Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Unseen Kingdom Book Spotlight

About The Book
Title: The Unseen Kingdom
Author: Daniel R. Mathews
Publisher: Lost Legacy Press
Publication Date: September 19, 2015
Format: Paperback – 562 pages / eBook  / PDF
ISBN: 978-0990710721
Genre: YA / LGBT / Horror / Science Fiction
Book Description:
A group of friends must band together to defeat an ancient evil in Daniel R. Mathews’s terrifying debut, The Unseen Kingdom.
In a small New England town, thirteen-year-old Tommy Wilson’s biggest worry is coming out to his close-knit group of friends. All of that changes, however, when the boys discover a dream portal to R’lyeh—home to the Titan god Cthulhu himself.
Inhabited by monstrous creatures and eerie children who have appointed Tommy and his friends their new “apostles,” R’lyeh becomes a horrifying yet darkly fascinating world that proves to be increasingly real.
Meanwhile, the town’s population is suddenly overrun with a mysterious epidemic that threatens everyone. As the boys struggle to cope with what is happening, Tommy comes closer than ever to discovering the dark secret that lurks within R’lyeh itself—but will the price prove to be too costly? And, can the boys unlock the link between the secrets of R’lyeh and the devastation of their town’s population before it’s too late?
A truly unique work of fiction, The Unseen Kingdom is an LGBT coming-of-age novel skillfully infused with edge-of-your-seat horror, resulting in a wildly entertaining novel that will leave you guessing until the very last page.
Book Excerpt: 

CH A P T E R 1The dust covered yellow school bus rumbled down the cracked asphalt road,
shaking the children inside. Tommy’s body was inclined back against his
seat, his feet planted at the top of the green vinyl covered seat in front of
him. He alternated between glancing at his best friend Brian and peering
out the window at the blur of the fading autumn colors along the road.
Kevin was sitting rather imperiously at the back of the bus, grimacing down
at his cell phone that he removed from his pocket every couple of minutes.

Unable to resist commenting, Carlos leaned across the aisle. “Alright,
what’s the deal, Kevin? You got a hot date or something?”

Kevin’s face flushed slightly. “Uh…yeah! Jealous much?”

Despite his retort, his hands were shaking. Sunlight streaming through
the windows revealed a rather puffy ring of black and blue flesh underneath
his right eye. Tommy spotted the clumsy attempt to hide the bruise with
makeup. For an instant, the two boys’ eyes met but Kevin cast his eyes
downward, looking ashamed. He looked at his phone again, and Tommy
knew why.

A smirk curled across Carlos’ lips as he quipped, “Yeah, right. Your left
hand isn’t a date!” A chorus of chuckles emanated from the kids sitting in
front of the group of boys.

Kevin turned to face him and punched the boy in the shoulder with a
dull thwack. Before he could say anything, Kevin leaned back in his seat
and said, “Just FYI, it’s my right hand.” The children in earshot giggled at
Kevin’s assertion.

After rubbing his shoulder, Carlos looked back at Kevin. “Seriously,
dude, what’s up?” Tommy looked over at him and discreetly touched his
own face, to draw Carlos’ attention to Kevin’s bruise. After Carlos had realized
what he meant, the group became quiet.

Kevin put his phone away, leaned back against the window facing his
friends and forced a smile. “The only problem I have is your ugly face.”
Carlos flipped Kevin off, and poked Jacob who was giggling at his expense.

Tommy glanced at Brian and smiled. When he returned the smile,
Tommy looked down, his face brightening. Carlos and Jacob nudged one
another and pointed at the pair. Carlos was dozing in the sunlight, while
Jacob leaned against him listening to music on his headphones, watching
Tommy and Brian with bemused interest.

Kevin shook his head and grinned knowingly back at Jacob. Tommy
caught the boys’ conspiratorial glances and turned his head to the side. He
felt he was the punch line of an inside joke sometimes, but wasn’t quite sure
why. His curiosity was interrupted by his cell phone vibrating in his pocket.
He dug the phone out and read the text message from his mother.

“Yeah! It’s here!” Tommy exclaimed as he pumped his fist in the air

His voice rousted Carlos from his slumber. “What’s here? Another My
Little Pony?” he asked.

“Your birthday was last month, dork. No, my Halloween costume,”
Tommy responded matter-of-factly.

Kevin spun his hand around in a circle. “Uh, and…”

“It’s a surprise!” Tommy said with a mischievous grin, staring into
Brian’s grey eyes.

Carlos huffed with annoyance. “Dude, if you wear the same costume as
me again this year I’m going to kick your ass.”

“You’re still going as the red Master Chief, right?” Tommy asked with
sudden concern.
Carlos nodded affirmatively. “You’re going as a Templar, right,

Brian responded affirmatively, “I got some chain mail, and Mom
bought me a historically accurate tabard and helmet to go with it! Now if I
could use Dad’s old sword, the outfit would be perfect.”

“Even with the sword, I’m still going to own you,” Carlos said confidently.
He looked over at Kevin. “You decide on an outfit yet?”

Kevin shrugged, breaking eye contact with the others. “I don’t know if
my father’s going to let me go.”

“He’s gotta! There’s going to be ten thousand dollars in prizes. This is
going to be the best Halloween ever!” Tommy said exuberantly.

“And, you know, nobody does Halloween better than us!” Brian proclaimed

“Alright…alright. I’ll come up with something, I’m sure,” Kevin assured
his friends.

“What about you, Jacob?” Kevin asked.

Jacob smiled. “It’s a secret.”

“I’ll take care of this,” Carlos said, poking him mercilessly in the side,
causing him to squeal. The bus driver cleared his throat loudly, glaring at
the boys through the rear view mirror.

“Quit it!” Jacob protested, his face turning red enough to mask his pale
freckles. “I’m going as a vampire,” he surrendered begrudgingly.

“God, another sparkly vampire!” Carlos teased.

“No way, dork! A real vampire!” he retorted. Tommy and Brian laughed
and applauded.

Tommy leaned back and peered out the window again. The bus sputtered
to a stop, letting a few children out. He sang under his breath, “Eight
more days to Halloween, Halloween. Eight more days to Halloween, Silver
Shamrock.” Brian’s reflection in the window beamed at him while Carlos
and Kevin simultaneously rolled their eyes.

As the bus rounded a bend adjacent to the swamp that surrounded
much of the town, Tommy caught a glimpse of a boy wearing filthy blue
denim overalls and a wool beret. However, the boy disappeared behind the
veil of swirling white smoke left by the bus’s exhaust. There was something
inherently disquieting about the boy.

The bus ride grew progressively quieter as the bus approached the end
of its daily journey. His eyes widened when he saw the same boy from earlier
emerging from behind a row of wild hawthorn bushes. This time he
made direct eye contact with the mysterious boy. A wicked smile danced
across the child’s otherwise emotionless face, causing Tommy’s body to
shudder involuntarily. There was something terrible in the child’s visage,
forcing him to look away from those hollow, soulless eyes that invaded his
consciousness. Tommy looked up to see the bus driver staring intently at him through the rear view mirror. The rest of the group had fallen into
their own little worlds, lulled into virtual slumber by the constant droning
of the engine and swaying of the bus. He sank down in his seat, trying to
avoid the bus driver’s penetrating stare. He glanced over at Brian, who was
playing with his phone.

Tommy felt some relief when the final stop was reached and it was time
to offload. Carlos, Jacob and Brian were already halfway down the aisle
before the bus reached a stop, leaving Kevin and Tommy as the last passengers
to disembark. As Tommy descended the stairs, the bus driver reached
out and grabbed his hand. “You’ve seen them, haven’t you?” he asked.

A startled Tommy gave the bus driver a bewildered stare as he struggled
to withdraw his hand from the man’s tight grasp. “Seen who? What are
you talking about?” he asked, growing fearful of the man’s narrowing eyes.

“The children of the Great Unseen have revealed themselves to you,
and now it’s your turn to hear HIS call,” the man whispered in a raspy
voice. He tried to back away as the man’s eyes darkened, much like the boy
he had seen earlier.

“You’re hurting me!” an increasingly flustered Tommy stammered, trying
to pull away from the man’s grip.

Like a passing summer storm, the man’s face brightened, and he released
Tommy’s wrist. “Well, what are you waiting for, boy? It’s Friday night. You
got the whole weekend ahead of you. Now git!” He smiled warmly at the astounded
boy. Tommy stepped off the bus, confronted by Kevin and Brian.

“What the hell happened?” Kevin demanded.

Tommy could do little but shrug his slender shoulders. “I don’t know.
He was mad about something; it didn’t make any sense. Whatever it was,
he got over it quickly.”

Kevin watched with concern as the bus disappeared down the road, before
turning his attention to the dilapidated two-story greyish white house
in front of him. “Well, I can’t stall any longer,” he said with a sigh.

“What are you doing guys doing tonight?” Tommy asked.

Kevin shifted his weight. “I think I better stay in and work on

Brian said, “I promised Mom I’d clean up around the house tonight,
but I’ll have the rest of the weekend free after my homework is done.”
Tommy looked a little dejected, but at least this afforded him some time to
check out his Halloween costume.

“We’ll see you tomorrow morning, right?” Tommy asked Kevin

Kevin forced a smile and gave him a playful push. “Yeah, Bro, I’ll see
you guys tomorrow. We’ll go into town or something.” Tommy and Brian
said their good-byes and the boys parted company for the day.

Tommy’s house was a little larger than Kevin’s, painted a similar
weather-beaten white although clearly more care and maintenance has been
put into his house than Kevin’s. He bounded through the front door, his
eyes scanning the entranceway and hallway for any signs of his package. He
poked his head into the kitchen, spying the nondescript brown box sitting
on the table between his mother and father.

He made a beeline for the package before his mom intercepted him.
“Not even an acknowledgment of us being in the room?” she mockingly
admonished him, wiping the curly locks of blonde hair from his face.

“Stop, Mom! Hi, Dad!” he blurted out as he reached for the box.

“So, remind me why you needed to spend six months of your allowance
for this?” his father asked while Tommy tore open the package

“It’s a surprise for…” Tommy cut himself short. “I mean, I’m just
looking forward to Halloween.” The boy delved into the contents of the
package, procuring large sheets of fine brown fur wrapped in translucent

“Is there something you’d like to talk to us about?” his father asked
softly, casting a glance at his wife.

“You know, you can talk to us about anything,” Tommy’s mom said

Tommy pulled out the lower jaw of the werewolf costume, running his
fingers along the jagged teeth as he looked up at his parents with confusion.
“What are you talking about?”

“Well, we thought maybe you’d like to talk about someone,” Tommy’s
father said.

Tommy thought for a moment, unsure where his parents were going
with this line of questioning, though admittedly he felt embarrassed as a
sloppy grin crossed his face imagining Brian’s reaction when he sees the
costume. Before he could assemble the pieces in his mind, he blurted out
Kevin’s name.

“Kevin? What about him?” his mother asked, casting a confused gaze
over at her husband on this unexpected subject.

“I think his dad beat him up last night. He was wearing makeup to
cover up a black eye, but he didn’t have it yesterday,” Tommy said, looking out the kitchen window toward Kevin’s house. “I’m worried about him,”
he added.

“That’s a serious accusation, Tommy. Has Kevin given you any indication
of this?” his father asked, looking troubled.

Tommy shook his head. “No, but he acts afraid to go home. Every day
on the bus you can see him start shaking the closer we get.”

“That’s a worrying sign, Tommy, but we need to know the whole story.
Kevin is lucky to have you as a friend. I think the best thing you can do
right now is be there for him, and let him know that when he’s ready to talk,
you’ll listen,” his father instructed.

“Is there anything else, anything Kevin’s said that would make you feel
there’s trouble with his father?” his mother interjected.

Tommy thought for a moment. “Kevin’s mentioned his dad drinks a
lot. I think that’s when he gets in trouble.”

His mother rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Isn’t it always?” she
whispered to no one in particular. “Your father is right, Tommy. Let know
Kevin that you’re there for him. There is a counselor at your school trained
for this kind of thing, so Kevin has options if he’s in trouble.”

“Couldn’t you talk to his dad, make him stop?” he asked his father.

Tommy’s father leaned back in his chair and sighed. “It’s not that easy,
kiddo. Nobody likes to be told how to raise their child, and I’m afraid if we
stick our noses into his business, he might take it out on Kevin. It would be
best if the school became involved in this.”

Disappointed, Tommy knew this was a problem that couldn’t easily be
solved. He pulled out the remaining mass of soft brown fur and the upper jaw of his werewolf costume. “Some assembly required,” he moaned, pulling
out a plastic bag full of plastic claws.

“I hope you’re not expecting me to do all the work,” Tommy’s mother

“Uh, no, of course not, Mom!” he replied, his bright, blue pleading eyes
belying his underlying intent.

“Well, if you like I can take the measurements and help you get started
this weekend,” his mom offered diplomatically.

His face brightened. “Thanks, Mom, that’d be awesome!”

“Alright, go get started on your homework. Dinner will be ready in
about an hour,” she concluded, sending the Tommy and his costume out
of the kitchen.

His father shook his head and laughed. “I have a feeling this is going to
be an unforgettable Halloween.”

Tommy bounded into his room, and spread all the individual components
of the werewolf costume across his bed. The macabre mass of soft
fur, jaws and claws melded naturally with the horror movie posters hanging
on the far wall, above the shelves filled with rows of horror movie
DVDs and a couple dozen similarly themed novels. He plopped himself
down in his wooden desk chair and rummaged through his backpack for
his homework assignments.

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About The Author
An avid reader of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, Daniel R. Mathews is a novelist and nonfiction writer whose books feature LGBT youth braving danger with honor and dignity, including his personal memoir, The Demons of Plainville, and debut horror novel, The Unseen Kingdom.
For the past two decades, Mathews has worked as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified ground instructor, meteorologist, and a member of the web development and Internet technical support community. He currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
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Lethal Game by Julie Rowe Book Spotlight

About The Book


TitleLethal Game
Book 2: Biological Response Team Series
Author: Julie Rowe
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: October 12, 2015
Pages: 270
ISBN: 978-1459290198
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: eBook, PDF
Book Description:
Book Two of Biological Response Team Series
As the nation’s youngest virologist and hematologist, Captain Sophia Perry has always been one step ahead of her peers. But there’s one thing she can’t beat—cancer. She wants to make a difference in the time she has left, so when she’s sent to investigate a breakout at a Syrian refugee camp, she goes, saying nothing of her diagnosis. But saving the masses isn’t easy when the man tasked to protect her is so irresistible.
Communications Sergeant Connor Button is back on active duty after a deadly explosion, but he doesn’t feel whole again until he meets Sophia. Assigned to keep her safe, he’s prepared to die for her, but for the first time in months he truly wants to live—if only she wasn’t so determined to put them both in danger.
With a secret to keep and nothing to lose, Sophia is determined to find the source of the breakout at any cost. Violent attacks on the camp convince her that someone wants her to pay dearly. But as Sophia’s health deteriorates, Connor must find a way to help her defeat her enemies before her body defeats her.
Book Excerpt:
Security is mostly a superstition ~
Helen Keller
It had taken him three airplanes and over twenty-six hours
to travel more than seven thousand miles, and now he was going to have to kill
Ten feet from his room in the Navy
hotel at the American Naval base in Bahrain.
All Special Forces Communications
Sergeant Connor Button wanted was to find a bed and crash for a few hours.
What he did not need was witnessing
some idiot striking out with a hot blonde and not taking it well.
She’d just removed his hand from
her waist.
The man put it on her shoulder and
tried to bring her closer. “Aw, come on, sweetheart.”
She slid away, her voice clear
across the short distance. “No.”
dude, time to retreat.
Only, the guy didn’t. He grabbed her by the back of
the neck, hard enough to make her gasp in pain, and leaned down, his mouth
aimed for hers.
She slapped the moron, but he
didn’t get that hint either, just grabbed her hand and twisted it behind her
Con had to make himself stand still
for a second. One second, so he could throttle back the instinct to beat the
stupid fuck to death.
His jaw flexed. He wouldn’t kill the asshole, but he could hurt him real bad.
Con dropped his duffel on the floor
and stomped toward the woman and the moron whose arm he was about to break.
Into several pieces.
Small ones.
The stomping got the moron’s
attention. He glanced up, saw Con coming and his eyes went wide. He let go of
the woman so fast she wobbled off balance and fell to the floor. Con stopped to
help her while the moron ran like a track star down the hall and around a
call, asshole.
Con bent down and offered his hand
to the woman. “Are you okay?”
Her head jerked up and she stared
at him with eyes that didn’t miss a thing. She scooted away, leaving his hand
hanging in the air, then stood. Her shoulders went back and her chin rose.
He almost smiled. She was so not
interested in another man getting all up in her business. He’d make sure she
was all right, then he’d back off.
“Ma’am, did he hurt you?”
“I’m fine,” she said, retreating a
Blue-green eyes stood out in a face
framed by white-blond hair hanging in a sheet down to the middle of her back.
She was also stacked, though she wasn’t showing it off. She was following
military clothing requirements, wearing long pants and a collared shirt one
size too big, buttoned up to her neck. An asshole had just tried to sexually
assault her, but Con would bet a year’s pay that had he not come along, the
moron would have had his hands full with a pissed-off female trying to smash
his balls into paste.
He glanced down.
Her mouth was pressed into a thin
angry line, but her hands were shaking.
For the first time in months
something other than anger or despair slammed into him.
He knew just how she felt. Hyped up
on adrenaline and looking for a target.
It surprised him so much he opened
his mouth to make some inane comment or other to show her he was no threat, but
she raised a hand to stop him.
She spoke a quick, firm “Thank
you.” And then she was gone, inside the room closest to her. The click of the
lock being engaged echoed down the hall.
He blinked at the empty hallway. He
wasn’t sure she was okay, but those shaking hands and that locked door sent a
pretty clear signal that she didn’t want another man anywhere near her.
Sometimes other people just made
things worse.
He sighed, strode back to his bag,
checked his room number again and discovered he was next door to the blonde.
At least he wouldn’t have to go far
if Moron came back.
So much for getting some sleep. He’d lain awake, alert for
any noise that might indicate a problem in the room next door, but it had been
church-quiet. He got up at 0700 base time, then went in search of his new
commanding officer, Colonel Maximillian. The man had an interesting reputation,
but he trusted what his buddy, Jacob “Sharp” Foster, a former Special Forces
soldier, had to say about him. Everyone else said the colonel was one bullet
shy of a magazine. Sharp had warned him that the colonel wasn’t exactly regular
army, but he gave a shit about his people, and that was number one for Con. If
your CO had your six, at least you didn’t have to take your attention off what
was coming at you.
The colonel had a fancy lab that
didn’t exist on the base, according to official records. Officially, the lab
that did exist on paper was rated for level two containment. Good enough to run
the sort of tests any big city hospital conducted. In reality, the lab was
capable of level four containment testing. The stuff you needed to wear a
bio-suit for and breathe your own oxygen supply.
Con had to pass through two
internal checkpoints to gain entry to the nondescript building that was his
destination. Colonel Maximillian’s office was the first one inside the prefab
rectangle that housed the lab and offices. A soldier who didn’t look a day over
sixteen sat typing on a computer facing the entrance to the building.
The kid’s gaze darted over Con’s
uniform, then he stood and saluted. “Private Eugene Walsh.”
“Sergeant Connor Button, Special
“Yes, sir. Colonel Maximillian is
expecting you.” Walsh extended his hand in the direction of the first office.
“Go right in.”
Con gave him a nod, then walked
into the office.
He saluted the
salt-and-pepper-haired man, who stood and saluted back. “Sir, Sergeant Button
reporting for duty.”
“Welcome, Sergeant.” The colonel
came around his desk and offered his hand.
Con shook it once, twice, then
released a hand that hadn’t tested him beyond what would be considered polite.
“Take a seat,” the colonel said,
gesturing at one of the chairs facing his desk. “I’d like to go over your
assignment and answer any questions you might have.”
“Thank you, sir.” Con sat and
adopted a neutral body posture, back straight and hands resting lightly on his
thighs. It was harder than it should have been.
The last time he’d been in the
Middle East he’d been deployed with his unit, attempting to ascertain the
military strength of two groups of extremists in Northern Iraq and Syria. Both
groups had threatened multiple American and allied targets, as well as calling
for sympathetic citizens to carry out terrorist acts inside their own
The last time he’d been in the
Middle East, he’d been the only survivor of an IED that took out their vehicle.
Fortune had smiled on him that day. He’d been thrown clear.
More and more often, he wished he
hadn’t been so lucky.
Colonel Maximillian continued to
stare at him and seemed content to not say anything for several moments.
Con waited with the patience of a
man who’d waited days for just the right moment to take a shot at his target.
Finally, the colonel asked, “How
much do you know about your mission here?”
“Probably not enough.”
Maximillian’s face didn’t change.
“Sharp said you were smart. Are you, Sergeant Button?”
“That would depend on your
definition of smart.
“Observant, creative, organized,
able to see unusual relationships between people and information.”
“Sir, you’re looking for Sherlock
Holmes. He’s a fictional character.”
A brief smile crossed the colonel’s
face. “How would you describe yourself?”
“Flexible, determined, fuck the
Colonel Maximillian’s forehead
lowered over his eyes. “Were you aware General Stone had some reluctance in
assigning you to this mission?”
“Not directly, but it doesn’t
surprise me.”
How many conversations like this
had he had recently? Five, six? “Sir, I received injuries in an attack that
killed all the men in the armored vehicle with me. I’d be surprised if he
wasn’t hesitant.” No officer wanted to have a suicidal or homicidal soldier on
a mission. Survivor’s guilt could lead to either one. Or both.
“Do you consider yourself fit for
“Yes, sir.”
Goddamned why-questions. Why judged, weighed and measured what
was in a man’s head. What was in his head was not pretty, and not to be shared.
“Sir, I signed on to serve my
country. My service isn’t done.”
Maximillian tilted his head to one
side. “That is one of the best non-answers I’ve ever heard.”
. Con leaned forward and said in a less civilized tone, “I got thrown off
the horse. I need to get back on and finish my ride.”
“And if you don’t?”
Con’s throat closed up. “That
thought can’t be in my head.”
The colonel’s face lost its sharp
inquisitiveness for a moment, replaced by a surprising level of comprehension.
A second later it was gone and he was flipping through pages on his desk.
“You’ve had some problems with your temper since you returned to duty.”
“I’m working on that.” Anger was
easy. Acting on it was even easier.
The officer considered Con for a
couple more seconds, then nodded briskly. “My Biological Response Team is
tracking a very dangerous man who’s created his own extremely deadly strain of
anthrax. We managed to prevent an attack on a base in Afghanistan, but not
before nearly one hundred people died of the infection. We think he’s not done.
We think he’ll continue to strike at high-quality American or allied targets,
and we don’t know where he is or where he will attack next.”
Con straightened. Hunting down a
homicidal nutcase wasn’t the sort of duty he’d taken on before, but it sounded
dangerous. Good.
Holy fuck he was messed up.
Maximillian continued. “We were
successful in preventing the last attack because we had one of our infectious
disease specialists embedded with an A-team training members of the Afghan
military. General Stone agrees with me—until this man is found, we need more
cooperation between my team and army Special Forces. I asked for specific men
to work with my people. Men who are not only well trained and smart, but also
creative and who can take a step back and support his teammate or take charge
of a situation if that’s what’s needed. Jacob Foster says you’re that kind of
man. Are you?”
It might be nice to have a specific
enemy, with a face and a name, rather than a faceless one who could be anybody.
The need to kill, to avenge his dead, was a relentless voice in the back of his
head. This mission could get him the opportunity to give himself that, and
maybe a measure of peace.
“Sir.” He paused, trying hard not
to come on too strong. If he lost this chance, he might not get another. “I’m a
team player. That means I’ll play whatever role is needed by the team.”
Colonel Maximillian smiled. “Do you
mind working with a woman?”
“No, sir. Sharp mentioned the
possibility I’d be paired with a woman.” Man, woman, two-headed alien, he
didn’t care as long as they shared a common enemy.
“You’re okay with that? No
The colonel seemed unusually
the hell?
While he might smack down a fellow Special Forces soldier, he’d never lay a hand on a woman.
“Sir, I’m the youngest of five
children with four older sisters. Working with or for a woman is nothing new to
“Good.” Maximillian nodded. “I
don’t mean to sound paranoid, but the doctor you’re going to be working with is
somewhat high-strung.”
The colonel shook his head. “That’s
the wrong description. She doesn’t trust…people. I’ve been trying to find a
suitable partner for her, but I’ve been unsuccessful.”
“Most people look at her and see a
young woman who looks as if she’d have trouble with breaking a nail. Coddle her
in any way and she’ll find a way to make you miserable.”
The bottom of Con’s stomach grew
cold. “So why me?”
“Growing up with sisters is part of
This interview was a personality test.
“You’ve also been through some
challenging combat situations and I think that will give you a level of
experience she’ll respect.”
Con had to work to keep a growl out
of his voice. “I’m not going to sit around the campfire telling her war stories.”
What he’d seen wouldn’t instill confidence in anyone.
“I don’t expect you to. She works
best with people who are highly competent, who don’t brag or try to impress.”
First time he’d been complimented
on his ability to keep his trap shut.
“Another issue is her age. She’s
young, she’s a genius and she has absolutely no idea how to talk to anyone who
isn’t a scientist or doctor.”
That didn’t leave a whole lot of
people. “Genius, as in graduated from medical school really young?”
“She’s twenty-four and is the
youngest physician in the USA to have a double speciality in virology and
“Virology, I get. Hematology?”
“The study of blood cells.”
If she was an overachiever, he
could work with that. “So, work is her life, and before that, it was school?”
“S’okay. My second-oldest sister is
married to a physicist. He speaks math, and we get along just fine.”
Maximillian quirked an eyebrow.
“You speak math?”
“Nope. I speak barbecue. Everyone
has something to say about properly grilling a steak.”
The colonel laughed. “You’ll do.
Time to meet her.” He stepped out of his office and led the way down a hall.
“Oh, and call me Max. It’s shorter.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Max sighed as he opened a door with
a key and preceded Con inside.
The room they entered was part
office and part lab, with a couple of desks and two tall microscopes set up on
the end of each. Papers and boxes of slides littered both surfaces. Only one of
the desks was occupied.
A woman sat looking through the
lens of one of the microscopes. Her hair was white-blond and pulled back into a
severe bun. She wore an army uniform with a lab coat over top. When she saw
Max, she pushed away from the scope, stood and moved to meet them.
The blonde from last night. With
her hair pulled back, she could have passed for even younger than twenty-four.
He took that thought, hog-tied it and shoved it into a dark
corner. His personal mission left no room for anything beyond a professional
She also looked ready to rip
someone’s head off.
“Sophia,” Max said. “This is your
new partner, Communications Sergeant Connor Button.” He turned to Con. “Connor,
this is Captain Sophia Perry.” Her mouth, pressed into a thin line, convinced
him to pretend last night hadn’t happened. He nodded at her respectfully. “Good
to meet you, ma’am.”
“Ma’am?” she asked, crossing her
arms over her chest and displaying a huge bruise on her right hand.
Must’ve hurt.
“This is who you found to babysit
me, Max? A fossil?”
Damn, she came out swinging. Maybe
he’d let her win this bout. Con managed to keep a straight face and said in a
hesitant voice, “I’m only twenty-nine.”
“Would you rather I pair you up
with someone who follows all the
rules and regulations?” Max asked her, irritation showing in his rigid posture.
“This guy—” he pointed a thumb at Con “—hates inside-the-box thinking as much
as you do.”
“Oh yeah?” she said, looking Con
full in the face. A challenge. Why was she so pissed off? Because she didn’t
think she needed a babysitter?
He shrugged, then coughed to hide a
chuckle. If he laughed now, she’d think he was laughing at her. “I don’t like
boxes. They’re never big enough, and they’re too…square.”
She blinked at him, then narrowed
her gaze. “What did you do to draw this duty? It had to have been bad.”
Max opened his mouth, but Con
didn’t want to escalate things, so he spoke first, and went with the
unvarnished truth. “I got blown up. I spent almost seven months in hospitals
and physical therapy. The last three or four months I’ve been instructing and getting
back into shape.” He smiled at her. “When I found out what my first mission was
going to be, bodyguarding some army doctor, I thought what the fuck? I sure as shit didn’t want easy duty. But having talked with Max here, I’ve changed my mind.”
He shifted his gaze to Max’s face. “This isn’t easy duty, is it, sir?”
“No. It’s not a matter of if there will be another biological
weapon attack somewhere in this part of the world, it’s when.”
“My role isn’t just to bodyguard
Dr. Perry, is it?”
“No.” Max began pacing back and
forth between Con and Sophia. “We have intel that points to the Biological
Response Team as a specific target. I don’t want you to just protect Sophia, I
need you two to be a team. All of us are being paired with Special Forces
soldiers, even myself.”
“Assassination?” Con asked. The
idea of it made the back of his neck itch.
“Very possible. Sabotage is another
“Have any attempts been made?”
“Yes. Dr. Samuels and her Green
Beret were nearly killed in a trap I believe was set for them. We have an enemy
who is intelligent, ruthless and fearless.”
“Can I get everything you have on
this guy?” Con asked.
“My assistant will have it ready
for you in an hour or two.” Max turned to him. “Have you been assigned
“I’m going to have you moved to the
room next to Sophia’s.”
The woman in question opened her
mouth to say something unpleasant—he was sure from the way she’d screwed up her
nose—which is why Con spoke first again. “Are you sure that’s necessary?” He
looked down, like he was thinking hard. “Do you want to advertise to the whole
base that I’m her bodyguard, or would you like to keep it below the radar?”
Max gave him a dirty look. “Whose
side are you on?”
“Hers, sir.”
“Fine,” Max said, with bit of an
impatient edge to his voice. “I’ll check to see where you’re housed now. If
it’s not too far, you can stay where you are.” Max pressed his lips together,
glared at them both, then stomped off.
Con looked at Sophia.
She looked back at him, snorted and
went back to her microscope. “Nice attempt to come to my rescue. Again. But I
don’t need anyone to rescue me.”
She needed to talk to someone about
the moron. To prevent fear and anger from getting too deep a hold on her brain.
Despite how fast things had
happened, the human mind had a way of warping events so the memory of them
seemed to take a thousand times longer than the reality had.
Hell, he was a walking testament
for how three seconds of hell could totally screw up the rest of a man’s life.
Or take it.
Listen to him passing judgment on
her mental state, when he’d done his level best to keep the shrinks out of his.
Right now, he just had to convince her he was on her side. He wanted this assignment. “I know.”
“Really?” Sarcasm turned the word
into something sharp and heavy. “You just met me. How would you know that?”
“I saw you in action last night.”
She froze, and for a moment the
expression on her face was a mixture of anger, fear and disgust. A second
later, it was gone, smoothed away as if it had never been there.
What was that?
Without looking at him, she said,
“Babysitting me is going to be a complete bore for a soldier’s soldier like
you. I’ll tell Max to find someone else.”
Buy The Book:

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About The Author

Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”.

In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living.


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Book Spotlight: Soulshifter by Barbara Pietron

About The Book
Title: Soulshifter
Author: Barbara Pietron
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Format: Paperback – 290 pages / eBook  / PDF
ISBN: 978-0991602124
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Book Description:
Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it. Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track star, Natalie Segetich, until her best friend Emma disappears. Natalie swears something took Emma, and though most people write Natalie off as traumatized and confused, Jack is a soulshifter and he knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell’s messengers—are real. As a soulshifter, Jack can cross into the underworld so he sees Emma’s rescue as an opportunity to prove himself a valuable member of his transcendental sect—and a way to secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Although he needs Natalie’s help to prepare for the mission, Jack intends to go to the underworld alone. But as a viable plan takes shape, it’s clear the best chance of success means Natalie must accompany him. On the eve of the quest, when Jack is promised the hand of a respected elder’s daughter—a dream come true—he realizes he’s no longer sure what he wants. But it’s too late to back out, not with the sect and Natalie counting on him. Pursued by the dark lord’s henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.
Book Excerpt:
Chapter 1
Revelations from the Dark Realm
Feedback shrieked from the electric
guitar amp, annihilating the harmonious blend of drums, bass guitar and
electric piano. Jack winced as he fumbled for the volume knob on his guitar,
pretending he didn’t see Tommy, the lead singer, shoot him a furious glare.
Head down, Jack concentrated on the next few chord progressions, until Tommy
launched into his signature vocal screaming. Then Jack stole a glance to his
left and caught the eye of his best friend, Wes, who skillfully delivered the
pulse of the track on his bass guitar. Wes lifted his eyebrows and Jack
answered with a slight shrug and an apologetic frown.
It was one thing if Jack screwed up
this opportunity for himself, but Wes had talked the band into giving Jack a
chance this summer when they’d lost their lead guitarist to college. Jack
didn’t want to embarrass Wes, or give Tommy a reason to give his friend a hard
time. The singer hadn’t wanted Wes in the band either, but when the other
members heard Wes play and realized he was a wizard on the bass guitar, Tommy
had been out-voted. It had taken two years for Wes to earn the lead singer’s
grudging respect and Jack hated to mess that up.
They finished the set and Jack
ducked out of his guitar strap, leaning the instrument against the cinderblock wall
of Fletch’s—the drummer’s—basement. He ran both hands through his thick curls,
for the first time thankful that his mom had insisted he get a haircut before
school started. Shoulder-length for most of the summer, his dark brown mane was
now tamed to a mass of loose curls that ended at the base of his jaw—not as
rock and roll, but certainly cooler.
He turned and nearly collided with
Tommy. “What’s up with the feedback, Ironwood? We’ve got a gig in two
“Sorry, man.” Jack shook
his head. He noticed John, the keyboardist, give him and Tommy a wide berth as
he beat a hasty retreat. “Just having an off day. I’m low on sleep.”
“Well you better get it
together by Monday. A lot of people come out to the park on Labor Day, and we
don’t need you making the rest of us look like amateurs.” He spun on his
heel and stomped up the steps before Jack could reply.
Fletch offered Jack a sports drink.
“You’ve been playing good all summer. Just don’t choke when you get on
stage.” He laughed, but his eyes were serious.
“Thanks.” Jack took the
plastic bottle and cracked the lid open. “I’ll be fine. I promise.”
He took a long drink, letting the slightly salty, citrusy liquid soothe his dry
tongue and throat before bending to put his guitar into its case.
An intermittent chink of metal on
metal sounded from the base of the stairwell. “Ready?”
Jack glanced up to see Wes tossing
a bundle of keys into the air and then catching them. “Yep.” He
noticed that Wes had decided to leave his guitar at Fletch’s. They were going
to rehearse again tomorrow, but Jack felt like he ought to go home and get in
some extra practice. He followed his friend out to the minivan, which smelled
like the burgers and fries they’d eaten on the way to rehearsal, and loaded his
gear into the back.
After Jack plopped into the
passenger seat and closed the door, Wes spoke up. “Dude.” He drew out
the solitary word and added a sigh, conveying both disappointment and sympathy.
“I know,” Jack said
quickly. “I’m not a hundred percent today. Yesterday was my end-of-summer
Buy The Book:
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About The Author
After years in the corporate world, Barbara Pietron found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her technical writing experience, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication before trying her hand at her true passion, fiction. In addition to Soulshifter, Barbara is also the author of Thunderstone, Book One of the Legacy in Legend series and a prequel to ThunderstoneHeart of Ice, is available in e-book format. Book Two of the Legacy in Legend series is slated for fall of 2016. You can visit Barbara’s website at
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First Chapter Reveal: A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin

Title: A Peach of a Pair
Author: Kim Boykin
Publisher: Penguin Random House/Berkley Books
Pages: 304
Genre: Southern Women’s Fiction

“Palmetto Moon” inspired “The Huffington Post” to rave, It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find. Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina.

April, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can’t wait to return to her family and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks, in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.

Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she’ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home.

For More Information

First Chapter:

Thursday, March 26, 1953

“Mail call,” old Miss Beaumont bellowed into the commons room, and a flock of girls descended on her like biddies after scratch feed. Except for me. Normally, I would have been right there with them, clamoring for news from home. But since Mother called right after the tornado hit last month to say everyone back home in Satsuma was still in one piece, there hasn’t been a single word from anyone. Not even Brooks.

It was bad enough that Hurricane Florence blew through in September and smashed much of Alabama to bits. Six months later, just when everyone was getting a handle on putting my hometown back together, a tornado roared through, undoing Satsuma all over again. And while I wanted Miss Beaumont to bellow my name, I was sure the folks back home were too busy with the cleanup to write.

On good days, the silence was unsettling, and on bad days, it turned my stomach inside out. But I knew better than to complain.

Three and a half years ago, I’d been dying to get out of the armpit of Alabama to study music and accepted a full ride to the most exclusive women’s college in South Carolina. Funny how, back then Satsuma, even Alabama herself, seemed too small for me. Now, all I can think about is moving back home, and it won’t be long, just eight weeks till graduation.

I missed my mother and Sissy like it was the first day of my freshman year. And if I let myself think of the very long list of the people I love who have stopped writing me since those awful catastrophes, I would never stop crying. And Brooks. Loyal, faithful Brooks, who loved me enough to let me go away to college, saying he would wait forever if he had to for me to be his bride. The thought of how much I loved him, missed him, made my heart literally ache with a dull pain that left me in tears.

I was sure Brooks was working himself to death, helping rebuild Satsuma, because that’s the kind of guy he was, always building something. At Christmastime, he proposed, a promise without a ring, but a promise from Brooks Carter is as certain as my next breath.

Miss Beaumont called the name of one of the catty girls who are jealous of me because I am the only ’Bama belle at Columbia College. Maybe in the whole state of South Carolina. She cut her eye around at me, waved three letters, relishing the fact that I had none. My roommate, Sue, had one clutched to her chest, praying for more as hard as I’ve prayed for word from home. Something. Anything.

Sue had badgered me to call home. Collect. I knew my family would accept the charges, but I was afraid of the news that must be so terrible, nobody could bring themselves to call the pay phone in my hallway. So I waited for letters. I craved them as much as I dreaded them.

Since I went away to college, Mama and Sissy, who just turned nineteen last month, have written me every week, sometimes twice a week. Nana Gilbert and Grandma Pope wrote just as often, always slipping in a newspaper clipping from home, sometimes a dollar bill, whenever they had it to spare. With nineteen cousins who are all tighter than a new pair of shoes, I could always count on letters from them. One day I received twenty-two, a record at the college; it was better than Christmas. And Brooks, my beloved one true love, his letters were always like Christmas and the Fourth of July rolled into one.

Brooks loves and knows me better than anyone. He should; we’d been sweethearts since the fourth grade. While it has been a little rough with my studying music and education here in Columbia, and him back home in Satsuma, Brooks has been the most wonderful, understanding man in the world. Of course when I got the scholarship, he wasn’t at all happy, but he knew I was working toward our future. Me a teacher, maybe even a church pianist too, him running the feed store his daddy left him.

Lots of girls here have diamonds and are getting married the moment they graduate. But Brooks and I are waiting until next summer. He said it would be a good idea to get a year of teaching experience under my belt before we’re wed. He’s always so sensible like that, forward thinking, which I am not.

“Sue Dennis,” Miss Beaumont yelled. Sue snatched the letter from her and cocked her head at me, reminding me to be hopeful. But I knew there would be nothing for me, not until Satsuma was put together again. And it must be bad back home, much worse than Mother let on for the news from home to have stopped altogether. As awful as that was, the worst part was knowing in my heart why.

I shook my head at Sue and forced a thin smile.

“Nettie Gilbert,” Miss Beaumont called like the world had not just ended. I kept my seat on the kissing couch in the common’s room. Sue jumped up and down for me, squealing, but for the life of me I couldn’t move. She grabbed the letter from Miss Beaumont’s withered old fingers and flew to my side.

“It’s from Brooks,” she gushed. “I just know it is.”

But I knew it’s wasn’t. Mother’s letter-perfect handwriting marked the front. I turned it over to see the flap she always sealed with a tiny mark, xoxo, but there was nothing. Someone was dead, their long obituary folded up inside. Someone so precious to me, no one, not even my own mother, could bear to break the news to me.

“Open it,” Sue said. She’d already read her first letter, from her beau back home in Summerville. Her face was still flush. Sometimes we read our letters to each other, but lately, she’d kept the ones from Jimmy to herself since she visited home last. Even though their June wedding was right around the corner, I suspected they did the deed the last time she was home, and her letters were too saucy to share.

On the last night of Christmas break, I’d wanted to go all the way with Brooks and would have if Sissy hadn’t fetched us from the orange grove. We’d taken a blanket there to watch the sunset. It was a perfect night. As crisp as a gulf night can be in December. The perfect time, the perfect place, but Sissy, who could never leave Brooks alone, insisted we play Parcheesi with the family. When I protested, all it took was a Mother said from her, and Brooks was folding up the blanket, putting it back in the knapsack along with my chance at becoming a woman.

“I’ll be at your graduation before you know it,” he promised when I gave him a pouty look. “And next summer, you’ll be my June bride,” he whispered like it was naughty. His breath sent chills down my thighs and made me hate Sissy, just a tiny bit.

At Christmastime, I saw the devastation from Hurricane Florence firsthand, but after the tornado roared through Satsuma a few weeks ago, I knew it was much worse. When I’d called, Mother had sworn everyone was okay. But I knew if something were wrong, if someone were terribly injured, she’d try to keep a tight lip, at least until I graduated. Partly for me because she loved me, and partly because I would be the first on both sides of my family to get my degree.

Mother had tried college, and then got married the summer after her freshman year. But I also know part of my mother was still angry at me for going so far away when I could have gone to ’Bama, which did not have a decent music program.

“Come on, Nettie, read it,” Sue chided. But my heart refused to let my hands open the letter; I passed it off to Sue as she drug me back to our room.

“Sit,” she ordered, pushing me gently down onto my bed. “You’re being silly. It’s something wonderful, I’m sure of it,” she gushed, reaching for her letter opener. She slit the top of the envelope, pulled out a small white card, and offered it to me again.

Tears raced down my face, my neck. When I pushed it away, a sheet of lined notebook paper folded into a perfect rectangle escaped from the card and fell to the floor. Sue snatched it up while scanning the card. Her smile faded, and her face was ghostly white.

“Oh, Nettie,” she whispered, unfolding the letter from my mother.

“It’s Brooks, isn’t it?” She nodded. “Oh, God.”

I threw myself across the bed, sobbing. Brooks was dead. I would never see his beautiful face. Hear his voice rumble my name. Feel his arms wrapped tight around me, making me feel adored. Safe. Loved. The life that we’d planned would never amount to anything more than just words whispered between two lovers.

“Nettie.” Sue lay down beside me, stroking my hair. “My sweet Nettie, you need to read this.”

I couldn’t. I buried my face in my pillow. She whispered how strong I was, how life wasn’t fair, how very sorry she was my heart was broken to bits, and held me until I was all cried out. After I don’t know how long, I shook my head and looked at her. “I just can’t believe Brooks is dead.”

Sue gnawed her bottom lip the way she did when she was taking a test. “He’s not dead, Nettie.” Her hand trembled as she put Mother’s letter in my hand. “He’s getting married.”

“What?” I jerked the page away from her, and the card fell onto my lap. Neat white stock with two little doves at the top. Mother might have been a farmer’s wife from Satsuma, but her well-worn etiquette book sat atop the Bible on her bedside table. And as far as Dorothy Gilbert was concerned, they were one and the same. Except the invitations weren’t sent out months in advance. They’d been done so quickly, they were not even engraved, and the wedding was four weeks away.

Brooks’s name should be below mine, but it was below Sissy’s—Jemma Renee Gilbert, glared at me, cordially inviting me to her wedding. Worse yet, the parents of Brooks and Sissy were cordially inviting me too.

“This must be some kind of a sick joke,” Sue whispered. “How can they do this to you?”

She read my mind and uttered the words I could not bring myself to say. How could they? How could Brooks?

My hands trembled so hard it was difficult to read the impeccably neat handwriting.

Dear Nettie,

It might seem cruel to send this letter along with a proper invitation, but I couldn’t bring myself to call you, and I wasn’t given much notice regarding this matter. I also know you well enough to know you would have to see the invitation to truly believe it. Although I do regret not having enough time to have them engraved.

I’m sorry to be the one to give you the news about Brooks and Sissy. I love you, Nettie, and I love your sister. I’m not condoning her behavior or the fact that she is in the family way, but you are blood. You are sisters. No man can break that bond, not even Brooks.

There’s money and a bus ticket paper-clipped to the invitation. I’ve checked the schedules. You should be able to leave Columbia on Thursday the week of the wedding after your morning classes and get back by Sunday night. I know how you hate to miss class, and if you are also missing some wonderful end-of-the-year party, I’m sorry. So very sorry.

But the milk has been spilled, Nettie. Come home and stand up with your sister. She needs you. She’s a wreck, and it makes me worry about the baby.

Just come home.








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Interview with Gabrielle Francis, author of ‘The Rockstar Remedy’

Gabrielle FrancisDr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.

She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist. She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour.

Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali.

Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women’s Health. She’s co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.

Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.

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About the Book:

Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!
The Rockstar Remedy 2
As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day.

In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results.

Now you can reach for the stars too!

For More Information

What made you decide to become a published author?

I have been practicing natural medicine for over 33 years while touring with Rock Bands around the world.   It seemed like a good time to take my unique style of practice and wisdom to a larger audience. I wanted to show people that it is possible to live a life that is full of fun and joy and be healthy too. The Rockstars are my ambassadors.

Would you consider your latest book, The Rockstar Remedy, to be a one of a kind? How so?

Most definitely! The Rockstar Remedy is a very fun and non-judgmental approach to healthy living. Did you ever imagine that 80 Rockstars might have some good health tips for you? The Rockstar Remedy shows people how they can get healthy despite a life of excess, work, and indulgence. There are “harm reduction strategies” in the book that help people to make some of the not so healthy habits and bit healthier. The idea is that if we are able to cheat here and there, we can stick to a routine longer. And it really does work. It has been test driven on some of the biggest Rock bands in the world.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

My writing sanctuary is on a bus or plane while travelling. The time on tour with the Rock groups going to a new city is a great place to write. The inspirations come easily. Other than that, I channel my stories while I am travelling in foreign countries. After about 2 days on the road, the words just start to flow!

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Don’t sacrifice the integrity of being true to your own voice and vision.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by music, dance, nature, international travel, mystical experiences, and family time.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I learned that most buyers have been buying more than on copy. So people are seeing at a gift book to share with friends and family.   It makes sense. It is a great book to give to someone that you think needs to get healthy but doesn’t like the idea of a health or diet book. This is an entertaining and enjoyable health book.

Why do you love to write health books?

I love to teach people so they can be personally responsible for their health. I love to educate people about the wonders of the body.

However, I love to write stories about my adventures even more. I have the ability to transport the reader to another place. That is really fun!

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

A unique voice and perspective.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

There are quotes from 80 Rockstars about what they do to stay healthy while living the life of extremes.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

My book has lots of great stories that I wrote while on tour with some of the biggest Rock Groups in the world. You can imagine that adds a lot of color to this health prescription.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I am passionate about travelling, music, medicine, spirituality, and people.

What’s next for you?

I am writing a book of my travel adventure and medicine stories while I was learning from indigenous healers in countries all over the world. I call it Eat, Pray, Love meets Anthony Bourdain… with a health theme.   This is going to be a blast to write!

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Book Feature: Heartbound by P.I. Alltraine

HeartboundTitle: Heartbound
Author: P.I. Alltraine
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Pages: 177
Genre: YA fantasy romance

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

For More Information

  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Heartbound teaser 1

Book Excerpt:

I defied my fate the moment I leapt out of my apartment’s third-story window. I landed on the pavement without a sound. In the same instant, my feet blended into the measured pace in which humans carried themselves.

Gazing up at the sky, I tried to find something to remind me of my home, of my duty. The future leader of a realm in peril cannot be overcome by irrational desires, I thought.

Thick smoke obscured the heavens so much even the brightest stars were dull and barely visible. A reminder I was trapped in this city, in this realm. Too far away from everything I knew, too restrained, too human.

Through the chaos in my mind, I captured the image of the girl with brown and dark-auburn tones in her hair, the shine that bounced from her loose curls, the depth in her hazel eyes, and even the awkward half-smile when she caught me looking at her. But the memory wasn’t enough. I needed to see her again.

I kept walking until I reached the riverbank in the heart of London. The water rippled with a disheveled mesh of gold and red, reflecting a large architectural structure. My gaze lingered on the clock tower adjacent to the building, gauging its height. A temptation to feel even a fraction of my true nature became a need in every fiber in my body. No longer able to rationalize, my muscles coiled, and I let go. Wind enveloped me with its familiar warmth as I sprang across the River Thames. I aimed to land on the lower portion of the tower, to indulge in the pleasure of my ascent. Though too fast for human eyes, each maneuver, each somersault, each back flip was slow enough for me to savor every moment of my liberation.

On a part of the roof concealed from the passersby below, I was closer to the heavens than I’d been since arriving in the city. Still, I didn’t belong here. Hundreds of lights sparkled below me, each representing a life I didn’t comprehend. Allowing myself to break free from my human façade had made me a liability to the others. For a few moments of freedom, I let myself forget the importance of my purpose here—the lives that depended on it.

Somehow, having the girl’s image in my mind brought calmness within me. One that felt permanent. One that extinguished the sense of entrapment, despite the thick layer of smoke that was still very visible to me. I held on to the calmness as I regained the confidence to face the others.

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About the Author:

P.I. AlltraineP.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

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Interview with J.J. DiBenedetto, author of The Dream series

J.J. DiBenedettoJ.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve university, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.

He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he’s not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.

The “Dreams” series is James’ first published work.

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About the Book:

Sara Barnes thought her life was perfectly ordinary – until the night she began stepping into other people’s dreams.

Dream StudentFollow Sara as she learns to cope with this extraordinary gift (or curse) in the Dream Series:


It’s bad enough that, thanks to her supernatural talent, Sara is learning more than she ever needed to know about her friends and classmates, watching their most secret fantasies whether she wants to or not. Much worse are the other dreams, the ones she sees nearly every night, featuring a strange, terrifying man who commits unspeakable crimes. Now Sara wonders if she’s the only witness to a serial killer – and the only one who knows when and where he’s going to strike next.


Medical school and life as a newlywed would be enough by themselves for anybody to handle. But Sara’s got another problem – her dreams have started up again. Almost everyone at the medical school is dreaming about the death of the school’s least popular teacher, Dr. Morris, and once again, Sara finds herself in the role of unwilling witness to a murder before it happens. But this time, there are too many suspects to count, and it doesn’t help matters that she hates Dr. Morris every bit as much as any of his would-be murderers do.


Sara thought she had made peace with her dreaming talent, but she’s got a surprise coming: her four-year-old daughter has inherited it, too.

Unraveling a mystery with lives on the line is difficult enough under the best of circumstances. But when Sara has to view all the evidence through the eyes – and dreams – of a toddler, it may be an impossible task.

For More Information

  • The Dream Series is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What made you decide to become a published author?

I’ve been writing since high school, but I only got serious about the idea of publishing in the last 3 years or so. After a friend published her first novel, I decided “why not me, too?” and got to work!

Would you consider your latest book to be a one of a kind? How so?

I’m not sure if it’s one of a kind, but I think my Dream Series has it’s own niche – it sits on the border of several genres: paranormal, romance and mystery, and those are all combined with the everyday challenges of life.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

My bedroom (although my cat thinks it’s HIS sanctuary too!)

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I learned that no two people see it the same way. And that things I thought were very clear and obvious, sometimes weren’t!

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Totally! The books take place in the real world (except for the part about the psychic dreams, of course!), and places I’ve lived and visited have become locations in the books. And people I’ve known have become “background extras” on occasion, too.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I love the opera, and at some point I want to take a trip to Europe and visit three or four cities and see an opera in each of them. I just have to talk my wife into a trip like that (she’s like most sane people – she’d rather visit one place rather than a whirlwind tour like I’m thinking of!)

What’s next for you?

I’ve just published the tenth and final book of the Dream Series, so I’m working on my next project. I’ve actually got two books started and a third that I’m trying to figure out how to start writing. One’s a more traditional romance novel, one is an adventure along the lines of “Romancing the Stone” and the third, I’m not really sure what it even is yet!




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