Friday, May 31, 2013

Review!! Surfacing the Rim by Venessa Kimball

Venessa Kimball has done it again!!  

 The amazingly strong characters have such powerful chemistry.  Jesca continues her struggles with her new life and powers, but she’s got a wonderful support system around her.  Ezra’s warm, authoritative presence and Nate’s ever growing connection with Jesca make Surfacing the Rim a riveting read!

Picking up where she left off, the interactions throughout are believable and vivid.  Kimball has an strong grasp on her characters and the affect she holds with the masterful use of the written word.  It had me at the edge of my seat from page one and the action never drags.  After thoroughly enjoying Piercing The Fold(Book 1), Surfacing The Rim (Book 2) certainly does not disappoint.  This series is a must read!

I am desperately anticipating the next installment!

About the book!!!

Reality has been set askew... Jesca Gershon-Sera's life changed forever in the first installment of the Piercing the Fold series. She discovered that she was not an average college student from Marietta, Georgia. Rather, she had a purpose as a Dobrian guardian to protect our world and its humanity. 

Evolving into an illusion... In Surfacing the Rim: Book 2, the battle between good and evil continues between the Dobrian and Sondian fellowships. The salvation of our world's existence beyond the impending galactic intersection lays in the hands of a Dobrian team of guardians, including Jesca and her father, Ezra Kahn. 

The Sondian fellowship's inhumane corruption of our world is spreading like wildfire, redrawing lines between allies and enemies. Where bonds are deepened... Jesca continues to strengthen her relationship with Ezra while her physical attraction to Nate Sera, a fellow Dobrian, intensifies. Adopted son of Sondian Samson Crest, Xander Crest has to come to terms with the corrupt Sondian fellowship he has been aiding unknowingly and forms an alliance with the Dobrian fellowship and the one person he did not want to leave behind in Piercing the Fold: Book 1. And choices must be made. 

Jesca's fortitude is put to the test when she must make crucial decisions in battle and in love. Jesca and the Dobrian guardian team must stop the chaos the Sondians intend to draw into our world from another galaxy. All the while, Jesca must choose between the predestined link that she shares with Nate and the unresolved attraction she holds for Xander. With unexpected twists and turns, Jesca will face a battle of epic proportions in this pre-apocalyptic installment of Piercing the Fold. Will Jesca have enough courage to surface the rim of this reality? 

***Paranormal/Sci-Fi series. Mature YA/New Adult due to the depth in which unorthodox or fringe scientific theories are addressed.***
About the AMAZING Venessa Kimball

Venessa Kimball, born October 21, 1975, is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. Her hometown is San Antonio, Texas. She currently resides in Amarillo,Texas with her loving husband and 3 amazing children.
For 3 years, she taught at an Austin, Texas middle school. For 6 years, she was a full-time Texas Realtor in the Austin Metro Area.
In 2010, she revisted her writing roots that were so prominent in her high school years. Piercing the Fold, her debut novel, was born on November 23rd of that year. Venessa is a full-time, independent author.
To find out more about Venessa Kimball and future projects, including the 2nd book in the Piercing the Fold series, visit and become a fan:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Dream Series by Author J.J. DiBenedetto

Today I have author J.J. DiBenedetto here for a Guest Post on his Dream Series. 

“Behind the Scenes: Interesting tidbits the books didn’t tell you” 
By J.J. DiBenedetto
“Dream Student” started life more than ten years ago. I wrote two complete drafts, but it was never good enough, and they sat on my hard drive until last year, when I finally came back to it. The biggest thing I changed, right from the start, was to go from third person narration to first person, and tell the entire story in Sara’s voice, from her point of view. It’s absolutely the right choice for the story, but it did mean losing scenes from Brian’s (her boyfriend) and Beth’s (her best friend) point of view. Brian, especially, lost some good moments of growth as we saw him mature into the man who Sara loves. They’re still there, but now we see it through Sara’s eyes rather than experiencing it with him. One scene that ended up being cut was a visit by Sara to the police, at Beth’s urging, to tell them what she’s seen in her dreams. They rehearse a story to explain how Sara knows all that information, but on the way there, Sara has a breakdown: “Sara ran away. Your friend ran away and hid somewhere the first time she had that nightmare, and she’s gone now and I don’t know where she went,” she said, her voice and Beth’s heart both breaking. God in Heaven, Beth thought, where did this come from? Wherever it was coming from, there was more: “Your friend went away, and she left me here, and she dumped all this horrible shit on me, all these dreams, she left it all in my lap and what am I supposed to do about it?” she went on, desperation dripping from every word, “And the worst thing of all is I don’t even know who the fuck I am!” There are some very similar moments to that when we get to book 4, “Dream Family”, as Sara tries to get over the traumatic experience she has in jail after she’s mistakenly arrested. Several scenes of college life, drawn from my experiences in college, were cut out as well. Sara attends the University’s 24-hour science fiction movie marathon near the end of the first draft (just as I and my friends did all four years of college), and she goes on stage during a student talent show. I do miss those scenes, but the book is much more focused as it is now. I also lost one of my favorite lines, which I still intend to use someplace. There was at one point a scene where Sara and Brian are home from school, walking past a spot that she frequented with an past boyfriend, and Brian asks, “Did you love him?” Sara’s answer? “No. But I thought I did. Does that count?” One other thing that was cut from “Dream Student” was my original chapter titles. I had the idea of using song lyrics, and I had one picked out for each chapter (chapter 2, when Sara goes out to a nightclub and runs into Brian for the first time, was titled “She could dance all night, shake the paint off the walls”), and most of the songs were 80’s songs, fitting the setting of the book. Unfortunately, as I was told by a writer friend, you have to get permission from the copyright holder for every single line you use from a song. Which is both difficult and usually expensive. So out went the lyrics, and, to try and keep a pop-culture theme to the titles, I went with 80’s movie/TV shows as chapter titles (chapter 2 became “Footloose”, for example). As the books go on, I move away from strictly 80’s titles, but the movie/TV theme remains. Anyone who attended my college (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio), especially around the time I was there, will recognize it in the setting of Crewe University in “Dream Student” and also “Dream Doctor”. Most of the building names were changed, but otherwise, it’s pretty close to real life. And, yes, the annual free showing of “Casablanca” by the university Film Society to begin the semester is a real event, and as far as I know it continues to this day. The university is not the only place I modeled on real life. Both Sara’s family home, and Brian’s are real houses, as is the home of mobster Paul Sorrentino. And anyone who lives in South Arlington, Virginia, will probably recognize the apartment building Sara and Brian live in in “Dream Family”. I hope you enjoyed this little peek “behind the scenes” of the Dream series!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Piercing The Fold by Venessa Kimball

Alright... I thought I had already posted this review, but since I can't find where I posted it... 
I will post it here and now here also. 

Brief Review:
An intriguing twist of a plot line. Originally, I thought it would be more preachy. Thankfully, these incredibly realistic and well developed characters experience a wonderfully unexpected twists. I became completely drawn into their lives and along their journey.

It is a shorter read than I'm use to, but it flows well and I highly recommend it!!!

About The Book
Paranormal/ SciFi series
* New Adult/Mature YA due to depth of unorthodox or "Fringe" scientific theories*

Jesca Gershon-Sera has an average life on the surface. She is a sophmore in college, has a loving family, and holds a part time job at a local bookstore with her best friend. Her life is pretty normal. Except, under the surface she feels like she is losing her mind. Reoccurring nightmares have plagued Jesca for most of her childhood. She thought nothing of them, until they began intensifying and finding their way into her waking hours. Voices, vivid images and supernatural abilities in her nightmares are beginning to seep into her reality.

Ezra Kahn is one of her college professors. Lately, Ezra happens to be everywhere she is; like he is watching her. Along with the slight fear that her professor is stalking her, Jesca fears that she won't be able to handle much more of the insanity that is blurring her reality. On a chance encounter, Jesca confides in Ezra about the crazy happenings. Jesca thought that he would think her to be insane or a freak. But, to Jesca's surprise, Ezra Kahn reveals that she is not a lunatic and that all of the insanity is very real.

Instantly, Jesca's reality is set askew. Ezra reveals that he has been sent to help her. He tells her she is experiencing these events in her life because of her inherited purpose to protect humanity from inconceivable catastrophe.

Jesca's roller coaster begins here! Boasting piercing suspense, pre-apocalyptic adventure, consuming romance, and "reality-based" spirituality and science fiction, Piercing the Fold: Book 1 will pull the reader in for the ride and won't let go!

About the Author
Venessa Kimball, born October 21, 1975, is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. Her hometown is San Antonio, Texas. She currently resides in Amarillo,Texas with her loving husband and 3 amazing children.

For 3 years, she taught at an Austin, Texas middle school. For 6 years, she was a full-time Texas Realtor in the Austin Metro Area.
In 2010, she revisited her writing roots that were so prominent in her high school years. Piercing the Fold, her debut novel, was born on November 23rd of that year. Venessa is a full-time, independent author.

I haven't read the second book (Surfacing the Rim) yet..  -- I know... Shame on me!!!  --  I am really looking forward to it though!  Especially since Book 3 (Ascending the Veil) will be coming out soon!!!!  

A Snow Flower Review

Friday, May 24, 2013

Blind Dating tour!

A light-hearted, funny romantic comedy - perfect for fans of Hilary Boyd, Christina Lauren, Lindsey Kelk, Deborah Cooke, Claire Cross, and Jill Mansell.
            When mid-forties, divorced, single-mother-of-three, Kimberly, realizes her own mother has more of a life than she does, she decides to do something about it. Encouraged by success stories from people at work, she joins a dating chat room, ICQ, which starts to rock her world.
All of a sudden she’s a swinging single, online, with extreme dates, a little dirty talk, and a sense of her new, sexy self— until that fateful moment when her long-time chat-room buddy, LonelySingle, wants to meet.
"Are you trying to find a man on Facelook?" her Mom questions, after years of being told it is Facebook!
What if he doesn’t like her?
What if she doesn’t like him?
These are the thoughts, inside her head. Until they meet and realise, that they have been friends offline aswell as online!
What happens next?
A light-hearted, romantic comedy about a single mom finding true love, which was right before her eyes.

A single mom of three living in Madrid, Kerry Taylor has been through many tugs-of-war in her life – from being stalked and abused to separated from her estranged husband – all while expressing her life through writing in different forms.
She has released a series of autobiographies in the form of short stories and poetry: Stones of My Heart, Life’s Pebbles, Emotional Rollercoaster of a Single Mom, and Gravels of Moments.

Author's Links:


He asked the same question: “Where were we?”
Great, he has finished off the phone and I am still sitting here. I am not sure why I am sitting here. I could have got up and ignored his question. Why am I still sitting here! I scream inside myself.
“Oh,” he recalls.
Damn, I wish he would not ………………I say in my head.
“Do you feel uncomfortable?” he questions, seeing the frown in my face.
“Course, I do,” I reply.
“Wow, that must be the first and only time that you have ever shut me down,” he says in a state of shock.
“Yes, but I do not want to discuss it, please consult with your friends,” I reply rushing out of the office.
What was he going to do next, pull down his pants and ask me if his bulls are small?
I just do not want us to have that type of relationship. After all these years, we have not, and I do not intend to things being different now.
I delegate my entire work load to Kyle, and then I leave the office. Think for once I will go to watch Eric play in his league game. He asks all the time and I can never make it. For once, Mom will make it.

The Crimson Clan Tour

David R Bennett is an author from Spring, Texas in the United States of America. He lives with his wife, Brandy, and his son, Ethan.  David R Bennett is a pen name that comes the reordering of his initials real initials. He, also, thinks the name has a ring to it.  Not only is he an author, he, also, is an illustrator. His real name is what is credited with the cover art to his novels.

He attended Rocky Mountain College if Art + Design in Denver, Colorado where he earned a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Advertising Graphic Design. The graphic design techniques he learned in college he uses to design his covers.  He, also, reads a lot of sci-fi / fantasy / paranormal books. Some of his favorite monsters are vampires, mummies, zombies, goblins, ghouls, werewolves, etc. He has plans to write a long string of novels in the Destiny Phoenix series and a series about an alien coming to Earth in the Alien Survivor series. Both of these series are planned as Young Adult novels.  His favorite horror flick is Resident Evil because it is scary to think that biological warfare could one day result in human extinction by undead creatures. And his favorite series of films is Star Wars and is excited about the next film coming out in 2015.

The Crimson Clan Exceprt

"I hope it won't take too long to find, Sandra," Destiny says.
"That depends on the power of Sandy's cell, Des." Chris mutters. "Try calling her."
I do as my hunky boyfriend suggests. I dial Sandra's phone on my brother's cell.
"Hello?" I hear from the other side of the phone with some panting in between the words. Quickly, she seems to stop. "Destiny?"
"Yeah, Sandra," I say. I can hear her gasping for breath. "Where are you?"
"What the hell is going on?" She screams into the phone frantically.
"We're on the way to pick you up."
"Can you kinda hurry," Sandra asks me. “I’ve got these weird pasty freaks on my tail. For what?  I don't know."
"Pasty freaks?" I say aloud. That's when I hear Brandon mutter some curse word and floor the gas pedal.
"Where are you at?"
"Near the Dillard's entrance by Four Oaks Drive."
"Okay, Sandra. Stay calm. We'll be there in five. Meet us at the west entrance of Dillard's."
"All right. Hurry." I hear the panic in Sandra's voice.
"Stay calm and peruse the store not to give any suspicions to the workers."
"K. See ya soon."
"Certainly." I say hanging up the phone.
"Destiny, what's going on?" Chris asks me as I can see the worry in his face. "Are the same ones after Sandy that invaded my home?"
"The exact same creatures. They want us. You, me, Brandon, and Sandra. They don't know about Little Michelle here. Let's keep it that way."
"We're the chosen slayers to bring balance back to this world," Brandon states. "I was sent to a boarding school for my protection when I was nine just after the birth of Destiny."
"That sucks, bro." Chris says as we reach the Mall.
It did not take us long to figure out where Sandra was. People were rushing out the doors of Dillard's in fear. Obviously, these pasty creatures were in the store and have yet to find Sandra.
However, we spot Sandra easily. She managed to mix in with the crowd that rushed out of the store. We screech to a halt. Brandon pops open the back door for Sandra to jump in.
"Sandy, get in," Brandon says to his sister.
"Your car?"
"Forget it. We can come back for it."
The dark haired brown-eyed best friend of mine, who stands at five-foot- four, an inch shorter than me, hurriedly, gets into the Tahoe. Sandra, quickly, jumps in and shuts the door.
"Chris, Miki, what's going on?" She says trying to catch her breath.
The white pasty creatures see us peel out around the Mall ring road as we make our escape after helping Sandra out.
"Hang on!" Brandon screams as one of the wraiths jumps out in front of our car. We run over it leaving a partially body badly squished all over the road.
"I've only heard if these guys before," Brandon tells us. "I don't know how to defeat them."
"Oh, great, we're screwed," Chris mutters.
He, then, gets slapped on the shoulder as their little sister sits zoned out holding her legs. Michelle is totally out of it. This is out of her level of comprehension. Or so I thought.
"Don't worry, I know to defeat these wraiths." I calmly, and confidently,  say. Where did that come from?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Writers and Their Books

Authors have a unique relationship with their books.  To some extent every book comes to life and at least momentarily becomes their “reality.”  Because of this relationship, the readers are able to connect and share in the experiences within the pages.  Now, some writers are more skilled then others; some simply have a different style and way of looking at things.

I am a firm believer that EVERYONE has room for improvement.  Not everyone needs to work on the same things because we are all different, but there is always something that could be improved… knowledge, empathy, expression, restraint, etc.  While violence should not be our first instinct, I do feel that conflict of some type is vital to humanity.  Without something to struggle with, how can we improve?

That said, when someone does NOT like my work, I see it as an opportunity.  I actually look for people that will tell me what is wrong with my work.  In doing this, I am not asking to be verbally abused.  What I want and need is someone that can show me my weaknesses and help me become a stronger writer.  This is also what I hope people take from my own critiques and reviews.

As a writer, I often get the story so strong in my mind that I forget to write down key elements or connect them properly.  Yes, I’m weird, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.  When I ask someone for their opinion and they start with, “Please don’t take this wrong…” I get excited!  I have found someone that can help me.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Release Event ~ Broken Strings by Nancy Means Wright

Book Title: Broken Strings
Author: Nancy Means Wright
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours

When puppeteer Fay finds a friend dead of poisoned yew and her sister hanging from a rod like a marionette, she races after the killer.


When puppeteer Marion collapses during a performance of Sleeping Beauty, her friend Fay Hubbard promises to carry on. But Fay already has her hands full with three demanding foster children, Apple and Beets, who have a fractious jailbird father—and sixteen-year-old Chance, who has a crush on a much older guy in a band called Ghouls. And now Marion’s husband Cedric seems more interested in a drop-dead-gorgeous French teacher than in any string puppets. And who is the mysterious Skull-man who warns of death if the show goes on with one of Marion’s offbeat endings? When an autopsy reveals that Marion had swallowed a dose of deadly crushed yew—and a friend finds her sister dangling from a rod like a marionette, a shocked Fay goes after the killer.


“A vampire,” Cedric said. “A vampire to give Beauty the wakeup smooch? Ridiculous.” He tightened his hands around the witch’s neck as though this was what he’d like to do to his wife.

Neanderthal, Fay thought. Kids loved vampires—though personally, they weren’t her own cup of tea. She took a step back, a shivery breath. In the coming scene her fairy was to carry Beauty off the stage and Fay worried about dropping her. She signaled the puppeteer for help.

“Here,” said Marion, putting down her herb tea to show Fay how. It was all so easy when Marion did it. After all, she’d studied under a puppeteer father. Fay was merely a failed actress, substituting a puppet for her own face before an audience.

“Never mind Cedric, he’ll come round. I’ll work on him,” Marion said with more confidence than Fay could muster up. Fay had seen Cedric’s icy blue eyes – it was like staring into the eye of a hurricane.

“Places,” Marion was calling out. “Scene Two!” The children were reassembling. Fay saw her foster boy, Beets, squat in the front row with the cell phone his father had sent – it had better not ring!

The teachers were yelling, “No talking! No drinks in the assembly room!”

“We’re on, guys,” said Marion. Fay took a breath, and the four masked puppeteers moved along behind the stage with their stringed puppets.

It was Beauty’s eighteenth birthday. The marionette took her place in the center, a smiling creature with black flowing curls like her creator, a white organdy gown threaded with gold and glass. Balloons and paper lanterns floated overhead; blue, yellow, and pink paper flowers fluttered in the palace garden. The teachers made shushing noises again and the scene began.

One by one the fairies arrived with gifts of books, slippers, bracelets, flowered gowns;

Chance’s fairy dropped chocolates at Beauty’s feet. The taped music rose to a crescendo and the door swung open to reveal – Nightshade again! Nightshade, her ugly face almost hidden behind a bouquet of thorny red roses. The Queen scurried to shut her out but Nightshade prevailed. With deadly accuracy, she flung the bouquet at Beauty; the puppet squealed with pleasure – and then pain as she pricked her finger. Beauty slumped sideways over the embroidered arm of her chair.
“She will not die!” Fay’s fairy shouted. But out front there was an outcry from teachers and children. Fay looked down to see Beauty’s controller with its multiple strings collapse into a tangled heap, and puppeteer Marion gag, then stumble off the set, clutching her chest and throat, as if she, too, were headed for a hundred years of sleep.

About the Author
Nancy Means Wright has published 17 books, including 6 contemporary mysteries from St Martin’s Press and two historical novels featuring 18th-century Mary Wollstonecraft (Perseverance Press). Her two most recent books are the mystery Broken Strings (GMTA publishing) and Walking into the Wild, an historical novel for tweens (LLDreamspell). Her children’s mysteries have received an Agatha Award and Agatha nomination. Nancy lives in Middlebury with her spouse and two Maine Coon cats.


Amazon (Coming Soon)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Softly Say Goodbye tour! Sale & Giveaway too!!!

The Softly Say Goodbye Tour
Author: Kc Sprayberry (She’s One of Us!)
Dates: 4/26 - 5/9

About the Book:
Erin Sellers, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, hates teen drinking. She and her three friends – Bill, her guy, Shari and Jake - decide to use Twitter to stop a group, the Kewl Krew, from using their high school as the local bar. But the members of this group are just as determined to stop anyone from messing up their fun. Despite veiled threats to her safety, Erin continues her crusade.
To make matters worse for her, the stress of school and extra curricular work mounts and suddenly, shockingly, booze-fuelled tragedy strikes. Erin is now under greater pressure as she spends all hours to produce a mural and other work to commemorate the death of a teen friend. Bill, Jake and Shari support her in all this...
But more tragedy lurks nearby… until it’s time to softly say goodbye.

For the month of May  $0.99!!!!   

The Author Info:
I am happily married to a man I met while in the Air Force. We recently celebrated our 18 years of marriage. Our teen, the youngest of 8, keeps us on our toes with his band activities. 

Writing is something I've done since I was very young. At first, it was in a diary and then I poured all my energies into English compositions, earning praise from my Advanced Composition teacher in high school for an extremely visual project. 

While in the Air Force, I placed second in the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge's annual contest and from then on, was hooked. However, the reality of a military career and raising children forced me to put off attempting publication until my husband and I moved to Georgia. It was after the birth of our now teen that I began taking courses through The Institute of Children's Literature, Long Ridge Writer's Group, and Writers Digest in an effort to make my life's dream come true.

We live in Northwest Georgia, in a small town, where I write Romance, Westerns, Young Adult, and Middle Grade stories, both short and book length. More than a dozen of my short stories have appeared in magazines such as Listen Magazine, Brio, and The Pink Chameleon website. I also have short stories in anthologies, Passionate Hearts Anthology, Mystery Times Ten, The Best of Frontier Tales, Vol. I, and Mystery Times Nine. My western stories have garnered interest by avid readers and appear on The Western Online and Frontier Tales.

My work appears under the pen names of KC Sprayberry and Kathi Sprayberry. Softly Say Goodbye, a young adult novel, was my NaNoWriMo winning project for 2010. This story was inspired by a quote from a song and hearing of an auto wreck involving teens and drinking.

Important Links:

Nice, big, juicy Excerpt!!!!:
Select a section of Chapter One to share...
Chapter One

The sound of liquid gurgling and a thunk distracts me as my art teacher, Mr. Janks, says he has a major announcement. An overwhelming urge prods me to confront the offender, but she'll deny my accusation, even though everyone in the vicinity knows she just chugged some vodka.

Do it! My hands clench into fists. Tell Laura to quit!

High school drunks totally piss me off. The urge to deal with the offender overcomes common sense. I start to turn around to give her a piece of my mind but stare in shock at my teacher instead.

A week before Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year, I want to throw my books into the nearest trashcan and run until my legs give out. Here I am, sitting in my art class, and Mr. Janks announces we have to do a term project but not just any term project. Oh no! We have to develop a major project like cleaning up the Rec Center's playground and painting a mural on the huge cylinders kids climb all over. Worse, I swear I heard something about a video. Who has time to do all that and a video?

“Tell me Mr. J didn't say that,” I cry.

The now protesting students echo my feelings. The new issue drives all other thoughts out of my head. Oh yeah, I heard right, and the timing is rotten.

Tuck Amstead rolls his eyes and glances at me. “Total pits, Erin.”

“Maybe we heard wrong?” I offer.

“Mr. Janks, we can't possibly do this,” Tiana Bolton protests. “It'll…it'll… You're asking us to give up all of our free time and ignore studying for our EOCs. And you want us to show you what we did on the same day we take the EOCs!”

Boy, does she have that right. EOCs, end of course exams, make up a significant portion of our final grade. To top it off, we also have to take the state's graduation test — a mind-numbing horror challenging us to remember every single thing we have ever learned since our very first day at Landry High School. The idea of planning and executing a major art project due at the same as those dreaded tests gives me the worst scary feeling of my life.

“Why can't you do like everyone else?” I ask. “This is worse than impossible.”

“This is my EOC, Erin.” Mr. Janks shakes his head. “You saw the syllabus when you started the class last fall.” He stares at each student, all twenty of us, for a heartbeat. “All of you signed the syllabus, and so did your parents. No excuses. Now—”

“But we have to do all our other studying,” Tiana cries, interrupting him. “When will we have time for your project?”

Slender, sweet, and conflicted, Tiana's cap of brandy brown hair frames her porcelain complexion. Oh, so jealous here. She never has to worry about her hair bushing up on a humid day or the sun giving her freckles like I do with my shoulder-length red hair and uber-pale complexion. Even her eyes drive me nuts. Instead of green like mine, which everyone says look like the local pond's algae, Tiana's are gray. She has more than high school to worry about. Her mom won a court decision only a week ago, forcing Tiana to visit her in prison. The timing can't be worse. The first visit is the same day as the Valentine's Day Dance. Poor Tiana not only has to miss the most romantic dance of the year, she has to listen to her mom grouch about how a judge forced her into a plea deal that keeps her in prison for ten years. The dummy never should have driven when she was drunk. The family she hit is still recovering from their injuries.

“You also have a long term art project,” Mr. Janks says with what sounds like very little patience for our issues. “Now, I have a few things to say about the project since it sounds like most of you can't remember what you signed last August. It will be a major part of your final grade. Just like all your other EOCs.”

Shocked beyond belief, I scribble what he says in a desperate effort to make sure I pass this very important, blown off exam. Who ever thought I, Erin Sellers, would panic at the thought of an art project? I churn out assignments in this class without a second thought. Art is my passion, the one thing I live for, the way I relax. With everything else going on in my life, and all the issues at school, I don't need an announcement I never expected.

Usually, I love school. No wasted moments pass before I dive into the planning sessions with my crew for all major projects, the people I share each and every secret with. This time, I'm alone except for Tiana, and she sounds like she wants nothing to do with art.

“Why can't we just do what we usually do?” she asks. “It's not like we'll ever use art again.”

Oops! Major faux pas. Boy, is she about to hear it. He lives and breathes art in every form.

“All of you were included in this class for your artistic abilities.” His voice sounds colder than a late January snowstorm. “I expect you to do this assignment or join me for summer school while the rest of your friends enjoy their vacation, Ms. Bolton. Now, if you're through whining, I need to finish explaining this assignment before the bell rings.” Whoa! Mr. Janks never talks like this. He is far cooler than any other teacher, and he dresses the starving artist part. Shoulder-length blond hair with a few gray streaks highlights a thin face. Cheekbones stick out under his super-pale blue eyes, and stubble on his chin makes him look so laid back. Until this moment, I've never heard him tell a student off like he just did.

“Yeah.” Tiana slumps down in her seat. “Whatever. Like I'll have time.”

How I wish for the old days, when nothing got her down. She went into a total slide after her mom went to jail for the DUI. My crew and I want to help, but her home life is such a bummer. Her dad smokes pot from the time he gets off work until he passes out around ten or eleven every night. And she has to deal with her mom's stupid remarks whenever the woman calls, and her dad's drug addiction, but she is so cool about staying off the stuff herself.

“Does everyone understand I won't tolerate any reason for avoiding this project?” he asks.

His voice warms up a little. Almost like going from minus one to zero on the thermometer. Like me, the rest of the class sits quietly with pencils or pens poised above notebooks. No one wants to piss him off any more than he already is.

“Fine.” He searches the top of his desk as a question occurs to me.

“Uh, Mr. Janks?

“Yes, Erin.” No patience in his voice, just a lot of suppressed anger, like he thinks I'm about to make trouble.

No one, but no one, can accuse me of causing problems on purpose. If anything, I go out of my way to avoid notice and trouble, except telling off any teen drinking booze. The urge to say “it doesn’t matter” almost makes me change my mind, but I really have to know something.

“Will we have to get permission from the city to do this project? I mean, you used the Rec Center as an example. We can't just go in and do what we want unless someone approves it. Right?”

“You're right.” His voice softens. “Thank you for mentioning that.” He holds up a folder. “I have a list of places the city wants cleaned up. Mayor Flaggins agreed to let you kids—”
The whole room erupts into moans and groans. None of us like someone calling us kids, not with most of us already eighteen.

He laughs instead of getting upset. “Sorry. All right, class, here's the list. I'll call out a location, and the first person with their hand up gets it. I have enough locations for everyone to work alone, except one. Two of you will have to share.”

I sit back and go over possible locations in my mind. One sticks out. The park across from the police station on Main Street. There's a fantastic in-ground fountain for kids to play in during the summer and a bunch of concrete benches around it with walking paths and short walls. The fountain has a huge jet in the center and shoots water in a long stream over the nearby area. It also has smaller jets with bubbling water around the basin. But it's so plain, and the perfect place for a fantastic mural about living in a rural area.

“The old Long John Silver's near the Red Foods,” Mr. Janks says. “Mayor Flaggins thought something related to farming there.”

“Me!” Tuck waves his arm back and forth. “I have this fantastic idea. Maybe something including Jackson Valley and all the farms down there.”

Wallis County has a lot of small farms, nothing more than five to ten acres for people to put in enough vegetables to feed their families and sell the rest at truck stands. Tuck's suggestion brings up a visual of a long winding road beside a creek with houses against small hills and open fields to either side. In the summer, during the height of growing season, it looks fabulous.

“Okay, Tuck has the Long John Silver's.” Mr. Janks makes a note. “Let’s get on with the rest.”

The list of places to decorate sounds boring, and like Mayor Flaggins wants free labor to clean up some pretty nasty parts of town. Yeah, the economy stinks, but why do we have to volunteer to do something the mayor can put people sentenced to community service on?

“Okay, just two more,” Mr. Janks says, jerking me back to reality. “Next, the fountain near—”

My hand shoots into the air, and I wave my arm harder than Tuck did.

“Looks like Erin's hot for this one,” he says. “Okay, Erin. Want to share your idea?”

“Not sure yet,” I say. “Something including kids and the fountain. Definitely green.”

“Good.” He nods. “I like the idea of using green products. Now, last but not least is the Rec Center playground. Definitely a two-person job. Tiana?”

“I guess.” She sounds less than enthusiastic. “But it's a huge job. I can't even think of a single thing kids will like there that won't take me hours and hours I don't have.”

A loud crack of gum snapping jerks everyone forward in their seats. My eyes roll, and I want to grab the gum-cracker’s “water” bottle and throw it out, preferably in another state. A drunk in class is bad enough, but a gum-chewing drunk makes me crazed.

“I guess I have to bail out Tiana,” Laura Wiley says. “Whatever.” She buffs blood-red fingernails against her sweater. “This better not mess up my manicure.”

The queen of the Kewl Krew checks in. Oh great! So not.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monster Tour!!

Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the new novel "Monster" and the author of the poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" is currently used in two schools in the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management, and a MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.

Tormented while growing up for being dark-skinned, and the son of a womanizer who deserts his family regularly, Ken Ferguson longed for that feeling of being loved. Ken promised himself that he wouldn’t be a manipulating, deceitful man like his father, but after being cheated on and dumped by the girl he thought he would one day marry, he begins his transformation. Fueled by anger, and tired of being the “nice guy”, Ken drowns himself in one-night stands, threesomes, affairs with married women, and sleeping with one conquest after another. He adopts the philosophy of having no commitment and no attachments, but meets his match with Ashley, a girl that makes him want to stop his promiscuous ways. But Ashley turns out to do even more damage to his ego and his heart, wounding him deeply. With his philosophy reinforced, Ken spirals out of control and becomes a MONSTER. Sleeping with and mistreating random women he meets at bars and clubs, Ken uses sex to forget about his insecurities, his anger, and his sadness. Will Ken learn to let go of his heartbreaks, or will he be consumed by them and continue to be a MONSTER?

Purchase Links:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just One Cup - Cover Reveal!

Book Info-
Title- Just One Cup
By-Cassandra Giovanni
Genre-New Adult
Publication Date-June 20, 2013

Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.
Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.
With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul--Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it?


About the Author-
Cassandra doesn't remember a time when she wasn't writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since than Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character's stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children's novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Just One Cup, in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studios, a photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company's photography. She is currently studying to receive her associates degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.