“The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon” A cross-cultural epic saga begins . . .

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Government corruption ignites a 19th century Cheyenne curse….

In 1879 a drunken hoard of silver miners raided a Cheyenne village while the tribe’s warriors hunted buffalo. A small band of young braves, not yet old enough to join the hunt, escaped and rode for help. Their efforts failed when they were discovered by the raiders, who ran them over a cliff along with all the tribe’s horses that had been left behind.

When the warriors returned and found the devastation, the tribe’s medicine man, Black Cloud, placed a curse on the site.

A century and a half later, a scandalous Top Secret project is under construction in the same Colorado wilderness. Bryan Reynolds discovers that its roots lie in the same greed, corruption, and exploitation of the Earth that precipitated the curse. But before he can expose what he’s found, he’s killed in a suspicious accident that his wife, Sara, miraculously survives. Her memory of where they were or what they’d discovered, however, is gone.

Neither Sara nor Bryan’s life-long Cheyenne friend, Charlie Littlewolf, will rest until they find out what Bryan discovered that resulted in his death.

Charlie is acutely aware that the only way to solve the mystery is through connecting with the grandfather spirits. To do so he must return to his roots and the teachings of his medicine man grandfather, Eaglefeathers. His journey back to the Cheyenne way includes ancient rituals and ceremonies that guide him and Sara to the answers they seek.

As a descendant of Black Cloud, his destiny is deeply embedded in the fulfillment of the original curse, which was triggered by the scandalous government project Bryan discovered and his subsequent death. Charlie’s quest has only just begun.


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It took me far longer to write this story than I ever imagined. Believe it or not, my original intent was to write a cozy mystery which I planned to finish in a few weeks. Once I got into it, however, and started doing some research (my fatal flaw as a write), it morphed into a not-so-cozy murder mystery with a sharp conspiratorial edge. It took nearly two years from when it was conceived to releasing volume 1 of a trilogy.

Part of the delay was when I decided I needed a Native American to give my work a sanity check. I didn’t want it to be inaccurate or offensive. I did a lot of research, but recognized that is often insufficient. Through a rather serendipitous chain of events I found Pete Risingsun, a Cheyenne who lives on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana. It didn’t take long for Pete to connect with the story to such a degree that he became the story’s coauthor. The Cheyenne portions of this story are accurate. You can read Pete’s biography as well as mine on the book’s website here.

A government conspiracy lies at the core, though this first volume concentrates on Sara and Charlie discovering what Bryan knew that got him killed. It’s character driven like my other novels with them riding a freight train of research that captured me in their iron grip. Every time I turned around I discovered something else that fit the story and situation too closely to ignore.

Modern man’s colonialism coupled with a blatant disregard for the environment conflicts with Native American philosophies of animism and the necessity to honor the Earth. These ideologies have clashed for centuries. Informed individuals already know about the downside of fracking. Past pollution caused by 19th century mining and the EPA Superfunds charged with cleaning them up, however, are not as well-known.  Put them together and there’s a subplot just waiting to hatch.

Various paranormal and supernatural elements including detailed descriptions of Cheyenne rituals and ceremonies are included. You’ll learn about the sacred red pipe, ceremonial fasting, and the sweat lodge. The Cheyenne’s name for the Great Spirit is Maheo, who is referred to throughout. There are numerous other-worldly situations included. While the story is fictitious, these depictions are authentic.

Modern technology plays a significant role in juxtaposition to traditional Native American elements. Astronomy and the ancient art and science of western astrology play roles as well in helping Sara and Charlie find the answers they need.

These complexities are what expanded this story into a trilogy. Charlie’s journey back to his roots and the consequences Sara pays for fulfilling Bryan’s dying request play out in the next two volumes. They are already drafted and awaiting collaboration with Pete and then the usual rounds of editing. Native American history is touched upon, but will be covered in greater detail in subsequent volumes.

I hope you’ll join me in this incredible journey and enjoy it as much as I have putting it together with the assistance of my awesome coauthor.

Pick up an electronic copy on Amazon or Google Play until July 31, 2020 for only 99c!

More vendors are on the way. The print version will be out in about a month. COVID19 has slowed down the conventional indie publishing process to glacial speed, but it is on the way.

Check out the series website for more information about the sequels and an excerpt from this one.

The saga has barely begun….

A GRIPPING YOUNG ADULT ADVENTURE!

This great story is now available as an audiobook!

Or Read for FREE! (Details below)

The Collar & the Cavvarach audiobook cover

About the Story:

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

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Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), an unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

More About the Story

Set in a world alarmingly like our own, The Collar and the Cavvarach is the story of fourteen-year-old Bensin, a slave, whose status is made obvious to everyone by the steel collar locked around his neck. A martial artist who competes to win money for his owner, Bensin fights in tournaments with a cavvarach. But his greatest battle is the struggle to protect his little sister from the horrors of legalized slavery in a world where slaves have few rights. Desperate to keep her safe, Bensin struggles to find a means – legal or otherwise – to arrange for her freedom.

(For a fun introduction to the story’s setting and its culture, including an explanation of how cavvara shil works, click here.)

Sound Like a Book you Might Enjoy? 

Click the play button below to listen to the first 15 minutes of the story as narrated by Joseph Baltz.

Click here to go to the audiobook on Audible.

Click here to go to the audiobook on Amazon.

(Either way, try listening to the free sample to see what you think!)

Like to Read Along While You Listen? 

The Collar and the Cavvarach ebook is available for FREE from July 14-18. Grab your copy now!

Enter the Giveaway to Win a Bundle of Action and Adventure eBooks!

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About the Author

Annie Douglass LimaAnnie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fictionfantasyYA action and adventure novels, a puppet scriptanthologies of her students’ poetryBible verse coloring and activity books, and a fantasy-themed cookbook. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/anniedouglasslima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

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Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

Cat Tales

“Now cracks a noble heart. —Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

–Horatio in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare

hammiekitchenwindowI’ve had a cat in my life since the day I was born. The one I grew up with, Snopsie, was a member of the family before I was. As I was growing up I often suspected that my parents loved that cat more than they did me. Now that I’m a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, I know with absolute certainty that such was true. Studies have shown that people have more empathy for animals than they do for other humans. I believe it. More often than not, I am one of them.

Of course the status a pet carries in a household Bengals Boxing 001varies significantly. Sometimes they’re a pet and sometimes they’re a fur-baby. The years when I was raising a family and had a houseful of kids, the cats were pets. I cared about them, enjoyed having them sit on my lap, and did the best I could to take care of them, but they didn’t own my heart. Once I retired, however, and the kids were gone, it was another story.

ophcabinetCLCI adopted Hamlet and Ophelia in December 2006 as a Christmas/Birthday present to myself. I’d heard that Bengals were unique, lively, and entertaining and were supposed to live as long as twenty years. One eighth of their genetic material is Asian Leopard, which accounts for their distinct markings and strong personalities. They’re intelligent, curious, agile, and adventurous which, as expected, leads to lots of mischief. Over the years, property damage and veterinarian bills have amounted to literally thousands of dollars, mostly credited to Ophelia.

Mine was not their first home. Originally a young couple hammiefishtankCLCwho lived in an apartment with a preschool age son and a baby were the ones who adopted them from a cattery. It didn’t take long to realize that that was not the ideal environment for these active felines. Luckily for me, they realized this about the time I decided to get a cat.

My daughter sent me a picture of these two from her company newsletter, mentioning how adorable they were. I immediately recognized them as Bengals and knew they were supposed to be mine. They were half-siblings sharing the same father but different mothers and born a day apart at a local cattery. Soon they were racing up and down the stairs of my Houston townhome, sitting on top of cabinets and bookcases, and scrutinizing the potential meals lurking in the fish tanks.IMG_0001

couchcuddle4When I retired in October 2009 we all moved to my lake house. It was half the size with no stairs. They were clearly bored, but we all made the best of it. There was one high perch that became Hamlet’s favorite, though he also liked the top of the refrigerator or the pie safe. I’m sure they would have loved to go outside, but they’d always been indoor cats and I worried about them in the rural environment. Hammie actually got outside one time, but freaked out almost as much as I did.

windowwatchX3I never thought he would leave so soon. Ophelia was the one who nearly died a couple times, usually from eating something she shouldn’t, like a leather shoe lace and a hair tie, the latter of which required surgery. He was supposed to live to a ripe old age as an indoor cat, then gradually fade away and die a peaceful death. Instead, in what should have still been his prime, he slipped away within a relatively short time. He’d been losing weight, which wasn’t unheard of for a fourteen year-old cat. It seemed to get worse about the time the COVID-19 pandemic locked everything down.

When I finally got him to the vet, the procedures were far different. Instead of going inside the examining room with your pet, you waited in your car.

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An assistant came to get him and deliver him inside, then the vet would talk to you on the phone. Hamlet hadn’t been to the vet very much and hated the car. Then we sat there for over an hour in the hot afternoon sun before they took him inside. Upon talking to the vet, I decided to leave him there overnight for them to gather the samples they needed to make a diagnosis.

Big mistake.

In the morning he was frantic, his wild blood turning him into a snarling, spitting, angry kitty who undoubtedly felt horribly abandoned. I took him home. The next day or so I noticed that his pupils were not the same size. I called the vet, took him in again. He had a detached retina, which could be caused by high blood pressure or a blow to the head. Which I later deduced occurred when he’d been left there overnight and gotten so upset. He got through that exam better, but the tests weren’t conclusive. The doctor suspected cancer, but his symptoms fit kidney failure or possibly pancreatitis.

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Different sized pupils = detached retina

I took him home and watched day after day as he sat in the sunroom, staring out the window. No doubt he was now half blind, which broke my heart. For a while he still ate and drank and used the litter box. In the evening he would  usually come into the living room and sit on the couch with me, his sister, and step-sister. If he didn’t join us, I would go get him.

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The usual evening couch configuration.

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His sister and step-sister knew something was wrong.

He continued to fail, losing weight and strength such that he was very wobbly on his feet. Before long he no longer had any interest in looking out the window. He sat on a cushion in my office, half asleep. He’d drink water, but was unable to get into the litter box. When he wet, he would move away from the puddle. I knew it was time, but it was 4th of July weekend. I couldn’t take him in to be put out of his misery until Monday.

I agonized at the thought of taking him in. He hated the car and would yowl the entire 20 miles. Whether I could be with him was in question due to the COVID-19 procedures. He might even die on the way from fear, given his weakened state. Not exactly a peaceful, humane demise.

Fortunately that drive wasn’t necessary. He passed away Sunday night around ten o’clock on the couch beside me where he’d spent every evening for the past ten years. Ophelia watched, instincts telling her what was happening. It was heartbreaking and intense but only took a few minutes and he was gone. At least it had been in a safe, familiar place with me doing all I could to comfort him.ophiehonorguard

I called my wonderful neighbor, Heike, who’s a fellow cat lover. She came over to help me wrap him in a blanket. We laid him on the futon in the sunroom where he’d always loved to sleep until the next morning when we would dig a grave to bury him. In the morning when I got up and checked on him I found his sister sleeping next to him for the last time. Talk about a tearjerker. But she knew he was gone. If I’d taken him to the vet she never would have known or understood in the same way. One of Heike’s cats typically shunned her for a while after making that dreaded trip to the vet, apparently blaming her for the feline family member who never returned.

grave07062020Heike and I, two women in our 70s, dug a hole in the rocky, Central Texas ground and laid him to rest by my shed in the shade of one of my oak trees. I’m still deciding what to plant on his grave. The rocks you see around it all came out of the hole itself. We got as deep as we could until the rocks were too big to remove. In the next few days I’ll make it prettier and a decent memorial to an awesome cat.

catblanketThe house feels so empty. Up until the past few months his presence was always known. He was very vocal and his climbing antics legendary. I’m so glad I took so many pictures over the years. Like they say, photos may not seem important until they are all you have left. Ophie has been in my lap much more than usual. Hammie was never much of a lap sitter. Actually, he was too big to get comfortable. If I had a blanket on my lap he would get under it and become the “undercover cat.”

One thing that touched me deeply was the response I received on Facebook. The post of his death got 152 likes and 96 comments and the post of Ophie beside his blanket-wrapped body got 59 likes and 124 comments. I’ve never had a response like that to anything before. Pet owners share an important bond, that of loving our fur babies like family. Their compassion and support meant so much, even though most of them are otherwise strangers.

In closing this memorial to my sweet Hamlet, here are some parody lyrics dedicated to all pet lovers for those difficult times when you say goodbye. Sing it to the tune of “All the Girls I Loved Before”, either the Julio Iglesias or Willy Nelson version, your choice.

hammysnooze3To all the cats I’ve loved before
Who traveled in and out my door
I’m so glad they came along
To them I dedicate this song
To all the cats I’ve loved beforemoochinghand

 

To all the cats who shared my bed
And never did a thing I said
I love and miss you, oh, so much
And miss your fur beneath my touch

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The Rainbow Bridge you may have crossed
But in my heart you’re never lost
Your sweet spirit lingers on
And will never be completely gone.

RIP Hamlet

March 17, 2006 – July 5, 2020

“Now cracks a noble heart. —Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

–Horatio in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare

“In the Double Agent’s Service” New from Annie Douglass Lima!

In the Double Agent’s Service

A fantasy novel by Annie Douglass Lima

Book Description:

book banner with lanternErik would give his life to protect King Jaymin. However, when an old enemy shows up with new schemes, that may not be enough.

Anya longs to be noticed by the king’s handsome bodyguard. But as she finally gains Erik’s attention, the notorious spy and double agent Dannel blackmails her into fulfilling a favor she has owed him for years. Anya is forced into a terrible choice: save Erik’s life, or protect her homeland.

Can Erik and Anya thwart an assassin and prevent a war before Dannel destroys everything that matters to them and to the kingdom?

In the Double Agent’s Service is the final book in the Annals of Alasia. Here’s a glimpse of the rest of the series!

Annals of Alasia

Prince of Alasia (just 99 cents through June 14th!)

An orphaned prince and his young bodyguard must disguise themselves and go into hiding after the kingdom of Alasia is overrun by invaders.  Can Prince Jaymin save his kingdom – and himself?

In the Enemy’s Service (just 99 cents through June 14th!)

Enslaved by invaders, Anya spies on the enemy to help her captive people – but when her own father is implicated in the betrayal that led to the Invasion, can she save him?

Prince of Malorn (FREE through June 11th!)

Can Prince Korram recruit an army from among the elusive Mountain Folk and claim his rightful throne before power-hungry Regent Rampus crushes them all?

The Nameless Soldier (just 99 cents through June 14th!)

The lone survivor of a brutal attack, can teen warrior Tarvic reclaim his honor and find a way to fight for his crippled kingdom under enemy occupation?

King of Malorn (just 99 cents through June 14th!)

Pursued by assassins, can Princess Kalendria help her brother reclaim his throne and prevent a war – and catch the handsome neighboring king’s attention while she’s at it?

Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews (available for FREE here!)

An orphaned prince. A devious double agent. A well-meaning merchant who may have just doomed his kingdom. Meet the citizens of Alasia and Malorn and prepare to be drawn into a tangled web of war and intrigue.

With the first six books ALL free or discounted, this is the perfect time to grab the whole series! Click here to see the Annals of Alasia series on Amazon.

Meanwhile, here is the first scene from In the Double Agent’s Service!

Pain.

Cold.

The smell of dry dirt.

A hard, gritty surface beneath his cheek.

Erik mentally catalogued the sensations in order of their intensity. He opened his eyes, blinked, and added another to the list.

Darkness.

Where am I? He struggled to sit up, and his pulse spiked at the realization that he couldn’t use his hands or feet. His ankles were bound together, and his wrists were tied behind his back.

What’s going on? Erik forced himself to a sitting position, noting the dirt floor beneath him, a rough wall at his back. Brushing his fingers over what he could reach of it, he discovered that the wall seemed to be made of the same hard-packed earth as the floor.

Am I underground? Though not completely smooth, the surfaces were too flat to be natural. Not a cave, then, but perhaps a cellar of some sort.

Or a cell.

He held his breath, straining his ears for any sound in the darkness. “Hello?” he whispered.

There was no response.

“Hello?” he said, a little louder. The acoustics hinted that he was in a small room. His head, already sore, throbbed anew at the sound of his own voice.

Erik leaned against the wall behind him, trying to keep calm. What happened? And where’s Jaymin? 

Jaymin. Erik’s pulse started racing again. Had something happened to Jaymin?

Calm down, he ordered himself. He couldn’t afford to give in to panic. Instead, he would investigate his surroundings. Perhaps Jaymin was lying unconscious nearby.

Erik struggled to his feet and promptly smacked his head on a low ceiling. Dropping to his knees with a grunt of pain, he drew in a deep breath while a wave of dizziness rolled over him. When it passed, he shifted to a sitting position, bound legs in front of him. Moving slowly because every movement set his head throbbing, he began to crawl crab-like on his backside, feet, and hands. Keeping one shoulder against the wall, he scooted forward.

It didn’t take long to discover he was in a circular room, the walls curving back around toward where he had started. After eight steps, if he could call them that, his toes bumped something hard. Feeling with his feet, he discovered a stair in front of him, perhaps eight inches high. Shifting his weight, he leaned forward and took a little crouching jump into it. Another stair lay above it, and another. When he jumped onto the third stair, he winced as his injured head bumped the ceiling again.

Craning his neck and brushing an uninjured part of his forehead lightly back and forth against it, Erik discovered that the ceiling was made of wooden boards. Ducking lower with every hop so as not to bump it again, he made his way up the rest of the stairs until they ended at the wall. Twisting around, he hunched over awkwardly and ran his elbow back and forth across the low ceiling. As he had expected, a rectangular trapdoor lay just above him. He could feel the seams where its edges didn’t quite meet the surrounding boards. The hinges must be on the other side, but he thought he could detect a keyhole at one end. Nothing happened when he pushed up against the door with one shoulder, not that he had expected it to open for him.

Descending the steps again, Erik felt his way around the rest of the room. Eleven shuffling steps took him all the way around its circumference and back to the stairs. Criss-crossing the middle several times, he discovered it was completely empty.

If Jaymin wasn’t in here, where was he? Erik sat down and leaned against the wall, his head pounding from the exertion. Bending to brush it gently against his raised knees, he could feel a lump on his right temple. In addition, his upper lip was swollen and tasted like blood. It felt as though he had some bruises on his arms and torso, as well.

Erik closed his eyes — not that it made any difference in the complete darkness that surrounded him — and strained to recall what had happened. Had he and Jaymin been on a trip? He thought he remembered something about embarking on a journey. Where were they going? Was there an ambush? What happened to the palace guards who always accompanied the royal carriage?

Surely Jaymin couldn’t be dead. No one would kill the king but take his bodyguard captive. Would they?

And why would anyone take a bodyguard captive in the first place?

In the Double Agent's Service

Click here to grab your copy of In the Double Agent’s Service.

Click here to see the Annals of Alasia series on Amazon.

Annie Douglass LimaAbout the Author

Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fictionfantasyYA action and adventure novels, a puppet scriptanthologies of her students’ poetryBible verse coloring and activity books, and a fantasy-themed cookbook. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

 

“Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez”

Today I am thrilled to host an author who is beyond a doubt in my Top 5 Stephen Geez Author Icon 2020 800wideFavorite Authors of All Time. I kid you not. You would think that a book of short stories would be easy to set down. Not true with this author. His writing is of the “take me away, Calgon” variety. Rather than “spoiler” alerts, it should come with “addiction” alerts. I have read several of his novels and must say they are all memorable with their endearing characters and his phenomenal writing skills that suck you and your heart right into the story. Here’s your chance to get a sampling of his work and find out what you may have been missing. –MF


Geez Float Tour 2nd leg Placard DAY 9Salutations!

I am thrilled to see you here at Day 9 of this extended blog tour! Gratitude abounds for my generous host who shared some blog space today. I hope to interest you lit-mavens in trying my first book in something lo too many years, this my only collection of short fiction: Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez. You could add another “by Stephen Geez” to that, as I put the moniker in the subtitle, too. I’d be forcing it to find a theme, except maybe that all my stories try to look at something I think is important, but told in a decorative sort of way. Written here and there among novels over two decades, they show a variety of genres and styles, as I get restless. Now they’re tucked between jacketed hard covers and softs, or in e-however-you-likes.

The Enticement

Each tour stop will offer the opening paragraphs of a story from the book, then link to the full story online.  A few will also link to audio-shorts narrated by me. An RRBC-specific promo video will be foisted on you every day. Using a narrator didn’t seem right for my own trailer, so yeah, it’s me. Be sure to post reviews in your favorite places, most helpfully if Amazon. RRBC members, be sure to report the Amazon link to your Reviews Coordinator for quarterly credit.

And you, I thank, too.

A Geez Author Blurb

Stephen Geez grew up in the Detroit suburbs during the American-auto domination. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. He retired from scripting/producing television and composing/producing television music, then expanded his small literary management firm into indie-publisher and multi-media company Fresh Ink Group. Now he works from a deck overlooking the lake in north Alabama, helping other writers share their compelling narratives with the world.

Comes this Time to Float 1000p high The Book Blurb

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

 The Promo Video

 Today’s Sample: “Bus, Boy”

Busboy.

André, the punk-ass busboy.

Scratchy black pants, stiff white shirt, cheap dark shoes. Sixteen years old, embarrassed to be here, he sits in a booth in the back, waiting for paperwork and some here’s-what-you-do.

P.O. set this up, said only way outta this place is to find a better job hisself. Got tomorrow and the next day off before a five-day schedule kicks in. Bet he’ll have something better before having to show his face for a second day in this place. Judge said gotta work full-time now, then part-time and GED classes in the fall, or serve that suspended year. Catch another case and he’s gone for even longer. That was last week. Probably shoulda started looking for his own job then.

Moms cried when she showed him the clothes she bought him—proud of him, she said, bring in some money, help out, maybe get some insurance to share her car. Teenage boys cost a lot.

Restaurant-style food joint in the mall, booths and tables and stools at a counter, waitresses running trays, two cooks behind the lights, order slips clipped to a turning-deal, Lenore at the register on your way out. It’s humiliating, working at a place like this, these kinda people, right by home where everybody he knows can see him. P.O. says people respect honest work. Yeah, right.

The Whole Story

I have posted the entire story on my blog today. Be sure to come back here!

https://StephenGeez.WordPress.com

The Audio-short

Find the Book Now

Should be just about everywhere, but here are the biggies:

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Other Places I Lurk

Twitter

Instagram: StephenGeezWriter

Website

Blog

“The Klansman’s Wife” by Scott Skipper

klansmanswife

First of all, I know that I’ve been absent from my reviewing duties for a while now. That’s  because I’ve been up to my eyeballs writing a story that began as a cozy mystery that expanded into a thousand-page conspiracy thriller which has required an astounding amount of research. I truly hope to get at least the first book out in a few months. I expect it will be worth the wait.  Recently I took a trip, however, which gave me time to read on the plane and this was the story I selected. It definitely made the miles fly by at a rapid pace.


The title alone constitutes a spoiler though this cautionary tale definitely drives the message home. Set in South Carolina in the 1970s, this gripping story captures the dark side of the south in the post 60s Civil Rights era. This culture was entirely off the radar of those who lived in other parts of the country and deserves to be read for its education value alone.

I have to smile at the main character’s name, Mason, a Californian who definitely has some interesting revelations and adventures upon venturing below the Mason-Dixon line. A young man in his late 20s who has recently lost his job and been divorced by his wife accepts employment at a company in South Carolina that manufacturers machines used in the printing industry. From reviewing ECRs (engineering change requests) to interactions between employees with a variety of educational and cultural backgrounds, the author did a great job capturing the work climate of such a facility which included plenty of gossip and the inevitable backbiting. It was easy to visualize the environment and feel as if you, too, were an employee observing the drama and goings-on.

Mason is immediately attracted to a flirtatious woman named Jill. Despite warnings that her abusive husband is the Grand Knight of the local KKK, he pursues a relationship with her. As expected, he is attacked and harassed in a vicious manner, any relief from law enforcement nonexistent since they are also members of the Klan. His obsession with her is not to be doused, however, and ultimately becomes coupled with compassion and the desire to help her escape her abusive marriage.

Further description will definitely tread upon spoiler territory, though I’m sure just about anyone can figure out that this is probably not going to end well. Actually, the ending does carry a few major surprises, though the author did a good job of alluding to them. This suspense-laden story is not only a warning not to allow your libido to lure you into dangerous situations, but also provides a glimpse into what it was like in the Deep South a half-century ago. While some of it has improved, it’s still a place immersed in echoes of a culture that few outsiders understand.

Scott Skipper is one of my favorite authors, particularly his Alien Affairs series. Being much darker, this novel lacks the dry humor found there, but his skilled writing style and attention to detail make it an outstanding read.

As mentioned earlier, I read this story while on an airplane. As I was about to get into my car in the remote long-term parking lot I heard a shot. Duly sensitized by the action in the book, I ducked, wondering what was going on and whether I was in mortal danger. Then it dawned on me that it was New Year’s Eve and all I’d heard was a firecracker.  Nonetheless, it illustrated the author’s skill in pulling me into the story. Don’t miss it.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here. You can learn more about Scott Skipper and his other stories through his social media links below.

Official Author’s Website www.ScottSkipper.com
Facebook.com/Scott Skipper
@SSkipperAuthor

A Perfect Story for Native American Heritage Month

morningstar

Morning Star: Let Us Make a New Way

by Richard DeSirey


November is Native American Heritage Month and if you want to expand your knowledge of American History there is no better place to start than with this well-written, historically accurate story.


This book chronicles the story of those who came to be known as the Northern Cheyenne. They were driven from their ancestral home in the Black Hills area to Kansas, but promised if they went peacefully, they could return to their sacred ground at a later time. Of course this promise was not honored. Determined to return to the land given to them by the Great Spirit, whom they knew as Maheo, they escaped from the barracks in which over 300 had been imprisoned without food, water or heat in the winter and started the long trek back to Montana.

This band was led by a wise chief and leader whose name was Morning Star. In the historical record, he is usually referred to as Dull Knife, a derogatory nickname given to him by the Sioux (Lakota) because he was a peacemaker and wanted to co-exist with the white man. Clearly this is not what the white man wanted. Promises and treaties were made and consistently broken. Those who signed them on behalf of the United States often didn’t have the authority to enforce them. Treaties had to be ratified by Congress, and when this didn’t happen, the terms of the treaty were not met, though the Native Americans were expected to honor their side of the agreement. The military was especially brutal, leaders often decorated for the cowardly slaughter of peaceful groups that included women, children, and the elderly. Yes, Custer did get what he deserved.

The original explorers of North America treated the Natives Americans horribly, especially the Spanish and English. Believe it or not, the French showed them more respect. When the United States attained their independence, the treatment of the Native Americans got even worse. They were in the way as far as western expansion and “Manifest Destiny” were concerned and treated worse than animals or even slaves because they were in the way and of no value.

It is absolutely shameful and a national embarrassment that it took a court decision to declare them as human! Even the pope had declared it acceptable to slaughter indigenous people. In what universe is this acceptable?

As a baby boomer, my impression of the First Americans was that they were blood-thirsty, uncivilized savages. This came from what I was taught in horrifically biased history classes combined with the TV and movies of time. Nothing could be farther from the truth, yet never was it mentioned the depth and spirituality of the culture that they espoused, especially the Cheyenne tribe. In many respects, they achieved a culture that was far more advanced than our own.

As an author myself I am currently working on a trilogy in which my main character is Cheyenne. This has motivated me to do a significant amount of research to assure its accuracy. I have been shocked, heart-broken and ashamed of my country as I have learned how these people were treated. I am currently working with a full-blooded Cheyenne to further develop this character and he is the one who gifted me with this book. The author worked diligently with the Cheyenne people for decades to gather Morning Star’s story as it had been preserved by oral tradition by his descendants. This book is the real deal.

You owe it to yourself to learn how history really unfolded in this country. With all the controversy these days over immigration, try putting yourself in the moccasins of the First Americans as the white man invaded them from across the Great Waters, then proceeded to systematically steal their land.

Would you fight back if they refused to negotiate? You bet you would.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Colorado’s “Million Dollar Highway”

These pictures capture the locale of my upcoming novels in “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon” trilogy perfectly! Are they breathtaking or what?

dawn2dawn photography

One of the most scenic highways in the United States, if not one of the most dangerous, the Million Dollar Highway is a must drive if you’re in Colorado. As part of US Route 550, the 25 miles from Ouray to Silverton represents the most scary and jaw dropping stretch. It was originally built in 1882 to serve the local mining industry. Sheer drop offs to my right caused me to slow down and find a safe spot for picture taking.

Uncompahgre Gorge, just south of Ouray.

The town of Ouray

No guardrails here!

I’d hate to drive through here in winter.

Red Mountain

Fall colors can be amazing

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Cold Weather has Arrived! Celebrate with these Recipes Using an Old Favorite: Oatmeal!

Kindle Cover copy

After a long, hot summer, cooler weather has finally arrived. If you’re ready for some true comfort food from an old favorite, be sure to check out this delightful cookbook from author, Annie Douglass Lima! In her own words…


My latest writing project is very different from anything else I’ve written. It’s a cookbook! But those who know how much I love fantasy might not be surprised that this cookbook ended up with a fantasy theme. Many of the recipes have names inspired by fairy tales or fantasy stories, and I love the hints of fantasy in the two covers designed by the awesome Savannah Jezowski.

Why two different covers? The paperback version of the cookbook is an unusual shape, due to the unusual recipe format (more information about that below), so it couldn’t share a cover with the ebook.

Some people might be surprised, though, that the whole book is focused on oatmeal. After all, isn’t oatmeal that boring goop that nobody really eats if there’s anything else available?

NOT ANYMORE! In this book, you’ll find recipes for delectable dishes like creamy mango coconut spice oatmeal, cinnamon almond oatmeal, blueberry cream cheese oatmeal, and (my personal favorite:) caramel banana oatmeal with peanut butter. (Okay, so that one is a little closer to the dessert end of the spectrum than the porridge end!)

Take a look at the book blurb below for more details:

Are you tired of high-sugar, low-health-value instant oatmeals in tiny serving packets full of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives? Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal contains 70 hearty recipes packed with natural ingredients and brimful of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. All are gluten free, assuming you use gluten-free oats, and vegan (or they come with a vegan option). Most require no salt so are perfect for a low sodium diet. Almost all of these recipes can be prepared in ten minutes or less, saving you time in your busy morning.

Oh … and no more math! Whether you’re cooking just for yourself, for a family of six, or any number in between, every recipe comes in the form of a handy table that shows exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need for however many servings you want.

Tasty enough for kids to crave, but wholesome enough to appeal to health-conscious parents, these mouth-watering recipes will give you plenty of energy for your day while pleasing your taste buds too. Download Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal now and say goodbye to artificial breakfasts that don’t fully satisfy.

Take a peek at a few of the fun recipe titles (with pictures courtesy of photographer Denise Johnson). Then scroll down for a free recipe!

TOC with pics copy

And now for a free oatmeal recipe in the unique format I use in Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal:

Blueberry White Chocolate recipe

WHITE CH

Ready to grab your copy? Click here to download the ebook for your Kindle or to order the paperback cookbook. And if you enjoy the recipes, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Bookbub!

About the Author:

Annie Douglass LimaAnnie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, Bible verse coloring and activity books, and now a cookbook. When she isn’t teaching, writing, or experimenting with new flavors of oatmeal, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima Online:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/anniedouglasslima

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Sign up for her mailing list so she can let you know when new books are available. When you sign up, she’ll send you a free copy of one of her fantasy books! http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

 

 

“Love of Thol”: Book 3 of an Enchanting Sci-Fa Series for All Ages

loveoftholcvr

“Love of Thol”

by Dawn Greefield Ireland

This enchanting series is a perfect example of the somewhat obscure genre known as Sci-Fa, i.e. a combination of science fiction and fantasy. The author has created a vivid world accessible through various portals on Earth. In volume one, “The Prophecy of Thol”, teenager, D’laine Jackson, accidentally tumbles through this portal where she is received as the fulfillment of a prophecy. As she adapts to her new world in which she will play a key part, there is never a dull moment.

As the series progresses through volume two, “Gifts from Thol,” her family and others join her. Each person from Earth discovers they have a special gift in this new world. These include such things as the ability to achieve local teleportation, seeing the future, and communicating with animals. In this volume, another family joins them, their gifts unique as well.

The characters are engaging, individual, and interesting. The imagery is outstanding. I can truly visualize the settings and various characters. One note in that regard, in the back of this book there’s a reference guide to the various terms used as well as brief descriptions of the creatures and positions of the characters. It would be helpful to look that over first. When such are introduced in the previous volumes they are beautifully described. However, if it’s been a while since you read them (which you should, in order, to grasp the full genius of this series) it’s an excellent refresher if your memory is like mine and isn’t always as reliable as you’d like it to be.

The story and characters continue to grow and progress in this volume. D’laine and her husband, Trakon, are now expectant parents. The birthing process on Thol is significantly different than Earth. It appears that D’laine has adapted to their physiology in this regard, though there are various hints that things are about to change. Other civilizations and cultures are introduced, including some intriguing hooks regarding the prophecy that D’laine represents. A horrific storm called a churling that’s comparable to a hurricane on steroids falls upon them, bringing new challenges.

The plot flows easily, as if you’re right there with the characters, and is rich with a strong feel for daily life on Thol, yet new intrigue is skillfully woven in. Fans of this series will be happy to know that there is more to come as new mysteries are introduced, which would be spoilers to specify.

I highly recommend this series. While it’s intended for teens and young adults, its characters and plot are a pleasurable read for any age, from those children to whom it could be read aloud to grandparents like myself, who thoroughly enjoys my escape into this new world. It would make a terrific gift for young readers. Pick up your copy on Amazon here.