22 April, 2021

Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries) by James J. Cudney Book Tour and Giveaway!

Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries) by James J. Cudney

About Legally Blind Luck

 

Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries) 

Cozy Mystery 7th in Series 

Independently published (April 15, 2021) Gumshoe - A Next Chapter Imprint 

Paperback: 295 pages 

ISBN-13: 979-8707757341 

Digital ASIN: B08R347N84 

Surprising new family members. A hidden talisman. Deadly curses. Murder. Months after tragically losing a loved one, Kellan learns his relative’s death wasn’t an accident.

Someone has discovered a cursed talisman, and a rogue government agent will stop at nothing to retrieve the heirloom. Unfortunately, it has already changed hands and found its way on campus. Moments before Braxton’s controversial art exhibition opens, Kellan stumbles upon another murder victim, and it appears he might be next on the avenger’s list.

Can Kellan protect the talisman's true heir and prevent the killer’s nefarious plan? Given all the suspects have ties to prominent Braxton citizens, he’s uncertain whom to trust. Together, Kellan and Sheriff April are determined to solve the mystery - via legal means or blind luck.

About James J. Cudney

 
  Background 
 James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing. 

  Author 
 Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear. 

  Reader & Reviewer 
 Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms. 

  Blogger & Thinker 
 I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me. 

  Genealogist & Researcher 
 I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others, and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

  Websites & Blog 


  Social Media 




TOUR PARTICIPANTS
April 21 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 21 – Ascroft, eh? - AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 21 – I'm All About Books - SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Didi Oviatt - Author – REVIEW
April 22 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 23 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 23 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW
April 24 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
April 24 – Nesie's Place – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 25 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author - SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
April 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Kyrosmagica – REVIEW
April 26 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Ruff Drafts - SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
April 27 – BookloverBlogs – REVIEW
April 27 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic - SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
April 28 – Valerie's Musings – REVIEW
April 28 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 28 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
April 29 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 
April 30 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
April 30 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

  Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? 

    

The Called Series: The Calling, Book Two by M.D. Neu New Release Blitz! @ninestarpress @indigomarketingdesign #LGBTQIA+ #paranormal #royalty

Title: The Called

Series: The Calling, Book Two

Author: M.D. Neu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 114300

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, Vampires, witches, immortality, paranormal, werewolves, royalty, psychic ability, magic, established couple

Add to Goodreads

Description

The world is changing quickly for Chris now that he’s part of the Immortal Community. With the events of his past finally behind him, he’s still having visions and true magic is gradually taking hold in the world. Chris is still new and has no real standing in the Immortal Community, but he is learning that nothing is what he thought. Old enemies must work together and longtime friends may not be trustworthy. With Juliet, Amanda, and Kirtus by his side, they have to prevent the immortal and witch community from being exposed. New friendships are made, and longtime alliances are called into question. How will The Called defeat these latest threats, and what does it mean for the world?

Excerpt

The Called M.D. Neu © 2021 All Rights Reserved 

The question of death returned to me as I reflected on recent events. You die and your body no longer functions. I was wrong. You die and your soul leaves, and what’s left turns to dust. That wasn’t the case.


Everything I thought was no longer my reality.


I sat with a glass of brandy between my hands, focusing on the fire in Juliet’s office. The oranges, reds, and yellows of the flames danced around the logs, releasing a warmth that barely penetrated my worried exterior. The crackling of the fire tickled my ears as the scent of burning pine lingered in and out of my consciousness. A knot tugged the back of my neck. What was this new vision? Worse yet, what did it have to do with me? Not to mention Juliet, Kirtus, Gregor, and the other Immortals.


“Chris.” Juliet’s gentle voice pulled me from my fog of apprehension.


How long had I been like this? A minute? A day? A year? I wasn’t sure. I turned from the fire. Kirtus sat next to me on the sofa, his coat removed, replaced by an air of worry. His red hair, green and gray eyes typically so intoxicating, brought me no joy. Gregor’s tall solid frame blocked one of Juliet’s bookcases, his rugged face a shadow of concern. All of Juliet’s tomes and books, several of them personal journals of her long life, sat there taunting me. Would they be able to unravel this new vision? This new mystery? They were next to no help with the witches, or my father. The monster. I sipped my brandy, hoping it would take the chill from my soul.


I caught Juliet out of the corner of my eye waiting for me to speak. She was patient as always. She sat with her ivory pant-clad leg crossed and a glass of red in her hand, but deep in her stunning eyes there was unease. Despite her apprehension in moments like this, she appeared so young. Nevertheless, behind that façade of youth was the power of an Immortal who had been around for 1650 years. No one should ever underestimate her.


My eyes narrowed on the red, and my stomach flipped, not from hunger or desire but from this new burden I was meant to carry.


“Would you like a glass?” she offered. Her dark blonde hair, normally combed out, was in a ponytail, making her appear all the younger. I caught a whiff of vanilla and roses, her signature scent. I inhaled deeper, hoping it would soothe me.


I shook my head.


“I realize it’s difficult, but please can you tell us the vision again.” Juliet’s voice was a whisper, but the request rang in my head. How many times would I have to retell this story?


I put the half-full brandy glass on the coffee table, recalling the images to me. “I’m standing in some kind of chamber, but it’s not anyplace I’ve been.” I scanned their three faces. “It’s not here.” My heart pounded louder in my chest. I focused on my breathing a bit more before I continued. “In the center, there is what appears to be a formal table of polished stone with nine ornately carved chairs around it. On the wall…” I kept my eyes closed and focused on the wall. “There’s a mural. You’re in it, Juliet; so is Sybil, Garrett, Fernando, Rahim, all the members of the Council of Light.”


“The council chamber in Egypt.” Juliet tapped her finger on the edge of her glass, the noise echoing throughout her office.


The sentence was barely spoken before all the images of my vision flashed back. It was too much, and my eyes flew open. Juliet, Gregor, and Kirtus surveyed me. Considering their strained expressions, they are worried about me. I waved off their unease and shook my head.


“What else?” Gregor’s deep voice cool and calm, but the glance he shared with Juliet betrayed his composure. He didn’t understand what to do with this information any more than I did.


I pulled the vision to my thoughts and continued, “The wall with the mural began to crack and crumble and I smell smoke. The chamber is on fire…” I focused on Juliet. “The stone table crumbles. The chairs burn and everything is in shambles.”


Juliet nodded and sipped her red.


“Something or someone destroyed it, but I didn’t see them.”


“Who could do such a thing?” Kirtus rubbed his hands together. “Only the Council of Light knows the actual location.”


“What else do you see?” Juliet’s peaceful aura melted my worry and fear. After a moment my thoughts cleared. Normally I would be upset at her for using her gift on me, but I needed it. Especially after all that had happened these last few weeks. My mother’s sacrifice to save me and kill my father still haunted me. My father’s death came after we discovered he was in charge of a coven of witches who wanted to destroy the world. It was a battle we had to fight to stop the witches from releasing true magic into our world.


We failed at that. True magic had still seeped into our world before we cut it off.


I had hoped it was all behind us. I wanted things to return to normal, but my gift of being a Seer had other plans. I focused once more on the brandy, wanting a sip but not taking it; my gaze returned to the fire. More of the vision came forward. “As the room fell to ruin and the mural burned, a large carved wooden chair with inlays of gold and decorated with jewels pushed the debris away.” I closed my eyes again. “There was a shadow figure sitting in the chair.”


“Who is it?” Kirtus asked.


“I’m not sure, but I hear his voice.” I pushed my eyes together tighter to help me hear.


“I’ve stayed out of the way of history, but it’s time to return and bring what is right and just back to this world.” I took a breath. “That’s what he said, but I don’t sense malice from him, but I don’t know. Sorrow and pain, maybe. Sacrifice?”


“What does he look like?” Juliet called me to focus.


“He’s tall and he’s wearing some kind of toga with deep crimson and white stripes. I can’t really see anything else.” My eyes fluttered open.


Everyone was silent. The crackle of the fire might as well have been the rumble of a train going through the room. It was unbearable, and I was about to speak.


Kirtus beat me to it. “Why don’t we take a break?”


I shook my head. “It’s fine. After the man vanished, I was standing on a grass-covered pasture. In front of me was a hill with a young girl sitting there laughing and clapping her hands. She had long brown hair and her gaze planted on an oversized full moon. It was impossibly big.” I sighed. “I’m sorry but that’s all.” I slouched deeper in the couch, focusing my own gaze on the ceiling and the rich wood inlays and trim. “I have no idea what any of it means.” The square patterns offered my brain a relaxing, ordered shape.


“That’s okay.” Gregor’s voice was stronger now as if he realized what needed to be done.


Maybe he did. I couldn’t be sure.


“You’ve given us a lot of information to go through. Add that to the reports of magic both Victor and I have seen. There is a lot happening we still have to address,” Gregor continued. “Once we begin to break it down, perhaps more will come to you.”


I faced him. “Maybe. I hope so, because right now, it feels like a whole lot of nothing. Especially when you are already dealing with these other problems.”


“We’re all new to this Seer business.” Kirtus’s hand rested on my leg.


His touch caused a shiver to rush through my body, and right now, all I wanted to do was take him to me, hold him, and get lost in his arms and warm body.


“Plus, it’s not like you haven’t been through a whole lot of hell over the last few weeks.” Kirtus offered me a grin, the single dimple on his left cheek popping out. It melted away more of my worry.


“Is it possible it’s another witch?” Kirtus asked. “Especially if magic is involved.”


He must have already known about the reports of magic being seen both in San Jose and up in San Francisco. Either way he didn’t seem surprised by this news. Or, he could have an amazing poker face.


I turned toward Juliet, who had left the chair she was sitting in and walked over to her office windows to look out. Her ivory pants and jade-green shirt somehow still looked as crisp as the moment she had glided into my bedroom only a few hours ago.


“I doubt it’s a witch, especially given the comment about staying out of histories way and setting things right.” Juliet’s voice was tight. “The clothing Chris describes is a Roman Senator, I think.” She turned to me and the others. “Another Immortal, maybe, one from the fall of Rome.”


“That doesn’t narrow the list down.” Gregor pulled at his goatee. “Especially if we include the Dark.” His frown stretched farther across his face. “Perhaps we need to talk to Victor.”


“I can ask him,” Kirtus offered. “He mentioned he wanted to see me this week.” He tried not to grimace.


Was it about the lieutenant position and the posting as his representative to the Council of Light? What he mentioned to me earlier tonight? Was that what he wanted to speak to him about?


“Thank you.” Gregor offered a slight bow of his head. “Juliet, is there anyone you know who can help with this?” He walked over to the golden cart with the bottles of alcohol and red on it. He poured himself a glass of red. “What about the witches you know here? What about the local coven? You have a good relationship with them. What about the one who charmed this estate?”


Juliet’s lips pulled into a small frown. She crossed over to the cart and poured herself another glass of red.


“I could have gotten you that.” Gregor’s tone was gentle.


She waved him off before she sipped her drink. “He’s a Healer, not a witch, and I’m not sure if he will assist us; we have an unfortunate history.” She held her drink in one hand and pulled a book from the shelf. She turned to her desk and walked to her seat, a quiet, far-off look about her.


I peeked over at Kirtus. “We should go.” I stood and glanced over to Juliet. “You have a lot on your plate with the reports of magic. I’m sorry I’ve added to the burden, but with this new vision I figured you needed to know.”


“Chris, if you see anything else…” She trailed off.


“Of course.”


“Thank you, Chris.” Gregor extended his hand. “This new vision and perhaps the magic we’ve seen may be related.”


“I hope not.” The pull of Kirtus’s body helped me realize he was by my side. “I’ll see if I can track down anyone on my end.” He glanced over to Juliet. “My network isn’t nearly as broad as yours, but you never know.”


“I think we’ll need all the help we can get,” Gregor affirmed.


I spared a worried glance at Juliet. Something was bothering her, and it wasn’t just my vision or the reports of magic. I didn’t recognize what it was, but I understood my creator well enough to leave her be. She would tell me once she had processed her thoughts and all my vision information.


She met my gaze. “Yes, we’ll speak more. Thank you for understanding.”


“Of course.” I took Kirtus’s hand, and we walked out of her office for the second time tonight.


Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

M.D. Neu is an award-winning queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing. Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world. When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

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Knitted and Knifed: A Humorous & Heartwarming Cozy Mystery (A Knitty Kitties Mystery) by Tracey Drew Book Tour and Giveaway!

Knitted and Knifed: A Humorous & Heartwarming Cozy Mystery (A Knitty Kitties Mystery) by Tracey Drew

  About Knitted and Knifed

 

Knitted and Knifed: A Humorous & Heartwarming Cozy Mystery (A Knitty Kitties Mystery) 

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 

Publisher: Independently published (January 5, 2021) 

Paperback: 224 pages 

ISBN-13: 979-8679373846

Digital - ASIN: B08GL9XM2Q

Wanted: Cat mum to manage a yarn store, corral two curious cats, all the while being tangled up in murderous mayhem and mystery.

 

A smart woman would dump her cheating ex, move from the city, and give herself a chance for a well-deserved do-over. A smarter woman—smarter than me, anyway—wouldn’t jump out of that same frying pan and return to Cape Discovery, a seaside village where her family is the nuttiest of all the nut-ball residents.

 

I’m a former high school counselor, middle-child peacemaker, and current curator of lots of squishy/fuzzy goodness at my granddad’s little yarn store. Temporary assistant. Until I decide what to do with the rest my life. There’s only one knotty problem to untangle first. The knife sticking out of the most unpopular man in town, and the police detective trying to pin the murder on the donkey—otherwise known as my younger brother. With a pair mischievous cats determined to be underfoot and a craft group of Serial Knitters and Happy Hookers wanting the inside scoop, a girl could lose her mind. And if the killer has their way, maybe even my life...

 

Tessa Wakefield has her hands full juggling a cozy craft store, her crazy family, and two men who’d rather poke out their eyes than describe themselves as cute. Which they totally are. Cute, charismatic, and occasionally on her mind when she’s not stumbling over dead bodies and using her newfound sleuthing skills to track down murderers. Lucky she’s an excellent multi-tasker because digging beneath Cape Discovery’s surface can unearth secrets that kill.

About Tracey Drew

Tracey Drew lives Down Under with her husband—who’s given up complaining about her yarn addiction--and two madcap tabby cats called Kevin and Alfie. The feline brothers constantly battle with her while she’s trying to write her books by demanding lap-time, but they also provide constant inspiration for her fun & quirky cozy mysteries. 

  Social Media links: Website: https://www.traceydrew.com 
  Newsletter sign up (Free prequel e-book for signing up): http://eepurl.com/haZpPz 
  Buy Links: Amazon Apple Books Nook Kobo Google Play Smashwords

The Rest of the Series Prequel Book 2 Book 3 Coming April 19, 2021


TOUR PARTICIPANTS
April 14 – Novels Alive – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 14 –Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book - REVIEW
April 16 – Christy's Cozy Corners - REVIEW
April 16 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 18 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
April 19 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 19 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 20 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 20 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
April 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 21 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 22 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
April 23 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – SPOTLIGHT
April 23 – Baroness' Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 25 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

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20 April, 2021

Songbird Series: The Tudor Court, Book I by Karen Heenan Book Tour! @karen_heenan @maryanneyarde #HistoricalFiction #Tudor #Songbird #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub


Book Title: Songbird 

Series: The Tudor Court, Book I

Author: Karen Heenan

Narrator: Jennifer Summerfield

Publication Date: November 3, 2019

Publisher:  Authors4Authors Publishing Cooperative 

Page Length: 300 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


Twitter Handles: @karen_heenan @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @ karen.heenan

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #Tudor #Songbird #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub


Songbird 

(The Tudor Court, Book I)

By Karen Heenan


About Songbird


She has the voice of an angel...


But one false note could send her back to her old life of poverty.


After her father sells her to Henry VIII, ten-year-old Bess builds a new life as a royal minstrel, and earns the nickname "the king's songbird." 


She comes of age in the dangerous Tudor court, where the stakes are always high, and where politics, heartbreak, and disease threaten everyone from the king to the lowliest musician.


Her world has only one constant: Tom, her first and dearest friend. But when Bess intrigues with Anne Boleyn and strains against the restrictions of life at court, will she discover that the biggest risk of all is listening to her own stubborn heart?


Buy Links:


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Audio Buy Links:

Narrated by Jennifer Summerfield


AudibleAuthors DirectNookHooplaApple BooksKoboScribdGoogle PlayAmazon


Author Bio

 

Karen Heenan

 

Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She fell in love with books and stories before she could read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams—which include gardening, sewing, traveling and, of course, lots of writing.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband, and is always hard at work on her next book.

 

Connect with Karen:

 

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestBook BubAmazonGoodreads

 

Social Media Links:


Website:  www.karenheenan.com 

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/karen_heenan 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenheenanwriter 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/karen.heenan 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KHeenanWriter/ 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/karen-heenan 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B07ZBN8H5B

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/karenheenan 



The Vampire's Witch Series: The Realm of the Vampire Council By Damian Serbu New Release Blitz! @DamianSerbu

Title: The Vampire's Witch

Series: The Realm of the Vampire Council

Author: Damian Serbu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: M/NB

Length: 98500

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, Established couples, vampires, witches, college, reunited, grief, men with pets, dark, ghost, immortal, magic

Add to Goodreads


Description

The Vampire’s Witch welcomes readers back to the world of vampires, witches, and magic.

Jaret Bachmann’s life spins out of control after a handsome stranger saves him from an attack along the bike path on Lakeshore Drive. His estranged high school sweetheart stalks him, the enraged ghost of his ancestor destroys his family, and his bike path savior-cum-lover abandons him after learning Jaret is a powerful witch.

A horrific family tragedy sends Jaret into deep depression. Struggling to find his way afterward, Jaret searches for comfort in the unlikely friendship of a secret vampire community.

Over time, Jaret’s friendship with the vampires strengthens and he forges a new family connection with Xavier, Thomas, and Catherine. But he and Anthony are estranged, and though their souls are entwined, their hearts are another matter.

Xavier, Thomas, Anthony, and Catherine return in this, the third book in The Realm of the Vampire Council series and a sequel to The Bachmann Family Secret.

Excerpt

The Vampire’s Witch
Damian Serbu © 2021
All Rights Reserved

19 April 2010

Chicago, Illinois

Even after three years, living in a big city still creeped Jaret Bachmann out. He hated his fear of dark corners and alleys, not to mention his concern about getting beat up as a gay guy. Straight guys, no matter how peaceful they looked, worried him. In broad daylight, he felt more secure as long as he watched where he went, kept his head up, and stayed in populated areas. And he loved living in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Being in a metropolitan area was so much better for him than small town Colorado. Still, he only had a little light available before the sun went down tonight.

He giggled at himself to release some tension. His mind went to some weird place about the sun setting, like a vampire might jump out and attack him. As if.

Heading out to meet his best friend, Brady, Jaret relaxed once he got to the path along Lake Michigan. He passed several joggers, almost got hit by a bike, and meandered his way south. He contemplated taking the “L” but had plenty of time to walk. The spring weather warmed up Chicago, still a comfortable seventy degrees, even as the sun slowly descended in the west. The weather was perfect. Besides, he could always use the exercise.

Jaret felt safer and got his iPod out to search for music. He loved Lady Gaga; why not a little monster love? Or Train’s latest CD rocked. Still, he paused at “Relax” and grinned. That song totally kicked ass. Totally. And, he hadn’t listened to much of his favorite singer’s first album in a long time. If he loved Lady Gaga, then words couldn’t describe his adoration for Mika.

He popped in his earbuds and picked up his pace. He even danced a little, despite being in public and seeing the few passersby glancing his way as if he’d gone insane.

The path grew darker with the setting sun and the trees lining both sides of the trail. This dance mix steeled Jaret’s nerves. He wiggled his butt, jumped to the side, and smiled at a little old lady and her dog as they walked by.

A few yards later, he was alone. He fretted a little but cranked the music to ignore the world around him. To comfort himself, he reached into his pocket and rubbed the ruby necklace he always brought along for protection. All the Bachmann heirloom jewels empowered his witchcraft and kept him safe, and he loved the beautiful rubies most of all. In a pinch, he could always use his magic to ward anyone off. He’d never had to use his ability to defend himself, except from ghosts, but knew he could if needed. Being a witch had its advantages.

Jaret almost missed the group of four guys sitting off to the side, watching the lake or something. He slowed when he glimpsed a bright-red shirt and thought of his boyfriend, Steve. He’d seen Steve earlier in the day, wearing this totally hot red T-shirt that clung to his chest and showed off his gorgeous biceps. He couldn’t remember the shirt exactly, though he thought it had a University of Nebraska logo on the front.

Jaret lurched to a stop when he bumped into someone. “Uh, oh. Sorry. I didn’t see you.” He glanced up to see another guy with a pretty big belly, yet tons of muscle, not to mention a wicked scowl.

The guy yanked out Jaret’s earbuds and glared down at him. “Fuckin’ fairy. Watch where you’re walkin’.”

“Sorry,” Jaret barely whispered and started shaking. He’d heard about gay bashings but had never experienced one. In fact, he had never been in a fight. He could see this dude meant him harm by the way he loomed over him.

Jaret reached into his pocket for the necklace. His shaking hands got the better of him, and his finger got stuck in the little coin pocket instead.

Growing more afraid, Jaret stepped to the side to continue until the guy moved with him and blocked his way. Jaret stared at the familiar logo of Northwestern football on the purple T-shirt. He often saw the very shirt on Steve. This guy was enormous. Not good.

His heart racing, Jaret scanned for anyone nearby watching. He spotted the group of four guys out of the corner of his eye. Any chance for help evaporated when two of them moved closer, and he saw they, too, wore Northwestern football gear.

One of them grinned and clapped. “Caught yourself a little fag, Mikey? What you gonna do with him?”

Mikey laughed and crossed his bazooka-sized forearms over his chest. Then he reached down and petted Jaret on the head like a dog. Jaret had little time to act to protect himself. There was no time to get the necklace out. He shot to the side to move around the asshole, but the guy put out his leg and tripped Jaret. He sprawled onto the path, skinning his elbow.

Jaret’s heart pounded as fear almost overwhelmed him.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s Angel, The Vampire’s Quest, and The Vampire’s Protégé, as well as Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon and Santa Is a Vampire with NineStar Press. The Bachmann Family Secret is scheduled for release July 2020. Keep up to date with him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.DamianSerbu.com.

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19 April, 2021

Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz Book Tour and Giveaway!

Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz Banner

Hit Or Miss

by Jeff Markowitz

April 1-30, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz

When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect.

Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.

Set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Viet Nam, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counter-culture.

As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, everyone else in the town of Dutch Neck that summer of 1970 has the same question.

Who is responsible for the death of Rosalie Bayard?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: WiDo Publishing
Publication Date: December 29, 2020
Number of Pages: 278
ISBN: 9781947966482
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Thousands of young people were on the mall, and more were streaming in by the minute. Willow, and her hippie friends staked out a spot near the Lincoln Memorial. Emily wandered the length of the National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capital Building and back again, determined to take it all in. There was a buzz in the morning air. The President appeared unannounced on the Ellipse at dawn and chatted with a small group of demonstrators. He wished them an enjoyable stay in the nation’s capital. Everyone Emily met on the Mall claimed to have seen him. The day was hot; the Mall was dry and dusty. There were crowds of people everywhere, an uneasy mixture of antiwar protestors, soldiers and police units, newsmen and onlookers. Protestors flashed peace signs and sang the fish cheer. Young Republicans responded with middle-finger salutes.

Emily didn’t know most of the speakers at the demonstration, but she like the message. End the Cambodian incursion. End the war in Vietnam. She located a pay phone and used her spare change to call Ben.

“It’s amazing. You should be here.” She had to yell to be heard. Demonstrators continued to pour into the Mall. “Is anything happening in Dutch Neck?”

“You need to come home.”

“Don’t be like that.”

“That’s not what I mean. It’s your mother.”

“What about my mother?”

Ben didn’t answer right away. The phone line crackled with static.

A scuffle broke out on the Mall. Police moved in quickly, weapons at the ready, cutting the small group of protestors off from the larger crowd. The confrontation pulled Emily’s attention away from the phone call.

“Your mother is dead.”

Later, the news would report that there were more than one hundred thousand demonstrators on the national mall, but at that moment, amidst the pushing and shoving, Emily felt like she was alone in the world. Without more change to feed the phone, the line went dead. She dropped the pay phone and turned, nearly bumping into a cop.

“Stay back,” he ordered, his hand on his weapon.

“She’s dead,” she replied and kept walking.

He pointed the gun at Emily’s head. “Who’s dead?”

She could feel anger in the policeman, but also restraint. Days removed from Kent State, it was as if no one wanted to provoke the next shooting. The policeman holstered his weapon. Shouts of “pig” were replaced by prayers for peace. Emily breathed a sigh of relief and answered the officer’s question.

“My mother.”

“Do you have a way to get home?”

Emily told the officer about Miss Cooper and the apartment on C Street. He offered to give her a ride. If anyone saw her in the patrol car, she would tell them that she had been arrested.

No one answered when she knocked on the apartment door. The apartment manager was polite, but firm. She would have to leave.

“Do you need money for a bus ticket?” The officer reached for his wallet. “I’ll drop you off at the bus station.”

When Emily left Dutch Neck, her mother had been alive. If she got on a bus, she would be admitting that her mother was dead. She wasn’t prepared to deal with that. Not yet. So she decided to spend another night in DC. As long as she remained in DC, she told herself, she could pretend that nothing was wrong at home. And maybe, just maybe, she could help end the war.

With no place else to go, she retraced her steps.

The crowd at the National Mall was smaller. There was a chill in the air, the midday heat a distant memory. It was a tough night, out on the mall, trying not to think about her mother. Instead she thought about the American boys who were spending the night in rice paddies on the other side of the world, probably trying not to think about their mothers too, and she knew that this was a small price to pay to end the war. At four in the morning, an older man approached. He was dressed like an off-duty policeman heading out to play a round of golf.

“Are you here to end the war, miss?”

“Yes, I guess I am,” She took a closer look at the middle-aged man and jumped to her feet, “Mr. President?”

President Nixon chuckled quietly.

“But, what…”

“I couldn’t sleep. I thought some fresh air would do me good.”

“But…”

“You know, sometimes I think you young people actually believe that I like being at war.”

Emily didn’t know how to answer the Commander in Chief. “Begging your pardon sir, but it does sometimes seem that way.”

“Let me tell you something miss… by the way, we haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Richard Nixon and yours is?”

“Emily Bayard.” She started to raise her fist in protest, like Bug, during the demonstration, but couldn’t extend her arm, not while she was standing face-to-face with the President. She looked around, grateful that Willow and her friends weren’t there to see her pitiful attempt at protest.

“Well, Emily, let me tell you something. I think I hate this war more than you do. But sometimes war is the necessary thing to do.”

“But you could end the war, sir. You could end the war today.”

“General Westmoreland tells me we need two more years to achieve our goals. You wouldn’t want us to leave now, without achieving our goals. Give me two more years Emily, and I’ll end the war. You have my word on it.”

“I don’t think I can do that, sir.”

President Nixon shook his head in sadness. “You young people can be so impatient.”

“In a few weeks, I’ll be graduating from college.”

“Congratulations. And then?”

“I don’t know. But I have classmates… friends… They’ve been called up. In two years’ time, they could be dead.”

President Nixon didn’t have an answer at the ready. “I’d best be on my way.” The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon. “Before my Secret Service detail realizes I’ve slipped out.”

President Nixon turned to leave. He took a few steps and then turned back to face Emily. “I’ve just had an idea. Are you hungry? Would you like to have breakfast with me?”

“You mean, like, in the White House?”

The President grinned. “I have the best chef. What would you like? You can have anything, anything at all. After all, I am the President.”

“This isn’t some sort of photo op, is it? You know what I mean, antiwar activist sees the error of her ways after breaking bread with the President.

“I see what you mean. It would sure look good in the papers. Lord knows I could use a good story in the papers.” The President chuckled. “No. No photos. No press release. You have my word.”

And so it came to pass, on Sunday morning, before taking a bus back to Long Island to bury her mother, Emily had breakfast with the President. Mr. Nixon had poached eggs and corned beef hash with a cup of coffee, black. Emily had blueberry blintzes and a cup of chamomile tea. And all the while, they argued about the war.

“Would you like seconds?”

But she had put it off long enough. “I’m needed at home.”

***

Excerpt from Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Markowitz. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Markowitz. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Jeff Markowitz

Jeff Markowitz is the author of 5 mysteries, including the award-winning dark comedy, Death and White Diamonds. His new book, Hit Or Miss, was released in December 2020. Part detective story, part historical fiction, part coming of age story, Hit Or Miss is an Amazon Hot New Release in political fiction. Jeff spent more than 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children with autism, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing. Jeff is Past President of the NY chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Catch Up With Jeff Markowitz:
www.JeffMarkowitz.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @JeffMarkowitz
Twitter - @JeffMarkowitz1
Facebook

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Markowitz. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 1, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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