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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Welcoming Courtney Rene

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I’d like to welcome author Courtney Rene and her book, ‘Before the Dawn’, published by Rogue Phoenix Press.  During this book tour, Courtney will give away a digital copy of ‘Before the Dawn’ to a luck commenter.

Before the DawnTitle: Before the Dawn

A Howl in the Night Book 3

Author: Courtney Rene

ISBN: 978-1-62420-325-1

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 2

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Website URL: Www.Courtneyrene.com

Blog URL: www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Shadow-Dancer-and-more-by-Courtney-Rene-164433473646449/

Twitter handle: @ctnyrene

TAGLINE

Darkness continues to haunt Abby since her escape from the Hunterz. Questions continue to circle. Who are they, really? Why do they hate the wolves so much?

BLURB

Seventeen year old Abby can’t shake the darkness that continues to haunt her since her escape from the Hunterz. She can’t let it go. Questions continue to circle. Questions no one will answer. Who are they, really? Why do they hate the wolves so much? The answers could be found in a young boy named, Sam. He may be from the Hunterz, but he smells of wolf. Derek wants to believe her, and tries to help, but Abby still hasn’t learned how to accept help from others. Her relationships with her mother and father continue to deteriorate, but Derek is a puzzle. Some days he’s exactly what she wants and others he is all that she despises. Being a shifter isn’t as simple as she thought it would be. The wolf part is easy. It’s the human side that needs a little work.

EXCERPT

I huddled in the darkness, barely aware of the passing hours and days. The wolf ate when she was hungry. She found mice and rodents to catch and devour. I was barely aware of the chase or the joy she found in the hunt. The wolf drank from streams and creeks along her journey. She slept when she was tired and traveled the rest of it.

I was aware the forest was starting to look familiar, but I didn't care enough to wonder why or where I was. When the big white sprawling house came before us, I realized the wolf had brought us to the only other place she knew to go: Aunt Lilly's.

I didn't leave the safety within the wolf when we arrived at the house. I was aware when we stepped onto the porch and dropped to the cool white washed boards where the wolf curled up and slept, but I stayed safe, hidden deep. The wolf and the instincts that drove her protected us. I was happy to let her lead. I was happy to be carried wherever she decided to go. I slept as the wolf did throughout the rest of the night.

When the wolf woke, I woke with her. We were still curled on the porch, but we were within a pile of dogs that had come to keep us safe and warm and offer company. The wolf was happy for the companions, as I was not able to be one. I was silent and empty and had nothing to give right then. I had nothing left to offer her.

I saw my Aunt come out on the porch, and I saw the moment she recognized me for what I was. "Abby, honey. What are you doing here?"

I shrank back deeper within the wolf, and as the wolf had nothing to say to her in that form, Aunt Lilly was left at a loss. She crouched down before us and ran her hands over my head and down my back. "You look a little worse for wear. Do you want to come in and eat? Maybe get a shower and some clothes?"

I wasn't coming out of the wolf form. I realized that had been my intention the whole time. I simply hadn't been ready to face it. I was obviously not very good as a human, so I would try being a wolf for a bit. I used a little more energy and turned my head away from her and dropped it back down on my front paws.

"Abby? What's wrong?"

I had no answer for her, so I didn't move or acknowledge her question. I didn't know what to tell her. I was still feeling sorry for myself, and I didn't have a plan of how to fix it other than to ignore it. I was happy as a wolf. Why did I have to be a human anyway?

She stayed crouched down next to me for a long time. She tried to talk to me, but I didn't answer. Finally, she gave up and stepped back. Her dog friends stayed with me, protecting me in their own way. She surveyed the pile of us then said, "Well, I guess I'll check on you in a bit."

I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. I spent the next few days hardly moving a muscle. What was the point? Aside from getting up to empty my bladder or get a drink of water, I stayed on the porch, quiet and still. Aunt Lilly stopped trying to talk to me, but she did continue to sit with me and offer what comfort she could by way of gentle caresses or tidbits of food she could tempt me with, or just simple water. The best part was when she sat in the white rocker and just rocked. Her being there was enough. Sometimes when she sat there, I would get up and sit next to her, just to be close to someone who gave a damn about me. Just me. Not what I could do for her, or what I could do for the clan. She just cared about me.

Why was I so unlovable by everyone else? Why didn't my mother want me anymore? Why did my father only see me for what I offered the clan? Why didn't Derek just want me? Why. Why. Why! What was so wrong with just being me?

It was times like those that even in wolf form I was able to cry. When the hurt of the world grew to immense I could not hold it in anymore. I cried the sounds of the wolf, even if it didn't come with the tears of a human. Aunt Lilly wouldn't press or talk, she was simply there with me as I tried to handle the sadness overwhelming me. She'd caress my head and continue to rock.

I don't know how long things went on like that. Maybe a few days, maybe it was an entire week. I do know when it came to an abrupt end. Morning arrived with a definite chill in the air. I didn't notice the cold all that much, thanks to my warm fur, but also because Aunt Lilly's dogs took shifts with what I thought of as protecting me. There were always a handful of them, either lying next to me or with me, or whatever. I was never cold or alone. They knew I was hurting and they in their animal wisdom stayed with me as comfort. Animals are awesome. People…suck.

AUTHOR BIO:

Courtney Rene_PicCourtney Rene lives in the State of Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, as well as her young adult novels, A Howl in the Night and the Shadow Dancer series, published through Rogue Phoenix Press. For a complete listing, visit www.ctnyrene.blogspot com or feel free to contact her at ctnyrene@aol.com.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Welcoming Jeffery J Smith

I’d like to welcome author Jeffery J Smith to talk about his book, ‘Perfect Timing’, published by Rogue Phoenix Press.  During this book tour, Jeffery will award a digital copy of Perfect Timing to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Title: Perfect Timing

Author: Jeffery J. Smith

ISBN: 978-1-62420-321-3

Genre: Sci-fi

Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

TAGLINE

Accidentally sucked from the present, caterer Crik must prove he started the trend that led to the future’s utopia—or be returned to waiting bullets.

BLURB

Perfect TimingAccidentally transported to the future, caterer Crik escapes house-arrest with Tepper, his possible distant descendant. While pursued by volunteer vigilante Voltak, goofball Crik explores Geotopia—where buildings grow, people incorporate animal powers, smart phones know it all, and vehicles defy gravity—seeking clues. If he can discover, understand, and articulate the future’s public policy that works right for everybody, he can prove he was their founder, the lone agent of change who put society on its path toward universal prosperity and harmony with nature. If he fails to convince the Futurite Authorities, they wouldn’t return their unexpected visitor to the exact second he left—something their law requires—to the moment when a hail of gunfire was bearing down on the luckless caterer and college dropout...would they?

EXCERPT

The image of a bellhop perches first on one leg then the other by the edge of a roof of a downtown skyscraper. Gazing downward, with both hands he raises a golf club over his head. The scene occurs on a large monitor.

Far below, the people look like a school of minnows flitting across the downtown central plaza. Others resemble tufts of beach grass clumped around street performers break dancing or juggling. The bellhop arches his back.

In a darkened laboratory, two wide-eyed technicians wearing white coats watch the monitor. In grainy color, the young man bends and stretches. Mouths agape, the viewers take notes and wipe their brows.

"This is your candidate?" the taller researcher says. "This golfer? Crik Duvall?"

The shorter one nods. "He's a bellhop, too."

~ * ~

1

At the wall atop the city's tallest hotel, Crik in the hotel's uniform lowers his club. The height does not frighten him, rather, the view always intrigues him. People sure look little, Crik thinks. Must be how landlords see us.

Crik takes a few practice swings. He steps back from the edge and tees up. He drives a Whiffle golf ball into the air without a hitch. The headwind blows the hollow ball back to him. He catches it. Yes! He replaces the plastic ball on the tee — yo-yo golf.

Lifting his bellhop cap, Crik runs his fingers through bleached streaks. Yo-yo golf will challenge enthusiasts of all nations, even become an Olympic event. I could pay down my tuition. Even help Randy with his debt. How dumb, messing with dudes from the vodka importers convention. What'd he know about ostrich racing anyway?

Crik's knuckles are tattooed with esoteric symbols. A stud twinkles in one ear but no weighty choker worries his swing. He's up to twenty-three straight successful drives-then-catches, closing in on his personal best.

The word "Fore!" rings out from a phone in his pocket, but he ignores it.

Steadying himself, Crik cocks his club for another swing and drives the white ball into the onrushing breeze.

"Crik!"

Crik blinks. The plastic dot sails past him, into the void. Zippers.

"Whenever you don't answer your phone, I know where to find you."

Crik looks over his shoulder, resting the club on his other one.

Randy lets the door close behind him. "My man, break be over." Also a bellhop, Randy has his cap is on backwards. As he crosses the roof, his body lags behind his head, his neck nearly level.

Like offering his empty melon to a guillotine, poor sucker. Crik takes out a twenty-dollar bill. "Another big date before next payday, bro?"

"Man, you are like family." Randy takes the note.

~ * ~

"'Crik'. That short for cricket?" People always ask.

No, Crik was named Crik because Brook was already taken; his older brother got named that.

"Oh, I get it," the hotel manager said when interviewing Crik, "Creek."

Crik nodded. His hair waved, didn't curl, despite him being the black sheep of the family. "Yeah, Crik."

Crik is too busy to finish college. How many decades would it take to pay off the student loan — a necklace of stone — anyway? Especially with good friends unable to budget themselves. Better to have a fun job. Make money and enjoy life.

~ * ~

In the gloomy laboratory, tall Dr. Alvin Ultra and his short assistant Yuri Ivanov, both middle-aged, emit gasps and wag their heads, jotting down notes.

The monitor, thin as a sheet, hangs from a ceiling in a high corner. It's cabled to a device shaped like an oversized dog biscuit with a sharp point like a syringe, big as a sled, some parts shiny, some opaque. Colored wires twist and run to other odd-shaped devices that whir and jerk.

Crik hides his club on the ledge beyond the perimeter wall.

Dr. Ultra glances at Yuri. "Neither of these two has indicated any interest in social evolution, never mind founding an entirely new way of viewing the world."

Under his beret and bushy eyebrows, Yuri shrugs. "Destinon said to check out this moment."

~ * ~

The two bellhops enter the hotel's darkened conference hall. It's packed like a tent revival on the eve of the Second Coming. Of course. Who hates money?

Strains of Wagner's majestic movements accompany the big-screen video of unabashed luxury: Acres of vineyards remind Crik of the south of France where he'd backpacked one summer. A sleek car barely looking street-legal swerves through hills.

"Tesla Roadster," Crik whispers to Randy. "0 to 60 in 3.7."

On the screen, a limousine grand enough for comfortably hosting small celebrations sits in the driveway of a mansion with the long lines of Frank Lloyd Wright draped over a seaside cliff. Inside, fashion models adorned with jewelry befriend vain hosts sipping champagne. Famous paintings hang on the walls.

Crik leans over to his pal. "I've a print of that Van Gogh."

"With his autograph?" Randy whispers.

Crik frowns. "Ethics teaches us virtue is its own reward."

Randy frowns. "Economics teaches that reward is its own virtue."

My reward would be to never get another bill, late notice, or harassing phone call.

A sharp-dressed salesman in a flawless Armani suit strides onstage. His shiny hair neatly styled, Julian Seizure keeps his posture erect and full-chested, as would a cocksure general before his troops. His blistering smile stretches his narrow-featured face.

Seizure fires his words forcefully and pounds the air with a fist, keeping time with his avarice. "Andrew Carnegie, a billionaire back when a dime bought you a complete breakfast, noted, and I quote: 'It takes hard work to amass a fortune in industry, but any fool can get rich in real estate.'"

Perking up, Randy whispers to Crik, "Did he say any fool?" His eyebrows bounce up and down.

The big screen shows slender beauties gliding in Olympic-size pools and robust businessmen driving golf balls a mile down the links. The pitchman exhales. "The old boy nailed it. Nothing else comes close to how much people pay over the course of their lives for a place to live. Directly or indirectly, a big part of everyone's spending goes to a lease or mortgage."

The sea of heads nod in assent. The speaker opens his hands in empathy. "Since all of us have been foolish at least once …"

Amid the sea of heads, only Randy bobs agreeably — until he sees nobody else owning up and slinks lower into his seat.

"Why are we not all very well off?" The instant-riches guru taps his skull. "Foresight." Seizure stares down his audience. "It's not speculation when you see what's coming."

Crik snorts. Too good to be true. "Why can't telling the unvarnished truth work to sell?"

"I believe!" Randy says.

"Time to go, bro." Crik tugs his friend's sleeve. "I've a better idea. You think Seizure plays golf?"

Jeffery J. Smith picAuthor Bio:

Jeffery J. Smith’s credits are in nonfiction, being published in both the popular and academic press on “geonomics” (ecological economics). Before switching to fiction, he edited the news site, the Progress Report and contributed regularly to TruthOut. His newsletter, The Geonomist, won a California Greenlight Award. He taught both English and composition and was a graduate scholar in linguistics. An inventor of games and engines, he lives on the West Coast and winters in Latin America, listening to tall tales.