BOOK TOUR: The Safe Game by Wes Verde #CrimeThriller #HistoricalFiction @RRBookTours1

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Welcome to the book tour for The Safe Game by Wes Verde. Read on for more details!

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The Safe Game

Publication Date: July 22nd, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Crime Thriller

New Jersey, 1928.

The Cons – Roy, Urbane, and Victoria – made a living by separating fools from their money and rarely stayed in one place for too long. Keeping food in their bellies and a roof over their heads often meant hopping from one game to the next, barely staying ahead of the law or poverty and sometimes both.

That was until the day Roy – the Idea Man – thought he found a big score; one that would put the Cons on Easy Street. No more scraping by. No more hungry nights in the cold or picking pockets in desperation. Maybe even enough to get them out of this life for good. But things were never that simple.

When a tragic death brings the law snooping around, the Cons find themselves running afoul of cops, gangsters, and other powerful people – ones with secrets.

The Cons have gotten out of scrapes before, but their luck may soon run out and this particular game may end in luxury, a jail cell, or an early grave.

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Excerpt

Today she was on fire. Heads started to bob and the group pressed closer, trying to get a better look at the device.

With her work done, Victoria fell quiet. The excitement of the crowd was properly kindled now. A contended grin curled up her full lips. To Urbane’s surprise, her sharp eyes suddenly found his. At first, he thought it might be a fluke. Or perhaps his supposedly concealed location had been somehow compromised. Before he could stress himself over the matter, she winked. Then, all other thoughts fled. Just as his face started to heat up, she returned her attention to Roy. It was his turn to bring it home.

“Now, I’ve been given strict instructions by Treasury Department officials to accept no less than two thousand dollars for this device,” he intoned formally.

This was met with groans of disapproval and one or two boos and justifiably so; one could buy a small house for that amount of money. It was a far higher bid than in previous towns.

Feigning surprise, the Idea Man continued. “You understand, surely, that such a sum would be recovered in a matter of weeks if the prescribed regiment is followed?”

Urbane wondered if that was right. Knowing the scam – game – he had not previously given much thought to its premise. Having lost sight of Victoria for the moment, he quickly did the math in his head and came up with about fifty days. This was with the assumption that the machine was operated every five hours… and that it was not a scam.

As one who dealt in numbers and concrete reality, this world of deception was foreign to him. How people could believe such an outlandish proposition boggled his mind. A naturally curious sort, Urb simply could not fathom the lack of such in others.

Outside, Roy let the groans begin to subside before he extended the olive branch.

“Hang on, now. Hang on. Well… it will mean some hard questions from my superiors. Maybe even some shady bookkeeping on my part. But if that is asking too much, perhaps a discount might be considered. Just for the hard working folks of Lawrence, mind you.” In a quieter voice, he added, “But I must implore you to please keep this just between us. I could go as low as twelve hundred dollars.”

Again, boos. Though, fewer than before. In the end, Roy was obliged to drop the bid twice more before a collection hat started passing around. Urb shook his head, astonished. Roy and Victoria could steer a crowd the same way he could tickle a lock or build a mechanism. For the price of a decent used car, these people had accepted this deal that should have been too good to be true – of course it was. The crowd soon divided into two factions, apparently debating how the forthcoming riches would be allocated.

One man emerged as the representative of the group, holding the collection hat. Urbane’s eyes went wide. It was more cash and coin than they had made in the past three towns put together. If properly budgeted, it could well be enough to carry them into summer. The crowd shifted and he caught sight of Victoria again. She had also glimpsed the considerable sum. Like Urb, she bit her lower lip in anticipation. Seeing the curve of her face and the swell of her hips, he nearly forgot about their windfall and most everything else for that matter.

And he was not the only one to take notice. Would-be suitors were not an uncommon issue. As a professional hazard, Victoria tended to attract male attention like iron filings to a lodestone and today was no exception.

It was a young fella. The excessively confident ones often were and Urbane frowned as this one fixed Madame Charmer in his sights. She inspired many emotions: infatuation, longing, lust. Urb was a thinking man, but after six months of living and working in close proximity, even he could not fully resist her allure. Watching others make the attempt for her affection, even knowing they were doomed to fail was not good for his heart.

Though entirely capable of rebuffing such attempts, it seemed Vic had not yet detected her latest admirer. As the young man drew closer, Urb realized too late that something was off. This fellow had none of the telltale signs of one about to ask for a date.

At the same time, another speaker fired a bombshell question directly at Roy.

“How is this not counterfeiting?”

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About the Author

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Wes is an engineer by trade, a busybody by habit, and a lifelong Jersey boy.

Writing has been a hobby in one form or another since 2006 when he started drawing 3-panel comics. When he is not putting words down, he is picking them up; the “to-read” pile only seems to grow larger.

A fan of nature, he spends as much time outside as possible.

Wes Verde

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BOOK TOUR: The Past That Haunts by Jennifer Porter #MafiaRomance #ParanormalRomance

Congratulations to author Jennifer Porter on the release of novel, The Past That Haunts! Read on for more details and an exclusive excerpt!

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The Past That Haunts (Wardman Chronicles #1)

Publication Date: September 12th, 2022

Genre: Paranormal/ Mafia Romance

Lilith Wardman was six when her parents died. Since then, she’s gone through the motions of life, dreaming of what might have been had her world not been ripped apart.

Yet at the age of twenty-three, she finds herself thrust into a fresh nightmare.

Two sides are pitted against each other in a brewing vampire war, and Lilith is caught in between them. One wants her dead. The other will put their lives on the line to save her.

When Dominic Rosini kidnaps Lilith, he claims he accepted his boss’s offer to protect her. Little does she know, Dominic is driven by motives of his own. His boss made a promise Dominic intends to keep, despite his growing attraction to the frightened mortal.

Trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse, can Lilith trust the feelings she’s developing for Dominic? Or will the delicate life she built be left in shambles once more?

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Excerpt

“Go on. I won’t stop you. But you have two minutes from the time you open that door.” He fished out another cigarette and lit it, talking as he closed the lighter. “What are you waiting for?”

Two minutes… I could do it. All I had to do was run until I found the front door and then run some more. Should be easy enough. Right?

I forced myself to stand up, but the room spun quickly. The sedative… Damn it. I fell, my right knee slamming against the floor. I bit down on my bottom lip, making a fist against the thin rug as I cursed under my breath. I didn’t realize just how unsteady this stuff made me.

“Looks like you’re the one in your way.”

“Fuck you,” I fired back, jaw clenched.

Dominic walked past me and opened the door. “Keep going.”

Doing all I knew I could do, I mustered up the strength and crawled across the floor. Dominic stepped out of the way, neglecting to help me up as I reached the doorway. I pushed on and dragged myself, entering the hallway with my handbag in my hand. Time was of the essence. I needed to think fast, but it was difficult through the fog.

The long, narrow red area rug was rough beneath me.

I approached a railing and took advantage, moving toward it as fast as I could, and grabbed its smooth wood. Using it for support, I pulled myself up on my feet, my legs wobbling like jelly.

“One minute and ten seconds,” he announced.

I looked over my shoulder to see Dominic tapping his watch as he watched me, leaning against the door frame.

Fear should’ve consumed me like the sedative did. But I wasn’t afraid; I was focused. When someone told me I couldn’t do something, I proved them wrong or exhausted everything inside of me trying.

I could do this; I had to.

Shaky, my first few steps were slow. I looked at the ceiling. Hardwired lights went down the length of the hall. With the red of the area rug, it gave off a chilling glow.

“Forty-five seconds.”

Inhaling deeply, I ran as fast as these wobbly legs would take me as I exhaled. My heart raced wilder than my thoughts.

But fate had other plans.

I lost my balance and collided with the railing, almost falling down the connecting staircase. I gritted my teeth, close to tears. “Damn it.” I tried again, even though I was certain at this point I wasn’t making it out of here. A fluttering spread through my chest. I clutched my handbag tight against me when the voice of another man that I couldn’t see interrupted my thoughts.

“Time’s up,” he said in a mocking tone.

Studying the staircase where the voice came from, the man became clearer through the dark. So did the barrel of a gun. The unfamiliar man was tall like Dominic, wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt and black sweatpants. He kept his head tipped forward, his face hidden by the hood as he aimed the gun at me, moving up the staircase step by painfully calculated step.

My breaths sped up, my chest tightening. I tried absorbing everything in sight, backing up a step at a time. The only way out was to jump through the curtained window behind me.

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About the Author

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Jennifer Porter resides in the city of Lewiston, Maine. She enjoys writing and reading adult paranormal romance, mafia romance, & dark romance. The darker and spicier, the better.

She was told she had the potential to write her own book while attending elementary school, and as she grew older, she discovered her passion to become an author. She has written opinion pieces for her local newspaper. Coffee, music, and her supportive husband and family keep her going.

Jennifer spends her spare time with her husband and tends to get lost in her favorite television shows when she’s not lost in books or her creative worlds.

Jennifer Porter | Instagram | TikTok | Facebook

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BOOK TOUR: Grave Intervention by Shira Shiloah #MedicalThriller #Suspense @ShiraShiloahMD @RRBookTours1

Welcome to the book tour for the latest thriller by Shira Shiloah! Read on for more details and a chance to win either a paperback edition of the book (US) or a digital edition (International)!

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Grave Interventions

Expected Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Genre: Paranormal/ Medical Thriller/ Suspense

Dr. Amir Hadad, a successful radiologist, hears an intruder. Hiding in the dark, the stranger whispers, “I can’t rest.”

Alarmed and unwilling to risk his family’s safety, Amir contacts the police. Only there is no trace of an intruder, no marks of forced entry. If there is a stalker afoot, the police cannot find him.

As the days wear on and Amir continues to hear the same disembodied voice speaking to him, he worries about his sanity. The Irish lilt has escalated from pleas for help to threats unless Amir helps the voice find rest – and revenge.

Inspired by true events set in Naperville, Illinois, Dr. Shira Shiloah takes readers through suspenseful twists and turns in her latest novel. GRAVE INTERVENTION, a paranormal medical suspense, blurs the lines between real and imaginary to expose the hidden side of a historical suburban town.

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Excerpt

Camille remained on the couch, her expression sad. He could tell she’d been crying and saw the episode “Death of a Goldfish” was streaming. He thought her grief would’ve let up by now; two-and-a-half years in, the depression showed no sign of leaving. He wished she’d see a therapist. He’d broach the topic again with Viva; maybe she’d listen to her sister.

“Let’s get Mommy,” he whispered into Sami’s ear, and she squealed with delight. He put Sami on his shoulders and said, “One, two, three… attack the Mommy… here we come.” He walked behind the couch and bent at his waist so both he and Sami could hug Camille. “Give Mommy kisses. So many kisses.”

Camille reached for them, pulling them into an embrace with each arm, and taking Sami onto her lap. “Cuddle puddle,” she said. She kissed them both. “How was your day?”

Yer lady’s a grand feen.

The voice. He heard the words clearly. He surveyed the room and saw the front door was closed; no one was there but the three of them. He turned behind him and glanced at the hallway leading from the garage into the foyer.

“Did you hear that?” Amir whispered.
“Hear what? You’re scaring me.”
Jaysus, her legs. You lucky bastard.
“Take Sami now. Get in the car.” He went to the kitchen,

grabbed his phone and a carving knife from the drawer. “Go.” Camille gathered their coats from the laundry room, set Sami on the washing machine and put shoes on her. “Come

with me, Sami. Daddy wants us to take a drive.” Camille carried her and Sami dropped her doll while reaching for her father.

“Daddy, come.”

“I’ll be right there, baby. I have to get dressed. Go with Mommy.” He watched from the garage entrance as Camille strapped Sami into her rear facing car seat in the back of the Tesla SUV. She held her palms up to him.

“Where am I going?”

“Go to Malnati’s, order for us. I’ll be right there.” He closed the garage door after they drove away, and went inside. He walked from the kitchen to the den. Sami’s toys and dolls were scattered on the carpet. Another episode of Mister Rogers’ had started. He turned off the television. The room had turned colder. Amir checked the front windows, all were sealed. He shivered.

Yer lady’s grand.

“Come out where I can see you, you psychopath. Who’s there?” Amir dialed 911 on his phone. “Police. I have an intruder.” He put on jeans and a sweater, grabbed his coat and wallet, and went out the front door holding the carving knife.

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About the Author

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Dr. Shira Shiloah is an anesthesiologist and author of the debut thriller, Emergence, that details Dr. D.K. Webb, a neurosurgeon who intentionally maims and kills his patients in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Shiloah bring both a personal and professional perspective for what may happen when a sociopath holds a scalpel.

Shira Shiloah MD | Twitter | Instagram

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BOOK TOUR: Year Zero by David Dean Lugo #YoungAdult #dystopian @daviddeanlugo @RRBookTours1

 

Welcome to the book tour for the first installment in David Dean Lugo’s Revolution’s Children series, Year Zero! Read on for more info!

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Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian

A thrilling new YA dystopian novel has dark parallels to a conceivable future America.

It’s been two years since the establishment of the brutal dictatorship The Incorporated Precincts of America and its governing Board and CEO, as well as the death of the old America. Sixteen-year-old Joey Cryer has two missions: to keep their six-year-old sister, Julia, safe, and to not die.

America first. America last. America always. This is the vow that the CEO leader of the IPA—The Incorporated Precincts of America—pledges to his suffering citizens. With violent protests breaking out in every city, attacks against immigrants, and the national crisis of the Capitol Event, young Joey must keep their vigilance in staying clear of the IPA’s ever-watching Sons of Liberty—its ruthless police force—to avoid becoming “disappeared” with his little sister. This means not maligning the governing body, The Corporation, with any thought, word, or action, or else suffer the consequence. One such sanction for disobeying citizens is being forced on to the required viewing television show “Manhunt,” where they fight for their lives against the Sons, upholding The Corporation’s domination over society.

Two years earlier, before the Second Revolution ended and before the election, Joey’s biggest concern was sitting at the right cafeteria table at his high school or if the girl they liked liked them back. Avoiding the school bully, Harlan Grundy, was always a plus, and so was not getting pummeled. So, it was no big surprise that Harlan became a Son, loyal to The Corporation and carrying out their dirty deeds to keep citizens in check and in fear. The only correct response to a Son? Everything is goodly.

Having lost everything in the revolution’s aftermath, Joey takes an unfathomable risk by helping the near-dead leader of the rebellion, John Doe. Having anything to do with Doe will skip you right past penalties and sanctions all the way to the death penalty, not only for you, but for anyone you love. And yet Joey’s sole mission is keep Julia safe until they can secretly escape to freedom. To do so, they finds they have an unlikely partner in a recently betrayed Harlan. Trusting their former enemy may be the only way to ensure their future—but is it worth the risk for Joey, Julia, and his community?

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Excerpt

No law respecting the established religion, prohibiting its free and compulsory practice, may be passed. All citizens free or otherwise are responsible for their speech, as is the press. The Board may sanction the people or the press should they choose to malign The Corporation or its representatives in print, thought, word, or action.

—First Amendment, Constitution Incorporated Precincts of America

A hand grabs my shoulder, and I know I’m screwed. The flickering light from the Jumbotron across the street dispels the concealing darkness. What was I thinking trying to sneak my way across town square after dark? I pull my hat lower, hoping that he won’t recognize me.

Especially if curfew has started.

Dan and Katie are starting the Manhunt preshow on the Jumbotron, which isn’t a good sign. Manhunt rarely starts before seven.

My mouth is dry, and my heart’s hammering fills my ears. It’s the fight-or-flight response kicking in big time. Except in my case, it’s the flight-and-still-get-pommeled response.

Even knowing how it will end, I still think about running.

Just for a second.

Old habits die hard.

I move my eyes to the hand, hoping it’s not covered by a white glove. Crap. It is. So, the he attached to the hand isn’t a regular cop. A cop will just shake me down and let me go. But not this guy.

He’s a Son of Liberty.

I’m surprised he hasn’t shot me yet. They usually do. I mean, it’s kinda their go-to move. I glance from his glove to his face.

I silence a scream. This guy isn’t any old Son. He’s Harlan Grundy. That name alone makes most kids cry. Always has.

Harlan’s been bullying kids since the old days, back when we still lived in a place called the USA. By the time The Corporation ran things and changed the name to The Incorporated Precincts of America, or IPA, Harlan had transformed bullying into an art form. I mean, watching him terrorize a kid is like watching Michelangelo turn a hunk of stone into a statue. Pure artistry.

Unless you’re the rock.

All the Sons are big, but Harlan’s bigger. Not like Schwarzenegger big. It’s more natural. Like a gorilla. Most let his stocky form, with its squashed nose, thick fingers, and stubby legs, fool them. But he possessed a speed unheard of, even among Olympic athletes.

And I, underneath this big ass coat, am just a scrawny sixteen-year-old. Exercise and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we wave when we pass by in the halls. Unless running from Harlan counts. Because if it does, I’m a gold medalist.

Okay, maybe a bronze because he always catches me.

“Hold it, citizen,” he says loud enough for me to hear over the Jumbotron’s droning voices. That is quite a feat since they always have it turned up to like a million.

Wait. Citizen?

He doesn’t recognize me.

He says something, but Dan speaks over him from the Jumbotron. “We’ll be back after this message.”

A second later, tolling bells replace his smug voice, sounding out the half hour. I glance at the screen, hoping it says six thirty. Instead, a robotic voice says, “The time is now seven thirty. Curfew is in effect.”

I’m doubly screwed.

After curfew, you get arrested or worse, unless you’re on official IPA business. It won’t take anyone more than one look to know I’m not. And Harlan’s fists and I have known each other since I was eight, and he was eleven. It’s only a matter of time until his dim brain dusts off the cobwebs and the first faint itch of recognition dawns on him.

If he doesn’t shoot me, which I doubt, I have two simple choices left. But I won’t get to choose. Instead, an Inquisitor will decide between sending me to a Liberty Camp or inducting me into the army.

The second is most likely. They’re drafting more people every day. Younger and younger too. I mean, except for like Ward Commanders, Inquisitors, and Auditors, the whole Corporation is getting younger. I guess they figure the young don’t have as much attachment to the way things were.

The CEO says we’re winning the war, and the extra troops are for the last push into Ottawa. But I’ve heard the rumors. Who hasn’t?

Some say Mexico, Canada’s ally, has won ground in the Southwest. Others say the early winter weather has paralyzed our troops in Ontario and Alaska. What’s happening in Europe is anyone’s guess.

So, whatever the Inquisitor decides, it’s better if Harlan shoots me.

Usually, I’m home before curfew, but I had forgotten it’s earlier now. That’s thanks to the Does—John and Jane Doe—and their rebels blowing up stuff. Last Tuesday, the day most Sons get their rations, they blew up the rationing center. Now, the rest of us are still living off our last pitiful portion.

Movies make rebellion seem exciting and heroic. I guess it is, fighting oppression or whatever. But from where I sit, trying to get by and staying off The Corporation’s radar, it’s terrifying. It doesn’t help people like me. Maybe it will someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

I burrow deeper into my father’s coat, trying to avoid eye contact. The coat must be the only reason Harlan hasn’t recognized me. There’s no point in trying to hide the bag of contraband I’m holding.

I mean, it’s right there.

Besides, it’s just dumb cans of stupid beef stew I bought at the black market. E-rations don’t hardly give anyone enough food. So, most people, leastways those who can afford it, turn to the black market. Even Block Watch Commanders like Harlan.

It’s not totally the Does fault, though. Food, at least the unpowdered kind, was scarce even before they blew up the rationing center. The troops passing through on their way north to the wall, took most of what we had. They didn’t bother leaving much for us citizens.

I’m not sweating the stew, though. I expect he’ll “impound” it. I’m more worried that what’s stuffed into my belt will spill out. If it does, he’ll definitely shoot me.

He’s eyeing the bag though. His mouth might even be watering. We both stand there, playing our weird freeze tag while waiting for the stupid bell to stop tolling.

As soon as it does, Harlan says, “You’re behind curfew, citizen. Slice me the stew, and I won’t donate a one.”

Ugh. Slanguage.

It takes me a moment to translate his words to regular English. If I give him the stew, he won’t give me a class one penalty. I can’t speak because he’ll recognize my voice, so I nod. Kneeling, I set the bag down and take off.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

If you do, they might see your face, connect it to a list of subversives, rebels, or whatever list you didn’t know you were on.

I’m two blocks away before a grin spreads across my face. Dumbass Harlan was so preoccupied by the bag that he didn’t notice the cans crammed in my pockets.

I decide to go home through the woods. It’s longer and a thousand percent spookier, but it has more cover. Plus, The Corporation hasn’t put cameras in the forest. At least not yet anyway. That might change if they suspect the squirrels of treason.

Plus, Harlan lives two houses away from me. If he’s heading home, it’s worth the extra twenty-minute walk to avoid him.

I trudge along. I can’t see a thing in the inky blackness. Everything is a muddied silhouette, and I don’t want to trip on something and break my neck. I used to find the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet satisfying. But I don’t anymore.

They just tell the Sons or the rebel squirrels where you are.

My breath comes quick now. Heart racing. It’s my anxiety getting the better of me. I don’t bother fighting it because I’m too busy cursing myself. If Harlan is out on patrol, he’s nowhere near his house. Then again, it might be dumb luck that we ran into each other.

Either way, I don’t really care right now because I’m sure Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers has spotted my dumbass alone in the woods. I stop for a second, but the sound of crunching leaves doesn’t.

A twig snaps.

I turn.

A half-naked figure lunges from the darkness, falling to the ground.

I almost scream.

A man lies motionless. I get a little closer and notice he’s covered in blood. Against my better judgment, I turn him over. A few holes leak his blood.

Someone shot him.

The only people with guns these days are Sons or rebels. Which means they’re probably out searching for him. That thought alone makes me nope my sorry ass out of the woods as fast as I can.

I emerge, unharassed by either rebel squirrels or a fictional slasher, near the non-Harlan end of my block. My breath comes in short, panicked gasps. I’m more than a little embarrassed by how fast I’m moving down the block.

I turn the corner. My house blazes bright in the frigid night. It’s almost enough to chase away the harsh twilight glow from the screens on the telephone poles.

Julia, my little sister hates being alone, but she isn’t right now. Unless Winnie’s wandered off again. She has turned on every light, which means he probably did. The Sons don’t pay him much mind, so he’ll be okay. Hopefully, she hasn’t used up our electricity ration for the month.

I linger in the driveway, eyes darting. I need to make sure I wasn’t followed.

An angry orange flower of fire blooms over the nearby hills. Must be the rebels blowing something up or being blown up themselves. Either way, a bunch of people are dead. A tenth of a second later, a dull roar reaches my ears, and everything shakes.

Every porch light in the neighborhood blinks on, and people spill out from their houses, scurrying around like angry ants. A few have wide eyes, their O-shaped mouths gulping the chilly night air. Which reminds me of the fish that Dad and I used to catch. Others just sigh, wringing their hands. A few look furious.

I’ve lived here for like forever and recognize everyone.

That is everyone except the young man with the neat dark hair walking along the walkway in front of the house next door. His hands are in his pockets, posture crisp but relaxed.

I do a double take because I didn’t expect to see anyone coming from there. It and the house across the street have stood vacant since the Perrys and the Youngs disappeared a year ago. He might be a zig though.

Zig is short for zigzag. They’re the people who refuse to go along with The Corporation but won’t join the resistance either. So, they zigzag between the two opposing forces that shape the IPA. They usually come in small groups, no more than four. There’s not a lot of them. At least as far as anyone can tell. Anyway, neither side likes them much, and both will see them wiped out just as soon. Which is why, if he is a zig, he certainly wouldn’t be so careless and let everyone know where he lives.

He might be a rebel. They sometimes hunker down in vacant buildings. That thought both excites and frightens me.

As he draws closer, there’s no mistaking this man for a zig or a rebel. He wears a suit, but the distant flames give everything a crimson tone, so I can’t tell what color it is. Something on his jacket flickers. He reaches the end of the walkway, and I notice that the light glints off a bunch of Corporation commendation pins on his lapel.

At first, he acknowledges no one as he crosses his arms and stares straight ahead. He appears calm, but his breath comes in peculiar fits like he’s out of breath but doesn’t want anyone to know. Maybe he’s asthmatic? I don’t know. His eyes don’t watch the distant flames like everyone else; they’re watching the streetlights.

Something glistens on his forehead like sweat, but the night is cold, so that’s impossible. He appears to sense me gawking and gives me a nod.

By reflex, I wave.

Another fireball blossoms, this one almost bright enough to read by. The windows rattle from the blast. The neighborhood lights blink a few times before going out. Someone screams as we’re plunged into a weird twilight of flickering screens since those never stop.

I swear Pinman smirks.

A second later, old Doc Salazar asks, “Do you think it’s the Canadians?”

That isn’t as silly as it sounds, since if you’re lucky enough to own a car, it’s like three hours to the border.

“Nah. I bet it’s the Does and the rebels,” Mr. Taylor replies.

Everyone stares at him for a moment. Calling the Does rebels is against the law.

“You mean terrorists,” a throaty unfamiliar voice—my new neighbor—says.

“Yes, y-yes,” Mr. Taylor stammers. He probably noticed every commendation on Pinman’s jacket. He chuckles nervously, running a hand across the back of his neck.

I don’t want to call attention to myself, but Taylor was my dad’s fishing buddy. I can’t count the number of times that the Taylors shared a meal with us after a good day on the lake.

A familiar voice breaks the uncomfortable silence. “Mr. Taylor is scaredly is all. He’s not trying to be outside the box.”

I look around, trying to find who spoke. For some reason, everyone’s staring at me like I punched a nun or something.

Well, everyone except Taylor. He’s got a grateful smile pasted on his stupid round face. The looks confirm my growing suspicion. The voice was familiar because it’s mine.

Pinman doesn’t reply, just cocks his head.

“Well, um, good night, sir,” Mr. Taylor croaks as he scurries back inside his house.

A second later, the loudspeakers atop every telephone pole on the block crackle to life. On the screens, a severe looking yet appealing middle-aged woman appears with her hair wrapped tight around her head. Everything can go dark but not PR Polly, the voice of The Corporation.

There’s a whine of feedback, and Polly stares with a Mona Lisa smile on her lips, waiting for it to pass. It fades to a crackling static and clears.

Her familiar, faintly British voice sounds out. “Return to your homes. All is goodly. We have the situation under control.” As always, she adds the Corporate slogan. “America first. America last. America always.”

Another squeal of feedback sounds out. Dan and Katie return to the screens, laughing about the ratings bonanza it’ll be when the real Does are caught and put on Manhunt. But since Manhunt is required viewing, ratings are a bonanza every day anyway. I’m also not sure how we’d know if they’re the real Does. I mean, every time they think they’ve got them, it turns out they’re regular rebels.

No one even knows what the Does look like.

A weird sensation tingles my leg. It’s my phone vibrating in my pocket. I put aside my stray thoughts for now as I fish it out.

“What did you think of this Realnews brief” flashes on the screen. Underneath, like always, are two emoji:

a smiley one,

and a frowning one.

I tap the smiley face to show that I loved it. No one clicks the other one anymore. Well, no one without a death wish.

Soft clicking echoes around me as my neighbors do the same. By the time I’m done, they’re scurrying back into their homes. I guess they’ve all realized it’s after curfew, so we are all technically criminals right now.

Pinman still stands there with his arms crossed, staring at me. I try not to meet his gaze and mumble something about how my little sister is waiting for dinner inside.

In the distance, sirens blare. A lot of them. All isn’t goodly. I sense the stranger watching me as I walk into my house.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

authorpic

Author David Dean Lugo often gets ideas for his stories by wondering what if? In his new young adult dystopian novel, Year Zero, he probed this when writing about a future fascist America run by a governing body called The Corporation and its CEO. Lugo believes that today’s trend of people judging one another too harshly—whether based on their political party, gender identity, or something else—is causing people to drift too far away from one another. His story explores potential extreme ramifications of this.

Lugo believes a great book is one that has believable characters that readers can identify with and relate to. He hopes his stories evoke emotion and thinking from his readers long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking YA novels, Lugo enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, playing video/board games, and hanging out with his amazing family. He lives in southwest New Hampshire with his wife Meredith, son Jacob, and their rascally Labrador/Collie mix named Astrid. Year Zero is the first volume in his The Revolution’s Children trilogy.

David Dean Lugo | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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BOOK TOUR: The Commoner’s Destiny by Fred Yu #RRBookTours #FantasyBooks @FredLitYu @RRBookTours1

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We are so thrilled to share the exciting follow-up to Fred Yu’s sword-slashing fantasy, The Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice! Read on to learn more about The Commoner’s Destiny!

The Commoner's Destiny - eBook

The Commoner’s Destiny (The Red Crest Series #2)

Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Historical Fantasy/ Asian Fantasy

Publication Date: May 5th, 2022

His past is dark. His intentions are cloudy. When lies pull him out of hiding, can he fight off imminent destruction?

Ancient China. For Chen Han, honor sits above all. So when his name is unjustly slandered and his former brothers-in-arms rise against him, he doesn’t hesitate to counter the falsehoods. But his heart burns for vengeance after he learns his beloved father figure has been murdered by a hidden villain…

Joining forces with a beautiful archer, Han treks to a dangerous island only to spring a deadly trap. And as he discovers a plot that could drive the entire Middle Kingdom into civil war, he must become the very traitor he swore to destroy in order to save his people from slaughter.

Will he submit to disgrace to stop countless deaths?

The Commoner’s Destiny is the astonishing second book in The Red Crest Asian historical fantasy series. If you like emotionally wrought heroes, heart-pounding twists, and epic battles, then you’ll love Fred Yu’s sword-slashing story.

Available on Amazon

The Orchid Farmer's Sacrifice - eBook (2)

The Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice (The Red Crest Series #1)

Publication Date: October 5th, 2021

Genre: Asian Fantasy/ Epic Fantasy

He was born of prophecy. If he can’t embrace his destiny in time, his country is doomed.

Ancient China. Spoiled and overconfident, eighteen-year-old Mu Feng relishes life as the son of an honored general. But when his sister is abducted and his friends slaughtered, he flees home. He soon discovers the mystical birthmark on his body has attracted an enormous price on his head.

Pursued across the Middle Kingdom, Feng finds allies in two fierce warriors and a beautiful assassin. When he learns his ultimate enemy plans an incursion with advanced weaponry, he must call on his friends and his own budding military genius to defend his country. His plan is desperate, and the enemy outnumbers him twenty-five to one…

Can Feng fulfill a duty he didn’t know he had and unite the empire against a terrifying force?

Available on Amazon

About the Author

author+pic

As a lifelong student of martial arts, and growing up watching martial arts flicks in the 80s and 90s, Yu decided early on that he would write in this genre. Inspired by George RR Martin’s work, he decided he would write a series in English in this centuries-old Asian genre. Yu has written three previous novels, The Legend of Snow Wolf, Haute Tea Cuisine and Yin Yang Blades. Yu has a BFA Film and Television from NYU Tisch School of Arts. He was born in Guangzhou, China, but presently lives in New York City.

Fred Yu

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BOOK TOURS: Lo by Bradford Tatum #SciFi #Noir #Thriller @KeriBarnum @NewShelvesBooks @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #LO

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Welcome to the tour for genre-blurring novel, LO by Bradford Tatum. Read on for more details!

LO Front Cover

LO

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Genre: Sci-Fi/ Noir Thriller

Publisher: Soft Moon Press

Willoughby, known back on Earth as “the East Hamptons of the Kuiper Belt,” is the first sustainable colony on Mars.

Built by the mysterious geneticist Carlo Yakamura this settlement encourages the rich to live as they please. They can enjoy decadent homes, physically modifiable partners, meals based on their best memories and even boutique children known on Willoughby as Builds.

Designed to impress even at the dullest cocktail parties, the Builds’ proprietary motive genes have been sourced from the DNA of some of the greatest artistic disruptors of the last several centuries. But even among a host of uniquely gifted Builds, Lo is unique. And uniquely unbalanced. So what would be the grisliest of murders back on Earth, is just an inconvenience on Willoughby. That is why Lo is sent to be “seasoned” by a man we come to know only as Cook.

Can Cook’s fatherly hand guide Lo to a deeper understanding of his potential and purpose or is Lo’s innate power destined to destroy all of Willoughby? Is Lo the key to Cook’s creative redemption or is he the cause of Cook’s worst nightmares? And once Cook learns the true purpose of Yakamura’s Willoughby will Lo or Cook find the colony worth saving at all?

LO is a sci-fi noir thriller, painted in more deeper shades of blue than black. It is also a story of fathers and sons, lost to one another through terrible compromises and found again through the limits of love. It is a parable of our possible future, a future that is doomed if we rely only on the digital representation of our present while forgetting the lessons and lore of our analogue past.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase LO Here!

About the Author

Bradford Tatum Author Photo

Bradford Tatum’s award winning debut novel I Can Only Give You Everything was published in 2010. His second novel, Only the Dead Know Burbank was published by HarperCollins in 2016 and received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. His book Gray Matters has been used as a text book in various college business communication courses.

Bradford began his career as an actor appearing in numerous television shows and movies such as 20th Century Fox’s submarine comedy DOWN PERISCOPE, Disney’s POWDER and HBO’s WESTWORLD.

He was a staff writer for Dick Wolf on the NBC series DEADLINE and has written and directed two award winning independent features. He has won an Alfred P. Sloan grant for his written work as well as sold pitches to various production companies.

Bradford Tatum | Facebook | Instagram

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August 15th

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August 16th

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August 18th

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August 19th

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BOOK TOUR: Promise of the Visitor by David Gittlin #ScienceFiction #Fantasy #Giveaway @DavidGitlin @RRBookTours1

PromiseVisitor copy

Welcome to the tour for Promise of the Visitor, one of three novellas in the Silver Sphere Series by David Gittlin. Read on for more info and a chance to win a $50 Amazon e-gift card!

GOLDEN SPHERE COVER

Promise of the Visitor

(The three volumes in the Silver Sphere Series can be read independently and in any order)

Publication Date: April 14th, 2022

Genre: Science Fiction/ Sci-fi Fantasy

Length: 142 Pages

The police have arrived to investigate a strange report. What happens next?

An unconscious body lies on the kitchen floor. Two Daytona Police deputies are ringing the bell on the front door of the beach house mystery writer Jacob Cassel rents. It’s going to be an interesting morning for Jacob, his super-smart girlfriend, Amy, and Arcon, an AI from the other side of the Milky Way. If they can survive the morning without being thrown in jail, they are expecting a visitor from the planet Aneleya to arrive later in the evening bearing a cornucopia of gifts for the human race. Instead of gifts, the visitor arrives with dire news about a doomsday device threatening the destruction of planet Earth and the entire solar system.

Welcome aboard for this suspenseful interstellar adventure of The Silver Sphere Series!

Excerpt

NO ONE BESIDES ME and Amy knows that inside the golden sphere lives an artificial intelligence originating from the other side of the Milky Way. Said sphere rests on top of a beige granite counter beside a nickel-plated sink in Jeffrey’s ultra-modern kitchen. Except the kitchen belongs to a guy named Jack. I keep thinking “Jeffrey” because that’s the alter ego Jack uses as a front for his real name, Jack Markham. I thought Jeffrey Mortenson was my friend. Instead, he turns out to be an international criminal named Jack.

When I first met the artificial intelligence on a lonely stretch of Daytona Beach one night, it identified itself to me as “Arcon” because its actual name is unpronounceable in English or any other terrestrial tongue. At the time, Arcon was packed by his makers into something resembling a basketball-sized silver sphere. The packaging has changed on multiple occasions with the ridiculous demands of the circumstances we have somehow managed to live through. To be completely transparent, Arcon doesn’t actually have a name. He has an unpronounceable Aneleyan name only because the Aneleyan scientists who created Arcon needed to call him something besides, “it” or “the thing.” Arcon definitely doesn’t like to be referred to as a “thing.”

Arcon has preferences, but as far as I know, he doesn’t have feelings. He may, however, be developing them because his consciousness is evolving. I want to explore feelings and other matters in depth with Arcon when there isn’t a crisis at hand. Currently, we have one looming. I think of Arcon as a “he.” Actually, Arcon is neither male nor female. When we first met, Arcon presented himself to me as a “he” because he didn’t want any sexual tension to complicate our relationship. We only had three days to save the Earth, so there was no time to dither around with anything remotely romantic. Therefore, I’ve become accustomed to calling Arcon a “he,” although he really isn’t.

Speaking of sexual tension, my partner and current flame, Amy Goodwin, just walked back into the room. A white robe covers her lithe body. She’s put her long red hair up in a ponytail. She wears a light mask of makeup and a pair of flat heels. In her simple attire and after our long night of digging Arcon out of a sand dune, Amy still manages to look like a knockout. The ponytail, freckles, and white robe lend her an air of child-like innocence, despite her nearly six-foot-tall frame. I know that Amy can change from an innocent child into a desirable twenty-six-year-old woman in a heartbeat. She never ceases to surprise me. For example, if she wasn’t a brainy aerospace engineer and part-time astronomer, Amy might have had a successful career as a criminal. In the short time we’ve been together, Amy has proven she can think on her feet. She can talk her way out of the stickiest of circumstances. We’ve been through many of them. We’re in one now.

Amy had to take a break to put herself back together after what happened only fifteen minutes ago. Presently, there are two sheriff’s deputies knocking on our front door. Their unexpected arrival so soon after the incident is unnerving, to put it mildly. The man lying unconscious on the marble kitchen floor owns the beach house we’ve been staying in. Whether the house is owned in the name of Jack, Jeffrey, or some shell corporation doesn’t matter. What matters is Jack will surely claim that we broke into his house, or we had an argument, and I attacked him. He’ll say he came back from a business trip, found us in the house, and a struggle ensued. He’ll claim he used the double-barreled Derringer a few feet from his bloodied head for self-defense.

If he goes with the self-defense story, Jack will have to come up with a plausible explanation as to how he wound up conked out on the floor. He had a gun, after all, and we didn’t. In actuality, Jack cracked his head on the marble flooring when he crumbled after Arcon zapped him with an electromagnetic energy bolt. At the time, Jack was in a murderous rage. He wanted to kill Amy, again, after succeeding to do so once before. Jack is as devious a criminal as any. I’m sure he’ll come up with a doozy of a story to cover his tracks. And, since he owns the house, I fear the deputies will believe Jack’s fictional version of the story, assuming he wakes up to tell it.

“Daytona Beach Sheriff’s Deputies,” I hear through the front door. “Coming,” I announce.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

D GITTLIN 3.1

Only one thing stood between me and my dream of becoming a creative writer: I couldn’t do two things at once.

Upon retiring from my career in marketing communications, I decided to devote my full attention to writing fiction, thereby solving my multi-tasking challenge.

I began my creative writing journey by enrolling in the online Writers’ Program offered by UCLA. In a series of courses taught by professional writers, I learned how to craft memorable characters, create colorful worlds, and outline suspenseful plots enriched with drama and conflict. Taking one baby step at a time, I managed to bridge the gulf between writing promotional copy in short bursts to rendering full scale novels. As an interim step, I wrote three screenplays.

My three feature length scripts; “Love Will Find You,” “Joshua’s Decision, and “A Prescription for Happiness” have reached the finals or placed in several major screenplay competitions. My first novel, a Science Fantasy, “Three Days to Darkness,” was nominated to the James Kirkwood Prize for creative writing. My publishing company, Entelligent Entertainment, has also published “Scarlet Ambrosia” and my latest novel: “Micromium–Clean Energy from Mars.”

David Gittlin | Instagram | Facebook

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BOOK BLITZ: Cardinals by Ian Conner #vampires #horror @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #BookDeal #DealAlert #KindleDeal 

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Vampire Fiends!

You can grab yourself a copy of Cardinals by Ian Conner for ONLY $0.99 from now until July 4th! Conner promises “a completely new twist on Stoker’s tale.” Available now where e-books are sold!

Cardinals_V3

Cardinals

Publication Date: May 2nd, 2022

Genre: Horror/ Vampires/ Sci-Fi Horror/ Fantasy

Publisher: Black Raptor Books

Nine Hundred years before Christ, God has cast his wife, Asherah, out of heaven and condemned her to roam the earth as the first vampire. Over the centuries, she created other vampires. There are also those that she left for dead but survived her attack without being completely turned into vampires. These survivors are called Cardinals. Scottish Countess Kellena Donnachaidh and Lady Suzette Allard, our protagonists, are among these cardinals. They are searching out Asherah for a final conflict.

Asherah has discovered a way back to heaven so she can exact her vengeance. Using the Amulet of Cassiel she can call the Flaming chariot of Israel to return to heaven and exact her revenge on God.

Now, 3000 years later, the Vatican and other groups are working to destroy Asherah and the vampires., fearing their own destruction if she ascends, simply want to stop Asherah using the Amulet of Cassiel to re-enter heaven. The race and intrigue to recover the Amulet is full of intrigue, betrayal.

A completely new twist on Stoker’s tale.

Available HERE and on AMAZON!

About the Author

__Author photo

Ian Conner is retired and spent most of his adult life as a Marine and Army Infantry Sergeant. Now living near San Diego California with his wife Bonnie, a cellist, and their two dogs, Cookie and Isabella. Conner spends his days fostering kittens, gardening, crafting beautiful stained glass and creating worlds on the page.

Conner has authored several other novels:

Cooper’s Ridge  –  Science Fiction

The Long Game – Political Thriller

The Price of Partisanship – Political Thriller

Solaris  – Political Thriller

Griffins Perch – Epic Fantasy

Ghost Witch  –  Horror

After a lifetime of destruction the thought of creating something tangible and lasting holds great appeal.  He finds writing a cathartic way to redefine himself both in his eyes and the eyes of others.

Conner can be reached at Ian@BlackRaptorBooks.com

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BOOK TOUR: The Legend of Black Jack by A.R. Witham #YAfantasy #actionadventure @arwitham @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Legend of Black Jack by A.R. Witham! Read on for more details!

Legend of Black Jack cover full res

The Legend of Black Jack

Publication Date: May 17th, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy, Action Adventure, Coming-of-Age, Portal Fantasy (Full Page Illustrations)

Jack Swift can tell you every element on the periodic table, recite Treasure Island verbatim, and would remember in perfect detail every word you’d ever say to him. He has been alone for a long time, so he has buried himself in books, using them to plan his escape.

But no textbook could ever prepare him for the land of Keymark.

At 3:33 a.m. on his fourteenth birthday, Jack is kidnapped by a hideous monster to another sphere of existence. Now there are two moons in the sky, and he is surrounded by grotesque creatures and magical warriors training for battle. They want the impossible: Jack must use his abilities to save a life or be trapped in this bizarre world with no chance of rescue.

Jack doesn’t have secret magic, a great destiny, or any experience.

So why do they all expect him to become a legend?

Content/Trigger Warnings:

Shown on Page: Child Abuse (foster mom hits main character), Child Abduction (main character kidnapped by monster)

Alluded to: Child Neglect (foster mom ignores her wards)

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Blood

The operating room was anything but sterile. The floor was pounded-down dirt, the walls were splintered wood that collected dust by the handful, and the smoking fire in the corner exhaled nearly as much soot into the room as up the chimney. It was dark, it was dirty, and it put the odds against Jack Swift before he even began.

Jack had two concerns, other than the obvious: that Xiang-lo would die the moment he touched him. The first worry was the anesthesia. Dr. Richards had told him repeatedly that in almost any surgery, the drugs used to put the patient to sleep were by far the most dangerous part of a procedure; more men had been killed by a tiny slip in the amount of medication used than from any mistake a surgeon made. The gas passers, as Richards called them, were the background heroes of the operating room, and kept their patients walking the thin line between sleep and death.

Jack had made the calculations for the correct amount of anesthesia, but in the end, it proved unnecessary. Memphis would keep Xiang-lo asleep. Such majik was well within the monster’s mastery, said Valerian, and keeping Xiang-lo out of consciousness and out of pain would be the rhino’s task during the procedure.

The second concern was more personal. “I don’t want to see his face.”

Valerian nodded as if he had been expecting the request. “That has been arranged.”

Good. So the knight understood. “Not just his face,” continued Jack. “I don’t want to see any part of him other than his belly on the right side. There are medical sheets in Memphis’s bag; cover him with those. His chest, his legs, but especially his face. I don’t want to see it.”

Surgery was just like carpentry. Jack had to remember that. But the only way to treat a man like a block of wood was to remove his face, remove his personality, remove any trace of humanity from him…and even then, he would still be a Pinocchio.

If everything went well, Jack would love to hear about Xiang-lo, about who he was, what his dreams were, and how he’d lived his life. But right now, all Jack wanted to know, all he could know, was where to cut.

Besides, some darker part of his mind chided. You don’t want another face haunting your dreams when you kill him.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

AR Witham Author Photo

A.R. Witham is a three-time Emmy-winning writer-producer and a great lover of adventure. He is the world’s foremost expert on the history of Keymark. He loves to talk with young people and adults who remember what young people know. He has written for film and television, canoed to the Arctic Circle, hiked the Appalachian Trail and been inside his house while it burned down. He lives in Indianapolis.

If you would like a sneak peek at his upcoming work or upcoming events, please reach out to him.

A.R. Witham | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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June 13th

R&R Book Tours (Kick- Off) http://rrbooktours.com

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June 14th

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June 15th

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June 16th

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June 17th

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BOOK TOUR: Stories My Grandmother Told Me by Gabriela Maya Bernadett #memoir @dwilk @SimonSchuster @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #NonFiction 

StoriesMyGrandmotherToldMe copy

Welcome to the tour for this fascinating memoir by Gabriela Maya Bernadett, called Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A Multicultural Journey from Harlem to Tohono O’dham. Read on for more info!

stories-my-grandmother-told-me-9781947951426_lg

Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A Multicultural Journey from Harlem to Tohono O’dham

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: City Point Press/ Simon & Schuster

The illuminating and deeply personal debut from Gabriela Maya Bernadett, Stories My Grandmother Told Me explores culture, race, and chosen family, set against the backdrop of the twentieth-century American Southwest.

In a hilly Southern California suburb in the late twentieth century, Gabriela Maya Bernadett listens as her grandmother tells her a story.

It’s the true story of Esther Small, the great-granddaughter of slaves, who became one of the few Black students to graduate from NYU in the 1940s. Having grown up in Harlem, Esther couldn’t imagine a better place to live; especially not somewhere in the American Southwest.

But when she learns of a job teaching Native American children on a reservation, Esther decides to take a chance. She soon finds herself on a train to Fort Yuma, Arizona; unaware that each year, the Bureau of Indian Affairs kidnaps the native Tohono O’odham children from the reservation and forces them to be educated in the ‘ways of the White man.’ It doesn’t take long for Esther to notice how Fort Yuma parallels her own grandmother’s story as a slave in the South—the native children, constantly belittled by teachers and peers, are forced to perform manual labor for local farmers.

One of two Black people in Fort Yuma, Esther feels isolated, never sure where she belongs in a community deeply divided between the White people and the Tohono O’odhams. John, the school bus driver and Tohono O’odham tribe member, is one of the only people she connects with. Friendship slowly grows into love, and together, Esther and John navigate a changing America.

Seamlessly weaving in the present day with the past, Stories My Grandmother Told Me blends a woman’s memory of her life, and that woman’s granddaughter’s memories of how she heard these stories growing up. Bernadett’s captivating narrative explores themes of identity, tradition, and belonging, showing what it really means to exist in a multicultural America.

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About the Author

Maya Bernadett grew up in California hearing the stories of her grandmother, Esther Pancho. She grew up in a multi-cultural household, as her father is Mexican American and White and her Mother is Tohono O’odham and Black. At the age of 18 she moved to New Haven, Connecticut to attend Yale University, from which she graduated in 2008 with a degree in the History of Science/History of Medicine. She lived in Tucson briefly, then moved to New York City, and finally returned to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona. She graduated in 2015 with a Master’s Degree in American Indian Studies with a focus on Education. She currently teaches GED classes at the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

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