a sick sort of way, as if he knew something they didn’t.

“Doing a little boxing, boys?” he asked, addressing no one in particular. Hans moved toward Bastian. The boy who’d been holding his arm up in victory let it drop and stepped away. The three stitches on Hans’s forehead were almost healed, but the incident at the fence would leave a scar.

Instead of stopping in front of Bastian, Hans moved forward into the big sand ring. He gestured to Bastian, welcoming him into the pit. They locked into a dead stare while the other boys shot cautious glances at one another.

“Come on, Bastian,” Hans said. “Don’t I get a chance to get back at you for the cheap shot?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bastian said in a quiet voice. He stood stiffly, not looking at Hans. Max didn’t understand why Bastian didn’t just fight him. He was bigger than Hans and far stronger. Hans was built more like himself, not quite grown. Max looked at Bastian in question and then watched him step into the ring. All around them voices and gasps exploded like tiny firecrackers through the crowd.

“What? What is happening?” Max asked the young man next to him.

“Don’t you know?”

“Know what?” asked Max.

“Bastian can’t fight him,” the young man explained.

“We’re not allowed to fight a superior unless we want to get kicked out. Technically, officers aren’t allowed to challenge campers, but sometimes it happens anyway.”

“So, he gets kicked out. What’s the big deal?” Max asked, wishing he could be booted himself.

“You don’t know anything about Bastian, do you? If he got kicked out—that would be the end of him,” the boy said, shaking his head.

Before Max could ask another question, Hans took his first swing. Bastian’s arms stayed limp at his side. Max wove his fingers together, prayer like, and felt his pulse beat steady against his palms. He closed his eyes and when he opened them again, Bastian was looking at him and smiling, a small trail of blood already dripping from his nose.

Bastian turned his attention back to the ring and smiled instead at Hans. It infuriated Hans and he swung again, this time striking Bastian in the eye.

“Come on, Herr Mandel. You can do better than that,” Bastian taunted.

Hans hit him again, harder this time, and Bastian’s lip split open. The blood swelled and dripped onto the sand, congealing the tiny particles and creating a lump. The pain was blinding, but Bastian forced a smile, knowing what infuriated Hans the most—the impression that his beating was doing nothing. With each punch, Bastian heard the crowd suck in their breath in unison. He knew some of them had never liked him and were enjoying the show, and that made him smile all the more.

Bastian had learned to take a beating from his father, a connoisseur of the belt. He knew which belts cut and stung the most, a lesson Herr Fischer had been taught by his own father. Bastian carried the beatings on his skin, day to day, as the scars faded but did not disappear.

To take a beating was nothing. Early on, he’d found smiling angered his father and took some of the joy out of the act for him. And smiling reminded Bastian that eventually it would be over and he would be on his own again, in his room, safe.

A kick to the stomach brought Bastian to the ground. He crouched on all fours like a dog and took two more kicks, the first to his abdomen and the second to his side. He waited for the next, hoping it would finish him so he could be done with the show.

A pair of shoes appeared in his vision, but they did not belong to Hans. He heard a voice, familiar, but it sounded like it was coming through a thick fog.

“Stop it,” Max screamed, protecting Bastian’s body with his own.

“So, you’d like a beating too?” Hans said. His face was slick with sweat and he was enjoying himself more than he thought possible. He was exorcising every aggression that’d built up over the years against the young man, against the population at large.

“I just want you to stop,” Max repeated.

“I’ll make you a deal. I get to take three shots at you and then I’ll be done with him.”

Bastian gripped onto Max to pull himself up. His body was covered in blood and cuts; his right eye was half-closed so he had only partial vision.

“Max, go. This is not your fight,” he managed to say. Max stepped in front of him again, not even covering half of Bastian’s body with his thin limbs. He spoke to

Hans through clenched teeth. “Take your three shots.”

“No,” Bastian half-whimpered behind him. He was clutching his side. Trying to concentrate on something other than the pain.

The first swing hit Max so hard, he stumbled backwards into Bastian, who fell back to the ground with a groan.

“Stand up!” Hans yelled, his voice echoing through the field. “I still have two more to go.”

Max managed to get to his feet, only to be knocked off them again with a blow to his jaw. His molars loosened in his mouth and his body slammed against the sand.

He looked over to Bastian who had succumbed to the pain and passed out. Max was aware of the crowd of boys knitted around them, covering them in a blanket of shadow. No one spoke.

Max rolled over onto his side. “Bastian,” he said, hoping he would wake up. Trusting when this was over, his friend would be okay.


In the distance, he heard the pounding of boots running––other officers coming too late. Max said Bastian’s name once more before the final blow came. The kick landed so hard on Max’s face that there was a flash of hot, bright white light before he passed out and there was nothing.

About the Author

Angelle holds an MA from Emerson College, and a master’s equivalency in Drama Therapy through the NADTA.  She is a registered drama therapist and a PhD student at Lesley University.  She works as a Drama Therapist at an Expressive Arts Center in Virginia called A Place To Be. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two delightful dogs, and one fat cat.

  

Contact Links

Twitter: @angellepetta

  

Purchase Links




Sunday, September 16, 2018

Movie Review: White Boy Rick

White Boy Rick is a true story about a seventeen year old boy who gets caught up in the shadowy gang-drug world of Detroit.  The story takes place circa mid-'80s within the hood.  Rick lives with his dad, also named Rick (Matthew McConaughay), and his drug-addict sister, Dawn.  His father is not the most upstanding person in the world.  He sells guns, sometimes in a legal way and sometimes not.  But he loves his parents who live next door and really loves his kids.  
Rick gets propositioned by the police early on in the story.  They set him up with drug buys and then drug sells to give him the credibility he needs for information.  The drug lord eventually figures it out and Rick gets shot.

Once Rick comes home from the hospital, he is officially 'done' with police business.  He gets the idea (from the police) of selling cocaine and quickly becomes a kingpin of sorts.  At this point, Rick is seventeen years old.  His life gets better with the money he brings home.  His dad gets the video store he always wanted to open up.  Rick finds out he is a father.  And his sister gets sober.  Everything comes to a head-Rick gets busted and then is sentenced for thirty years.  Just this year in 2018, he finally gets out of jail.  
My Review: Wow!  What a story!  Made me sad, but also made me think. Immediately, walking out of the theater, I thought of Kim Kardashian and Trump.  Nonviolent criminals going away for thirty years is just unacceptable.  Rick was taught how to deal drugs by the police at fifteen years old.  Is anyone surprised that he chose to use those skills for his own benefit?  There is no responsibility by any law enforcement for this unhappy ending.  Rick was not a violent person, although he did shoot at someone who stole his grandpa's car.  Maybe in the long run he would have been a murderer, but we don't lock people up for maybes.  Rick got so screwed.  The movie got me wondering how many more Ricks are out there.  

I guess the bottom line is this: Whether or not you like Trump (not trying to be political), the man claims to want to reform these ridiculous sentences.  Let's take him up on his offer and make him be true to his word.  We can not continue to ruin people's lives for small mistakes.  Hey, if someone murders, rapes, beats, or molests, lock him/her up and throw away the key.  But a teenager selling drugs getting thirty years???????
Again, loved the movie and wanted to also acknowledge the amazing acting by the entire cast.  I would love to see Matthew McConaughay and Richie Merrit get Oscars for this.  The story is not perfect.  In fact, the beginning was a little disorganized in setting up who is who.  But things start coming together midway.  I recommend this movie to anyone who likes true stories.  4.5/5 Stars

Saturday, September 15, 2018

American Horror Story-Apocalypse: Review

American Horror Story kicks off the season with the world at war via nuclear missiles.  With exception of a select few, civilization is gone.  The world has ten underground outposts filled with rich people, genetically perfect citizens, and worker bees.  One by one, the outposts start to falter.  Food supplies are scarce, and the handful of people left start to turn on each other.  A main outpost is left and a messenger is sent to pick out who is worth saving.


My Review:  Look sooooooooo forward to this season!!!!!!!!  Awesome first episode, and have a feeling this will be the best one ever!!!!!!  Already, the devil is brought into the story line.  The beginning song is loaded with clips of devil pictures.  One of the survivors gets out of the shower and 666 is drawn on the mirror.  I am soooooooo hoping for some Revelation!!!!!!  As always, love the regulars Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Evan Peters.  Joan Collins has a part as well.  She looks amazing for 80 something years old.  Will post again on this at the end of the season with a complete review.  5/5 Stars so far!!!!!!!!!!!  Great Halloween treat!!!!!!!!!!!

RABT: Chance for Rain by Tricia Downing

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