Monday, October 23, 2017

Work & Wagers (David Wagers Case #1) by Sherrie Sushko



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Work & Wagers (David Wagers Case #1)



Murder Mystery, Cozy Mystery

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Meet David Wagers, a cool, collected and incredibly handsome Private Investigator in the New York City area. David is hired to investigate the unsolved murder case of Courtney Tabbin, a popular, young woman with a promising future. Along the way, David encounters some interesting and suspicious characters and a complex office drama. Was Courtney’s murder just a random act of violence, or something more personal?

While digging deeper for answers, David also manages to juggle an understaffed office and even forms an alluring, new friendship with Victoria under the unlikeliest of circumstances. With impeccable skills of observation, deduction and razor-sharp instincts, David moves steadily towards solving the case but not without a few twists and turns, and managing to turn a few heads along the way.
Work & Wagers (David Wagers Case #1), a cozy murder mystery, is the first book in the new and exciting David Wagers detective series.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

David could already hear the phone ringing as he unlocked his office door. “I guess I really need to get someone in here,” he acknowledged to himself, knowing that he should have hired an assistant a good month ago. Business was beginning to pick up and no longer consisted of just background checks and unfaithful spouses.
His office suite was in a mid-rise building and consisted of two rooms; a small waiting room and his even smaller private office. It really wasn’t a bad trade off considering he had a view – or a snippet of a view – of the New York City skyline.
Sitting at his desk, David snapped his laptop into its docking station and turned it on. He would need to weed through his voicemail messages but that would have to wait for the time being.
One call that he had received the evening before was from Walter Huffs, a respected local attorney. Walter’s niece had been murdered and the crime remained unsolved. Concerned for his sister’s mental health and not wanting the case to go cold, Walter had hired him to investigate further. It was a case that David really wanted to handle, for a number of reasons.
“Courtney Tabbin,” he typed into the search engine on his sluggish computer. Page after page of search results came up. David began to comb through each and every one of them.
He remembered the incident very well. No more than a year ago, Courtney Tabbin’s body had been found in a secluded wooded area in Northern New Jersey, savagely beaten and left in a nearby stream. There had been no sign of sexual assault. Stolen items including a necklace and a wallet containing cash suggested a robbery, but the nature of the wounds suggested something more.
“I will have to speak to your sister, Joanne, about your niece,” David had said to Walter at the time, “and in doing so she will have to relive the crime and the loss of her daughter all over again. Will she be up for it?”
“Yes,” Walter had replied. “I discussed this with my sister before contacting you. It will be hard for her but not as hard as not having closure.”
According to past news articles, the night that Courtney disappeared she was supposed to meet with some co-workers for dinner. At first, when it appeared that Courtney was running late, a couple of the girls had tried to reach her on her cell phone. When she completely failed to show up, one of her co-workers had called Courtney’s house and had spoken to her mother. Her car had eventually been discovered on a desolate road, not far from where her remains had been found.
David’s concentration was broken into to when the phone rang. “David Wagers,” he quickly answered.
“Hi, David, did you get any of my messages?” It was Penny Irvines, a spousal surveillance client. Penny was in her mid-forties and well preserved, but was not the teeny bopper that she thought herself to be.
“Hello, Penny. Yes, I did,” David replied. Penny had left a message yesterday evening. “I just got into the office a few minutes ago.”
“Did you find anything out last night?” she asked sweetly. He could almost hear her batting her eyelashes.
“No,” David admitted. “I didn’t. It seems as if Troy was just working late.”
“Ohhh, how could that be?!” Penny exclaimed. “Are you sure about that?’
“There hasn’t been any evidence of infidelity so far,” he stated.
“You know he still has that business meeting outside of the office at the end of the week,” Penny continued.
“Yes, I’m prepared for his meeting on Friday,” David answered.
“David, dear, I didn’t mean to suggest that you weren’t prepared,” Penny said innocently. “It’s just so hard for me to be home alone all the time when I know he’s out gallivanting.”
“We’ll see what his meeting on Friday turns up. I’ll give you a call at the end of the week,” David said, eager to get her off the phone.
“Thank you, David,” Penny purred. “I’ll be waiting.”
David was getting the distinct impression that Penny just wanted an excuse to get out of her marriage, but he didn’t want to jump to any conclusions.
Picking up the phone, he dialed in his voicemail passcode. Now was as good a time as any to go through the rest of his calls.
***
After picking up records on the Tabbin case graciously supplied by Detective Woods at the local police department, David was on his way to meet with Joanne Tabbin.
Joanne resided in a prestigious area in Northern New Jersey with her husband, a senior accountant and owner of his own CPA firm. Courtney had been their only child, which had made their loss that much harder to bear.
Arriving right on time, David pulled into the driveway of the attached, oversized two-car garage, as Joanne had advised. As he made his way up the front walk, the sun shined down brightly in the quiet, serene neighborhood, attempting to conceal the anguish that he could feel lingering underneath.
David rang the bell and waited for just a couple of minutes, hearing soft footsteps on the other side of the door.
Joanne answered the door looking haggard. In her early fifties she appeared older, with her salt and pepper hair and deep, dark circles beneath her eyes. She quickly extended her hand.
“So nice to meet you, Mr. Wagers,” she said, her gaze meeting his with unexpected determination. “Please, come in.”
“Nice to meet you, too, Mrs. Tabbin,” David responded. “Your home is lovely.” The center hall colonial opened to a two story entry foyer which delivered a dramatic first impression.
“Thank you so much,” Joanne said. “Come, make yourself comfortable.” She led David to a formal living room where he took a seat on a small sofa. A framed picture of Courtney, a pretty brunette, sat on a nearby end table.
“Would you like anything?” she asked.
“No, thank you,” David said.
Joanne sat down in an armchair across from him. “So, where do we begin?”
“Well,” David said, taking a pad and pen from out of his briefcase, “We could start with that night.”
“Yes, a night I will never forget,” she stated.
Joanne then proceeded to rehash the events of that fateful evening. How Courtney had come home right after work and changed to go out to dinner for a girls’ night out with her co-workers. They were set to meet at the restaurant at seven thirty that evening, and Courtney had left at approximately five forty-five.
“Why did she leave so early?” David asked as he jotted down notes.
“She was probably taking into consideration the rush hour traffic,” Joanne speculated. “I know she was planning to stop for gas and the bank before it closed.”
“Could she have been planning to meet up with someone else before going to dinner?” David questioned.
“Courtney never mentioned that, but I supposed it’s not out of the question,” Joanne said.
“What about boyfriends? Was she seeing anyone at the time?” he continued.
“She did have one boyfriend but he was away in Connecticut for his last year of college,” Joanne answered.
“I’m sure you’ve been asked all of this before, but I need to ask again,” David commented.
“I understand that,” she nodded.
David hesitated for a moment. “Did Courtney have any enemies that you know of, any jealousies or dramas occurring in her life at that time?”
“Not that I know of,” Joanne stated. “Courtney was a popular girl and always had a lot of friends. She was beautiful and outgoing so, yes, there were some jealousies from time to time but nothing drastic.”
“I understand that Courtney was working at a major corporation in the area,” David said, “What was her role in the company?”
“Courtney was working for Well Metro, a health insurance company,” Joanne said, “She worked as a paralegal in their legal department. She was considering going further and becoming an attorney.”
“How long was she working at Well Metro?” David asked.
“She had just started. Maybe six months,” she recalled.
Tapping the pad with his pen, David asked, “Was Courtney having any problems at work?”
“No, not at all,” Joanne answered. “She loved the work she was doing. Her co-workers seemed like a nice group of girls. They were very concerned for her the night she went missing. I actually still talk to one of the girls. She’s very upset about Courtney’s murder and has been very supportive.”
“Could I have her name?” David asked.
“Pam Jobley,” she said. “She’s a very nice girl. In fact, I know she’s looking to move and I was actually considering offering her our lower level suite. It’s been so quiet in the house since Courtney has been gone. Pam is very cooperative and I’m sure she would answer any questions you might have about Courtney should you want to speak with her.”
“Maybe I will,” David said, looking up from his notes.
***
After speaking with Joanne for a little while longer, David left with a list of names of friends, classmates and co-workers of Courtney’s. Although none of the information he obtained was anything new from what was already on record, he was hoping that a different approach would bring forward different results.
It was obvious that Joanne leaned toward the idea that the murder was the result of a robbery gone wrong, some random person that, hopefully, someone would remember seeing Courtney cross paths with that night. David wasn’t so sure, however, and planned to leave no stone unturned.




About the Author


Sherrie Sushko is the author of three books, Remain, Lost Love, and Work & Wagers. When not writing or reading, Sherrie enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog. Sherrie currently resides in the United States.




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Cover Reveal and Giveaway Haunting Magic by Neely Powell

About the Book



Title: Haunting Magic

Author: Neely Powell

Genre: Paranormal Romance


Fiona Burns, a witch who sees dead people, meets Hollywood producer Bailey Powers, who sees her as the next cable star—and a fake. Even so, she’s tempted by the dynamic producer in more ways than one. But she has a big distraction—a vicious curse on her family coven.

The ghosts of New Mourne warn of the return of the Woman in White, a vengeful spirit who claims the life of a Connelly witch from every generation. During the battle, Fiona unwittingly fuels the demonic forces, and black magic brings death and heartbreak to her family.

Initially a skeptic, Bailey is soon caught up in her supernatural battle with forces of evil. He’s also beginning to think Fiona can help him escape his haunting past.

With magic and mayhem at war and survival on the line, the Witches of New Mourne face a new challenge from their ancient foe. They discover that not all dark deeds are borne of the Woman but a demon who is bent on gaining the Woman’s powers for his own. Will another generation fall? Or does the curse end here?


Links


Author Bio

Neely Powell is the pseudonym for co-writers Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell. The best friends met when they both worked at a rock ‘n roll radio station in Chattanooga. It turned out their husbands were long-lost high school buddies, and Jan and Leigh were both writing romantic fiction in their spare time. A partnership was born.

They tried writing fiction together for several years, but life and other adventures got in the way. Their friendship endured as they went on to individual careers. Writing as Celeste Hamilton, Jan published 24 romance novels for Silhouette and Avon Books. Her books appeared on the B. Dalton, Waldenbooks Romance, and USA Today bestseller lists before she left fiction for a career in corporate communications.

 

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Principle of Oneness by Russell Anthony Gibbs



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The Principle of Oneness

A Practical Guide to Experiencing the Profound Unity of Everything



Self-Help, Spirituality
Date Published: May 2017
Publisher: WaveCloud Corporation

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Winner of the 2017 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Book in Spiritual Self Help

The Principle of Oneness expounds on the first principle from the award winning and bestselling book, The Six Principles of Enlightenment and Meaning of Life and is the second in this series of eight books on enlightenment.

Many have said "We are all one" but what does that really mean? This practical guide helps you understand and experience the profound unity of everyone and everything. Author Russell Anthony Gibbs explains the science behind the connections of everything both physical matter and nonphysical energy. Gibbs supports his points with quotes from scientists, enlightened beings, spiritual leaders, philosophers and others. Great minds like Albert Einstein, Buddha, Aristotle, Rumi and Jesus all understood the profound Oneness of the Universe. Gibbs further clarifies some of the misconception about the Universe/God as well as explains how to live and experience the Principle of Oneness.

Purchase Links



Other Books by Russell Anthony Gibbs:

The Six Principles of Enlightenment and Meaning of Life

Publisher: Espresso Wisdom
Published: March 2016

All enlightened beings, most founders of religions and many renowned scientists knew and understood the six principles of enlightenment. These universal truths have been written about, taught and discussed for thousands of years yet remain shrouded in mystery and misinterpretation. This book seeks to remove that shroud.

The Six Principles of Enlightenment and Meaning of Life is an intellectual and spiritual work that explains the six significant universal truths woven throughout science, religion and philosophy. These principles draw upon thousands of years of wisdom and are presented in a concise, accessible format. Each principle is defined and has an explanation on its application to life; they are further supported by quotes of wisdom from enlightened beings, philosophers, artists and scientists like Buddha, Albert Einstein, Rumi, Stephen Hawking and Jesus. Understanding the six principles then unlocks the meaning of life which is explained in the final chapter.



About the Author


Award winning and bestselling author Russell Anthony Gibbs is a philosopher and spiritual seeker on a quest for enlightenment. His research into Baha’ism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Sufism and Taoism greatly influences his spiritual and philosophical perspective. He is also profoundly influenced by the information from two channeled entities, Seth and Abraham. He further incorporates quantum mechanics, physics and psychology as well as concepts from the works of Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Stephen Hawking.

Gibbs’s communication style is concise, intense and deep. He would rather express wisdom in brief, powerful quotes and concise paragraphs than in complicated, long-winded explanations. Espresso Wisdom is short, strong, rich insight. Like espresso coffee, it gives an intense jolt of enlightenment. Enlightenment is an awakening, and Espresso Wisdom is meant to help jumpstart you on your journey.

Espresso Wisdom Short, Strong, Rich Insight! ™

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Read an excerpt from The Devil's Dragon by Jason F. Boggs



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The Devil's Dragon



Space Opera, Science Fiction
Date Published: January 2017

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Set 80 years into the future, Nelson Jones, a young military cadet full of optimism and hope is enlisted into the New Era - a fascist regime that arises to rule the world after a horrifying attack from an alien species known as the Great Tribe.

Under the leadership of Earth's dictator, President Jacob Freeman with his ruthless enforcer, Major Ira Bilis, Nelson witnesses horrible abuses of power and is forced to confront his values and his world view to make difficult choices. When he happens across a small faction of resistance against this tyranny, Nelson must consider whether to risk his life to do what he feels is right.



Praise for The Devil's Dragon:

Choosing to persevere had been one of my better decisions as of late. As I read on, the tale improved vastly and almost before I realized it, I was hooked. It wasn't love at first sight, but the diverse cast of characters and the intriguing story line eventually drew me in. I'm glad this is a trilogy and I will be eagerly awaiting news of the next two releases. Well worth the read! 4/5 stars. - Bookplex

First in a trilogy, THE DEVIL'S DRAGON is a fascinating futuristic first contact story that challenges ideas about government, humanity and the fine line we walk between right and wrong. - IndieReader

Purchase Link


Excerpt

Chapter 21: The Devil's Dragon

Ira Bilis stepped up to an awaiting shuttle, a lieutenant saluted her at the base of the landing ramp, she ignored this and walked past him to the top of the ramp, the loud clacking of her jack boots on the steel seemed to contradict her demure figure, she turned to regard the camp one last time, it was swarming with Aesini warriors, a small contingent of Paladins in defence formation were picking off any of the aliens who dared shoot at or make a rush toward their position.
She breathed in the carnage for a short time before regarding her junior officer with a smirk as he walked up to join her "It makes you feel alive doesn't it"? "Uh, yes ma'am".
"Is the shuttle loaded with what I ordered"?
"Yes ma'am, the storage containers have the trinkets that you selected from the local villages".
"I know what there are"! She tightened her grip on her riding crop, the familiar ominous leather on leather sound made him flinch. He knew that these cases of plunder was everything she had stolen from the Aesini, bracelets, earrings, fine fabrics, jewels, even some gold. He guessed that these spoils of war would fund her retirement.
"Give the order". She nodded to him who saluted, turned and barked to the small group of soldiers below. "Move out, go go go"! He made a wind up signal. "Yes LT"! They clamoured up the ramp and as it was closing, enemy bullets hit the steel door making a loud pinging sound. The shuttle took off with two dragonfly escorts, the last of the fighters that remained, the roar of its engines punctuated the tumult below, Nadija heard the turbulence and looked up to see the spectacle of the three ships taking off and shook her head with dismay. "She escaped didn't she"? Horx shared her conclusion.
"There are other ways to exact justice, the Gods will see to that". Seric sought to offer some comforting words, Nadija gave him a sinister grin "No, not the Gods, we will".
Seric gave her a look of displeasure and cleared his throat for a rebuttal; however, Nadija felt the need to supplement her thoughts.
"We don't have time to discuss the finer points of faith and philosophy my friend but suffice it to say, we are all made of stars and both of us are tiny insignificant life forms scuttling around under the same sun like microbes in a Petri dish, that makes us more or less the same under any God or Gods that you nominate, whether there is a God or Gods or not, whether we're here because of evolution only or evolution assisted by intelligent design from a higher power, it doesn't really matter in the end, I just do what I do because it makes me feel good".
"Doesn't really matter? Creation is not purely by chance look around you! We are the instruments of the Gods, some are called upon to carry out their will, others work against it merely to benefit themselves, most do nothing overall, I most certainly disagree with your simplistic assessment". Seric coughed with incredulity.
"That's your right, let's just keep moving". Horx wasn't inclined toward profound conversation at this point. "Wow Nadija that's kinda deep, here I was thinking you were just a soldier".
"No one's just anything Evan, what we are isn't nearly as important as who we are". Her eyes had a sparkle in them whenever she looked at him lately and it made his heart skip a beat. "To be continued over some noodles". He smiled, hoping she understood that noodles was a euphemism for so much more.
They ran down an embankment until they arrived at the main entrance to the camp, Seric took his temporary blanket robe off "I think we'll be safe here". He declared as he waved to a group of about a hundred Aesini, clearly this area at least was secure and although gun shots could still be heard in the distance, Nadija gestured for Horx to put his weapon away.
There were at least fifty Paladins squatted with their hands on their heads. As Seric was greeted by his fellow warriors, Nadija asked "You guys are taking prisoners?"
Seric glanced at the POWs and nodded "They can be used at the negotiating table, they will be treated with more kindness then you humans afforded us".
"Present company excluded, don't paint us all with the same brush". Nadija protested.
"Right, of course, I'm sorry it's just that whatever the outcome, prejudices will remain, so much damage has already been done".
An elderly warrior rode up atop a strider and peered down with a smile "Seric, the fact that you’re still alive proves that the Gods have a sense of humour".
"Chief Naid, the convert Nelson Jones is at the base hospital with Meaghan, we have to go rescue them". Nadija looked up to regard him.
"Lead the way then". Naid let out a whistle to summon a mank, when one appeared Alene's face was already on its belly.
"Nelson's at the infirmary with Meaghan". Naid reported.
"That area is in the middle, still unsecured, gather up your troops, I'll head in from the West, you take the south and we'll meet up there, the dragonflies have retreated to their mother ship for now, probably to resupply so we must act fast".
Naid saluted his daughter. "Alright, you heard your queen, move out"! And enthusiastic roar of approval erupted from the warriors as they swarmed up the alley that Seric and his entourage had just come from.
Nadija held out her hand to Horx to stop him and shook her head. "We've done enough fighting, let's find a safe area and see if your little experiment worked".
Horx nodded and turned on his tablet, scrolling through some menus, Wong's concerned face appeared on the screen. "Report Evan".
"Mission failed but I think we still have an outcome that may be to our advantage".
"I have heard that the Aesini have overrun the camp yes"?
"True enough, it's safe for you to meet up with us now, we'll be in guard post...". Horx looked up and saw some large numbers emblazoned on the side of a white tower, a single Aesini warrior was in position at the window. "... Sixteen".
"What will you be doing up there"? Wong cocked an eyebrow.
He glanced at Nadija who blushed. "Watching some TV" Horx smilled.
The atmosphere inside the shuttle was sombre, Resen had fallen to the enemy and the soldiers had their heads bowed with the shock and disappointment of defeat, except Bilis who strode up and down between them with her head held high, she gently tapped each of their knees with her riding crop to get their attention.
"Ladies and gentlemen". They all regarded her, including Botany who sat silently between the crates at the back of the cabin, almost unseen like he was part of her loot.
"We are now in space, about to dock with the command ship, despite appearances, we have not lost, this is part of a greater plan that the President has foreseen". She smiled menacingly.
"There is a moment of truth that is about to occur, a moment of reckoning that will determine the outcome of this struggle against the alien menace, I'm taking overall command of this mission to ensure final victory and I need to know if you are with me or against me, right now".
She peered into each of their eyes, one by one and in turn they answered "with you ma'am", "loyal and true", yes sir", "to the end", "now and forever".
She didn't bother with Botany; he sat there expressionless, silent in the shadows.
"Good, when the moment comes, I will give you the codeword "downfall", at that moment you will not hesitate to open fire on Admiral Reece, he has refused a direct order from the Central to fire upon the enemy which has now taken over the camp, once we take command
of the Gilly, we bomb the shit out of them, we do not tolerate weakness in the new era do you get me"?!
"We get you sir"!
When the shuttle landed in the main docking bay, Reece was there with a ceremonial compliment of troops to greet her, she was obviously outnumbered, now was not the right time.
"Major Ira Bilis, it's good to see that you made it out, I've been in contact with the President and have given him an update of the situation". She saluted Reece who returned in kind.
"Admiral, it was by the skin of my teeth that I escaped and the bravery of my Paladins shall not be forgotten, by the way it's General Bilis now". She turned to look at her troops and gave them a small smile.
"I didn't hear of this promotion, congratulations". His face had a sceptical expression.
"May we meet in private"?
"Of course, there is much to discuss". Reece gave a junior officer a nod who gave the order to dismiss the honour guard, as they marched off, Reece held out his hand for her to walk toward another exit which would eventually lead them to the ship's meeting room.
"You may dismiss your troops General; they've fought well and must be eager for R&R".
"They will have earned it before this day is over". She agreed, her pace was slow as they walked, it didn't occur to him that she was stalling for time, waiting until his troops had entirely left the docking bay before confronting him.
"Are you injured"? He feigned concern.
"Just fatigued sir, a little battered and bruised too". This was the truth.
When they got to the exit door, Reece's troops were finally gone but Bilis's contingent remained in formation behind her, Reece's face had a growing look of concern. "Dismiss your troops General or I will for you".
"Not yet".
Reece went to grab his cylinder but Bilis put her hand on his wrist to stop him, the concerned expression now turned to alarm. "What the hell's going on Ira"?
Her troops now cocked their rifles and trained them on him.
"Oh my God".
"Admiral, I am taking over this mission, I would much prefer that you remain in command of the Gilgamesh and we'll pretend that this little awkward moment never happened as long as you acknowledge that I'm in charge overall".
"The president's in charge overall". He scowled at her. "And he has deemed me fit for command of the expeditionary forces, I am the Admiral you silly little girl"!
He regarded the soldiers behind her. "When you put on that uniform, you took a sacred oath to follow the proper chain of command put forth by the leader himself, put down your weapons, that's an order or you'll be in front of a firing squad"! He barked at them but they remained unmoved.
Bilis walked a circle around Reece, her riding crop twisting between her leather gloves at her back. "Reece, this is an opportunity for you to make things right, this is the turning point of this war, all you have to do is resume your post as fleet Admiral and follow my orders, the first being to bomb the crap out of the camp below and then Apolinya, is that understood"?
"I only follow orders from two people Ira, Jessie and Jacob, we've known each other for a long time, from the start, you know I can't change that, you know there is no compromise"!
"They're not here, they will never be here, this system belongs to us now and the only way we can rule it is with an iron fist, the outcast colonies will be a shinning beacon, an unreachable
outpost of the new era, an impregnable fortress, a utopia of strength and order defying a universe of chaos, I'm giving you the chance to be a part of that Adam, to revel in its glory!"
Her eyes sparkled with a maniacal intensity as she made a fist, Reece grimaced, she'd never called him by his first name before. "President Freeman ordered that I do not bomb the camp and withdraw the fighters, unlike you he values his personnel still down there". He looked at the troops in her entourage. "You are only here to forward her agenda, she's addicted to power, that's why Freeman held her back on a short leash, he knew she'd turn out like this, don't you see that"?
"He lies, last chance Reece, join me". She stared into his eyes at close range and for a moment he could see something he couldn't reconcile with his mind, it was fire blazing in her eyes, was it his fear playing tricks with his eyes?
"Never". He whispered.
Her troops raised their guns, ready to fire on her orders.
"Downfall".
Reece slumped under a hail of bullets, dying in a pool of his blood he looked up at her standing over him.
"You're the devil". He managed to spit out before he closed his eyes and ceased to exist.
"No, I am the devil's dragon". She whispered to herself as she walked out of the hangar, her troops marching in formation behind her. "I am what the universe has made me". The doors closed behind her, only Botany remained, standing in the middle of the bay, alone, forgotten.
Meaghan lay on the operating table, coughing meekly and wheezing she stared into his eyes. "I love you Nelson".
"That's twice I've heard that today but you're the only one I wanted to hear it from". He held her cool hand tightly as the doctor applied anesthetic over her mouth and hooked her up to various machines.
"She's haemorrhaging; I've got to go in now". He muttered. The doctor was soaked in the blood of patients he'd worked on before her, his expression was frazzled.
"Save her doc".
"I can only play with the cards I'm dealt, the less you talk from now on the better so shut up".
Her eyes closed under the effect of the anaesthesia and the doctor proceeded to cut her open, he didn't even bother cleaning the equipment first.
Some minutes of silence passed as he worked furiously over her, the doctors face was obscured by his mask so Nelson watched his eyes, he didn't like what he saw, the eyes betrayed him, they looked increasingly less confident and Nelson's heart sank, tears welled in his eyes.
"Please doc, please save her, she's pregnant".
"You don't think I know that"?!
They heard shouting and shots being fired from outside the operating theatre and for a moment they looked at each other with trepidation, the doctor then returned to Meaghan and shook his head. "Looks like your war found its way here". He grumbled.
The doors swang open to the theatre, a few Aesini walked in and raised their weapons at them, Nelson stood up, his hands raised. "I'm done fighting".
A female stepped forward adorned in a purple cape. "Are you Nelson Jones"? To his surprise she could speak English.
He nodded, his hands still raised.
"Do you mind? I'm trying to save a life here"! The doctor bellowed.
"Two lives". Nelson tilted his head toward the doctor who shook his head regretfully, one of the machines made a flat line sound.
"No, just one now".
Nelson lowered his hands and turned to look over Meaghan, she was gone.
"Oh Jesus no, no no no, why God why"? His tears now flowed down his face as he sobbed over her, his expression grew dark. "Bring her back"!
The doctor shook his head, Nelson pulled out his pistol and raised it to the doctor "Bring her back, at least try, why don't you at least try"?!
Naid leaned over and grabbed his gun, wrenching it off him, Alene held him as he cried, he wasn't even aware that he was embracing the alien. Seric walked over and put a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. "Too much death has been seen today". Naid whispered.
The doctor continued to operate "I can save the child but she will need an incubator to survive, she's premature".
"Tell me where to find this incubator". Alene said.
"There's none on this mound of shit you call Resen, the only ones we have are on the capital ships, the Gilgamesh has one.
Nelson wiped his eyes and looked at the doctor "I'm sorry about my reaction doctor".
"I've seen worse, now, can you get me on that ship"?
He thought for a moment and shook his head regretfully. "No, I don't see how".
Alene stepped in front of him and looked into his eyes "Never lose hope Nelson, the Gods have determined that we meet for a reason".
"Who are you"?
"I am Alene, first Empress of the Great Tribe and I will lead all of us, human and Aesini alike to the path of righteousness".
Naid and Seric looked at each other and said in bemused unison "Empress"?
"This is my father Chief Naid and my good friend Seric".
They nodded and Nelson let out a slow exhale. "So, what now"?
"Now you need to name this child". A small cry could be heard behind them and they all turned to see a new born baby girl being cradled in the doctor’s arms, so tiny and fragile and Nelson let out a gasp, he couldn't believe his eyes. He walked over and held out his little finger, the baby's hand could feel it and grasped at it.
"Liana".
"Why this name"? Alene asked.
"That was the name of Meaghan's grandmother, she told me about her once, right about the time my daughter was conceived in fact". He smiled, recalling the moment of his short lived intimacy with Meaghan; it seemed so long ago now. "She lived in a better time, a better world, far from perfect but better".
"Then the birth of this child shall herald better times again". Alene declared.
"Touching, but she's only got a few hours to enjoy these better times unless we get her to an incubator and a proper hospital". The doctor growled.

About the Author


After completing two degrees, Jason F Boggs has spent over 25 years in the hotel industry where he experiences peoples' true natures - both good and bad, fertile ground for these stories. Jason currently lives on the Gold Coast in Australia with his wife SueEllen who patiently endures his imagination and their two cats, who do not.




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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Read an excerpt from Love in the Cretaceous by Howard W. Robertson



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Love in the Cretaceous



Literary Fiction
Date Published: May 2017

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Love in the Cretaceous takes place in a dinosaur park in Oregon a hundred years in the future. Ted Beebe has lost the love of his life and must suddenly find his way alone in old age. He finds young people to take the place of his wife and himself in assuring the survival of Cretaceous World, the park his wife and he created. Global warming has proceeded as predicted, and the fate of Homo sapiens has become obviously uncertain. People come to see the genetically engineered recreations of dinosaurs and are made more aware of humanity’s own vulnerability to extinction. Ted succeeds in creating a new family structure whose three generations will guide the park through the immediate future. He also keeps alive his wife’s memory while coping with the challenges of the uncertain future.

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It takes your breath away to see a Brontosaur run.
Bud sees the two of them thundering towards us though and has plenty of breath
left to holler, “And down the stretch they come!”
We know from fossil thigh-bones that Brontosaurs were capable of a slow run,
so we designed our pair to do about a dozen miles per hour. To see an animal 70 feet
long and weighing 50,000 pounds move that fast seems nothing less than miraculous.
Lana has used the giant crane to drop a couple tons of mixed ferns, horsetails,
and gingko and araucarian leaves into the Brontosaur area. The crane is 50 feet high
with a long arm so the two sauropods won’t bang their heads on it, since they can only
reach up to about 25 feet with their long necks.
It’s May 2117, and the angiosperms are in bloom all around these two colossal
creatures from the end of the Jurassic. We called it close enough and just sort of rolled
them into Cretaceous World, our magnificent dinosaur park. Brontosaurs flourished
around 150 million years ago, well before the rise of the flowering plants about 30
million years later in the Cretaceous period. When our genetic engineers designed the
genome for our pair, they tried to make them as authentic as possible, so the two of
them really prefer the kind of food they would have eaten way back when. That’s why
they come running at feeding time when we give them the ancient gymnosperms that
they like best. There’s actually a large nursery in the neighboring town of Dewberry
that’s dedicated to supplying our herbivores with food from the time of the dinosaurs.
Lana gets down out of the crane and walks over to me.
She says, “I’d sure like to see a whole herd of these moving together.”
Lana has a Ph.D. in paleontology from SUNG and knows full well why we
couldn’t handle that. Our pen of seven miles by four miles is barely big enough for the
two Brontosaurs we do have. By the way, I’m so glad the alternate name has died away
over the past hundred years: “thunder lizard” is so much more appropriate for these
giants than “deceptive lizard.”
I say, “Wouldn’t that be grand?”
She smiles and tosses her long blonde ponytail. Then she goes over to Bud and
gives him an assignment to do.
Lana is actually Bud’s supervisor, though her youthfulness and the flecks of
grey everywhere in Bud’s hair might suggest the opposite. Bud drove a big rig longhaul
for over a decade before joining our staff here at Cretaceous World. He’s happy as a
clam here. We offer generous salary, great job security, comprehensive health benefits,
a month’s paid vacation, and a rock-solid pension. Not bad for a high school graduate
from Roseburg.
Lana returns to my side and says, “Really, I love imagining the whole herds of
these guys that roamed around Western Laurasia.”
I enjoy it that she knows it’s Laurasia still and not yet Laramidia, since the
Brontosaur was in the late Jurassic, 50 million years before Laramidia formed.
She says, “Have you ever heard them crack their tails like bullwhips? It’s
amazing. You can imagine that they could knock over an Allosaur with their tails and
then just stomp on it with their huge clawed feet. Once they got big like this, they really
didn’t have much to fear from predators.”
I say, “I understand they grew very fast when they were young, and then once
they were full-grown, they could live well past a hundred years.”
She says, “Yeah, some paleontologists speculate about three hundred years as a
reasonable guess for how long a Brontosaur could live.”
I say, “I spent the early part of my career studying the smallest of single-celled
life-forms who could basically live forever if conditions were right. Bacteria had no
programmed cell-death. It wasn’t until the larger nucleated cells came along that death
from old age became possible.”
She says, “You started out with the tiniest living beings who began around four
billion years ago. Bruce and Phyllis here must seem like giant newcomers to you.”
I enjoy her use of the nicknames the crew gave the Brontosaur couple.
I say, “The Cambrian explosion changed everything. Between 600 and 500
million years ago, life got larger fast. In a few blinks of geologic time, the sauropods
were leaving their footprints all over the landscape of the Morrison Formation not so far
from here.”
She says, “You’ve covered all of life on Earth in your career, from tiny
beginning to the recent hugeness. Nice.”
We pause and watch Bruce and Phyllis enjoy their meal.
She asks, "Do you think we mammals would’ve taken over from the dinosaurs if
the big asteroid hadn’t hit the Gulf of Mexico?”
I reply, “I doubt it. We were just scurrying around the margins and doing things
at night when our fully warm-blooded metabolism gave us an advantage. The dinosaurs
were the most successful animals ever to stride the Earth and would’ve continued to
dominate us. Their demise was our golden opportunity.”
She smiles and goes off with Bud, who has finished his task and returned.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
After watching the feeding of the Brontosaurs, I return to the residence. It
always makes me childishly happy to come home to the palace that Becky and I are
privileged to inhabit. I don’t like to think of myself as a superficial person, but in this
one regard, I’m really quite shallow.
Chandler greets me at the entrance in his usual cheery way.
I say, “I’m going up to the tea room. Please bring me a bowl of fresh
strawberries and a big pot of tea with lemon.”
He says, “Yes, sir, as you wish. Will there be anything else?”
I say, “No, just the tea and strawberries. Thank you, Chandler.”
The tea room is how we refer to the large semi-circular area on the second floor
at the rear of the edifice. It faces north away from Cretaceous World and overlooks
Tumtum Creek. The entire curved wall of the tea room is made of sheets of shatterproof
glass. They’re fitted together so artfully that you can only find the seams if you
get close and inspect the surface of the glass very carefully.
Outside, the temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit on this mid-afternoon in late
May, but the air conditioning keeps it cool and refreshing in here. The half-acre of solar
panels on the roof of the residence give us plenty of electricity for all the conveniences
we fancy.
I ascend the spiral staircase and make my way to the tea room. I park myself on
the antique Stickley couch and gaze out at the dense forest. Red alders and vine maples
are leafing out along the creek, as are the oaks up the hillside. The endless pines are
green as ever.
Chandler soon brings the tea and strawberries and sets them on the small table in
front of me. I enjoy his style and politeness. It’s very soothing.
I say, “I’d like to hear the creek, please.”
Chandler turns on the sound from Tumtum Creek. A microphone has been
hidden at a spot where the rushing water passes over a series of three small waterfalls,
none of which is more than a foot high. The gorgeous natural music floods the tea room
from surrounding speakers. It’s complex and simple at the same time.
Chandler discreetly leaves the room.
I say to myself, “Tumtum,” remembering its meaning in the Chinook Jargon:
heart, mind, will.
I sip the delicious Earl Grey tea with two lemons fresh-squeezed into the pot. I
pick up a luscious strawberry and take a big bite out of it.
I think, “Tumtum. Perfect.”
At this moment, Becky appears. She’s been to the doctor in New Geneva for
her annual checkup.
She quietly says, “Hey.”
I answer, “Hey.”
I immediately sense something’s not right.
She says, “The creek sounds nice.”
She says it as if she’s remembering how it sounds, not actually hearing it right
now.
I ask, “Care for a strawberry?”
I lift the bowl and hold it out to her.
She says, “No, thanks. I don’t think I could eat anything right now.”
She sits down beside me on the plush maroon couch.
I say, “Tea, then?”
Chandler thoughtfully brought two cups when he delivered the tea.
She says, “No.”
I ask, “Something the doctor said?”
She says, “Yeah, you could say that. She definitely said something.”
I put my half-eaten strawberry down on a coaster and wait.
She says, “My lab work turned up a problem. They found positive indications
for Stander’s disease.”
I say, “Heard the name. Not familiar.”
She explains, “It’s a new virus that’s come along in the last couple decades, now
that the climate’s changed so much. It’s a kind of dementia accompanied by a physical
wasting away. You lose your mind and your body. You lose it all. You lose yourself.
You’ve got two to three years from the time it shows up in the tests to when you’re still
alive but you’re not you anymore.”
I don’t know what to say. I’m not prepared in any way to deal with this. It’s the
last thing I was expecting to hear her say.
I say, “You look so healthy. You look so well.”
I’m looking at her, and she turns her head and looks at me with her beautiful
green eyes. Tears begin to trickle down her cheeks, and I put my arms around her. My
own eyes fill with tears and overflow.
I ask, “Is there any doubt about the diagnosis?”
She says, “She’s repeating the tests just to make 110 percent sure, but she
doesn’t hold out any false hope. She says the diagnosis is clear. The lab results are
unambiguous.”
She utters a single sob, and I hug her harder.
She says, “It’s difficult to accept that it’s true. It doesn’t seem possible.”
I agree, “No, it doesn’t seem real at all.”
She asks, “I’d like to go down by the creek: can we?”
I reply, “Of course.”
There’s a door off the tea room opening onto stairs down to Tumtum Creek.
We’re both a bit wobbly as we descend. I hold onto the railing, and Becky holds tightly
onto me.
It’s muggy outside. The temperature is at least fifteen degrees cooler in the
shade down by the creek.
I say, “There’s supposed to be a thunderstorm tonight.”
She says, “It feels like it.”
We stop beside the rushing flow of the creek.
She asks, “Do you ever wish we’d had a child?”
I lie, “No.”
She comments, “I suppose this whole place, Cretaceous World, is our child. It’s
why we’re alive. It’s our purpose in life.”
I agree, “Yes, I suppose it is. I hadn’t thought of it that way exactly, but I
suppose it’s so.”
She says, “I’m glad we don’t have a child who has to face this, my dying, his or
her mother’s dying.”
I agree, “It would be hard to tell a child.”
We’re silent thinking about breaking the news to a child we don’t have.
She says, “I don’t want you to have to face losing your wife before she’s
actually dead. I don’t want to live past the time when I’m still myself.”
I ask, “What do you mean?”
She says, “You know what I mean.”
I say, “You mean assisted suicide.”
She confirms, “Yes, I want to consider it in a year or two when the time comes,
when it’s obvious that I don’t have much longer before I don’t know who you are or
anything we’ve done together.”
I embrace her.
I say, “Of course. However you want. I’ll be with you whatever comes.”
She says, “I don’t want you to remember me like I’ll become if I let it happen. I
want you to remember me like this.”
We kiss tenderly, and all the love and joy of all our life together is in this kiss.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I’m standing in the tower at night. Lightning flashes and crashes outside the
panoramic glass windows.
I think, “Like the late Jurassic.”
We have a whole crew of forest workers dedicated to maintaining a 300-yard
firebreak around the dinosaur areas. It’s in effect a circumambient meadow. Deer
graze there. We also have dinosaur-sized, cave-like fire shelters in every area. We
humans have our cars and our roads in case we need to flee. There’s never been a forest
fire here at Cretaceous World, but we’re ready for what’s probably the inevitable.
The flashing and crashing continue outside the windows of the circular fourth
floor.
I suddenly notice I’m not alone. There’s a plump, slope-shouldered fellow in a
nice suit standing beside me.
He says soothingly, “Never fear, my friend, all is well.”
I find I know his name.
I turn toward him and say, “Diablo, my nemesis, what brings you here tonight?”
He winks and says, “You know.”
I find I do.
I say, “Becky.”
He says, “You find you wish Stander’s Disease were an enemy, a villain you
could face and kill with a knife-thrust to the navel, do you not?”
He’s not wrong.
I say, “When cellular life on Earth began around four billion years ago,
immortality was possible. It wasn’t until the nucleated protists came along much later
that death became inevitable.”
He says, “You call me Diablo, but you know I’m really just entropy.”
I say, “You’re the inevitable death of the Universe.”
A titanic bolt of lightning flashes across the sky, and at least fifteen seconds

About the Author


Howard W. Robertson lives in Eugene, Oregon, where his ancestors arrived as members of the Lost Wagon Train of 1853. He has previously published two books of fiction and ten books of poetry. He has won the Sinclair Poetry Prize, the Robinson Jeffers Prize for Poetry, the Bumbershoot Award, and numerous other competitions. His work has been published in Nest, Literal Latt├ę, Nimrod, Fireweed, and many other journals. His poetry has been anthologized in many collections, including The Clear Cut Future and The Ahsahta Anthology: Poetry of the American West. His work has been deeply influenced by a lifelong love of Russian literature. For more about Howard W. Robertson, see his webpage: www.howardwrobertson.com.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Planet, New World by Ian Prattis



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Futuristic Literature, Dystopian
Date Published:  October 2016

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Ian Prattis transports you to a faraway planet. Earth is dying due to Humankind’s damage to the environment. The clash of cultures, late in the twenty first century, opens this epic novel of pioneers establishing community in a nearby galaxy.

This futuristic finale of a trilogy stands on award winning books Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Buy a print copy and receive the two prior books for free.


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About the Author


Dr. Ian Prattis is Professor Emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa, Zen teacher, peace and environmental activist.  Born in the UK, he has spent much of his life living and teaching in Canada. His moving and eye-opening books are a memorable experience for anyone who enjoys reading about primordial tendencies. Beneath the polished urban facade remains a part of human nature that few want to acknowledge, either due to fear or simply because it is easier to deny the basic instincts that have kept us alive on an unforgiving earth. Prattis bravely goes there in his outstanding literary work.

He is an award winning author of fifteen books. Recent awards include Gold for fiction at the 2015 Florida Book Festival (Redemption), 2015 Quill Award from Focus on Women Magazine (Trailing Sky Six Feathers) and Silver for Conservation from the 2014 Living Now Literary Awards (Failsafe: Saving the Earth From Ourselves). His book Redemption is being made into a movie. His poetry, memoirs, fiction, articles, blogs and podcasts appear in a wide range of venues. A Poet, Global Traveler, Founder of Friends for Peace, Guru in India, and Spiritual Warrior for planetary care, peace and social justice, he offers public talks and retreats all over the world. Ian lives in Ottawa, Canada and encourages people to find their true nature, so that humanity and the planet may be renewed. He mostly stays local to help turn the tide in his home city so that good things begin to happen spontaneously.


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Murder at Broadcast Park by Bill Evans



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Thriller / Mystery
eBook Published: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Koehler Books October 2017

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Before this current age of broadcasting acquisitions and mergers, local TV stations were owned by the broadcasters, not investment firms. They lived to tell the stories of their communities. In Murder at Broadcast Park, the CBS station located in the rich resort town of Santa Barbara becomes it’s own story. “We never want to be our own news,” was the mandate from Barry Burke, the station’s news director. Except in this case, people are dying. With three murders, more affairs, but no suspects, investigators peer behind the scenes of the local news. Pull the veil off to find twists, turns, and secrets behind the scenes of this resort TV station and its cast of TV professionals. Nothing is off limits.


Praise for Murder at Broadcast Park:

"Add Murder At Broadcast Park to your must read book list - immediately!" --John Hannon, President, Jim Doyle & Associates, author of the Amazon best-selling book series, Engaged Management

"Lights..camera..Homicide ..Broadcasting Icon Bill Evans has crafted a tantilizing tale.. a real sex, lies and videotape odyssey into a dark side of the TV news business Sordid..salacious..from beginning to end." --Phil Blauer, News Anchor, FOX 5, San Diego

"Murder, sex scandals and cover-ups. It sounds like a great news day until you find out: you are the news!" --Dana Beards, Political Reporter, Capitol Television News Service

"A serious page-turner for serious 'who done it' fans. Don't read the first page of Murder at Broadcast Park unless you plan to race through every page until the end. Vivid and memorable characters. A twisty plot that keeps you guessing. And all of it in laid back Santa Barbara where murders are not the norm. Right? In his sojourn novel Bill Evans proves himself to be a master story teller. I can't wait for his next one. Hint. Hint." --David Welch, Talk Show Host, WRNR

"I was hooked on the first page and then could not put this book down. Murder at Broadcast House captured me with real characters and a great story. A perfect escape book until I realized how realistic it really was." --Jim Doyle, Founder, Jim Doyle & Associates

"Bill Evans has created a fabulous look "inside a working Newsroom" while at the same time, crafting a "page turning" thriller that will have you glued to every scene. As someone who spent 54 years in Newsrooms from New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas, to Reno, Idaho Falls, and Bozeman, I LOVED IT!" --Ted Dawson, Former Sportscaster KABC-Los Angeles


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About the Author


Bill Evans has been VP/GM for television stations in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs for over twenty years. He ran affiliate networks for ABC, CBS, and FOX. Currently residing in Atascadero, California, Evans is an avid golfer and active in community events and charities, including celebrity events from the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational to the Palm Springs Film Festival.



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