The Can’t-idates

 
Non-Fiction
Date Published: January 2016
Publisher: Bobtimystic Books
 
 
: I’m not a political person by nature. Most of the time, it seems the political world plays out more like a lame ‘70s sitcom with all its predictable characters and routine storylines. However, last spring, I got tired of hearing friends and family complain about the lack of exciting, innovative candidates for president. Everyone seemed ready to vote for “None Of the Above.” So, I decided to take a 10,000-mile road trip across America in May 2015 to meet several of the more than 1600 “real people” who are legit candidates for the presidency. Including a couple in New England.
 
The Can’t-idates is about dreamers — not all of whom are tin-foil hat crazy — who just want to fill a hole in their lives by running for president. And as I drove to meet them all, I realized a lot about not just my life but also about the country. If we could all take time to believe in what our parents always told us — “Someday you can grow up to be president” — maybe we wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in.
 
 
Excerpt

As much as we love our children, the cold, hard fact is that we frequently lie to them in order to give them hope, which, in this world, is often in short supply. As far as I’m concerned, that’s totally ne. Adults recognize the harshness of a world that seems determined to discourage the next generation, so we manufacture comforting fiction to soften the blow and keep them in line (at least somewhat). How else do you explain countless fantastical tales throughout history, from stories of Greek gods to the annual appearance of Santa Claus to certain beliefs about what will cause hair to grow on your palms?

Most of these stories are innocent and well-intentioned. They tend to achieve the desired e ect of keeping our kids believing in the unbelievable and living the good lives we want them to live. There is, however, one complete and total lie we have spun for years that may be doing far more harm than good. It has wreaked havoc on our entire democratic system. We tell America’s future leaders that if they work and study hard, any of them, no matter where they came from, can one day be President of the United States.

Presidential candidates want you to believe in this fiction because it humanizes them. They spend huge chunks of their day trying to portray themselves as men and women “from Main Street and not from Wall Street,” each one attempting to out- ordinary the next by sharing everything from stories of immigrant parents to childhood newspaper routes to their favorite barbecue recipes.

However, claiming they truly feel the plight of average Americans is like hearing them say they’re connoisseurs of Mexican cuisine because they’ve sampled the late night menu at Taco Bell. It’s pretty hollow reasoning and produces nothing but a lot of hot air. I’m reasonably certain this was not quite what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they set this whole democracy thing in motion.

In fact, they took great pains to keep the requirements for leading this nation as minimal as possible. It’s more complicated to get a Costco membership card than it is to make a run at the presidency. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution specifically states: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

And that’s it. Turn 21 and you can drink. Turn 25 and you get a better rate on your auto insurance. Turn 35 and you can be the Commander in Chief. It all seems so simple. Which is may- be why we constantly remind our kids that someday it could be them. It really does seem that almost no one is ruled out of this race. At least that’s how it feels if you spend three minutes viewing any cable news outlet once the election cycle starts spinning. I could swear that at one point, the only person not running for the Republican presidential nomination was that crazy old guy you see arguing with cashiers at the grocery store. And even he would have led if he weren’t so busy watching Clint Eastwood movies and telling the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn.

So what are voters to do? We’re stuck between a rock and some head cases. On one hand, we all say we want a leader who can personally relate to the struggles of low- and middle-income Americans. On the other hand, we don’t want to waste our votes on candidates who can’t win. I’m not gullible enough to fall for the aforementioned lie that any of us can grow up to be president. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to at least find some candidates you’d enjoy having a beer and burger with? There has to be somebody out there running for president with the compassion of FDR, the folksiness of Harry Truman, the intellect of Stephen Hawking and the straight talk of your college roommate.

********************************************************

I knew that none of these people would ever get elected. But that wasn’t the point. The point was just to try. If we’re also going to stick with that other great political lie — that every vote is important — I was really just doing what we all fantasize we’d do if we could. I was going to find the best person to hand my vote over to, regardless of what the outcome might be. Somebody has to, right? It’s fun to complain about our broken political system. Yet if the final answer is to vote for the most likely winner, that’s not the best path toward any change. The only way to make a difference is to search for somebody capable of making a difference, regardless of what school they went to or how much money they have or what kind of fast food they order. We need candidates who are told they can’t do this.

********************************************************

 
 
Craig Tomashoff is a freelance writer/producer based in Los Angeles. His blogs appear regularly at Huffington Post.com. Most recently, he was a producer for The Queen Latifah Show. Prior to that, he served as Executive Editor of TV Guide, and has also worked as Associate Bureau Chief for People. In addition, he has written for the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Emmy Magazine. Prior to The Can’t-idates, he was the author of You Live, You Learn: The Alanis Morissette Story and co-wrote I’m Screaming As Fast As I Can: My Life In B-Movies with Linnea Quigley. He has also worked as a television writer/producer for such series as VH1’s Behind the Music, The Martin Short Show and The Late Show With Craig Kilborn.
 
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Twitter: @The_Cantidates
 
 
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Blood Kiss

 
Psychological Romantic/Suspense
Date Published: June 2016
 
Alisha Woods knew she was in trouble. The situation was progressing. The harmless flirtation had long past intriguing and now bordered on terrifying. She had to take action, go on the offensive against her stalker. As she opened the door of Young Guns, she promised herself that she’d be ready when he came for her. She would survive. 
Mike Lewis lived each day knowing that life could evaporate in a moment. Ghosts followed him, haunting his soul. He craved redemption, a chance to right the wrongs of his past. And when Alisha walked in, he recognized his chance at redemption. He would save her. 
After everything Mike had done to prepare her, she thought she was ready. But as the blood spilled from her lips, Alisha’s mind raced for what she could have done differently… 
She should have listened to Mike. 
 
 
Excerpt
 
 Mike waited for her to say more. He was a patient man. He knew enough about human nature to know that if he didn’t say anything she’d eventually fill in the silence. He tried to look relaxed by resting his arms on the table and interlocking his fingers, but inside a storm was brewing.
“He knows where I live,” she said soberly. She looked into Mike’s eyes for strength. Even though he was intimidating, she saw goodness in him. She hoped that he could be more than a shooting instructor.
Mike didn’t like the man knowing where she lived, but this information didn’t surprise him. If the guy had been stalking her for a while, he knew all sorts of things about her that would make her skin crawl. He probably even tracked her monthly cycle.
She sucked in a deep breath and began, “I was going out with some friends, but I needed to stop by my house to drop something off. I didn’t bother parking in the garage,” she said with a shrug of her shoulder. “I just pulled into the driveway and ran into the house. I didn’t even lock the car.” She tilted her head and rubbed her fingers over her forehead, as if massaging herself would delete the memory of that night. “I was just going to be inside for a minute.” She sat straighter and looked Mike in the eyes. She found strength in him even though he sat silently. “But a friend called. The plans had changed, and she wanted to update me,” Alisha added casually. She scoffed and gave him a sad smile. “When I went back out to the car, a stuffed animal lay on my seat.”
Mike read the tension in her face as her muscles tightened around her eyes and mouth. She swallowed more frequently and her breathing had increased as she relayed the information. He smiled, trying to silently encourage her, but what she told him made his heart pound. “He was watching you,” Mike said calmly. He didn’t want to scare her any more than she already was.
“Yeah,” she nodded. “He must have seen me get out of my car and run inside.” She shook her head slowly in disbelief. “He was there. He was probably looking at me at that very moment.” She shivered and looked through the window into the darkness of night. “I didn’t see him. I didn’t see anyone that I could even question. None of my neighbors were outside.” She paused for a moment and then began again, “I don’t think he followed me. I think he was waiting for me.”
Mike nodded slowly. “He was there.” Mike knew how to hide. He could disappear in a jungle, desert, or city. Disappearing was one of his strengths, but he didn’t like hearing that the stalker could hide too. Most people would do something stupid and give themselves away: the shaking of leaves or the snapping of branches, wearing the wrong clothes for camouflage. There were so many things to consider when trying to disappear. “What did you do?”
 
 
 
Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique creatures that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters’ eyes.
 
 
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Touch Me 3

 

Title: Touch Me #3 by Skye Malone

Series: Touch Me

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Wildflower Isle

Publication Date: February 18, 2015

Cover Designer: Karri Klawiter

Monsters walk among us.



And now they have Ruby.

Best friend. Confidant. Ally when everything in my life felt like hell. There are very few people I trust.

And none of them come close to Ruby.

But now demons have her. House Volgert has taken her, demanding that I serve as their emissary to the equally dangerous and terrifying House Linden. But Linden is after me too.

I’m stuck between two titans of the demon world. I’m running out of options and I’m running out of time. But when I find out what demons do to the humans they capture, the nightmare gets even worse.

If I don’t find Ruby soon, it won’t matter if she escapes the Houses.

I’m still going to lose her forever.

**Touch Me 3 is the third installment of a New Adult paranormal romance serial filled with twists, turns, and dark surprises. This episode is 30,000 words (approximately 125 pages) long.**



**Due to strong language and some sexual situations in this and later installments of the series, it is appropriate for readers 18+.**

 

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***

 

The Touch Me Series
Currently FREE
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______________________________________________________________
About the Author
 

Skye Malone is a
fantasy and paranormal romance author, which means she spends most of her time
not-quite-convinced that the magical things she imagines couldn’t actually
exist.

A Midwestern
girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, she hopes someday to travel the
world — though in the meantime she’ll take any story that whisks her off to a
place where the fantastic lives inside the everyday. She loves strong and
passionate characters, complex villains, and satisfying endings that stay with
you long after the book is closed. An inveterate writer, she can’t go a day
without getting her hands on a keyboard, and can usually be found typing away
while she listens to all the adventures unfolding in her head.
Skye also
writes YA urban fantasy as Megan Joel Peterson and is the author of The
Children and the Blood trilogy.
______________________________________________________________
Excerpt
          Amar is studying me. His hand moves, taking my own carefully
like he’s afraid I’ll pull away. And I freeze. The look in his eyes… it’s like
I’m all he sees. Me, now. Me, then, back in that restroom, alone in the moments
before Ruby walked in. But there’s no pity in his gaze. Just something else,
dark and deep.
          Safety.
          I can’t breathe. My thoughts are trying to catch up to my
impressions, struggling to put words to a man so unfathomable it should be
funny. I don’t know what he wants, though. To kiss me? To have sex? Somewhere
inside, I’m still ready for that, but that part of me feels like it’s drowning
in the nightmare of this evening, the exhaustion of all the hours since, and
the rawness of what I’ve just said.
          He lifts his other hand, taking my cheek, and his thumb
strays across my lips, parting them while his eyes track the motion. My heart
slams into my ribs. Even the simple contact makes my insides start to burn.
Maybe I’m drowning in all this madness.
          Maybe I just need something good to hang onto.
______________________________________________________________

Stealing Home

Stealing Home by MJ Compton

Book Title: Stealing Home
Author: MJ Compton
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

book blurb

She went to Cooperstown for the opera . . . and stayed for the baseball player.

Chelsea Lyndon isn’t about to let a minor thing like being abandoned by her date in a strange town get her down. Maybe she grew up on romantic comedy movies, but she’s a self-reliant realist. No man is ever going to control her . . . not even a too-sexy-for-her-peace-of-mind retired baseball player. But Tripp Shaneybrook is determined to rescue Chelsea, whether she wants his help or not.

Reluctantly accepting Tripp’s assistance when she discovers her bank account is empty and her credit cards maxed out, Chelsea lets herself enjoy being pampered and seduced. The weekend plays out like one of her favorite movies: pure fantasy. And the sex is incredible. But she needs to go home and resume her dreary life.

Tripp has other ideas about that, too.

And when that life begins to fall apart, Tripp is there to help pick up the pieces. Chelsea begins to trust the man whose actions backup his words.

Until his past collides with her reality in a series of incidents that threaten to rip them apart forever.

excerpt

When my name was Chelsea Lyndon, I was a romantic fantasy slut.

But I was not a cliché. I didn’t break off the heel of my shoe as I rushed to be somewhere. I was already where I wanted to be when I stumbled and twisted my ankle, which snapped the straps of my platform espadrilles and sent me face-first into a patch of mud.

This wouldn’t have been so bad, except I was on my fantasy date. The date about which I’d dreamed since I was a little girl.

Thank goodness I wasn’t with anyone who mattered.

My Grandma Judy loved watching movies, and one of her favorites was Moonstruck with Nicholas Cage and Cher. There was a scene where Cage invites Cher to the Met. For some reason—probably because I was only about eight years old the first time I saw the movie—I decided that an opera date meant true love. So when Baird McKechnie, a casual business acquaintance, invited me to the opera, I accepted.

Like generations of women in my family, I was looking for a happy ending.

Oh, I was careful. World-class summer opera sounded a bit sketchy. Besides, I didn’t know Baird all that well. And I wasn’t completely stupid. I checked the Internet to make sure the Glimmerglass Opera was legit. The opera was for real. Based on the website, its potential for fantasy fulfillment was high, especially if the outing included one of the advertised gourmet picnics. And Cooperstown was also the hometown of the guy who wrote the book on which The Last of the Mohicans—the movie with Daniel Day Lewis—was based, and it was only about an hour and a half from Syracuse, where I lived at the time. Overall, the Glimmerglass possibilities outweighed Moonstruck.

I should have known better.

Baird purchased our meal in a restaurant in the village. I noticed immediately it was not the one listed on the Glimmerglass website. Shaneybrook’s was cute on the outside: white stucco with Mediterranean-blue trim. Festive pink-and-white-striped petunias filled planters on either side of the door. I waited in the car.

We made it as far as the opera’s picnic grounds high on a hill above the theater. I noted the other picnickers had bottles of wine, stemware, wicker, brightly hued tableware, fabric napkins, and tablecloths. The setting appeared so civilized, so surreal—almost like a movie set. There was no gaily-striped tablecloth to spread over our table, no napkins, and no glasses.

I tried to eat the sandwich from Shaneybrook’s, while I longed for lemony grilled chicken with orzo salad or duck confit on a bed of wheat berries.

Instead, I had pink processed meat and white American cheese on bread so stiff and dry that it reminded me of the asphalt shingles on my grandmother’s apartment building. Mayo, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and onion. I’m sure that was someone’s dream sandwich, and another woman might find it wildly romantic, but not me.

And it was hot. Humid. My long sundress clung to my thighs. Perspiration trickled down the sides of my face, along with my makeup. The air was so thick it was like breathing yogurt.

My footing in my platform shoes was a bit wobbly as we started down the hill to the theater. Then I fell. In the mud.

So much for a romantic date. Baird didn’t even help me to my feet, leaving that honor to an older gentleman who’d been eating at the picnic table next to us.

Fifteen minutes later, we were back in Cooperstown parked in front of those ragged-edged petunias. Baird didn’t say a word to me but grabbed the lunch bag with our leftovers and stalked through the front door of the restaurant.

I needed a restroom, so I followed him despite being an embarrassed, muddy, barefoot mess and despite the pain shooting up my left calf and thigh like splintery, ragged spears attacking me. I gritted my teeth and limped onward. Wetting myself wasn’t an option.

The dining room was nearly full. I looked for someone to ask about using the restroom. That’s when I heard Baird scream, “You bitch!”

He couldn’t possibly be talking to me, but the words still sliced through me like a hot knife through cold butter. I followed the sound of his vitriol and pushed through the swinging doors at the rear of the room.

Roasting garlic perfumed the air of the restaurant kitchen. Something sizzled in a pan on the stove. Baird was screaming at a man in chef whites, who brandished a knife at him. A big knife. Baird threw the bag with the leftovers, and the chef skewered it midair.

Something flew past me. An onion hit Baird on the head, halting the stream of obscenities spewing from his mouth.

I turned to see who had hurled the onion.

Daylight poured through a huge window, catching the culprit in a shaft of gold, turning his sun-kissed hair into a brilliant nimbus. Everything about him glowed, like an award statuette in a spotlight.

I’d like to win him, I thought.

 

meet the author

MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which inspired her to create her own fiction.

Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ never lost her dream of writing her own stories.

MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.

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Dance With Me

dance-with-me-evernightpublishing-2016-finalimage

Book Title: Dance with Me
Author: Hazel Hughes
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Goodreads Button with Shadow
book blurb

When reporter Sherry Wilson-Wong wakes up in bed with ballet bad-boy Alexi Davydenko, she knows she’s crossed the line. But the dancer with the body of Apollo and the panty-removing stare wasn’t talking, so what choice did she have? Playing his little drinking game – a shot and a kiss for every answer – seemed like the perfect way to loosen his sexy lips. She gets her story, he gets his fun, win-win. But his answers only lead to more questions. And Alexi wants more than fun.

Investigating into the ballet company’s shadowy secrets, Sherry learns that the beauty on stage masks ugly dealings, some of which seem to bear Alexi’s signature. But the more truths she exposes, the more lies she is forced to tell herself.

That digging up dirt on a company with ties to the Russian mob isn’t dangerous. That licking every inch of Alexi’s naked body while hunting down evidence of his guilt isn’t a conflict of interest. That with each touch, each kiss, she isn’t falling deeper in love with the very man who could destroy her.

excerpt

Alexi put his mug down and stood in front of her, tilting her face up with one hand. “Yes, I must rehearse, and yes, you must write. But there is no need to run away like a scared little girl from the wolf.” He bent down to kiss her.

Sherry wanted that kiss more than she wanted her Venti skim latte, and with her throbbing head, that was a lot. But she put her hand on his bare chest, stopping him.

He looked at her, confusion dawning in his eyes, followed quickly by hurt. He stepped back. “Oh. I see. You have your story now.” His voice was cold.

“It’s not like that,” she said. Was this just a case of bruised ego, or was he genuinely hurt? She flashed back to what the bartender said about the type of girls Alexi normally brought to the bar. Party girls, he said.

“So what is it like?” He turned away from her, looking out the window.

She reached out a hand to put it on his shoulder, the one with the tattoo of Tolstoy’s face on it, but thought better of it. “Look, Alexi. I’ve already crossed more ethical boundaries than I’m comfortable with.”

“To get your story.” His voice was flat, his arms crossed over his chest.

“Hey, it’s my job to get the story. I came ready to interview you like I interview all my subjects. The vodka, the kisses, that was your game.”

He turned suddenly, his green gaze pinning her. She couldn’t look away. “You didn’t want to play?”

“No. I mean, yes. I did…” she started.

He moved closer to her, his hand cupping her jaw. “I know you did. I think you still want to,” he whispered, his breath warm on her cheek. His lips touched hers, softly at first, questioning. When she parted her lips in response, he opened them wider, reaching for her tongue with his. Liquid. Melting. From her mouth all the way down to her softest, most private parts.

He pulled back slightly. “Do you want to play, Sherry?”

She was having a hard time regulating her breath. He was so close. She put her hands on his chest, but not to hold him back. She ran her hands over his chest, nipples hard under her palm, then down over the ridges of his abs. She hooked her fingers into his waistband pulling him toward her in response to his question. She wanted to play any game he had in mind as long as it involved what was under his pants, ethics be damned.

“Yes,” she said.

teasers
Sherry kicked back at him, landing a blow to his shin, but  he just tightened his grip and bit her ear, hard.
His lips touched hers.
meet the author

Hazel Hughes is a contemporary erotic romance writer and urban nomad. Born in London, Hazel has lived all over the globe, from the wilds of Northern Ontario and the cornfields of Iowa to the concrete jungles of Seoul and Abu Dhabi. Currently, she is living in New York, writing from wherever there is strong coffee and funky beats. When she’s not laying down steamy scenes on the page, you can find her whipping up hot and spicy concoctions in the kitchen or dancing to the beat of her own drummer.

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Keeping Score

 

Women’s Fiction
On Sale – Only $.99 July 25-31
Recipient of the Crowned Heart Award from In’Dtale Magazine!
When her 9-year-old son wanted to play summer travel baseball, Shannon had no idea the toughest competition was off the field…. When her son Sam asks to try out for a travel baseball team, divorced mom Shannon Stevens thinks it’ll be a fun and active way to spend the summer. Boy, is she wrong! From the very first practice, Shannon and Sam get sucked into a mad world of rigged try-outs, professional coaches, and personal hitting instructors. But it’s the crazy, competitive parents who really make Shannon’s life miserable. Their sons are all the second coming of Babe Ruth, and Sam isn’t fit to fetch their foul balls. Even worse, Shannon’s best friend Jennifer catches the baseball fever. She schemes behind the scenes to get her son Matthew on the town’s best baseball team, the Saints. As for Sam? Sorry, there’s no room for him! Sam winds up on the worst team in town, and every week they find new and humiliating ways to lose to the Saints.
And the action off the field is just as hot. Shannon finds herself falling for the Saints’ coach, Kevin. But how can she date a man who didn’t think her son was good enough for his team … especially when the whole baseball world is gossiping about them? Even Shannon’s ex-husband David gets pulled into the mess when a randy baseball mom goes after him. As Sam works to make friends, win games and become a better baseball player, Shannon struggles not to become one of those crazy baseball parents herself. In this world, it’s not about whether you win, lose, or how you play the game… it’s all about KEEPING SCORE.
Praise for Keeping Score:
 
“I really enjoyed Keeping Score… If you are ready for a fun read, and want to know who comes out on top (will it be Team Shannon or Team Jennifer?),  give this book a read.” – Chick Lit Central
 
“KEEPING SCORE is a great read–one I didn’t want to put down. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a fun take on life, love, and kids.” – Caroline Fardig, bestselling author of “It’s Just a Little Crush”
 
“All in all this was a fun read that keeps the story going and will have your mouth dropping open at certain points… Grab this book and sit down for a fun, light read!” — Joe Cool Review
 
“A must-read for any sports or contemporary lovers…” five stars! – InD’tale Magazine
 
“Keeping Score by Jami Deise is a wonderful novel, a story of love, despair, desire, and hope all mixed into one.” Anne Marie Reynolds for Reader’s Favorite
 
EXCERPT
 Sam grabbed his baseball bag out of my trunk and ran down the hill to the softball field, where the try-out was taking place. I was still in my work shoes, so I followed slowly behind.
 When the field was in sight, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A huge banner proclaiming “SAINTS BASEBALL” was strung across the backstop. There were nearly seventy nine-year-old boys, all wearing their baseball uniforms. The single set of bleachers overflowed with parents, who were also standing behind the backstop and near the baselines. Even Saints founder Patrick O’Connor had made an appearance. He seemed very pleased every time some star-struck dad asked for an autograph.
When I got closer, I could hear the parents’ anxious, boastful chatter.
 “Saints assured us that the try-out’s just a formality for Trevor. They’ve been trying to get him to play select since he was six, but we didn’t think that was fair to the other kids, having to be on a team with someone so much younger and so much better.”
 “I thought it was too soon, but Kyle’s pitching coach wanted to get a number. He’s already throwing seventy miles an hour. The coach thinks he’ll be at ninety five in high school.”
 “Jeremy isn’t going to be able to blossom to his full development in a cold-weather state. We’ll be moving to Florida in the fall so he can play year-round. The Florida State coach said he’d sign him right now if he could.”
 That gnawing feeling that showed up every time Sam was at bat took up residence in my stomach. What if David were right? What if all these kids threw sixty miles an hour, made plays that made Derek Jeter look klutzy, and hit the ball into Virginia?
 Then I remembered what Mike had said: That based on what he’d seen, Sam should have no problem making the Saints team. I took a deep breath and told myself that all this bragging was just that, and if I wanted to, I could sit down and babble about how two select teams were fighting over Sam, and which one should we chose?
 A tall man wearing a Saints jersey that said “Coach Kevin” pinned the number 55 on Sam’s back, and pointed for him to join other kids warming up in the outfield. Sam ran out there, his belly jiggling ever so slightly. The coach jotted something down on a clipboard. He was about my age, with an athletic build, curly brown hair underneath his baseball cap, a tanned face, and a cleft chin. His butt wasn’t bad, either.
I reminded myself that I wasn’t here to ogle coaches.
 Sam started throwing, but the balls weren’t coming back to him with any sort of regularity. I couldn’t see who his partner was, just the kid’s back — Sam was playing with number 1.
 I looked for a place to sit on the bleachers. And that’s when I saw her. Jennifer. She was covering her face with a paperback, obviously hiding from me. As if I wouldn’t recognize my own best friend from the neck down.
 Now I understood that look between Jennifer and Scott Sunday night, when I said I didn’t even know summer teams existed. It wasn’t, “Why didn’t Mike ask Matthew to play on his team.” It was, “Let’s hope Shannon doesn’t find out about the Saints try-out.”
 Someone who avoided confrontation might sit on the other side of the bleachers and pretend not to see her backstabbing best friend. But that someone wasn’t me. I climbed over a few people and squeezed in right next to Jennifer.
 “Didn’t we read that in book club last year?” I asked.
 She put the book down and painted on a big phony smile. “I never got around to finishing it. Shannon, I thought you already decided Sam was going to play for Mike this summer.”
 “He can’t. His league won’t take Saints kids.”
 “Oh. Because, that’s the only reason we didn’t mention the try-out to you.”
 “Really? So when exactly were you going to tell me? Because two days ago, I didn’t know anything about this.”
 On the field, the kids finished their warm-up throws and got into lines at shortstop, second and first base. Now I could see that number 1 was Matthew. He got into the shortstop line, while Sam was directed to first.
 A different coach walked up to home plate, struggling with a heavy bucket of balls and a metal bat under his arm. My stomach flipped as the true depth of the betrayal hit me. That coach was Scott. Obviously he had moved up in the coaching world, a promotion if you would, from rec to select coach.
 And he never bothered to say a damn thing about it. Not to Sam or any of the kids on the Rockets.
 I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.
 Jennifer sighed, blowing her bangs up off of her forehead. Not a guilt sigh, but something more akin to righteous annoyance.
 “Here’s the thing. The boys all do everything together. They’re interchangeable. Same classes, even though Matthew should be in the G&T program. Same teams. Same people, over and over again. Scott and I felt that Matthew really needed an activity that was his and his alone. So he could start to figure out who he was as a person.”
 So Matthew was having an existential crisis. Nine years old seemed a little young for that, but everyone was an overachiever here in Persimmon.
 Who was this person? Who was this woman, whom I’d called my best friend for years? How could she do this to us?
 “And when Patrick told Scott he needed another coach for the U10 team, it just seemed obvious.”
 Patrick. As in Patrick O’Connor, the “Saint” of Saints Baseball, who was sitting three rows above us and to the left. Of course. Scott knew him through his work with the Orioles foundation. He’d only mentioned it a few hundred times.
 Scott was hitting ground balls to the kids at short and second. They fielded them, and then threw to the kids at first.
 Matthew and Sam came up at the same time. Scott hit a soft grounder to Matthew, so soft it barely came off the bat. Even so, it went through Matthew’s legs. Scott grimaced, then hit him another one. This one bounced off of Matthew’s knee. He dropped his glove on it, then picked up the ball and threw it to Sam.
 The ball was nowhere near first base. Sam jumped into the base line, made the grab, then stretched his foot out to snag the bag.
 Jennifer bit her lip. “He just really needs an activity that’s his and his alone,” she repeated. “Where he can shine, without all the pressure of performing for his friends. Can’t you understand?”
 “Of course,” I said, as another ball went through Matthew’s legs.
 I patted Jennifer on the back. “But maybe you should have picked an activity that Matthew’s actually good at.”
 I didn’t mean the words to sound as cruel as they did. But Jennifer’s face turned red, and her smile disappeared. “We’re supposed to be best friends,” she hissed. “But you’re so damned competitive where Sam and sports are concerned. I get it; he’s good. But you don’t have to make everyone else feel so terrible.”
 She grabbed her book and stomped off loudly down the bleachers, joining the other parents behind the backstop.
A baseball mom since 1999, Jami Deise wrote her first novel, KEEPING SCORE, about crazy travel ball parents, in 2013. Her second novel, THE TIES THAT BLEED, is about a vampire assassin for the FBI, although she personally has little experience slaying vampires. Jami is an associate reviewer at http://www.chicklitcentral.com and blogs at http://www.jamideise.blogspot.com. She currently lives (and sells real estate) in St. Pete Beach, Florida, with her husband Tom and dog Lady. Her college-aged son still plays baseball.
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Bring Your Own Baker

Cozy Mystery / Comedy
Date Published: June 20, 2016
 
 
 
Anna just wants to earn enough money on the side to buy into the bakery, Callie’s Cakes, where she works together with her best nerd pal Callie. The last thing she expects to see when she walks into Arthur’s apartment to do some moonlighting is a blood bath. Callie’s ready to jump into the investigation into Arthur’s murder, and she’s bringing another bakery worker, Kristie, into their hijinks whether Kristie wants to or not. But things aren’t as they seem. There are gang affiliations, illegal gambling dens, and ladies of the night to wade through. Will Anna and Callie discover who murdered Arthur or will Callie’s detective boyfriend Ben and Anna’s self-appointed protector put a stop to such aspirations? 
Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu, but make sure to bring your own baker because Anna’s a bit preoccupied at the moment. 
Warning: This is NOT your mom’s cozy mystery. Bring Your Own Baker may be a ‘clean’ read, but if gangs, illegal gambling, and pimps make you turn your nose up at your e-reader, you might want to skip this one. Although you’ll be missing some sizzling chemistry between Anna and her protector. Not to mention a whole bunch of witty dialogue. 
 
 
 
Review Tour – July 9 – July 22
 

Fun, Spunky, and Fresh, while not just being a silly novel. I loved that this novel had a mystery element and forced the reader to think while being laugh out loud funny and a feel good tone to it.

 
I thoroughly enjoyed DE Haggerty’s writing style and how quickly it moved and easy it was to follow.
 
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage every once in a while to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. Another job change, this time from lawyer to B&B owner and I was again fed up and ready to scream I quit, which is incredibly difficult when you own the business. Thus, I shut the B&B during the week and in the off-season and started writing. Several books later I find myself in Istanbul writing full-time.
 
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Lioness of Kell

 
Young Adult / Light Fantasy Adventure
Date Published: March 16, 2016
 
Secure in his position as the Prince-warlock’s son, seventeen-year-old Basil is content with his solitary life of study and magic. He has a comfortable set of rooms in his father’s tower, he has his books and scrolls, and he is perfectly happy. Until the Warlockry Council summons him, and their demands sets his whole, safe existence tottering. Scared and unsure, he decides to run, and takes the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, the handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.
 
Maud of the M’Brannoe, at eighteen already a mighty warrioress, is about to graduate as a Lioness, a special duty officer answering to the Kell Queen and no one else. The Prince-warlock asks her to fetch a certain boy from a pirate town, who could act as a double for his son. On their way back, someone sabotages their airship and the two find themselves marooned in an ill-reputed forest. Together, the young lioness and Jurgis the lookalike battle their way to the coast and a ship home, while finding solace in each other’s arms.
 
Then the four young people meet, and Basil learns of a spell that might help him. Only the spell’s creator, the infamous Arrangh Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. When the four young people decide to go searching for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that will change the world. Or kill them.
 
A spirited fantasy story of high adventure and romantic love in a world where both magic and early modern technology flourish.
 
 
Review 
A vividly wonderful tale with magical and captivating characters. I loved the way that Paul E. Horsman wove this story. I loved the ups and downs and how the pacing sped up in areas to keep you going and then slowed down just enough to let you catch up.

 
 
Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch-Belgian border.
He has been a soldier, a salesman, a scoutmaster and from 1995 till his school closed in 2012 a teacher of Dutch as a Second Language and Integration to refugees from all over the globe.
He is a full-time writer of light fantasy adventures for Y.A. and older. His books are both published in the Netherlands, and internationally.
 
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Divorced & Scared No More!

 
 
Self-Help, Divorce, Relationships
Date Published: March 2016
 
 
 
Author Tasher releases three new books on life after divorce – Divorced and Scared No More! Therapist and clinical author Justin Nutt LSCSW, LAC consults as her technical advisor. Co-Author Tony Haynes is a practitioner of Acrostic Poetry -poetry where the first, last or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. At the end of each chapter, you can look forward to reading a clever poem from words found within the word DIVORCE.  
 
On her 26th wedding anniversary, Tasher divorced and embarked on a new life. Her marriage was broken all to pieces, she was not going to let the divorce break her. Tasher quickly discovered that single life was very different from all those years ago. Like many, she initially was scared. Yet she was determined to become Divorce and Scared NO More!
 
Despite her dyslexia, she decided to share with others things she learned while rebuilding her life. The launch of DASNM.com quickly received a worldwide following. The logo was inspired by a set of broken pilot wings. No two people will have identical situations, hopefully the DASNM series will assist others with the least amount of trepidation, during this difficult transition.
 
Book one, Divorced and Scared No More: Emotional Support for the Newly Divorced (ISBN: 978-1498465854) is the first installment of the three-part trilogy written to assist readers in post-divorce related matters while providing you the motivation you need to move on.
 
Book two, Divorced and Scared No More: Practical Advice for the Newly Divorced (ISBN: 978-1498465106) shares views on maintaining cordial relationships with ex-spouses, with a focus on children and extended families. Topics readers can look forward to discovering answers to include: attending special events with your ex-spouse, the impact of divorce on children, ways to arrange custody issues, how to handle separate holidays, and handling finances. You’ll find ways to embrace your new found freedom and turn the lemons life threw at you into a Zesty Lemon Sorbet!
 
Book three, Divorced and Scared No More: Dating After Divorce: From Lemons to Zesty Lemon Sorbet (ISBN: 978-1498465120) shows readers how to turn the lemons of divorce into an experience of acceptance and renewal, carrying this into dating. In this reading, Tasher gives you tools to help you get back out there and find the love that awaits you. Inside this book, you’ll gauge your emotional availability to see if you’re ready to accept the fun and excitement that comes with dating. Here you’ll learn how to put your ex and baggage behind you to engage in the present moment. Divorced and Scared No More: Dating After Divorce: From Lemons to Zesty Lemon Sorbet shows you where to find love, dating safety and how to set up your profiles on dating sites.
 
 
Review
 

Enlightening and Superbly written. I thoroughly enjoyed each installment and how they really appealed to women who have been in this situation, such as myself. Great advice and easy to follow.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Tasher was divorced on her 26th wedding anniversary, and she embarked on a new life. Her marriage was broken all to pieces, she was not going to let the divorce break her. Tasher quickly discovered that single life was very different from all those years ago. Like many, she initially was scared. Yet she was determined to become Divorce and Scared NO More!
Despite her dyslexia, she decided to share with others things she learned while rebuilding her life. The launch of DASNM.com quickly received a worldwide following. The logo was inspired by a set of broken pilot wings. No two people will have identical situations, hopefully the DASNM series will assist others with the least amount of trepidation, during this difficult transition.
Tasher is not a professional therapist, rather she is sharing because she has “been there and done that” understanding how it FEELS.
Therapist and clinical author Justin Nutt LSCSW, LAC consults as her technical advisor. Insuring everything presented be accurate and quality material while still being a comforting, easy-to-read guide to surviving divorce.
 
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