Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Leafy Green World & Al-thar: Interview with Thriller Author Sean Dow

Sean DowSean Dow is a pulmonary and critical care physician in Great Falls, Montana. He started writing thriller novels in 2011, and has three titles, one of which, Debridement, is in its second printing and is being made into a feature film.

Sean was born in Iowa City, but was raised on a small farm in Kansas before leaving for medical school, and the adventures beyond. His career was largely in Klamath Falls, Oregon, a town that still feels like home. He did a brief stent in Las Vegas before moving to the paradise of Montana. When not working or writing, Sean can be found in the kitchen perfecting his New York cheesecake, or on the mountain streams with Bailey, his beloved (and perfectly behaved) Mastiff and his favorite 2 weight fly rod-a parting gift from a dear friend and patient.

His latest books are A Leafy Green World and Al-thar.

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About the Book:

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Title: A Leafy Green World
Author: Sean Dow
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Pages: 449
Genre: Thriller

A Leafy Green World is a fast paced, action packed thriller set in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Brent Holcomb has moved to Portland in hopes of resurrecting his life and his career. There, he meets Robyn-the girl from his dreams. All is going smoothly until he realizes Robyn and her friends are not what they seem. Now, wrapped up in the murder of an innocent man, and with nowhere to turn, Brent forms a bold plan-a plan that will put him on a dangerous course, aligning himself with domestic terrorists and ultimately, a deeply hidden cell of Islamic terrorists.



Al-TharTitle: Al-thar
Author: Sean Dow
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Pages: 466
Genre: Thriller

In Al-thar, (Arabic:revenge) Brent is living a tranquil life on the peaceful Philippine island of Masbate. But the FBI’s witness protection plan is not enough when you have destroyed the plans of the world’s most feared terrorist group-an assassin is on the way, and his plans are far worse than a simple bullet in the head.

With the violent destruction of his new island home, Dr. Holcomb is once again thrust into danger, this time on an international level. There are only two outcomes in this new high-stakes match, Brent’s painful and public death and the destruction of America’s, or the death of Saadullah Abul Ka-beir, and his council.

Brent brings together his cast of memorable friends from A Leafy Green World as he devises the greatest deception ever imagined. The action goes at a break-neck pace from the Philippines to Washington, D.C., and from a remote valley in Pakistan to the jungles of Sierra Leone in this novel that has been described as almost too real, and too timely.

What made you decide to become a published author?

Writing has been a goal as far back as I can remember, even to the point of writing poems while in grade school.

Would you consider your latest book, al-thar, to be a one of a kind?  How so?

Definitely. Al-thar looks into serious issues we face, and the development of some of the plot lines into actual reality has given it enough credibility that one reviewer felt the story was too realistic, and too frightening. It was never intended to be more than a wild, and creative adventure, but it has come to reflect a reality we must all face, the fact that there is a world out there that wants to destroy us.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I live in a stately old home in Montana. When there weather permits, I write on the second story deck, looking out over town.

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

Rush to get it out before it has been carefully edited, by a professional, or to get it to the publisher without one final read, a mistake I once made that led to considerable embarrassment, and the need to destroy an entire printing. It take a little longer, but do it right!

What inspires you?

The thought of readers getting lost in my stories, of forgetting their issues for a while and simply enjoying themselves.

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

How it has become a part of me, almost like a child, though obviously on a different level.

Why do you love to write thrillers?

I love adventure, and problem solving. A good thriller pulls these together and makes me feel as if I was actually in the story, as the main character.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book.  What’s the first ingredient? It must be unique, not just another iteration of something a dozen others have put out before you.

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

I fell in love with Robyn, the girlfriend in a leafy green world-hope I meet her, someday.

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

Yes, unfortunately. Dr. Holcomb’s discovery of his wife’s life outside their marriage came from my own reality. The pain of that helped make the scene of his discovering her infidelity more real-it was like going through it again as I wrote that chapter.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I love to cook, but outdoors activities are my favorite, whether fly fishing, rock hunting or prowling the mountains for edible mushrooms, I am happiest when I am out from under the fluorescents, breathing the fresh air of Montana.

What’s next for you?

I have three plots in mind, and am trying to see which develops legs. In the meantime, I am raising a delightful mastiff puppy, Bailey. She thinks she belongs on top of the kitchen table whenever she wants-we are currently in discussions on the matter.



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Dark Money: Interview with Legal Thriller Author Larry D. Thompson

Larry D. ThompsonLarry D. Thompson was first a trial lawyer. He tried more than 300 cases throughout Texas, winning in excess of 95% of them. When his youngest son graduated from college, he decided to write his first novel. Since his mother was an English teacher and his brother, Thomas Thompson, had been a best-selling author, it seemed the natural thing to do.

Larry writes about what he knows best…lawyers, courtrooms and trials. The legal thriller is his genre. DARK MONEY is his fifth story and the second in the Jack Bryant series.

Larry and his wife, Vicki, call Houston home and spend their summers on a mountain top in Vail, Colorado. He has two daughters, two sons and four grandchildren.

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About the Book:

DARK MONEY is a thriller, a mystery and an expose’ of the corruption of money in politics.

Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money Dark Moneyand politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy, Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.

Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fund raiser dressed as a cat burglar—wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape.

Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack the Alamo Defenders’ compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case—but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fund raiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.

For More Information

  • Dark Money is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Dark Money teaser

What made you decide to become a published author?

It must have been somewhere in my gene pool. I always knew I would be a writer, but practicing as a trial lawyer and raising three children filled up my days for many years. Finally, when my youngest son graduated from SMU, I decided I could find some time to write.

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

First, I believe nearly all novels are one of a kind. Certainly, no one had written a thriller and mystery about the corruption of money in politics. The story is captivating, but I also want the reader to put down the book after reading the last page and realize that after the Citizens United Opinion from our Supreme Court, political offices are available to the highest bidder. And, sadly, we may not even know who that bidder is.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I have an office at home where I do most of my writing, but my favorite place is in Vail, Colorado where we spend the summers. We have a house up on a mountaintop with some of the best views in the world. I can sit at the dining room table and witness the grandeur and magnitude of the mountains. The only problem is sometimes I get so distracted with the view that I find I have been watching that magnificent panorama for a half an hour with no word written.

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

For a new author, I think it is a waste of time to seek out an agent or a publisher. The publishers will not consider a book unless it is submitted by an agent and most agents reject new submissions. While I hate to cave in to Amazon, that’s where the readers and the money reside.

What inspires you?

I look for ideas around me, in newspapers, in the media, in a chance conversation, and when I find one I like, I let it simmer in the back of my mind to see if it can become a novel. If it can, I’ll write it.

Why do you love to write thrillers?

I love taking the reader on a roller coaster ride to follow my protagonist as he or she chases the clues to solve a mystery.

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

Always it’s the protagonist. The reader must feel a kinship with him or her. Without that, it may be difficult to hold the reader’s interest to the end of the story.

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

I grew up in Fort Worth where Dark Money is set and find it to be a fascinating place.

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

They always do. I spent forty years as a trial lawyer. I call on those experiences to tell my tales.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

One word: Family

What’s next for you?

I’m going to deviate from what I usually write. My brother was a best selling writer who died way too young in the eighties. His most famous book was Blood and Money, a true story about murders in the rich section of Houston. He was sued for libel three times. I defended him and Doubleday and won all three cases. His story is finally going to be made into a streaming video next year. I’m going to write my part of that story called Blood and Money, The Libel Trials.




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First Chapter Reveal: Wild Within by Christine Hartmann

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Wild WithinTitle: WILD WITHIN
Author: Christine Hartmann
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Romantic Suspense

A year after a family tragedy, Grace Mori embarks on the journey of a lifetime…

Two thousand, six hundred miles of blistering heat, wilderness, and soul searching—that’s what Grace signed up for when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not a voyage for beginners, but with no husband and her family still recovering from her bother’s death, Grace is more alone than ever.

This trail meant something to her brother, and she’ll hike it in his memory, but she can’t do it alone. So with her brother’s gear and a small group, Grace takes the most important first steps of her life.

Grace finds something more than peace and magic on the trail…

When her first day of hiking ends in heat stroke, Grace is rescued by a handsome, red-haired hiker who calls himself Lone Star. Grace has an immediate connection with him, and their brief encounter leaves her fearing her soul mate has slipped through her fingers. Although he vows to keep in touch, Grace doubts she’ll ever see him again.

When fears become reality, the only people Grace can rely on may be killers…

Grace is surprised to find notes left at supply posts along the trail. Lone Star’s eloquent letters keep Grace going, clinging to the hope she’ll find him—and happiness—at the end of her journey. But as the trail becomes more perilous, menace grows within the group. And when Lone Star’s letters mysteriously stop coming, Grace fears the worst.

As tensions flare and a killer emerges, Grace must battle to survive…and reunite with the man she’s sure is her future.

For More Information

  • Wild Within is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

First Chapter:

Early morning sun scorched the grimy car hood and forced its way through the window to burn Grace’s bare arms. She fidgeted as she watched the arid plane of sagebrush and light brown dust roll past. The landscape differed completely from the grassy hills, eucalyptus trees, and fog around her native San Francisco. Occasional yucca plants shouldered their way between low scraggly bushes with more branches than leaves. Small boulders peppered the area, looking like enormous grey cottage cheese curds among rolling, sere hills.

This countryside puts the wild in wilderness.

The car bounced past dry pastures and scruffy woods.

Maybe I should have spent more time reading those trail guides?

A glimpse of the Mexican border made her sit up straight.

Who cares? I’m here.

Grace bounced in her seat with excitement.

This is it.

Grace and her friend Celine were the only people at the five square wooden posts that marked the southern terminus of the 2,665-mile Pacific Crest Trail, a route leading from Mexico to Canada. A few yards away, wind forced its way through the steel border fence like the sound of screeching tires. Celine snapped a few pictures as Grace removed the spiral hiker register from its protective metal box. On the first empty page she wrote: Kenji, you’re with me.

She signed with more bravado than she actually felt.

Grace spurted back to the car. “I want to get going.” But her backpack, resting in the backseat, was in less of a hurry. She coaxed it onto her shoulders with much grunting and straining and stood, slightly bent, for one final snapshot.

“I’ve never lifted anything this heavy. What was I thinking? It’s not a trip to Macy’s where I can throw all the heavy stuff into the trunk.”

“You were thinking you might need some supplies.” Celine surveyed her. “Because you’re going to be in the middle of nowhere. For months.”

“Thanks for the reminder.” Grace straightened with effort. “I’ve been waiting almost a year for this. They say your pack gets lighter as you get used to it. So where’s the trail?”

Celine shrugged. Grace searched the monotonous sand and brush.

“I’ve got the map on my cell.”

But the phone wouldn’t turn on. Grace depressed the controls repeatedly. The screen remained as black as its case.

Come on. My paper maps are buried in my pack.

She took a mental inventory of what lay above them: a one-person tent, a sleeping bag and mat, a wide-brimmed sun hat, extra socks, the head of a toothbrush, all-weather matches, a travel-size deodorant stick, her mother’s homemade rice cakes, and Kenji’s apartment key fastened with a twist tie to the zipper of a first aid kit. The idea of spreading everything out at the base of the monument made her ill.

She pushed more buttons.

Don’t die now.

The screen flickered. She fiddled more and the contrast increased.

“Typical me.” Her hands shook a little as she pinched the trail map to zoom in on her location. “I turned down the brightness last night to save energy. For a second there, I thought I was going to faint. That would’ve made a good Facebook post. Grace Mori’s one second thru-hike of the PCT.”

Celine grinned and poked Grace’s arm. “It’s good to get all the mistakes out of the way at the beginning. Now try to make it through the rest of the day without any more.”

Grace stepped into the sparse brush.

“I already miss you as much as I miss your brother,” Celine called after her. But the wind whipped away her words.

On the trail, Grace’s pent up excitement gave wings to her hiking shoes. They floated across baked earth that meandered through scrub and around boulders. She raced securely down descents and sailed up ascents.

This is so easy.

She covered the next two miles in under an hour. Her initial destination was Lake Morena County Park, eighteen miles away. But her thoughts were of the Canadian border.

Twenty miles a day, for the next four months, before the northern mountains become impassable with snow. In this heat, that idea feels like a mirage.

She looked at her watch.

Nine thirty. Ten more hours of daylight. So I’ll get to Lake Morena with time to spare.

At first, the white circle rising in a cloudless blue seemed a happy part of the scenery. But bit by bit, the sun blazed an ever fiercer hole in the sky. Her short black hair melted into her head and burned her fingers when she touched it.

I should never have given up lightening my hair. Apparently blondes do have more fun, even in the desert.

Her legs pistoned in long strides that searched for cover. But nothing afforded shade.

A tree. A bush. A houseplant, for goodness sake. I’ll take anything.

The trail eventually crossed a highway and meandered through a grove of cottonwood trees. There, Grace slung off her pack, dropped beside it, and dug through her gear.

She squashed a cream-colored hat onto her sweaty brow. Her parched lips drained a water bottle. A rough trunk supported her back.

My shoulders ache. My feet hurt. And this pack weighs a ton. Why did I throw in everything I thought might come in handy? Pre-moistened body wipes? Am I really going to need those out here?

The previous night, she and Celine had discussed her strategy. “I read somewhere a person hiking in direct sun needs at least a gallon of water for every ten miles.” Grace laid out her water containers on the hotel bed. “But one gallon weighs eight pounds. I’ve got a two-gallon collapsible water container and two one-liter bottles. Do you think I should fill them all? That’s close to twenty extra pounds.”

“I think you should follow the rules.”

“That’s a lot of extra weight.” Grace hefted a container from the hotel sink. “Maybe I’ll fill two bottles and leave my larger container partially empty. I’ll drink a lot before I start. And Hauser Creek is on the trail. I can get more water there.”

Celine pursed her lips contemplatively and tossed an empty bottle to Grace. “What if there’s no water in the creek?”

“Then they wouldn’t call it a creek.” Grace chucked the bottle back at her. “It’ll be fine. Like I said, I’ll hydrate like crazy before we set out.”

In the morning, after a brief rest under cottonwoods, Grace continued her hike. She chased lazy clouds in search of shade. They vaporized before she reached them.

Why did I wear pants?

She longed for the hiking skirt in her pack. Then the trail narrowed, and waist-high chaparral brush clung and tore as she battled through. Rough, aggressive limbs and thick, unforgiving leaves pulled at her hiking poles. Grace held them above her head, unable to see her feet. After five minutes of struggle, she reached the other side. Her face dripped with sweat. She looked down.

I love you, pants.

Grace drained her second water bottle as she climbed. At the top of the hill, she paused. Perspiration dripped into her eyes and mouth, but she was too hot to care. In the distance, the border wall and Mexican mountains were still clearly visible. She thought of fishing out her phone for a picture.

Too much effort.

The path leveled out. Her pace slowed. The heat irritated her.

I should have had my hat on from the beginning. Why didn’t I start hiking earlier in the day? Where the heck is Hauser Creek? I need more water.

She wiped a hot tear from her cheek.

What a mess. But there’s no point in crying. Come on Grace.

Grace was the kind of person who prided herself on being someone people could count on. When her mother’s first attempt at baked Alaska set the kitchen window curtains aflame, teenage Grace doused the inferno in chocolate syrup, then helped her mother take down the gooey mess.

“People in Alaska originally lived in igloos. They probably didn’t have window curtains.” She wiped the counter with a Lysol-soaked dishrag. “Some desserts don’t translate well across climate zones.”

As an adult, Grace volunteered her services as a psychologist for the Friday overnight shift at the Berkeley women’s crisis hotline. There, she comforted agonized rape victims, beaten girlfriends, and conflicted housewives with a sympathetic ear, sensible advice, and a list of referrals she’d personally vetted.

“You’re ready to move out? Don’t forget to take his Rolex. He owes you big time.”

And when tragedy struck her family a year ago, it was Grace who negotiated with the funeral home and the florist. Phoned relatives in San Diego, New Brunswick, and Tokyo. Late at night, in bed alone, she lay exhausted but sleepless.

“How am I going to get through this by myself?”

That blistering day on the trail, she began to lose faith. The merciless, prodding sun became her enemy. It evaporated her enthusiasm, diminished her stamina, and gnawed at her judgment. Her feet dragged along the sandy path without any of their initial eagerness. She refilled her water bottles from the large container in her pack and ignored the voice that told her she would soon run out of fluids.

After another mile, the trail merged with a Jeep road. In the distance, Grace saw a disappearing cloud of dust.

That was a car. I could have asked them for a ride. Maybe they had air conditioning. Some extra water. Maybe they were on their way back to San Diego and would have taken me to a hotel. I could have started the trail again in a few days, when it’s cooler.

She checked the phone’s GPS. Four miles to Hauser Creek.

I’ll make it if I ration my water.

By the time the trail dove into Hauser Canyon’s shaded grove of oaks and sycamores, Grace hated the sun more than she’d ever hated anything. She squinted at the wooded valley. But the only hint that a creek had ever flowed across the parched land was a strip of slightly darker sand meandering through a pile of rocks. Grace’s knees wobbled.

Even in the shade, sweat poured down her face.

It’s past noon. I should eat.

She felt nauseous. Her head pulsed like molten lava in a live volcano crater.

I need to rest.

Her shoulders shrugged out of the pack straps and she sank to the ground. Before thinking better of it, she drank the rest of her water. A small Japanese folding fan, the parting gift from her sister, offered some relief. The hot desert air drew out the fan’s sandalwood scent. The breeze evaporated her perspiration.

She kicked off her shoes and socks, then changed into her skirt. But after thirty minutes of inertia, sweat still dripped from her chin. Sitting made her dizzy, so she lay down. The violent sun tortured her through the leaves, shafts branding her face and body like flames.

I need more water. Have to keep going. A road’s not far ahead. If I lie down in the middle, somebody will find me.

But the idea of crawling out of the partial shade into the glaring sun was too much.

Bees droned near her head.

What’s that? Airplane? Maybe they can see me down here. Call in a rescue.

Her mind drifted up, into the sparse tree branches. It hung there briefly. Then ascended into the smoldering, cloudless sky.

Later, another idea broke through her confusion.

I’m going to die. On my first day on the trail. Kind of a waste. All this equipment. All that money. Geez, I could have spent it on those cell phone-operated blinds for the living room instead. There was that coupon in the Saturday clipper magazine…

Her tongue ran along dry lips.

Hmm. I’m licking a lizard. I wonder if he’ll lick back.

Then Grace thought of nothing.


Christine is giving away 2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards & 20 Wild Within Coffee Mugs!

Terms & Conditions:
• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Card & twenty winners will be chosen to receive one Wild Within Coffee Mug
• This giveaway starts April 4 and ends June 30
• Winner will be contacted via email on July 1.
• Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!



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Book Spotlight: Journey to the Cross by Shane Cloonan

Inside the Book:

Title: Journey to the Cross
Author: Shane Cloonan
Publisher: State Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 11, 2015
Pages: 35
Genre: Children’s Christian Fiction
Book Description: 
This is the story of the Jesus donkey, a fictional tale that takes readers on a journey from our Lord’s birth to his ultimate crucifixion. Though written and illustrated for young readers, this book is perfect for people of all ages who want a fresh, youthful perspective on the life of Jesus. The book’s message is imbued in the strength and simplicity of hearts that are linked to other hearts by Jesus. Journey to the Cross follows the light of hope that first appeared on that special night in Bethlehem.
For More Information:
Journey to the Cross is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Shane Cloonan is a resident of Elgin, Illinois and a high school freshman. This book, his first, started out as a grade school writing project. Shane is an avid outdoorsman. He also is an accomplished woodcarver. Shane took third place in his age group and category two years ago at the Ward World Championships Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland, then followed that up with a first-place finish in the International Woodcarvers Congress competition in Iowa.
You can visit Shane’s website at
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Book Blast! Jules: The 2nd Adventure by Kaelia Stevens

We’re happy to be hosting Kaelia Stevens and her JULES: THE 2ND ADVENTURE BOOK BLAST at The Dark Phantom!

About the Book:
Author: Kaelia Stevens
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 94
Genre: Magical Realism

War. It doesn’t start with armies or bombs. It doesn’t start with declarations or protests. It doesn’t start with speeches. It starts with one thing. Intent. Jules understands this concept. She intends to kill a cult leader. She intends to undo magic from the past. She intends to get her family home.

She intends to start a war.

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Book Excerpt:

When I entered the blue-lighted nightclub, Sting was at the piano again. He was thundering out jazz compositions with the energy of a hyper pygmy goat.

There was a twin-headed Doppobocca at the microphone, scatting like a pro. These squatty, yellow aliens landed somewhere in Italy, and apparently enjoyed the culture so much they decided to stop by Earth on a regular basis. Doppobocca was not their species name, just what the fairies from Italy decided to call them. It was an Earthling nickname, as far as they were concerned, and the Doppobocca didn’t seem to mind in the least.

The alien’s two heads were currently scatting something I had never heard before and probably would never hear outside of Sting’s nightclub. The heads scatted back and forth, while the single, thick body moved and danced to the beat.

I made my way to the bar, ordered some Pixie wine, and watched the crowd. I was watching to see if my Hyena contact would show up. She liked to frequent My Fair Lady as much as I did, if not more because she had more time. Tonight should have been one of her nights, if I remembered correctly.

“Quite a turnout tonight, isn’t it?” someone said behind me, loudly.

I glanced over my shoulder and took in intense brown eyes broken up by a jovial smile on a narrow face. Some of his blond hair was matted in the front, bobbing with every habitual flick of his head in an attempt to get it out of his eyes.

I shrugged slowly with a single shoulder. Gave him a teasing smile as I turned back to the crowd. “Aren’t you in the wrong place, Keeper?”

His expression fell as he looked down at his outfit; it was a simple, brown vest held open over a grey shirt with sloppy-looking carpenter jeans. I pointed at the back of his hand, which bore a tattoo in the shape of the Keepers’ insignia: lady justice. Scales in one hand, sword in the other, blindfolded.

It was a human insignia that the Keepers adopted for themselves, in an attempt to maintain the idea that justice is blind. In their case, justice was not only blind, but mute, deaf, and dumb as well.

He lifted his hand to stare at it and frowned, as if he had forgotten it was there. After a moment, he shrugged it off and smiled. “I’m not on the clock,” he responded jovially. “I can be anywhere I want. And talk to whoever I want.”

“Got it,” I said. “So get back to your lonely drink.”

He held up a long glass filled with tree sap, alcohol, a tap of blood and a hint of cherry. It was called a Maiden’s Bluff. I hated the taste of it, but it was a popular favorite.

“It’s never lonely when you’re drinking next to a be-a-utiful woman,” he said, toasting me before taking a long drink.

As he threw his head back, his hair shifted just enough for me to see an angle to his ears. He wasn’t human.

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About the Author

Writing from a young age, K. Stevens published her first book in June of 2015 in honor of her father, Rod Bayron. A lifetime nerd, animal care-giver, current student of the arts and aspiring ceramist, Stevens has an artistic nature that is akin to a bloodmoon: It shows up once in a while, it’s strange and mysterious, and it has a tendency to freak people

Her latest book is the magical realism novel, Jules.
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Interview with ‘Cable Car Mystery’ Greg Messel

Greg MesselGreg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written nine novels. His latest is “Cable Car Mystery” which is the sixth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Shadows In The Fog,” ”Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” His other three novels are “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.”

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About the Book:

On the hottest day of the year in San Francisco in 1959, Private Detectives Sam and Amelia Slater are contemplating fleeing the city for their Stinson Beach house. However, when Sam decides to take a cable car ride to run some errands on the lazy summer day, he’s Cable Carsuddenly thrust into the spotlight when he rescues a woman who fell onto the busy street. Sam pulls the mysterious red haired woman out of the path of an oncoming cable car in the nick of time. The entire incident is captured by a newspaper photographer who splashes Sam’s heroics all over the front page. Sam is troubled not only by his new status as a city hero, but by the rescued woman’s plea for help. She whispers to Sam that she didn’t fall from the cable car but was pushed. She is frightened and disappears into the crowd before Sam can get more details. A San Francisco newspaper launches a campaign to find the mystery woman and Sam hopes to cross paths with her again.

Meanwhile, Amelia is troubled by the sudden disappearance of her elderly neighbor. Two thuggish younger men who now occupy the house next door say he took a sudden trip. One night when she’s alone Amelia grabs a flashlight and finds some disturbing clues in her neighbor’s garage. What really happened to her neighbor? Amelia is determined to find out.

Award winning author Greg Messel spins a new tale of intrigue in Cable Car Mystery, the sixth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series set in at the 1950s in San Francisco.

For More Information

  • Cable Car Mystery is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What made you decide to become a published author?

The challenge of being disciplined enough to write a book and to be able to create a fictional world. I am constantly learning more about the book business and find it fascinating. I’ve been writing novels for eight years or so and the book industry has changed drastically in that amount of time.

Would you consider your latest book, “Cable Car Mystery,” to be a one of a kind?  How so?

Yes I would. The time period and San Francisco setting are unique. There are a lot of interesting things going on in 1958 and 1959. It’s a different world from the one we live in now. I try to accurately reflect their lifestyles and perspectives.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I live in Seattle where there are a lot of gray, rainy days—especially in the winter. I think it is the perfect atmosphere for writing. I have a private office in my house with many of my favorite things in it. My wife calls it my “writing den” and she recently bought a 1930s vintage typewriter for me. It is a decor item and I don’t write my books on it. I have spent many hours on just such a typewriter but I can’t imagine writing a book using a typewriter now.

What inspires you?

When a reader tells you how much they enjoyed your book. That’s incredible. I remember doing a book signing at a Borders and it was an unbelievable rush to see people at the check out line with your book under their arm. I got a message from a woman on social media who told me that her husband was wounded in Iraq and she would go to the hospital and read one of my books to him. That one blew me away. How do you top that?  The soldier was from San Francisco and that’s what attracted him to my books.

Why do you love to write mysteries?

I love how the story evolves as you write. Most of my books turn out differently than I originally imaged. It is really challenging to think of a mystery and then think about how the characters will solve the puzzle. There is the additional writing task of thinking about how to slowly reveal it to the reader. You need to give the reader all the clues and not cheat but at the same time make it suspenseful. I love the Alfred Hitchcock philosophy about suspense. It is scary when in a dark house you hear footsteps on the stairs. That is often more frightening that what is actually on the stairs. It is the unknown which is suspenseful.

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

On the day when fictional Sam Slater saves the woman who fell off the cable car, the real actor George Reeves was shot to death in Los Angeles. Reeves played Superman on television at the time. There is a lot of controversy about whether Reeves death was a suicide or murder. In my fictional book, the characters comment how “Superman is dead” and Sam’s heroics pushed him off the front page. Reeves’ death is the central story line of the 2006 movie “Hollywoodland” starring Ben Affleck and Adrien Brody.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I enjoy gardening and love to run outside in Edmonds, Washington, in the Seattle area on the Puget Sound. I love movies and try to see one or two a week.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on two books. One is the next one in the Sam Slater Mystery series which will be called “San Francisco Nights.” I think it’s going to be a better whodunit than any book I’ve written so far. I’m really pleased with how it’s progressing. I’m also working on a book that I’m really excited about. It’s the story of a young reporter who becomes caught up in the anti-war movement in Berkeley in 1968. He is also assigned to cover the 1968 presidential campaign and much of the story occurs against the backdrop of Robert Kennedy’s final days and ultimately his assassination. The title will be “Dreams That Never Were.”

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Book Spotlight: The Beams of Our House by Trey Dunham

Inside the Book:

Title: The Beams of Our House: A Novel Based on the Song of Solomon
Book 1: The Banner Series
Author: Trey Dunham
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Pages: 394 pages
Genre: Christian Dystopian / Furturistic Fiction
Book Description:
Sol 203119 hates Coupling—the forced dating and mating technique initiated across the United Cities as populations consolidated, gender tensions mounted, human reproduction plummeted, and marriage fell out of style—but he doesn’t know why. But when a fourth classmate at the Academy commits suicide, he follows the prompting of a mysterious voice and goes in search of a way out of the City for him and his classmates at the Academy.
Thousands of miles away, Lill, an orphan Wild, raised by strict and overprotective brothers, discovers she is part of an ancient prophecy that will bring to an end the longstanding battle between the Spirits of the City and Wilderness. Em, a mysterious, spiritual recluse, mentors Lill in her preparation: caring for refugees who have fled the City in search of a better life.
Able to escape the City, Sol slowly adapts to life in the difficult and dangerous Wilderness. He discovers a community of healthy, loving, committed families, but when a special ops team from the City nearly captures him, community leaders decide the time has come to unite and resurrect an ancient rite of the Spirit of the Wilderness: marriage.
Waiting anxiously for his return, a small contingent of Sol’s classmates from the Academy form an underground community in the heart of the City, which they call ‘the Banner.’ Meanwhile, Sol and Lill travel separately to witness the first wedding in centuries; the City counters with a deadly attack. In spite of massive casualties, a small remnant survives. And in a narrow underground cavern, the bruised and battered Sol and Lill meet for the first time.
Book Excerpt:
Washington, DC: The U.S. Department of Health and
Human Resources (DHHR) announced today recommendations made to federal and
state legislatures to suspend all laws and regulations related to the issuing
of marriage licenses, effectively ending a practice which had been in steep
decline over the previous two decades. DHHR Executive Director David Berkeley
said, “The psychological, economic, and legal weight of marriage places a
significant burden upon the health and well-being of individuals and society as
            In light of these
health concerns and declining participation by the general populace, the DHHR
is recommending that federal and state lawmakers suspend all policies related
to marriage. Additionally, we ask that any binding legal restrictions to those
currently married, especially as pertains to divorce and separation, be
            Lawmakers at the
federal and state levels, which enter sessions next month, plan to review the
measure. Several states already have resolutions on the docket in support of
the DHHR recommendation.
(Many years
Sol 203119 looked at himself in the mirror and
grimaced. After a full minute, he dropped his eyes then pulled off his shirt,
bending, contorting, folding and unfolding his arms and elbows like a giant
insect; standing as tall as his thin, slight frame would allow. He stopped,
then let his arms fall and dangle at his side. He closed his eyes and then
looked again, hoping that perhaps things would appear more to his liking. They
did not. He rubbed his chest, the part over his heart, with his right hand. It
felt warm to the touch.
He twisted his lips and puffed out his chest. He
was only partially successful. The left side laid flat, unflinching in spite of
his effort. His ears started to turn red with effort. He held his breath and
hoped that might inflate the muscle. He started to get dizzy and so he let go;
his lips broke their seal and released an enormous,
blubbering gust of wind and
Sol pulled the shirt over his head and then
slouched, paused for a moment, his eyes moved up and down his body. He rubbed
his chest again. The scar was still there, only it seemed to have grown larger,
like a knotty rope of flesh and scar-tissue. He first noticed it the week he
moved into the Academy. It was small then, a string at best. Now thicker,
harder, like a heavy rope, it extended from just under his shoulder down at an
angle and ended near his sternum. He felt it tighten and pull as he moved and
lifted his arm over his head. He grimaced, put his shirt back on and yanked
down on the sleeve. A knock sounded at the door.
“Hey, Sol. You ready?”
“Yeah,” he paused. “Just a minute. I’m getting
“Well, hurry up. They’re coming and from the sounds
of it they’re in a bad mood.”
“And don’t worry. You can’t see it.”
Sol opened the door with a click and stepped into
the common room. Adon stood in front of a full-length mirror, adjusting the
collar of his Academy jacket. He was tall, taller than Sol and bigger. His
chest and arms pushed menacingly against the fabric
“Still self-conscious about that pec, I see.” Adon
grinned. Sol reddened. “Don’t worry about it,” Adon continued, “the women they
put us with don’t care about that kind of stuff. At least that’s what
they tell us.” He smiled as if he
didn’t really believe himself what he had just said. He ran his fingers through
his black, coarse hair and, somewhat satisfied with what he saw, turned to his
“Where’s Pietr?”
“In his room, I think. The door’s closed.”
“We better get him. They’ll be here any second. And
I don’t want to end up in the Tank because of that idiot.”
Outside, they heard the sound of shouting and boots
running. Heavy fists landed against doors at the far end of the hall. They
needed to be quick. Pietr’s door was closed, so Adon knocked, “Hey, it’s time
to go. You ready?” He spoke loudly and with conviction. No answer. Sol reached
down and pulled on the handle. It clicked. Unlocked. They pushed the door and
stepped inside. It was dark.
At first the room appeared empty, except for the
unmade bed along the near wall. A small desk was at the far end of the room
facing a large window that looked out into the City. It was night, but the glow
from the lights in the facing buildings was sufficient to illuminate the room.
The room smelled dank; a stale cheese sandwich lay in the corner, covered in
“You in here?” Sol asked.
The boys crept deeper into the room, the air acrid,
unmoving. It smelled of sweat. “Ow!” Adon yelled and crumpled to the floor. Sol
heard a weight bar roll and crash into the wall. Adon cursed and murmured as
Sol moved deeper into the room.
Adon moaned, but Sol wasn’t listening. Two white
lights appeared in the in the corner, next to the desk. They blinked off, then
on, then off again.
“Pietr, I see you. Turn off the game. You have to
come out,” Sol said. “We’ll get in a lot of trouble if we’re not ready. None of
us want the Tank again.” Pietr’s eyes reappeared for a moment, and looked at
Sol. Then, they clicked off a second time.
“Turn the game off,” Sol said with some force.
Adon stopped moaning just long enough to shout,
“You can’t stay holed up in here all day. You know that. We have to go,
so get dressed or I am going to beat you like the useless piece of trash you
are.” Adon was suddenly angry and could feel the blood rushing up his back
along his spine to the back of his neck, the tiny hairs standing erect. His
hand pulled tight into a fist. Pietr was strong, and easily as big as Adon, but
he was soft. He did not have the malice of his roommate. Adon stood up slowly
and repeated his threat. “Get dressed or I’ll beat you bloody. Be out in two
minutes. I’ll get some Meds ready for you. That’ll help.”
Suddenly, they could hear shouting in the hall.
“Something’s going on,” Sol said to Adon, stepping over him and making his way
to the door. “Hurry, Pietr. Please!” He yelled over his shoulder as he
left the room.
Sol flung open the door to the hallway just as four
black-clad officers ran past. They were carrying weapons: long, black
lightweight batons. Sol watched them run down the hall, but did not see the
group behind them. An extended hand at the end of a locked arm slammed into the
small of his back and sent him hurtling, face first into the doorframe. He fell
back immediately and crack, the back of his head rang with a second
impact. He heard Adon grunt loudly. Sol felt the blood almost immediately begin
to trickle down his face. He wiped his nose with the back of his hand. It was
red. He could feel a lump start to grow on the back of his head.
Adon bent over holding his chin. “Oh, man,” he
moaned. He rubbed his face then stood up, “What’s going on out there?” Another
four officers ran past the open door, followed closely by two medics dressed in
white. Sol looked at Adon, his fingers pinching his bloody nose and slowly
shook his head. An officer, face shield covering her eyes, stopped and stepped
halfway into the room. “Keep your doors closed,” she barked “All rooms on
lockdown until further notice!” She slammed the door and was gone.
“That’s the fourth one here this week. Who knows
what’s going on everywhere else,” said Adon. “I heard that most Academies
average one a day.”
Sol didn’t answer. He stood looking out the window
into the night. The lights in the yard below seemed distant, the weight of the
moonless sky holding them down. He took a deep breath and looked out towards
the City. Buildings and lights rose from the earth as far as he could see. He
looked at his hands, small and pale. He tried to remember a time he had not
been at the Academy. He had lived out in the City once, when he was a child,
but that was before his father had left and his mother died. I’ve never
known anything else
, he thought. They brought me here when they needed
me and they will send me where they please when they’re done. What choice do I
He stepped away from the window and turned to look at his roommate.
Adon sat still on the couch, rubbing his chin.
With more than fifty thousand boys, the Academy was
among the largest in the United Cities. Built in concentric circles, it
consisted of twenty-four identical towers housing two thousand one hundred
residents each: seven hundred rooms on thirty-five floors; twenty rooms per floors.
Three boys per room. Sol stood looking out of Room 3415, House 22.
“See if you can pick up any chatter.” Adon
stretched himself out on the couch, gingerly; his chin that had taken on a
slightly purple hue.
“They never talk about this kind of stuff publicly.”
“Yeah, but maybe someone can get through on a
high-wire.” He paused, thinking aloud, “I wonder who it was.”
Sol walked to the desk and opened the drawer. He
pulled out a small earpiece and awkwardly jammed it into his ear. A small red
light turned on, went yellow, then green. He closed his eyes and listened, then
looked up to see Adon watching him from the couch.
“You know they don’t like you taking that out.” He
gestured with his eyes to Sol’s ear.
“I know. Sometimes I need the quiet.”
“Still hearing it?”
Sol closed his eyes again and tried to concentrate.
Sounds began to fill his ear, distant and garbled, as if he were underwater,
the muffled tones drifted in and out, softer, then louder. He tried to focus,
concentrating on an especially high frequency. Brain waves from an adolescent,
from other boys, resonated at a higher frequency than adults, much like their
speech, and at times, when the situation dictated, high frequencies, what they
called “high-wires” could be accessed out of reach of anyone who might be
listening. Sol closed his eyes tighter, trying to understand what was being
said. It wouldn’t be long before the System detected the network anomaly and
disrupted the pattern.
“It was Salo,” he said finally.
“Salo?” Adon and Sol turned to see Pietr standing
in the doorway to his room. He was undressed, out of uniform, wearing shorts
and a white tank top, a large white blanket wrapped around his shoulders. It
hung three feet from the floor off his huge frame. It was covered, like his shirt,
with grey grease stains. He had on one sock, a huge toe poking out, the nail
Pietr shuffled into the room and fell into a chair
opposite Adon. Sol sat down and pushed the earpiece deeper into his ear. He
closed his eyes again. Pietr and Adon watched, waiting.
“He hanged himself,” he said finally. “Hadn’t been
out of his room in days. They’d put him in the Tank to try to shake him out of it,
but it didn’t work.” He pulled the piece from his ear and tossed it roughly on
the table. “Obviously.”
There was a noise in the hall, and then the sound
of doors opening. They heard a loud voice, someone yelling. Sol ran to the door
and cracked it open. He felt Adon behind him; his breath smelled like mint.
Halfway down the hall, he saw a group of officers, their backs to him, huddled,
working vigorously close to the ground.
Suddenly, they stood up lifting a gurney that
clicked firmly into place. They turned and pushed the bed towards Sol and the
elevators that would take them to the roof and a waiting transport. As they
moved, they tapped open doors with the ends of their batons, yelling at the
curious to get back inside. “Coupling will be delayed by thirty minutes only,”
an officer yelled, “and anyone not ready will get the Tank.”
Sol watched, staring as the gurney and officers
approached. The thump of heavy boots and harsh click of batons against doors
sent chills through his spine: he looked at the black bag as it passed, zipped
down the middle, resting silently on the cart. Who will it be tomorrow?
he wondered. Suddenly, he felt a sharp crack across his hands, the sting of a
baton on his knuckles.
“Thirty minutes,” she snarled.
He closed the door and fell back as it clicked
shut. He leaned against it, facing into the room. (There is another way.)
Sol closed his eyes again, listening.
(All you have known is the City, but there is
another way.)
He opened his eyes.
“Why do you think he did it?” Pietr asked quietly
pulling his blanket up around his shoulders.
Adon and Sol didn’t answer; both looked instead at
the floor.
“You know why.” Adon sat back down on the couch.
“The same reason we imagine doing it. We’re
afraid,” Sol said. “We hide in our rooms, but they root us out, drug us up, set
us up, push us out. And if that isn’t enough, if that doesn’t work, if it all
gets to be too much, then you just crack and you find another way out. Salo
found the only way out I know of.”
Adon looked at Sol. He knew he was right. Pietr’s
eyes fell to the floor, then he pulled the blanket up again around his huge
shoulders. He looked like a child, even though he was larger than any man Sol
had ever seen. The blanket struggled to hide him, but beneath it Pietr huddled,
afraid, shaking. He pulled the cloth over his head and then he started to sob,
quietly, his shoulders rolling.
“I wish it could be different,” Adon said. “The
Academy is trying to help us, to bring us back, all of us, the thousands of us
that live here and in the other Cities. But sometimes guys like Salo fall
through the cracks. They don’t make it.”
“Shai and Topher should have done something. They
should have told someone so they could have helped him. He needed help, but
they didn’t do anything. No one did anything.” Deep, violent sobs rolled out
from under the blanket. Pietr pulled himself tight into a ball, trying to make
himself small.
“Yeah, maybe someone could have done something,”
Adon said. “But the reality is there are fifty thousand guys just like him in
this place. And tomorrow someone else will move in right down the hall. And in
a week, everything will be back to normal. The whole City can’t just stop for
one person. You’d better get used to that. He’s gone, but there are a thousand
more just like him. And we’re still here. We have to keep on or we’ll end up
just like him.”
Sol walked behind Pietr and placed a hand on his
back: “Take this,” he said holding a glass filled with creamy white liquid in
front of his friend. “It’ll make you feel better.” He felt Pietr’s labored,
uneven breath.
“No, you’re wrong,” Pietr yelled, suddenly standing
up. He knocked the glass from Sol’s hand and it shattered as it hit the floor,
white cream exploding everywhere. “There was only one Salo,” Pietr said
angrily. He looked up, red eyes glaring at Adon, face streaked with dirt and
tears. He walked quickly to his room and slammed the door behind him.
Adon shook his head, “Some guys just don’t get it.”
Sol bent down and picked up a piece of broken glass. “Leave that for the
maids,” Adon said. “We’d better get ready. They’ll be here soon.” He turned and
walked into his room.
For More Information:
The Beams of Our House is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author

A writer, teacher, and church planter, Trey Dunham has been blogging on spiritual, family and personal topics since 2009.
He lives in Morgantown, WV.
For More Information:

Virtual Book Tour


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COVER REVEAL: Murder For Me by Russell Little

Murder for Me Cover Reveal banner

Pump Up Your Book is pleased to bring you Russel Little’s MURDER FOR ME Cover Reveal! Please stop at the blogs who will be hosting him on May 13!

Murder for Me

Inside the Book

Author: Russell Little
Publisher: Independent
Genre: Psycho-Thriller

Larry Lamb is a mediocre attorney. His last client committed suicide.

Larry Lamb is a mediocre husband. His wife divorced him because she thinks he’s crazy.

But Larry Lamb’s luck is about to turn around. Oil tycoon Don Stonek needs an attorney good enough to be convincing—but bad enough to lose his case.

Stonek’s wife Ava is the victim of multiple murder attempts, and his lover Marilyn is a suspect. Stonek offers Lamb a six-figure retainer to represent Marilyn, and Lamb accepts, with a secret plan to dump the case and keep the money.

But Marilyn has a certain power of persuasion, and the meeting leaves Larry convinced he must please her every desire. She also tugs at a part of him he prefers to keep locked away deep inside—a part of him that’s desperate for release.

Book Excerpt:

The trees surrounding the clearing looked like jungle to him, and he inhaled the smell of cut grass and heavy tree pollen through his cigarette smoke. This was way better than the stacked old garbage smell in the beaten-down park up the street from Colinas. The trash cans were empty here, and they had black plastic bags on them. Alex never saw that before, park cans with trash bags; these people were treated right.

He flicked his butt at the trash can again as he watched a wuss in blue sweats slowly run into the clearing, look at Alex and the butt as it hit the grass, and speed up as he passed by. Alex laughed at it, the thought of a man giving up sleep to run in a park. “Dumbass,” he thought. He was glad the pussy hurried, and he hoped the guy got far enough away before he popped the bitch.

He had to stay ready. Once he shot her, he’d get some breakfast tacos. There’s a truck a couple of blocks from his room that he bought tacos from late at night. They were good, too, especially the green salsa they made, and he wondered if they were open this early. Of course they were. He hoped that guy was far enough away. He checked the time on his phone again. He’d waited too long for the bitch, and he worried he’d missed her. He might go to Colinas after lunch for a beer to celebrate. He’d have some money coming in so they’d probably give him credit; they’d have to since he’d already spent everything she’d advanced him. If he did this woman well enough, he might get some of Miss Melody, too, and stop having to call her that Miss shit.

A blond woman with headphones ran past him. Who was that? He panicked. Was that her? Blond chick, like in the picture—it had to be. He jumped off the table, jerked his gun out of his pants, and ran after her.

Meet the Author

Russell Little

About the Author

Russell G. Little is a writer and practicing divorce attorney. Murder for Me is a fictionalized compilation of the many people he’s encountered over his lifetime and thirty-two-year career.

He lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife of thirty-two years, Melinda.

Visit Russell Little’s website.

Connect with Russell on Facebook and Twitter.

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Book Spotlight: Am I Going To Be Okay? by Debra Whittam

Am I Going to Be OkayTitle: Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storm of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief
Author: Debra Whittam
Publisher: Turning Point International
Pages: 253
Genre: Memoir/Women’s Psychology/Applied Psychology

Am I Going To Be Okay? is an American story with a universal message. Ms. Whittam traces her history in the form of stories about her all too human, and sometimes unhinged family; she throws a rope to the little girl living there, and in adulthood, is able to pull her out to safety, bit by bit.

Her history is peopled with folks from a different time, a time before therapy was acceptable, 12 steps unimaginable and harsh words, backhands and even harsher silences can be spun to appear almost normal. She writes of a mother who would not or could not initiate love nor give it without condition, and a father, damn near heroic at times, abusive at others, a survivor with his head down and his sleeves rolled up.

Ms. Whittam approaches her past with the clear-eyed tough but sensitive objectivity necessary to untangle the shame from the source. She speaks of the people that affected her life so deeply with an understanding of their time and place in American culture; a family not far removed from immigrant roots when men carried their own water, emoted misplaced anger, and with fresh socks and food found on the trail, were confident, unflinching and at that same time tragical- ly failing to the little ones they ignored.

Like many of us, details notwithstanding, Whittam responded by numbing, running and gunning. Alcohol gave her hope, soothed a crushed soul for a time and wrecked her on a train, until finally she had the courage to accept it wasn’t working for her anymore. It was time to stop drinking and take inventory and accountability. It was time to accept, forgive and move forward. She healed where she was broken.

It is in the telling of this story that Whittam teaches us the difference between just surviving and surviving well, the importance of shared introspection and a careful eye on the wake we leave behind in our actions. Her story is a guide to surviving abuse and addiction. It is also about witnessing and dealing with the shrinking faculties of aging parents in the unavoidable circle of life. Finally, she offers a realistic sense of hope, forgiveness and a life we can shake hands with.

For More Information

  • Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storm of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

In my therapist’s office, during my first year of recovery from alcoholism, I saw one of her graduate school psychology books on her bookshelf. It was sitting alongside many of her self-help books which I had borrowed during the past year. I read several hoping to find a cure from my irrepressible anxiety that I had previously drunk away. I imagined the wordy text was far from my ability to comprehend as I was at that time only able to retain small bits of information. I asked my therapist if I could borrow that college text titled “Human Growth and Development.” I read it from cover to cover within a short amount of time and surprisingly, was able to digest and retain it. I had to quit doubting my ability. Being hard on myself was no longer the answer. I wanted more.

That following summer I enrolled in a graduate course of the same name. I wanted to see if I could retain enough material to pass a higher level learning class. I loved it and I got an A.

No longer living in a world governed by my need to numb myself through copious amounts of alcohol, I started doing what I wanted to do with my life. Encountering the self-doubt I had always carried within me became the guidepost by which I continued to prove my “what ifs” unnecessary in order to keep myself safe.

My intention in writing this book is to reach out to all who struggle with being frozen in fear of “what if.” This book may trigger emotions that have been shoved down so far they might not have a clear story to them yet. It might trigger memories of resentments, regrets or painful unhealed episodes of your life. These moments may have happened long, long ago or may have been more recent. We go back into the past to find answers. The idea is not to stay there long, but to find healing through understanding the ‘why’ of it. Then begin our process of learning to self-sooth and love ourselves. Nothing is going to happen that you can’t handle. Nothing.

Isolated within my world of fear, I wouldn’t attempt anything outside of that small world. I had no foundation to stand on as a spring-board toward finding out who I really was, so I joined a 12-Step group. The beauty of being in a community of recovery, from whatever we might be working on, brings connection. at is what I needed so badly.

I hope, within these pages, you are able to find a spark that ignites your longing for more. I urge you to find your own path of being okay by whatever non-mood altering way that makes sense to you; even, or especially, if it is unfamiliar to you. In writing this book, I intended to show how we can all go through our fears and do “it” anyway, whatever “it” is.

Letting go of fear suggests we “just breathe” and be ourselves. Thee “how” of being okay is within these pages and within yourself. Stop listening to the repeated echoes of old messages in your head, messages like “You’ve done it again,” “You aren’t good enough,” “You should just give up.” These messages cause you to doubt yourself. Instead, listen to the other voice inside which says, “You can do this,” “There is a way.” Don’t ignore it. Don’t push it away. Don’t argue with it. That voice is there, even if you can’t hear it and I am here to help you find it. I look forward to hearing you say, “I AM going to be okay.”


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Interview & Book Giveaway: MC Domovitch, author of SCORPIO’S KISS

Monique DornovitchMonique Domovitch has had many careers, starting with being one of Canada’s top models. When she retired from modeling she moved on to a career in the financial services as an adviser and planner, specializing in helping women attain financial freedom. During those years, she was also one of the first women in Canada to host her own national financial television show. During all those years, Monique’s dream was always to someday become a writer. Ten years ago, Monique attended a writer’s conference where the first line of one of her novels was read out loud in a workshop, attracting the attention of a publisher and an agent.

Since that life-changing conference, Monique Domovitch has published nine books, four with Penguin using the pen name Carol Ann Martin, two with Harlequin using her own name, and another two with Lansen Publishing. Scorpio’s Kiss was previously published as two novels, Scorpio Rising and The Sting of the Scorpio. Scar Tissue, her latest, is her ninth novel and she is hard at work on her tenth.

A great believer in the energizing power of writers’ conferences, she says that if not for that first conference she attended, she would not be published today.

For More Information

About the Book:

Scorpio’s Kiss is a spell-binding tale of love, ambition and greed that will keep the reader turning the pages until its surprise ending. Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio’s Kiss takes the reader from the Scorpio's Kisslate 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes.

There is Alex Ivanov, the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves.

Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.

Domovitch’s novel is a compelling tale, filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio’s Kiss promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.

For More Information

  • Scorpio’s Kiss is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What made you decide to become a published author?

First, let me start by saying that, yes, I am a published author, but foremost, I am a storyteller. Comparing a storyteller to an author is tantamount to comparing a singer to a songwriter. As a storyteller, I need an audience. The only way I can get any kind of an audience is by publishing my works. Without publishing I’d be much like the person dreaming of being a singer, but singing only for himself in the shower. So I guess you could say that I decided to be published because I was in search of an audience.

Would you consider your latest book, Scorpio’s Kiss, to be a one of a kind?  How so?

Someone very wise once said that all stories have already been told, the difference is in the telling. Having said that, I can safely say that, no, my novel is not unique. But I took a universal story of love, ambition, greed and betrayal and made it into a BIG story, with characters that are bigger than life. I had a great time writing it, and whenever I skim through it, I still get a thrill. To this day it still makes me want to keep turning the pages.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

My husband and I own a farm in BC Canada, and I had a she-shed built on the property. It’s set up with everything I need, desk, chair, internet and computer. I even have a La Z Boy recliner and a bookshelf, so I can take a break when I need to. From the window I look out at the gold-fish pond and the fruit-tree grove. It’s my own little corner of heaven. Once in a while, a bird flies by and sings me a song. That’s where I write. I can spend hours working and feel as if it was just a few minutes.

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

Marketing is important. But the danger of getting involved in the marketing is that it can so easily drive a writer away from his primary focus, which is writing. It’s a real challenge nowadays. Publishers expect their authors to do much of the promoting and marketing themselves, yet they still want that next novel to come in on time. It is very challenging for an author to stick to his main goal.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by strong people facing difficult situations. I love to challenge my characters and see what they are really made of. That’s why my readers love my novels. It’s one thing to write nice scenes, but quite another to write scenes where danger lurks, while still keeping the characters engaging.

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

What I learned is that readers loved my novel as much as I did. That was the best thing any author could possibly hope for. I recently met a neighbor from a few doors down. It turns out that he used to be the president of one of the largest publishing houses in Canada. Somehow he had gotten hold of Scorpio’s Kiss and he showed up on my doorstep unannounced. I was thrilled, when he told me that if he still owned the company, he’d sign me on in a New York minute. I already have had contracts with two of the big publishers, but this compliment meant more to me than any other because it was for a book I had written and published myself, in a genre for which I am still unknown.

Why do you love to write suspense?

Although I enjoy literature, I couldn’t write a literary book if you gave me all the time in the world. What I love to read are books that make you want to keep turning the pages even when your eyes are burning from fatigue. That is also what I like to write. I want to get that feeling of needing to know what happens next. If I don’t get it as the author, the readers won’t get it either.

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

The first ingredient is engaging characters. If you can’t get your readers to care what happens to the people in the story, they won’t care about the book. The next challenge is to imbue your story with the right balance of suspense and hope. Too much of one or the other, and the story will fall flat.

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

What readers enjoy the most is learning that the main character, Alex Ivanovitch, was directly inspired by Donald Trump. Back in the eighties Ivana and I were friends, and I had the pleasure of meeting Donald on a number of occasions. He was such a colorful personality that I decided to base a fictional character on him. Having said that, let me add that all I did was borrow a few of his traits. The story is entirely fictional.

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

I have to say that there is a little piece of me in each and every character. Let’s face it, we are all made up of thousands of facets, some nice, and others not so nice. When I write, the characters have to feel real, so I find myself constantly asking myself, if I was a real bitch what would I do in this situation, or if I was a real pushover, or if this was my husband…You get my drift.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I have a passion for dogs. If I had my way, I’d rescue every dog that needs rescuing, but then my husband would probably leave. We’ve had three dogs at one point and that made it difficult to travel. So I keep my helping to my two little dogs and a regular donation to a dog charity.

What’s next for you?

More books. I am working on a sequel to Scar Tissue, and I am also working on another novel in the same genre as Scorpio’s Kiss, this one also happens in the 50s and 60s, this time in Key Largo, Florida during Hurricane Donna.

Monique Domovitch is giving away 5 paperback and 5 ebook copies of SCORPIO’S KISS!

Terms & Conditions:

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
Five people will be selected to win one of five paperback copies and five people will be selected to win one of five ebook copies of SCORPIO’S KISS
This giveaway begins April 18 and ends on July 18.
Winners will be announced on Monique’s tour page on July 19.

Good luck everyone!

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